Students appear in large numbers for Gandhi Vichar Sanskar Pariksha
How old was Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi when his father had to leave Porbandar for Rajkot?
Who advised Gandhiji to start a small ashram in Kochrab?
How many policemen died in the Chauri Chaura incident?
Who gave Urdu lessons to Gandhiji?
These questions are not from a history examination paper. What’s common in all these questions is Mahatma Gandhi. Questions like these and others related to Gandhiji’s life are being answered by various school and college students across the state for the past five years.
Five years ago, when Jalgaon-based Gandhi Research Foundation (GRF) launched Gandhi Vichar Sanskar Pariksha (GVSP), an examination on Gandhian ideologies, it was purely on a trial basis. For two years prior to the launch of GVSP, the GRF team visited each and every school and college in Jalgaon district to convince officials regarding the exam. In 2007, the exam was attempted by 3,876 students at various schools and colleges in Jalgaon. There was a common syllabus, just one book called Sankshipt Atmakatha, a small autobiography written by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. The positive response inspired GRF to take the exam to two more districts — Dhule and Nandurbar — in 2008. Last year, 79,741 students from 961 schools and colleges across the state as well as Belgaum district in Karnataka wrote GVSP. In Pune, too, the numbers are impressive. While 857 students appeared for the exam in 2010, the figure reached 5,766 in 2012.
Some of the Pune schools in which the exam was conducted include Dr Kalmadi Shamrao High School, New English School, J N Petit High School, Sant Kriprin Home Kanya Shala, Raosaheb Patwardhan Vidyalaya and Jr College, Lady Tahenum Urdu High School, Mahatma Jotiba Phule Mulinchi Prshala, Chandmal T. Bora Mahavidyalaya, S S Hakim Ajmal Khan Urdu High School, Priyadarshani Madh Shala, Priyadarshani Madh Shala and Dr Vasantdada Patil Madh Vidyaniketan.
Sumedha Suresh Oak, principal, Modern High School, Shivajinagar, says such exams should be conducted in every school as the principles and ideologies of Mahatma Gandhi are important and helpful in inculcating good values in the new generation.
Uday Mahajan, co-ordinator, GRF, said the primary aim of GVSP was to create awareness on Gandhian principles and thoughts. The examination is conducted on the basis of the course material which is provided by GRF at subsidised rates to secondary schools, higher secondary schools and universities for studies. The course material, which differs for each class, includes books such as Bapu Mazi Aai, Mazi Jeevan Katha, Gandhi Katha, Gandhiginche Jeevan Tyanchyah Shbdat, Gandhi Ganga, Vidhayak Karyakram, Charitry Ani Rashtriya Nirman, Mazi Jeevan Katha, Arogyachi killi, Hind Swaraj, Maza Swapnancha Bharat, An Autobiography: The Story of my Experiments With Truth and so on. “The exams for schools and colleges are conducted in October. The results are out in around 10 days,” adds Mahajan.
The first three students from each class from each district are awarded medals. GRF also distributes certificates to students and the teacher-coordinator for their participation and support.
Special prizes (Trophy) are awarded to first three schools/colleges who enroll maximum number of students from the state. The examination fee is nominal and ranges from Rs 15-30, which includes the cost of the books too.
Interestingly, since 2011, the examination was conducted in several prisons too such as the district prisons of Jalgaon, Dhule, Wardha, Yawatmal, Akola and Buldhana and also at Ratnagiri Special Prison and Nashik Road Central Prison. “Here, GVSP is conducted between November and January,” informs Mahajan.
From next year, GRF is also planning to introduce online examination for GVSP.