An iconic centre of learning in the national capital, the Modern School is representative of the pioneering efforts in the early twentieth century to create a contemporary educational structure in India. Historian Rakesh Batabyal excavates the school’s origins in old Delhi and its close ideological links to the literary and cultural sensibilities of the nineteenth century, the values of the freedom movement and the philosophical quest for a universal horizon for the nation.
As its name suggests, Modern was devoted to the new: to an India with her face turned optimistically to the world, not as a colony but as a significant contributor to a more equal, pluralistic, inclusive and collaborative global order. When schools in India and the world have become so ‘practical’, so focused on producing good corporate citizens, Modern continues to pride itself on its holistic values, on schooling as a means to self-actualisation. Towards this end, it has continuously promoted research and pedagogic innovations, scientific thinking and cultural expressions in teaching and learning.
The foundational principles of academic excellence, self-confidence and social responsibility continue to steer the school forward. This, Batabyal shows, is the key to understanding its sense of mission: of providing a uniquely Indian education that marries traditional culture to scientific progress. The Modern School: A Century of Schooling in India presents the school’s ennobling influence over generations through its vision of education as a key to nation-building.