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Gurukul: History and Planning

If human beings think seriously, they can perform small and big tasks unitedly in a beautiful manner. Work can be accomplished in a short time and with very little effort, the welfare of a maximum number of persons can be effected. To work in such a united way, we have prepared a plan for the establishent of a gurukul for educational and research purposes. In this scheme, several responsible persons have been inducted.
In olden times, an educational institution enrolling about a hundred students was called a “Pathsha?la”, that with 100-1000 students was called a “Catuspa?thii”, and an institution of 1000-5000 students was called a “Maha?-catuspa?thii”, Vidyapeetha or “Seat of learning”. Pupils of ancient Semitic and Middle Asia whose branches are the Ottoman Turks, Arabs and Jews used to call it “Academy”. Institutions with 5000-500,000 students were called Gurukul. The learned scholar of Vikramaditya’s court, Shri Amar Singh opined that a Gurukul should not enroll more than 500,000 students because it adversely affects the administrative efficiency.
In later times, when in ancient Greece, the system of Academies progressed, they were upgraded and during the Roman Empire, they were reconstituted as “Universities”. The Universities represented a grand educational scheme. During the tenure of the British Empire, the institution of universities were also initiated in India – particularly in Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, Lahore, Allahabad and Nagpur.
We have lost the tradition of over a thousand years. Is it proper to use the term “University”? It has been loosely translated in the vernacular as “Vishvavidalaya”. This is a misnomer. We already have a proper term for a university and it is “Gurukul”.
Anyway, we have made a beginning. From today itself, a Homeo-College, Electro-Homeo College and Ayurvedic College have been opened in Anandanagar. From tomorrow, a medical school is being opened for the training in different “pathies” A separate institution for girls is being opened at Uma Nivas. Certificate courses in NATAC (Naturopathy, Acupuncture and Chandsi) are also going to be offered soon. I hear that from 3rd October, 1990, a music college and fine arts college will be opened. A Textile Institute is also to be started soon in order to provide the textile-training for improving the self-reliance of the people. A branch of the same can also be opened for ladies.
I also hear that from 5th October, 1990, a Sanskrit Vidyapeeth will be opened. Sanskrit is the vehicle of cultural history of the entire India, Tibet and South East Asia. To go away from that culture means to lose a vital link and to destroy oneself. That is why, we cannot forget Sanskrit, we cannot ignore, neglect or disrespect it. To neglect Sanskrit means to disrespect our forefathers, our ancestors. It would be a crime which none should commit. That is why, we are opening a Sanskrit and Bangla Vidyapeeth. The Hindi language is under the burden of complexity of its grammar and is also at the threshold of sudden death. I have tried to save it in a different way. I earnestly hope that the new Hindi with a fresh lease of life will move forward. For this purpose, we have established “Hindi Bharati”. This Hindi Bharati will also publish new books in a novel style and create an intellectual stir in every mind in every nook and corner of India. Let humanity progress in every sphere of life. With this wish I have told you all these good news on this auspicious Vijay day. I also want that we should take other languages of this earth forward in a similar fashion. Probably, in the very near future, we shall also be able to do something for the progress of the Oriya language. While telling you all these good news on this auspicious day of Vijay, I also declare that Gurukul is not going to be established but rather it has already been established. May you all strengthen it and ensure its progress with collective efforts.
Everyone’s work is to establish it with collective support. You people know that when clothes are woven white ants and mice try to eat them. So the cloth has to be saved from the destructive activities of white ants and mice. So whenever you make something, establish a protective fence to protect it from the evil forces.
In days of old, when womenfolk used to prepare dried mango cakes, the young boys used to sit by the side to keep the crows away with a stick in the hand. Similarly you should be careful and alert always.
From this very auspicious moment, you should take a vow to progress individually and collectively and build a new society on the planet Earth. We have come to build a new society, to construct and to remain engaged in constructive works throughout our life. This would be the greatest mission of our life.
By Shrii Prabhat Ranjan Sarkar
29 September 1990, Madhu Korak, Calcutta