Shri Dayal Chandra Soni

Shri Dayal Chandra Soni was born in 1919 in Salumbar, a small town in Mewar, Rajasthan. Having received intensive training in ‘Basic Education’ under well-known people, such as Mahatma Gandhi, Zakhir Hussain, Vinoba Bhave and Khwaja Galamusadan, he worked for several years as a teacher at Vidya Bhawan, a small school, based on Gandhian philosophy and principles of community service, founded in 1931 in Udaipur. In the 1960s, Dayalji left Vidya Bhawan because of his controversial views and made a living through tutoring, freelance writing and eventually by setting up a small flour grinding mill in his home. The experiences with running the grinding mill profoundly influenced his thinking about education. He later worked at Seva Mandir, an NGO in Udaipur, on an innovative literacy campaign for rural areas. He was chosen to represent India in the Canadian World Literacy Programme and made a positive contribution to adult education.

During the past 60 years, Dayalji has written more than 300 essays and published around 25 books on basic education, non-formal education, adult education, women’s education and public administration. In 1992, he was given the ‘Madan Mohan Malviya Award’ for his book on non-formal education. In 2001, he received the Tagore National Literacy Award.

At present, Dayalji lives with his wife in Udaipur and runs a small flour grinding mill in his home. His address is: 26 Vidya Marg, Devali, Udaipur 313004 Rajasthan, India.

A beautiful radical poem critiquing the way 'literacy' has been framed by development projects.