RABINDRANATH TAGORE : ENVISIONING HUMANISTIC EDUCATION AT SANTINIKETAN (1902-1922)
While Rabindranath Tagore’s life reveals new forms of creativity in each phase, the period between 1902 and 1922 is particularly significant in terms of his maturing social and educational vision. The early paradigm for the Santiniketan school (which was initially called the Brahmacharyashram or Brahma Vidyalay at the time of its inauguration in 1901) was in many ways a cultural statement of its time informed by nineteenth century Hindu nationalism and revivalism. As the school evolved, however, Rabindranath’s cosmopolitan upbringing and artistic temperament soon rebelled against the narrow and rigid aspects inherent in the original model, and he began seeking a more comprehensive model. By the end of the first decade--a period coinciding with Rabindranath's disillusionment over Swadeshi politics--a more culturally inclusive and humanistic approach becomes evident at Santiniketan, as well as a greater commitment to non-sectarianism. With the advent of World War I and Rabindranath's trips to England, America, and the Far East, the scope of his educational vision broadens further in an attempt to activate global cooperation and cultural exchange.
This article traces some of the significant developments that occurred in the first two decades, as the Santiniketan school evolved from the Brahmacharyashram into Visva-Bharati, an international learning centre. The first section focuses on the historical context within which Tagore formulated his educational vision, as well as some of his formative educational influences and the historical origins of the Brahmacharyashram. Two documents are then examined, in which Tagore discusses his educational priorities: the first is a 1902 constitutional letter representing Tagore's plan for the Brahmacharyashram; the other is a 1918 essay "The Centre of Indian Culture" in which Tagore articulates his vision for Visva-Bharati and Sriniketan. Here we find Rabindranath, using the Buddhist learning centres at Nalanda, Taxila and Vikramshila as indigenous idealized models, creating a broader educational paradigm. Such a model emphasizes scholarship, hospitality, cosmopolitanism and a harmonious relationship with the local community. The concluding section examines the developments that occurred between 1902 and 1922 and assesses Tagore’s goals and achievements from a present-day perspective.
Rabindranath's formal education would not have deemed him a likely candidate for starting a school. Between the ages of six and fourteen he reluctantly attended four institutions, after which he refused to attend any further classes in Calcutta schools. During his trip to England in 1878, he was enrolled in a public school in Brighton. Later he spent three months attending Henry Morley's lectures on English literature at the University of London which he enjoyed, but for which he received no degree. In fact the only degrees Tagore ever received were honorary ones bestowed late in life, the most notable coming in 1940 when Oxford made a rare exception to its rules, owing to Rabindranath’s fragile health, and conferred upon him an honorary degree in absentia. In fact, when one reads Tagore’s autobiographical writing for clues to educational influences, it becomes clear that his educational ideals were not far from the education he received in his joint-family home Jorasanko, where his thirteen talented older siblings, and other members of the Tagore joint-family, pursued their intellectual and artistic interests in a setting, which was the meeting place for the intellectuals and artists of the time.
Rabindranath’s early writings do not deal at any length with formal education, though there are occasional references to the failure of the prevalent educational system to train people to think. And in his European Diary, published in 1881, we find him advocating women's education. His grandfather, Dwarkanath Tagore, along with Rammohan Roy, had participated in the evolution of an English-medium modern educational system in Bengal. This occurred at a time when Anglo-Indian relations were in an early phase, and the introduction of Western education was seen as a means of breaking down existing social barriers, stagnation and superstition. By the time of Rabindranath’s father, Debendranath, the nature of a colonial structure and the prospect of Christian proselytization were perceived as threats to Indian identity, and a need was felt for indigenously controlled vernacular schools. Toward the end of the century, new indigenous educational trends in Bengal were evidenced in the Ramakrishna Mission, which concentrated on mass education, and the National Educational Council, which focused on higher education.
In other parts of India, educational experimentation at an elite level was manifested through such groups as the Prarthana Samaj in western India, the Arya Samaj in northern India and the Theosophical Society in Benares and Madras. What becomes clear in studying the educational experiments during the late nineteenth century is that they were a widespread phenomenon, and one can surmise that many other smaller, less publicized programs were being put into effect. This early nationalist phase, so favorable to the development of alternative educational schemes, provided the immediate historical background for Rabindranath's Brahmacharyashram.
New trends in Muslim education were championed in northern India by Syed Ahmad Khan (1817-1898) who came from a well established family and, though educated in Arabic and Persian rather than English, had become interested in Western science, mathematics and astronomy. While promoting Western education, he believed that the government should leave the management of education to the people and withdraw its interference. After 1875, he established English-medium elementary schools in Delhi, which led to the Muhammadan Anglo-Oriental College at Aligarh in 1875, and subsequently the Muhammadan Educational Conference for the dissemination of modern education in 1886. In Bengal, contact between Muslim intellectuals and Europeans with regard to education had begun in 1781, when Warren Hastings was approached to start the Calcutta Madrassah. Abdul Latif set up a Mohammedan Literacy Society in Calcutta in 1863, to discuss socio-religious and educational reform. Sayed Amir Ali (1849-1928) set up the National Mohammedan Association in 1877 to prepare Muslims for public life.
Rabindranath not only was aware of other educational developments, but had personal contact with many of the educational reformers and thinkers of the day. Keshab Chandra Sen was living in Jorasanko when Rabindranath was born and greatly influenced the latter's older brothers, particularly Hemendranath, who took care of his younger siblings' early schooling. Iswar Chandra Vidyasagar was closely connected with Debendranath Tagore, and Rabindranath would have been familiar with his reforms and work in women's education. Swami Dayanand visited Jorasanko during Rabindranath's youth, and Rabindranath later had contact with Swami Munshi Ram and his Gurukul in the Punjab. Links with the Ramakrishna Mission and the Theosophical Society were provided through the social and educational projects Rabindranath shared with Sister Nivedita and Annie Besant. He also had links to the National Education Movement headed by Satish Mukherjee and helped formulate their first constitution. .
Tagore's criticism of the existing educational system and the ways in which it was unsuited for Indian children first came out in detail in an address on education called Sikshar Herpher (“Discrepancy in Education”); that is, the discrepancy between English education as it existed in England, and English-oriented education as it existed in India. The speech was read at a public meeting in Rajshahi in 1892 and represented one of the earliest critiques of colonial education. In the speech, Rabindranath addressed educational themes that would remain central throughout his life. These included: how foreign educational models caused psychological dislocation for students in an Indian setting; and the need for a linguistic medium connected to a child’s social and cultural environment. Other concerns included: the need for joyous learning and an experience of mental and physical freedom; the need for accessible well-educated teachers who inspired; the desirability for a multi-level curriculum to stimulate critical thought, physical development and creative imagination; and the necessity for learning in harmony with the holistic world of nature.
In 1898--six years after delivering Sikshar Herpher--Tagore found himself administering the family estates in Shelidah, East Bengal. Not wanting to send his daughter Bela, 13, son Rathindranath, 11, and younger daughter Renu, 9, to the local schools, he decided to set up a small home school. This involvement seemed to fulfill a need he felt to become more involved with practical life. He was approaching forty, and he felt compelled to break out of the seclusion of his literary and spiritual endeavours into the world of practical activities. He began to conceive of starting a boarding school for other children at this time.
His son Rathindranath has written of the home school and how his father experimented with new teaching methods, which he used himself and taught to the several tutors he had hired for his children. A Mr. Lawrence is mentioned as the English tutor, and there were tutors for mathematics and Sanskrit--probably Jagadananda Roy and Shivadhan Vidyarnava-- with Rabindranath himself teaching Bengali. Rathindranath comments that his father would select difficult pieces of literature, sometimes his own, and go through them word by word. In a short time, he reports, they could recite whole books of poems and selections of descriptive prose. Grammar was excluded from the lessons.
Bela was not so enthusiastic about the home school and laments in a letter written to her father early in 1899, "It is difficult to pass the day reading stories and studying for four hours with Mr. Lawrence." And in July of the same year she writes: " I don't like it here any more. Everything is one big bore. What happens today, will also happen tomorrow and the following day will also be the same. On the other hand in Calcutta, there are a few coming and going at the A.O.S. [possibly Anglo-Oriental Seminary?]. That's not so bad. If it's necessary to always be going somewhere, then why not go to Bolpur instead of Shelidah?"
Rabindranath did not disclose his plans for Santiniketan for some time. In December 1900, he had given a sermon in the Santiniketan mandir with no mention of starting a school, though in 1901 there is a letter to his wife stating that he wanted to find a peaceful place for his own creative activities and the education of the children.
The first clear indications of his plans for Santiniketan come in letters to his friend Jagadish Chandra Bose. In a letter dated August 1901, he describes his plans for opening a school modelled on ancient lines to train brahmacharins (chaste young mem) and to develop karma yogis (disciplined workers) such as those found in Maharashtra like Tilak and Paranjpe. He writes:
I have been working hard to open a school at Santiniketan. The whole system will be just like that of the ancient resident guru-schools. Not a trace of luxury will be found--rich and poor alike will undertake the strenuous brahmacharya initiation. Despite much effort, I've been unable to find suitable teachers. Today's learning and the spirit of those times do not go together. No one is willing to give up self-interest and arrogance for a great cause. After such a lengthy period of English education, why has it not been possible to make any single one of us into an adequate karma yogi? Yet in Maharastra there are Tilak and Paranjpe? Why isn't there that kind of self-sacrificing individual or activist here? If brahmacharya is not undertaken from childhood, we will never become real Hindus. We have become corrupt through our indisciplined natures and luxury. We cannot readily accept poverty; that is to say, many kinds of needs have overcome us.
Balendranath Tagore's Brahma Vidyalay
At this time, when Rabindranath was busy with his home school in Shelidah, his cousin Balendranath was making plans to open a school at Santiniketan, a Brahma Vidyalay. The concept of the Santiniketan ashram extends back to 1863, when Tagore's father, Debendranath, purchased the land after experiencing a deep sense of peace while resting there during a journey. In 1887, he created a trust deed, which set aside 20 bighas of the Santiniketan land including a one-story building and a two-story building, "for the purpose of meditating on Brahma and with a desire to establish an ashram." As well as stating that the land would be used for meditation, the trust deed states that: "a Brahma Vidyalay and libraries may be established at Santiniketan."
It is curious that so little has been written about Balendranath's school. Ajit Kumar Chakravarti, who has written one of the first accounts of Rabindranath's school does not mention it, nor do later accounts by such men as W.W. Pearson, C.F. Andrews, P.C. Mahalanobis, Krishna Kripalani and Rathindranath Tagore. Nor does Rabindranath himself write about it although his own school seems to have been called both Brahmacharayashram and Brahma Vidyalay in the early days. Himangshu Bhushan Mukherjee, who has given us the most detailed description of Santiniketan, mentions Balendranath's school but does not give us much detail.
The main source of information for the planned Brahma Vidyalay comes from P.K. Mukhopadyay's Rabindra Jibani, and this has been corroborated by Prasanta Paul in his most recent biography of Tagore. Mukhopadhyay writes that Balendranath had received permission from Debendranath Tagore to start a school and had constructed a building and set up a constitution. Writes Mukhopadyay: "Rabindranath was connected with all of Balendranath's projects; but I find no evidence that Rabindranath was connected in this Brahma Vidyalay plan. At that time Rabindranath was engaged in planning to make a 'householder school' in Shelidah for his own children."
Balendranath died in September 1899, apparently of injuries to the head received in a communal attack some time before. He did not live to witness the opening of the school in December 1899. P.K. Mukhopadhyay writes that Rabindranath most probably missed the morning opening ceremony of the Brahma Vidyalay and arrived on the afternoon train. He comments that at that time, "Rabindranath was not manifesting any particular enthusiasm or interest in the establishment of the Brahma Vidyalay".
This was the period when Rabindranath was writing the Naibedya poems, which he dedicated to his father. Sometime during the year he indicated his desire to establish a school at Santiniketan to Debendranath. His father's financial support through the Santiniketan Trust would have been essential at this time because Rabindranath had no financial means to support the boarding school. He received only 200 rupees per month, like his other brothers, and was in debt thousands of rupees due to a business failure at Kustia. To repay the money he had to take a loan and he had to pay off the interest with his 200 monthly rupees. He received no support from the rest of the family.
Despite the financial constraints, the Brahmacharyashram was opened on December 22, 1901, with Rabindranath initiating the boys into brahmacharya and the Gayatri mantra. His opening address urged the boys to return to the heroic ideals of the Brahmanic past, particularly of Varnashramadharma (that is, an adherence to the duties appropriate to caste and the four stages in life). In the case of the students, the relevant stage of life was brahmacharya.
Let us salute those Brahmins who were our forefathers", he said,"not just by bowing our heads--but through the acceptance of their teachings and through following their example--I have summoned you to this secluded ashram so that you may acquire that kind of instruction and dedication by way of which the Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaishyas of those days become great and courageous."
What kind of education and discipline did our ancient forefathers follow? They left their house at an early age and went to live in the guru's house in a secluded area. There the students used to restrain themselves through rigid rules...
Here you will have to stay in the guru's house and similarly pass through all the hardships and rigid regulations, minimizing all aspects of self-importance.
The new school was vastly different from the Shelaidah home school. According to Rabindranath's son, Rathindranath, there were five pupils at first, including himself, although other accounts differ on the number of students. All were clothed in long yellow robes as befitting brahmacharins. The ideal of brahmacharya was the keynote of everything. No shoes, umbrellas, toothpaste or hair oil were allowed. Children rose at 4:00 a.m., bathed and put on brahmacharya costumes for meditation, prayer and chanting of vedic hymns. A Sanskrit pandit, Shivadhan Vidyarnava, was brought from the Adi Brahmo Samaj to teach Sanskrit.
There was no written constitution at the time the Brahmacharyashram was opened and the first known written statement of the school's operations did not come until September 1902. This statement, in the form of a letter to one of the teachers, Kunjalal Ghosh, was later given to Kshitimohan Sen in 1908 by Rabindranath, when he asked to see a statement of the ideals and operation of the school.
P. K. Mukhopadhyay discovered Balendranath's constitution for the Brahma Vidyalay in the Santiniketan library and copied it. A number of the rules and regulations would be reiterated in Tagore's later letter to Kunjalal Ghosh,. Some of the rules and regulations that made up the constitution are as follows:
1-2. Students will be trained to pass the entrance examination. The school will be divided into six classes.
3-4. Ten students will be given free room board and education. Another 20 students may be accommodated in the school if they donate ten rupees per month for food.
6. The advisory council will run the Vidyalay, safeguarding the rules and regulations of the ashram and the method of teaching will be prescribed by the Brahmo doctrine.
7. One among the trustees will become the chairman/secretary. The chairman with the permission of the advisory council will appoint an inspector, accountant, other teachers and other workers who will oversee the activities of the school and he will decide the methods of teaching and the selection of students.
8. Students must study Brahmo Dharma in verses,along with other textbooks of the school, and the fourth standard students up to the entrance exam will be taught Brahmo Dharma and commentaries.
12. All students will stay in the Vidyalay Bhavan. Teachers will eat together with their students at a prescribed time and will participate as far as possible in recreational games.
Most of these rules, such as those concerned with the workings of the advisory council, would be incorporated into Rabindranath's later constitutional letter.
Brahmabandhab Upadhyay's Calcutta School
Another component that was of central importance to the launching of Rabindranath's Brahmacharyashram was the Simla Street School in Calcutta of Brahmabandhab Upadhyay and his Sindhi disciple Rewachand. Simultaneously a Brahmin Hindu Vedantist and Roman Catholic, Brahmabandhab was helping to shape early Indian nationalist thought through his writings. In his account of Brahmabandhab's life entitled The Blade, Rewachand, who was later known as Swami Animananda, writes of the relationship between their school, which was modelled on Aryan lines, and Santiniketan in this way:
Off Cornwallis Square at No. 18 Bethune Row, there stands a house which is all important in this biography...There lived Kartik Chandra Nan or more simply Kartik Babu. ...There too was started a new school.
Upadhyay and Khemchand were busy with the Review; Rewachand, a born teacher, could teach Sudhir Nan, Rajen, Nanda and a few more. Soon a separate building was rented in Simla Bazaar Street. It was conducted on the ancient Aryan ideal. The students were charged no fees. The paraphernalia that fill the ordinary schools were conspicuous for their absence. Some six students of respectable families attended the institution. From Jorasanka, Rabindranath would come, by gharry or on foot. "Is Kartik Babu in?" Up the stairs to the first floor he went. There on the floor Upadhyay was squatting in garic garb.A chair was brought for the poet. Words were exchanged. They had so many ideals in common. Just then Maharshi was willing to open a school in his estate at Bolepur. Upadhyay's school might be transferred there...plans were made. In the meantime so great was the impression produced by Brahmabandhab on the poet that going home he ordered tables and chairs out of his room and returned to the ancient Vedic system. Devendranath felt quite differently and the European furniture was brought back.
One fine morning Kartik, Rabindranath and Upadhyay went to Bolepur to inspect the place...Eventually Rewachand took the whole party of children to Bolpur and Santiniketan began. It was in December 1901 that this transfer took place....Rewachand was boarding-master, teacher and manager.
The students got up at a quarter to five, swept, had a swim in the pond, and dressed. The Brahman boys in white silk, the Vadyas and Kayasthas in red silk, and the Vaishya lads in yellow silk: the various colours representing the various castes; then they said their individual prayers in Sanskrit, each under a separate tree... [continues with schedule]...at 11:30, they had their dinner, the Brahmans dining separately...
Upadhyay never did regular teaching work. Off and on he would give a class in Calcutta ......
It was rumored that Rewachand tried to proselytise. The rumour reached Upadhyay who wrote in clear, frank words to Rewachand. The latter felt he was not trusted, and resigned. Thus the second batch of boys returned to Calcutta, and the two institutions of Santiniketan and of Simla Street continued separately. This was August, 1902.
The role of Brahmabandhab and Rewachand in the school had been a controversial one. In August 1933, there appeared a note in the Calcutta Review, probably written by Ramananda Chatterjee stating:
The Poet, Rabindranath become acquainted with Brahmabandhav long after he (the Poet) had obtained the consent of his father, the Maharshi, to establish at Santiniketan a school, which was named Brahma-Vidyalaya, for training students according to the spiritual ideals of the Upanishads as understood and interpreted by the Maharshi and the Adi Brahmo samaj, and after its work had actually commenced on a very small scale. The ideals of the institution have not remained exactly the same; there have been various developments...Far from joining the Calcutta school said to have been founded by Brahmabandhav and Animananda (the latter the Poet did not even know at the that time), Rabindranath did not even know of its existence.
After receiving a letter from Kartik Nan, which urged him to correct the inaccuracy of the Calcutta Review account, Rabindranath published an article in Prabashi in September 1933 acknowledging that he had known Brahmabandab from around the time his Naibedya poems had been published (June 1901). He wrote:
When I became acquainted with him (Brahmabandhab) on this occasion, he came to know of my plan and received the news that I had received my father's permission to establish a school at Santiniketan. He told me there was no need to delay the working out of these plans. He with some of his obedient disciples and students entered into the works of the ashram. From my side, the students were Rathindranath and his younger brother Samindranath and he added a few....If Upadhyay and Rewachand had not accepted the greater part of the teaching, then the running of the ashram would have been impossible for me. Even today I am carrying the title of 'Gurudev' which Brahmabandhab bestowed upon me. 
Brahmabandhab and Rewachand stayed less than a year at Santiniketan, and even within the year, Brahmabandhab was absent much of the time. Rewachand would attribute their departure to religious difficulties, and Julius Lipner is his recent book on Brahmabandhab corroborates this as one of the central reasons. Rathindranath, in his account, says that it was the rapid development of virulent nationalism that led to a parting of the ways between Upadhyay and Rabindranath. "Father remained content with the purely educational experiment at Santiniketan," he writes, "while the other started the pungent national daily Sandhya, and threw himself headlong into politics in Calcutta." Lipner indicates that Brahmabandhab had a falling out with others around the same time and describes him in this way:
Upadhyaya had great charm, energy and persuasiveness; his ideals enthralled people, and he inspired a fierce loyalty, even in those from whom he parted company. Upadhyaya was not at home with himself; torn between consuming passions of a changing age, struggling to locate himself amid the uncertainties of the time, he was a poignant symbol of the new India coming to birth.
Tagore himself did not write about it, though in a 1934 preface to his novel Char Adyay he writes about the transformation of Brahmabandhab from a "fiery, fearless unattached ascetic of extraordinary spiritual zeal and intellect" into someone who began setting "the country's blood on fire" through his writings in Sandhya the newspaper, which he edited. "One could detect," wrote Tagore, "the first beginnings of the cult of violence in Bengal."  Commenting on Rewachand, Rathindranath writes that he joined the school "shortly afterwards as a teacher of English. He was a Roman Catholic and a strict disciplinarian; his was the kind of discipline learnt on the cricket field and applied to everyday life. This hardly appealed to Father and clashed with the ideal of freedom and self-determination which he sought to establish in the Asrama: as a consequence, Rewachand had to leave very soon."
Rabindranath, however, remained on good terms with Rewachand, who went back to Calcutta and founded the Boys Own Home School. Manoranjan Banerjee joined the Brahmacharyashram as headmaster in July 1902.
Thus, the essential initial components of Rabindranath's Brahmacharyashram at Santiniketan were a combination of the Brahma Vidyalay as projected by Balendranath Tagore and Brahmabandhab's Simla Street School--along with the "home school" at Shelidah. Each of these exerted an important influence on the character of the school at Santiniketan in the first year. From Balendranath's project came the building and initial layout of the campus, and a constitution which set out the way in which boarding facilities and student-teacher relations would be handled, as well as the format for training brahmacharins according to a Brahmo Samaj ethos.
Brahmabandhab's Simla Street School, for its part, provided much of the initial personnel for the Brahmacharyashram: that is, the main body of students and teachers and the experience necessary for running a school on a day-to-day basis. A strong initial emphasis on caste differences and assertive nationalism also appears to have been carried over from the Simla Street School.
Rabindranath had set out a number of educational ideals, many of which coincided with those of Balendranath and Brahmabandab. Some of these he was able to implement in the early days of the Brahmacharyashram. There were, however, various difficulties in defining the role of the school in its early years. Some of these difficulties sprang from Rabindranath's own inexperience, from family problems and from tensions between different facets of his personality and aspirations.
There were other problems, however, which seem traceable to the inherent inconsistencies between the different educational approaches present in the foundation of the school. There were contradictions between developing a school for brahmacharins and a fee-paying academic school that trained students for University entrance exam; there were personality clashes and tensions as to certain caste distinctions. There was conflict regarding a school that on one hand advocated authoritarian discipline and on the other democratic relationships and development of the artistic personality...and there was conflict over the school's role in the nationalist movement. Many of these tensions would increase over the next few years forcing Rabindranath to chose between a more conservative sectarian approach and a more liberal humanistic form of education
As indicated, the early model Rabindranath’s school at Santiniketan was in many ways a cultural statement of its time informed by nineteenth century Hindu nationalism and revivalism. Rabindranath’s cosmopolitan upbringing and artistic temperament, however, soon rebelled against the narrow and rigid aspects inherent in the original model.
Some months after the opening of the school, Rabindranath's wife, Mrinalini became ill and he was forced to return to Calcutta with her. As no formal constitution for the school existed, Tagore wrote a detailed letter to one of the new teachers, Kunjalal Ghose, describing the ideals and practical operation of the school. This letter served as a constitution for the early years of the school. In the constitutional letter, the educational idiom is geared to the training of sons of Bengali bhadrakok (gentleman) families. The emphasis is on nationalism in the Bengali Hindu mode, the guru-disciple relationship, and the overall tone is one of severity, discipline and austerity. Significantly there is no mention of the arts and freedom in harmony with nature, which would become so important to the later ethos of the school. Indicating the nationalist aims of the school, Tagore writes:
I wish to make the students of the Brahma Vidyalay especially devoted to their country. In the same manner that divinity is especially manifested through father and mother, so the sacred exists for us in our country, our ancestors and educational institutions…. We must keep careful vigilance so that the students do not learn to be flippant, neglectful, contemptuous or hateful of their country--even to compare it unfavourably with another country...To destroy our self-identity by emulating others will accomplish nothing. Therefore, it is better to be excessively devoted to the ways of one's country than to think oneself glorified through spellbound imitation of the foreigner.
Regarding discipline and authority, he writes:
... The regulations concerning rising, studying playing, bathing, eating, neatness and cleanliness must be followed rigorously.
(10) During leisure, the attention of the students should be favourably drawn towards the ancient ideals of abandonment of luxury, self-control, close adherence to principles and respect for elders. Those (students or teachers) who would like to follow the rites and rituals of Hindu society must not be restrained or demeaned in any way.
Concerning the centrality of the guru-disciple system, he writes:
(3) ...Learning was not considered to be a commodity in ancient India. Nowadays, those who teach are simply teachers, but at that time those who gave lessons were considered gurus. Along with the learning, such a thing was given which could only be transferred through the spiritual guru-disciple relationship.
The prime objective of the Santiniketan Brahma Vidyalay is to establish this spiritual relationship. I wish the students to be devoted to their teachers without discrimination. Even the injustices they commit should be politely tolerated without revolt. By no means should criticism or abuse of them be tolerated. If teachers engage themselves in criticising others, the student should leave immediately. It is advisable for the students to clean their teachers quarters in rotation....Serving the teachers must be considered a necessary duty of the students.
Several pages are devoted to the importance of spiritual training in the early curriculum. Special importance is given to an understanding of the Gayatri Mantra, which, according to Rabindranath, provides a formula for linking individual consciousness with external reality, and the inner self with its deepest aspects...in a way that exceeds the boundaries of nation. In beginning the meditation, he writes:
The earth, the lower regions and the heavens--that is, the exterior universe should be contracted within the mind. For that moment, I must imagine myself standing in the middle of the whole universe--and for this moment, I no longer belong to any particular country.
Following his description of the desired spiritual training at Santiniketan, Rabindranath concentrates on the details of running the school and reveals a practical side not usually found in descriptions of his personality. Over thirty instructions are given such as the following:
You should work out the procedures of the Vidyalay according to the direction of the council. They will set out the time of getting up, taking baths, sitting for prayer, eating, study, play and taking rest for the Vidyalay students--you will see that those rules are obeyed.
(18) Regarding the employment of the Vidyalay servants, you should fix salaries and give leaves with the council's advice.
(19) At the end of each month, you should get the council's approval for approximate budget expenses. If you exceed the budget, you should get their written permission.
(22) You will be in charge of the storeroom. The books and other supplies will also be under your charge. The inventory should be signed by the committee. If anything is damaged, lost or in excess, put it in the credit or debit column with their signature.
(23) You should remain during meals and supervise the students while they're eating.
(27) You should look after the Vidyalay--inside and out--in the kitchen and surroundings and the toilet area to see that there is no uncleanliness.
(28) Keep an eye on the cow and buffalo stables and fodder supplies, as well as the cowherds.
In the final section of the constitutional letter, there is a hint of the future international character of the school, where Tagore refers to the desirability for hospitality to outsiders, particularly to Hori San, a Japanese student who was studying at Santiniketan. There is also a brief reference to nature, stating that it would be good if some birds, fish and small animals were kept in the ashram for the students to take charge of their care.
Rabindranath's faith in an enlightened Hindu society began to change during his involvement with the Bengali Swadeshi Movement in the early 1900s. Initially a leader in the movement, he became disillusioned as the movement disintegrated through factionalism and terrorism. He became increasing critical of Hindu orthodoxy in his essays and such fictional pieces as Gora, Achalayatan, Chaturanga, Ghare-Baire, and so on. Describing his frustration over the ways in which caste and dead tradition had prevented self-help among the Hindus at the family estates in Shelaidah, he wrote to Manoranjan Bandyopadhyay about this time that: "Having seen all this at first hand, I no longer feel any desire to 'idealise' the Hindu samaj through delusions pleasant to the ear but ultimately suicidal.”
From 1907 a definite shift in emphasis at Santiniketan is evident, one reflecting Rabindranath’s desire to expand the role of the school. Village reconstruction efforts were started at Bhubandanga by the teachers and students of Santiniketan, a prelude to later developments at Sriniketan. New festivals such as the Rakhi Bandhan festival, where children exchange bracelets in friendship, were introduced to celebrate the kinship between all religions and groups, particularly Hindus and Muslims. This was followed by the celebration of figures from other religions such as Christ and the Buddha. There were also new festivals to celebrate nature, and in 1909 a further blow to the traditional character of the Brahmacharyashram was struck when women were admitted. What made the experiment so radical was that the girls were not put in separate classes but rather joined the boys in classes, sports and mandir services. Further impetus for the women's program came when Rathindranath was married to the talented Pratima Devi in 1910, and she began taking part in the activities. During this period, there was a notable shift in emphasis at Santiniketan from authoritarianism and asceticism to a broadened cultural awareness and participation in the arts.
Tagore left India in May 1912, for medical treatment in England. There he made contact with writers and artists and was well received in literary circles. In America he settled in at Urbana, Illinois, where Rathindranath had done his studies. He began researching the educational systems, as he had done in England, through interviews with educators, visits to schools, and the study of books and articles. These interests are described in letters to the Santiniketan teachers, particularly Santosh Chandra Majumdar, Jagadanada Ray and Ajit Kumar Chakravarti. In Chicago he was impressed with a school run along the lines of John Dewey’s methodology. He felt some of the techniques could be adapted in Santiniketan. At the same time, his observation of other educational institutions made him realize the uniqueness of Santiniketan, and he wrote to Jagadananda Ray in 1912: “The most distinctive feature of our school is the unimpeded relationship between the students and the world of nature, and with their teachers...this in no way should be allowed to get overshadowed....To do away with distances in life’s surroundings is to open up various paths of joy–these are gains never to be underestimated.” 
Rabindranath returned to India in October 1913 exhausted from his trip but determined to lead the ashram in new directions. In 1914, Mohandas Gandhi left South Africa and his Phoenix students were sent to Santiniketan. Although the Phoenix students stayed only a total of four months at Santiniketan, their period of residence and the visit of Gandhi appear to have acted as a catalyst for some of the changes that occurred in the Ashram during the next year and perhaps motivated Tagore's departure from Santiniketan to start a "Model School" in Calcutta.
It has been shown that Rabindranath moved away from a sectarian affiliation in the first decade of the Brahmacharyashram. He continued to refer to Upanishads, but interpreted them in a universal and non-sectarian sense. He also began emphasizing "education for sympathy," which put stress on harmonious relationships and the inclusion of all social and regional groups.
The first syllabus for Santiniketan stated that Rabindranath's principal object in starting his school was to give spiritual culture to the boys. He believed that if a child’s sense of awe was awakened at an early age through nature, art, music, dance and the presence of artists and spiritually enlightened teachers, a spiritual appreciation would develop spontaneously. For Rabindranath, genuine spirituality was not found in adherence to dogma or a particular creed
He noted that when the eagerness to teach others was too strong it had negative results, that religion could never be imparted by lessons. At Santiniketan he encouraged fifteen minutes of meditation in the morning and evening,
It was a very unsettled period, as the letters of W.W. Pearson over that period reveal. In June of 1915, Tagore, who had earlier expressed his dissatisfaction with the rigidity of training that the Phoenix students had received, indicated to Pearson that he would be leaving the ashram for an indefinite period.
New Directions: The Jorasanko "Model School"
Very little has been written on that "indefinite" period which lasted from June 1915 until after the Poet's return from Japan and America in 1917. As he indicated to Pearson in his next letter to him written on June 19th, he had moved back to Jorasanko to start a new school.
Almost no information exists on this "Model School", although it seems to have been linked with the Bichitra Club, which brought together artists, musicians and writers and to have included an art school run by Abanindranath and Gaganendranath Tagore. Pratima and Rathindranath Tagore were also involved in its activities. Tagore alluded to the "Model School" in a letter to C.F. Andrews:
You will have heard about all my plans from Pearson. I am seeking my freedom by surrendering my ideas into the hands of a new bondage. In Santiniketan, some
of my thoughts have become clogged by accumulations of dead matter. I do not believe in lecturing, or in compelling fellow-workers by coercion; for all true ideas must work themselves out through freedom. Only a moral tyrant can think that he has the dreadful power to make his thoughts prevail by means of subjection.…So the only course left open to me, when my fellow-workers fall in love with the form and cease to have complete faith in the idea, is to go away and give my idea a new birth and create new possibilities for it. This may not be a practical method, but possibly it is the right one.
Judging by the date and to whom the above letter was written and the criticisms which Tagore would later make against Gandhi, it seems not unlikely that the phrase "Only a moral tyrant can think that he has the dreadful power to make his thoughts prevail by means of subjection" refers to Gandhi. Gandhi's presence at Santiniketan seems to have highlighted some of the shortcomings and incongruities there, which the Poet was unwilling to deal with in an autocratic fashion. His response was to remove himself and start a new school at Jorasanko that would foreshadow some of the later departments at Visva-Bharati such as Kala Bhavan and Sangit Bhavan.
1916: Japan and America
Rabindranath's trip to Japan roused his enthusiasm for activating an integral art movement. At the same time, he spoke out concerning Japanese aggression against China and prepared his book Nationalism during this period. Although distrusting Japanese political activities, he was deeply affected by the artistic cultivation that he saw in every aspect of Japanese life. What he saw reinforced his belief that art had a unique role to play in the refinement of society and the human personality. He perceived that the art movement in Bengal had a special place among world art that must be developed "with full vigour on its own lines. In order to encourage interaction between Japanese and Indian artists, he invited artist Arai Kampo to come to India and teach at the Bichitra school.
Rabindranath's experience in Japan also inspired him to think of factors such as Buddhism and art, which united the cultures of the East. These would later be assimilated in his essay "An Eastern University."
1918-20: Visva-Bharati: The Centre of Indian Culture
In 1918 a group of Gujarati boys were admitted to the school providing the opportunity for the inauguration of Visva-Bharati as an "Indian University." Around this time Rabindranth prepared an essay entitled "The Centre of Indian Culture" which was delivered during his tour of South India and first published in 1919 by the Society for Promotion of National Education, Adyar, Madras. It represents his first detailed plan for a place called “Visva-Bharati”. The word Visva can mean: world, universe, all, every, entire or whole. Bharati can have the meaning of India, culture and learning as symbolized by the Goddess Saraswati. We could translate this, according to a play on words to represent the different levels of exchange: "the Culture of the World," "All Indian," "All Culture" or, as we might say today, "All Discourses".
The essay begins with what the learning centre should not be, critiquing the "ersatz quality" of Indian education which is based on European models such as Oxford or Cambridge. Such models, he argues, are used in India without taking into account their organic connection with European life. They are taken as static entities in India--like hard-boiled eggs that will not produce chicks--since they are not in touch with the economic, intellectual, aesthetic and spiritual life of the people.
Rabindranath then proposes using Buddhist learning centres at Nalanda, Taxila and Vikramshila as indigenous models of hospitality, cosmopolitanism, scholarship and a harmonious relationship with the local community. "We must beware even of calling it a university” he warns, “for the name itself is bound to create an irrepressible tendency to comparison and feeble imitation." He repeats his insistence on Indian languages, which though presenting difficulties, enable freedom of thought and creation in a way that a foreign language containing its own associations cannot.
The proposed purpose of the Centre of Indian Culture was intellectual co-operation, but before that would be possible, cooperation within India and a synthesis of its diverse elements must take place: He writes:
At our centre of Indian learning, we must provide for the co-ordinated study of all these different cultures--the Vedic, the Puranic, the Buddhist, the Jain, the Islamic, the Sikh, and the Zoroastrian. And side by side with them the European--for only then shall we be able to assimilate it….Along with this study of our living languages, we must include our folk literature in order truly to know the psychology of our people and the direction towards which our underground current is moving.
Aesthetic education would be given great emphasis in the Centre of Indian Culture, “since music and the fine arts represent the highest form of national self-expression, without which a people would be inarticulate.”
Another important facet of an Indian learning centre, by Tagore's scheme, would be its basis in economic co-operation. It must be economically self-sufficient and in harmony with the villages. As its social object it should seek the improvement of housing, sanitation and the moral and intellectual life of the villages.
Finally, Tagore tackles the question of religion at Visva-Bharati arguing--in a tone quite different from the 1902 constitutional letter--that: "A national University has been only another name for a Hindu University.”
Whenever we think over the question, [he writes] we think of the Hindu religion alone. Unable to rise to the conception of the Great India, we divide it, in culture, as in religious rites and social customs...in other words, the idea of such unity as we are capable of achieving for ourselves not only fails to stir enthusiasm in all hearts, but gives rise to antipathy in some.
Acknowledging that sectarianism, which develops owing to historical causes, will always be a part of India, he urges that the goal of Visva-Bharati should be to find areas of commonality. And "allowing for the possibility of squabbles," he writes, "can there be no wide meeting place, where all sects gather together and forget their difference, where individuals of different religious and cultural backgrounds.
There is a private corner for me in my house with a little table, which has its special fittings of pen and ink-stand and paper, and here I can best do my writing and other work. There is no reason to run down, or run away from this corner of mine, because in it I cannot invite and provide seats for all my friends and guests. It may be that this corner is too narrow, or too close, or too untidy, so that my doctor may object, my friends remonstrate, my enemies sneer...My point is that if all the rooms in my house be likewise solely for my own special convenience, if there be no reception room for my friends or accommodation for my guests, then indeed I may be blamed. Then with bowed head I must confess that in my house no great meeting of friends can ever take place.
As an indication that the ancient past should be assimilated where its spirit is the most tolerant and universal, Tagore invokes a saying from the Upanisads, urging that the theme for inter-cultural dialogue should be one of interrelatedness:
He alone sees, who sees all beings as himself.
December 22, 1921: Inaugurating Visva-Bharati
The formal inauguration of Visva-Bharati took place on December 22, 1921, exactly twenty years after the founding of the Brahmacharyashram. The motto of the university reflected the global scope of the undertaking: yatra visvam bhavati ekanidam--- "Where the world meets in one nest." The imagery of the "nest" was one of Tagore's favourite symbols for a dwelling which was simple, open-ended, organic and harmonious with its environment, as contrasted with the "cage", which implied a technological civilization which was costly, complicated, narcissistic and cut off from its surroundings.
At the opening ceremony, Rabindranath turned over the land, buildings, library, copyright for his books and interest from the Nobel Prize money. He spoke of the radical changes in civilization and the need for new forms of education. Visva-Bharati was to be an experiment in which individuals of different civilizations and traditions learned to live together, not on the basis of nationalism but through a wider relationship of humanity. The constitution designated Visva-Bharati as an Indian, Eastern and Global cultural centre whose goals were:
a) To study the mind of Man in its realisation of different aspects of truth from diverse points of view.
b) To bring into more intimate relation with one another through patient study and research, the different cultures of the East on the basis of their underlying unity.
c) To approach the West from the standpoint of such a unity of the life and thought of Asia.
d) To seek to realise in a common fellowship of study the meeting of East and West and thus ultimately to strengthen the fundamental conditions of world peace through the free communication of ideas between the two hemispheres.
e) And with such Ideals in view to provide at Santiniketan a centre of culture where research into the study of the religion, literature, history, science and art of Hindu, Buddhist, Jain, Zoroastrian, Islamic, Sikh, Christian and other civilizations may be pursued along with the culture of the West, with that simplicity of externals which is necessary for true spiritual realisation, in amity, good-fellowship and co-operation between the thinkers and scholars of both Eastern and Western countries, free from all antagonisms of race, nationality, creed or caste and in the name of the One Supreme Being who is Shantam, Shivam, Advaitam.
At an academic level, Rabindranath proposed the creation of an autonomous national centre which would connect the various streams of Indian culture. In aid of this he brought together scholars from various parts of India in a community setting to carry out their scholarship and act as resource persons for the Vidya Bhavan students. Though the components were predominately Bengali and Hindu, the number of scholarly works on a wide range of religious and cultural topics attests to the wide-ranging nature of the Vidya Bhavan program. By 1924, the academic curriculum included modern and classical languages, logic, philosophy, political economy, sociology and science. The Visva-Bharati staff and students came from different parts of India and the world.
The artistic facet of Visva-Bharati seems to have most fully achieved Tagore's ideals, and Visva-Bharati became nationally known as a centre for the arts. In developing a set of aesthetic standards, Rabindranath drew upon some of the most highly cultured minds in India: his own, and those of Abanindranath and Gaganendranath Tagore, Ananda Coomaraswamy, Nandalal Bose and others. A definite Santiniketan style developed, which was recognized throughout India and influenced the standards by which other works of art were evaluated.
At the height of the Non-Cooperation movement, Rabindranath stretched the Jorasanko extended-family model to its limit and invited creative individuals from around the world to seek those elements in each other's cultures, which would harmonize and afford maximum development of the human personality. The extended-family model represented a shift from European models whose chief goal was intellectual. Essential to Tagore’s model was the development of human sympathy through community life and friendship in the presence of nature.
In February of 1922, with the help of Leonard Elmhirst, a British agronomist and about twelve students, the Centre for Rural Reconstruction was opened in Sriniketan. The stated objectives were to make the villages "self-reliant and self-respectful, acquainted with the cultural traditions of their country and competent to make use of modern resources for improvement of their physical, intellectual and economic conditions." There was also the unstated goal of engaging bhadralok students in constructive nation-building--as opposed to political agitation, which Tagore considered a misdirected use of valuable energy--through the breaking down of upper-caste biases regarding manual labour, working closely with the lower castes and performing such tasks as emptying latrine buckets. .
During the next few years, numerous educational, cultural and developmental initiatives were undertaken through Elmhirst's pragmatic insistence upon increased crop production and Tagore's equally strong insistence that each village must be studied and treated as a whole if long-lasting results were to be gained.
In conclusion, the years between the inauguration of Tagore’s Brahma-charyashram in 1901and the founding of Visva-Bharati and Sriniketan in the early 1920s were years of interrelated personal and institutional transformation. As Tagore's "constitutional" letter reveals, his central concerns--in additional to spiritual ones--in the initial phases of the Brahmacharyashram were to train Bengali leaders and help develop a sense of national (at this time for him still largely Bengali) pride. This most political phase of the school reached its peak during the Swadeshi Movement, after which Tagore became disillusioned with political agitation organized along aggressive Hindu nationalist lines. Tagore's own broadening outlook was reflected in the 1907-12 initiatives at Santiniketan, which included a non-sectarian orientation to religion and culture, rural initiatives, coeducation and a democratic structure. Tagore's disillusioning participation in the Swadeshi Movement had conditioned his response to Gandhi's educational and political goals and means, which he perceived to be narrow, authoritarian and potentially violent. Thus, at the height of Non-Cooperation, Tagore rejected political solutions to fundamental problems in favour of social and educational ones.
With the inauguration of Visva-Bharati, an “Indian Centre of Culture”, Tagore stretched his imagination to its fullest in order to create a broad educational model that emphasized global interconnectedness and harmony. Aesthetic education, with training in music and fine arts, was given the highest priority as a vehicle for developing national self-expression. The academic side included co-ordinated study of many cultures: the Vedic, the Puranic, the Buddhist, the Jain, the Islamic, the Sikh, and the Zoroastrian, along with the folk cultures...all as a means of understanding the psychology of India and its underground currents. At an even broader level, Visva-Bharati extended its linguistic and cultural links with other parts of Asia to become an "Eastern University"; and its identity with all humanity in its activities as a "Global Learning Centre." Tagore's desire to overcome social and material poverty, and to break down the barriers between the urban elites and the uneducated rural population, were expressed through the rural reconstruction ventures at Sriniketan.
The growth and achievements that were accomplished at Santiniketan between 1901 and 1922 are especially impressive when other educational models are considered. In fact, is difficult to come up with other educators or schools that were envisioning pluralistic education in the manner that Tagore was. Tagore’s detractors would point to the gap between his educational vision and the way that it was worked out, and Tagore himself would have been the first to acknowledge the shortcomings and problems that existed at Santiniketan from its early days. Yet it is the achievements that stand out and deserve out consideration. As one of the world’s finest nature poets, Tagore one of the first to argue for a humane educational system, which was in touch with the environment and aimed at overall development of the personality. From its earliest years, Santiniketan became a model for vernacular instruction and the development of Bengali textbooks; as well, it offered one of the earliest coeducational programs in South Asia. The establishment of Visva-Bharati and Sriniketan led to pioneering efforts in many directions, including models for distinctively Indian higher education and mass education, as well as pan-Asian and global cultural exchange.
Looking at Tagore's educational model from today’s perspective, we find that it addresses so many of the concerns and dilemmas that we are presently concerned with. It continues to offer a creative and flexible model of education within multi-racial, multi-lingual and multi-cultural situations. It also takes into consideration the difficulties of education amidst conditions of acknowledged economic discrepancy and political imbalance. These qualities lend a special vitality and relevance to Tagore's approach to education today.
* Faculty of Arts and Science, University of Toronto, Canada
 In the early years, the Santiniketan school was alternatively referred to as the Brahmacharyashram or Brahma Vidyalay. For example, we find Tagore using Brahma Vidyalay in his constitutional letter, while the earliest syllabi and other writings refer to it as the Brahmacharyashram.
 This essay draws on material from my book on Rabindranath’s educational theory and practice, Rabindranath Tagore: The Poet as Educator (Calcutta: Visva-Bharati, 2002).
 Rathindranath Tagore, On the Edges of Time (Calcutta: Visva-Bharati, 1981), pp. 20-21.
 Ray, Satyen (ed.), Sikshacinta; Rabindrarachana-sankalan (Calcutta: Granthalay Private Ltd., 1988), pp. 13-14. Where original passages are in Bengali, all translations are mine unless otherwise indicated.
 Himangshu Mukherjee, Education for Fulness (Calcutta: Asia Publishing House, 1962), p. 56.
 Anathnath Das (ed.), Santiniketaner Ashramer Sikshadarsha (Calcutta: Visva-Bharati, 1989), p. 3.
 Aghornath Chattopadhyay and Jnanendranath Chattopadhyay, Santiniketan Ashram (Calcutta: Thacker Spink, 1950 (1357 B.S.), pp. 42-49.
 P.K. Mukhopadhyay, Rabindra Jibani, Vol. I (Calcutta:Visva-Bharati, 1985), pp. 492-93.
 Rabindranath had invested in a sugar manufacturing business, which was run by his nephews Balendranth and Surendranth. It was in competition with a British firm that held a near monopoly in the area. As the Tagore group had little business experience, financial losses soon began mounting. In the end, according to Probhat Kumar Mukherji, the manager “decamped, leaving a loan of seventy thousand rupees to be paid. The entire responsibility came upon Rabindranth, for neither Balendranath, nor Surendranath were yet legal partners in the zamindari”. Life of Tagore (Delhi: Hind Pocket Books, 1975), p. 92.
 Rabindranath Tagore, "Pratisthadibasher Upadesh," Santiniketan Brahmacharyashram (Calcutta: Visva-Bharati, 1988), pp. 6-13.
 Although the Brahmo Dharma reference is not made specific here, it likely refers to an anthology of excerpts from Indian scriptures that had been compiled by Debendranath Tagore.
 The fourth entrance class of that time was equal to the present seventh standard, the age of students being twelve to thirteen.
 P.K. Mukhopadhay, Rabindra Jibani, Vol. II, pp. 37-38.
 B. Animananda, The Blade; Life and Work of Brahmbandhab Upadhyay (Calcutta: Roy & Son, n.d.), pp. 93-96.
 Quoted in Haridas and Uma Mukhopadyay, Upadhyay Brahmabandhab o Bharatiya Jatiyatabad (Calcutta: Firmla K.L. Mukhopadhyay, 1961), p. 155.
 Julius J. Lipner, Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya; The Life and Thought of a Revolutionary (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1999), p. 290.
 Rathindranath Tagore, On the Edges of Time, p. 50.
 Julius J. Lipner, Brahmabandhab Upadhyaya, p. 293.
 For further details, see Uma Das Gupta, "Santiniketan and Sriniketan," Visva-Bharati Quarterly, Vol. 41(1-4), 1975-76, p. 278.
 Rathindranath Tagore, On the Edges of Time, p. 44.
 I am grateful to Mr. Anathnath Das of Santiniketan for supplying me with a copy of the original handwritten version of the letter. The tightly scripted, unmargined pages give some indication of the agitated state that Tagore was in over his wife’s illness. The letter has also been included in pamphlet form by Visva-Bharati under the title of Santiniketan Brahmacharyasram (Calcutta: Visva-Bharati, 1988). The letter is titled “First Constitution/Rules and Regulations (Karya Pranali”).
 Quoted in Sumit Sarkar, The Swadeshi Movement in Bengal, p. 348. See also Manoranjan Bandyopadhyay, Smrti (No publisher given, 1941), p. 71.
 See Anathnath Das (ed.), Santiniketan Bidyalayar Siksadarsa (Calcutta: Visva-Bharati, 1971), pp. 41-80.
 Ibid, p. 46.
 RT to Andrews, Letters to a Friend (London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1928), pp. 60-61.
 There are two references to Nalanda and Taxila in "The Centre of Indian Culture". The first states: "In an age of great mental vitality, when there were men whose minds overflowed with thought and learning, the culture centres of Nalanda and Taxila were naturally formed in India. But accustomed as we have been merely to branding institutions even in our attempts to found national universities we begin from the wrong end. The students come first, and then we cast about for the teachers. RT, “Towards Universal Man (New York: Asia Publishing House, 1961) p. 213.
The second reference states: "Why do we not boldly avow that we shall tend our life-force as naturally as the pupils who used to gather around the teachers in the forest retreats of the Vedic Age; or at Nalanda and Taxila during the Buddhist era; or, as they gather even now, in our day of decadence, at the tols and chatuspathis?" Ibid. 216. Tagore also refers briefly to Nalanda and Vikramshila in his 1932 address, "Bisvabidyalayer Rup" ("The Character of a University"), again as examples of learning centres that developed organically from the life of the people.
 RT, “The Centre of Indian Culture” Towards Universal Man (New York: Asia Publishing House, 1961), p. 216. This lecture was delivered during Tagore’s tour of South India in 1919 and first published by the Society for Promotion of National Education, Adyar, Madras (1919).
 Ibid., p. 224.
 Ibid., p. 225.
 Ibid., p. 228.
 Ibid. pp. 228-29.
 Ibid. p. 230.
 Visva-Bharati Prospectus, 1922, p. i..
 "Aims and Objects," Visva-Bharati Bulletin, No. 11 (December 1928), p. 1.