A century ago, in the year 1901, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore founded a school in a wilderness near a small town ninety miles away from the bustling city of Calcutta. The school became famous as 'Patha Bhavan'. The inculcation of ancient values in those troubled years in Bengal reflected in the teaching in this school. The small school, in later years, was transformed into an important centre of learning which produced many illustrious students. The concept of Visva Bharati where many important minds of India and the world met developed around this school. What led a poet to do what he did?
The beginning of this great enterprise was starting a school from which children would not run away and will learn in joy. Let us give back the lost childhood to the child was the motto of the school.
The theme of the next few lines will help to understand one aspect of the complex inner need of a child. Rabindranath, as a child, was sent to a school, where he did not find joy. He left the school and never went back to it. He said, " So long as I was forced to go to school, I felt the torture unbearable. I often used to count the years that must pass before I should find my freedom... How I wished that, by some magic spell, I could cross the intervening fifteen or twenty years that must pass before and suddenly become a grown up man. I later realized that what then weighed on my mind was unnatural pressure of the system of education, which prevailed everywhere."
Today, the system of education is no better. It deprives the child of his joy in learning. Today, learning has been replaced by teaching. Ask any parent and he would sympathize with the child and not with the system of education nor with what is taught. The children today have lost their childhood under pressure of books and mothers have forgotten how to spend an idle hour with their children. Thus, 'Anandalaya' has been created as a place where the children learn to be human rather than being an object of examination.