Ratan Shastri was a great figure who had founded the Banasthali Vidyapith and a moderate revolutionary whose achievement had been monumental. She was the one whose presence in the tradition-ridden Rajasthan
persuaded the womenfolk to discard the Purdah
system and come out of the four walls of their houses with an illuminated notion in studying together. She set an example in this regard by discontinuing the purdah herself and taking part in the Jaipur Satyagraha
during the Indian Freedom Struggle
. Driven to desperation, her role has been a path breaking one.
Early Life of Ratan Shastri
Born in the middle-class family of school teacher, it was no wonder that she was brought up with a dedicated discipline which is congenial for the all round development of smoothed personality. Her early marriage had been responsible for her lack of education but she was a true example of education as the "manifestation of perfection already in man".
That was the reason, when her husband resigned from the prestigious post of Secretary in Home and Foreign Department of former Jaipur State, with a view to take up a programme of village reconstruction in a small, remote backward village, she welcomed the move and stood by him amid all the troubles and tribulations.
Contribution of Ratan Shastri
When it comes to the culture and formulation of identity of the post Independent India the contribution of Ratan Shastri is undoubtedly worth mentioning. Right from its inception the Banasthali Vidyapith rightly acknowledged as well as documented the importance of integrating the basic cultural traditions of India with the concepts of modern education in its academic and co-curricular programmes for bringing about the development of personality of its students. A in addition to the provision of art from providing general education from the Nursery to the post-graduate level, the Vidyapith organises varied activities which not only make the female student self-reliant, but also add a touch of the finer elements of art and culture to make their lives more beautiful and meaningful.
Today, in a situation in which everyone feels restless and frustrated over the breakdown and disintegration of values, the progressive efforts of Smt. Ratan Shastri over the last five decades provide ample evidence of the firmness of her mind, character and practical conduct and also offer a ray of hope. She insisted that courses of study at Banasthali should be based on a synthesis between the spiritual approach of East and the scientific outlook of the West. This educational philosophy of hers nurtures democratic values, national integration, universal religious harmony and international goodwill in the minds of the students. Great emphasis is placed on the integrated development of the various facets of personality of the students, and equally on creating consciousness in their minds about their social responsibility. The pursuit of these mutually related goals reflects the strength of Smt. Shastri`s lofty vision.
Besides contributing to the cause of women`s education, Smt. Shastri carried out a number of programmes for the development of Banasthali Village. Khadi
and self-reliance, literacy drive, medical assistance were the eminent watchword, the more marked among them.