Gandhi, as we have seen, was concerned with the basic human rights of women and the untouchables, the two classes in Indian society whose treatment left much to be desired. His concern was rooted in his fundamental belief concerning the essential unity of mankind, the welfare of all men and the indivisibility of Truth. He saw that one of the ways in which basic human rights could be restored was by the provision of equality of opportunity in the field of education, and this was one reason, though by no means the only reason, for his interest in the subject. His attitude to education is in some respect reminiscent of Plato. He speaks, for example, of the education of the whole man, body, mind and spirit. The mind or spirit ought not to be cultivated in isolation from the body. Plato in his theory of education insists on gymnastics for the body and music for the soul as the necessary prerequisites of a balanced education. Gandhi, too, stresses the intelligent use of the body in order that the intellect might be developed effectively and the spirit properly cultivated. He also maintains that music should be an integral part of the syllabus of schools since it involves rhythm and order and is soothing in its effects. He speaks of the pacifying and tranquillizing effect of music: ‘I can remember occasions when music instantly tranquillized my mind when I was greatly agitated over something. Music has helped me to overcome anger’.1 It is not enough to concentrate on the development of the mind to the exclusion of what Gandhi calls the education of the heart and body, or the spiritual and physicial faculties, since they constitute an indivisible whole. It would be a mistake,

therefore, in Gandhi’s view, to regard literacy as the be-all and end-all, or the primary aim, of education. In his view, it is not even the best way to begin to educate a child, which brings us to his theory of basic education.