Adolescence and Creativity The Teacher and the Educational Atmosphere Methodology of Child Art Art Appreciation Questions and Answers Illustrations Appendices Bibliography Index
In Devi's book on art education, he has covered all the aspects of teaching art to children. He has elaborated the technique of art teaching in a natural and beautiful manner. The book also gives an understanding about those children who may develop into artists later in life. Moreover, the author has dealt with the subject of art appreciation by common men and women. Although every man and woman cannot become an artist, it is necessary that there should be arrangements for art education for everyone in society, whichever walk of life he or she may belong to. It is only through such a holistic approach to education that people can understand and sympathize with the joys and sorrows of the artist and artisan and their needs.
Lack of knowledge about art makes people lose their mental balance. The atmosphere of tension and conflict in the world is also due to ignorance about the essence and the essentiality of art in life.
Art education is not a product only of reading books or hearing about art. It develops through seeing great examples of art. Still better, if everyone does creative work with his or her own hands, thus understanding it directly.
A comprehensive discourse on all these subjects has been given in Devi Prasad's book. It will benefit artists as well as common men and women.
(Acharya Nandalal Bose was the founder principal of Kalabhawan, the art institute ol Santiniketan, Visva-Bharati, the university founded by Rabindranath Tagore)
My friend and colleague, Devi Prasad, wrote a book on children's art education and suggested that I write the foreword for it. Whenever I see a book with its foreword written by someone other than its authors, I feel somewhat irritated. A good book stands on its own, so much so that after it has been written, it does not require the support of even its own author. So why should it seek anyone else's support?
I tried this argument with Devi Prasad, though I was saying to myself that it would be good to attach my name to the book, which has come out of his deep experience. Actually, he had not to do much arguing to persuade me. I accepted his request and agreed to write the foreword to the book, although I admit that at that time I had not yet read the manuscript. That is because I believe that you can estimate the quality of the work if the author is personally known to you.
I have known Devi Prasad for nearly sixteen years. We were colleagues in Hindustani Talimi Sangh*. I have had the opportunity of seeing his work as well as seeing him work. I have also seen the work of his pupils. Devi Prasad's personality is identical to the image I have of a good teacher. I cannot fully describe the kind of respect I have for a true teacher. It was on account of this feeling that I wished my name to be associated with his book. Good company always benefits. I have seen the dying glory of a personality being revived. Nothing is quite like the company of a good teacher.
I accepted his request for the sake of such company, and thinking that I should write down some of my thoughts on children's art education, thus securing a little corner for myself in this book. Then I read the book, word by word. It changed my thoughts, when I found that the book contained much more than I had known about this subject. By adding the feeling of love to his experiences, the author has not only made ideas more bright and attractive, he has also put much warmth in them. This book clearly reflects the writer's years of experience, much imagination and genuine love for children. It is a book that should be read by all teachers, not only by art teachers.
The kind of art this book deals with is not that which is taught two or three days a week in classes of an hour or so. It is that art which is a lifelong discipline —a "sadhana". The author has experience of Tagore's world as well as Gandhi's and has the courage of putting life into art and transforming life into an art.
Being a true teacher, Devi Prasad believes in the path of love. Such a perspective has opened for him the windows into the child's life. He has put forward a healthy perspective regarding the child-teacher relationship. Teachers who want to understand these "windows" and the child's world will get much material in this book. It will also remove the confusion about the hierarchical status of different arts especially fine arts and applied arts, and will begin to build links between life and art. It will remind teachers that the artist and the teacher are both yogis. It will make them ask themselves why they are going astray from this yoga-sadhana. This book will make them understand the child and also the crises of adolescence. It will also indicate the means to understand social problems. Society today has itself become stagnant, in an adolescent crisis from which it is unable to emerge.
In our country, only those people write on education who do not like to be teachers. Thank goodness that the trend is changing, and as an old tired teacher, I feel proud that an Indian teacher has written such an enlightening book that gives a feeling of warmth to our colleagues in the teaching world. I hope the teacher who studies this book will gain more understanding and courage to continue his work with the conviction that life is a work of art. I wholeheartedly thank Devi Prasad for giving me the opportunity of reading this book before anyone else.
Dr. Zakir Hussain was the founder president of Hindustani Talimi Sangh, the Association set up by Mahatma Gandhi in 1937 to work out his scheme of education. He was the Governor of the State of Bihar, and later the President Of India.