Following is an extract from the autobiography of Gandhiji ‘My Experiments with Truth’. In Tolstoy Farm, South Africa, he trained young minds in manners and morals and appreciating dignity of labour. Read this passage and answer the questions that follow.
My Experiments with Truth
But I had always given the first preference to the culture of the heart or the building of the character, and as I felt confident the moral training could be given to all alike, no matter how different their ages and their upbringing, I decided to live amongst them all the twenty-four hours of the day as their father. I regarded character building as the proper foundation for their education and, if the foundation was firmly laid, I was sure that the children could learn all the other things themselves or with the assistance of friends.
But as I fully appreciated the necessity of a literary training in addition, I started some classes with the help of Mr. Kallenbach and Pragji Desai. Nor did I underrate the building up of the body. This they got in the course of their daily routine. For there were no servants on the Farm, and all the work, from cooking down to scavenging, was done by the inmates. There were many fruit trees to be looked after, and enough gardening to be done as well. Mr. Kallenbach was fond of gardening and had gained some experience of this work in one of the Governmental model gardens. It was obligatory on all, young and old, who were not engaged in the kitchen, to give some time to gardening. The children had the lion’s share of this work, which included digging pits, felling timber and lifting loads. This gave them ample exercise. They took delight in the work, and so they did not generally need any other exercise or games. Of course some of them and sometimes all of them shirked. Sometimes I connived at their pranks, but often I was strict with them. All the same we got along, and at any rate they built up fine physiques, There was scarcely any illness on the Farm, though it must be said that good air and water and regular hours of food were not a little responsible for this.
A word, about vocational training. It was my intention to teach every one of the youngsters some useful manual vocation. For this purpose Mr. Kallenbach went to a Trappist monastery and returned having learnt shoe-making. I learnt it from him and taught the art to such as were ready to take it up. Mr. Kallenbach had some experience of carpentry, and there were another inmate who knew it; so we had a small class in carpentry. Cooking almost all the youngsters knew.
All this was new to them. They had never even dreamt they would have to learn these things some day. For generally the only training that Indian children received in South Africa was in the three R’s, reading, writing and arithmetic.
On Tolstoy Farm we made it a rule that the youngsters should not be asked to do what the teachers did not do and therefore, when they were asked to do any work, there was always a teacher co-operating and actually working with them. Hence, whatever the youngsters learnt, they learnt cheerfully.
1. What did Gandhiji think is the foundation of education?
2. How were the daily chores taken care of at the Farm?
3. How was vocational training taken care of at the Farm?
4. How did Gandhiji ensure a cheerful atmosphere within the
5. Find words from the passage which mean the same as following:
a. to help (para1 )
b. to undervalue (para2 )
c. enough (para2 )
d. to allow something wrong to happen (para2 )