JAC Class 8 Social Science Notes History Chapter 7 Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation

JAC Board Class 8th Social Science Notes History Chapter 7 Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation

→ How the British saw Education The tradition of Orientalism

  • William Jones was appointment as a junior judge at the Supreme Court that the Company had set up in Calcutta. In addition to being an expert in law, Jones was a linguist.
  • He had studied Greek and Latin at Oxford, knew French and English and also had learnt Arabic and Persian.
  • He also learnt Sanskrit language.
  • Englishmen like Henry Thomas Colebrooke and Nathaniel Halhed were also busy discovering the ancient Indian heritage and mastering Indian languages and translating Sanskrit and Persian works into English.
  • Together with them, Jones set up the Asiatic Society of Bengal, and started a journal called Asiatick Researches.
  • Jones and Colebrooke shared a deep respect for ancient cultures, both of India and the West.
  • They felt that indian civilisation had attained its glory in the ancient past but had subsequently declined.
  • In order to understand India it was necessary to discover the sacred and legal texts that were produced in the ancient period.
  • This project which was done by Kones and Civilising the “Native”, Educating the Nation Colebrooke believed that would not only help the British leam from Indian culture but it would also help Indians rediscover their own heritage and understand the lost glories of their past.

JAC Class 8 Social Science Notes History Chapter 7 Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation

→ In this process, the British would become the guardians of Indian culture as well as its masters.

  • British felt that institutions should be set up to encourage the study of ancient Indian texts and teach Sanskrit and Persian literature and poetry.
  • The officials also thought that Hindus and Muslims ought to be taught what they were already familiar with and what they valued and treasured, not subjects that were alien to them.
  • They believed in this way that they could win a place in the hearts of the “natives” and only then could the alien rulers expect to be respected by their subjects.
  • With this object in view a madrasa was set up in Calcutta in 1781 to promote the study of Arabic, Persian and Islamic law.
  • 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.
  • But many were very strong in their criticism of the Orientalists.

→ “Grave errors of the East”

  • From the early nineteenth century many British officials began to criticise the Orientalist vision of learning and said that knowledge of the East was full of errors and unscientific thought. Eastern literature was non-serious and light-hearted.
  • James Mill was one of those who attacked the Orientalists. He said that the British effort should not be to teach what the natives wanted or what they respected in order to please them and ‘win a place in their heart’.
  • By the 1830s, the attack on the Orientalists became sharper. One of the most outspoken and influential of such critics of the time was Thomas Babington Macaulay.
  • Macaulay said that who could deny ‘a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia’.
  • Macaulay emphasised on teaching of English could thus be a way of civilising people, changing their tastes, values and culture.
  • Following Macaulay’s minute, the English Education Act of 1835 was introduced.
  • The decision was to make English the medium of instruction for higher education and to stop the promotion of Oriental institutions such as the Calcutta Madrasa and Benaras Sanskrit College.

→ Education for commerce

  • In 1854, the Court of Directors of the East India Company in London sent an educational despatch to the Governor- General in India.
  • It was issued by Charles Wood who was the President of the Board of Control of the Company and it has come to be known as Wood’s Despatch.
  • One of the practical uses the Despatch pointed to was economic.
  • Introducing Indians to European ways of life would change their tastes and desires and create a demand for British goods.
  • Wood’s Despatch also argued that European learning would improve the moral character of Indians. It would make them truthful and honest and thus supply the Company with civil servants who could be trusted and depended upon.
  • Several measures were introduced by the British. One of them was education departments of the government were set up to extend control over all matters regarding education.
  • In 1857, while the sepoys rose in revolt in Meerut and Delhi, universities were being established in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.

JAC Class 8 Social Science Notes History Chapter 7 Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation

→ What Happened to the Local Schools? The report of William Adam

  • In the 1830s, William Adam, a Scottish missionary had been asked by the Company to report on the progress of education in vernacular schools.
  • He found that there were over 1 lakh pathshalas in Bengal and Bihar.
  • These institutions were set up by wealthy people or the local community. At times they were started by a teacher {guru).
  • These were small institutions with no more than 20 students each.
  • There were no fixed fee, no printed books, no separate school building, no benches or chairs, no blackboards, no system of separate classes, no roll call registers, no annual examinations and no regular timetable.
  • In some places, classes were held under a banyan tree and in other places in the comer of a village shop or temple, or at the guru s home.
  • The rich had to pay more fees than the poor.
  • Teaching was oral and the guru decided what to teach in accordance with the needs of the students.
  • The guru interacted separately with groups of children with different levels of learning.
  • Adam also discovered that this flexible system was suited to local needs.

→ New routines, new rules

  • After 1854, the Company decided to improve the system of vernacular education. It felt that this could be done by introducing order within the system, imposing routines, establishing rules, ensuring regular inspections.
  • The Company appointed a number of government pandits. The task of the pandit was to visit the pathshalas and by to improve the standard of teaching.
  • Teaching was now to be based on textbooks and learning was to be tested through a system of annual examination.
  • Students were asked to pay a regular fee, attend regular classes, sit on fixed seats and obey the new rules of discipline.
  • 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.
  • The new rules and routines had another consequence on poor families. Inability to attend school came to be seen as indiscipline as evidence of the lack of desire to learn.

→ The Agenda for a National Education

  • From the early nineteenth century many thinkers from different parts of India began to talk of the need for a wider spread of education.
  • Impressed with the developments in Europe, some Indians felt that Western education would help modernise India.
  • However, there were other Indians who reacted against Western education.
  • Civilising the “Native”, Educating the Nation Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore were two such individuals.

→ “English education has enslaved us”

  • Mahatma Gandhi argued that colonial education created a sense of inferiority in the minds of Indians.
  • Mahatma Gandhi wanted an education that could help Indians recover their sense of dignity and self-respect.
  • During the national movement he urged students to leave educational institutions in order to show to the British that Indians were no longer willing to be enslaved.
  • Mahatma Gandhi strongly felt that Indian languages ought to be the medium of teaching.
  • Mahatma Gandhi said that western education focused on reading and writing rather than oral knowledge as it valued textbooks rather than lived experience and practical knowledge.
  • He argued that education ought to develop a person’s mind and soul.
  • People had to work with their hands, leam a craft and know how different things operated. This would develop their mind and their capacity to understand.

JAC Class 8 Social Science Notes History Chapter 7 Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation

→ Tagore’s “abode of peace”

  • Rabindranath Tagore started the institution in 1901.
  • The experience of his school days in Calcutta shaped Tagore’s ideas of education.
  • According to Tagore, the existing schools killed the natural desire of the child to be creative, her sense of wonder.
  • He chose to set up his school 100 kilometres away from Calcutta, in a rural setting.
  • He saw it as an “abode of peace” (Santiniketan) where living in harmony with nature, children could cultivate their natural creativity.
  • Gandhiji was highly critical of Western civ-ilisation and its worship of machines and technology. But, Tagore wanted to com¬bine elements of modem Western civilisa¬tion with what he saw as the best within Indian tradition.
  • Tagore emphasised the need to teach sci¬ence and technology at Santiniketan along with art, music and dance.
  • Some thinkers wanted changes within the system set up by the British and felt that the system could be extended so as to include wider sections of people.
  • Others urged that alternative systems could be created so that people were educated into a culture that was truly national.

JAC Class 8 Social Science Notes