Civilizing The Native Educating the Nation
Q1. What is linguistics? (Civilizing The Native Educating the Nation)
Ans: Linguist means someone who knows and studies several languages.
Q2. Who was William Jones? (Civilizing The Native Educating the Nation)
Ans: William Jones was a junior judge at supreme court that the East India Company had set up. He arrived in Calcutta in 1783 from England. In addition to being an expert in law, Jones was a linguist.
Q3. Who tried to discover ancient Indian heritage or culture?
Ans: Englishmen like Henry Thomas Colebrooke and Nathaniel Halhed were also busy discovering the ancient Indian heritage, mastering Indian languages and translating Sanskrit and Persian works into English.
Q4 Who and Why did set up Asiatic Society of Bengal? (Civilizing The Native Educating the Nation)
Ans: Englishmen like Henry Thomas Colebrooke and Nathaniel Halhed were also busy discovering the ancient Indian heritage, 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 to promote Indian culture and heritage.
Q5. How do we come to know about the glorious past of Indian culture?
Ans: Jones and Colebrooke came to represent a particular attitude towards India after their Asiatic research. They shared a deep respect for ancient cultures, both of India and the West. Indian civilisation, they felt, had attained its glory in the ancient past, but had subsequently declined. In this way we also came to know about the glorious past of Indian culture.
Q6. How did the British try to be the guardian of the Indian culture?
Ans: Jones and Colebrooke went about discovering Indian ancient texts, understanding their meaning, translating them, and making their findings known to others. This project, they believed, would not only help the British learn from Indian culture, but it would also help Indians rediscover their own heritage, and understand the lost glories of their past. In this process the British would become the guardians of Indian culture as well as its masters.
Q7. What was the view of Jones and Colebrook about Indian culture?
Ans: Jones and Colebrooke came to represent a particular attitude towards India. They shared a deep respect for ancient cultures, both of India and the West. Indian civilisation, they felt, had attained its glory in the ancient past, but had subsequently declined.
Q8. Why the Hindu college and Madrasa were set up in Benaras and Calcutta respectively?
- Ans: William Jones and Colebrooke wanted to rediscover the Indian culture or glorious pasts. In this process the British would become the guardians of Indian culture as well as its masters.
- Influenced by such ideas, many Company officials argued that the British ought to promote Indian rather than Western learning. They felt that institutions should be set up to encourage the study of ancient Indian texts and teach Sanskrit and Persian literature and poetry.
- With this object in view a madrasa was set up in Calcutta in 1781 to promote the study of Arabic, Persian and Islamic law; and 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.
Q9. What is Orientalist, Munsi and Vernacular?
1. Orientalists – Those with a scholarly knowledge of the language and culture of Asia.
2. Munshi – A person who can read, write and teach Persian.
3. Vernacular – A term generally used to refer to a local language or dialect as distinct from what is seen as the standard language. In colonial countries like India, the British used the term to mark the difference between the local languages of everyday use and English – the language of the imperial masters.
Q10. Why did many British officials refuse to spend money to promote Arabic and Sanskrit language and literature?
Ans: From the early nineteenth century many British officials began to criticise the Orientalist vision of learning. They said that knowledge of the East was full of errors and unscientific thought; Eastern literature was non-serious and light-hearted. So they argued that it was wrong on the part of the British to spend so much effort in encouraging the study of Arabic and Sanskrit language and literature.
Q11. How did James Mill attack to the Orientalists to change the Indian education system?
Ans: James Mill was one of those who attacked the Orientalists. The British effort, he declared, 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”. The aim of education ought to be to teach what was useful and practical. So 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.
Q12. How did Macaulay want to civilized Indians?
Ans: With great energy and passion, Macaulay emphasized the need to teach the English language. He felt that knowledge of English would allow Indians to read some of the finest literature the world had produced; it would make them aware of the developments in Western science and philosophy. Teaching of English could thus be a way of civilizing people, changing their tastes, values and culture.
Q13. Why the Calcutta Madrasa and Benaras Sanskrit college were seen as “temple of darkness”?
Ans: 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 like the Calcutta Madrasa and Benaras Sanskrit College. These institutions were seen as “temples of darkness that were falling of themselves into decay”. English textbooks now began to be produced for schools.
Q14. What is Wood’s despatch? Why it was set up?
Ans: 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 once again the practical benefits of a system of European learning, as opposed to Oriental knowledge.
Q15. How the British government tried to improve vernacular education in India?
Ans: Up to the mid-nineteenth century, the Company was concerned primarily with higher education. So it allowed the local pathshalas to function without much interference.
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.
1. It appointed a number of government pandits to supervise four or five schools.
2. Each guru was asked to submit periodic reports and take classes according to a regular timetable.
3. Teaching was now to be based on textbooks and learning was to be tested through a system of annual examination.
4. Students were asked to pay a regular fee, attend regular classes, sit on fixed seats, and obey the new rules of discipline.
5. Pathshalas which accepted the new rules were supported through government grants.
Q16. How did some Indian thinkers want to modernise our country?
Ans: British officials were not the only people thinking about education in India. 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. They urged the British to open more schools, colleges and universities, and spend more money on education.
Q17. How did M. Gandhi and R.N. Tagore criticize British Indian education system?
- Ans: Mahatma Gandhi’s view:
Mahatma Gandhi argued that colonial education created a sense of inferiority in the minds of Indians. It made them see Western civilisation as superior, and destroyed the pride they had in their own culture. There was poison in this education, said Mahatma Gandhi, it was sinful, it enslaved Indians, it cast an evil spell on them.
- Tagore’s view:
Rabindranath Tagore started the institution in 1901. As a child, Tagore hated going to school. He found it suffocating and oppressive. The school appeared like a prison, for he could never do what he felt like doing. So while other children listened to the teacher, Tagore’s mind would wander away. The experience of his school days in Calcutta shaped Tagore’s ideas of education. On growing up, he wanted to set up a school where the child was happy, where she could be free and creative, where she was able to explore her own thoughts and desires. Tagore felt that childhood ought to be a time of self-learning, outside the rigid and restricting discipline of the schooling system set up by the British. Teachers had to be imaginative, understand the child, and help the child develop her curiosity. Read more…