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Learning English During the East India Company Rule
The Administration of the East India Company:
A History of Indian Progress
by John William Kaye, 1853 On Native Education, Part V Chapter 1
We reproduce here an interesting narrative of how, during the East India Company rule, western model of education was introduced in India and the Subcontinent. While some of the sentiments and opinions of the author relating to Indian religions, etc., will not be agreeable to us, the author's report on the problems faced in establishing western model of education in the Indian subcontinent, with emphasis on English, reflects the current thinking in several quarters on the need to teach English. John William Kaye supports vernacular education unambiguously, while emphasizing the need to learn English. There is more to learn about Macaulay in this chapter. Thanks are due to Google Books www.google.com/books for including this valuable book as part of their collection for free access. - Editor, Language in India www.languageinindia.com.
Native Education-Parliamentary Enactments - Encouragement of Oriental Literature-Rise and Progress of the Hindoo College-Substitution of the English System-Lord William Bentinck's Measures-Native Agency-Education in the North-Western Provinces-In Bombay-The Jubbulpore School of Industry-The Roorkhee College-Missionary Efforts-Statistics of Education.
IN the two preceding books, I have treated largely of what may he called the institutional crimes of India. I have shown how human wickedness, on a gigantic scale, has been fostered by error and superstition; and how the servants of the Company have brought all their humanity, all their intelligence, and all their energy, to the great work of rooting out the enormities, which from generation to generation have grievously afflicted the land. I have shown how they have toiled and striven, and with what great success, to win the benighted savage to the paths of civilisation, and to purge the land of those cruel rites which their false gods were believed to sanction. There is nothing in all history more honorable to the British nation than the record of these humanising labors. It is impossible to write of them without a glow of pleasure and of pride.
But noble as have been these endeavours, and great as has been the success, which up to a certain point has attended them, there is something incredibly painful in the thought that, after all, they are fixed upon an insecure basis; that hitherto the action has been rather from without than from within; that we have not generally made an abiding impression upon the native mind; and that, therefore, there is always danger of relapse. In many of the cases which I have selected to illustrate the great victories of European civilisation, it will have been seen that it was the weight of external authority and personal influence which, more than anything else, enabled our countrymen to push forward their civilising measures to anything like a successful termination. The grand obstacle to complete and permanent success, was the gross ignorance of the people-that twofold ignorance which includes the darkness of the intelligence and the deadness of the moral sense. It was hard to awaken the heathens to a living belief in the absurdity of the superstitions to which they bowed themselves, and the wickedness of the practices which they observed.
In most cases, I say, the people yielded to the influences of authority, or were moved by self-interest, to conform outwardly to the wishes of their masters-but they were seldom convinced. It was a great thing to bring about even a diminution of the great crimes which had inflicted so much misery upon countless thousands of our fellow-creatures. But having achieved this amount of success, our officers by no means thought that the work was complete. They felt it might often happen that the people, withdrawn from the immediate sphere of these good influences, would subside into their old evil ways-that, indeed, we might be only casting out devils, to return again to find their old habitations swept and cleansed for their reception, and to wanton there more riotously than before: and they one and all said that the only certain remedy, to which they could look for an abiding cure, was that great remedial agent-EDUCATION.
In many cases, the men of whose benevolent labors I have spoken, did their best, with the slender means at their disposal, to employ this great remedy in furtherance of their more substantial outward measures ; but such educational efforts were necessarily local and accidental, and of limited application. Thus Sleeman had established Schools of Industry, at Jubbulpore, for the children of the Thugs; Outram had put to school in Candeish, the little Bheels, whose fathers he had reclaimed; and Macpherson had turned to similar account his opportunities in favor of the victims whom he had rescued from the hands of the sacrificing Khonds. And, doubtless, these benign endeavours will bear good fruit in their season. But the disease, at which we have to strike, is eating into the very life of the whole country; and it is only by a great and comprehensive effort that we can hope to eradicate it.
It is only within a comparatively recent period that the education of the people has taken any substantial shape in the administration of the British Government in the East. There was a sort of dim recognition, in some of the early charters, of the Christian duty of instructing the Gentoos; but it was not until the year 1813 that there was anything like a decided manifestation of the will of the Government in connexion with this great subject. The Charter Act, passed in that year, contained a clause, enacting that "a sum of not less than a lakh of rupees in each year shall be set apart and applied to the revival and improvement of literature, and the encouragement of the learned natives of India, and for the introduction and promotion of a knowledge of the sciences among the inhabitants of the British territories inIndia." [Act 53rd George III., chap. 155, clause 43] What this might precisely mean was not very clear; but it seemed to point rather to the encouragement of Oriental than of European learning, and those were days in which the former was held to be of prodigious account. Nothing, however, for some years, of a practical character emanated from this decree of the Legislature. The money thus appropriated, was left to accumulate, and not until ten years after the Act had passed did the local Government take any steps to carry out its intentions. Then a Committee of Public Instruction was established in Calcutta, and the arrears of the Parliamentary grant were placed at their disposal.
Such, in a few words, are all the noticeable officialities of native education up to the year 1823. But there was a movement going on of which no record is to be found in official papers. All that the Government even at this time thought of doing for the education of the people, was through the agency of Pundits and Gooroos; but there were men then in Bengal who held Oriental learning at its true worth, as an instrument of civilisation, and thought that better things were to be found in the writings of the great masters of the English language. First in time, and foremost in enthusiasm among these, was Mr. David Hare. He was a man of a rude exterior and an uncultivated mind -by trade, I believe, a watchmaker. He lacked the power of expression both in oral and written discourse. But for these wants a large infusion of earnestness and perseverance in his character did much to atone; and he achieved what learned and eloquent men might have striven to accomplish in vain. He originated the Hindoo College of Calcutta. He stirred up others to carry out his designs. The seed which he scattered fell on good ground. Sir Hyde East, then Chief Justice of Bengal, took up the project with hearty good will; and on the 14th of May, 1816, a public meeting was held in his house for the furtherance of this great object. The scheme was fully discussed by European and native gentlemen-and a few days afterwards, at an adjourned meeting, it was resolved that an institution should be founded to bear the name of the "Hindoo College of Calcutta" A committee and certain officebearers were then appointed to give effect to the resolution.
Patterns of Indian Multilingualism | The Use of Catchy Words: A Case Study from Pakistan | Conquering Psychological Alienation - How Amy Tan Looks at It | I`gbo` Verbs of Communication | Honorifics and Speech Levels in Meiteiron | Social Functions of Metaphor - A Case Study Applying Tamil and Telugu Examples | Pragmatic Approaches and Models of Linguistic Politeness | Emerging Paradigms in Language Communication in India and Their Impact on the Corporate Competencies | Role of Encoding Temporal Fine Structure Cues in Time Compressed Word Recognition | Negotiating Boundaries: Arab-American Poetry and the Dilemmas of Dual Identity | The Role of Self-Directed Learning Strategy in Higher Education | Attitudes toward Women Expressed in the Speech of Male College Students | Teachers' Professional Development in ELT at Tertiary Level: ELTR Project of the Higher Education Commission of Pakistan - A Case Study | The Changing Image of Women in Indian Writing in English - A Study of Arundhati Roy's The God of Small Things | The Administration of the East India Company: A History of Indian Progress: Native Education | Teaching English Language and Literature in Non-Native Context | Improving Chemmozhi Learning and Teaching - Descriptive Studies in Classical-Modern Tamil Grammar | Global Perspective of Teaching English Literature in Higher Education in Pakistan | Two Trends That Would Deface Classical-Modern Tamil - How to Reverse These Trends? | A PRINT VERSION OF ALL THE PAPERS OF JUNE 2010 ISSUE IN BOOK FORMAT | HOME PAGE of June 2010 Issue | HOME PAGE | CONTACT EDITOR