Patriots > Social and Religious Reformers > Badheka,Gijubhai ( 1885 -1939 )
Badheka,Gijubhai ( 1885 -1939 )
Girijashanker Badheka, generally known as Gijubhai, the most outstanding personality in the field of pre-primary education, was born to Bhagwanji and Sm. Kashiba of Vala in Saurashtra at Chittal 9Saurashtra) in the house of his maternal grandfather on 15 November 1885. He had his early education at a primary school at Vala and later passed the Matriculation from Bhavnagar around 1905.

He joined the Shamlals College, but had to leave his studies incomplete and go to East Africa in 1907 to earn a livelihood. On his return in 1910 he studied law in Bombay. He started practice in 1911 as a District Pleader and in 1912 he enrolled himself is High Court Pleader. He, married twice, first Sm. Hiraben (19020 and after her death am. Jadiben (1906).

Gijubhai’s maternal uncle Hargovind Pandya had a great influence in moulding his mind and character. Another strong influence was that of S. P. Stevens, a solicitor for whom Gijubhai worked in East Africa, who taught him self-help and reliance.

Solicitude for the education of his first son, Narendrabhai (b. February 1913), led Gijubhai to see the child education classes conducted under the guidance of Motibhai Amin at Vaso, Gujarat, where he was presented a Gujrati book describing the Montessori method of education. That first attracted him to organize child education on similar lines. In 1915 he assisted in drafting the construction of the Dakshinamurti, then started as a hostel at Bhavnager. In 1916 he left legal practice and joined the Dakashinamurti as Assistant Superintendent. He drew the attention of the Superintendent, Nanabhai Bhatt, to the fact that the boarders had to study in old-fashioned schools.

To remove this anomaly the Dakshinamurti was converted into a teaching institution with Gijubhai as the Acharya (Principal). Simultaneously Gijubhai trained his son according to the Montessori system. This convinced him about the need to the begin at the very beginning, and the Dakshinamurti Balmandir, a pre-primary school, came into being August 1920. Gijubhai’s contribution was evolution of a system of child education suitable to Indian environment, training teachers and creation of suitable literature for children, .

teachers and parents Gijubhai’s system liberally borrowed from the educational philosophies of Montessori, Frobell, Dalton and others and oriented the admixture to fit Indian requirements. Freedom and love were the twin principles around which the system revolved. With the introduction of equipment for sensory development, coupled with the use of music, dance, travel, story-telling and play-ground as instantly acquired popularity with children and parents.

In 1925 the first Pre-Primary Teachers’ Training College (Adhyapak Mandir) was started at Dakshinamurti to meet the need for qualified teachers. Gijubhai also turned his attention to children’s literature and wrote simple short stories, nursery rhymes and tales of travel and adventure. He produced more than100 works which still retain their importance and many of them have been rendered into several other Indian languages.

In 1925 Gijubhai, along with Sm. Taraben Modak, started editing a Gujrati monthly, the Shikshan Patrika. His frank and fearless criticism of the existing methods of education created a sensation in Gujrat. For the propagation of the new system of child education among the masses, conferences wee organized in 1925 at Bhavnagar and in 1928 at Ahmedabad.

Gijubhai was partly responsible for the entry of Harijans into the Dakshinamurti. He also assisted in making arrangements for the farmer families who were abandoning their homes during the Bardoli Satyagraha. He initiated the concept of the ‘Vanarsena’, a battalion of children satyagrahis who made life impossible for the Government officials in the 1930 Movement. Under Gijubhai, Nanabhai and Harbhai, the Dakshinamurti, located in the territory of sympathetic princes, came to be regarded as the training-centre for dedicated freedom-fighters. Gijubhai also conducted Adult Education Campaign in 1930.

In 1936 Gijubhai left the Dakshinamurti due to a difference of opinion and started the Adhyapak Mandir at Rajkot. Constant overwork had ruined his health, and he died on 23 June 1939. Proverbial affection for the children earned him the title ‘Maochhali Ma’ meaning mother with whiskers.
Author : Kumud Prasanna