EDUCATION AND CULTURE
EDUCATIONAL SYSTEM IN EARLY TIMES existing among both
Hindus and Muhammedans, was in each case, closely connected
with their religious institutions.
To give and receive instruction is enjoined by sacred books of Brahmans, and their ancient sages produced a literature which is deep and subtle and often of great beauty. Schools of learning were formed in centres containing a considerable high-caste population, and pandits gave instruction in Sanskrit grammar, logic, philosophy and law. The students were called the chelas or children of their gurus or teachers, lived with them in a semifilial relationship, and owed them obedience and respect. The chelas were lodged and fed by their gurus, and the latter were maintained by gifts and grants from the rulers of the country or from private benefactors. Teaching was mainly by word of mouth, and the memory of the pupils was. trained to enable them to repeat by heart long passages of the sacred texts. The student respectfully held the hand of his teacher, and fixed his mind on the teacher, and said, " Venerable sir, recite " and the Savitri (the well known gayatri verse of the Rigveda) was recited and learnt as the introduction to the learning of the Vedas. And thus from day to day new lessons were recited and learnt, the student dividing his day's work between minding his lessons and minding the household work of his teacher.
This advanced instruction was strictly confined to youths of higher castes. For the lower castes village schools were scattered over the countryside, in which rudimentary education was given to the children of the trading classes, the petty landholders, and the well-to-do cultivators. Seated under a tree or in the verandah of a hut, the children learned to trace letters of the alphabet with their fingers in the sand, or recite in monotonous tones their spellings or a multiplication table.
In the former times the higher education of Muhammedans was in the hands of men of learning who devoted themselves to the instruction of the youth. Schools were attached to mosques and shrines, and supported by State grants in cash or land, or by private liberality. Individual instructors of merit were also aided by the State, and landholders and nobles vied with each other in supporting scholars of repute. The course of study in a Muhammedan place of learning included grammar, rhetoric, logic, theology, metaphysics, literature, jurisprudence, and
science. The classes of learned instructors were replaced by and madrasas or colleges of a more modern type founded by the
liberality of pious persons.
Elementary classes were included in the schools attached to
mosques, but ordinary education was, as a rule, imparted at home. Householders of means engaged the services of a teacher to instruct their children in reading, writing and arithmetic. Persian was the medium of instruction and letter writing and penmanship were highly prized accomplishments. The children learned to write on oblong boards, in appearance like a large edition of the horn-book, which could be washed clean at the close of the lesson. Less affluent neighbours were invited or allowed to send their children to the class, which sometimes attained the proportions of a small school. The schools were known as domestic maktabs, and the teachers were called ' maulvi sahib ' or ' munshi sahib'. The profession was followed by both Muhammedans and Hindus. The old Indian pedagogue is the hero of many a folk-tale, in which he is sometimes depicted as a tyrant whom it was the pride and the delight of the bolder spirits among his pupils to outwit, and at other times as the good-natured but lettered fool who fell into every trap that was laid for him. The pupils were bound to respect and do menial service for their maulvi, and custom permitted him to make free use of the cane or to punish delinquents in any other way his ingenuity might devise.
With the establishment of British rule in India need for western
education was increasingly felt in the country and this district was no exception to it. One middle school was started long before 1880 and it catered to the educational needs of the public. For higher education the students had to go to Nagpur. Some local leaders came forward and established a private high school called the Jubilee High School in 1897. This school was taken over by Government in 1906. After 25 years i.e., in 1931 another school called the New English High School was set-up under a private management. In the following year came another school called the New Model High School. This school has now been renamed as Lokmanya Tilak Vidyalaya. Since then the number of high schools in the district increased gradually and in 1965-66 there were 64 institutions in the district imparting secondary education.