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History: Visva-Bharati University

Note4Students

From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level : Visva-Bharati University

Mains level : Nationalist education during freedom struggle

The Visva-Bharati University established by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore has completed its centenary.

Do you remember the scheme of education by Gandhi Ji, called Nai Talim?

Visva-Bharati University

  • The university was set up by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921 at Santiniketan, Bolpur in West Bengal’s Birbhum district.
  • It was founded by Rabindranath Tagore who called it Visva-Bharati, which means the communion of the world with India.
  • Until independence, it was a college. Soon after independence, the institution was given the status of a central university in 1951 by an act of the Parliament.

Its establishment

  • The origins of the institution date back to 1863 when Debendranath Tagore was given a tract of land by the zamindar of Raipur, the zamindar of Kirnahar.
  • He set up an ashram at the spot that has now come to be called chatim tala at the heart of the town.
  • The ashram was initially called Brahmacharya Ashram, which was later renamed Brahmacharya Vidyalaya.
  • It was established with a view to encouraging people from all walks of life to come to the spot and meditate.
  • In 1901 his youngest son Rabindranath Tagore established a co-educational school inside the premises of the ashram.

What makes it special?

  • Rabindranath Tagore believed in open-air education and had reservations about any teaching done within four walls.
  • This was due to his belief that walls represent the conditioning of the mind.
  • Tagore did not have a good opinion about the Western method of education introduced by the British in India; on this subject, Tagore and Gandhiji’s opinion matched.
  • So he devised a new system of learning in Visva-Bharati. He allowed students to continue their course till the student and his teacher both are satisfied.
  • At Visva-Bharati, if a course demanded by a student is not available, then the university will design a course and bring teachers for that course.
  • The university would not be bothered by the consideration of whether there is a demand for the course.