Civilising the “Native”, Educating the Nation
Answer the following questions:
(1) Who was the founder of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and the journal “Asiatick Researches”?
(2) Why a madrasa was set up in Calcutta in 1781?
The madrasa was set up in Calcutta in 1781 to promote the study of Arabic, Persian and Islamic law which would help to understand Islam and would be useful for the administration of the country.
(3) When and why the Hindu College was set-up in Benaras?
The Hindu College was established in Benaras in 1791 to encourage the study of ancient Sanskrit texts that would be useful for the administration of the country.
(4) Who were the Orientalists?
Those with a scholarly knowledge of the language and culture of Asia were called the Orientalist.
(5) Who was called Munshi?
Persons who can read, write and teach Persian were called Munshi.
(6) Who said, “A single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia”?
Thomas Babington Macaulay.
(7) What were the provisions of the English Education Act of 1835?
The provision of the English education Act of 1835 were the followings:
a) English was made the medium of instruction for higher education.
b) Stopped the promotion of Oriental institutions like the Calcutta Madrasa and Benaras Sanskrit College.
c) English textbooks now began to be produced for schools.
(8) What was Wood’s Despatch?
In 1854, the Court of Directors of the East India Company in London sent an educational despatch to the Governor-General in India. Issued by Charles Wood, the President of the Board of Control of the Company, it has come to be known as Wood’s Despatch. Outlining the educational policy that was to be followed in India, it emphasised the practical benefits of a system of European learning, as opposed to Oriental knowledge.
(9) Who had been asked by the Company to report on the progress of education in vernacular
In the 1830s, William Adam, a Scottish missionary had been asked by the Company to report on the progress of education in vernacular schools.
(10) Discuss the report of William Adams on the progress of education in vernacular schools.
The following were the founding in the Adam’s report –
- Adam found that there were over 1 lakh pathshalas in Bengal and Bihar. These were small institutions with no more than 20 students each.
- The total number of children being taught in these pathshalas was over 20 lakh.
- These institutions were set up by wealthy people, or the local community. At times they were started by a teacher (guru).
- The system of education was flexible.
- There were no fixed fees, no printed books, no separate school buildings, no benches or chairs, no blackboards, no system of separate classes, no rollcall registers, no annual examinations, and no regular time-table.
- In some places classes were held under a banyan tree, in other places in the corner of a village shop or temple, or at the guru’s home.
- The fee depended on the income of the parents.
- Teaching was oral, and the guru decided what to teach, in accordance with the needs of the students.
- Students were not separated out into different classes. All of them sat together in one place. The guru interacted separately with groups of children with different levels of learning.
- This flexible system was suited to local needs.
(11) How the local education system was suited for the children who belonged to the peasant family?
In the local education system classes were not held during harvest time when rural children often worked in the fields. The pathshala started once again when the crops had been cut and stored. This meant that even children of peasant families could study.
(12) When did the universities set-up in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay?
The Universities of Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay were set up in 1857.
(13) What measures were taken by the Company to improve the system of vernacular education?
The following were the measures taken up by the Company –
a) It appointed a number of government pandits, each in charge of looking after four to five schools. The task of the pandit was to visit the pathshalas and try and improve the standard of teaching.
b) Each guru was asked to submit periodic reports and take classes according to a regular timetable.
c) Teaching was now to be based on textbooks and learning was to be tested through a system of annual examinations.
d) Students were asked to pay a regular fee, attend regular classes, sit on fixed seats, and obey the new rules of discipline.
e) Pathshalas which accepted the new rules were supported through government grants. Those who were unwilling to work within the new system received no government support.
f) The discipline of the new system demanded regular attendance, even during harvest time when children of poor families had to work in the fields.
(14) Discuss the point of view of Mahatma Gandhi regarding western education.
Mahatma Gandhi’s point of view regarding western education can be described in the following points –
- He argued that colonial education created a sense of inferiority in the minds of Indians, and destroyed the pride they had in their own culture.
- By following the Western education, Indian students began admiring British rule.
- It made Indians “strangers in their own lands”.
- The English educated did not know how to relate to the masses.
- Western education focused on reading and writing rather than oral knowledge.
- It valued textbooks rather than lived experience and practical knowledge.
(15) Discuss the point of view of Rabindranath Tagore regarding the Western education.
Tagore wanted to combine elements of modern Western civilisation with what he saw as the best within the Indian tradition. He emphasised the need to teach science and technology at Santiniketan, along with art, music, and dance.
(16) How was the view of Tagore different from Gandhiji’s regarding the Western education?
Gandhiji was highly critical of Western civilisation and its worship of machines and technology. Tagore wanted to combine elements of modern Western civilisation with what he saw as the best within the Indian tradition. He emphasised the need to teach science and technology at Santiniketan, along with art, music, and dance.
(17) When was the Shantiniketan established and by whom?
Rabindranath Tagore started the institution in 1901.
NCERT TEXTBOOK QUESTIONS
(1) Why did William Jones feel the need to study Indian history, philosophy, and law?
William Jones felt the need to study Indian history, philosophy, and law because –
- In order to understand India, it was necessary to discover the sacred and legal texts that were produced in the ancient period.
- Only those texts could reveal the real ideas and laws of the Hindus and Muslims
- Only a new study of these texts could form the basis of future development in India.
- He believed that it would not only help the British learn from Indian culture, but would also help Indians rediscover their own heritage, and understand the lost glories of their past.
- With this, the British would become the guardians of Indian culture as well as its masters.
(2) Why did James Mill and Thomas Macaulay think that European education was essential in India?
James Mill thought that the aim of education ought to be to teach what was useful and practical not what the natives wanted, or what they respected just in order to please them and “win a place in their heart”.
Indians should be made familiar with the scientific and technical advances that the West had made, rather than with the poetry and sacred literature of the Orient.
Thomas Babington Macaulay saw India as an uncivilised country that needed to be civilised.
Macaulay emphasised the need to teach the English language. He felt that knowledge of English would make them aware of the developments in Western science and philosophy. The teaching of English could thus be a way of civilising people, and changing their tastes, values, and culture.
(3) Why did Mahatma Gandhi want to teach children handicrafts?
Mahatma Gandhi wanted to teach children handicrafts because –
- He believed that the aim of education is to develop a person’s mind and soul.
- Literacy or simply learning to read and write by itself did not count as education.
- People had to work with their hands, learn a craft, and know how different things operated. This would develop their mind and their capacity to understand.
- Learning handicrafts will help children to handle the practical situations more effectively.
(4) Why did Mahatma Gandhi think that English education had enslaved Indians?
Mahatma Gandhi thought that English education had enslaved Indians because –
- With English education, Indian students got charmed by the West and start appreciating everything that came from the West
- The English educated started admiring British rule.
- Education in English crippled Indians, distanced them from their own social surroundings, and made them “strangers in their own lands”.
- The English educated did not know how to relate to the masses.