More than 150 years ago, educator Gijubhai Badheka suggested that education could be storytelling-based. Called “Muchhali Maa” (mother with moustache) by Mahatma Gandhi, Badheka wrote more than 200 books in his 15-year-long career as an educationist. Now, two writers, Dr Swati Popat Vats and Vinitha, have brought out a book, Once upon a Story, on the life and ideas of Badheka. The book launch took place at Crossword in Pune.
The writers of the book have been inspired by “Divya Swapna” (meaning day dream). Badheka showed the wonders a teacher can accomplish when supported with good ideas and were free to create new techniques for the classroom.
Vats has been working with education closely and is the president of Early Childhood Association. Vinitha is an established author and journalist and has written more that 23 books for children, including ICSE and CBSE textbooks. Vats says, “With the new draft of education policy shaping up, I feel that this is the right time to understand and explore the ideas of a book like this. Not only can these ideas influence today’s classrooms or teachers but can also affect the thinking of the parents. We hope that Badheka’s work will be acknowledged and want him to receive a Padma Shri for the same.
Mahesh Balakrishnan, IB Board Developer based in Delhi, was the chief guest at the launch. He said, “Gijubhai has not received the acknowledgement he deserves. Through this book, his ideas about the joy of learning and his reflective, intuitive and empathetic nature is highlighted.”
The launch was followed by a discussion about the education system by a panel of experts and also included a seventh grade student from Pune.