Topic outline

    • Civilising the “Native”, Educating the Nation

      Q33. Why many British officials criticized the Orientalists?

      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.


      Q34. What measures were taken by the English Education Act of 1835?
      Enumerate three features of the English Education Act of 1835.
      What were the provisions of English Education Act of 1835?

      Ans. Measures taken by the English Education Act of 1835 were:

                              i.        English was made the medium of instruction for higher education.

                             ii.        Promotion of Oriental institutions like the Calcutta Madrasa and Benaras Sanskrit College was stopped. These institutions were seen as “temples of darkness that were falling of themselves into decay”.

                            iii.        English textbooks began to be produced for schools.

      Q35. Why did Mahatma Gandhi think that English education had enslaved Indians?

      Ans. Mahatma Gandhi thought that English education had enslaved Indians because:

                                 i.        Colonial education created a sense of inferiority in the minds of Indians.

                                ii.        It made them see Western civilisation as superior, and destroyed the pride they had in their own culture.

                               iii.        Indians educated in these institutions began admiring British rule.


      Q36. What measures were taken by the British after issuing of Wood's Despatch?
      Explain the measures introduced by the British following the 1854 Despatch.

      Ans. Following the 1854 Despatch, several measures were introduced by the British.

                                i.        Education departments of the government were set up to extend control over all matters regarding education.

                               ii.        Steps were taken to establish a system of university education. Universities were established in Calcutta, Madras and Bombay.

                              iii.        Attempts were also made to bring about changes within the system of school education.

      Q37. How were the views of Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi on the west different?
      What were the differences between the educational views of Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore?
      What were the differences between Mahatma Gandhi and Rabindranath Tagore’s views on English education?
      How Tagore's views were different from Mahatma Gandhi regarding national education?

      Ans. In many senses Tagore and Mahatma Gandhi thought about education in similar ways. There were, however, differences too. 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 Indian tradition. He emphasized the need to teach science and technology at Santiniketan, along with art, music and dance.


      Q38. Why did James Mill and think that European education was essential in India?

      Ans. James Mill and Thomas Macaulay criticized the Orientalists.

      According to James mill, 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.

      Thomas Macaulay 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 civilising people, changing their tastes, values and culture.

      Q39. Why did many company officials in India want to promote Indian rather than western learning?

      Ans. Many Company officials argued that the British ought to promote Indian rather than Western learning. This so because:

                                i.        They felt that institutions should be set up to encourage the study of ancient Indian texts and teach Sanskrit and Persian literature and poetry.

                                ii.        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.

                                iii.        Only then, they believed, could the British hope to win a place in the hearts of the “natives”; only then could the alien rulers expect to be respected by their subjects.