TRAVELLING AS PART OF EDUCATION
From time immemorial, travelling has been considered as part of one’s education. The Englishmen in particular consider their schooling incomplete without a tour of the continent. Travelling is one of the most delightful experiences of mankind. People have always enjoyed going from place to place.
In India, unfortunately foreign travel has not been much encouraged and in fact there was a time when crossing the seas was thought to be highly sacrilegious. Men like Mahatma Gandhi were actually ex-communicated for going beyond seas. It was this ostrich mentality which brought about the worst type of intellectual stagnation in India.
Travelling, both inside and outside the country is a powerful aid to education. It provides an experience of the world and calls into action and practical use of various qualities of mind and intellect developed by education. Knowledge, acquaintance with different ways of life, broad mindedness, conversational skill etc are some of the products of wide and extensive travelling.
However highly educated a person may be, if he has not lived and moved among people with different habits, languages and social customs and morality, His outlook remains narrow. He is less accommodating in his views and often fanatical in outlook. But those who have travelled widely are generally liberal in outlook. They are mature in judgment and unerring in their understanding of people and their minds.
The advantage of travelling in the narrow sense of the word ‘education’ is equally remarkable. Geography is a dull and uninspiring subject, if it is studied in class-rooms. The Himalayas are a figment of imagination and the mighty Ganga nothing more than a snaky line running along the map. But if these places are actually seen by the student, the dull subject of Geography becomes living and absorbing. The same thing applies to history. History, as it is taught in schools at present is nothing but a catalogue of dead kings and the dates of their births and deaths. If history is taught in relation to the achievement of those dead to the scenes of the glories and defeats of the dead monarchs history will become as interesting a subject as any other.
In independent India we have become suddenly alive to the need of learning a few other languages. To learn a foreign language through the old methods would take a life time and even then our mastery of it may be doubtful. But the quickest and the best, if not the cheapest, method of learning a new language is to live and move among the people who speak it. Thus, in order to learn English one must live in England and to learn Chinese in China.
The learning of a foreign language is the first step towards the understanding of a nation. In the present-day world the understanding between various nations is a great necessity. There can be no peace without international understanding.
Travelling is, no doubt, expensive and inconvenient. But for broadening the mind, growing out of narrow and parochial views, for development of international culture, travelling inside one’s own land and also beyond it, is absolutely essential. After all, we are all living in the ‘one world’ and unless the inhabitants of the globe understand one another, there cannot be any prospect of peace and amity among the nations of the world. We are facing the crisis of “One World or None World”.