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Why did Mahatma Gandhi Think that English Education had Enslaved Indians?

Last Updated : 23 Feb, 2023
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Mahatma Gandhi had a perception that English education has enslaved Indians as colonial education created a certain sense of inferiority in the minds of Indians and made them see western civilization as a superior civilization and destroyed their confidence in their own culture.

English Education has enslaved Indians?

Does English Education have Enslaved Indians?

Education System in India

Prior to the arrival of the British, India had its own educational institutions, including Gurukulas and Madrassas. The first 60 years of the East India Company’s control showed little concern for the education of the people they ruled in India. (Even in England, universal education was not implemented for many years.) Under this system, the teacher, or “guru,” shared a home with the students. But even then, India was known for having numerous renowned international universities, including Nalanda.

Education System Supported by Mahatma Gandhi

Gandhiji’s contribution to education is distinctive in that he made the initial effort to create a native educational system in British India. With the arrival of British colonial control in India, a foreign imperial educational system that was at odds with the traditional, distinctive, and inclusive holistic educational system of India was imposed. In addition to doing long-term, irreversible harm to the Indian educational system, it has also led to a wide range of differences, class consciousness, an ever-increasing desire for a western, materialistic lifestyle, etc. 

His approach to education is a seamless combination of idealism, naturalism, and pragmatism. Idealism serves as the cornerstone of Gandhiji’s philosophy, and Naturalism and Pragmatism help translate that idea into action. As a result, he is regarded as a realist idealist. His nation’s motto was “Education for life, education through life, and education throughout life.” Mahatma Gandhi would be regarded as embodying everything that can be thought of as education.

Western Education

The contemporary educational system that is still used in India was founded by the British. The conventional educational institutions in the country were replaced by English-language programs. The British invasion caused India’s educational system to collapse. The British did not give the country’s school system any attention for the first sixty years. Education of the Indians in English became necessary to obtain manpower as their domain grew and they began to manage the finances and administration.

Afterward, the British set out on a mission to dismantle the antiquated gurukulam system, sowing the seeds for the nation’s cultural and linguistic upheaval.

English Education and Enslavement

Gandhi ji believed that English education had totally enslaved the Indians. This was due to the following reasons:

  • The education system that Mahatma Gandhi advocated for would aid Indians in regaining their sense of dignity and respect for themselves.
  • According to Mahatma Gandhi, colonial education instilled a sense of inferiority in the minds of Indians.
  • Gandhi claimed that Western education undermined Indians’ pride in their own culture and fostered a sense of superiority towards the Western way of life.
  • Mahatma Gandhi claimed that colonial education subjugated Indians, placed an ill spell on them, was wicked, and contained poison.
  • Indians educated in colonial institutions began showing an increasing level of affection for British rule.
  • Gandhi advised the students to abandon educational institutions during the national struggle in order to demonstrate to the British that Indians were no longer ready to be held as slaves.
  • Mahatma Gandhi was certain that Indian languages must be used as the educational medium.
  • Gandhi believed that receiving an education in English rendered Indians helpless and caused them to become outsiders in their own countries and social environments.

Growth of the Indian Education System

The Indian educational system has usually advanced from the Vedic era to the current PC and e-learning era. But, there is one aspect that is constant between the two scenarios, and that is the value of education. As Indians, our people have always emphasized the value of education. Yet, since the arrival of man, the educational environment hasn’t been this way. From the Vedic era to the present, the framework for education has significantly advanced, and it continues to do so.

In order to advance technical education in India, the first Indian Institutes of Technology were formed in the 1950s. Nowadays, India has 23 IITs, which are regarded as the nation’s top engineering schools. The Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan seeks to guarantee children between the ages of six and fourteen the fundamental right to free and compulsory education. In the year 2009, the Right to Education Act was passed. From then to now Indian education is inclining day by day.

FAQs on Mahatma Gandhi Views On English Education

Question 1: What is education to Gandhi?


According to Mahatma Gandhi, ‘Education is an all-round drawing out of the best in child and man with mind, body and spirit” to him.

Question 2: What was the thinking of Mahatma Gandhi about Western education?


Mahatma Gandhi felt that western education was focused on reading and writing rather than oral knowledge.

Question 3: What is western education in history?


With the help of Lord Macaulay, the western educational system was introduced to India. The head of the general committee was this person. This well-known person made a significant contribution to India’s adoption of the western educational system. The Indian fields have been impacted by the western educational system.

Question 4: How English education enslaved us?


Mahatma Gandhi claimed that “English Education has shackled us.” He argued that colonial schooling instilled in Indians a sense of inferiority. It was wicked and it made Indians into slaves. He also thought it possessed them with a curse.

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