Nai Talim is Dead…Long Live Nai Talim
Another Funeral Oration or another Nayee Taleem?
`What now, in 1987? After the “stagnation” described in the last chapter (of her book), do we celebrate the Jubilee of Nai Talim by preaching its Funeral Oration? Is there nothing left except to mourn its untimely death? Shall we resign ourselves to maintaining the vicinity of Gandhiji’s Ashram, with his cottage at its centre, as a museum and national memorial….”
Twenty-five years have passed since those words by Marjorie Sykes, expressed in terrible anguish in the final pages of her book, ‘The Story of Nai Talim’, were written on the 50th anniversary of Nai Talim.
Today we are gathered here on this sacred ground where it all began, on the occasion of Nai Talim’s 75th year. Is there much cause for celebration? Has Nai Talim contributed anything that has made a dent in the educational scenario of this country? The answer would be a deafening No! And, yet, if we were to look at the myriad educational initiatives, mainly small, that have sprung up across this country inspired by Gandhiji, then there is hope and a new vision is surely emerging. Another Nayee Taleem! Only, all of us must learn to recognise it.
(Paper presented at Nai Talim seminar at Sevagram Ashram, Wardha, 2012)