Babuji - The Laureate Of Learning
Manava Bharti was established in 1941 by Dr Durga Prasad Pandey on his return from Europe with the blessing of the Father of the Nation, Mahatma Gandhi and the first non- European Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore. The endeavour was blessed by nation's first President Dr Rajendra Prasad and his successor Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. They not only blessed the enterprise but served as the founding president and vice-president of the society.
Fondly remembered as Babuji, Dr Durga Prasad Pandey was a philosopher, a visionary, an educator and a prolific writer. Born on the 11th February 1910, Dr Pandey was educated at Banaras Hindu University and abroad. He was associated with the Indian National Movement and faced imprisonment on two occasions. He was a close associate of BHU founder Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya, who suggested his name as a Hindi/Sanskrit teacher to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, who in turn invited him to join the Vishwa Bharati.
It was Tagore who motivated him to pursue his higher studies in Europe. He obtained a PhD in Indology from Cambridge University, England. Close association with 'Vishwa Bharati' inspired Babuji to consecrate his life for the cause of child education and service of divinity in man. He followed his inclination to develop the concept of child education, which he had nurtured prior to leaving for England.
Babuji had a mission of establishing an alternative school. His thought evolved over time, with his early ideas becoming the core and scaffolding for his mature philosophy. He absorbed ideas from many sources. He had appreciated early the need of an education system which would help child grow with uncluttered mind to find life's ultimate possibility and let life blossom to the fullest.
He was inspired by Tagore's keen desire to establish an institution for educating the youth in the Himalayas. He founded Manava Bharati, a centre for learning at 'Shakti Ashram' in Rajpur (midway between Dehradun and Mussoorie) on the lines of 'Shantiniketan'. Manava Bharati flourished and is disseminating its ideas and thoughts through several centres at Mussoorie, Dehradun, Delhi and Varanasi.
Dr Durga Prasad Pandey had a humanist approach for everything he did. He espoused the cause of needy in the society, worked for emancipation of women and efflorescence of child; all which showed a rich diversity in his character build up. Babuji's philanthropy earned him "The Order of the St John" in 1966. He was also awarded D Litt in 1939 by University of Leiden, the oldest university in the Netherlands. He passed away on 26th September 1989.