Lost lessons, found traditions - Gurukul's evanesce to Modern's Detrimental


The history of education in India is a rich tapestry that has evolved over centuries, from the revered Gurukuls of ancient times to the modern educational landscape marked by a blend of traditional practices and contemporary methodologies. The journey of Indian education reflects a dynamic interplay of cultural, social, and political forces, with each era leaving a distinct imprint on the educational system. This article delves into the transformative milestones that have shaped education in India, tracing the trajectory from the glory days of Gurukuls to the challenges and innovations of the present-day educational framework. By examining the historical continuum of Indian education, we can gain a deeper appreciation of its complexities and potentials in a rapidly changing world.

''Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of mind to think.'' 
                                                                          -Albert Einstein-

Unthought History
Foundation of Indian education 

India's rich tradition of Gurukul dates back to ancient times, drawing scholars from Europe, the Middle East, and East Asia. 

The Gurukul system, flourishing during the Vedic age, was a schooling model where, regardless of caste, all students lived with their Guru. This sacred relationship thrived on mutual respect, devoid of student fees but marked by gurudakshina.

Gurukuls emphasized holistic education, blending subjects like language, science, mathematics with arts, sports, crafts, and mindfulness practices.


The Brahminical system emphasized the study of Vedas, rituals, philosophy, and mathematics under the guidance of Brahmin priests, shaping societal norms, and religious practices

Buddhist and Jain 

Buddhist and Jain education systems, focusing on moral
values, logic, and philosophy, offered an alternative to the
orthodox Brahminical system, promoting egalitarianism
and critical thinking.

Unthought History
Introduction to Western Education

Colonialism brought Western education to India, introducing English language, modern sciences, and administrative skills, leading to a clash between  traditional Indian knowledge systems and new technological advancements.

Thomas Babington Macaulay

Macaulay's Minute introduced in 1835 promoted English education as a tool for colonial control, undermining native languages and cultures, setting the stage for a divide between Western and indigenous educational paradigms. 

Lacks the depth of Gurukul teachings. Focused on a commercialised rat race, it falls short in fostering personality development & moral conscience, and ethical training.

Gurukuls prioritised applied knowledge through practical learning. The disappearance of Gurukul concepts left a void. In today's world, a fusion of academics and spiritual awareness can create a robust learning environment, preparing students for real-world challenges.

What changes does it make ?

Gurukul's value-based approach contrasts with the rank-driven, competitive modern system. Prioritising character development over fierce competition reduces stress and nurtures individual talents.

Unthought History
Establishment of Universities

The establishment of universities like Calcutta University (1857) and Bombay University (1857) marked a shift towards organized higher education, blending Western and Indian knowledge systems.

The Indian Education Acts of 1919 and 1935 aimed at  expanding educational opportunities, promoting vernacular language, and creating a framework for educational development, laying the foundation for the modern education system in India. 

Unthought History
Rote Learning VS Critical Thinking

When it comes to education in India, the age-old debate
between rote learning and critical thinking is like an

While rote learning has its place in helping students memorize facts and figures, it often falls short in nurturing creativity and problem-solving skills. Critics argue that a system overly focused on rote learning stifle innovation and leaves students ill-equipped for the real world where thinking on your feet is more valuable than reciting from memory.

Unthought History
Influence of Vedic Scriptures around the world

From 350-280 BCE Megasthenese lived in India and studied Indian culture, language, history.

In 1800 Friedrich Von Schlegel deeply studied Sanskrit and Vedic Gyan. In 1807 Schelgel wrote in his book that Indians were the first who founded European civilization. He also wrote that Human mind's wisdom began from India.

Another person named Max Muller who wanted to convert Hindus into Christian started reading Upanishads. He got so fascinated with it that he translated Upanishads and even the Rigveda in German language. Muller said that all the problems of life and their answers are written by Indians in this book. 

Today around 14 different universities in Germany teach Sanskrit.

As a student of Hindu philosophy, J. Robert Oppenheimer–the American theoretical physicist and the father of the atomic bomb, read the Bhagavad Gita in its original form after learning Sanskrit in 1933. The text has been influential in shaping his ideologies of life. During the first ever nuclear bomb explosion as a part of the “trinity test” in 1945, in New Mexico, Oppenheimer remarked: “Now I have become death, the destroyer of worlds.

Former US president Barack Obama has spoken about how India holds a special place in his life. In his book A Promise Land, Obama writes how he spent his childhood years in Indonesia listening to the epic Hindu tales of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. 

The lead guitarist of The Beatles was a devout Hindu and visited India for the first time in 1966 to learn sitar from Pandit Ravishankar. After coming back to India multiple times after that, Harrison turned to Hinduism and cited the Bhagavad Gita and its teaching to influence his life and his works.

His 1973 song The Lord Loves The One was inspired by the teachings of A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), more commonly known as the Hare Krishna movement. Even his album artwork for Living In The Material World was a reproduction of a painting from a Prabhupada-published edition of the Bhagavad Gita

Unthought History
Modern's Detrimental

Has the current education system truly produced happiness? The quest for true fulfilment prompts us to reconsider our approach. The unemployment ratio and the failure of understanding even the basics of life questions the efficacy of the prevailing system.

Recent data indicates a rise in stress levels, mental health issues, and a sense of emptiness among students and graduates. So are we really happy or are we hollow.

On 10 September The Observance of World Suicide Prevention Day in india Data recorded 23 Students died in Kota already as per 2023. It is highest since 2015 recorded data, which is 17 students deaths by suicide.

As Per National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) Data, 13,089 students died by suicide in 2021. This represents 70% increase in 2011 from 7,696 Students.

The Share out of Indians of all age groups that Accidental Deaths and Suicide in India (ADSI) reports say commited suicide due to ''Failure of Examination" has an average value of 1.8% and a median of 1.77% between 2011 and 2021.
And many more died everyday due to exams stress, mental health issues and family pressure.

The Loss of Culture

In the mid-1970s, our society revered 'illiterate' poets, singers, and bards for their unmatched storytelling prowess. They carried our cultural treasure in their hearts-Ramayana, Mahabharata, Puranas, and more. Sadly, their educated descendants became poorly-paid labourers, marking a twofold loss in cultural education and economic prosperity.

Destruction of cultural education led to the decline of artists who once enchanted thousands. The tragedy deepened as the "educated" offspring not only lost the noble education of their forefathers but also struggled economically. This is more than a loss; it's savagery, not education.

Dharmic Principles 
At the heart of Gurukul education is the cultivation of a balanced life, aligning with Dharmic principles.
This foundational approach not only shapes well- rounded personalities but also contributes to the vision of a better, more progressive Bharat, rooted in the timeless wisdom of Dharma.

Hold the Roots 
Just like when you build a house, the first stones matter most, Gurukul lays the best foundation, not just for smart heads, but for caring hearts.

It's like the roots of a tree, unseen but holding strong.

Why Gurukul 
Because It's the place where we learn not just facts, but the ultimate Truth.


As we conclude, the Gurukul education have been left void, since introduction of modern education system. It is essential for us to understand the importance of Gurukul education. It always inspired cultures around the world. And always remember the foundation of education and its rich history throughout the centuries.


1. What were gurukuls and how did they function in ancient India ?

Gurukul was actually the home of teacher or Acharya and was the centre of learning where pupils resided till their education got complete.

2. How has the colonial rule impacted the education system in India ?

Britishers spread the influence of English education and with the introduction of Macaulay's Minute, the education system have been converted to Western education in india. 

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