Education, as we all know, has to play the leading role of bringing out that which is best in man for the benefit and betterment of mankind. This, perhaps is the only criterion to judge how a man ought to behave after his education is complete.
If he uses his knowledge and training to bring joy and happiness into this world and adds to the flavour of life, he will ultimately get inner satisfaction, and achieve self realization. If, however, he fails to appreciate the qualities of songs, colour and the rhythm of the life of the people of his land, he merely lives the life of an animal satisfying his material needs; but he does not contribute in any way to the cultural life of his country and fulfil his existence.
This has been the fate of many educated persons of the last century. If you study the daily routine of some of our top class people such as Doctors, Lawyers and Government Officials, merchants or even a professor or the head of an institution, you will be surprised how these people carry on their humdrum of life without song, colour or any enlivening element which would raise them and sublimate their life. Hardly a few of them can tell you anything about art and crafts of past and present or show any interest in poets, dramatists or musicians. It will be too much to expect of them critical knowledge of art, architecture and crafts.
If you visit schools, colleges, clubs or hospitals and waiting rooms you will find very little which can relieve your senses or recreate your mind. 1’10 colour, no arrangement for light, no flowers or pleasant setting of any sort to help a man to breathe and sip a soothing dose of happiness.
What can one expect from a tired and bored mass of people dissatisfied from political and economic pressure, when there may not be adequate places where they can cool the steam of discontent and restlessness.
The inevitable result has been as usual; untimely outbursts of social and political riots, crimes and disturbances arising from persons misplaced or mal-treated in life. All such incidents caused by nervous tensions are caused by the confusion, maladjustments and spiritual or aesthetic starvation.
It is now more than proved that the artistic activities in home and society bring about a new order and happiness to the participants and ultimately lead them to greater joy and rest in life. ‘Beauty is indeed mental comfort.’
Depressing and clashing colour combinations in rooms have resulted in nervous tension, loss of appetite and a chain of reactions in the moods and temperaments. And where a decorative motif was properly set up, a marked improvement in the amiability and sociability was restored.
This way particular functions of art serve as a therapy for the minds of children and adults. In mediaeval India, though there were disturbances at the capitals, people had every chance of getting a hilarious touch of art at temples mosques and river ghats in various ways such as songs, festive dances, decoration of temples, wall paintings, etc. These filled them with native creative imagination.
From such a bed-rock of life sprung up numerous artists, bards, dancers and actors and dramatists. This community of artists properly reflected the aspirations and ideals of the people and they had no difficulty in finding patrons. They found an outlet and fulfilment of emotions in common experience; and consequently art so far was not a closed circle for a few as it is today. There is nowhere any practical significance of art in the every day life of the ordinary man. Children attend schools in large numbers, people crowd at markets, railways are packed with people, hospitals, harbour patients and compounds of secretariats are full of waiting crowds.
They all suffer time, gaping at nothing to please them or any artistic site of interest to provoke their imagination.
These people have grown up from dreadful local schools or streets where parents, teachers or elders had never taught or trained them to divert or refresh them by lovely stories, songs, pictures, or projects that may awaken their higher instincts to sec and feel what is good and beautiful in life and creation.
The authorities in education have said much about the psychological development of the individual and his adjustments to the society in which he lives and on his constructive role.
We must now clearly decide about what is happening in our schools to attune more to this idea, than what went on in the formal schools not so long ago.
All over the world the necessity of old time procedure is rapidly changing in what is taught and how it is taught. Educationists on all levels now realize that there is a great need for a better and higher understanding and appreciation of various peoples and social groups in a country and the whole world.
There is need to achieve a sympathetic attitude towards one another and this can be achieved only through the things we teach and how we teach. It is realized that the innermost feelings of a person have much to do with his attitude and behaviour and so no school or teacher can neglect the emotional make up of the pupils. We may have enough of machines of memory for the departments of economics and politics to give out facts where required. But we cannot ignore the basic fact that emotions play a major role in learning and living’ and here is where art can help.
Art does not merely depend upon our capacity to learn but rather upon our sensitiveness to feel that which is inherent in the human mind. It expands with opportunity and reacts to all kinds of impulses.
So our first concern will be for the proper growth and development of persons who can take their place in the world where mutual understanding and cooperation are the major needs al present. The teaching of all subjects from a creative approach is very necessary. Initiative and originality must be given the first place but we will need educators from top to bottom who are creative persons themselves, because schools of today are to be communities of tomorrow. If we recognise education as a creative process there will be need for teachers, principals and heads of institutions who are creative thinkers, who have big responsibility to see that there is something of arts in the lives of all pupils to brighten their outlook and work.
The success of their efforts must be judged by a native expression of art from the fabric of our civilization. Visual arts as a factor in education have implications which reach far beyond our educational systems to the community as a whole. ‘Art will make life interesting for everyone’. The well-being of our social structure depends on how the creative process functions in the civilized life of today. Art has always played its important part in the development of civilization.