The Story of Neohumanist Education
The insights that shape the future are usually to be found on the periphery of the accepted. This is the space currently occupied by the thought of Shrii P.R.Sarkar. Over his life (1921-1990) he generated a meta story for both the past and the future. Standing as he did beyond the confines of mainstream Western intellectual tradition, he was able to recast the story of civilization and culture in a far less structured and deterministic way to many of his contemporaries.
For Sarkar, history is not the story of the emergence of the human (Western) genius from the darkness of superstition and irrationality. It is not about linear progress that places certain human expressions above others. Rather it is a story of the human search for the Great; of both an individual and collective striving for a metaphysical certainty beyond limited, ever elusive, physicalities. It is Sarkar’s civilizational project to make explicit, and thus empower and activate, those aspects of consciousness that are a part of this human search.
Neohumanism is the ideological fabric that underpins Sarkar’s work. Rooted in a broad humanism that draws on multiple traditions it can be seen to be indebted to the indigenous Indian tradition of Tantra and the Western humanist tradition that goes back to the Greeks. At the root of this new Humanism is the awareness that consciousness is the material of the universe and that we as human beings are engaged in an on going struggle to align our spirits, minds and bodies with this consciousness.
Sarkar first delivered this vision in 1982 in his ground breaking book Neohumanism: The Liberation of Intellect. Since then an ever growing body of scholars, teachers and social workers have turned to this work as inspiration for their own endeavors. Developing educational practices that reflect these principles has not been easy but there are now schools all over the world that owe their vision and purpose to this dynamic and challenging philosophy.
Starting in 1963 Sarkar spearheaded an educational movement for all round development and many hundreds of schools developed all over India. In the early 1970s the first schools outside of India started in Nepal, Africa, Philippines, Europe and USA.
Shortly after launching the cultural ideals of Neohumanism in 1982, Shrii P.R. Sarkar expanded the underlying philosophy of education to be infused with Neohumanist principles and thus the Neohumanist Education term evolved. By 1990 there were over 1000 schools and children homes in over 50 countries as well as several higher learning institutes including a Degree College and a Polytechnic College.
“Sarkar will probably stand out as one of the truly great in this century, so much deeper and more imaginative than most. … He is an intellectual giant of our times.”
Professor Johan Galtung, winner of Right Livelihood Award (the alternative Nobel Prize)
founder of International Peace Research Institute in Oslo, Norway.