Navbharat Vidyalaya, Wardha

Connection with Gandhiji
The two-day National Educational Conference, with Gandhiji as its president, was organised by Navbharat Vidyalaya on the occasion of its silver jubilee on October 22-23, 1937. It became the famous ‘Wardha Conference’ and laid the path for Nai Talim or New Education.

• As Gandhiji noted in Harijan of October 2, 1937, ‘The Marwari High School, recently renamed Navbharat Vidyalaya, is celebrating its silver jubilee. The management conceived the idea of calling on the occasion a small conference of nationally-minded educationists to discuss the plan of education I have been endeavouring to propound…’
• The Vidyalaya was managed by Marawari Shiksha Mandal whose president was Jamnalal Bajaj. Secretary of the organisation, Shrimannarayan Agrawal, approached Gandhiji with the idea. Gandhiji approved it readily.
• In the Harijan article, Gandhiji wrote, ‘Provision is being made only for a limited number who are deeply interested in the problem and can make a useful contribution to the discussion…I approach the task in confidence but all humility, with an open mind, and with the will to learn and to revise and correct my views, whenever necessary.’
• Gandhiji also charted out the propositions for consideration at the Conference.
• As Shrimannarayan fell ill before the conference, it was suggested that the conference should be postponed. Gandhiji asked Aryanayakam, principal of the Vidyalaya, that he should ‘let the plan for the conference stand only if he has the necessary self-confidence and ability.’
• He wrote to Bajaj, ‘without him [Shriman Narayan], the Conference would give me no pleasure. But in accordance with the principle that one should not abandon the task already begun…’

Place in History
• The Education Conference was held under the presidentship of Gandhiji on October 22-23, 1937. Gandhiji addressed the morning session on an opening day. The core of Gandhiji’s emphasis, as Mahadev Desai noted, was not the occupations but educations through manual training.
• Gandhiji responded to some of the criticisms in the afternoon session. The speakers on the first day were Vinoba Bhave, D.B. (Kaka) Kalelkar, Zakir Hussain, Saudamini Mehta, Dr. Syed Mahmud, K.T.Shah, Dr. P.C. Ray, Nanabhai Bhatt among others.
• Gandhiji made a winding speech on October 23, 1937, and thanked all. A committee under the Chairmanship of Zakir Hussain was formed. It was assigned the task of preparing a planned syllabus on the lines of the resolutions passed at the conference and submitting the report to Gandhiji in one month. Members of the committee were: E.W. Aryanakam, Ghulam Saiyidain, Vinoba Bhave, D.B. Kalelkar, Shrikishandas Jaju, J.C. Kumarappa, Ashadevi, Kishorelal Mashruwala, and K.T. Shah.
• Gandhiji’s address as well as the proceedings at the Conference formed the basis of Nai Talim or the New Education that became well known throughout the country and is considered Gandhiji’s one of the most important contributions.

Site Address/Contact
Navbharat Vidyalaya
J.B. College, Jamnalal Bajaj Marg,
Shiksha Mandal, Civil Lines,
Wardha, Maharashtra – 442 102