the Previous Week
The example Macaulay takes
to establish his point is reproduced for the record to illustrate that power
can masquerade as knowledge.
"To take a parallel case: suppose that the Pacha of
Egypt, a country once superior in knowledge to the countries of Europe, but
now sunk far below them, were to appropriate a sum for the purpose ‘of
reviving and promoting literature, and encouraging learned natives of Egypt’
would anybody infer that he meant the youth of his Pashalik to the study of
hieroglyphics, to search into all the doctrines disguised under the
fable Osiris, and ascertain, with all possible accuracy, the ritual
with which cats and onions were anciently adored? Would he be justly charged
with inconsistency if, instead of employing his young subjects in
decyphering obelisks, he were to order them to be instructed in the English
and French languages, and in all the sciences to which these languages are
the chief keys."
Macaulay forgets, conveniently that the Egyptians of the
19th-century did not relate to the early or Paraonic Egyptians as Indians
related to their forbears; that Arabic and Sanskrit were the holy languages
of Indians unlike the hieroglyphs on the obelisks and the pyramids which did
not form the sacred texts of the Egyptians who are now Muslims.
The Hon’ble T.B. Macaulay continues
"...But the admirers of the oriental system of education have used
another argument, which if we admit it to be valid is decisive against all
"They conclude that the public faith is pledged to the present system,
and that to alter the appropriation of any of the funds which have hitherto
been spent in encouraging the study of Arabic and Sanscrit would be
downright spoliation. The grants from the public purse for the encouragement
of literature differ in no respect from grants which are made from the
public purse for other objects of real or supposed utility."
The examples speak for themselves. "We found a
sanatorium at a spot which we suppose to be healthy. Do we thereby
pledge ourselves to keep a sanatorium there if the results do not answer our
expectations? We commence the erection of a pier. Is it a violation of the
public faith to stop the works if we afterwards see reason to believe that
the building will be useless?"
"I hold this lakh of rupees (The reader should note
that all the momentous debate is about a sum which was a lakh of rupees then
and not more than a hundred crores now —- much less than the amount
written off for the buying of a temporary Lok Sabha seat for Inder
Kumar Gujral!) to be quite at the disposal of the Governor General in
Council for the purpose of promoting learning in any way he thought most
advisable." "I told his Lordship to be quite as free to direct
that it shall no longer be employed in encouraging Arabic and Sanscrit, as
he is to direct that the reward for killing tigers in Mysore shall be
diminished, or that no more public money shall be expended in the chanting
at the Cathedral."
As can be seen "Tigers in Mysore" were, even in
1835, very much in the minds of the English. The tiger of Mysore, Tipu
Sultan had died fighting for independence on May 4, 1799. The first
thing the victors did was to reduce the grants for endowments to less than a
fifth of what they had been in a free Mysore. As a result the great Maulanas and
Pandits, hitherto venerated and respected masters of Sanskrit, Persian and
Arabic became dead wood.
The few Indians who acquired literacy in English were
there by grace and favour and they quailed and quivered under the pressure
of the self-contempt their British masters had taught them. Those
Indians who learnt the self-loathing from the British were much more severe
in condemning the Indian heritage than even their teachers and masters.
There has been no attempt at reviving the classical
languages and the Prakrits, the shastriya music and dance. The Akademis set
up in the first flush of Independence and by genuine Indian intellectuals
like Maulana Abul Kalam Azad are today in pathetic and parlous state. Urdu
has been killed because people in power have regarded it as the language of
Pakistan. Its substitute Hindi was a stillbirth.
The rulers of India since 1947 have been largely
illiterate. They neither understand nor appreciate the classical,
pre-British past. Thus the end of the British period, 1947, only ended the
direct or political rule of the alien British. The ghulaamaanaa
zehniyat or slave mentality continues to persist. The pseudo Hindus of the
RSS/VHP/BJP have either no concept of the past or at best a diseased
pathological view in which even taamboul or paan cannot come back into
formal official use as something offered as greeting and welcome.
We continue to be exposed to the ridiculous spectacle of
the Indian Prime Minister offering bouquets to other dignitaries! Perhaps
the pseudo Hindus mistakenly associate paan with "Muslims!"
The Europeanized Indians who preceded them thought paan chewing a dirty
disgusting habit as did their British preceptors.
It is time to address the culture fracture problem as
without it being remedied no amount of economic and political development
can heal the wounds of alien domination and slavery. The creative urges of
the Indian people will remain hobbled by the effects of eight generations of
slavery. Time to set things right. The only way to stop blaming the British
lies in restoring the classical heritage to its rightful place.