IT is hardly within the province of a European artist to propound methods of art teaching for Indians, because the right methods are intimately associated with national artistic traditions and are best formulated by Indians who have a thorough understanding of artistic principles. The right grasp of principles is the first essential, and without that both the European and the Indian teacher will go astray. When this is joined to a thorough knowledge of traditional methods, Indians will be able to evolve for themselves a working system suitable for the needs of the present day. The greatest hindrance to intellectual progress is the mechanical brain. Stereotyped thought is not, as is commonly assumed, a peculiar product of eastern educational tradition ; it is just as often produced by modern European methods, and by education called scientific.
Hardly anything has yet been done in India to collect detailed information, for educational purposes, of the Indian traditional methods of art teaching and practice. Material of this kind would be invaluable for formulating methods suitable for both general and special education. All such traditional methods are worthy of the attention of educationists, and should be systematised for the purpose of hand-and-eye training and the development of the imaginative faculties in general education. Every Indian household should sedulously keep up traditional art practice, such as that of drawing symbolic designs in rice-powder on the ground in front of the doorway. When they are drawn by hand only, using both right and left without the mechanical aid of stencil plates, this is an inexpensive and excellent method of hand-and-eye training for children of all ages.
Dr. Coomaraswamy, in his book on Mediaeval Sinhalese Art, has described the traditional method of teaching drawing practised by the craftsmen of Ceylon. He has also collected some of the words, but not the music of the craftsmen’s songs. In every part of the world, when art is living and life is healthy, the craftsmen and labourers have always sung at their work; and no great art has ever been created without an accompaniment of song, for art itself is but the music of form and colour. These traditions of art and music belong to the treasury of your national culture, and a system of national education which has no place for them is national only in name. The soul of a people lives in their songs, and national life dies when songs are no longer made and sung. Your treasury has become sadly depleted and it is high time you began to take count of what you have left, to use it to greater advantage and to add to your store. Dr. Coomaraswamy’s pioneer work should be supplemented by a systematic survey and record for all India.
There are songs for gladness and songs for sorrow, but it is mostly the songs of gladness which inspire and accompany art creation.
I wrote in a previous chapter that, before art can I really revive in India again, the people must be glad ; you must drive away the demons of plague and malaria, and instil into the minds of the people those elementary ideas of order, decency and cleanliness which are at the root of all art. In the April 1909 number of the Modern Review I read with great pleasure and interest an article on c Education through Social Helpfulness/ by Professor D. J. Fleming, of the Forman Christian College, Lahore, from which I quote the following typical illustrations of voluntary work done by students of various colleges in different parts of India:
The widespread malaria which followed the heavy rains of the Punjab last summer, gave another opportunity for students. One little band in a single day gave out two hundred packets of quinine obtained from their Municipal Committee, to suffering Bhangars, and three hundred packets in the Dhobi Mandi. This experience, better than any lectures, brought before these men the poverty and suffering of the submerged classes and inspired them with a desire to alleviate their social, moral and physical condition. They found that to make quinine effective they often had to take a little sweeper child in their arms and themselves give the medicine , or to reach the prostrate patient they had to follow their teacher into the house of a village Charnar. More effective than hours of talk on the evils of caste is one such deed. Of another school he says:
The reports are about what men have done. As a result you will find this spirit leading a young Brahmana student to help an old woman to raise her water-pot to her head, or even to carry it a distance. It led the boys last summer to take out 150 sick people in their boats for the fresh air on those beautiful Cashmere lakes ; 400 boys were with difficulty and against opposition taught to swim, which meant constant opportunity for serviceableness in that city of boats. A dozen people were saved from drowning by these boys in one season. During the cholera epidemic the schoolmasters formed themselves into night watchers at five centres in the city so that they might be able to take medicine to the stricken at once, which in cholera is all important. During one week of the past winter the boys rescued from the streets sixty starving donkeys, which were taken to the school premises and there fed. When the owners called for them they had to pay, and their future treatment was checked up by selected boys. By example, teachers led them to see that manual work is not degrading, so that, even though they were sometimes jeered at, the Brahmana boys of this school were last winter hauling logs for the building of a dispensary, while others were carrying sacks of chaff two miles or more on their backs through the city all for love. Such education means that they will go from the school with a positive attitude towards dirt and wrong and suffering. They will not relieve their feelings with a pious letter to a newspaper, but will put their own shoulders to the wheel. Nor is this all. There is a Waif and Stray Society to which masters and boys subscribe monthly and thereby pay for the schooling of fifty poor boys, clothe a score, and feed and look after those in real distress. They have forty cases in hand now. There is a Sanitation Committee to help and induce the people to put their houses and yards in a sanitary condition. This is a most important work in a city which is yearly overrun with cholera. The Principal and boys have often joined each other in the cleaning of some streets. A Knight Errant Society aims at the protection and raising up of women. The Knights pledge themselves to do all in their power to prevent girls being married under the age of fourteen.
Such work as this is true education. The spirit of it inspired the great art of Buddhist India: it belongs to and is necessary for art, for it creates the atmosphere in which art lives. It seems to be a sign of “the Spirit of God moving on the face of the waters”. But you should not be content with teaching your young men such elements of art. They should have not only a positive attitude towards dirt and wrong, but a positive understanding of, and desire for, beauty in nature and Tightness in art. For when the poor have that feeling of beauty and Tightness they too will have a positive dislike for dirt and disorder, and will not wait for charity to help them. They will have, moreover, in their own minds a perennial source of joy and consolation which God has given for all His creatures, rich and poor alike.
Though every country has to develop methods of teaching in conformity with its national traditions of culture, it is always useful for educationists to compare notes with similar work in other countries. The Report of the Third International Art Congress, held in London in 1908 under the patronage of H. R. H. the Prince of Wales, affords to Indian educationists many useful suggestions. The Congress itself was a striking proof of the progress which art is making in modern European and American Educational methods. It had a membership of over 1,800 including nearly 200 delegates representing thirty-eight different countries. In the Congress Exhibition the work of twenty-one nations was represented. Two important illustrated reports published in connection with the Congress work are the German one, ‘Deutsche Kunst-Erziehnng,’ edited by Professor Behrens which gives a succinct account of the present state of art education in Germany, and an American one, ‘Art Education in the Public Schools of the United States’. It is significant that two of the most progressive of western nations, Germany and America, are the keenest in interest in art education.
The subject of the papers read at the Congress, and printed in its report, covered a very wide field. I will notice in detail those which convey useful suggestions to Indian educational reformers. A paper by Mr. T. C. Horsfall, President of the Manchester University Settlement, on methods of disseminating knowledge and love of art, gives a lurid picture of the state of the great industrial cities of Europe, produced by the methods of modern industrialism, the very same methods which are constantly held up for the admiration and imitation of Indians. Mr. Horsfall thus describes the conditions of life in Manchester when his Committee began work in 1877:
The majority of the adult inhabitants did not know that beauty of nature and art is an appearance of rightness which should be found everywhere; they did not even know that beauty of art existed ; and the majority of even the well-to-do classes regarded art as a luxury, of which it was desirable to have a little kept here and there in separate buildings, to prove that Manchester could afford, and was intelligent enough to buy, all that the other towns provided themselves with. No attempt was made, or even now is made, to free the air from the smoke of houses, and very little attempt was made to free it from the smoke of mills and works. The air, therefore, was horribly filthy, and cut off the greater part of the light which the feeble Lancashire sun supplied. Although the influence of the town and of most of its industries was remarkably unfavourable to health and strength, no attempt had ever been made to base the whole system of education on good physical training, and it has only been quite recently that a certain amount of such training has been added to a curriculum mainly consisting of the use of letters and signs. No attempt had been made, or has yet been made, to ensure that what art there was in the town should be of the national kind, and those of the buildings which have some beauty are bewildering in their variety of style. There were large districts, covering many square miles, in which nearly all the dwellings, with the exception of public houses (drink-shops) and a few doctor’s houses, were the cottages of work people, mostly of the poorer classes, arranged in long monotonous rows. There were a few large parks, but no attempt had been made to bring a planted open space within reach of every group of dwellings. There were no trees in the streets, and the light was too dim and the air too acid to allow plants to flower or their leaves to thrive in the houses. The filthiness of the air prevented women from wearing bright-coloured dresses; there were no beautiful buildings; no beautiful furniture; ignorance of nature and of art had probably there reached a degree of completeness unequalled in any other country. Drunkenness and betting were, of course, extremely common. As no well-to-do people would live in such districts, the poorer classes were more isolated than in any other country. A very trustworthy clergyman told me that ignorance of even the appearance of persons of the well-to-do classes was so great that he had known children cry with fright when he, in his black clothes, entered their courts. In all large towns, where inquiry is made, it is found that most of the children know very little about flowers, trees and birds, but probably nowhere else was so large a proportion of children so ignorant of such things as in Manchester thirty years ago. An Inspector of schools told us that he had found a large class of children in an Ancoats school, not one of whom knew what a bee was like or where it was to be found ; and of a class of boys in the sixth standard, in which only four boys out of twenty had ever seen a lark, and of the four, one had only seen a lark in a cage at a public house. Some Manchester children sent for a holiday into the country where I lived, on passing under a mountain-ash tree, asked, respecting a bunch of red berries: “Are them roses?” And I have been asked by a Manchester woman to whom I had talked about squirrels: “And what kind of birds might them be?” And not one of a group of at least a dozen other women smiled at the question.
What a commentary on our boasted western civilisation is the condition of one of the greatest cities in the Empire, a city which is representative of all that modern progress which seems so alluring to many Indian industrial and social reformers! The aim of the Art Museum over which Mr. Horsfall presides, situated in one of the poorest and most crowded districts of Manchester, was to revive and strengthen any knowledge and love of nature which its visitors might bring to it, and to show to those who did not already possess it, the fact that Manchester, with all its hideousness and depravity, lies in a beautiful district. Mr. Horsfall collected the best representations in colour he could get, of the common wildflowers of the district, of common garden flowers, of the birds of the district, and also of flowers and birds which though not found in the district, are often mentioned in books; of all the animals of which the working classes are likely to hear the names, of the common kinds of trees, of their foliage, blossom and fruit; pictures and photographs of places near the city, interesting either for their beauty or for some other reason ; pictures of beautiful scenery in other parts of England. In the Museum collections lent to schools, labels of advice were attached to exhibits. A label under pictures of landscape states that love of beauty is necessary for health and happiness, and that some measure of it may be gained by looking carefully at objects in the Museum and by forming the habit of recalling their colours and forms; but visitors were advised, after examining the pictures of local scenery, to go to see the places and to try to enjoy their beauty, and then to enjoy the pictures more fully. To show the visitors that even a small, poor home can be made attractive, a model sitting-room and bedroom, prepared by two distinguished artists for the purpose, was exhibited in the Museum, and, says Mr. Horsfall, no other part of the Museum had more influence for good.
The methods adopted by this Museum Art Committee for contending with the terrible condition of the industrial classes in Manchester are, of course, only palliatives which leave the root of the evil untouched. No museums and art collections, or methods of art teaching can deal effectively with such evils as these, though Mr. Horsfall says that a good deal has been done to brighten the lives of the people. Working men assured him that what they had learnt in the museum had made the world a new and richer place for them.
The level of life of a considerable number of families has certainly been much raised by the Museum; parents and children in many families have felt the influence of its pictures, its concerts, its lectures almost every week during the winter months for many years. When Ancoats children who have visited the Museum are taken into the country, it is found that most of them know by sight and names more trees and flowers than many country children know. We are told that Ancoats children compare very favourably with other Manchester children in manners and conduct. That the influence of the Museum has increased the love of nature seems to be shown by the fact that the Association rents a cottage in Derbyshire, in which a large number spend their weekends during all the warmer parts of the year. The influence of art has certainly been conducive to good citizenship. I know of no set of working people in Manchester who show so much desire for the improvement of the conditions of life in the town as Associates show.
May Anglo-Indian administrators, as well as swadeshi politicians, take these lessons to heart. But, as Mr. Horsfall says: “Art Museums alone cannot arrest the rapidly progressing deterioration of the inhabitants of our great manufacturing towns.” Under such conditions art can only alleviate but not cure. What Indians must take care of is that the methods of industrialism which have produced such terrible intellectual, moral and physical degradation in Europe, shall not be allowed to propagate the same evils in India.
One of the influences which have hastened the decline of Indian art and a very great obstacle to its revival, has been the attitude of the Indian Universities towards art education. When the revision of the curriculum of the Calcutta University was under discussion a few years ago, I succeeded in persuading the Faculty of Arts to pass a resolution, almost unanimously, affirming the principle that art should not be excluded from the Arts course of the University. It also accepted a proposal I made, as a preliminary to a comprehensive scheme for giving art its proper place in the education of Indian undergraduates, to place art in the same position as science in the Matriculation examination. Both of these resolutions were subsequently ignored by the official committee at Simla which settled the final details of the scheme, and art is now totally excluded from the curriculum of “the largest University in the world”. How little Anglo-Indian educationists are in touch with the most progressive thought in western education, was clearly shown at the International Art Congress last year, which passed unanimously a resolution calling for the definite inclusion of art in the University curriculum, as essential for a liberal education. Professor Woodward, one of the delegates from the United States, speaking in support of the Resolution, told how far American Universities had already gone in this direction. “There was a distinct tendency in America to include a College of Art in the University,” and in some of the best of them they were already included. Ten or twelve of the Universities have established departments of architecture which are centres of art instruction in the Universities. Fifty-one percent of the students enrolled in the University of Maine took art or drawing in some form or other, and in three other Universities, the proportion was twenty-eight per cent, twenty-six and twenty-one.
The narrowness of the views of Anglo-Indian educationists on this point, are, as I have said, only a reflection of the same spirit in English and Scotch Universities, and India has little to expect of larger views until the barriers of pedantry and exclusiveness have been broken down, not only in Great Britain, but among English-educated Indians, who, having lost touch with their own national culture, yet endeavour to build up a system called national in imitation of the least progressive of western educational systems, just as they also attempt to imitate the least progressive of western industrial institutions.
An English delegate at the Congress, Mr. Hine, the Art master at Harrow School, read a paper in which he put the case clearly:
That a subject so very essential to the development of mind and to the cultivation of taste as drawing should have never, as yet, found a place in the [English] University curriculum constitutes an indictment against the illiberal and narrow scheme of education which the Universities adopt. If the authorities at our Universities understood more fully the character of the aims of the ancient Greeks, about whose languages they know so much, they would realise, as did Pamphilus, the master of Apelles, that one of the first steps in a liberal education is the learning of drawing. Even in the days of Queen Elizabeth, men and women of position were considered to be wanting in education, unless they had some practical acquaintance with the fine arts of architecture, painting and music; and now, in these so-called utilitarian days, when so much stress is laid upon the acquirements of such knowledge as can be used profitably and bring some immediate return in material well-being, surely it is wisdom to train the young in a language which is universal in character, the use of which cultivates their powers of observation, and teaches their hands to express with ease and accuracy the objects and wonders of their environment. Apart from these considerations there lies within us all a capacity for appreciating beautiful things, and a latent desire to express our joy in them, and it is the bounden duty of all educationalists to disimprison these qualities and to enlarge them by careful and sympathetic training. There are subjects in the curricula of schools and Universities to which much time is given, that are much less essential to the development of character than is the subject of drawing. Nearly all professions require of those who pursue them some knowledge of drawing, and in many professions this requirement is becoming more and more insistent.
But the chief point, is that by learning to draw well one gains the power of expressing something of one’s own best nature and feeling, which is far more even than the power of accurately recording facts. For if man continues to neglect the cultivation of his aesthetic instincts he remains a lopsided animal, undeveloped and only partially educated, ftor no one disputes the contention that the contemplation and understanding of great art elevates character and helps to fulfil God’s idea of man, and therefore is truly educative. Art is one of the concrete forms in which a nation or community expresses its degree of spiritual attainment, and its effect upon individual character is to enlarge its sympathies and define its feelings. The careful study of the elements of art enables man to appreciate intelligently its achievements. Art is the olive branch in the hands of Peace, and its gentle sway over the minds of men has done much to eliminate therefrom the instincts of the brute; it may therefore be made a steppingstone to higher things.
At the Universities, where much spare and dangerously idle time is waiting to be profitably filled up, very definite courses of art study should be open to all, practical lectures and good demonstrations should be given, and honours as well as degrees should be possible of attainment. Architecture, painting and handicrafts should be included in the curriculum, and one or more of these subjects made compulsory in the examinations. Thus a very beautiful side of man’s nature would be cultivated, invaluable to the community, uplifting and ennobling to the individual.
Mr. Kawson, a delegate from Cape Colony, said:
In education it is sometimes forgotten that the aim is not attainment, nor learning, but the complete development of all the faculties possessed by human beings.
English Universities and many English schools do not really educate in the truest sense, for they leave undeveloped, or half-developed, some of the highest and most important of the human intellectual faculties those which the Greek educationists, as I have shown, always endeavoured to develop to the highest possible extent. Even viewing the question from a purely utilitarian standpoint, it is entirely wrong to suppose that the development of these faculties is not just as essential for the engineer, the literary man, the school teacher, the doctor and the judge, as it is for the artist. The artistic faculty is not a special compartment of the brain reserved for exercise by the painter, sculptor or craftsman. It is the faculty by which a man in any profession is enabled to attain to the highest place among his fellows, for it is the synthetical faculty as distinguished from the analytical, the creative and selective faculty which connotes the power of appreciating and attaining to Tightness in all work, intellectual or physical. It is the faculty which distinguishes the poet from the common rhymester ; the great scientist who discovers some principle or law in nature, from the ordinary investigator who catalogues facts and statistics ; the original thinker, from the pedant ; the engineer who creates great works, from the technician who copies regulation designs ;the great judge, from the little judge ; the great physician, from the common dispenser of drugs ; the painter or sculptor who interprets nature, from the mere recorder of facts.
The aim of attaining to perfect fitness and perfect beauty is not confined to any special order of creation, it is a universal one in nature , and so it is, or should be in man. The man for whom art in some form is not a necessary part of education and life is a man whose intellectual and spiritual powers are stunted and undeveloped.
The whole direction of modern western education has been, until quite recently, towards the development of the analytical or critical powers of the intellect, giving to the synthetical powers a subsidiary or subordinate, instead of the highest place, and putting the mode of expression higher than the idea itself. Thus while the classical scholar’s highest attainment is considered to be a fine translation of a Greek author, or an elegant imitation of a Greek poet, the vital principle of classic culture is disregarded, and art becomes an archaeological prescription taught like Greek etymology and syntax. The great thinkers,
(scientists and artists which modern Europe has produced are no proof of the excellence of western pedagogics. Genius finds its way whether the school be good or bad. It is the individualist, and not a system, who has produced whatever is great in modern Europe, just as it has been the individual, with capacity enough to rise above departmentalism, who has done the really valuable work in British Indian administration.
If India is to create a real national University it must not be a rigid and exclusive system: it must neither be an imitation of western institutions nor a mere revival of ancient Indian, but one that is comprehensive enough to embrace all aspects of national culture and tradition, while keeping the doors open, in the true spirit of ancient Hinduism, to all modern thought. In such a University artistic methods of teaching would receive the full recognition which is now given to them by the most advanced of western educationists; for art, being a universal language, affords to Indian students the means of developing the imaginative and creative faculties which the present Anglo-Indian system entirely neglects. In Anglo-Indian education, as in the English system, the language itself the mode of expression is more important than the ideas to be expressed.
The intellectual decadence of India in the last few centuries has been greatly due to the same neglect of the imaginative and creative faculties. Book-learning has taken too important a place in intellectual training. The entire absorption of the highest intellect of the nation in the intricacies of Samskrt grammar, and in the study of Samskrt texts, has developed the critical powers of the mind, but not the constructive and imaginative functions. It has been little gain for India that her attention has now been diverted from Samskrt grammar to English grammar and Samskr^ books to English books. What India really requires is the enlargement of the sphere of her highest intellectual activity so that it may again embrace all forms of creative energy, represented by art and industry, as it did in the greatest periods of her history.
No amount of critical acumen will regenerate India so long as the creative functions of the brain remain undeveloped in the most intellectual classes of the community. All the important problems of art and industry are waiting for the best brains of the country to attempt their solution; and until art and industry are regarded as an integral part of national education, from the primary school up to the highest degree of the University, these problems will remain unsolved, and India will remain a blind and helpless follower of empirical European prescriptions.
Proper art teaching in the University courses would afford just the relief which is now most needed, to the intolerable strain imposed upon Indian students by the system of giving all instruction in a foreign language. It would relieve some of the overburdened functions of the student’s brain and give energy to those most important ones which are now entirely undeveloped. How many of the best students, both in Europe and in India, do not break down before they have passed through the University, on account of the strain caused by excessive book-work? And again, how many Indian students do not seek unhealthy distraction in political agitation and ruin their careers, just because the narrowness and monotony of the University curriculum afford them no other intellectual distraction?
Though European Universities have not yet, like those in America, given art a definite place in the curriculum, many of them do disseminate good artistic influences through the beautiful environment with which members of the old English Colleges are surrounded. Some of the old halls and chapels of these Colleges, and also some of those at the great public schools, are the most beautiful examples of architecture England has produced. The old College gardens at Oxford and Cambridge are famous for their beauty. It is due to this fine environment, more than anything else, that the graduates of English Universities are, as a rule, much more highly developed aesthetically than are the graduates of Indian Universities in which this aspect of education of ignored, for art education is very largely a question of environment.
And with aesthetic influences, moral influences are inseparably joined. It is significant that the Calcutta Colleges, which are nearly all most hideous barracks placed in a hideous and even filthy environment, are the chief centres in which anarchical doctrines have been propagated in India. I do not think that any psychologist would dispute that the ugliness (which connotes immorality) of the environment and the dreary monotony of the curriculum in the Bengal Colleges have tended largely to propagate the immoral methods of political agitation which find favour with some Bengali students. In the former letter I have quoted Hiouen T’sang’s description of the beautiful buildings and surroundings of the famous College of ancient India at Nalanda. The great Chinese scholar seemed to be hinting at the moral influence of such a beautiful environment when, after his description of the buildings and grounds of the College, he comments on the good behaviour of the students, and adds that no case of deliberate rebellion against the rules had been known in the seven hundred years since the foundation of the College.
Until the great wave of utilitarianism passed over Europe in the nineteenth century, European educationists were as fully aware of the importance of environment in the education of youth, for, before the nineteenth century, the utmost care was taken throughout Europe to provide beautiful buildings and harmonious surroundings for all educational institutions. Mrs. Besant lecturing here a short time ago on ‘The deadlock in Religion, Science and Art’ said some wise words which Indian educationists should note:
Very many people, I am afraid, in this and other countries do not realise that beauty is a necessity of daily life for the human being, and when he does not get it he is less man, less woman than he ought to be. It is not a question as to whether you should have a beautiful thing as a luxury; it is a necessity, and it should be the daily bread of life. . . To kill out the sense of beauty which comes by living in contact with Nature for Nature is beautiful everywhere, and contact with her beautifies the human face and mind the killing out of that sense of beauty which grows out of the mountains and rivers and the meadows and the groves, that is a national loss, and spells national decay. . . The life is poor where there is no beauty, and life itself grows common, vulgar, where beauty is not a dominating force. It is one of the great revelations of God Himself, for beauty lies in perfection of harmony, in exquisiteness of outline, in loveliness of colour, and all these things are characteristics of the Divine Workman whose manifestation is always in beauty while wisdom and power underlie it.
We may feel confident that when Mrs. Besant’s great scheme for a National University is realised, art as well as religion will resume its proper place in Indian education.
Anglo-Indian educational reformers have lately endeavoured to apply a remedy for the excessive bookishness of their system by introducing modern theoretical and experimental science into the School and the College curricula. The theoretical part of this teaching only substitutes one book for another ; the practical side gives a useful relief from bookwork, but as an intellectual exercise it is a mere repetition of the literary course, for it keeps the students’ minds fixed upon the same ideas as their language lessons; instead of analysing words and phrases they are analysing gases, liquids, minerals or vegetable forms. It is grammar and syntax over again in a concrete form. Thus the new reformed system, upon which so much discussion has taken place, is only perpetuating the vice of the old, that it left the aesthetic, the synthetical and the creative thought-centres half-developed or undeveloped.
When a true Indian National University is established, it must follow other lines of thought;; it must endeavour to bring the mind of India back into the channels it followed in the time of its highest development, to make Indian thought creative and not merely assimilative. No College should be affiliated to the National University in which art and music are not part of the intellectual, moral and religious teaching. Every College building should be designed with taste: it need not be an extravagant building with costly decoration a building may be beautiful without any decoration whatsoever but it should be fine and dignified in its proportions and well situated. The grounds attached to it should be ample and laid out with skill: the work of making and keeping the environment of the College beautiful with trees and plants and flowers should not be left entirely to servants and gardeners, but should be a part of the College curriculum. In the College garden students should be brought into touch with some of the beauties of nature, to observe the rhythm of tree growth and plant growth and to watch their development, to reverence beauty as part of the Divine nature, and to create beauty for themselves. Some part of the College buildings, for instance, the walls of the quadrangle or courtyard, should be used by the students for practical exercises in decorative design: in this work as well as in gardening, their creative faculties will be brought into play at the same time as the sense of beauty in form and colour is developed. The College hall or lecture room should be decorated with fine wall-paintings of Indian subjects by Indian artists. Illustrations of the most beautiful examples of Indian art and architecture should be hung upon the walls of the class rooms and form the subject of discussion by the Professors and students. A part of the time set apart for physical culture should be given to hand-weaving. The movement of the shuttle and of the lay by the hands and arms, and of the treadles by the feet in the process of hand weaving give rhythmic muscular exercises for the arms and legs very similar to those which are novr used in the Swedish system of physical culture, a system which is acknowledged to be the best in Europe at the present day. The Swedish system itself is based upon the principles of the old Greek system of physical culture. I do not mean that weaving will give all the movements necessary for proper physical training, but it will be quite easy to supplement the weaving exercises with other muscular movements to make the course complete.
The advantages for India of combining physical culture with hand-weaving are obvious. It would be more interesting for the students than ordinary gymnastic exercises ; it would train the eye and hand as well as the muscles of the body ; it would teach the students to give due respect to manual occupations, and it would concentrate the highest intellect of the people upon the industrial problems which are of vital importance for national prosperity. It is not that all University students should be prepared for taking up industrial or artistic professions ; it is that all should be trained as citizens as well as scholars, as men of action, as well as men who talk and write ; they must become more perfect human beings with wider views of life. National education must be based upon the consideration of national needs, which urgently demand a more perfect and complete development of all the nerve centres in Indian youth than that which is given to them now by the Anglo-Indian and British pedagogic systems. The nerve centres which control action must be developed as well as those which control the assimilative and reflective functions of the brain ; and they must be trained more thoroughly and scientifically than they are by the present teaching in schools and colleges. There is as much evil in over-literacy as there is in illiteracy, though the Census statistics only take note of the latter. Indian education is now defective from excess of literacy, Indian intellect suffers from wordiness, from ignoring art as a great intellectual and spiritual force, and the reforms hitherto introduced into the University system leave this great evil untouched.
Sir William Eichmond, R.A., in a paper read at the Art Congress held in 1911, said:
The Government can hardly be said to have extended sympathy to what should be national arts: the drama, the graphic arts and literature. There is no other country in Europe where so little money is expended in the cause of the arts generally as in England. The attitude of the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge has been so full of prejudice that they have been slow to answer the demands which relate to the progress of music, the drama, and the graphic arts. It is true that there is a professor of music, a Slade professor of fine art, and a professor of archaeology, but the general tone of the University is rather to accept these subjects as incidental, and perhaps deplore a little, that they are even incidental. So far, excepting in the case of students with a very distinct bias in the direction of such studies, the greater number of the undergraduates leave the Universities as ignorant of the place the arts have occupied in ancient and modern history, as they were when they left school. It is to be doubted if the practical teaching of the graphic arts will ever assume a place proportionate to their value in any University: yet the history of art might be taught as an integral and indispensable part of education, the history of the arts of Egypt, Assyria, Greece, Italy, France and England. It is a truism to state that the history of Egypt would be unknown to us save for its art ; that Assyria has given us, through its art, the history of its kings, and to a large extent the history of its civilisation ; the place that art took in Greece everybody knows ; the influence of the arts on the grandeur of the Italian States can hardly be exaggerated. In France it not only was, but is, considered to be a natural and necessary part of culture ; and our own history proves to us, not only by the cathedrals, but elsewhere, that the graphic arts were practised and encouraged in England up to the time of Henry IV, and crafts, bearing as noble a record as those produced in Italy, at the same period and even later.
This bears out what I have said before, that the cause of the inefficiency of Indian Universities must be looked for in Oxford and Cambridge, London and Aberdeen. It is not to be expected that Anglo-Indian educationists will understand art better in India than they do in Europe, nor will Indians find in English and Scotch Universities all that is wanting in the Indian.