Previous Posts :
- English Education in India.
- Macaulay’s testament (?) to Indian Honesty, Plans for cultural domination, Muellers’ Praise….
All of us associate Macaulay with English Education in India.
When Macaulay had to choose between Regional Languages (with Munroe), Classical languages (with Hastings and Minto) and English Language (with Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Christian Missionaries), he chose English.
Macaulay felt that the knowledge available in regional languages and in classical languages was of very little value compared with the knowledge available in English. He felt that England benefited from moving away from the Roman, Greek, Anglo-Saxon, Norman literature and focusing on Science education in English.
So when Macaulay voted for English Education, in one sense, he was voting for scientific and technological education. He did not know much of Indian Science and Mathematics, and did not care much for Indian Philosophy.
Indians who treasure Ancient Indian Knowledge don’t like Macaulay. Indians who dislike some Indian traditions like Macaulay.
What do I think?
I am truly grateful that I have been taught Sanskrit and English, Kannada and Hindi. I am grateful for the few words of other languages that I have picked up. I am grateful that I can read Sanskrit texts without the biases of the translators. I am grateful for the national and international worlds of Science and Literature opened upto me through my English Education. I am very grateful that to the extent that I know Indian Regional Languages, I can get the “bhAva” or the exact essence of the wonderful ideas expressed in my mother tongue and neighbouring languages.
I think profound and valuable ideas and knowledge exist in all languages and our capacity to learn languages helps us absorb those ideas!
I think no man must be judged out of his context of place and time. Macaulay may have been no hero and he may have been no fool. He may have had the colonial arrogance, he may have had a political tongue. Maybe he told the British that teaching Indians English would make us a free market for their manufactured goods and make England richer. Maybe he loved his own country as we love ours. Maybe in his heart he was convinced that teaching Indians English was like opening their minds to modern Scientific Ideas.
Maybe he was just this guy you know? Doing a job he was paid to do.? As he knew how..?
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