Perpetuating”Macaulayism”, sixty years after our ‘Tryst with Destiny’

via H.Balakrishnan published on November 15, 2006

The ‘true’ Gandhian, Dharmapal’s (1922-2006),”The Beautiful Tree” is a treasure trove and ‘educates’ us about the real state of education in India in the 17th/18th centuries. He has effectively debunked the myth that  Dalits had no place in the indigenous system of education.


 Sir Thomas Munro,  Governor of Madras, ordered a mammoth survey in June 1822, whereby the district  collectors furnished the caste-wise division of students in four categories, viz., Brahmins, Vysyas (Vaishyas), Shoodras (Shudras) and other castes  (broadly the modern scheduled castes). While the percentages of the different castes varied in each district, the results were revealing to the extent that they showed an impressive presence of the so-called lower castes in the school system. Thus, in Vizagapatam, Brahmins and Vaishyas together accounted for 47% of the students, Shudras comprised 21% and the other castes (scheduled) were  20%; the remaining 12% were Muslims. In Tinnevelly, Brahmins were 21.8% of the total number of students, Shudras were 31.2% and other castes 38.4% . In South Arcot, Shudras and other castes together comprised  more than 84% of the students!


Our ancient education system was destroyed by the British,as this statement of Lord Macaulay highlights:


 “I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we could ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and , therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own ,they will lose their self esteem, their native self culture, and they will become that we want them , a truly dominated nation”


And the tragedy lies in the fact that we are perpetuating”Macaulayism”, sixty years after our ‘Tryst with Destiny’. Cry the beloved country.


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