Gandhi's model of education was directed toward his alternative vision of the social order: "Gandhi’s basic education was, therefore, an embodiment of his perception of an ideal society consisting of small, self-reliant communities with his ideal citizen being an industrious, self-respecting and generous individual living in a small cooperative community. Nai Talim also envisaged a different role for the new teacher, not simply as a professional constrained by curricula and abstract standards, but rather as a person relating directly to the student in the form of a dialogue: "A teacher who establishes rapport with the taught, becomes one with them, learns more from them than he teaches them. He who learns nothing from his disciples is, in my opinion, worthless. Whenever I talk with someone I learn from him. I take from him more than I give him. In this way, a true teacher regards himself as a student of his students. If you will teach your pupils with this attitude, you will benefit much from them. Gandhi's disciple, Vinobha Bhave, developed the idea further as a means of social transformation: "The crux of Nai Talim lay in overcoming distinctions between learning and teaching, and knowledge and work. Vinoba discusses the need to redefine the relationship between teacher and student, "they must each regard the other as a fellow worker..." Instead, the ‘teacher’ was to be skilled in a kala/hunar (and to derive sustenance from this and not a teaching salary). The student was to live, work and grow with the teacher and his/her family. In this process s/he would learn the kala/hunar — the skill as part of a way of life, code of ethics, web of relationships, etc.".Finally, Nai Talim was conceived as a response to one of the main dialectics of modernity as Gandhi saw it--the dialectic between human being and 'machine' or 'technology': "In this dialectic, man represented the whole of mankind, not just India, and the machine represented the industrialized West."[6] It is for this reason, among others, that Gandhi placed such central emphasis in his pedagogy on the role of handcrafts such as spinning; they symbolized the values of self-sufficiency or Swaraj and independence or Swadeshi.

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