March 2023


C. N. Vaze, Chartered Accountant

In this series, I am trying to introduce to the readers the great personalities who deserve our Namaskaars. These personalities included freedom fighters, scientists, social reformers, entrepreneurs and so on. They laid the foundation for our country’s all-round development. Without a good education, the development of a country is difficult. In this article, I am going to write about one of the greatest educational thinkers of the world Mr. J. P. Naik.

UNESCO has made a list of 100 great educationists of last 25 centuries. Three Indian names are included in that list - Mahatma Gandhi, Ravindranath Tagore and J. P. Naik. Very few of us would have even heard Mr. J. P. Naik’s name!

His real name was Viththal Hari Ghotge. In the year 1930, during Gandhiji’s movement of non-co-operation, he went underground and changed his name to Jayant Pandurang Naik (J. P. Naik). Born on 5th September, 1907 in the village Bahire Wadi, Ajra Taluka of Kolhapur district in Maharashtra, he passed away on 30.08.1981. He was a great humanist, freedom fighter, polymath, encyclopedic thinker and socialist educationist. He was known as an institution maker. In the year 1948, he founded the Indian Institute of Education. He served as Member Secretary of the Indian Education Commission between 1964 to 1966 and worked as Educational Adviser to the Government of India.

He joined the Civil Disobedience Movement of Mahatma Gandhi in 1932, was arrested and put in Bellari Jail for about 18 months. He studied medicine in jail and practised it by nursing prisoners, patients etc. He was UNESCO consultant for the development plan for the provision of universal elementary education. He was the chief architect of the comprehensive report of the Indian Education Commission.

In 1974, he was awarded ‘Padma Bhushan’ and a commemorative postal stamp of Rs.5/- was issued in his name on 5th September, 2007. He had many other achievements and honours to his credit.

He made a fundamental contribution to the fields of primary and secondary education, rural education, educational administration, the economics of education, research in education, the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), research in social studies, non-formal education, educational problems of underdeveloped and developing countries, health, town planning and so on. Influenced by the work of Mahatma Phule, Gandhiji and Marx; he wrote many books on these subjects.

During the emergency years of 1975 to 1977, under the leadership of Shri Jayprakash Narayan, he worked as a member of a study group of 40 educationists and prepared a 75-page report on the education of Indian people. Jayprakash Narayan wrote a foreword to this report. His last book; ‘Education Commission and thereafter’ is a philosophical guide on education for future generations. He says educational reforms are not effective without social and economic development. For bringing about changes in th


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