SECTION II : Extracts From Letters

[ from Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi : Vol - 4 ]

Mahatma Gandhi

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi
Volume IV

Table of Contents

  • Foreword
  • Publisher's Note



  1. Faith in God
  2. Religions and Scriptures
  3. Value of Prayer
  4. Truth and Non-violence
  5. The Science of Satyagraha
  6. Fasting in Satyagraha
  7. Unto This Last
  8. Khadi and Village Industry
  9. East and West
  10. Hindu-Muslim Unity
  11. Upliftment of Women
  12. The Good of All
  13. India's Freedom
  14. Education
  15. Caste System and Untouchability
  16. Brahmacharya
  17. Fearlessness
  18. Health and Hygene
  19. Self-restraint
  20. Self-development
  21. Selfless Service
  22. Voluntary Poverty

About This Volumes

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi

Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi comprises of Five volumes.

  • Vol-I: Autobiography
  • Vol-II: Satyagraha in South Africa
  • Vol-III: Basic Works
    1. Ethical Religion
    2. Unto This Last
    3. Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule
    4. From Yeravada Mandir
    5. Discourses on the Gita
    6. Constructive Programme
    7. Key to Health
  • Vol-IV: Selected Letters
  • Vol-V: Voice of Truth

This book, Selected Letters, is volume-4.

Written by : M. K. Gandhi
General Editor : Shriman Narayan
Volume Selected Works of Mahatma Gandhi : A set of five books
ISBN: 81-7229-278-3 (set)
Printed and Published by :
Jitendra T. Desai
Navajivan Mudranalaya,
© Navajivan Trust, 1968


Chapter 14: Education

Education does not mean knowledge of letters but it means character-building, it means knowledge of duty. Our own word literally means 'training'.

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. IX, p. 208, 25-3-1919

Why should every lad have to know English? Is it not enough if some men are specially trained in English in each province so that they may diffuse among the nation through the vernaculars knowledge of new dis¬coveries and researches? So doing, our boys and girls will become saturated with the new knowledge and we may expect rejuvenation such as we have never witnessed during the past sixty years. I feel more and more that, if our boys are to assimilate facts of different sciences, they will only do so if they receive their training through the vernaculars. No half measures will bring about this much needed reform. Until we attain this state of things, I fear that we shall have to let the Englishmen think for us and we must continue slavishly to imitate them. No scheme of self-government can avert the catastrophe if it does not involve this much needed change.

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. XIV P- 153, 16-1-1918

I have faith enough in the patriotism, selflessness and the sagacity of the people of the Madras Presidency to know that those, who at all want to render national service to come in touch with the other Provinces, will undergo the sacrifice, if it is one, of learning Hindi. I suggest that they should consider it a privilege to be able to learn a language that will enable them to enter into the hearts of millions of their countrymen.

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. XTV, p. 301, 31-3-1918

A student means one who is hungry for learning. Learning is knowledge of what is worth knowing about. The only thing worth knowing about is the atman. True knowledge is thus knowledge of the self. But in order to attain this knowledge, one has to know literature, his¬tory, geography, mathematics, etc. All these are by way of means. Knowledge of letters is considered essential in order that one might acquire knowledge of these sub¬jects. It is not as if men of knowledge without this equipment do not exist within our experience. One who knows this would not go mad after knowledge of letters or of literature and other subjects; he would become mad only after knowledge of the self. He will give up anything which proves an obstacle in the pursuit of this knowl¬edge and dedicate himself only to that which helps him in that pursuit. The student-life of one who realizes this never ends and, whether eating, drinking, sleeping, play¬ing, digging, weaving, spinning or doing any other work, he is all the time growing in this knowledge. For this purpose, one has to develop one's faculty of observation. One would not, then, always need a multitude of teach¬ers or, rather, would look upon the whole world as one's teacher and accept everything in it which is good.

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol. XXVI, p. 362

My opinion is that Devanagari is the most scientific and perfect script in the world and is therefore from that standpoint the most suitable national script. But I see no way out of the difficulty of Musalmans in accepting it at the present moment. I, therefore, feel that the educated classes should know either script equally well. That which has greater vitality and is easier will then become the national script, especially when Hindus and Mussulmans as well as the (other) classes have ceased altogether to distrust one another and have learnt to decide non-religious questions on purely national lines.

Collected Works of Mahatma Gandhi, Vol.XIX, p. 1, 19-1-1920

Literary education is intended only to quicken our spirit of service. Now that you have the opportunity to render service, pour your soul into it and learn to enjoy it thoroughly. When you serve, do not give yourself up to spiritual pride and say, "I do it". The service of the proud is nothing worth. The Gita is there to teach us that we do nothing, that we can do nothing. We are only the instruments of God's will.

The Selected Letters-I, p. 23