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Primary Education of Sir Bhagvatsinhji

       Colonel R. H. Keatinge, the agent of Bombay government in Kathiawad felt dissatisfied with the manner in which the young men destined to rule over states of greater or less importance were being brought up. His mind reverted to the type of school in which he and his fellows had been educated. He believed that an institution modeled upon the public school in England would provide young rajas and kinsmen with many advantages of art and science. They would come in contact with teachers from genteel class of both Britain and India. Emphasis would be laid upon manly sports that would enable them to build up strong, healthy bodies of student in that school. This system employed at Rajkumar College in promoting this object was not one sided. Intellectual  and moral discipline was necessarily assigned the first place but physical training was not neglected . The staff of Rajkumar College was very favorably circumstanced in preparing the young rajas and the raja-to-be for their life-work. It was easier to establish their College than to induce the rulers in Kathiawar and Gujarat to  take advantage of it. The ladies of practically all the princely houses in the peninsula objected to it. They dislike the very  idea of being parted from their sons. The fear also haunted them that their sons, if sent to the College, might be induced to forswear the faith of their fathers and become Christians. With the means of communication then existing Rajkot appeared to the ranis to be at the back of beyond . The railway had hardly pierced Kathiawar. Traveling had to be done on horse-back or coach or palanquin and was slow and tedious.

       Discussion of this nature went on in Navlakha palace of Gondal, standing on the right bank of the Gondli River. Here the little Thakore Saheb was being brought up by his widowed mother. The Rani Shree Monghiba Sahiba had not permitted him to be parted from her for even a day. The arrangements she had made for his education left, in her opinion, nothing to be desired. They were, in fact, somewhat better than might have been expected. Head and heart therefore combined to resist the suggestion made to her to send the son to the College of Rajkot. Bhagvatsihji was nine year of age at the time . He was send with truthful servant to keep a watchful eye over him day and night - to guard him against all possible harm. The teachers found the Thakore Saheb to be unusually serious for his age . Books fascinated him while he was indifferent towards sports. Teacher after teacher tried to interest him in cricket, but found that his heart was in his studies - not in the playing field.

       He particularly loved Gujarati and had readily taken to English. The sciences, particularly mathematics, captured his interest. By steady efforts he  acquired a considerable vocabulary in either language and took pains to pronounce this words correctly. Drawing, too attracted him. He would sit sketching by the hours while his fellows were at play. Before he left Rajkot he had acquired considerable skill.

       All the time the Thakore Saheb was at College his mother was maturing plans for settling him in life. She felt that she was growing old and wished to dandle her sonís children on her knees before she gathered unto her forefathers.

Sir Bhagvatsinhji

The Maker of Modern Gondal



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