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Disciplined Subjects: Schooling in Colonial Bengal
 9780367410131, 9781003013990

Table of contents :
Cover
Half Title
Title Page
Copyright Page
Dedication
Table of Contents
List of figures
Preface
Notes
List of
Abbreviations
Introduction
Education and schooling
Indian epistemic traditions
Knowledge and Power
Schooling and subjectivity
Conclusion
Notes
Part I
Chapter 1: Historical Insights of Education in Colonial Bengal, 1757–1911
‘Birds of prey and passage’
The benevolent patrons and oriental institutions
The great contestation – orientalism or Westernisation
Chartering ‘useful’ knowledge
On a civilising mission – missionary schools
Public instruction and institutions
The state of indigenous education in Bengal
Native female education
Despatching the ‘Magna Charta of English Education’
After the mutiny
Disillusionment and nationalistic sentiments
Reformation of Indian education
Notes
Chapter 2: Schooling the Mind – In the Metropole and the Colony
Entwined destinies
Debates on schooling
Schooling the child
Systems of schooling
Institutions of schooling
Methods of schooling
Schooling in the colonies
Missionary interventions
Framing identities
Schooling as control and coercion
Contestation over colonial schooling
Notes
Part II
Chapter 3: Content and Context of Textbooks in Britain
The English Primer tradition in Britain
The secularisation of teaching
The godly and the ungodly
Women writers and education for girls
Needlework for girls and carpentry for boys
Puritanism, middle class values and class aspirations
Fabulous and advisory tales
Divine subjection
Practical readers and nation building
A study of contrasts and racial stereotyping
English readers for the colonies
Notes
Chapter 4: Content and context of textbooks in Bengal
Books for improvement of company officials
Dialoguing with the natives
Standardising vernacular languages and translation of the scriptures
English in taste and Christian in sensibilities – first English textbooks in Bengal
European-Indian collaboration and school book societies
The Bengali’s first primers and language books
The beginning of a new era of bengali prose and selfhood
Unifying Western and indigenous moral pedagogy
Education as the cultivation of moral conduct
Morals based on fables
‘Useful’ and ‘Practical’ education
Books for female students
Towards a Swadeshi pedagogy
Notes
Part III
Chapter 5: Popular representations of the educated Bengali Babu
The rise of the Bengali Babus
Zamindar Babus and their ‘Babu Culture’
The bhadrolok educated Babu
Transformation in the Babu households
Imperial impressions of the Babu
Packing a punch at the Babu
Depiction of the Babu in Indian Punch
Bengali’s self-mockery and criticism of Babuyana
Folk depiction of Babus in Battala prints and Kalighat paintings
Literary parodies of the Babu in early Bengali literature
New wave of literature on the modern Babu
The Nationalistic Hindu Babu, a la Krishna
Notes
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Educational Reports/Minutes/Essays
Journals/Magazines/Newspapers
Addresses/Debates/Speeches
Primary Sources
a. In Bengali/Bi-lingual (Bengali and English)/Translated from Vernacular
b. In English
Secondary Sources
Index

Citation preview

DISCIPLINED SUBJECTS

This book examines interactions between Britain and India through the analytical framework of the production and circulation of knowledge throughout the long eighteenth century. Disciplined Subjects is one of the first works to analyse the imperial school curriculum, and the ways in which it shaped and influenced Indian subjectivity. The author focuses on the endeavours of the colonial government, missionaries and native stakeholders in determining the physical, material and intellectual content of institutional learning in India. Further, the volume compares the changes in pedagogical practices, and textbooks in schools in Britain and colonial Bengal, and its subsequent repercussions on the psyche and identity of the learners. Drawing on a host of primary sources in the UK and India, this volume will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of modern history, education, sociology and South Asian studies. Sutapa Dutta teaches at the Department of English at Gargi College, University of Delhi, India. She has completed a two-year fellowship at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla, India and has a Ph. D in English Literature from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India. Her research interests and publications are focused on eighteenth and nineteenth-century writings and issues relating to education, gender identity and representation in colonial India.

DISCIPLINED SUBJECTS Schooling in Colonial Bengal

Sutapa Dutta

First published 2021 by Routledge 2 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon OX14 4RN and by Routledge 52 Vanderbilt Avenue, New York, NY 10017 Routledge is an imprint of the Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business © 2021 Indian Institute of Advanced Study The right of Sutapa Dutta to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reprinted or reproduced or utilised in any form or by any electronic, mechanical, or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publishers. Trademark notice: Product or corporate names may be trademarks or registered trademarks, and are used only for identification and explanation without intent to infringe. British Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data A catalog record has been requested for this book ISBN: 978-0-367-41013-1 (hbk) ISBN: 978-1-003-01399-0 (ebk) Typeset in Sabon by SPi Global, India

To all my teachers, to whom I owe my understanding of schooling and education

CONTENTS

viii ix xiii

List of figures Preface Abbreviations Introduction

1

PART I

15

1 Historical insights of education in colonial Bengal, 1757–1911

17

2 Schooling the mind – In the metropole and the colony

45

PART II

79

3 Content and context of textbooks in Britain

81

4 Content and context of textbooks in Bengal

116

PART III

169

5 Popular representations of the educated Bengali Babu

171 220 226 249

Conclusion Bibliography Index

vii

FIGURES

3.1 (a and b) BFSS Manual, 1816. Appendix, Specimens of Needlework.93 3.2 A floral pattern in Bowles’s Drawing Book for Ladies; Or Complete Florist (1785).94 3.3 ‘The English Girl and her Ayah’, The Royal Readers 1872: III, 76. 111 4.1 Bengali typeface in A Grammar of the Bengal Language.123 4.2 Wooden Block Face from Madun Mohun Turkalunkar’s Shishu-Shiksha (1849). 141 4.3 Front cover of Barnaparichay, Part II, by Vidyasagar, 1974; author’s own copy. 150 4.4 Rabindranath Tagore’s Sahaj Path Part I, 1955. 163 5.1 Baboo Jabberjee. 186 5.2 A Bayard from Bengal.187 5.3 English Customs and Native Comments. 188 5.4 A young man of genius. 189 5.5 ‘The Young Bengalee Baboo of the Future’. 191 5.6 ‘The British Lion and the Bengalee Ape’. 191 5.7 ‘The Same at the Zoo’. 192 5.8 ‘Our Enlightened and Educated Baboo’. 193 5.9 The ‘Modern’ Krishna. 194 5.10 Gajaner swang.195 5.11 An educated wife. 196 5.12 ‘The effect of the Ilbert Bill’ in Panchu-Thakur.197 5.13 Book cover of Pash kora mag (1888) by Radha Binod Haldar.201 5.14 A woman leading her lover as a sheep. 202 5.15 ‘Revisiting Kaliyug’. 203 5.16 Nabin about to deliver the fatal blow to Elokeshi. 203

viii

PREFACE

A one-day conference at the Royal Society Business Forum in London on 12 February 2019 saw a gathering of teachers, policymakers, scientists, and leaders in business and industry to share their views on how the current education system prepares students for the world of work. It was a platform to seek the views of students, teachers and parents about the benefits and challenges of changing the current education system. Sceptical of the inefficacy of endless tinkering of the educational system, the call was for ways to broaden the curriculum to make education interesting as well as to equip young people entering the workforce to succeed. In a speech given at this Forum, Paul Clarke, Chief Technology Officer at Ocado said: If education is all about preparing the next generation for their future life and instilling a love of learning, then I believe we are failing in terms of the structure and curriculum of our current educational system. The current relentless focus on exams, tests and the regurgitation of mark schemes is consuming almost all the educational oxygen, leaving teachers with little or no time for spontaneity, for sharing their love of a subject and for just pursuing the curiosity of their students to see where it might lead.1 It is indeed noteworthy how ‘instilling a love of learning’, ‘spontaneity’ and ‘pursuing the curiosity’ have always jostled to find place in the world of education usually dominated by a martial regimen of ‘discipline’, ‘subjects’ and ‘lessons’. The association of modern education with market driven ‘success’ has been so deeply ingrained in our consciousness that we seldom give a second thought to the impact that such education has on the minds of the learners. In the context of India these words assume larger significance. Over the centuries we have been subjected to an assortment of methods and modes of education, both indigenous and foreign. In the present educational system we need to question whether we are educating our children or  merely training them. Recently the Delhi state minister of education acknowledged that students of public schools are severely deficient in reading and writing even after six or eight years in school as there is ix

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unfortunately a gap between teaching and learning.2 Krishna Kumar in the Introduction to his book Politics of Education in Colonial India (2014) observes the general lack of curiosity usually to be seen among groups of Indian school children who are taken by their teachers for a formal excursion to the zoo or museum. The teachers too, are more engrossed in disciplining the students, silencing them and controlling their exuberance. ‘Their interest is in keeping the children in order, and not in what they might be noticing or ignoring’ (Kumar 2014: 1). Such exercises are prone towards ‘control’ and ‘silencing’, rather than any worthwhile pursuit of knowledge. Foucault’s provocative analogy between the organisations of schools and prisons as disciplinary spaces remains to a large extent relevant even today (Foucault 1991). As one who has been associated with academics and the teaching profession for many years now, I have often been unhappy with the content and form of the curriculum which is frequently culturally and socially far removed from the immediate experiences of the majority of students. I have also been struck by the paradox that while India has had a rich knowledge system that is the most ancient in the world, yet we are still at the bottom rank when we compare our so called ‘academic achievements’ in the international market. The modern history of Indian education indicates that we have for too long accepted as God-given a selection of knowledge that has not been socially determined. Has our education system failed to stimulate students’ curiosity and imagination? Is there a perceptible lack of intellectual inquiry and are we more inclined to impart and receive ready-made, packaged information? Has education become a short- term training ground where there is no attempt to enable assimilation and internalising of the information, and hardly any attempt to make it a long drawn out area of interest for the students? Is our modern education today just an experimental laboratory for crafting social identities, churning out those desirous of a fast forward jump in class, career and status? The ‘modern’ method of teaching and learning has sadly become myopic, result-oriented, information- centric and topical in nature. It moreover still remains hugely lopsided and biased in terms of class, caste, religion, gender, and community. It is important today to understand the sociology and politics of knowledge structures and their modes of transmission, which have been forwarded to us, and which no doubt has had multidimensional impact on framing the Indian psyche and identity. The greater concern of modern teaching with its focus on disciplining, keeping in order, and subjecting the minds of the learners needs to be understood from the perspective of the colonial legacy that we have inherited and have followed for the last three centuries. These are some of the concerns that propel the enquiry towards the historicity of modern education with the aim to thus show why a particular educational method was adopted predominantly for the schools in the colonies. This work attempts to study the contact between eighteenth-century Britain and India through the analytical frame of a complex formation of knowledge. x

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The objective is to analyse the paradoxical nature of knowledge formation, the rigid imposition of colonial knowledge on the one hand and on the other hand the complexities of their resolution in a multicultural context where the difference between the disseminator and the receiver of knowledge often overlapspped and becomes indeterminate. This work has been possible due to the two-year Fellowship offered by the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (IIAS), Shimla. After years of hectic teaching and administration required as part of my academic job, this fellowship has offered me the much needed time and space to do my own research work. For this opportunity I thank the former Director, Professor Ajit Chaturvedi and the present Director, Professor Makarand Paranjape and Professor Kapil Kapoor the Chairperson of IIAS who was also my former Professor in Jawaharlal Nehru University. IIAS has given me the chance to interact with notable scholars across disciplines. I am particularly grateful to the staff of IIAS, and for some very stimulating discussions I had with the Fellows at IIAS, especially Ramesh Chandra Pradhan, Sujata Patel, Vijaya Ramaswamy, Ashwin Parijat, Hitendra Patel, Debjani Halder and Mundoli Narayanan. The most precious relationships can perhaps never be adequately acknowledged. Had it not been for Debjani and Narayanan, my stay at Shimla, my work, and me as a person would have been so much poorer. Others who have enriched my work with their valuable inputs, constant encouragement and unwavering support are Penelope Corfield, Amiya Sen, Malashri Lal, Anjana Neira Dev, Sujata Dutta and Moushomi Guha. A special thanks to Aakash Chakravarty and Brinda Sen and the entire team at Routledge, who with their warmth and confidence in me have over the years, allowed me to evolve as a writer. And finally a book on education and schooling could never have been possible without all those who have been instrumental in my intellectual development. To all my former teachers, Miss Mary Magdalene for instilling a love of English Literature, Prof. Shanker Dutt for the rigorous training in writing, Prof. Meenakshi Mukherjee for a comparative perspective of literature, Prof. GJV Prasad for the art of effortless teaching, and Prof. Ania Loomba for critical thinking, I dedicate this book to them. For access to some rare and valuable reference sources in the UK, I have to thank the staff members of British Library in London, British and Foreign School Society Library in Brunel University, London, John Rylands Library, Manchester, Manchester University Library, and the National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh. For references to the Baptist missionaries of Serampore I have accessed the Angus Archives in Oxford, the Carey Research Centre at Serampore and Calcutta University. For Bengali Textbooks and schoolbooks brought out by the CSBS, I have benefitted from the rich repositories of the British Library, London, the National Library Kolkata, Bangiya Sahitya Parishat Kolkata, the Asiatic Society Kolkata, Serampore Library, Calcutta University Library, and Jadavpur University Library. For permission to use images in my book, heartfelt thanks to Phaedra Casey, Archivist xi

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at Brunel University London, who time and again has been very generous, Prof. Debaprasad Bandyopadhyay for allowing me to use an image from Cyber Archive of Bangla Graphemes, and the Victoria and Albert Museum for the reprints of Kalighat paintings. A grant from the British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies (BSECS) and another from the Indian Council of Social Science and Research (ICSSR) facilitated travel and research work in London and Edinburgh. Material from parts of this book was delivered in the form of papers in various national and international conferences in JNU, Delhi, at the ISECS International Congress plenary talk at Edinburgh University, and at the Indian History Congress (IHC) plenary in Kannur.

Notes 1 https://royalsociety.org/news/2019/02/call-for-independent-review-of-post16-education/, Accessed on 11 March 2019. 2 ‘Powerful speech by Delhi Education Minister Manish Sisodia on Education’ on https://youtu.be/jBt0dbJG1O8, dated 20 July 2018. Accessed on 1 May 2019.

xii

ABBREVIATIONS

BSPL BMS BFSS BL CSBS CSS CMS EAP EIC FWC FOI GCPI GRPI LMS NES NL SP SPCK V&A WMA

Bangiya Sahitya Parishat Library Kolkata Baptist Missionary Society British and Foreign School Society British Library, London Calcutta School-Book Society Calcutta School Society Church Missionary Society Endangered Archives Programme, British Library, London East India Company Fort William College Friend of India General Committee of Public Instruction General Report on Public Instruction London Missionary Society National Education Society National Library, Kolkata Serampore Press Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge Victoria and Albert Museum, London Working Men’s Association

xiii

INTRODUCTION

This book is concerned with the problem of how men actually think. The aim of these studies is to investigate not how thinking appears in textbooks on logic, but how it actually functions in public life and in politics as an instrument of collective action. Karl Mannheim, Ideology and Utopia: An Introduction to the Sociology of Knowledge, 1936: 1

Education and schooling From primordial identities to invented traditions, our social consciousness or our social imaginaries that shape our culture and identity is based on institutions that facilitate the process of communication. Schools are only one means, but perhaps the most important means of communication that ensures community participation in a common understanding. It secures similar expressive and intellectual dispositions and like ways of responding to expectations and requirements. Formal education through intentional agencies like schools and explicit study materials are the markers of a complex society and advanced civilization. Scholars of educational theory have long debated whether education is development from within or is it formation from without (Dewey 1997: 17). ‘The weightiest problem’ as John Dewey, the American educational reformer wrote, ‘is of keeping a proper balance between the informal and the formal, the incidental and the intentional, modes of education…to avoid a split between what men consciously know because they are aware of having learned it by a specific job of learning, and what they unconsciously know because they have absorbed it in the formation of their characters by intercourse with others…’ (Dewey 2004: 9). The word ‘education’ meaning to draw out from inside, is therefore a consciously directed effort to locate, develop and cultivate the intrinsic powers of the mind. If we were to consider the concept of an universal educational ideal, the function of education would then be to guide, to stimulate ideas, to motivate improvement, and to encourage activities conducive

1

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of personal good and the welfare of the society. To ‘guide’, to ‘lead’, would then also assume a direction; those who are directed are led on a certain pre-planned course, not allowed to deviate or choose an alternate way. The goal of education, as Friedrich Froebel the German educationist put it somewhat ambiguously, consists in ‘leading man as a thinking, intelligent being, growing into self-consciousness, to a pure and unsullied, conscious and free representation of the inner law of Divine Unity, and in teaching him ways and means thereto’ (Froebel 2005: 2). Though Froebel talks of ‘self-active application’ in cultivation of knowledge, he also advises that the education be used to guide, lead and educate others (Ibid., 4). Hence by its inherent conception, formal education is coercive; it is a specially designed and regulated environment of control to influence the mental and moral dispositions of their members, albeit with cooperative effort between teachers and learners. The general concept of education can cover a range of process and functions – rearing, teaching, schooling, training, very often with overlapping and fuzzy distinctions. The education of an individual is an invisible concept, a prolonged concerted stimulus of directions by family, teachers, government, environment and society. It is difficult to assess analytically, nor can the outcome be exactly evaluated and calculated. Of course it cannot be overlooked that there can be no fixed idea of educational goals. Educational aims and perspectives change as much as the guiding cultural principles of a society change over a period of time (Mannheim 1936). The objective is to modify the mind, to balance what is innately known and the socially constructed, to make the individual more socially acceptable in the community. While ‘education’ suggests an incomprehensible linkage to a holistic learning, ‘teaching’, ‘schooling’, and ‘training’ are more tangible processes, embodied in institutions. Training/Schooling is pre-planned instruction given in doses considered fit for assimilation for a determined end. It is a one-sided cognitive development that emphasizes the integration of information for a particular purpose. Training is therefore to teach a particular skill or idea that requires augmentation, for a given time and purpose. It requires mental concentration, memorising and an aptitude to learn the skill. Such a skill may be for a limited use and can be forgotten once the need for it does not exist. The effectuality of training/schooling can be analytically analysed and evaluated. Reasons for shortcomings and failures can be scrutinised and suggestions for improvement can be provided. Failings and limitations can be improved in a given period of time. And the result at the end can be declared to be ‘successful’ or ‘failure’. Mark Twain famously said. ‘I have never let my schooling interfere with my education’. As W.  Kenneth Richmond has very succinctly pointed out, the difference between the two lies in that ‘Animals can be schooled but only human beings can properly be said to be educated’ (Richmond 1975: 15). Both animals and humans can be taught, trained, instructed. Both have the ability to learn by emulating. As the social acceptance of individuals rests on the 2

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psychological and instinctive impulse of individuals to ‘belong’ to the community, young learners can be seen imitating their adult models, picking up the same ideas, beliefs and actions. Formal schooling is a training of a certain mental disposition, a way of understanding, which enables individuals to participate in associated activities of the human community. Schooling is a means to an end, and though it can have many agendas, fostering education is envisioned as one. The dilemma over whether to leave the child to his/her own unguided spontaneity of nature or to mould their capacities and behaviour has figured prominently in the writings of Rousseau, Dewey, Froebel, Pestalozzi and other educational thinkers long before the emergence of modern psychology. Childhood has been a contested site for adults to experiment upon. In fact, John Dewey who joined the University of Chicago as a professor of philosophy and pedagogy in 1894, founded the University Elementary School as it was first called, and then later renamed the Laboratory School, a name that it has retained to this day. Dewey has acknowledged the conflict between the child and the curriculum, and the predicament that educators face on how to develop materials and methods of instruction that would be suitable for children of different stages. The educational challenge then becomes one of seeing whether to regard the child as an immature being, a docile and ductile recipient, or, to regard the child as active and engaged (Dewey 2010: 8–9). In the first instance, the individuality of the child is not seen as important, and often ‘children’ are clubbed as a socially homogeneous category. They are to be the received repository of principles and values, of rituals and ethics; a cultural and moral projection of what is ‘good’ and ‘bad’. In short, the imaginative nodes of the community and worldview of the society gets imprinted at this very vulnerable stage in life. They can therefore be trained, nurtured and ‘processed’ to inculcate intellectual conditions which then can be replicated by them as adults. By late eighteenth century, the upbringing of the child became the central issue of education in the Western world. Education with a new purpose and scope was envisaged by thinkers like Rousseau, Joseph Priestly, David Hartley, Thomas Day, and Maria Edgeworth. They asserted the formative power of education, with a belief in its reformation potentialities. Andrew Bell who established the Monitorial form of schools used the Biblical quotation ‘train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it’ to emphasise the pliant and flexible minds of young students. Like wax or a tender twig they can be bent in any direction, he said, stressing that ‘it is among the young, then, that the ministers of Christ are to look for their chief success’ (Bell 1808: 103). Educationists like Froebel, Maria Montessori and Rabindranath Tagore have argued for appealing to the interest of the child, exciting its imagination and initiating new ideas. A curriculum that just aims to subordinate the life and natural instincts of the child becomes dead and mechanical, a ‘lesson’ to ‘study’, which arrests a holistic development of the child and is bound to impact the child’s later phases in life. 3

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Again as Dewey has warned, to leave the child entirely alone to its crude impulses would be a ‘fundamental error’ (Dewey 2010: 17).

Indian epistemic traditions Modern education in India has been primarily regarded as a concept adopted from the West, a legacy of the colonial rule in India. From conceptualisation of a basic structure of education, to implementation of institutional learning, the education system in India is considered largely dependent on the framework passed on to us by the British. It has been sufficiently posited that colonial education was used as the key tool for justifying the rhetoric of reform and inculcating values among the natives whose intellect was considered ‘juvenile’ and ‘immature’. The West’s perception of India and the very self-image of Indians, to use Amartya Sen’s terms, the external and internal identity of Indians, have been affected by colonialism and its cultural hegemony (Sen 2005: 139). Michael W. Apple has shown the complex set of relationships between education and economic, political and cultural power. He says, ‘Any analysis of the ways in which unequal power is reproduced and contested in society must deal with education. Educational institutions provide one of the major mechanisms through which power is maintained and challenged’ (Apple 2004: vii). Apple looks at the history of western education to highlight the dynamics of ideological domination and posits that academic content and boundaries are consciously constructed. Raymond Williams provides an excellent understanding of how hegemony and ideology works on educational institutions. He writes: The educational institutions are usually the main agencies of transmission of an effective dominant culture…there is a process which I call the selective tradition: that which, within the terms of an effective dominant culture, is always passed off as ‘the tradition’, the significant past. But always the selectivity is the point; the way in which from a whole possible area of past and present, certain meanings and practices are chosen for emphasis, certain other meanings and practices are neglected and excluded. Even more crucially, some of these meanings are reinterprested, diluted, or put into forms which support or at least do not contradict other elements within the effective dominant culture. (Raymond Williams, ‘Base and Superstructure in Marxist Cultural Theory’ in Dale 1976: 205) It is precisely this arbitrary selection and emphasis of a particular ‘tradition’ that has been problematic. The relationship between ideology and school teaching, between power and control, and the perpetuation of ideas through distribution of knowledge is not uniquely Western. The Indian knowledge 4

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system and the intellectual tradition have been equally hierarchical and hegemonic. It has been indubitably exposed to a continuous and cumulative tradition of thinkers, theories and texts in different areas of human thought and experience. The Indian form of enquiry has been to a large extent as Sri Aurobindo said, ‘to arrange the data given by various means of knowledge…and putting them into synthetic relation…’ (Aurobindo 1951: 72). But as can be seen historically in any part of the world, knowledge production lay in the hands of a selected few who had the power to decide and enforce the ‘legitimate’ approach and subject of enquiry. In the ancient Indian tradition, education was imparted through the gurukul system in which the vidyarthi/chhatra (disciples) lived in the guru’s ashram and learnt under his supervision and were expected to tend to the teacher’s house and cattle (Mookerji 1947; Altekar 1957; Sinha 1993; Scharfe 2002). The guru was the source of the ultimate authority in the given domain of knowledge. Every teacher, assisted by his advanced students, formed an institution by himself. Radha Kumud Mookerji points out that the ancient system of education in India was based on a personal ‘living relationship’ between the pupil and the teacher, and was a far cry from the mechanical modern schooling which churns out a factory line of ‘standardised products’ (Mookerji 1947: xxvi). A close intimate association between the teacher and student did exist but that was because only a few high-born pupils were privileged to receive education. Students were taught depending upon their personality and aptitude, but their acceptance and mentoring depended on their socio-economic background and social ranking. The non-Aryans reviled and ostracised for their physical and cultural characteristics, were deprived of participation in intellectual pursuits or religious rituals. Texts could be taught and recited by those born to the higher castes and there are innumerable instances in literature which show that those on the societal lower scale were regularly showed their place if they aspired to learning.1 The gurus, also considered as seers, the disseminators of supreme knowledge, belonged to the upper caste. They were mostly Brahmins or Kshatriyas and were patronised by local rulers and the rich. The Rigveda specifies the qualifications of a teacher as one who has passed the recognised curriculum and is knowledgeable and also one whose ancestors must have been Vedic scholars for at least three generations: ‘Srotriyam Brahmanishtam’ (Mundakopnishad, 1: 2: 12, in Mitra 1964). The function of the teacher was to lead the immature and the ignorant, to mould a shapeless lump of clay, to illuminate and to lead the student to the light of knowledge. He was the spiritual father and guide responsible for the overall moral development of the students. The Sutras also stresses the importance of character building as a part of the education: ‘Dharman achinoti iti acharyah’ (Apastambiya Dharma Sutra, quoted in Mitra, 41). Ancient Indian Education has been intrinsically associated with life and values (Mookerji 1947; Kapoor 2005). All knowledge was for the explicit purpose of self-realisation, for Mukti (Emancipation) which is regarded as 5

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the highest end of life. In the Indian epistemic tradition, the terms used for all rational and speculative knowledge are vidya and gyana. Vidya is the knowledge that is systematised and organised for pedagogic purposes, a discipline, a knowledge of the perceptible world, gained through sensory observations and experiences. This study of the outer world enables the person to gain inner self-cognition too. Vidya enables us to achieve gyana. It illuminates us, shatters illusions and provides us with an unfailing insight. Naasti vidya samam chakhu, Naasti satyasamam tapah. (Mahabharata XII 339.6) Gyana is the cumulative knowledge in a particular domain. Gyana is the third eye of human, which gives him the insight and wisdom to act accordingly (Mitra 1964: 35). Gyanan trityan manujasya netran samamsta tatvartha vilokdaksham Bhartrihari in Vakyapadiya specifies the process of knowledge formation (Bhartrihari 1971). Vidya is achieved through the input of the senses (indriya), processed by the intellect (buddhi) and finally internalised as gyana by deep thought and reflection of the mind (chintana and manana). Thus, knowledge that is used for the everyday way of life, is vyavahara vidya, and the ultimate and final knowledge is paramartha gyana. In the epistemology of Indian thought perception and inference are important no doubt, but far more important is the ‘inner mind’, which plays an important role in knowledge formation by reflection, argumentation and meditation. This then finally constitutes knowledge (gyana) which transforms the self. The integrated ‘experience’ is therefore an integral part of knowledge which has been regarded ‘as a source of illumination and power…a harmonious development of our physical, mental, intellectual and spiritual power and faculties’ (Altekar 1957: 8). All gyana is intrinsically bound with the four ends of life for an individual: dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (pleasure), and moksha (liberation). The four ends of life point to the balanced integration of the physical, intellectual, spiritual and economic that is the main objective of knowledge. As Max Muller put it, knowledge in India was ‘for the highest purpose that man can strive after in this life’ (Muller 2004: 370). The Indian system of education was thus based on a system of standardised training and discipline. The teacher-student relationship, the methods of training, the ideals, practices, textbooks, and the entire structure was methodically and systematically institutionalised which did not allow much change or flexibility. According to Dharampal, indigenous education even in the colonial period was quite advanced and wide spread. Compared to England, he writes, ‘the duration of study was more prolonged…school attendance… 6

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was proportionately far higher than the numbers in all varieties of schools in England in 1800 (Dharampal 1983: 14). William Adam’s investigation of vernacular education in Bengal and Behar conducted with great diligence and extended over a period of three years from 1835 to 1838, provided valuable statistics on the intellectual condition of the masses of the region. In spite of the practical difficulty of such an inquiry and the expected inaccuracies, his Reports to Lord William Bentinck are still held in high esteem for their research on the educational conditions and systems prevalent in that period. He stated that ‘the system of village schools is extensively prevalent’ and assessed that there were 100,000 indigenous elementary schools in Bengal (Adam 1868: 18–19). The education of Bengali children, he reported commenced from the age of five and continued for five years. The schools were privately run, and teachers were dependent on private donations and endowments from rich patrons (Ibid. 19). The Hindu elementary schools were known as pathsalas,2 tols or chatuspathis in Bengal, and Muslim institutions were called madarsas or maktabs. The Hindu students were taught by gurus and pundits, and the madarsas were meant for Muslims who were instructed by local maulvis. Tol and chatushpathi were traditional Sanskrit pathsalas meant chiefly for theological instructions based on Hindu scriptures.

Knowledge and Power The key theoretical concept underlying my argument is the sinuous relation between knowledge and power. Drawing upon Gramsci and Foucault’s writings in relation to knowledge, hegemony and power (Gramsci 1971; Foucault 1980), scholars like Edward Said (1978), Gauri Viswanathan (1989), Bernard Cohn (1996), followed by his student Nicholas Dirks have analysed knowledge formation in colonial India based on a broad Christian developmental framework as one of the foremost agendas of the colonial civilising mission in India. It has been widely agreed that the colonial conquest of territory was not just the result of superior military prowess or strategic political decisions. Knowledge constituted a big factor in the conquest and control of colonies. As Nicholas Dirks asserts, ‘Colonial knowledge both enabled conquest and was produced by it’ (Foreword to Cohn 1996: ix). The ‘selectivity’ of the educational framework, ideologically manipulated, constructed by a dominant group, is always dependent on consensus. Consensus is again a complex nexus of those who are in power and those who share the liminal glory of that power. This serves perhaps as only a starting point to explicate the relationship between knowledge, ideology and power. It is important in my analysis to factor in the ideology behind the organising and filtering of normative and conceptual knowledge that reached the students, and to what extent this was mediated by the colonisers. My work intends to take into account the cultural control that was 7

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enforced with the active collusion of those who conformed and contributed to the common process of creation of knowledge. It is imperative to understand the colluding of certain sections that were the beneficiaries of such a mechanism in colonial Bengal, and how western education was appended as an arsenal for social mobility. Such participants, not always from the dominant group, I go on to argue, helped recreate and perpetuate the ideological and structural hegemony of the powerful. Alok Mukherjee too acknowledges that the ‘foundation and system of education has had a profound and continuing impact on Indian society, well after the end of British colonial rule’, and believes that ‘at least a section of the indigenous elites were active agents and participants’ in this colonial hegemonic project (Mukherjee 2009: 51). The formation of knowledge is no longer seen as the sole right or property of any single individual, group or institution. The social nature of knowledge formation and its circulation is today evident from the increasing works on imperial encounters where the attempt is to look for ‘contact zones’ and unifying narratives to trace larger connections between the East and the West (Pratt 1992: 4).3 Scholarly attention has been recently directed at how knowledge moves, gets negotiated, even contested, and is continuously moulded in the process. New vistas for research have opened up by putting knowledge at the centerstage of historical endeavour. The diffusionist theory posits the spread of knowledge from imperial metropolis to dependent colonies, whereas the indigenist model asserts the important but unacknowledged contribution of indigenous knowledge and scholarship in generating new knowledge. In the early 1990s a number of prominent imperial historians like C. A. Bayly contested the theory of a simple diffusion of power emanating from a pre-existing centre. Rejecting the idea of a hegemonic and Eurocentric nature of colonial knowledge, they argued for a circulation of knowledge. Bayly’s Empire and Information presented a fresh perspective by proposing an alternative historical critique of colonialism and knowledge in eighteenth and nineteenth century India, by ‘deconstructing the notion of orientalism’ (Bayly 1996: 370). His criticism of the excessive connivances between knowledge and power was echoed by David Washbrook who critiqued the centre theory of knowledge production (Washbrook 2004). James Secord in his seminal article ‘Knowledge in Transit’ has argued that the frameworks for understanding the larger narratives of science have been largely constrained, and ‘we need to grapple with the circulation of knowledge at the right scale’ (Secord 2004: 672). Kapil Raj posits that not just scientific knowledge but knowledge per se is not a one way dissemination but ‘a constantly shifting process in which both sides participate, and that makes such encounters complex historical events and moments of discovery’ (Raj 2006: 8). Either way it cannot be denied that knowledge formed an essential part in the establishment of the British Empire in India. My purpose is not to suggest that any of these interpretations is necessarily wrong; indeed, each 8

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of these perspectives throws a new light on this intercultural encounter. It can be argued that the dialectics of diffusion of knowledge have been shaped at different times and space through contestations, collaborations and compromises. At the same time I find it difficult to call it ‘circulation’ of knowledge. My contestation is that we cannot overlook the centre-periphery framework especially in the colonial context. Circulation of knowledge can only happen in the assumption of an equal stratum; in the unequal hierarchical world of the nineteenth century in particular (and even today to a great extent), the acceptance and flow of knowledge was possible because it came from a certain quarter of the globe. Political, social and economic aspirations are closely bound up with knowledge institutions and power relations. Kapil Raj seems to be straddling two contrary positions when he states that ‘it was not the learned academics and universities, the traditional loci of knowledge-making activity in Europe, which were directly involved in producing knowledge overseas, although they often planned and oversaw transcontinental, and trans-oceanic, exploratory expeditions’ (Raj 2006: 15). One cannot ignore or dismiss the fact that institutions like the Royal Society of London, the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the British Foreign School Society (BFSS), and religious missions in Britain along with the Asiatic Society and School Book Societies in India were the loci of producing and dissemination of knowledge both at home and overseas. These were the officially recognised ‘control zones’ of knowledge production. What we have, thus had been a ‘percolation’ of knowledge that seeps down through multiple layers, with a possibility of circulation within one stratum only. Certain people and institutions ‘make’ knowledge, and are largely dependent on the locations in which knowledges have been formed, knowledge percolates down, mostly unevenly and unequally. For this reason it behoves scholars to scrutinise knowledge formations and to reflect on the role of knowledge in society and human life in a particular time and context. As ideas moved between continents and communities, and the colonised and the coloniser had to increasingly depend on each other for ‘knowledge’, the crucial role of the construction and reconfiguration of knowledge became an important and challenging factor. Following the chronological trajectory of the British in Bengal from 1757 when the British East India Company (EIC) occupied Bengal, till 1911 when the capital of the Raj was shifted to Delhi, the manifold discourses on education in the Indian colony are examined. As the EIC established itself more firmly in its role of an administrator, education began to assume a key role in the colonial project. The endeavours of the colonial government, the Anglicists and Orientalists, missionaries and native stakeholders, and the role of some preeminent players like the British Foreign School Society (BFSS), the School Book Society, Fort William College (FWC), Asiatic Society, and Serampore Press (SP) were instrumental in shaping the physical, material and intellectual content of institutional learning in British India. At the same time one cannot overlook 9

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the exceedingly important part that institutions like the local informal ‘cottage societies’ in eighteenth-century Britain, and the more formalised institutions like the BFSS and Charity Schools in England had in determining the form, content and method of elementary education in the colony. In the transmission and appropriation of knowledge, in the space of this unique intercultural encounter between the British and the Indians, the latter were simultaneously the recipient and the agent.

Schooling and subjectivity Educational institutions play a critical role in not just processing knowledge, but they also ‘process people’ (Young 1971; Apple 2004). Consciously, or unconsciously, the disbursed knowledge elicits a differential response from the students who are of dissimilar disposition, values, and economic and cultural background. Schools recreate and highlight cultural and economic disparities, though this may not be the purpose of educational institutions. But curricula, if we accept it to be ideologically constructed, are latently aimed to filter people by being meant for some and not for others. Knowledge does not seep into every student in the same way. Different ‘kinds’ of students get different ‘kinds’ of knowledge. Underlying meanings are negotiated, transmitted and consumed very differently by teachers and students (Apple 2004: 48). Who is teaching what and to whom is of the utmost importance. Our identities are based on a wide variety of institutions and authority figures like schools, family, parents, teachers, the books that we read, the films that we watch, and even advertisements and social media. We are given to believe that we have an agency over our identity, that it is self-driven and negotiable. Lawrence M. Friedman differentiates between identity defined in traditional societies on a vertical plane which is determined by a clear line of authority from top to bottom, where identity is fixed by one’s birth or social position. But in modern society he says, identity and authority have become much more horizontal: people feel freer to choose who they are and to form relationships on a plane of equality. He asserts that today ‘one even chooses (within limits) a race, a gender, a form of sexuality’, and he goes on to say that this ‘choice is often an illusion’ (Friedman 1999: 240). The truth is that we have a very narrow range of limited choices within which to fashion our identity; sometimes such ‘choices’ are very rigidly prescribed. Our inner selves then inevitably seem to involve other people; in other words, the subject is always subjected to by other subjects. The margin between selfconstruction and social-construction is so nebulous that we can seldom distinguish which factor has an imposing influence in defining our identity and subjectivity. Etymologically, the word subject means to be placed under, or thrown under. So, one is always subject of and subjected to something (Hall 1960: 4). In other words, how does our understanding of knowledge relate to our understanding of our own nature and being? 10

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As Regenia Gagnier has pointed out, the subject is first and foremost an ‘I’ from its own perspective. But because at the same time the subject is subject to and of others, it means that this affects its sense of subjectivity. Gagnier distinguishes between objectivity and subjectivity, the former from the perspective of ‘truth’ and the latter from the limited perspective of the individual (Gagnier 1991: 8–9).4 Hence, Rene Descartes famous delineation, ‘I think, therefore I am’ posits that the very essence of the human subject (substance), it’s very ‘being’, lies in its thinking, in its power to imagine, doubt, judge and produce knowledge. In relation to Descartes conception it can then be said that the human subjectivity is based on his/ her agency, as it is our thinking which makes us who we are. This then is the foundation of all human knowledge. The human ability to consciously reflect upon the sources of knowledge, to evaluate systematically the formation of knowledge is to be in charge of its ‘being’. Self-conscious reflection is the realisation of self-actualisation. In the absence of the freedom or the inability ‘to think’, the I cease to exist. In studying the possible subjects formed within the colonial educational structure, a key component in the understanding of the broader implication for subjectivity is how thinking was separated from the subject to create a ‘disciplined subject’ that did as it was bid. The study also reviews whether the subordinate class was merely a passive tool of the dominant ideology, or as Gramsci had argued, they too exerted influence through their own cultural institutions (Gramsci 1971).

Conclusion A lot of excellent scholarly works exist on the historiography of British imperial education policy of this period (Howell 1872; Ghosh 1995; Basu 2005). While such books are undoubtedly informative, they seldom link the methods with the results. Others have analysed the political imperatives that shaped colonial education policies and curriculum (Mangan 1993; Seth 2007; Mukherjee 2009) Sanjay Seth’s Subject Lessons: The Western Education of Colonial India (2007) which studies the dissemination of ‘modern western education’ in India from 1835 onwards professes to be ‘principally concerned not with the thinking and intentions of the colonizer but with how western education was received and consumed by the colonized’ (Seth 2007: 3). I have tried to fill up this lacuna that Seth’s book admits not to address. I feel that it is precisely ‘the thinking and intentions of the coloniser’ which need to be studied in order to come to a clearer understanding of how it was received. There have been seminal works on missionary education in India and the growth of the Empire (Laird 1972; Johnston 2003; Bellenoit 2007; Dutta 2017a). Others have analysed the effects of English education, especially the introduction of English literature in higher education as an imperial tool for educating and civilising colonial subjects (Viswanathan 1989; Joshi 2002). Sibaji Bandyopadhyay’s 11

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Gopal-Rakhal Dvanda Samas (1991) is an important study of the evolution of Bengali literature for children, but it does not bring the imperial connections within its framework. All these are important studies which have helped me to shape my work. Yet, despite frequent assertions about the necessity to explore the historical roots of Indian subjectivity as formed by colonial education, no full-fledged work exists on the role of imperial elementary curriculum, especially school textbooks, in the creation and perpetuation of imagining and labelling colonial subjects. This is surprising considering that the very purpose of the BFSS was to design pedagogy, curriculum and textbooks specifically for formal schooling in the colonies. This book explores the function of education, curriculum and school textbooks in Britain and Bengal in shaping imperial images of ‘native subjects’. The purpose is to study how the content of the textbooks first of all validated the cultural and political supremacy of the British as a race and colonial power; and second, how such knowledge radically altered the frameworks within which young minds were traditionally taught to think. In addition, the book considers the formation of subjectivity not just by the coloniser, but also how the colonised constructed its own terrain of knowledge that resisted, overlapped or complemented colonial knowledge formations. It takes into account the questioning of colonial indoctrination, and reformulations of an alternate ‘image’ by the Bengalis, as was evident in the textbooks written by them. The study draws upon a plethora of sources – the EIC’s education policies, secular/religious teaching by the missionaries particularly the Baptist missionaries in Bengal, the contribution of FWC in Calcutta, of printing presses, and educational institutions in British Bengal. I have chosen to make a detailed study of a range of textbooks in English and Bangla which were prescribed in educational institutions in this period, especially moral books, Scriptural teachings, history, Grammar, Primers and Language books. The role of the Serampore Press, Asiatic Society, and the CSBS in bringing out such text books and the socio-cultural repercussions of such curricular and non-curricular education are also examined. Through a close study of the early school text books it will be sought to manifest their pivotal role in moulding the minds of generations of Bengalis eager for ‘western’ learning. Apart from the curriculum and textbooks, I also look at the non-curricular activities like needle-work and physical training that formed an integral part of colonial education. The work highlights the epistemological means to control ‘subjected’ learners, and the avidity with which the newly educated section transcended the traditional moorings of caste and class by championing the cause of education. This could be seen in the prolific emergence of vernacular Primers, Bangla language books and translations from English to Bangla. The introduction of printed textbooks in schools whether considered to be an imperial ‘gift’, or alternately as a conscious ‘tool’ to civilise the natives, has left an indelible imprint on the subjectivity of native learners. 12

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The textbooks referred to for the study of the content and context of empiricist applications of learning are selective and certainly not exhaustive. But these were some of the books that generations of learners in Britain and India had grown up studying. As has been emphasised, in order to comprehend the repercussions of these textbooks, a comparative understanding of the content and contexts of textbooks both in British and Indian schools is required. Elementary school books followed in colonial India were those that were either recommended by Britain, or largely based on textbooks used in British schools. The introduction of mass education in both Britain and Bengal implied a democratisation of knowledge, but it hid many fissures and fractures in the social and economic structure of the society. The objective of my work is to highlight how such gaps have always been deliberately sustained or brushed under the carpet to suit the needs of those who produce knowledge. From a materialist and institutional perspective, these textbooks have been analysed as part of a psychological and cultural management designed to mask, justify and legitimise structural social hierarchies and privileges. At the same time the work explores the formative role of colonial education in the emergence of a ‘modern’ nationalist India. While postulating the broader impact of colonial educational policies, textbooks and pedagogy, the study does not intend to ignore or sidestep some other very vital influences. The influence of colonial education and Bengal’s response to it were determined to a considerable extent by existing knowledge systems, indigenous systems of public instructions, and patterns of social communication. Even while it was absorbing and responding to useful and scientific knowledge and western theories, and the English language was achieving dominance, the education system in colonial India retained distinctly Indian features. In trying to understand the intellectual activity in a particular period and region, I am acutely aware of the limitations and traps that one may fall into. As there are many representations and multiple perspectives of knowledge, there are also many divergent ‘knowers’. There is need to be constantly aware that there can be no objective understanding of knowledge formation, that there are multiple ways of looking at it, and there can be no assertion of ‘fact’. Every assertion of ‘fact’ is socially and situationally determined, and touches upon the interests of some social group or individual, and that every objective ‘reality’ is ideologically framed. And yet at the same time it is necessary to have diverse ‘facts’, because the very equilibrium of a society rests upon the divergent interpretations of ‘facts’. Second, it is natural that in a stratified society the perspective of the dominant class will have greater legitimacy and power. School teaching can only be seen as one of the effective means to establish the ideological hegemony of the dominant class. Nor was it strictly a one way production of knowledge. India had been a participant in the global production and dissemination of knowledge from early recorded history. Given the migration 13

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of ideas it is hard to pinpoint any particular concept or idea as being specifically from any dominant area or group. The point thus is to see how certain ideas and values get objectified as ‘facts’, and how such representation can suppress other perspectives in the long run. Third, the selection of textbooks used for interpreting knowledge formation is severely limiting by its availability, as perhaps no one thought it necessary to preserve primers and textbooks for any researcher to be interested in two hundred years later. Such textbooks are difficult to locate, and I am basing my interpretation on a limited available sample. And last, though I hope to be open and unbiased in my critique of such knowledge formation, I cannot overlook the fact that my expressive and cognitive reflexions have been to a large extent moulded by such an education system.

Notes 1 The story of Eklavya in the Mahabharata has been interpreted as reinforcing Brahmanical hegemony and depriving the lower castes of education. When Eklavya, a tribal boy aspired to learn the art of archery from the Brahmin guru Dronacharya, he was refused because of his low birth. To eliminate the possibility that this low-caste boy could pose to be a better marksman than his favourite pupil Arjuna, Drona asked Eklavya to cut off his thumb and give it to him as his guru-dakshina (a gift to the guru). 2 Pathsala literally meant a place for learning. 3 Kapil Raj takes the term ‘contact zones’ from Pratt (1992: 4) to extend the geographical and temporal concept to denote a space of social, cultural and economic intersection and interaction (Raj 2006: 11). 4 For a lucid explanation of the term subjectivity see Gagnier (1991) and Hall (1960).

14

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It would probably be difficult to find any population so teachable and so much interested in receiving instruction as large sections of the natives of India. Pall Mall Gazette. Quoted in Hints on Government Education in India by John Murdoch, 1873: 1

1 HISTORICAL INSIGHTS OF EDUCATION IN COLONIAL BENGAL, 1757–1911

‘Birds of prey and passage’ When Edmund Burke gave a speech in the British House of Commons on 1 December 1783, it showed that he was perturbed with the role of the EIC in India. He said: Our conquest there [in India], after twenty years, is as crude as it was the first day…Young men (boys almost) govern there, without society, and without sympathy with the natives…Animated with all the avarice of age, and all the impetuosity of youth, they roll in one after another; wave after wave; and there is nothing before the eyes of the natives but an endless, hopeless prospect of new flights of birds of prey and passage, with appetites continually renewing for a food that is continually wasting. (Parliamentary Debates 1814: 1333) Burke’s critique of Indian affairs under the EIC which he saw as a quasiprivate company to accumulate wealth, was to culminate in the famous impeachment of Warren Hastings. From a joint-stock company established in 1600, the EIC soon rose to spectacular heights as it secured trading rights in the Indian subcontinent. With the defeat of the Nawab of Bengal by Lord Clive in the Battle of Plassey in 1757, and the more conclusive Battle of Buxar in 1764, the Company became virtual masters of Bengal and a formidable power to reckon with. This extraordinary success was to unfortunately prove to be the bane of the Company. As one essay written in 1776 on East India trade noted: It has excited such a spirit of rapacity in their servants, such a thirst of power in the Directors, and such a desire of garbling their possessions, in our ministers, as have already co-operated almost to its destruction. (Essay 1776: 25)

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The EIC officials and their participation in the British imperial project in India were contentious issues in the late eighteenth century. Taking advantage of the political chaos, many British officials engaged in private trade and took personal bribes, and enriched themselves at the financial expense of the Company. By the last decades of the century domestic critics of Britain’s imperial policies had begun to use the term ‘nabobs’ disparagingly for all those Company servants who returned from India having made their ill-gotten fortunes in India (Holzman 1926; Spear 1998; Nechtman 2006).1 Such acts were much resented by the general English public, and attempts were made to check those who were responsible for avaricious acts in office. The EIC was in deep financial trouble, and Robert Clive was called before Parliament to explain his personal amassed wealth in India. But it was not till Lord North’s Regulating Act was passed in 1773 that the Parliament had some control over the Company’s activities. The Act established a fourmember council to regulate the activities of the EIC, and forbade Company officials from engaging in any private trade or from accepting personal gifts from the natives. By the end of the eighteenth century a significant shift had taken place in the conceptual role of the EIC as rulers of India. The mercenary mercantile image associated with its early days, and later as the confrontational conqueror and fortifier of territories underwent a subtle yet significant transformation. The general consensus was to completely overhaul the image of the Company and project it as a benevolent Imperial power. Also, a more proactive imagining of an English identity back home meant a similar projection of identity in its colonies.2 With his keen perception, Warren Hastings, the first Governor General of India realised that the commercial image of the Company needed to change if it was to establish a more solid foundation in India. Earlier in 1772, when Hastings took up office as the Governor of Fort William in Bengal, he was appalled at the general ignorance and incompetence of the Company’s civil servants. Realizing the important role education was to play in the consolidation of a permanent rule, he was quick to acknowledge: ‘Every accumulation of knowledge, and especially such as is obtained by social communication with people over whom we exercise a dominion founded on the right of conquest, is useful to the state: it is the gain of humanity’.3

The benevolent patrons and oriental institutions Warren Hastings had an imperial vision and in the founding period of the British Raj he can be justly credited for the shrewd adaptation and skilful manipulation of existing socio-cultural institutions of India. His encouragement of oriental learning and patronage of traditional educational institutions was instrumental in the phenomenal revival of ancient learning in India. He himself had a knack for Indian languages, and had achieved a fair degree of competence in Persian and Urdu, two commonly used languages of north India. Assisted by a group of scholars like Charles Wilkins 18

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(1750–1836), N.B. Halhed (1751–1830), J. Duncan (1756–94) and William Jones (1746–94), they made significant contributions to India’s literary landscape. Nathaniel Halhed wrote the Code of Gentoo Laws in 1776, and William Jones translated the ‘Code of Manu’ in 1794, considered to be the oldest precepts of Hindu jurisprudence. Halhed’s Bengali Grammar was published in 1778, and Charles Wilkins came out with a grammar of Sanskrit. It was felt that to rule India effectively it was necessary to know the laws and languages of the land. The European Orientalists were quick to realise the immense potential of this valuable repository of ancient knowledge and wisdom. Both Sir William Jones and Sir Charles Wilkins, made invaluable contributions to literature in general by producing the first English translations of some of the greatest gems of Sanskrit literature. It led Hastings to assert that such an effort ‘cannot fail to open our minds, and to inspire us with that benevolence which our religion inculcates, for the whole race of mankind’ (Quoted in Marshall 1973: 258). This period has been seen as what Kopf terms as a ‘Renaissance’ of a ‘Golden Age’ (Kopf 1969). Such a renaissance referred to a revitalisation of a definite preMughal period of Indian history. Historically, it implied that the Mughal period was a transitory period of medieval barbarity which saw a breakdown of traditional Hindu principles and values, and neglected the glorious culture and civilisation of ancient India. Education and learning began to assume a key role in the colonial project. Education was considered necessary in conjunction with the imperial agency to formulate new ways of bringing a radical change in the image of the English rulers. Having replaced the Mughals who were particularly represented by the English as despotic and degraded, the new rule was posited as a modern benefactor that would bring about improvement in society. As Ashis Nandy points out, the ‘psychology of colonialism’ was based on establishing ‘a clear disjunction between India’s past and its present’ (Nandy 1993: 17). To legitimise British acquisition of India it was necessary to project the English as benefactors and their ‘rule’ as a benevolent and necessary form of despotism for the good of the people. Hastings was at the same time perceptive to realise that Islamic learning and culture too, had to be simultaneously promoted to please the substantial Muslim numbers in Bengal, even though largely monopolised by the Hindus at that time. In 1781 he established the Calcutta Aliya Madrasa at the request of a Muslim deputation. The institution was widely popular and the courses included Quranic law and theology, arithmetic, and grammar. The main object was ‘to conciliate the Mahomedans of Calcutta… to qualify the sons of Mahomedan gentlemen for responsible and lucrative offices in the state…’ (quoted in Riaz 2008: 68). The madrasa served the purpose of producing persons adequately trained in Islamic law (fiqh) who were then equipped to handle clerical issues in government offices. Such efforts to stratify society along religious lines, as we shall see, had an impact on the educational policies of the colonial administration with far reaching consequences. 19

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From the end of the eighteenth century, formal educational institutions and public education became one of the foremost agendas of the colonial civilising mission in India. The English had now donned the more likeable façade of a benevolent patron of learning. The Asiatic Society of Bengal was founded on 15 January 1784 in Calcutta on Lord Hastings’ initiative and the efforts of the Orientalist, Sir William Jones, who was then a Puisne Judge on the Supreme Court of Judicature at Fort William. The Society which was formed on the plans of the Royal Society of London, had as members William Jones, John Hyde, Charles Wilkins, Jonathan Duncan, Charles Hamilton, and others, with Warren Hastings as their patron. The Society, as was envisaged, was ‘instituted for the purpose of inquiring into the History Civil and Natural, the Antiquities, Arts, Sciences, and Literature of Asia’, with the purpose ‘of concentrating all the valuable knowledge, which might occasionally be attained in Asia’ (Asiatic Researches 1799: I, iv–v). In the inaugural address delivered by William Jones, he could ‘confidently foretell’ that ‘an institution so likely to afford entertainment, and convey knowledge, to mankind, will advance to maturity by slow, yet certain, degrees; as the Royal Society…rose gradually to that splendid zenith…’ (Ibid. x–xi). In 1830 James Prinsep took up the responsibility, and the first  issue that came out in March 1832 was published under the title of The Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. The Preface professed that the scope and the objective of the journal was to ‘embrace the literature, the manners, the geography, physical and mineral, the arts, the natural productions of Asia, the phenomena of its climate, and observations of the heavens’ (The Journal 1832: x). This research institute went on to make significant contributions to India’s literary landscape in the fields of archaeology, geology, history, law and Asian languages (Mitra 1974; Chakrabarty 2008).4 Another important institute of learning that changed the face of formal education in India was the Fort William College (FWC) in Calcutta. Like his predecessor, the Governor General Richard Marquis Wellesley was much enthused to give shape to a centre of learning which would provide training and knowledge of Indian languages. In his Minute, dated 18 August 1800, Wellesley stated his objective in establishing a college in Bengal: The British Possession in India now constitute one of the most extensive and populous Empires in the world…The duty and policy of the British Government in India therefore require, that the system of confiding the immediate exercise of every branch and department of the Government to Europeans educated in its own service, and subject to its own direct control, should be diffused as widely as possible, as well with a view to the stability of our own interests, as to the happiness and welfare of our Native Subjects. (Roebuck 1819: i–ii) 20

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The greatest contribution made in this direction was the establishment of the College of Fort William on the banks of the River Hoogly in Calcutta. The Fort was built with the original purposes of trade and defense, and had comprised of warehouses and living quarters for merchants and writers of the EIC. The foundation of the College, was significantly on 4 May, 1800, the first anniversary of the fall of Seringapatam. It was to be the ‘most becoming public monument which the EIC could raise to commemorate the conquest of Mysore’ (Roebuck 1819: xxiv). The College thus became from its very inception a feather in the cap of the Company’s achievements in India. It became synonymous with the many indicators of power and glory of the British. The objective of the institution was, as Wellesley was to stress in his Minutes, to acquire an intimate knowledge of the languages, the laws of the country, in order to understand and administer more efficiently and effectively. The Civil Servants of the EIC who came to India were no longer to be considered as agents of a commercial concern but were now regarded as the ministers and officers of a powerful Sovereign. On 3 January 1799 Wellesley issued a notification to all civil servants in the Bengal Presidency, stating that: ‘from and after 1 January 1801, no servant will be deemed eligible to any of the offices unless he shall have passed an examination (the nature of which will be hereafter determined) in the laws and regulations and in the languages, a knowledge of which is hereby declared to be an indispensable qualification’ (Ghosal 1944: 244–45). This rule made it mandatory for officials to have a minimum proficiency in Persian and Hindustani. In 1800 Lord Wellesley opened the FWC to function as an academy and learning centre for Oriental studies, to teach India’s vernacular languages to those British who were to be part of the ruling group. An appeal was circulated throughout the country, ‘announcing the establishment of the College and inviting men of learning from its various provinces to proceed to Calcutta and accept the office of teachers’ (Marshman 1859: I, 147). More than 50 responded. Only Europeans were appointed as Professors and Teachers, and they then selected distinguished Indian scholars as their munshis [interpreters/instructors] to assist in their teaching, translating and other scholarly work (Das 1978: 15–16). It was decided to locate the College at Writers’ Building in the heart of the city and to hire additional buildings if required, before a more commodious and ideal place could be located. The College continued to function from here till it eventually had to close down in 1854. FWC came to be regarded as the ‘Oxford of the East’ within a couple of years of its inception. An essay written by a student of the College in 1802 expressed this feeling: The establishment of the College of Fort William has already excited a general attention to Oriental languages, literature and knowledge, which promises to be productive of the most salutary effects in the administration of every branch of the affairs of the honourable Company in India. (Essays 1802: x) 21

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The great contestation – Orientalism or Westernisation In spite of its initial success, the College soon became the point of disagreement among the Court of Directors. Kopf observes, ‘For the moment the College of Fort William had become a political football in the larger economic struggle between the members of the Court of Directors and the Board of Control’ (Kopf 1969: 131). The issues were not just political or ‘mercantile mentalities’ as Wellesley insinuated. The larger issues were a clash of personalities amongst the members, between the Orientalists and the Anglicists, which has been subsequently called the ‘The Great Indian Education Debate’ (Zastoupil and Moir 1999). When the College at Fort William was set up, the nature of the Company’s disagreement with Wellesley was over the purpose of the institution. Whereas Wellesley stressed the importance of Oriental teaching as a valuable tool to facilitate better administration, Charles Grant, the Director of the Board regarded Westernisation as a more efficient way. Wellesley’s aim was to train the newly appointed recruits of the Company to undergo ‘an assimilation to Eastern opinions’, ‘in the laws and regulations and in the languages, a knowledge of which is hereby declared to be an indispensable qualification’ (Ghosal 1944: 244–45). But Charles Grant, the Director of the Board who was in favour of Westernisation had no sympathy for Oriental learning and was critically opposed to the teaching of Oriental literature in the college. Charles Grant, a votary of western education, the Anglicist who believed that British power in India could be morally justified by introducing western ideas was the first to propose a coherent plan for educational reform. His A Proposal for Establishing a Protestant Mission in Bengal and Behar (1787) and later Observations on the State of Society among the Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain (1792) were highly influential in determining the ways colonial government would impart education to its subjects. Grants’ enthusiasm for the evangelisation of India led him to put forward his Proposal which urged that ‘it was the duty of Englishmen to impart to them [the people of India] the civil and religious privileges which they themselves enjoyed’ (Morris 1904: 19). Acknowledgement that such responsibilities existed towards the indigenous populations was to a large extent the result of securing Britain’s overseas power and interest. Grants’ case for the establishment of Christian missions and schools in India stemmed from a firm conviction that such conduct would strengthen their political and commercial position in the country. He solicited his friends and associations of high station to be the ‘agent in the scheme’ (Ibid. 20). His proposal did not elicit much response and was refused primarily because propagation of Christianity was considered ‘a very expensive and dangerous measure’.5 Grants’ Observations too were laid before the Board ‘as one of those many papers of business…’6 A remarkable educational treatise of its time, the pamphlet was avowedly written with the sole object of ‘remedying disorders, which have become thus inveterate in the state of our society among

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our Asiatic subjects’ (Grant 1813: 46). Having painted a sweeping lurid picture of the ‘people of Hindoostan, a race of men lamentably degenerate and base’, Grant’s argument for the establishment of Christian institutions of learning was that The true cure of darkness is the introduction of light. The Hindoos err, because they are ignorant; and their errors have never fairly been laid before them. The communication of our light and knowledge to them would prove the best remedy for their disorders. (Ibid. 148) The conclusion which he eventually arrives is that the eradication of ignorance can only be successful with the spread of western education, and that English was by far the most suitable medium of instruction. Grant was undoubtedly convinced that the civilising mission was conclusively intertwined with religion and education. At the same time it is evident that all schemes for the ‘introduction of light’ were carefully planned and strategised. Almost the same sentiments and verbal expressions were articulated by also those who favoured Oriental learning and vernacular languages as more appropriate for administering. In his long introduction to A Glossary (1825), Sir G. C. Haughton emphatically stated that the role and object of the newly established educational institutions was ‘bettering the condition of the natives’ and much of the ‘evil…may disappear under our enlightened Indian government’ (Haughton 1825: x–xi). Again, Nathaniel B. Halhed who wrote A Grammar of the Bengali Language (1778), opined that The English, who have made so capital a progress in the Polite Arts, and who are masters of Bengal, may, with more ease and greater propriety, add its Language to their acquisitions. (Halhed 1778: ii) Attainment of vernacular languages was not just to facilitate interaction between the rulers and the ruled. It was to be a pointer of territorial conquests, synonymous with ‘acquisitions’ and power. Halhed went on to stress the importance of such knowledge as an enabler of economic benefits, and candidly expressed the pecuniary advantages of cultivating the local languages, ‘to promote the circulation of wealth, by giving new vigour and dispatch to new business…’ (Ibid.)

Chartering ‘useful’ knowledge Grant’s Observations got a sound recommendation from William Cabell who emphasised the political advantages that would be derived if a common language (English) and European education was adopted for the

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country.7 Developing an education policy based on Grant’s suggestions, he felt, would remove many ‘false systems of beliefs’ that existed among the natives ‘for want of right instruction among them’ (Ghosh in Mangan 2012: 180). When Grant returned to England in 1790 he with the help of William Wilberforce, a member of Parliament and a leading supporter of the Clapham Sect, tried to get the provision for religious instruction of Indians to be included. And when the Charter of 1793 came up for renewal they pressed for the incorporation of the ‘Pious Clause’ which read as: XXXIII. And whereas it is the Duty of this country to promote the Interest and Happiness of the Native Inhabitants of the British Dominions in India; and such Measures ought to be adopted as may tend to the Introduction among them of useful Knowledge, and of religious and moral Improvement, and in furtherance of the above Objects, sufficient Facilities ought to be afforded by law to Persons desirous of going to and remaining in India, for the Purpose of accomplishing those benevolent Designs… (1793, 33 Geo. III c.52.)8 However, when the subject was debated upon the occasion of the renewal of the Company’s Charter Act in 1793, it was felt that such a policy was pushing for evangelisation and ultimate conversion of Indians. The Parliament was unwilling to pass the Bill as it was considered detrimental to the political and trading interests of the Company. It was clearly perceived that propagation of Christianity would spell trouble for the Company. In a memorial to the Parliament it was unambiguously declared, ‘The sending of Christian Missionaries into our Eastern possessions is the wildest, maddest, most expensive, and most unwarranted plan that was ever proposed by a lunatic enthusiast’ (Quoted in Pritchard 2013: 24). But Grant was not one to acquiesce quietly. In a letter to the Rev. David Brown dated 19 June 1810, he affirmed his belief that educational institutions were ‘capable of producing considerable effects, not political only but religious and moral…’ (Das 1978: 28). And when it was time for the Company’s Charter to be renewed in 1813 (it was to be renewed after every twenty years), Grant, Wilberforce, and some others tried to persuade the Board of Directors, but the general opinion was still not favourably disposed towards religious education. At this stage, Zachary Macaulay,9 influenced by Grant and Wilberforce, organised a campaign calling on the religious organisations in Britain to send petitions to the Parliament for the unrestricted despatch of missionaries to India. Between February and June 1813, as many as 837 petitions were presented (Philips 1961: 189). The great majority in the Parliament reprobated any attempts to send missions to India and the missionary question was not discussed at all. As a reflection to the efforts of Wilberforce and his supporters who had insisted upon the moral obligation of the British, Clause 33 of the Charter Act of 1813 24

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declared that the Government’s duty was ‘to promote the interest and happiness of the native inhabitants of India’, and under Clause 43 it was decided that …a sum of not less than one lac of rupees in each year shall be set apart and applied to the revival and improvement of literature, and the encouragement of the learned natives of India, and for the introduction and promotion of a knowledge of the sciences among the inhabitants of the British territories in India. (Zastoupil and Moir 1999: 91) Despite its vagueness, the Act was important in its officially declamation for the first time that the dissemination of education in India would henceforth be the responsibility of the colonial government. From late eighteenth century onwards and all through the nineteenth century ‘useful knowledge’ came to be regarded as a compulsory component of elementary education. The medium of instruction remained a matter of contention, whether to promote western sciences and knowledge through the classical and vernacular languages, or imparted through the medium of English. At first the objective was the cultivation of Hindu literature and the gradual diffusion of European knowledge. Again, while some preferred the ‘Downwards Filtration’ of education from the upper classes of the society down to the common masses, others preferred that the company should themselves take the responsibility for educating the masses.

On a civilising mission – missionary schools A network of missionary and school societies engaged with the spread of ‘liberal instruction’ was a part of the larger framework of the civilizing mission in Bengal even before 1813. After 1813 a large number of schools sprang up in and around Calcutta. Some of the well-known public schools in Bengal run by Europeans were the Malda School (1803) run by Ellerton, the Chinsurah School (1814) of Robert May, the Burdawan School (1816) of Captain Stewart, the Serampore School, Cumming’s Calcutta Academy, David Drummond’s Dharmatala Academy, Sherburne School, and Alexander Duff’s school. David Hare with the active collaboration of Radhakant Deb and Rammohan Roy started the Hindu College in Calcutta in 1817 with just 20 students. This was as Howell noted, ‘the first spontaneous desire manifested by the natives in the country for instruction in English’ (Howell 1872: 9). The Calcutta School-Book Society (CSBS) was established in 1817, with the aim of publishing elementary text books at less than cost price and supplying them to schools in the country, and in 1818 the Calcutta School Society (CSS) was established with the objective to open elementary schools in Calcutta and its vicinity. By 1818, the Serampore missionaries claimed to 25

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have begun more than a hundred ‘native schools’ in the surrounding villages. These education institutions and their related activities were highly coordinated, organised and connected to an imperial educational movement supported by influential organisations in England. Organisations like the British and Foreign School Society (BFSS) and the National Education Society (NES) supported the activities of the missionary educationalists stationed in India by providing teaching materials, religious manuals, funds and trained teachers. The Baptist, London and Church Missionary Societies (BMS, LMS, CMS) maintained close ties and overlapping memberships and exchanged relevant information and best practices in the improvement of existing educational institutions. Their existence and functioning was based on the common perception of their roles as beneficiaries for the overall ‘improvement’ of and ‘upliftment’ of the natives by clearly planned strategies of improvement and reforms. The introduction of western education in Bengal can be attributed to the Baptist missionaries who had settled in the Danish settlement of Serampore. The Company’s ban on proselytising had forced them to keep away from the English occupied territories of Bengal. The Serampore Trio as William Carey, Joshua Marshman and William Ward were known, took the active lead in setting up schools, printing of books and contributing significantly to the supply of educational materials for FWC. Carey was appointed Professor of Bengali at the College and the immediate problem he faced was the almost total lack of educational materials and textbooks. With the active participation and co-operation of a staff of learned pundits, Carey set about enhancing the resources by composing a variety of works dealing with grammar, dictionary and idiomatic phrases in colloquial Bengali. In between 1800 and 1832 the Serampore press published about 212,000 books related to grammar, history, folk tales, dictionaries, translations of the Bible and translations of Indian texts (Marshman 1859). With the arrival of the Baptist Missionaries and their wives, the issue of female education was taken up more seriously.10 Mrs. Hannah Marshman, the wife of the Baptist missionary Joshua Marshman, founded a school and a boarding house for girls in Serampore. Mrs. Pearce and Mrs. Lawson opened a school for girls in Calcutta in 1803. Most of these schools catered to the education of European and Eurasian girls. Some native girls mainly from the lower sections of society came in to learn the vernaculars and household chores and needle work. This was encouraged further by the establishment of the London Missionary Society (LMS) in 1795 and the Church Missionary Society (CMS) which came up in 1799. In 1819 the Female Juvenile Society of Calcutta was founded and it established four free schools for female education, which was probably the first attempt to impart formal education in an organised manner to native converts. William Ward went to England and it was partly in response to his appeal to improve the pathetic condition of native women that the CMS sent Miss Mary Ann Cooke 26

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to Bengal. Under her auspices a network of schools were started and by 1823, there were seventeen schools in and around the town, with 300 girls.11 The CMS also founded the Ladies Society for Native Female Education in 1824 which had patrons like Lady Amherst, the wife of the Governor General and Mrs. Ellerton. Other than Calcutta, there were several schools established in other districts of Bengal. Robert May opened a school for girls in Chinsurah. In Budwan, Rev. Wietbrecht ran a school and in Cutwa the Baptist Female School Society under Carey was very active. Though records indicate an impressive number of schools being established, attendance was still poor and many schools had to close down. Missionaries were continually urged to establish more schools as these were ‘indispensable…for the introduction of knowledge, whether human or divine, in the interior of Bengal’.12 The Serampore missionaries opened several elementary schools in several districts of Bengal, in Serampore, Malda, Jessore, Katwa, Birbhum and Dinajpur. The missionaries introduced in their schools the Bell and Lancaster system of education. A student monitor was assigned the task of dictating from one printed copy of the text. This to a large extent resolved the problem of a shortage of teachers and printed teaching materials.13 Hints Relative to Native Schools, a pamphlet on education written by Marshman, Carey and Ward soon became prescriptive in determining the course of future educational practices in schools in colonial Bengal. It laid out a model curriculum and a ‘course of moral and scientific instruction’ which was to be soon adopted by other educational societies. The Baptist missionaries found the indigenous network of institutions, both at the elementary and higher levels inadequate, the pathsalas and the madrasas ‘mere shops’ where the ‘human being is prepared to act as a copying machine’ (Ward 1811: I, xxxv). Carey and his fellow brethren obviously held in very low esteem the ‘wretched schools’ that existed and the equally ‘wretched writing’ and the ‘far more wretched orthography’ which they considered as some of the causes ‘to sink them [the Hindoos] far below most savage nations in vice and immorality’ (Marshman 1816: 8). If such a moral depravity was to be rectified, they advised that ‘this must be attempted by the introduction of a remedy suited to the nature of the disease, by imparting to them that knowledge relative to themselves…which may leaven their minds from their earliest youth’ (Ibid.). Carey’s great success in educational matters led others to follow him. Henry Creighton, a Scottish adventurer had joined the EIC as a mercantile assistant and was very soon appointed by Charles Grant as the manager of the indigo factory at Guamalati in Bengal. Inspired by the evangelical zeal of Grant and Carey, Creighton went on to open several free schools for the native children in Guamalati. Creighton’s ideas on running a school were laid out in his Memoranda on the most Obvious Means of Establishing Native Schools for the Introduction of the Scriptures and Useful Knowledge among the Natives of Bengal. His Memoranda was, as M.A. Laird puts it, 27

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‘the most judicious and systematic plan for elementary education in Bengal during this period’ (Laird 1972: 66). Creighton’s ideas and suggestions were indeed striking for its wisdom, vision and appropriateness for indigenous elementary schools and were adopted by the Baptist missionaries. He went on to urge the missionaries to establish more schools as these were ‘indispensable…for the introduction of knowledge, whether human or divine, in the interior of Bengal’ (Ibid.).

Public instruction and institutions Regarding educational matters in the Bengal Presidency, the government decided to consider the note by Holt Mackenzie, Secretary to the Government in the Territorial Department. Mackenzie drew attention to the introduction of European science for the moral and intellectual improvement of the people, and recommended the establishment of new institutions of learning. He proposed the establishment of a General Committee of Public Instruction for considering these suggestions. In 1823, the Governor-General-in-Council appointed a ‘General Committee of Public Instruction’, which had the responsibility to grant the one lakh of rupees for education. That committee consisted of ten European members of which Lord Macaulay was the president. The committee eager to conciliate Indian opinion decided to spend major portions from the grant for the improvement of oriental literature. But not all Indians were eager for such an education. There was a definite shift in the public inclination towards Western education which was seen as useful for worldly success as well as for intellectual enhancement. Thousands of books in Arabic and Sanskrit printed by the General Committee of Public Instruction remained unsold, but the Calcutta School Book Society was selling seven to eight thousand books in English every year (Sharp 1920: I, 114). When the proposal of the Committee to use the funds for establishing a Sanskrit College in Calcutta was known, it was opposed by those in favour of Western learning. Rammohan Roy, one of the foremost social reformers of Bengal, was the first to voice his protest. In a letter dated 11 December, 1823, addressed to Lord Amherst, Roy protested against such a college. Hoping that this sum would be laid out in educating the natives in western and useful sciences, he wrote: When this Seminary of learning was proposed…we were filled with sanguine hopes that this sum would be laid out in employing European gentlemen of talents and education to instruct the natives of India in Mathematics, Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Anatomy and other useful Sciences, which the Nations of Europe have carried to a degree of perfection that has raised them above the inhabitants of other parts of the world. (Roy 1885: I, 470) 28

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A Sanskrit college, he further added, will only ‘load the minds of youth with grammatical niceties and metaphysical distinctions of little or no practical use to the possessors or to society’ (Ibid. 471). However, the Government went ahead with the founding of the Sanskrit College in Calcutta on 1 January 1824. The result was a harsher reprobation from the Directors of the EIC in London which said that ‘the plan of the institutions… was originally and fundamentally erroneous. The great end should not have been to teach Hindu learning, but useful learning…’ (Trevelyan 1838: 76). The Committee intimated that there were neither books nor teachers available to impart Western education, though they were concentrating on preparing for it. They planned to exercise ‘temper and discretion’ for ‘winning the confidence…to an extent that will pave the way for the unopposed introduction of such improvement…’ (Sharp 1920: I, 96). English classes were very soon added to all the important oriental institutions, at the Calcutta Madrasa in 1824, and in the Calcutta Sanskrit college in 1827. By 1830, with the departure of H.H. Wilson from the Committee of Public Instruction it was clear that the Orientalists had to give in to the more demanding supporters of the utilitarian ideas of Mill and Bentham. When the Company Charter was renewed in 1833, the educational grant was increased to rupees ten lakh per year. The Act recognised the Company as a purely administrative body, and for the first time provided for the appointment of Indians to civil services through open competition. William Bentinck, the Governor-General, appointed Thomas Babington Macaulay as the President of the General Committee of Public Instruction. As the son of Zachary Macaulay and having grown up in the circle of the Clapham Evangelists, it was not surprising that his inclinations were towards English education. In his elaborate and famous Minute of 2 February 1835, Macaulay championed the cause of English and western education in his characteristic rhetorical and florid prose. He was against the continuation of Oriental learning, and peremptorily brushed aside Sanskrit or Arabic as the choice of the medium of instruction. He found the dialects spoken among the natives ‘poor and rude’, and English as the only language that could be recommended for their ‘intellectual improvement’. And though he acknowledged that he had no knowledge of either Sanskrit or Arabic, yet for him, the intrinsic value of ‘a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia’. He asserted that ‘we are free to employ our funds as we choose’, and considered it a waste of public money ‘for giving artificial encouragement to absurd history, absurd metaphysics, absurd physics, absurd theology for raising up a breed of scholars who find their scholarship an incumbrance and blemish, who live on the public while they are receiving their education, and whose education is so utterly useless to them…’. He proposed that since ‘it is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters 29

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between us and the millions whom we govern, a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect’ (Sharp 1920: I, 107–117). Bentinck gave his ‘entire concurrence to the sentiments’ expressed in Macaulay’s Minute, and thus was passed the most momentous decision that all funds for education would be employed in imparting English education. He did not abolish existing native institutions of learning nor did he withdraw their stipends, but stopped further expenses on printing oriental works.

The state of indigenous education in Bengal Indigenous schools were defined as those established or conducted by natives of India on native methods (Stark 1916: 112). Primary education in Bengal existed as the instruction of the masses through the vernacular in the maktabs conducted by the Muslims, and pathsalas which were reserved for the Hindus.14 The indigenous schools communicated instructions by purely traditional methods and taught a strictly utilitarian curriculum that was based on reading, writing, arithmetic and accounts, letter writing, and some versified tales from the Puranas or mythologies. Pupils learnt to write on the ground or on palm leaves and plantain leaves, and committed to memory money-tables, weights and measures. Subhankari, or native arithmetic was taught in pathsalas, along with Sanskrit grammar. The stay of the pupil in such places of learning was usually between five to six years. The Report of the Bengal Committee commented on the common-sense approach of such teaching methods and remarked that such ‘customary ways’ had ‘relics of much deep thought’ and ‘many nice adaptations to circumstances’ (Cited Ibid. 123). In 1835 Lord Bentinck appointed William Adam, a former Baptist missionary to report on the state of vernacular education in Bengal and Bihar. By April 1838 Adam submitted three extensive reports, officially known as Adam’s Reports, after surveying the number of schools, teachers and students in that region. Adam presented a comprehensive statistics of village schools and zillah schools, and concluded that ‘the number of such schools in Bengal is supposed to be very great’. He calculated that there were ‘100,000 such schools in Bengal and Behar’ till 1830, and determined that ‘there is on an average a village school for every sixty-three children of the school-going age’ (Adam 1868: 18). He noted that though Indians in general were eager to educate their children, the school-going age in Bengal was shorter partly owing to the poverty of the parents who removed their children before their education was completed. These schools were held in some of the houses belonging to respected native patrons and were supported by voluntary donations. Adam reported on the wide social strata to which both the teachers and the taught in the elementary schools belonged, including Hindus, Muslims, and the lower castes. Apart from the vernacular and Sanskrit learning, there were institutions of Persian and Arabic centres 30

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of learning. Since Persian was the official language, half of those studying Persian were Hindus. Children were initially taught to trace the letters of the alphabet in sand and then progress to writing with reed pens on palm leaves. They next advanced to the study of arithmetic and agricultural accounts. Adam observed that there were no text or schoolbooks, nor were any moral lessons or liberal knowledge imparted in these indigenous elementary schools throughout Bengal (Ibid. 20). He furnished details of the subjects taught, the teachers’ pay, and recommended rewards to be given on results of examinations for both teachers and students. The objective of colonial interference, he emphasised, ought to be not to supersede, but to supplement these schools. Adam’s final observation was that ‘no one means, no one language, no one system of institutions, can be adequate. All means, all the languages of the country, all existing institutions should be made subservient to the object’. He concluded his report by remarking on his impressions: The actual position and prevailing policy of Government demand the adoption of comprehensive measures for the promotion and right direction of national education. The position of Government is that of foreigners on a strange soil among people with whom no common associations exist…We are among the people, but not of them. We rule over them and traffic with them, but they do not understand our character and we do not penetrate their’s…A wisely framed system of public instruction would, with other means, help to draw the people closer to the Government, give the Government a stronger hold on the affections of the people… (Adam 1868: 340) Notwithstanding this state of things, the Calcutta Council of Education regarded Adam’s plan to improve and extend indigenous village schools as ‘impracticable’ and expensive and Adam resigned in disgust. Lord Auckland who took over as the Governor-General admitted that insufficient funds had been assigned to the cultivation of indigenous literature, and he accordingly restored the old grants and stipends to the Mohameddan and Sanskrit colleges. His contribution lay in linking district schools with the Central Colleges, thereby providing a comprehensive, and well-regulated system of education. He reviewed the situation, guaranteed the maintenance of oriental institutions, began introducing English in district schools, and also sanctioned the preparation and publication of translations of textbooks in vernacular languages.15 The reports of 1840–41, and 1841–42 indicated the government’s seriousness on the subject of preparing vernacular class books. It was resolved that the first books would be prepared in English and then rendered into the vernacular languages. This was proposed with a view to provide uniformity to the whole educational system (Richey 1922: II, 80–81). 31

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In 1842 the government assumed direct control of educational matters and the General Committee of Public Instruction was replaced by a more powerful body, the Council of Education. Its main function was to advise the government on all matters pertaining to education. Lord Hardinge had established 101 vernacular schools, but they failed as they were placed under no proper supervision (Adam 1868: 12; For a complete list see Richey 1922: II, 83–84). The Council drew attention to the need for proper inspection and supervision of educational institutions under the government, as Adam’s Report had emphasised earlier. It improved upon textbooks and created a regular number of trained teachers. During the administration of Lord Dalhousie as the Governor-General from 1848 to 56, the most significant changes were witnessed in modern education in India. As James Thomason’s scheme for vernacular education had proved to be successful in the North-Western Provinces,16 Dalhousie extended the same to Bengal. He carried out elaborate educational reforms in Calcutta and reorganised the Hindu College into the Presidency College in 1855, and the Madarsa into the Arabic College. Again in a direct imitation of the line followed in Britain, the Government anxious to improve the Bengal system of elementary education effected their efforts in two directions: first, improving the organisation and course of instructions in the indigenous schools and linking them to the educational departmental system; and second, encouraging increased interest on the part of the people in their own schools (Stark 1916: 126).

Native female education The Council of Education did much to raise the standard of education in Bengal. The number of institutions increased from 28 in 1843 to 151 in 1855, and the number of pupils from 4,632 in 1843 to 13,163 in 1855. The number of teachers in this period had increased from 191 to 455 (Report 1822: 17). But formal schooling for girls was much neglected, as the general perception was that the masses would see this as interference in the social customs. Women’s education was much discouraged by both Hindus and Muslims, and women were mostly kept in the seclusion of the domestic sphere. But the efforts to educate girls had been continuing ever since the wives of the missionaries first accompanied their husbands to India (Dutta 2017a). The BFSS had deputed Miss Mary Ann Cooke who was 37 years old when she arrived in India in 1821. She was to spend the next 23 years promoting her mission despite strong scepticism and sometimes even resistance. The Missionary Register of 1822 mentions that Miss Cooke would impart instruction at home to the female children of natives of higher class and a separate school was to be established for them (Missionary Register, November 1822: 485). With patronage and donations from generous people, which included the Governor General Lord Hastings and his wife, the 32

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Church Missionary Society (CMS) had received a donation of 3000 rupees, and by 1823 the number of schools had increased to 22 with nearly 400 female students (Chapman 1839: 82). Encouraged by the success of Miss Cooke’s efforts, the Ladies Society for Native Female Education (LSNFE) was set up in Calcutta in March 1824. In 1828 Miss Cooke (by now Mrs. Wilson) was appointed as the superintendent of the newly built Central School for Girls in Calcutta which had about 600 students. The 1834 Report stated that there were schools for native women in Calcutta, Chitpore and Sibpore (Richey 1922: 40). With knowledge and awareness of social concerns some progressive Hindu men were ready to allow their women access to education. Kalikrishna Mitra with the help of his brother Nabinkrishna and educationist Peary Churn Sircar established a private girls school in Barasat in 1847. This was the first school for the girls of aristocratic Hindu families, and it received strong opposition from the then conservative society. The institution was sustained with the support of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar and John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune. Bethune, earlier a Law Member of the Governor General’s Council and later the President of the Council for Educational Affairs, was so much impressed with the Barasat school that in 1849 he built at his own expense a native female school for girls belonging to the very best families in Calcutta. Known as the Bethune Institution,17 the school provided closed carriages to convey the girls to school. Though the school promised a secular education and excluded all religious instructions expressly to secure the active cooperation of native gentlemen, yet it was not too successful in attracting the higher caste girls to attend school. The deep-seated prejudices and the general distrust for missionary schools among the natives resulted in rather a moderate response. Nevertheless as Mrs. Weitbrecht pointed out, ‘a good impression had been made’, and ‘the rich but not the high born girls have been influenced to attend’ (Weitbrecht 1875: 69).18 As schools for the instruction of girls increased in number, the need for more trained female teachers began to be felt. An important step in this direction was the formation in 1851 of the Normal School for the Training of Christian Female Teachers. There was an urgent need for a more organised and structured organisation for the training of teachers to meet the growing demand. It marked the commencement of organised zenana instruction, which was to percolate downwards as it trained mostly native Christians and Anglo-Indian girls with the assumption that it would be easier for them to gain entry into the homes of the natives. In 1853 another Scottish missionary John Fordyce and his wife joined Duff in Calcutta to superintend the Free Church Female Institution which started the first zenana mission in 1855. Fordyce was convinced that zenana education was the only effective means to reach the women of higher classes. The first concrete step was in 1854 when a Eurasian Miss Eliza Toogood and Rebecca, a native teacher were sent to visit native homes regularly to teach the women and receive payment for instruction given. It was as 33

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Mr. Fordyce observed, ‘the beginning of a new era for India’s daughters’ (The History of the LMS, 248). The Wood’s Dispatch of 1854 was another milestone in encouraging female education, and observed ‘the evidence which is now afforded of the increased desire on the part of many of the natives to give a good education to their daughters’ (Richey 1922: 388). Indian social reformers too furthered the cause of women’s education, with the Brahmo Samaj actively pitching in this debate. The Bamabodhini Patrika started in 1863, a monthly journal edited by Umeshchandra Dutta, carried articles on women’s issues. It also started a tutorial course through its columns, known as antahpur siksha, for girls who preferred to be educated in the seclusion of their homes (Basu 2005: 188). Many women’s organisations were set up, albeit by male reformers, for the emancipation and education of women. The Brahmika Samaj founded in 1865 was the first Bengali women’s organisation in which Keshub Chunder Sen (1838–84), the Brahmo reformer, regularly delivered sermons for the benefit of the women members. The Society was mainly for inculcating spiritualism amongst women, and for teaching useful crafts like sewing to the women. The Arya Nari Samaj (Arya Women’s Society) started in 1879 similarly laid stress on devotion and meditations and expected its female members to be inspired by ideal women prototypes from mythology and history. Keshub Chunder Sen as the head of the Arya Nari Samaj tried to systematically inculcate old Hindu ideals of female seclusion and feminine modesty. This society was against the imitation of western culture and did not advocate higher formal Western education for women. Instead, the teachings were replete with Brahmo-Victorian puritanism, with women being urged to keep bratas (fastings) to fulfil their duties as a woman (Sastri 1912: II, 19). The Banga Mahila Samaj founded in 1879, mainly run by Keshub Chunder’s protegees, took up work largely related to social services for the poor. Such societies for women were largely designed to mould Indian women in an acceptably noncontroversial position somewhere in between the ‘outlandish memlog’ and the ‘superstitious village old grandmother’ (Borthwick 1984: 282). Women’s education in nineteenth-century colonial Bengal remained largely restricted within the domestic confines of a traditionally defined role. The paradigm of the Victorian woman greatly influenced the expectations from Indian women. The twentieth century saw the emergence of more powerful female voices as more educated women entered the hitherto male dominated public spheres. Women from the Tagore family like Swarna Kumari Devi (Rabindranath’s sister) and later Annie Besant played key roles in establishing all India Women’s Associations.19

Despatching the ‘Magna Charta of English Education’ While renewing the Charter in 1853, the British Parliament constituted a Selection Committee to enquire into the progress of education in India and to suggest reforms. Charles Wood who was the President of the Board of 34

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Control was asked to frame a general scheme of education for British India. This came to be known as Wood’s Despatch, though it was said to have been written by John Stuart Mill, and summarised by Wood’s secretary who later became the Governor-General of India as Lord Northbrook. The Education Despatch of 1854, divided into 100 paragraphs, considered to be a comprehensive policy for the whole of India has been described as the ‘Magna Charta of English Education in India’. Its purpose, as the introductory paragraphs of the Despatch stated, was for ‘conferring upon the natives of India those vast moral and material blessings which flow from the general diffusion of useful knowledge, and which India may, under Providence, derive from her connexion with England’.20 The encouragement of education, it stated, was particularly calculated ‘to supply you with servants to whose probity you may with increased confidence commit offices of trust in India’. It was aimed to ‘teach the natives of India the marvellous results of the employment of labour and capital’. The Despatch was ‘emphatically’ clear on the dissemination of European knowledge because the ‘learning of the East abound with grave errors’, and preference was for those with a knowledge of English. Education was sought to be more systematised by creating an Educational Department with an officer appointed for each Presidency and an adequate system of inspection by qualified inspectors and officers who ‘may command the respect of the natives of India’. These inspectors were to be entrusted with conducting examinations of the scholars and presenting their annual reports of the institutions. It suggested the establishment of universities at Calcutta with the London University as their model, with ‘affiliated institutions’ under them. Such institutions were not to have any religious affiliations and could confer academic degrees. The Despatch recommended vocational training and law and civil engineering in particular to be taught. Grants-in-aid were to be given to indigenous schools that imparted a good elementary education, and government scholarships were to be provided to ‘young men of ability’. Schools for females were to be encouraged with grants-in-aid. Education in government institutions was to be secular, and the government had ‘no desire to prevent, or discourage’ pupils who ‘of their own free will’ asked upon the subject of Christian religion out of school hours. The Despatch observed, ‘In Bengal, education through the medium of the English language, has arrived at a higher point than in any other part of India. We are glad to receive constant evidence of an increasing demand for such an education, and of the readiness of the natives of different districts to exert themselves for the sake of obtaining it’. At the same time it drew the attention of the Government of Bengal to the languishing condition of indigenous schools and the need to encourage such institutions, especially for the lower classes. The Despatch concluded by emphasising the need for ‘the general diffusion of knowledge’ for ‘the prosperity of the people’. 35

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The Despatch in later years has met with criticism from educationists, but considering the time in which this was documented, it was no doubt of great historical significance. It provided a basic structure of education for the country, and gave an impetus to primary and secondary education. It also made clear that education of the Indians was for the explicit purpose of obtaining qualified servants for colonial services. Dalhousie who found the Despatch ‘so complete’ and clear in its principles suggested implementation of the proposals. By the end of 1855 a separate department for the superintendence of education was constituted, and a Director of Public Instruction was appointed in all provinces. Grants-in-aids were sanctioned and a Committee was appointed for the establishment of universities at the three presidencies. And in 1857 when Lord Canning succeeded Dalhousie, he passed the Acts of Corporation which provided for the establishment of universities on the model of the University of London.

After the mutiny The 1857 rebellion also termed as the ‘Sepoy Mutiny’ and ‘the First War of Indian Independence’, was an organised rebellion by peasants and Indian sepoys against the existing repression of colonial rule. It was a manifestation of the simmering discontent and deep sense of alienation felt by the agrarian society and soldiers. The mutiny which broke out in north-western India did not have any substantial repercussions in Bengal, but the intensity and the ferocity of it had left the British shaken. What followed was a set of more stringent strategies for ruling, based on mutual suspicion and acrimony. On 2 August 1858 the British Parliament transferred all authority from the EIC to the British Crown and Queen Victoria became the Empress of India. When the educational policy was reviewed in 1859, Lord Stanley’s Despatch indicated that progress had not been satisfactory. Thereafter education policy was the primary concern of the Secretary of State for India and the Viceroy in Calcutta. Most private institutions for education of a higher order were throughout India under European management. The English schools which received grant were maintained mostly by missionary bodies. Indians were encouraged to establish and maintain their own schools to be assisted by government grants. But very few proposals had been made by natives, either individually or in association, for the formation of higher schools where instruction was to be conveyed in English. The Education Report of 1857–58 stated, ‘It has been found that the great mass of the people is not likely to be reached by the present system’ (Richey 1922: 440–41). By 1860 it was very apparent both to the missionaries and the prominent figures in Calcutta that it would be beneficial for both parties to cooperate. For the interests of the missionaries it was evident that they needed the patronage of the upper class natives if education and evangelisation were to 36

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be successfully implemented. For the upper-class, upper-caste Bengalis it meant an education and status which would bring them to an equal footing with their colonial masters. Though there was an unparalleled increase in the number of schools in the zillahs and villages, the education derived was hardly conducive for government service or any public jobs. Elementary education in British India saw a big jump from 16,473 schools with 6,07,320 students in 1870–71 to 82,916 schools with 20,61,541 students in 1881–82. (Ghosh 1995: 88) In theory, a greater number was being educated. But, as with all aspects of colonial government, the British continued to import professional talent from home to fill the highest administrative and technical positions. The covenanted civil services were open in theory to Indians since 1853, but the nature of the syllabus and the fact that the examination was held in London prevented Indians from qualifying the exam. Indians continued to occupy lower grade services where salaries were low with hardly any chances of promotions. By the Acts of Corporation passed which by Lord Canning in 1857, which provided for the establishment of universities in the Presidencies, the University of Calcutta was established. Canning became the first Chancellor of the University of Calcutta. Presidency College, which was earlier known as the Hindu College (established in 1817), was placed under the University of Calcutta. The University conducted its first B.A. Examination in 1858. 13 candidates took the exam, out of which, as per the recommendation of the Board, only two candidates, Bankimchandra Chatterjee and Judoo Nath Bose were allowed to have their degree.

Disillusionment and nationalistic sentiments Post 1857 though there was a phenomenal growth in the number of schools and educational institutions, there was simultaneously a growing disillusionment among the youth. As Sir Richard Temple, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal observed in early 1877, men with university degrees could be seen ‘applying for some lowly-paid appointment, almost begging from office to office…’ Rev. James Johnston wrote in 1880 that ‘the present system is raising a number of discontented and disloyal subjects’ (Quoted in Mangan 2012: 192). The educated sections in Calcutta, represented by Surendra Nath Banerjea and Lal Mohan Ghose were expressing their grievances regarding appointment of Indians in the civil services. Against this discontent when Lord Ripon became the Viceroy of India in 1882, he appointed the first Indian Education Commission with William Hunter as its Chairman. The effort was to co-opt more Indian representatives in the committee. Sayyid Ahmad Khan who afterwards withdrew and  was succeeded by his son Sayyid Mahmud, Anand Mohan Bose, Bhudev  Mookerjea who was Inspector of Schools Bengal, and Jotendro Mohan Tagore who was member of the Viceroy’s Legislative Council, and Kashinath T. Telang were some of the distinguished Indians in the Committee. 37

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The Commission, known as the Hunter Commission, was asked to report on the state of primary education in particular and to provide suggestions. Provincial Committees were formed to deliberate and give its recommendations. The Report of the Indian Education Commission, 1882, was a voluminous 600 pages submission of observations and 222 specific recommendations. Attention was specially directed to ‘how useful and practical knowledge suited to every station of in life, might be best conveyed to the great mass of the people, who are utterly incapable of obtaining any education worthy of their name by their own unaided efforts…’ (Report 1882: 2). It was decided that the Government will hand over its own schools and colleges to Native management to ‘foster a spirit of independence and selfhelp’ (Ibid. 3). According to the statistics provided by the Report, the total number of students in Bengal in 1881–82 was 1,099,767. In the decade between 1870 and 1880, the British Government had increased its grant for education from 1,940,000 to 4,290,000 pound sterling (Ibid., 619). In spite of the rapid extension and growth of educational institutions in Bengal, much larger than any other Province of India, there was a sense of discontentment. Ripon himself was aware of this discrepancy. In his Convocation Address at the University of Bombay in 1884, he forthrightly acknowledged: …the spread of education, and especially of western culture,… imposes new and special difficulties upon the Government of this country…I must confess, that it is little short of folly that we should throw open to increasing numbers the rich stores of Western learning; that we should inspire them with European ideas, and bring them into the closest contact with English thought; and that then we should pay no heed to the growth of those aspirations which we have ourselves created…one of the most difficult problems of the Indian Government in these days is how to afford such satisfaction to those aspirations and to those ambitions… (Convocation addresses of the Universities of Bombay and Madras. 1892: 161–63) Some of the early Indian leaders to urge the British attention to this growing dissatisfaction was Dadabhai Naoroji. Along with W.C. Bonnerjee, he had started in 1865 the London India Society which was related to Indian nationalist activities in England. The membership to this association steadily rose, and by 1872 another organisation, the Indian Society in London was explicitly founded by Anand Mohan Bose for fostering the spirit of nationalism among Indian residents in England. Bose’s eloquent debate at the Cambridge University Union Debate was on ‘England has failed in her duties to India’ (Majumdar 1971: 340). Under the pioneering influence of A.O. Hume, William Digby who advocated self-government for Indians, in a pamphlet written in 1881 warned of ‘another strife-torn Ireland, if 38

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Parliament continued to ignore the aspirations and grievances of Indians’ (Kaushik 1971: 17). A number of journals brought out by Indians came up to acquaint the British public with Indian problems.21 In a letter published in the Hindu of 12 July 1883, it was observed, ‘If the educated gentlemen of India desire to have their side of the story put before the English public, they must lose no time in taking measures for doing it themselves’ (Ibid. 52). Though in 1893, the House of Commons passed a resolution to hold the Indian Civil Service examination simultaneously in England and India, the demand for employing a greater number of Indians to higher services continued. One of the key issues to be discussed in almost all the annual sessions of the Indian National Congress was the subject of employment. At the Lahore session of the Indian National Congress in 1900, Surendranath Banerjee categorically declared that the natives of India have been excluded from the higher appointments, and …little or nothing has been done so far as their employment in the higher offices of what are called minor civil services are concerned …at least 80 percent of the higher offices are filled by Europeans and Anglo-Indians…We are excluded. And why? Because of our race. Our colour is our disqualification. (Speeches 1908: VI, 184) The problem of unemployment had reached such disquieting proportion that Henry Charles Keith, Marquis of Lansdowne, who was the GovernorGeneral of India from 1888 to 94, too recognised the problem. As the Chancellor of Calcutta University, in the convocation address in 1889, he hoped that …we may see an attempt made to render the Indian Universities something more than mere examining and degree conferring bodies… if our schools and colleges continue to educate the youth of India at the present rate, we are likely to hear even more…the complain that we are turning out every year an increasing number of young men whom we have provided with an intellectual equipment admirable in itself but practically useless to them on account of the small number of openings …I should be sorry to admit that a young man who had received a sound education and taken his degree, had wasted his time because he was unable to find a suitable career in one of the learned professions. (University of Calcutta Convocation Addresses, II, 1914: 578–79) The growing discontent was visible in the burgeoning of new Societies like the Theosophical Society, Vivekananda Society and Ramakrishna Mission which propounded the immediate need of the people to be educated on 39

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their past culture. Sister Nivedita22 and Dr. Annie Besant23 were advocating the need for a holistic synthesis of Indian and Western education. While Nivedita was firmly of the belief that the essentials of education must be ‘with a view to appropriating its benefits to India and the Indian people’ (Nivedita 1955: IV, 337), Dr. Besant’s writings and lectures emphasised that ‘Education must be founded on a knowledge of the past of the country as well as of its present; it must be designed in accordance with the ancient traditions and national habits, and adapted to modern necessities, to meet at every point the growing needs of an ever-increasing nation’ (Besant 1921: 17).24 Sri Aurobindo was also critical of the British system of education that was aimed at securing jobs and position in society, and felt that education ought to be more meaningful for the Indian child.25 He lamented: We in India have become so barbarous that we send our children to school with the grossest utilitarian motive unmixed with any disinterested desire for knowledge, but the education we receive is itself responsible for this. (Aurobindo 1972: 3, 125–126)

Reformation of Indian education By the time Lord Curzon took up office in 1899, the educational white elephant had become too cumbersome to handle. It was obvious that education had to be immediately brought under effective government control. Western education had become a trundling juggernaut which was difficult to stop, as more and more job-seekers sought to clamber upon it and gain a foothold. Fully aware of the discontent and agitation that this was causing among ‘the instructed M.A.s and B.A.s who swarm at these capitals’, the Government took up reforms in education as its top priority.26 Curzon’s top priority was reformation of higher education, and he initiated the enactment of the Indian Universities Act. The Act was intended to bring about radical changes in the five existing Indian universities at Calcutta, Bombay, Madras, Lahore, and Allahabad. When Curzon came to India, the total number of affiliated colleges in British India was 191, of which 145 were arts colleges and the rest professional colleges (Nathan 1904). Curzon’s educational reforms began with the Simla Conference held in September 1901 where all the Directors of Public Instruction were summoned. This was followed by the appointment of the Indian Universities Commission in 1902 under the Chairmanship of Thomas Raleigh to regulate and control the Indian Universities. The commission recommended that the functions of the universities be enlarged, with more control on the geographical extent of affiliation of colleges under them. A grant of five lakh rupees each year for five years was sanctioned to make additions and alterations. The Act was passed in 1904, but its legislations were not favourably accepted by the educated Indians. It was seen as both excessive officialdom 40

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and control of education by the Government. The shortcomings of the system were brought to the front. It was recognised that education was primarily aimed at obtaining lucrative government jobs, and those who failed were left ill-fitted for any other job. The undue emphasis on examination also meant that education was more dependent on memorising rather than internalising the subject. And finally, the present education was too literary with excessive stress on Western education which resulted in the neglect of the vernaculars. The Resolution laid importance on vernacular education, female education, physical and moral education, and attention to technical, commercial and agricultural education. Training institutions for teachers with better salaries for teachers was suggested, particularly for rural schools. Though severely criticised in his time, Curzon’s Education Resolution of 1904 has been recognised as a landmark for educational reforms in India as it successfully raised the standard of primary and higher education, made provisions for ‘all forms of intellectual activity that appeal to a civilized community’, and introduced ‘to all classes of society a training suited to their position in life’ (Ibid. 475). Curzon’s comprehensive policies remained the basis of educational system in India for many years to come. It also acted as a catalyst for many educated, nationalist, Indian leaders like Rabindranath Tagore, M. K. Gandhi and Gopal Krishna Gokhale to attempt at generating a parallel system of national education. Tagore gave shape to his vision of an institution by establishing Santiniketan in 1901 that would encourage individual freedom and activate the natural creativity of children. Gandhi in Hind Swaraj warned against the ‘rottenness’ of ‘false education’ that made too much of English education at the expense of neglecting Indian languages (Gandhi 2010: 72). Gokhale demanded mass education and the creation of a separate education department for it. In his Budget Speech of 1903 Gokhale, unhappy with the national economic development of the government, urged that ‘one of the most important duties of a government is to promote the widest possible diffusion of education among its subjects, and this not only on moral but also on economic grounds’ (Natesan 1916: 55). He commended that the foregoing proposition be unreservedly accepted, ‘and that a scheme of mass education should now be taken in hand by the Government of India so that in the course of the next 25 or 30 years a very appreciable advance in this direction might be secured’ (Ibid.). He pointed out, ‘There are altogether about 5 ½ lakhs of villages in British India, out of which, it has been calculated, four-fifths are at present without a school’ (Ibid., 58). Influenced by the enactment of the Compulsory Education Act of 1870 in England, and the Maharaja of Baroda’s successful effort of providing free and compulsory primary education in his state, Gokhale proposed in 1910 the introduction of free and compulsory education for boys between the age of six and ten years. He was widely supported by Indian nationalists like Madan Mohan Malviya and Jinnah.27 Although the government rejected most of the proposals, in the same year the 41

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Government of India created a separate Department of Education in charge of a Member of the Executive Council for the extension of primary education. A year later, on 16 March 1911, Gokhale introduced in the Council a private bill, and in his introductory speech making an appeal to ‘humanity’ reminded the government that in ‘almost every civilised country, the State to-day accepts the education of the children as a primary duty resting upon it… And judged by this test, the Government of this country must wake up to its responsibilities, much more than it has hitherto done, before it can take its proper place among the civilised Governments of the world’ (Ibid. 720–21). 1911 marked the annulment of the partition of Bengal to appease the Bengali sentiment, but this was also the year when the capital of the British Raj shifted from Calcutta to Delhi. The year manifested the culmination of public awareness for a national system of education, as Indian national leaders sought to push for adopting modern Indian languages in schools and replacing ‘God save the King’ by ‘Vande Mataram’ (Ghosh 1995: 137; Menon 2003: 45). On the occasion of his coronation in Delhi as the Emperor of India in 1911, King George V tried to placate the mood by announcing an additional grant of fifty lakhs of rupees for primary education, and said: It is my wish that there may be spread over the land a net-work of schools and colleges from which will go forth loyal and manly and useful citizens, able to hold their own in industries and agriculture and all vocations in life. And it is my wish, too, that the homes of my Indian subjects may be brightened and their labour sweetened by the spread of knowledge with all that follows in its train, a higher level of thought, of comfort and of health. It is through education that my wish will be fulfilled, and the cause of education in India will ever be very close to me heart. (Sharp 1914: 1)

Notes 1 The 1771 edition of The Town and Country Magazine published ‘The Memoirs of a Nabob’ which defined the nabob as ‘a person who in the East India Company’s service has by art, fraud, cruelty, and imposition obtained the fortune of an Asiatic prince and returned to England to display his folly and vanity and ambition’ (The Town 1771: 28). 2 In 1749 ‘God Save the King’ was first sung in Britain and ‘Rule Britannia’ was also published. Source: Metcalf 2013: 4. 3 Hastings to N. Smith, letter dated 4 October 1784, quoted in D. Kopf 1969: 18. 4 When the FWC closed, the Oriental manuscripts collected at great expense and trouble under the superintendence of Gladwin, Carey, Gilchrist, and others, were placed under the custody of the Society (Centenary Review 1885). 5 Lord Lushington quoted in ‘The British Raj and the Awakening of the Evangelical Conscience: The Ambiguities of Religious Establishment and Toleration 1698– 1833’ by Penny Carson. See Stanley 2013: 56.

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6 Charles Grant to the Court of Directors, East India Company, 16 August 1797, published in his Observations (Grant 1813: 146). 7 William Cabell was for many years the under Secretary of Henry Dundas in charge of the board of control for Indian affairs. 8 An Act for continuing in the East India Company, for a further term, the possession of the British Territories in India, together with their exclusive Trade under certain Limitations… 1793, 33 Geo. III c.52. 9 Zachary Macaulay (1768–1838) though less known than his more famous son, Thomas Babington Macaulay, was a prominent anti-slavery campaigner. As a member of the evangelical group of philanthropists known as the Clapham Sect, he sought religious and moral ‘improvement’ by ceaselessly working to Christianise the world. 10 For a detailed discussion of the contributions of British women missionaries to schools and education in colonial Bengal, see Dutta 2017a. 11 BMS Report, 19 June 1823: 15; see also Laird 1972: 135. 12 Henry Creighton, ‘Memoranda on the most Obvious Means of Establishing Native Schools for the Introduction of the Scriptures and Useful Knowledge among the Natives of Bengal’, in Periodical Accounts Relative to a Society formed Among the Particular Baptists for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen (1792–1828), Vol. 3, 445–51. 13 In Madras, Andrew Bell inspired by the local system of teaching, had introduced the monitorial system of teaching where the ablest students in the class taught the others. He documented his experiences in An Experiment in Education (1797) and The Wrongs of Children (1819) which then went on to have a strong impact on elementary teaching both in India and England. 14 Maktab, also called Kuttab, are Muslim elementary schools where boys are provided elementary education; Pathsalas meant for Hindus literally means a place for study. 15 See Lord Auckland’s Minute dated 24 August 1836, and 24 November 1839 (Sharp 1920: I, 147–170). 16 James Thomason (1804–53) was British Lieutenant Governor of the NorthWestern Provinces in India and had established a network of locally supported elementary schools in the villages which provided vernacular education in the region. 17 Bethune College as it was named later remains today as one of the premier educational institutions for girls in Calcutta (Kolkata). Daughters of rich and influential families received their liberal education and were instrumental in initiating the reform movement in Bengal. 18 Mary Weitbrecht and her husband Rev. John James Weitbrecht served as the CMS missionaries in Burdwan in Bengal. 19 Annie Besant, an active British suffragist, played a key role in establishing the Women’s Indian Association in 1917. 20 For the complete Despatch of 1854 see Richey’s Selections from Educational Records, Part II, 1922: 364–393. 21 The Bengal Hurkaru, an English language publication, was already in print from 1795; in 1890 the journal India was started as a vehicle of publicity and propaganda of the Congress movement. 22 Born Margaret Elizabeth Noble, Sister Nivedita came from Ireland and joined Swami Vivekananda as his disciple in 1898 and contributed to primary education in India. 23 Annie Besant was the President of the Theosophical Society from 1907 till her death in 1933. 24 Besant’s lecture titled ‘Education as a National Duty’ was delivered at Bombay on 9 March 1903.

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25 Born Aurobindo Ghose (1872–1950), Sri Aurobindo as he was known was an Indian philosopher, an influential nation leader, and a spiritual visionary whose ideas reflected the influence of the Upanishads. Aurobindo Ashram established by him in Pondicherry continue with his spiritual work. 26 Curzon’s letter dated 28 August 1901 to George Hamilton, the Secretary of State. Letter 59, Curzon Papers on microfilm in the National Archives of India, New Delhi, Reel 2. See Ghosh 1988: 473. 27 At the meeting of the Imperial Legislative Council held on 19 March 1912, Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya spoke in support of Gokhale’s Elementary Education Bill. See his Speeches, 322a–322p.

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2 SCHOOLING THE MIND – IN THE METROPOLE AND THE COLONY

Entwined destinies In the period between 1757 and 1911, some significant advances were made in the sphere of education in India – the transfer of public interest and funds from the pursuit of traditional forms of learning to Western literature and English education; grants in aids for establishing more institutions of learning; and emphasis on wider dissemination of knowledge. But the institutionalisation of schools for civilising, implicated in the attempts made by the colonial administrators and native intellectuals, remained inseparable from questions of race, class and privileges. Schooling the mind was not uniform; there were distinct privilege sites for the implementation of civilising techniques. These sites were mostly distinct, occasionally overlapping, sometimes usurped, and sometimes merely coveted, as Indian elites showed considerable eagerness to appropriate and negotiate such sites of privilege. Obviously then, there was a set of complicated political, social and psychological process involved in colonial schooling in India as a public site to frame native subjectivities. At the same time, there was a complex emotional, intellectual and religious dimension in the understanding of disciplining as a civilising tool for children, and as a corollary, for colonial adults too. This has resulted in a unique formulation of racial-civilisational location of Indian subjectivity, with its alternate configuration of power. It is worth considering briefly the contemporary debates on education in Britain and India to fully comprehend the educational projects in the context of the metropole and the colony. Schooling in the colonies was not just a simple means of replicating existing social orders. It was a part of the very process of creating an empire, which was differentiated on a larger plan of racial and political domination. This chapter tries to argue that schooling became a potent site to establish ‘differences’ and inequalities both at home and abroad. Institutions of education were constantly contesting, challenging and refashioning this imposition of social hierarchies and identities. The framing of the subjectivity of the colonised subjects cannot be adequately understood unless we probe into the history of the ideas and debates on education in eighteenth and nineteenth-century Britain. Catherine Hall in her groundbreaking work Civilizing Subjects argues that the relationship 45

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between the coloniser and the colonised was ‘mutually constitutive’ (Hall 2002: 8). As a British historian, Hall’s admission that to understand the history of Britain ‘we have to look outside it’ is deeply reflective of the interdependent relationship that existed between the metropole and the colonies (Hall 2002: 9). Of the myriad ways in which the history and the destiny of Britain and India are entwined, schooling the minds of the subjects of the Empire is just one manifestation.

Debates on schooling In the closing decades of the eighteenth century, the new-found interest in education in the West was partly due to the emergence of a new class which was experiencing the potentialities of Industrial Revolution in England. The developing capitalist economy and the rapid expansion of the urban population resulted in a variety of social problems and new responsibilities. The unprecedented growth of manufacturing and industrialised cities like Manchester and Birmingham opened new horizons for the working class that also became centres of insanitary living conditions and activities that were regarded at variance with many aspects of the prevailing social order. It was against this background that attempts were made to ameliorate the conditions of the working class. Reformers and thinkers like Joseph Hume, David Ricardo, Jeremy Bentham and James Mill were concerned with educating the growing working class so that they might perform a more useful role in society. With a view to their advancement, a specific middle class approach to the content and organisation of education was being outlined. Bentham formulated the hierarchical percolation of ‘useful knowledge’ making it clear that not all knowledge was considered fit for the lower classes. There was a clear hierarchy of ‘knowledge’ and not all instructions were ‘useful’ or ‘suitable’ for all. Nor at the expense of the higher classes will any such diminution of superiority in the single point in question – any such diminution of superiority in respect of useful knowledge – have place, any further than it is their own pleasure that it should have place. To add to whatsoever proficiency their now inferiors possess in respect of useful instruction, a superiority in all branches of ornamental instruction, of which the exclusive possession will continue their own, will always depend upon themselves. To the supposed inferiors, no branches of useful instruction will be laid open, which will not be equally open to the supposed superiors. If under the impulse of emulation, or any other spring of action, they are driven to keep pace in improvement with those apprehended rivals, so much the better for themselves; if by indolence they are kept where they are, they have themselves to thank for it’. (Bentham 1843: Vol. 8, 20) 46

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Bentham’s Chrestomathic school was designed with the view that all knowledge must serve a social function and should be capable of being practically applied by the learner. Like all Utilitarians, Bentham was firmly of the belief that ‘useful’ education should be fully brought to bear upon the children of the poor. Such ‘pedagogic despotism’ as Halevy (1934: 234) calls it, was echoed by James Mill for whom education was essentially a matter of enlightenment. When Mill met Bentham in 1808, the latter was 60 years old. Mill was an ideal disciple for Bentham, and they rendered inestimable service to each other. As Halevy puts it, ‘Bentham gave Mill a doctrine, and Mill gave Bentham a school’ (Ibid. 251). James Mill’s thoughts regarding the middle class in Britain and in the colonies were also clearly motivated by his utilitarian principle. For him, the middle class was a vast and important portion of the population that contained ‘the greatest proportion of intelligence, industry, and wealth of the state’ on whom the well being of the state rested (Westminster Review, Vol., I, no. 1, January 1824, 68–9). Mill found the existing system of education irrelevant for the middle class, and considered it necessary to transform the fundamental education strategies to meet the needs of this class. Deeply influenced by Claude Adrien Helvetius, the French Enlightenment philosopher, Mill considered education a panacea for all evils, especially among the poor as conducive to raise their status. While Mill theoretically believed that there should be no class division, no oppressed and oppressor, he acquiesced that a large portion of mankind was needed for labour. Mill postulated an education system that was divided according to social class, and he considered a higher degree of education necessary for those who lived on the labour of others. …all the difference which exists between classes or bodies of men is the effect of education…that it is education wholly which constitutes the remarkable difference between the Turk and the Englishman, and even the still more remarkable difference between the most cultivated European and the wildest savage. Whatever is made of any class of men, we may then be sure is possible to be made of the whole human race. (Mill 1824: 14) In the early nineteenth century when Europe was marked by sharp political struggle and class consciousness, it was increasingly realised that the middle class had a great untapped potential to create a new political and social force capable of bringing about fundamental changes in society. James Mill was quick to realize that unlike the aristocracy, the middle class contributed everything of value to a nation. He established this point by getting ‘hold of the more intelligent minds of the growing middle class in our great centres of industry’ (Bain 1882: 446). He envisaged educational change as the great liberator of the middle class capable of social transformation, though the immensity of the gulf between middle class aspirations and established 47

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institutions continued to remain, and will be a matter for a more detailed approach later in another chapter. Mill approved of Helvetius famous comment ‘l’education peut tout’, and believed that men’s abilities and characters are not inherent factors, rather all is the product of the environment, and that ‘education can do all’. Like Bentham, Mill’s advocacy of the universality of a certain modicum of education was aimed at bringing the greatest happiness of the greatest number of people. His son, John Stuart Mill too, for all his promotion of liberty used a primitive evaluative scale to decide the participation of the State in ‘civilising’ Others. It is indubitably certain that he was willing to reconcile a Universalist reading of liberty with a particularistic reading of Indian ‘despotism’. Mill, for all his Utilitarianism, had his misgivings about despotic educational systems that shackled the minds of the learners. As to the limits of the State in so far as what to teach, and how it should teach, Mill suggested that government interference should be minimum. ‘A general State education is a mere contrivance for moulding people to be exactly like one another; and as the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government, whether this be a monarch, a priesthood, an aristocracy, or the majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body’. (Mill 1867: Ch.5, 63). He was of the opinion that the State should not direct the education, but ought to limit itself to applying the enforcement of education. The parents should be responsible for the education of their offsprings. But such expectation of responsibility from individuals was meant clearly from ‘the modern European world [where] the sentiment of liberty is the strongest’ (ibid. 62). He made exceptions for societies that are ‘in so backward a state that it could not or would not provide for itself any proper institutions of education, unless the Government undertook the task’ (Ibid.). For such societies like in India, where according to Mill the impulse was stronger than selfrestraint, he advised that they be ‘treated as children or savages, and placed under an education of restraint, to fit them for future admission to the privileges of freedom (Ibid. 60).

Schooling the child Historically, the production of modern philosophic empiricism was closely linked to the intellectual influences of European Enlightenment. The most striking work remains John Locke’s Some Thoughts Concerning Education (1693), a philosophical treatise on education. Locke emphasised posteriori knowledge, that the human mind was a tabula rasa, a blank slate, that gradually gets imprinted with ideas and learning. In the debate on ‘nature versus nurture’, Locke’s views refuted the notion that character and mind are predetermined, and laid stress on the agency of the individuals to define themselves. Locke wanted learning to be an enjoyable process, based on 48

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reason, with the goal to create a virtuous person. Locke’s Thoughts were widely read, running through several editions in the first half of the eighteenth century. Jean Jacques Rousseau though by no means the first to be influenced by his thoughts, borrowed extensively from Locke’s ideas, and his Emile (1758) in particular was a work of educational reform that had a lasting influence on successive thinkers and educationalists. Rousseau stood out from his precursor above all in the overall development of the individual. He proposed a rigorously structured education suitable for the different stages of the life of an individual, and determined what education was appropriate for each stage of one’s life. Rousseau’s premise was based on the axiomatic principle that man is born free and good, and education is responsible for fostering rationality. Schooling was seen as a site for corrective reforms of habits that were considered socially ‘unacceptable’, with the assumption that there could be a standardised way of teaching and learning, and uniform expectations of learning from all students. The notion that the mind was a blank slate and the right influences could mould it, meant a new interest in education as a method of social reform. Helvetius in his work De l’esprit (1758) professed that all intellects are equal, and all are equally capable of learning. He was of the view that differences in talent are primarily the consequences of differences in education and upbringing. Further, he radically redefined traditional virtues on utilitarian principles and declared that human behaviour was determined by the desire to maximise pleasure (Helvetius 1807). The book was seen as anti-religious and immoral and aroused immediate opposition when it was published and subsequently attracted much publicity.1 Helvetius’ ideas had a profound impact on the British utilitarian Jeremy Bentham. Bentham sought to provide a course of intellectual instruction for young minds that would give their minds ‘good order’, ‘the highest purpose’ and ‘internal tranquility’ (Bentham 1843: Vol. 8, 12). Bentham was impressed with ‘the new system of instruction…for the use of the middling and higher ranks of life’ (Ibid. title page). This was the monitorial system of instruction that was developed by Dr. Andrew Bell and Joseph Lancaster. The Lancastrian System as it was known was based on abler students ‘monitoring’ the class and assisting the teacher in teaching. This made it possible to include more number of students in the classroom and was a cheaper way to make education accessible to all. He proposed that the course of learning was to be divided into stages based on the ‘order of priority in which they are most advantageously taught’, from the simple to the complex, determined by the principles of ‘useful skill and knowledge’ (Ibid. 11). In Bentham’s scheme of tabular order of knowledge, the preparatory stage of learning the three R’s is followed by descriptive and classificatory sciences, and ends with technical sciences. These are in reference to their usefulness in life, the ‘least generally useful branches last administered’. Knowledge, in his view, had to serve a social and practical function, for profit yielding employment; all other knowledge was useless. The Benthamite 49

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approach was a systematised form of knowledge, imposed by the educator on the learners at every stage. It clearly hierarchialised certain knowledges as more complex and advanced, not only in terms of the maturity of mind required for it, but it also implied that the higher classes had more access to it. Bentham indicated that such an education will make the condition of the middle class better, without the condition of their superiors being made any worse (Ibid. 20). Thomas Day echoed the sentiments of the age when he wrote, ‘He that undertakes the education of a child, undertakes the most important duty of society’ (Quoted in Simon 1960: 25). He put forward radical educational ideas in The History of Sandford and Merton (1783–89) that went on to have extensive circulation, and became one of the most popular children’s books of the time. A significant development was the advancement of psychology in education, and children’s literature came to be seen as having educative and moral purpose. Thomas Percival’s A Father’s Instruction to his Children (1775), Rousseau’s Emile (1762), and Practical Education (1798) written by the father-daughter duo Maria Edgeworth and Richard Lovell Edgeworth, were some of the most significant pedagogical works that developed the idea of a psycho-scientific approach to education for children. The Edgeworth’s professed purpose was to introduce ‘specimens of the manner in which we think young children should be taught’, which led them to suggest ‘the earliest means of inducing useful and agreeable habits, well regulated sympathy and benevolent affections’ among children (Edgeworth 1798: v–x). In Emile (1758) Rousseau had proposed a structured intellectual and moral education for the overall development of man – at every stage of the child’s life from birth, indeed even before birth, to adulthood and parenthood (Rousseau 1974). His emphasis was on ‘natural’ education, unhampered and free to explore, leading a physically vigorous and natural life, in the early stages of a child’s life: ‘man’s education begins at birth; before he can speak or understand he is learning. Experience precedes instruction…’ (Ibid. Bk. I, 29). This, he asserted was invaluable for the child’s intellectual education in the later stages of life. Later, the child must learn only what he wants to learn, what arouses his curiosity. It is only with puberty that the emotional, moral, aesthetic, and rational faculties are fully awakened, and this is the right stage according to Rousseau, which marks the complete and perfect development of education. In contrast to Rousseau, James Mill tried his pedagogic principles on his son John Stuart Mill from a very early age. It was a systematic education, experimental even, which sought to mould the innate propensities to form his son’s character. The father’s scheme of education was careful to shield the son, from the ‘corrupting influence’ of other boys of his age. According to the son’s testimony, he grew up having no companions, very little physical activity, no holidays, constantly reproofed for inattention and slackness of mind, and reminded by his father that, 50

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whatever I knew more than others, could not be ascribed to any merit in me, but to the very unusual advantage which had fallen to my lot, of having a father who was able to teach me, and willing to give the necessary trouble and time; that it was no matter of praise to me, if I knew more than those who had not had a similar advantage, but the deepest disgrace to me if I did not. (Mill 1874: 34) The senior Mill’s experiment on his son made him conclude that such personalities could be manufactured if a proper model and plan were to be followed: ‘The position I take against him is that the generality of children are organized so nearly alike that they may by proper management be made pretty nearly equally wise and virtuous’ (Quoted in Halevy 1934: 284). His son, John Stuart Mill brought up on the rigorous upbringing of his father, voiced his concern over an excessive regime of education at an early age, which he thought could have repercussions on the individual’s personality. His On Liberty (1859) examines the relationship between authority and liberty, and promotes individuality as a prerequisite for creativity and happiness. While he is for the state to take responsibility for the education of children, he also warns against excessive interference of government, as it can infringe on the liberty of individuals (Mill 1867: 64–5). As John Stuart Mill’s Autobiography indicates, he was all the time reacting against such intellectual impositions by his father, which he found contrary to his original nature and disposition. But James Mill, in the true tradition of Helvetius and Bentham, did not confine his efforts to this isolated experiment of an individual’s education. Mill’s obsession with the use of pedagogy to reform humanity was perpetuated by Robert Owen. Owen wished to reform humanity by placing individuals from birth under certain social conditions. His experimentation at New Lanark, a small cotton-manufacturing village in Scotland, led him, in his own words, to ‘the most important experiment for the happiness of the human race that has yet been instituted in any part of the world’. Owen’s management of a model community in Lanark, which he took over from his father in law, David Dale, from 1800 to 1825 was based on an astonishingly progressive system of social and educational reforms in the worst period just after Industrial Revolution. New Lanark became a model community with an Infant School, a creche for children of working mothers, comprehensive medical care and free education for children. Young children below the age of 10 were not allowed to work in the Mill. Owen set up a Community Education Centre for his workers and had an Institute for the Formation of Character, especially for those from the poorer classes. …they will experience the same care and attention as those who belong to the establishment. Nor will there be any distinction made between the children of those parents who are deemed the worst, 51

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and of those who may be esteemed the best, members of society: rather, indeed, would I prefer to receive the offspring of the worst, if they shall be sent at an early age; because they really require more of our care and pity; and, by well-training these, society will be more essentially benefited than if the like attention were paid to those whose parents are educating them in comparatively good habits. (Owen 1817: 18–19) Owen’s educational approach was based on the fundamental conception that ‘Man’s character is formed for him, and not by him’ and his whole system at New Lanark was based on this idea. …that the character of man is, without a single exception, always formed for him; that it may be, and is, chiefly created by his predecessors; that they give him, or may give him, his ideas and habits, which are the powers that govern and direct his conduct. Man, therefore, never did, nor is it possible he ever can, form his own character. (Owen 1949: 45, original in italics) Such an assertion for Owen was not a priori but was, he claims, based on empirical study of human nature. Owen was stating that the formation of character was not innate, and therefore it is not right to blame people for what they are. Man is not totally responsible for what he is, he is the product of circumstances. He believed that there was no way of making good citizens except by providing an environment conducive to the growth of better nature, both in mind and body, for laying a better social order. And education while it began with the child must continue throughout life. Above all, he emphasised the influence of man’s occupation on his character; if the factory is wrongly organised so as to appeal to the wrong instincts in man, it will adversely affect the society in which he lives. Owen’s contribution lies in not only revolting against the horrors of Industrial Revolution, but also showing a constructive way out. He laid the foundation for cooperative societies and the dignity of workers, and a workplace that was favourable in bringing the good in them.

Systems of schooling Robert Owen realised the need for a liberalising education at a time when the Lancasterian monitorial system was regarded as the last word on progressive education. He saw the inadequacy of the Lancaster model of monitorial education where mechanical rote learning and long hours of toil were incompatible with a rational system of education. He saw the limitations of books and examinations, especially for young children, and insisted on an education that was more appealing to them based on music, dance and play. The ‘monitorial system of education’, or the Bell-Lancaster Method, as it was known after its inventors, was first introduced by Andrew Bell and 52

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later promoted by Joseph Lancaster, an English educator. Andrew Bell, during his stay in Madras, India, in 1787 was impressed by the monitorial system of education that was a popular indigenous method of imparting education in Indian schools. The teacher in pathsalas often asked the brighter students in the class to supervise the weaker pupils. This effectively reduced the burden on the teacher who sometimes took a quick nap as the student mentor made the class repeat their lessons, sometimes in a mechanical parroting of what they had learnt. Andrew Bell realised the efficacy of the monitorial method of teaching that overcame the shortage of teachers, and introduced it in an orphan school in Madras. Also known as the ‘Madras system’, Bell published a description of it in An Experiment in Education (1797) on his return to London. In Madras, Bell’s aim was …to form such scholars, as the condition of that country [India] required, as were wanted to fill the various occupations which presented themselves in the existing state of things there; to imbue the minds of my pupils with the principles of morality and our holy religion… (Bell 1808: 7) Bell found the results of his educational experiment at Madras to be particularly ‘convincing and decisive in regard to charitable establishments’, and believed that such a system could be recommended for similar institutions (Bell 1797: vi). A letter dated 6 August 1796 from the Bombay Presidency addressed to Sir John Shore at Fort William in Calcutta expressed their appreciation for such a system of tuition in the Military Male Orphan Asylum in Madras, and stated a desire to diffuse this mode of teaching in India, especially ‘amongst that class of children to whom it seems peculiarly adapted’ (Ibid. xi). The EIC Court of Directors were soon convinced to adopt this method of education for orphan children and charity schools at the settlements in both Madras and Calcutta Presidencies. The system was perhaps the first global model of management and circulation of an organised method of schooling. The implementation of an institutionalised education in late eighteenth century that emerged from India, was exported to Britain and was then adopted in the British colonies. Bell’s avowed purpose of imparting education to a particular class and section of children was ‘to produce a change, or work a reformation’, and hence inculcation of principles of religion and morality, habits of diligence and industry, promotion of useful knowledge and honesty were considered appropriate for them. The rationale provided was: It has long been said, that the half-caste children of this country shew an evident inferiority in the talents of the head, the qualities of the mind, and the virtues of the heart. I will not enter into the question, how far government or climate, and perhaps complexion 53

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as connected with climate, influence the character of the human race. Whatever may be the opinion on these heads, I believe that the effect of education will not be denied…I think I see, in the very first maxims which the mothers of these children instil [sic] into their infant minds, the source of every corrupt practice, and an infallible mode of forming a degenerate race. (Ibid. 7) And in a private letter dated 15 June 1794, Bell wrote that the sole reward of his labours with his pupils was ‘giving to society an annual crop of good and useful subjects, many of them rescued from the lowest state of depravity and wretchedness’. His purpose, he further wrote was ‘to infuse into the minds of our youths’ the right principle of education that would enable to ‘root out this perversity’ (Ibid. fn 7–8). Already after the French Revolution the masses, the working class, was being seen as a powerful social component, a new power. It was necessary to win their confidence, to control and ‘infuse into their minds’ ideas, so that they could be willing allies in the task of establishing a capitalist order. A singularly different education system and pedagogy for the labouring class was required to mould their thoughts and ideas. It was feared that by giving education to the labouring classes of the poor, it would, in effect, be found to be prejudicial to their morals and happiness; it would teach them to despise their lot in life, instead of making them good servants in agriculture, and other laborious employments to which their rank in society had destined them; instead of teaching then subordination, it would render them fractious and refractory, as was evident in the manufacturing counties it would enable them to read seditious pamphlets, vicious books, and publications against Christianity; it would render them insolent to their superiors…. (Parliamentary Debates 1807: IX, 798) Hannah More, the Evangelical educationist was of the same opinion regarding education according to the order of society. She and her sisters, and other notable names like Sarah Trimmer, Robert Raikes and William Wilberforce were responsible for establishing Sunday schools meant mainly to cater to the working classes in industrial towns and mining areas. Sunday was the chosen day as the labourers and the children were free to attend classes, and churches, barns and backyards functioned as classrooms. In a letter that she wrote to Dr. Beadon, Bishop of Bath and Wales in 1801, she explained: My plan of instruction is extremely simple and limited. They learn, on weekdays, such coarse works as may fit them for servants. I allow of no writing for the poor. My object is not to make fanatics, but to train up the lower classes in habits of industry and piety’. (Roberts 1836: II, 72) 54

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She was firmly of the view that the poor should be passive recipients rather than producers of knowledge and opinion. Her political reflections, educational writings, and her series of religious tracts known as ‘Cheap Repository’ were popular and influential. Her work was primarily focused on the religious and moral education of the poor, and it led to the formation of the Religious Trust Society. Her education became the model of a wide spread movement on the same lines, with her contemporary, the Swiss pedagogue Pestalozzi too reiterating her approach: ‘The poor ought to be educated for poverty. They must be fitted to earn their livelihood, and must not be given desires above their station’ (Quoted in The Glasgow Herald, 9 September 1933). Another Swiss, Philipp Emanuel von Fellenberg, who necessarily saw education for the poor as a means of habituating them to the existing social order, established model schools for the rich and the poor in 1799 on a large agricultural estate at Hofwyl in Switzerland. His plan for orphans and pauper children according to The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 28 March 1837, was to ‘cultivate their minds’ with ‘virtuous conduct’, ‘useful and intelligent labour’, and ‘habits of industry’ for ‘the religious, moral and intellectual progress’ of such children. Their education was based on agriculture and rules of common application relevant for their occupation and the class to which they belonged. Fellenberg’s proposals were adopted for education of the poor and proved to be very popular in England in late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. These methods of education, adopted by charity schools, were more or less embedded in syllabuses and rules intended to inculcate piety, discipline and obedience in the masses, as these virtues were perceived to keep the lower classes ‘in their place’, and make them ‘useful’ for others. It was widely accepted, especially by the Radicals, that education was the means to change men’s minds, to make them orderly and acquiescent. In the context of the controversy over the extent of national education, and whether to use education as a means to establish more firmly the existing social order, it was believed that only through education could the working class be led to assist in the establishment of a new capitalist society.

Institutions of schooling Bell’s system of education as enunciated in his An Experiment in Education, was soon adopted by charity schools and parochial Protestant schools at White Chapel and Lambeth, and at the Royal Military Asylum in Chelsea and Kendal. At the same time, Joseph Lancaster, a young schoolmaster in London opened a Free School for the instruction of poor children in 1798 at Borough Road in London with about 90–120 students. He developed a workable system of instructing crowds of poor children by having proficient ‘monitors’ supervise and teach the class. Joseph Lancaster’s ‘education for the poor’ was seen as a viable model for large-scale elementary education. 55

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Although the Lancasterian method most probably developed independently of Bell’s system of education, their concepts closely resembled each other. Lancaster saw the lack of education among the poor masses as a national evil that required a national remedy (Lancaster 1805: viii). His method of schooling and his writing Improvements in Education as it Respects the Industrious Classes of the Community (1803) attracted the attention of industrialists and philanthropes. By 1804 the Borough School had 700 boys in it (Lancaster 1805: 7). Such rapid and stupendous expansion meant that soon Lancaster was heavily into debt. In 1808 the Society for promoting the Royal British or the Lancasterian System for the Education of the Poor was formed to help Lancaster organise his financial affairs. The Lancasterian Association, made up of wealthy patrons, provided the main stimulus in promoting such schools during the first decades of the nineteenth century. The experiments were first tried out at Lever Street in Manchester in which children were taught under the monitorial system. Inspired by its success, a school was built at Oldham Road. As a part of the celebration of the Jubilee of George III in 1809, it was decided to lay the foundation of the Royal Lancasterian Free School at Oldham Road in Manchester that would accommodate a thousand students. The school which opened in July 1813 was one of the most significant steps taken in the direction of national education in Britain, which led one writer to make a florid observation: ‘To this school every stranger who visits Manchester should repair during the hours of instruction, that they may enjoy the sight of a living picture, which Benevolence will paint to see copied in every town in the kingdom’. The School was much in demand, and though sometimes there were more than 1200 students in attendance, there were only two masters and one mistress employed in teaching. The rest of the work was done by monitors (Swindells 1908: 224). The Lancasterian method was soon emulated widely all over the country. Lancasterian schools were opened at Sheffield, Leeds, Wakefield, Liverpool, Birmingham, and Manchester by local Quakers and rich patrons. Its fame spread far and wide, and as Thomas Swindells writes in Manchester Streets and Manchester Men, the schools were ‘visited by foreign princes, ambassadors, peers, bishops, and archbishops, everyone in turn being stuck by the perfect order that prevailed. It became the fashion to support the Lancasterian system of education, and schools based upon the system were opened in different parts of the country’ (Ibid. 223). At the same time a feud arose between the two organised Societies, the National Society and the Lancasterian Association – the former supported the Anglican Andrew Bell, and the latter was in favour of Joseph Lancaster who was a Quaker. In 1811 Bell was appointed the superintendent of the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor that was in disagreement with the Lancasterian Association that came to be known as The British and Foreign School Society (BFSS) from 1814 onwards. The BFSS was intended as the ‘Institution for promoting the Education of the Labouring and Manufacturing Classes of Society of every Religious 56

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Persuasion’. It was meant to provide secular instruction to young people ‘whether natives of foreigners’ on an extensive scale, and to supply instructed teachers ‘in the British dominion, at home and abroad’ (BFSS 1815: xi–xii). The very objective of the Society from its very inception was the promotion of education both at home and abroad. The Society solicited the cooperation of Dr. Schwabe from Germany, and Pestalozzi in Switzerland to engraft their system of education to the British System of Education. Information related to the purpose of the Society was disseminated in Germany, Holland, Poland, France, and Switzerland, and complete sets of lessons were handed out to foreign visitors and dignitaries upon their visit to the BFSS schools. As a result schools for the poor based on the Lancasterian method were established in many parts of Europe. At the same time, Female Schools based on the British System were opened under the direction of the Ladies’ Committee situated in London. The Female Department and Training Establishment undertook the imparting of basic education to women belonging to the labouring class. Several schools for female children, especially for the poorer classes were opened throughout Britain, in Manchester, Birmingham, Dudley, Ipswich, Sheffield and Halifax. Despite its several limitations, both the National Society and the Lancasterian Society were successful in garnering widespread enthusiasm and the number of schools and students increased rapidly. In its Annual Report of 1819 the National Society reported that there were not less than 1465 schools throughout the Kingdom (8th Annual Report of the National Society 1819: 13), and by 1821 they claimed to have nearly 1800 free schools under it with 235,000 students (10th Annual Report of the National Society 1821: 13). The rapid increase in the number of schools for the poor was not solely from motives of philanthropy by the wealthy class. As George F. Bartle points out in his article, the impetus was more from the ‘fear of social dangers presented by the growing population of street arabs in the poorer parts of London’ (Bartle 1992: 74). Schools were seen as a place to keep them out of mischief and also as a remand home to improve them. Interestingly, the demand for public-funded secular schools was being advanced by several working-class organisations. The London Working Men’s Association (WMA) comprising of William Lovett, a cabinet maker, and William Cumming, a silversmith, and many others, in its Address of 1837 demanded ‘to expand by the blessings of education the divinely mental powers of man, which tyrants seek to mar and stultify’ (Lovett 1837). The workingclass demand for education was linked with the political campaign for the People’s Charter, that was backed by Robert Owen, Tom Paine, James Mill, Jeremy Bentham and Richard Carlyle. The Miners Association also put in a similar petition demanding education for children in 1847, and in 1849 the Metropolitan Trades Delegates called for a national system of secular education. The promotion of national secular education in the early 1850s was based on a strong objection to sectarian education for the poor class. An undated pamphlet titled Declaration of Views and Principles issued by 57

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the WMA categorically rejected the various ‘charity’ schools and their religious interests on the ground that ‘none of them have ever dreamed of ascertaining our opinions, or consulting our wishes, as to what should be done with our children’. There was a clear resentment for the system of education imparted to working-class children who ‘have been treated like raw material, which each sect claims the right to work up after its own design’ (Quoted in Simon 1960: 342–43). In the latter half of the nineteenth century, Her Majesty’s National Education Commission submitted their reports, indicating the greater attention being paid to elementary education. The Clarendon Report, 1864, provided a detailed account of the management of certain schools, the studies pursued, and instruction given therein. It strengthened the class-based education in its ‘Public Schools’ by focusing on the nine ‘great Schools recently founded in England’,2 stating that, ‘From the prominent positions they have long occupied as places of instruction for the wealthier classes…they have become especially identified with what in this country is commonly called Public School Education’ (Clarendon Report 1864: 2–3). Special attention was paid to what should be taught, with the suggestion that the students ought to be taught by ‘men conversant with the requirements of public and professional life and acquainted with the general progress of science and literature’ (Ibid. 6). These schools were meant for the boys of the affluent section of society, known as the ‘Foundationers’ who ‘in the eye of the law, [was] the school’. The internal composition of these schools was divided to allow for the ‘other boys’ who may ‘resort to them [the schools] besides those for whose benefit they were principally designed’. These ‘Nonfoundationers’ as they were termed, comprised of poor and indigent boys. The Report raised anxiety over whether the division of a school into two distinct classes, one of them possessing special privileges, has not created a division of power and responsibility…whether it impairs the unity of teaching and discipline…whether it destroys in any degree the atmosphere of social equality…lastly, whether the foundation boys, under conditions so enormously changed, receive benefits the same in kind or in amount as those they were originally intended to enjoy. (Ibid. 8; My emphasis) It remained clear that protecting the privileges of the Foundation boys of upper class who were gratuitously sharing their space with the Nonfoundationers was of paramount importance. The British Parliament under the Public Schools Act, 1868, was to finally remove these schools from the direct jurisdiction or responsibility of the Crown or Government, and granted them full administrative independence under a board of governors. The Taunton Report, 1868, produced by Her Majesty’s Schools Inquiry Commission, and the Endowed Schools Act, 1869, dealt with 58

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separate institutions for the middle classes. ‘Grammar Schools’ numbering 705 and ‘Non-classical schools amounting to nearly 2200 which were meant for ‘the education of the labouring classes’ (Taunton Report 1868: 5) and were deemed fit to receive a ‘practical’ education that would suit them for future employment. The need of the class comprising of small tenant farmers, small tradesmen and artisans, as Canon Moseley prescribed, was ‘very good reading, very good writing, very good arithmetic’. This class desired, as the Report went on to state, ‘a clerk’s education; namely, a thorough knowledge of arithmetic, and ability to write a good letter’ (Ibid. 20). the Elementary Education Act, 1870, drafted by Liberal Member of Parliament William Forster and referred to as the Forster Act, made provisions for bringing elementary education to all children in England and Wales. This was the first of a number of Acts that the British Parliament passed between 1870 and 1893 to create compulsory education for children of ages between five and 13. These schools were to be publicly funded but there was conflict of opinion between the state and church over who should pay for schools run by particular religious denominations. School attendance between the ages of five and 12 was made compulsory, though many children continued to be absent from school and worked to supplement their family income.

Methods of schooling Apart from differences in courses and subjects of instruction, the methods of schooling, needless to say varied widely, depending on the social class of students. In upper class schools the number of pupils to a teacher was between 15 and 40. It was recommended that the average number not exceed 30, so that ‘the number of boys animates the teacher, and enables him in turn to infuse life into his class’ (Clarendon Report 1864: 20). Time was designated for private tutorials and reading of books beyond the school curriculum. Periodical examinations ascertained the progress of students. The Lancasterian method of monitorial instruction for poor children used a rudimentary teaching of reading, writing and arithmetic, along with moral and scriptural lessons. A large number of students, sometimes numbering 800–1000 were seated in rows with just one adult teacher, with monitors who relayed the lessons. Lessons were taught from printed cards and by using wall charts for reading rather than books.3 Students practiced writing on sand and writing slates. Apart from teaching, the monitors were in charge of slates and books, prepared lessons, took attendance, inspected progress in the class, and even examined the students. The inexpensive system took everyone by surprise, not least of all Lancaster, who commented: This economical plan of usefully educating a thousand scholars, is done at a much less expense than any of my friends ever expected 59

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me to reduce to practice; and which, if I had been told three years since were possible, I should have had great doubt of the fact, if I had not also thought it incredible. (Lancaster 1805: 9) Such a method adopted in English charity schools was a direct result of Andrew Bell’s ‘experiments’ in the Male Asylum at Madras in India. Bell based his method of teaching on prevalent indigenous practices. The students were encouraged to practice writing the letters of the alphabet with their fingers in sand. This sensory experience gave them an accurate notion of the form of each letter, and was regarded as more engaging and amusing for the students. Such a learning method was a novel way of to teach beginners as it allowed them to distinguish letters more distinctly. A teacher’s duty, as Bell mentioned, was ‘not to teach’ but to supervise and look after the students. Boys of 12 years of age were instructed in arithmetic, bookkeeping, grammar, geography, mensuration, navigation, and astronomy. The senior scholars assisted in teaching junior classes.4 This of course reduced the load on teachers, and a larger number of students could be instructed at the same time. At the Madras school he found native boys to be ‘in general stubborn, perverse, and obstinate…and trained in customs and habits incompatible with method and order’. The purpose of his school, as he clarified further, was to bring ‘order’, ‘method and system’. He acknowledged that he found it difficult to ‘model the minds of men of full years’, but he was successful in ‘training’ his younger pupils ‘in habits of strict discipline and prompt obedience’(Bell 1797: 9–10). Both Bell’s and Lancaster’s method of schooling was based on ‘breaking’ the ‘wild’ section of society, like animals which can be saddled for the utility of the ‘civilised’ society. Bell was firmly of the opinion that there could be no improvement ‘till I had trained boys whose minds I could command, and who only knew to do as they were bidden, and were not disposed to dispute or evade the orders given them’ (Ibid. 11). Lancaster’s views were not far from Bell’s. He advocated an exemplary order in his institution that the children could emulate: ‘All youth are influenced by example, and, like sheep, follow their leaders. The example prevalent in my school, was favourable to good order’ (Lancaster 1805: 8). He was equally convinced like Bell, ‘that it is practicable for teachers to acquire a proper dominion over the minds of the youth under their care, by directing those active spirits to good purposes’ (Ibid. 31). One of the surest panaceas for ‘the melancholy distress’ of the lower class particularly was perceived to be ‘a judicious education of youth, followed by an ample supply of the best food for the mind, [which] will most effectually secure the sacred interest of religion and virtue’ (BFSS 1822: 24). A  monitorship was seen as motivating and enabling especially for such children who were truants or mischievous. Lancaster found this system particularly influential on repeated reprobates; the more hardened the offender, 60

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the more striking was the reformation (Ibid. 33). However, it also meant learning facts from monitors who were their same age and who had acquired their information at the same time as the other students. Lancaster provided an ideal ‘draft’ of the classrooms, the particular placing of benches, and the precise distance between students. Schoolroom activity proceeded with military precision, and all students had to print or write at the exact moment of command given by their monitors (Ibid. 43). Learning was reduced to a mechanical process of orders that had to be meekly followed, of memorisation, and a dull routine course of learning to a point that relegated creativity. It was no wonder that very soon the similarity between the repetitive method of learning, and the mechanical operation of industrialised England was very apparent. Schools began to be perceived as factories for manufacturing ideal, useful ‘commodities’ for society’s consumption. Sir Thomas Bernard, the founder of the Society for Bettering the Condition and Increasing the Comforts of the Poor pronounced that The principle in manufactories, and in schools is the same. The practical application, in each instance, has required the same acuteness and perseverance of mind, to correct the wanderings of theory and conjecture, by repeated trial and continued attention. (Bernard 1809: 36) Bernard found the ‘intellectual operations’ in such systems to be mechanical, especially as far as the division of labour was concerned. The master’s task of teaching was divided among the monitors, and while the monitors toiled, the master merely directed. W.O. Lester Smith too pointing out the remarkable constructional and functional similarities scathingly wrote: The overlooking teacher, the minding monitors, and the repetitive processes of learning the Catechism and the rules of arithmetic had their parallels within the factories throbbing with the new machinery; and too often the school buildings erected with such pride bore a family resemblance, both externally and internally, to ‘the dark satanic mills’ of the period. (Smith 1949: 101) Some of these drawbacks were perhaps the reason for the decline and abandonment of the monitorial system. In spite of its stupendous success in the early nineteenth century, in Europe and in the British colonies, the National Society and the BFSS were acutely aware of the need to have trained teachers to meet the growing demand for education. The government’s report of 1842 indicated the shockingly low standards of elementary education in Britain, and financial grants were sanctioned for teacher training institutes.5 The Normal Schools were established with the purpose of training teachers. 61

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In 1839 the BFSS also disassociated from the monitorial system of education, reporting that they were ‘by no means disposed to bind themselves exclusively to the monitorial, or any other system’ (BFSS 1839: 2). And by 1847 the BFSS had replaced its monitors entirely with trained teachers (Hager 1959: 167).

Schooling in the colonies Schooling in the colonies was an extension of the system followed back home, albeit in a different packaging. The British system of education was instrumental in transplanting a package of ‘useful’ knowledge into an alien culture. One of the major functions of the BFSS was to disseminate the system of instruction to foreign countries, particularly in its colonies in India, Ceylon, Jamaica, etc. The cultural and institutional practices that were deemed useful in social formation in Britain were unquestioningly applied to the colonies. The modern schooling that emerged in the West based on making the child a useful citizen saw the same formative endeavour in India. Whereas in the metropole the purpose was to ‘make’ a certain class of society useful for the state; in the colonies these were experimental techniques in order to construct the subjects that were required. India, in particular, was the focus of such reformative education. In its early reports, the BFSS mentioned that the Duke of Kent had given directions for a regimental school that ‘would be the sure means of fixing for ever the principles of the British and Foreign School Society in India, upon a basis which nothing can hereafter destroy’ (BFSS 1815: 11). From towards the end of 1818 the BFSS was pushing the Ladies Committee to raise subscriptions for education of females in India. A letter from Katherine Fry dated 2 September 1820 addressed to the BFSS confirmed that her mother will ‘do what she can in distributing the papers for placing the British system of education within the reach of Native females in British India’ (BFSS/1/5/1/7/3, India and Ceylon 1820–90). The Society was seeking a female teacher who would go to Calcutta to take charge of a native girls’ school there, and in 1820 the BFSS resolved to select and send out a well-qualified female teacher to institute schools for native female children in India. William Ward, one of the Baptist missionaries of Serampore had written an open letter to the ‘Ladies of Liverpool, and of the United Kingdom’ and made a fervent appeal to his ‘fair Countrywomen’ and ‘to every female in Britain’ to come and serve in India. He drew their attention to the ‘state of ignorance and superstition’ that according to him ‘had no parallel in the history of tribes the most savage and barbarous’, and urged the British women to assuage the sufferings of the Indian women (Quoted in Missionary Register, November 1820: 465–7). Moved by Ward’s plea, the BFSS sent Miss Mary Ann Cooke to Calcutta. By 1822, the BFSS reported that the great success of the Baptist Missionaries in Bengal and the London Missionary Societies in the establishment of Native Schools ‘clearly 62

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points out the way in which the benighted natives of the East may most effectually be relieved, and the obstacles to the reception of Christianity removed’ (BFSS 1822: 33). By 1823 the number of schools in Bengal had increased to twenty-two with nearly four hundred female students (Chapman 1839: 82). Miss Cooke’s schools were run efficiently and exemplarily. Schools were neat and orderly. The female students sat in rows and not only displayed ‘a great desire for learning to read and write, but some showed considerable talents’. These very soon, the Society circular assured, would be ‘raised to that rank which they should hold as human beings’ (Missionary Register, November 1822: 483). In its Annual Report of 1825, the BFSS estimated that upwards of 21,000 children were deriving the benefit from the exertions of various Societies for the education of children in British India (BFSS 1825: 106–07). According to Adam’s recommendations for schools in India, which were to a large extent influenced by the Bell and Lancaster method, elementary education was to be divided into four stages: the first stage which seldom exceeded ten days was to teach young scholars to form the letters of alphabet on the ground with a small stick or slip of bamboos or on a sand board. The second stage extended from two and a half to four years, where the scholar was taught to write on palm leaf, and to commit to memory the Numeration tables. The third stage extended from two to three years that were employed in writing on a plantain-leaf. Arithmetical rules were also taught at this stage. And the fourth and the last stage, of up to two years, writing was done on paper and the scholar was expected to be able to read the Ramayana, Mansa Mangal, etc. at home, as well as be qualified in accounts, and the writing of letters, petition, etc. (Cited in Dharampal 1983: 53; also mentioned by Adam 1838: 31)). Following the Charter of 1813 the attempt was to integrate the existing indigenous schools with the Western system, with a clear slant towards propagation of Christianity and emphasis on English education. Alexander Duff, a Scottish missionary who was a staunch Anglicist, expounded English education in India with the following reasoning: The English language opens up a whole world of new ideas…and the ideas are so true, and the examples so striking, work mightily on the minds of native youth, so that by the time they have acquired mastery over the English language, under judicious and enlightened instructors, their minds are almost metamorphosed into the texture and cast of European youth, and they cannot help expressing their utter contempt for Hindoo superstitions and prejudices. (Quoted in Trevelyan 1838: 218–19) A number of missionary organisations were set up for ‘metamorphising the minds’ of the native, among them the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, (SPCK), The BMS, LMS, and the CMS marked a new era in 63

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missionary movement and spread of Christianity. Indo-European Societies like the Asiatic Society of Bengal and the School Book Society were already active in circulating relevant textbooks to disseminate western knowledge. During the period of about two decades that elapsed between William Bentinck’s Resolution of 1835 and Wood’s Education Despatch of 1854, the Vernacular Literature Society and the Bethune Society rendered useful services to the cause of vernacular education. Continuity and encouragement to vernacular languages was done with the purpose of making the Gospel accessible to the masses, and ensuring the connection of the people with the missionaries. The CSBS, a non-religious institution founded jointly by Europeans and educated Indians, was set up in 1818 with the objective of writing and publishing vernacular textbooks and supplying them to schools and madrasas in and around Calcutta. By its extensive operations in connection with the publication and distribution of schoolbooks and other teaching appliances the Society concentrated their efforts towards providing the Vernaculars with a suitable series of school books in order to create a taste for English. Having created that taste, they gradually shifted the centre of their emphasis from the Vernaculars to English, and both English and the Vernaculars were perceived as part of their scheme of liberal education for the Indian children. Vernacular schools and vernacular education was therefore seen as a part of the larger plan for bringing western education and evangelisation. The colonial system of education was greatly critical of the existing indigenous method of teaching, and found the gulf that existed between the English and Indian systems of education to be one of the major reasons for the lack of success in implementing the western educational system in India. A Guide to the Examinations at the College of Fort William published in 1860, sixty years after the college was established, still harped on the difficulties of educating natives because of the great divide between native and European systems of instruction. As the Guide despairingly stated, …the truth is the native has a system, but it is the very reverse of all modern approved systems. It is, if I may use so common a simile, to fling his pupil at once in deep water, and there let him splash and plunge about until he learns to swim. On this principle all native children are taught – on this principle all Moonshis and Pandits have themselves learned, and they have no idea of any other. The student must therefore not be surprised if the first thing his teacher does, is to put one of the test books into his hands, and tell him to read it…In looking over a student’s exercises moreover, an Indian teacher will generally correct errors in grammar and spelling: but, if he can himself understand the meaning, he seldom amends the phraseology, and often passes over gross idiomatic errors. (Lees 1860: v) 64

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Alternately, almost at the same time, in 1859, a Report of Her Majesty’s Civil Service Commissioners recorded the praise of native candidates for employment: … as an educated class they are superior to the European or Eurasian of the country: while an English clerk cannot express himself correctly or simply in any letter…the native clerk of the lowest stamp can read and write correctly one, if not two, languages, is well versed in arithmetic, and can write from dictation, and draw up grammatical, and even elegantly expressed reports. (The Calcutta Review, June 1859: 396)

Missionary interventions If institutes like the BFSS were actively soliciting grants and donations for establishing schools in India, the missionaries who began to arrive in Bengal by the end of the eighteenth century were responsible for opening schools and spreading evangelical principles. Recommended by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), the first Protestant missionary to be sent to Bengal was the Swedish missionary John Zachariah Kiernander. Kiernander opened his Mission School in Calcutta on 1st December 1758 and by the following year there were 175 children in it (Historical and Ecclesiastical Sketches 1831: 199). But it was with the coming of the British Baptist missionary William Carey that missionary work started in earnest in Bengal. The ‘founder of the Modern Missionary Enterprise’,6 Carey was the most illustrious of the English missionaries in Bengal. A shoemaker with no formal education, Carey went on to be known for his contributions to education in Bengal. The Baptist Missionary Society formed in England in 1792 sent Carey to Bengal. Carey arrived with his family in 1793, and aware of the EIC’s hesitation towards missionary work, he settled in the Danish settlement of Serampore. He had already published his missionary manifesto in England An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens (1792) with the clear purpose of spreading the word of Christ among the ‘heathens’ ‘who have no Bible, no written language, no ministers, no good civil government…’ (Carey 1792: 13). He gave statistics to prove that four hundred and twenty million of the world’s population ‘are still in a deplorable state of pagan darkness’, who are ‘as capable of knowledge as we are’, and therefore it was the duty of true Christians to exert themselves to dispel the ignorance and immorality that abounds in them (Ibid. 62–66). He was soon joined by Joshua Marshman and William Ward and in 1800 they founded the Serampore Mission and a Bengali elementary school with forty boys (Periodical Accounts 1800: 70). The Serampore Trio, as William Carey, Joshua Marshman and William Ward were known, took active lead in setting up schools. It was Marshman’s wife, Hannah Marshman who was 65

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instrumental in establishing the first girl’s school and fee paying boarding house in Serampore.7 The advertisement in the Calcutta Gazette, 20 March 1800 announced the opening of a Mission House in Serampore which paid particularly attention to Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Geography, Latin, and the correct pronunciation of the English language (Chatterjee 1987: 40). Hannah’s Boarding schools proved to be highly popular especially with the European and the Eurasian settlers. The missionaries of Serampore were responsible for printing books and contributing significantly to the supply of educational materials for schools in Bengal. Their mission work was complemented by Ward’s printing press in Serampore which produced educational materials. With the help of native scholars, punches and presses were designed in the vernacular languages. The greatest contribution of the Press was in printing textbooks. Even though the Pious Act had been defeated in 1793, Wellesley allowed the missionaries to extend their influence and operations into British territory. Carey was appointed Professor of Bengali at the College and the immediate problem he faced was the almost total lack of pedagogical materials and textbooks. With the active participation of a staff of learned native pundits, Carey set about enhancing the resources by composing a variety of works such as grammars, dictionaries, and text books in colloquial Bengali. In between 1800 and 1832 the press published about 212,000 books related to grammar, history, folk tales, dictionaries, translations of the Bible, and translations of Indian texts (Roy 1995: 31). Elementary and higher education in Bengal witnessed a flurry of experimental activities by missionaries, chaplains and laymen, bringing significant changes especially in curriculum and medium of instruction. Missionaries were continually urged to establish more schools. Robert May, a missionary, having worked in Europe and America was sent to India in 1811. He directed his attention to the instruction of children, and opened about twenty schools in Chinsurah in Bengal. His endeavour was not just to ‘convey the knowledge of Gospel doctrines’, but to illustrate the catechisms in such a light so as ‘to impress them upon the heart’ (May 1816: vi). Converted natives were selected for Missionary employment, to be especially trained with the hope that they may be successfully employed as translators of the Bible into Indian languages. At the Serampore institution, education for the English Christians and the native Christians were clearly segregated on the basis of their expected role in society. Education for the children of English missionaries who were expected to join the Mission in the future was to ‘prepare them to become the most efficient agents in the gathering of the heathens’. For the native converts, however, ‘a respectable but inferior education was to be given’, ‘so as to qualify them for situations in life, by which they may procure a decent livelihood, and rear and educate their families’. Such an education was more to ‘make amends’ for their ‘loss of cast’, and save the missionaries from being reproached by the Indians (Report of the Missionary College. n.d: 3). 66

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The school at Serampore run by the Baptist missionaries was run on the outlines of the plan submitted in Hints relative to Native Schools (1816). Written by the Marshman, Carey and Ward, the booklet provided a detailed guideline on ‘a course of moral and scientific instruction’, and methods of running native schools in India. It stated that Britain’s ‘benevolent concern’ for the welfare of Indians, its ‘godlike feeling’ and ‘feeling of humanity’ had led it to extend its compassion towards the inhabitants of India, so as to promote ‘the introduction of useful knowledge and religious and moral improvement’ (Marshman 1816: 5). The manual advocated the adoption of the Bell and Lancaster method to spread knowledge among the natives, albeit ‘improved and adapted to the circumstances of the country’ (Ibid. 19–20). The Monitorial Method was seen to save expenses as one printed copy of book was sufficient to teach the whole class, and monitors did the function of teachers. Students were taught elementary arithmetic, geography and history apart from Ethics and Morals. A more elaborate outline of the Serampore College which opened in 1818, was drawn up by William Ward in his College for the Instruction of Asiatic Christian and other Youth (1819). He specified that the Institution was not only for Christian youth, but ‘should afford instruction to Native Youth from any part of India’. It should be ‘accessible to all’, but at the same time it would ‘enable a select number of these youth to acquire a complete knowledge of the English language’. He went on to emphasise that though not all could imbibe such an education, yet the right cultivation of minds was of great advantage to the English: A mind capable of this, is not found, it is acknowledged in every individual; but if from a 100 native Christian youths, 20 such could be selected, or even half that number, the English acquisitions of these 10 would be of more value to their country than those of a 1000 common minds. (Ward 1819: 8–9, original emphasis) The method of education was clearly based on segregation and difference. While ‘better’ students were allowed the privilege of ‘superior’ instructions and superintending the class, the rest of the ‘common’ minds were expected to just follow instructions. Education was accessible to all, but superior education was accessible to some. In fact schools represented the very structure and principles on which the colonial government functioned. The privileged few who got to learn English were the intermediaries, the ones who could monitor the masses and ‘teach’ the lessons imparted by the colonial masters. As Zastoupil and Moir point out, the very existence of the British Raj was founded on the shrewd creation and skillful manipulation of such hierarchies (Zastoupil and Moir 1999: 1). A class of Indians who were competent in English and who were the keepers of the colonial administration, were the ‘munshis’ or the community of writers who knew Sanskrit and 67

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Persian and indigenous laws. They were made to feel important by ‘educating’ their British masters. Both these intermediaries proved useful to the British to maintain crucial diplomatic relations with the subjects. The government had always been wary of promoting Christian religious teaching, but the Mutiny of 1857 afforded the missionaries an opportunity to reiterate the necessity of Christian teaching to the Indians. Alexander Duff seized the opportunity to demand Bible teaching in government schools, and Bishop Cotton also pointed that the defect of the  present education was the ‘exclusion of all Christian teaching’ and insisted on well-organised Bible classes in schools by well-educated Christians (Cotton 1871: 392). The BFSS sent Mrs. Mary Carpenter to India in 1868 to set up a Christian school and promote female education.8 From 1870, the BFSS began to strongly recommend Christian Vernacular Education Society for India, and training colleges for teachers in India.9 Missionary focus was on making educational institutions the chief conduits for extensive diffusion of the gospel as an effective instrument of reforming the natives.

Framing identities From the end of the eighteenth century the correction of the natives’ ‘imperfections’ and the ‘improvement’ of their subjects became the focus of colonial education. Education became a convenient means of framing identities of both the British and the Indians, which then fully exploited the intellectual and ideological conjunction of evangelism and governance. An eighteenth century history of India written by the Scottish Orientalist Alexander Dow (1735–79), professed to provide some pseudo-scientific explanations behind the ‘inherent’ placidity of the natives. Dow joined the Bengal infantry in 1763 as an army officer in the EIC. In 1768, during his leave and stay in England he published the History of Hindostan, translated from the Persian which immediately became a great success. He then returned to India in 1769 and wrote two dissertations, On the Origin and Nature of Despotism in Hindostan and An Enquiry into the State of Bengal. He attributed the present decline of the state of the country to the ‘indolence’ and ‘phlegmatic sentiments’ of the natives, the hot climate, and a religion that inclined them to peace and submission (Dow 1792: vii–viii). The projection of India as a singular national entity with identifiable homogeneous attributes that could be tagged as ‘Indian’, served as the starting point for colonial postulations of a selective reductive identity for the ‘natives’. Robert Orme, who was considered an authority on Indian history, also considered that these alike contributed to produce a being so ineffectual and submissive, so as to make the native Hindu ‘the most effeminate inhabitant of the globe’ and an easy prey for the ‘fierce’ and ‘hardy’ Muslim invaders from the north (Orme 1971: 33–48). Such ideas neatly fitted into 68

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the colonial teleology of creating binaries of opposition between HinduMuslim, past-present and submissive-despotic. But just vilifying the present state of India was not merely enough; Dow felt it was necessary to present an alternate perception of what could be achieved. In History he affirms that a conquest of ‘Hindostan’ would be obviously advantageous to the British government, At the same time Dow provided humanitarian justification by suggesting that such conquests will result in ‘promoting the cause of justice and humanity…and give to so many millions of mankind, a government founded upon the principles of virtue and justice’ (Dow 1792: 428). Another missionary, James Peggs addressed a series of pamphlets to the government demanding immediate action against the ‘barbarous’ social customs prevalent in India. Peggs’ propaganda was based on demonstrating the absolute contrast between cultures, religion, people and ways of life. Peggs criticised practically every aspect of the culture and society of the Hindus: ‘a race of men whose standard of morality is so low’, ‘conversation is so licentious’, and ‘their religion is indeed a horrible one’ (Peggs 1832: Bk. VI, 408). At the same time they were charged to be ‘weak’, ‘effeminate’ and ‘cowards’ (Ibid. 404). The most famous charges of effeminacy in Indian men, especially Bengali men, came from Macaulay who declared that ‘The physical organization of the Bengalee is feeble even to effeminacy’. Macaulay implied that the physical weakness of the Indian men was the reason for their being ‘trampled upon by men of bolder and more hardy breeds’ (Quoted in Sinha 1995: 15). As Mrinalini Sinha and Ashis Nandy have demonstrated, western perception of Indians as passive, meek, and physically weak were stereotypical constructs to boost the imperial image (Nandy 1983; Sinha 1995). By suggestive contrast the British appeared to be ‘manly’, mature, and competent. As Peggs suggested, it was the ‘wisdom’, ‘sensible’ and ‘decisive’ nature of the British which made them eminently responsible for rectifying the evils in society, making him authoritatively conclude that, ‘The state of learning, morals, and religion in India demonstrates the necessity of European colonization’ (Peggs 1832: 405). The legitimisation of colonisation was based on the argument that the present was politically servile and morally degraded because of past dissensions; and colonial rule would enable present India to rise above its retrogressive, corrupt and fragmented state. In effect, it identifies and isolates those aspects it codes as ‘barbaric’, ‘uncivilised’, and ‘morally degenerate’, that has the potential to improve because of colonial interference and control. The colonial system assured its continuation and perpetuation by inducing the colonised to accept new norms and cognitive categories for subscribing and even colluding with the rulers. The production of ‘knowledge’ about India continued in the discourses of the British Orientalists like Sir William Jones. Jones who lived in India for eleven years, mastered the Sanskrit language, and went on to translate into English some of the greatest gems of Sanskrit literature, still had an attitude of patronising superciliousness towards Indian literature and religion. In his letter to Mr. Justice 69

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Hyde (May 14, 1784) written from Calcutta, Jones expressed his ‘amusement’ over the religious book of the Hindus:10 I am inexpressibly amused by a Persian translation of an old Sanscrit book, called Siry Bha’gwat, which comprizes almost the whole of the Hindu religion, and contains the life and achievements of Crishen; it is by far the most entertaining book, on account of its novelty and wildness, that I ever read. (Jones 1807: II, 31) Henry Thomas Colebrooke who succeeded Jones as the second President of the Royal Asiatic Society too saw ‘England, as most advanced in refinement’, which had the responsibility of reforming India ‘in an improved state that which was received in a ruder form’. He taught himself the history, philosophy, religion and languages of India, and saw it as his ‘duty’ and ‘obligation’ in aiding ‘the advancement of knowledge’ (Colebrooke 1873: 1–2). For people like Charles Grant the ‘reformation’ was possible through the means of education. A strong advocate of Western education based on Christian religion and teaching, Grant’s two treatises A Proposal for Establishing a Protestant Mission in Bengal and Behar (1787) and Observations on the State of Society among the Asiatic Subjects of Great Britain, particularly with respect to Morals and on the Means of Improving it (1792), were instrumental in affecting future pronouncements on the subject. Grants Observations presented a damning portrayal of the state of Indians as a race of men lamentably degenerate and base; retaining but a feeble sense of moral obligation; yet obstinate in their disregard of what they know to be right, governed by malevolent and licentious passions, strongly exemplifying the effects produced on society by great and general corruption of manners, and sunk in misery by their vices… (Grant 1813: 71) Alexander Duff who strongly advocated Christian teaching in schools, despaired at the low rate of conversion, as the promotion of the Gospel did not produce desirable results and conversion proved to be difficult. Duff attributed the resistance towards conversion to the ‘stubborn and degeneracy’ of people ‘in a country like Hindustan in particular, where the opposition to the spread of the Gospel in particular is so inveterate and so universal’ (Duff 1839: 441). Missionaries blamed the rigid adherence to traditionalism amongst the Hindus, especially on the upper class women who were perceived to have a lot of influence on their sons. Indian women’s resistance to evangelisation and ‘modernisation’, and the firm control they exercised over their sons were perceived by the English as restrictive to progress. 70

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From the 1850s the zenana became the focus of most of the educational enterprises of the missionaries. The zenana (apartments for the upper class Indian women) was perceived as a threat to effective evangelisation in India. It was therefore a fit object of the missionary’s labour to bring in light and knowledge to remove ignorance and superstition among their ‘imprisoned sisters’. In The Women of India and Christian work in the Zenana, Mrs. Weitbrecht, a missionary associated with the CMS, wrote that such strongholds of Hinduism could be ‘penetrated’ if ‘the doors of this cruel captivity’ could be opened to bring in ‘unsanctified freedom to those poor suffering sisters’. Weitbrecht candidly asserted the purpose of employing control of ‘we’ over ‘them’: ‘We want Christian women to teach them the glad tidings of great joy, to illumine with gospel light these cheerless homes…’ (Weitbrecht 1875: 95–6; emphasis added). If native women were seen as ignorant, imprisoned and suffering, the defining of a ‘child’ was no different. The framing of notions of ‘childhood’ in nineteenth-century colonial discourses had a great influence in determining educational policies in the colony. Childhood, understood as historical notions of what constitutes a child, had been central to the western thinking on education for children. The very basis of the educational theories of Pestalozzi, Froebel, Dewey and Montessori was based on a scientific and psychological understanding of the child’s world. A definite technique and apparatus of teaching and curriculum was envisaged for children that would bridge the gap between the child and the adult. The child was seen as essentially different from the adult, in its maturity and experience, and hence an easier ‘target’ to be intellectually shaped. As the Missionary Register for 1827 noted: ‘A Hindoo boy is a most promising subject of instruction; A Hindoo Adult, of the lower classes, is quite the reverse: he seems to have lost, in a great measure, his intellectual faculties’ (Missionary Register 1827: 87). In the context of imperial discourse the native child and adult were same. As Ashis Nandy has pointed out, there was a cultural and political parallel in how the child and the colonised were characterised – both represented as ignorant, inferior and immature, and hence in need of ‘civilising’ (Nandy 1993). Again, as Tejaswini Niranjana has noted, ‘The maturity-immaturity, adulthood-childhood opposition feeds right into the discourse of improvement and education perpetuated by the colonial context’ (Niranjana 1992: 22). In fact, without an understanding of the implications of ‘schooling the mind’ of children, the defining of native adulthood would remain unconnected and unexplained.

Schooling as control and coercion As an extension of the racial and national characteristics of Indians, the missionaries perceived Indian parents as unworthy of taking care of their children. Parenting in India was seen as either too harsh, or incompetent, or too soft for the good of the children. Indian parents were supposed to be 71

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cruel, ignorant, and emotionally detached for the moral, religious and intellectual development of their children. Children being made to work at home or assisting their parents in work was interpreted as bad parenting. The Indian home and family, particularly the non-Christian households, were therefore considered detrimental to the children’s progress. For children who came especially from such a background, education was regarded as the most important and judicious means of moral improvement. Teaching materials used in colonial schools formed the minds of children for the social and sexual division of labour in the home and workplace. It is interesting to note that while the upper class Englishmen, the ‘real’ men, were advocating the Benthamite educational ideas of ‘useful’ subjects of learning for themselves, they framed a more ‘humanising’ pedagogy for the colonies based on tales, fables, scriptures and language teaching. Learning was stratified, and colonial subjects seen as part of the working class, had to be ‘processed’ as productive members of the community. The hegemonic construction of intellectual endeavours clearly constituted class/gender/ sexual subjectivity with its insidious implication that certain subjects were more ‘respected’ than others. This has resulted in certain academic pursuits to be institutionalised as ‘softer’ options meant for female students, and for intellectually ‘weaker’ students.11 At the same time, the socialised polarisation of gender roles and differences was held together by a multitude of ways as diverse as school textbooks, teaching styles, segregated classrooms for boys and girls, and emphasis on gender roles and activities. Gender identity formation and assumptions about the nature of stereotyping, circulated through certain areas of study that were gender specific, and have been the creation of particular school-based strategies. While boys were encouraged to be sporty, girls were taught needlework and household management that reinforced ideal feminine duties. Female education was channeled into areas not threatening to men. Formal education in schools thus institutionalised a fixed idea of the ‘ideal’ child, man and woman, and the complementarity of the sexes. In the post-industrial age with large -scale education, educational institutions were increasingly being projected as the Benthamite panopticon to keep an eye on wayward children. The onus of instilling duty and morality was shifting from the family to schools. Emile Durkheim, the French sociologist for whom social institutions like schools were key to ‘collective consciousness’, stressed on morality and discipline as two important means for the collective interest of the society. He believed that morality, or ‘that science [that] can help us determine the way in which we ought to orient our conduct’ came only from education (Durkheim 1961: ix). For him, education above all creates a new being (Elle cree dans l’homme un etre nouveau).12 Durkheim insisted that family cannot provide the functional requisites for moral education. According to him, it is formal schooling, the classroom and its discipline that provide favourable opportunities for sensitising the individual child to the obligations of community membership. 72

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Enforcing discipline was not merely a means of constraint, but it ensures order, he said, and school teaches to respect rules. He considered punishment equally important, not as a punitive deterrent, and insisted that ‘it is not punishment that gives discipline its authority; but it is punishment that prevents discipline from losing this authority…That is why punishment almost necessarily implies severe treatment and, as a result, pain for the person afflicted (Ibid. 167). As is clearly evident from Durkheim’s thoughts, the school was a microcosm for the larger society where the same principles of morality, discipline, authority and punishment had to be applied for the collective good of the people. He clarifies that whether it is a child or adult, a school or society, ‘self-mastery’ can be achieved ‘only in the school of moral discipline’. For this reason, he considered the civilised man greater than the primitive, and the adult superior than a child (Ibid. 73). The BFSS Manual of the System of Primary Instruction Pursued in the Model Schools of the BFSS (1831) categorically noted down a list of systematic instructions that had to be followed in the class by the students and the monitors in the class. They had to await ‘orders’, ‘obey’ instructions, arrange themselves ‘orderly’ in the classroom, repeat what was ‘dictated’ to them, ‘correct’ their errors, and maintain ‘order’. There was a section on ‘Vocabulary of Commands and Order of Occupation’ which stated: Verbal commands to direct the movement of the pupils have hitherto in large schools been deemed unavoidable; silent signals have been occasionally substituted, but they have failed in keeping up the attention, and consequently in producing prompt obedience. (1831: 55) Each activity of the students was strictly monitored and the ringing of bells for pupils to take their seats, to receive and to return their books, or to stop work, signalled every command. In India, after the Charter Act of 1813, school and curriculum were reexamined in the cultural context of colonialism and evangelism. School became more of a disciplining institution, a space where the moral duties of a child could be defined and constituted. Rev. James Long in his Introduction to Adam’s Report gives a view of the punishments that were common in native schools prior to the steps taken by the British government. He cites from Calcutta Review (No. IV, 334) a description of 15 different kinds of singular physical punishments which were meted out to children in schools in Bengal. Long says that though Adam has reported extensive information on schools and teachers, this is ‘one peculiar feature in those schools he has omitted’ (Adam’s Report 1868: 10). The punishments as enumerated by Long were mainly corporal punishments, causing deliberate physical pain, meant to humiliate, while it provided ‘entertainment’ to the other students. But such punitive measures were not unique to only India. Victorian England, and the west in general, have had a tradition of severe corporal punishment 73

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for children as a disciplinary measure. Foucault’s apposite comparison between oppression in prisons and schools in Discipline and Punish (1975) explains a contemporary phenomenon across place and institutions wherever authority was met with resistance. Again, as Foucault has pointed out, schools follow the same ‘nesting’ of hierarchical surveillance like in any other reformative confining space with putative docility (Foucault 1991). As has been seen, the Monitorial system of education assured the hierarchy of surveillance by authority figures in the form of teachers and monitors. But a mere Foucauldian understanding of education as a reform system in Eurocentric colonies is to just see the tip of the iceberg. There were deeper ideological, political and social ramifications of schools shifting attention from controlling the body to controlling the mind. There were more complicated hierarchies and rearrangements of hierarchies, and alternative configurations of power that went into the re-forming of the minds of the natives.

Contestation over colonial schooling Western education when compared to the existing indigenous educational system had discernible differences, and was not without its lacunae and problems. It was a new system, with its imported ideas of discipline, order, scheduled timetable, curriculum and examinations that were completely at odds with the general rural, agricultural background of Bengali students. Such transitions were difficult to internalise, and often resented by the natives who were used to a more flexible pace of life. Anindita Ghosh has argued that the literary project was neither homogenous nor passively received by all levels of indigenous society (Ghosh 2006). Even the middleclass Bengali intellectuals were neither the unwitting beneficiaries nor hapless victims of the system; there was a simultaneous questioning of colonial indoctrination, and reformulations of an alternate ‘image’ by the Bengalis. Missionary Reports offered a predominantly laudatory interpretation of the efforts made by missionaries in ‘improving’ the natives. These Reports are full of instances of native boys not interested in money, but begging for books in English and the Bible from missionaries. Rev. John Walton, the Wesleyan missionary spoke about the enthusiastic reception of the Bible among young Indian schools, stating that ‘it is a common thing’ for a boy to leave a school where secular education is provided for one ‘where the Bible is taught’. When one such boy was asked the reason for shifting to such a school, the ‘quick witted and observant boy’ is said to have answered that such boys ‘are better educated and more successful in life’ (Christian Work 1869: 178). Since the toil of the missionary Societies was directed towards improvement of natives and conversion to Christianity, an optimistic depiction of enthusiasm among the natives ensured a steady flow of financial support and evangelical materials from their Western patrons. But eagerness for an English education and the Bible among native youths was not always equalled by the adoption of Christianity or moral ‘reformation’. 74

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It was as the ‘quick witted and observant boy’ in the above quote had been smart to perceive, for being ‘more successful’ in life. As the ‘Downward Filtration’ theory ensured better paid government jobs to those who could speak and write in English, it meant that the gentility of Bengal had found in English education a short cut to get clerical jobs in the British government. A new section of intellectual upper class Bengali elites, the ‘bhadralok’, saw in English education the panacea for all evils. The glamour of being associated with the dominant powerful class, made the elite Bengalis eager to adopt western etiquettes and learning. The ‘bhadrolok’ or the gentlemanly class of Bengalis was quick to disassociate themselves from the ‘chotolok’ who were essentially the vulgar, the poor and the uneducated. Some of the upper-caste influential section of the Bengali society like the Brahmo Samaj reformer, Rammohun Roy, and many elite Bengalis who converted to Christianity like Krishna Mohan Banerjea, Gopinath Nundy, Mohesh Chunder Ghose, Anando Chunder Mazumdar, Lal Behari Day, and Michael Madhusudan Dutt were ‘equipped with a complete Western and Christian education’ (Richter 175). Even conservative Hindus like Radhakant Dev welcomed Western education and desired changes based on Western ideas. The Young Bengal Movement led by Henry Louis Vivian Derozio and some of his chosen students from the Hindu College were greatly impressed by Western ideas and Western literature. There was no doubt that the Bengali intellectual elite exposed to Western movements, political institutions, values and thoughts on liberty and rights of the bourgeoise class brought about a massive transformation in Bengali society, prompting David Kopf to call it an era of the ‘Bengali Renaissance’ (Kopf 1969). There was, at the same time, a general sense of unease, questioning and doubting. Babu Keshub Chandra Sen, a social reformer who was inspired by the syncretic practices of Christianity, Hinduism and Bramho Samaj, described the immediate results of the contact between western education and eastern sensibilities: In times of transition in India as elsewhere, we always find that men for a time become reckless. The old faith is gone, and no new faith is established in its place. Society is unhinged and unsettled. Old principles of character and time-hallowed institutions are swept away by innovations and revolutionary tumults, but no better principles are immediately established in their place. Thus for a season is confusion and recklessness. Such is the case in India at present time. (Cited in Murdoch 1873: 3) On a proportionately smaller scale, but equally vital in its consequences, was the re-evaluation and critiquing of western pedagogy by a section of Bengalis. Nivedita Sen writes that at this time Bengali literature ‘exposed the unhappy predicament of the school-going child who was subjected to 75

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the ‘modern’ system’, not with any radical assertion of Bengali identity, but with an often underlining ‘romantic yearning for the freedom and flexibility of the older, indigenous mode of instruction’ (Sen 2015: 26). Literary narratives in the form of stories, memoirs and autobiographies voiced the discontent with the new system of colonial schooling. Rajnarayan Basu (1826–99) a beneficiary of English education at David Hare’s school, and who was well known in the Bengali intellectual circles for introducing western learning, was at the same time disapproving of the system of education. In Sekal aar Ekal [The Past and Present] (1874) he documented the unhealthy condition of classrooms where hundreds of hot and sweating students were schooled. Rev. James Long, as Basu informs, who visited such a sweltering classroom is said to have commented ‘This is hell’. Basu is also severely critical of the lack of exercise among young children who spent the whole day learning lessons: ‘If today a boy spends the whole day learning his lessons by heart, he is called a quiet boy! This quality of quietness is the root of all problems in a child’. He denounced the educational system that overburdened young students with books and examinations, as a result of which they were physically weak and sickly. He asserted that ‘in a way it will not be too far-fetched to say that the present system of English education is a machine to kill human beings’ (Basu 1874: 33–35; my translation). Nabinchandra Sen too in his autobiography Amar Jibon (1907) wrote despairingly of taking exams in his childhood days: From the age of eight to twenty two, one has to continuously face exams. To go to hell we have to die only once; but to be educated one has to die every year for all the years of one’s education. I have often wondered why innocent young children are subjected to this torture. (Sen 1912: 54; my translation) Another popular Bengali writer Peary Chand Mitter (1814–83) who wrote under the pen name Tek Chand Thackoor,13 portrayed a satiric picture of the bohemian lifestyle of the rich in nineteenth century Calcutta in his Bangla novel Alaler Gharer Dulal [The Spoilt Brat of a Rich Family] (1857). Matilall, the protagonist is the spoilt child of a rich and decadent family whose bad habits are the results of a vacuous mind. The author partly blames the prevalent English education system in Calcutta for the lack of interest and waywardness of students like Matilall: It is the teachers’ responsibility to see that their students do not merely parrot a few books which they have learnt by rote. Learning by rote no doubt enhances memorizing capacity, but if that does not boost knowledge and skills, then such superficial learning is only to impress people. Students should understand what they are learning, only then can they be interested in learning. (Mitter 1857: 16; my translation) 76

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Perhaps the biggest critic of English education and the colonial system of education was the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941). In his essays, speeches and letters that spread over five decades, he relentlessly advocated an alternative paradigm to colonial education in British India. He was an exponent of a liberating and syncretic vision of education, who fearlessly provided an alternative approach to contemporary Eurocentric system of education. Tagore wrote Sikshar Herfer [The Modification of Education] in 1892 when he was in his early thirties. He expressed his anguish and indignation at an education that was creatively constricting and alien for the Indian sensibilities. But such cultivation [the ability to think and imagine] is all but ruled out in our present education system. We are obliged to spend a very long time only learning language. I have already stated that English is such an alien language and our teachers are so illequipped that the language and the thoughts, feelings and sensibilities conveyed by it cannot easily penetrate our mind. (Sikshar Herfer, in Maitra 2014: 31) Tagore pointed out the lack of any integration between the education imparted to native children and the life that they led. Such an education was farcical he felt, reducing the Bengali to a clown, overwhelmed by memorising lessons and taking exams. He pointed out that ‘the education which we spend a lifetime acquiring makes us fit only for a clerkship or a trade’ (Ibid. 35). Tagore was acutely perceptive of the ‘insidious ulterior motives’ of colonial education in moulding the minds of the native learners, and asserted that ‘under the prevailing education system, our mind remains immature and our intelligence does not attain its fullest development’ (Sikshasamskar, 1906 [Reform of Education], in Maitra 2014: 59). Also Swami Vivekananda (1863–1902) who was responsible for establishing Hindu spiritualism in the West, lamented: We have had a negative education all along from our boyhood. We have only learnt that we are nobodies. Seldom are we given to understand that great men were ever born in our country. Nothing positive has been taught to us. We do not even know how to use our hands and feet! We master all the facts and figures concerning the ancestors of the English, but we are sadly unmindful about our own. We have learnt only weakness. (Vivekananda 1960: V, 332) His disciple Sister Nivedita who came to India in 1898 on his invitation started a kindergarten school in Calcutta where English and Bengali elementary teaching was imparted. Her ideas on education for Indian students were geared towards nation building which aimed to erect a strong national 77

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edifice based on both Western and Indian knowledge systems. She cautioned that a mere ‘parasitic’ and ‘imitative’ method of learning where one’s youth is spent struggling with foreign school books will not serve the purpose (Nivedita 1955: IV, 382). ‘Schools must be within Indian life, not antagonistic to it’, she asserted, and went on to emphasise that we must ‘educate ourselves to understand the contrasts and affinities between India and other countries’ (Ibid. 367, 385; original emphasis). Such disparate discourses on the prevalent educational system, ranging from deep appreciation to condemnation, only underline the contested terrains of experimentations and negotiations. As a subject of intricate formulations of ideas and systems, the native learner was at the centre of the cultural hegemony of the colonial education system based on the ideology of imperialism, and alternately, of ideas of schooling and education shaped by nationalist sentiments. In this context it will be interesting to see what were the learning materials fashioned for such ‘subjected’ learners, and how such learners were trying to stabilise their positions in this system.

Notes 1 The book aroused strong opposition from the son of Louis XV and was subsequently ordered to be burned in public. Helvetius had to thrice retract the book (Source: Encyclopaedia Britannica https://www.britanicca.com/biography/ Claude-Adrien-Helvetius#ref220061) Accessed on 6 April 2020. 2 These included Eton, Winchester, Westminster, Harrow, Rugby, Shrewsbury, Charterhouse, Merchant Taylor, and St. Paul. 3 A chapter of Lancaster’s Manual Improvements in Education was headed ‘A Method of teaching to spell and read, whereby one Book will serve instead of Six Hundred Books’ (Lancaster 1805: 55). 4 Bell mentions several boys between 12 and 14 years, who assisted in teaching the lower classes with great success (Bell 1797: 20). 5 Lord Brougham’s Charity Commission published 37 folio volumes between 1819 and 40 of reports on British schools (Hager 1959: fn 19, 166) 6 This is the title of the chapter on ‘William Carey’ by George Smith in Twelve Pioneer Missionaries (Smith 1900). For a biography of William Carey see George Smith, The Life of William Carey, Shoemaker and Missionary (Smith 1885). 7 Unfortunately, Hannah Marshman’s contributions to education, especially female education in India, has been largely overlooked by historians. For a detailed exposition of her role and contribution see (Chatterjee 1987; Dutta 2017a). 8 Letter dated 19 June 1868 from Mary Carpenter, stating that she is going to India at the end of September and wants to take a certified mistress with her. BFSS/1/5/1/7/29. 9 BFSS/1/5/1/7/8 to BFSS/1/5/1/7/11 10 Sri Bhagwat Gita is the Holy Book of the Hindus, dealing with the life and teachings of Lord Krishna. 11 When Curzon came to India, the total number of affiliated colleges in British India was 191, of which 145 were arts colleges and the rest professional colleges, including 30 in law, 5 in teaching, 3 in agriculture, 4 in medicine, and 4 in engineering (Nathan 1904). 12 Emile Durkheim in Education et sociologie. See Durkheim (1961): xiv. 13 The English spelling of his name as mentioned in the English Preface of the 1st edition of 1857 has been used.

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I doubt whether any of those present, however earnest they may be in the cause, could venture to prophesy what the effects of the spread of education in India may eventually be. Lord Northbrook at the Convocation of the Calcutta University. Quoted in Hints on Government Education in India by John Murdoch, 1873: 2

3 CONTENT AND CONTEXT OF TEXTBOOKS IN BRITAIN

The English Primer tradition in Britain Though the earliest English primers began to appear during the second half of the sixteenth century, it was only at the end of the seventeenth century that there were important changes (Michael 1993: 4). One of the earliest literacy teaching aids for children was the hornbook that was in use since the fifteenth century.1 A hornbook was in the shape of a paddle and usually made of wood, but the more affluent ones used leather, bone, and even silver. There was generally a cross engraved in the beginning followed by letters of the alphabet in both capital and lowercase, and a prayer to the Lord. These peculiar paddle-shaped objects first appeared in England when English monks began to make hornbooks to help their pupils learn to read. Hornbooks got their name from the sheet of transparent piece of animal horn that was used as a laminated means of protection. To make sure that children would not lose their hornbooks a hole was made in the handle, and by using a cord it was tied to the girdle or hung around the child’s neck. Hornbooks became especially popular in colonial America to memorise letters, as paper was too expensive in America. One of the early modern textbooks for children called the Hornbyes Hornbook (1622) by William Hornbye was to become extremely popular. Though strictly not a one page hornbook, it was recommended as a substitute parent to form the crucial period of childhood. The Hornbyes Hornbook functioned as a recreational as well as didactic reading for children that reflected the reading experiences for children deemed essential for their development as moral civil adults. Though the hornbooks remained popular till the eighteenth century, they were gradually being replaced by primers and spelling books (Monaghan 2005: 81). Unlike a hornbook, a primer was a proper book with a series of instructions printed on pages. The tumultuous changes in Britain, politically, socially and ideologically, have had a corresponding effect on what was required to be taught to the people. After King Henry VIII broke away from the Roman Catholic Church and created the Anglican Church, he did away with sacrosanct doctrinal teachings and attempted to control religious texts. Three primers put forth in his reign The Goodly Prymer (1535),

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The Manual of Prayers or the Prymer in English (1539), and King Henry’s Primer (1545), though by no means the first books to bear the name of primer, became the official teaching material for religious conversion.2 The word ‘primer’ variously meant a ‘prayer book’, or, a religious manual for private devotion. Its secondary meaning was an elementary reading text; ‘it is the first book that the tender youth was instructed in’ (Burton 1834: 321).3 The lessons meant for providing religious instruction to children were taken from the Lord’s Prayer, The Ten Commandments, The Creed, Hymns, Psalms, and Christian Instruction for Children. The ordinary man’s desire for reading the Scriptures led to the multiplication and proliferation of primers, and the Church was ineffectual in restraining the production of easy to read religious instructions written in the vernacular languages. King Henry issued a proclamation that any book printed in England or outside had to be first examined by a privy council. All books spreading ‘diverse heresies and erroneous opinions, were damned and banned, leading to a massive destruction and mutilation of earlier learning materials (Burton 1834: xiii).4 This antipapist zeal and hostility towards the Church was perhaps the reason why many of the earlier primers have been lost forever. With the death of Elizabeth I in 1603, James I ascended the throne and became the king of united England and Scotland. He converted to Anglicanism and soon replaced the Geneva Bible which he considered to be too Calvinist, by a new translation of the Bible in 1611, popularly known as the King James version. This was the work of 47 scholars, and was so popular that its use extended right into the twentieth century. Even though people were allowed to read other versions in private, this was the only version to be officially used in the churches. Classroom teaching in England and in the colonies were typically based on King James Bible. Readable and more child friendly primers based on King James version were introduced as an elementary level guide for Christian parents to prepare their children to read the Bible. Containing catechisms, poems, and selected hymns and psalms such primers were to act as a model for parents to teach children how to pray, and prepare them to read the Scriptures. The early primers were more of a simplified version of the Bible to familiarise those who were otherwise not able to read the holy Book. Though there was a deeply entrenched religious thinking among the masses that revolved around piety and good deeds, there were many ‘unchurched’ people to whom religious institutions and religious practices remained alien. The early seventeenth century primers can be seen as the first attempts to transform the character of formal religion by making the teachings accessible to the masses. These primers, were unpretentious in their purpose. A mid-seventeenth century primer compiled by John Owen titled The Primer: or, an easie way to teach Children the true reading of English went on to clarify that it had ‘necessary Catechisms to instruct youth in the grounds of Christian Religion’ (Owen 1652: A3).5 82

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It is not difficult to associate the symbolic significance and purpose of the book, both material and abstract. Alphabet literacy had a direct correlation with religious teaching. It was quite widespread to fashion a silver casing or a precious container for religious books and relics, making it quite obvious that this was not just any book to teach English, but a valuable sacred possession that was meant to be a constant companion of the owner. It begins with the Psalm 34.11: ‘Come ye Children and harken unto me; I will reach you the fear of the Lord’ (Owen 1652: A3). Apart from the English alphabet and construction of mono and poly-syllabic words, the short primer contains a collection of prayers and catechisms from the Bible. It urges the reader to ‘Delight in the Law of the Lord’, to keep away from the ‘ungodly’. A sequence of question and answers in a catechetical manner instructs children on the basic proponents of Christianity, on one true God, and the Scripture from wherein one can learn about the words of God. The letters of the English alphabet are proper names from the Old and the New Testament, like Adam, Baatzebe, Chronicler, Daniel, Esther, Job, Matthew, Peter, and so on. The book ends with the words: ‘These I think sufficient for young learners, such as this small book is fit for; and these being rightly understood, other numbers may be taught from them, at the judgement of the teacher’ (Owen 1652: n.p.). One of the hugely popular seventeenth-century primers to make a lasting impact on young readers in America and Britain was The New-England Primer, the principal textbook for millions of colonists and early Americans. Meant to be a ‘little Bible’ for instilling Puritan culture, the textbook was compiled and published around 1688 by Benjamin Harris, a British printer who emigrated to Boston. This primer remained in use for more than 150 years, going through 450 editions. The core content of illustrated alphabet with catechisms remained constant, incorporating reading skills with religious teachings. The reading instructions hovered around themes of sin and punishment, God’s wrath, salvation, and respect for authority. Verses like A In Adam's Fall We sinned all. B Thy Life to Mend This Book Attend establishes the intent of the primer to emphasise the depravity of the individual, and the redemption that was possible by following the Book.6

The secularisation of teaching Primers for children in Britain published from the mid-seventeenth century indicate a growing trend towards a more secular composition, a new and nuanced method that began to replace the earlier clumsy religious teachings. The Childes first Tutor; or, the Master and Mistris (1664) by Festus 83

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Corin pronounces its purpose of ‘teaching children an easie and delightful way to learn the twenty four Letters, to spell, and read true English in a short time’ (Corin 1664: n.p.). The book begins with the author’s pragmatic note to all instructors of children: ‘knowing that Children are much delighted with pictures, I have added several others to it, to induce them to be the more apt in attaining their learning’, and hoping that ‘if it may tend to their good, I have my ends’ (Ibid). It is noticeable that a ‘delightful’ way of learning takes precedence over solemn religious teaching. Also, the first person authorial voice which declares that his book will do good, in a way superimposes the earlier authority of the Book. The author is equally careful to please earthly authorities as well as heavenly ones. The book’s frontispiece has a picture of the King and Queen with the following injunctions: ‘And Kings shall be thy nursing Fathers, and their Queens thy nursing Mothers’, as well as ‘Fear God, and honour the King’. Religion, governance and nurturing are interlinked, and submission has to be to both heavenly and earthly authorities. Conspicuously, letters of the alphabet are no longer borrowed from the Bible. A significant secularisation is noticeable, where A for Adam is replaced by ‘The Ape will eat an Apple’ (Corin 1664: A4). The lessons in the primer provide a set of norms and values that were considered at par with religious messages. The pithy instructions range from moral lessons ‘Fear and serve God’, to social duties ‘Honour and obey the King and Queen’, ‘Be dutiful to thy father and mother’, ‘love, respect, value and esteem thy Master and Mistriss’. The lessons emphasise the importance of ‘always looking upon and reading thy book’, ‘keep thy place in school’, not to be unruly, wanton or idle; not to fight, kick or scratch; and to ‘bend thy mind of the knowledge of what is good’. Simultaneously there were directives on hygiene and physical grooming: ‘Wash thy hands and face’ and ‘Comb thy head’. Clearly, the textbook was a medium of reformation of a certain class of boys whose minds and actions had to be controlled and improved. These ‘lessons’ were instances of the earlier pedagogic means of inducing ‘good’ habits among that section of the people who were deemed ‘unfit’ for the good of the society. The text diffuses a common sentiment to be shared by all: ‘Be not too merry, nor too melancholy, but use moderation’, with an implication of being compliant to a ‘moderate’ standard of happiness. Conforming to the set ideals, the author suggests, will enable their social integration: In learning and observing these lessons, you will not only obtain the blessing of Almighty God, and the love of your Parents, but also the commendation of all people, when they should see your civil carriage and behaviour. (Corin 1664: n.p.) Eighteenth-century Britain saw a phenomenal increase in primers and books of instruction for children. One of the primers to be popular in 84

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Britain and in the colonies as well was The Royal Primer; or an Easy and Pleasant guide to the Art of Reading (1776?). This was authorized by His Majesty King George II to be used throughout His Majesty’s dominions. The Royal Primer made a mark as a rational meditation on moral and ethical principles, aiming to be both instructive and entertaining for children with its woodcut prints and words in common usage, like Apple, Bull, Cat, Dog, Egg, Fish, and so on, and at the same time it introduced a question answer pattern of teaching to impart knowledge on who was Adam, Eve, Cain and Abel, and other figures from the Bible.

The godly and the ungodly With industrialisation and the working class flocking to cities, pedagogical works began to focus on a psycho-scientific approach towards education for children. The professed purpose was to introduce means and ways of teaching which would lead to suggest ‘the earliest means of inducing useful and agreeable habits, well regulated sympathy and benevolent affections’ among children (Edgeworth 1798: v–x). The disciplining of the child became the central issue of education. Educationists and thinkers like Rousseau, Joseph Priestly, David Hartley, Thomas Day, Maria Edgeworth, Sarah Trimmer and Hannah More envisaged education as a sociological and psychological tool to mould the child. Education had a new purpose and scope, and was seen as a formative instrument. One of the prominent features of the primers being published in the eighteenth century was the representation of good and bad boys, and a lesser tolerance for boyish misbehaviour. There was a dramatic shift in attitudes towards childish mischief and mistakes, and a clear assertion of adult authority. Textbooks begin to indicate in very clear terms the consequences of challenging or disobeying authority. This could symbolically be the authority of the teacher, parents, church, king, state and so on. A prominent feature of The Royal Primer was its emphasis on the ‘good boy’. The text began with a title and accompanying image of ‘A good Boy and Girl at their Books’ (1776: n.p.). The lessons commenced with a negative definition of an unsuccessful person and urged the reader to be a good boy in order to succeed in life. Good boys/girls are defined as those who attend to their books, love their books, and learn their letters. Those who are not inclined to read their books are perfunctorily condemned to be forever ‘blockheads’. He who ne’er learns his A,B,C, For ever will a blockhead be; But he to his Books inclin’d, Will soon a golden Treasure find Childhood was recognised as a formative stage when the cognitive faculties could be developed in the ‘right’ direction. Reading was perceived to be a 85

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seminal character influence in the early stages of life. ‘Fashioning’ the children was seen as crucial in shaping them as adults. The practical benefits of children engaged in reading and learning was primarily to keep them out of mischief. Sarah Trimmer’s Easy Lessons for Young Children (1786) was also designed as a supplement, with cautionary tales and advices for the young learners. Each of the tales began with a character who was pronounced to be either good or bad: ‘Tom Bird was a rude boy, and he had one sad trick, for he would fling stones…’, ‘Jack Spruce was a neat boy’, and so on. There were examples of a Miss Jane Bond who cut and stitched clothes for her doll, a Miss Rose who was a good girl who ‘did at all times what she was bid to do’, and Miss Ann Pearce who was ‘such a good girl’ that no one could tempt her to taste a pie or a cake if ‘she had been told they were not good for her’ (Trimmer 1790). Trimmer’s The Charity School Spelling Book, Part I, had short stories for ‘Good and Bad Boys’ and for ‘Good and Bad Girls’ too which urged children to go to school, for ‘if you would be wise and good, you must learn to read your Book’ (Trimmer 1799: 17). The contrast of the godly and ungodly child is further emphasised in Daniel Fenning’s best-selling school book, The Universal Spelling Book (1756) which went through many subsequent editions. As the Preface stated, the book was meant for ‘every impartial reader’, but more particularly for ‘Protestant schools in Great Britain and Ireland, and His Majesty’s Plantations Abroad’ (Fenning 1760: A3). For a substantial majority of the population in Britain reading the Bible was still not a matter of preference. Illiteracy was a major deterrent in getting to read the Bible. As Alec Ryrie puts it, ‘It was possible to be a zealous but illiterate Protestant’ (Ryrie 2013: 259). It was commonly felt by the educated brethren that the illiterate masses were being left out from an understanding of protestant ethics. Textbooks were increasingly becoming the means of imparting easy lessons on virtue and piety. Protestant priority on learning was being emphasised with a readiness to see studying as an act of piety. Children were exhorted to regard learning as a pious duty, and books were seen as the means to inculcate right habits and actions. Fenning’s The Universal Spelling Book followed the Protestant repertoire of righteousness and virtue with Lessons that urged children to ‘Be a good child’; ‘Strive to learn’; ‘Mind your book’; ‘Love your school’. A ‘good’ child was ‘he that loves God, his schools and his book’ and was assured that such children will eventually ‘do well at last’. But ‘he that hates his school and his book will live and die a slave, a fool, and a dunce’ (Fenning 1771: 9). ‘Bad’ boys were who did not go to school, played by the way to school, did not attend Church or to their lessons, told lies, swore and stole and were to be shunned by the rest of the society. Learning was to be rewarded, and ignorance had its dire consequences. Moreover, there was a clear association of learning with virtue, and ignorance with sin. Knowledge was considered a prerequisite of Protestant faith. Protestant reformers like John Calvin and Martin Luther 86

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disagreed with the church’s view that ‘ignorance is the mother of all piety’ and urged individuals to improve themselves by education. Luther started a number of schools in existing churches to reinforce that every believer should be able to read and interpret the scriptures for themselves.7 Ignorance was a sin, and furthermore was considered the seedbed of sin. Those who willingly dwelt in it were considered conscious perpetrators of sin, and hence detrimental for the good of the society. William Pemble the seventeenth century Puritan and gospel preacher stated, ‘he that’s ignorant must needs be wicked, even because he is ignorant’ (Quoted in Ryrie 2013: 263). Clearly, the Protestant reformation was responsible for enabling a Protestant work ethic that was based on good instructions by parents and social responsibilities. Fenning’s Spelling Book contained easy reading lessons comprising of tales and short stories with a moral attached to the end of the tale. A greater part of the book is the history of Tommy and Harry, the example of the good and the bad boy, so that the youth can ‘arm themselves against common temptations of it, and the effect of bad company’ (Fenning 1760: 40). Tommy, the good brother, loves his book and school, is good-natured and well-mannered, and everyone loves him. Harry is just the antithesis – he can scarce read the Bible or any book, idles and plays in the streets ‘with any sorts of boys’, and is short tempered and rude. As a result, Tommy grows up to be ‘a good boy’ ‘because he loves his book’, and Harry grows up to be a ‘wicked boy’, and ‘a great over-grown Dunce’ (Ibid. 43). So while Tommy’s fortunes improve steadily, Harry leads an unlawful life and loses his money, friends and reputation. He realises too late that he has been a ‘sinner’. He is devoured by a wild beast, as ‘God suffer’d to tear him to Pieces as a just Reward for his Disobedience and misspent Life’ (Ibid. 49). Tommy and Harry, the good and the bad protagonists of Fenning’s book continued to live in Thomas Day’s (1748–89) The History of Sandford and Merton (3 volumes between 1783 and 89), a popular didactic children’s book that passed through at least 50 editions in the 100 years following its publication. Day’s work in a series of episodes contrasted the rich and spoilt Tommy Merton with the upright and tender-hearted Harry Sandford, a farmer’s son. Used in schools in England and outside, it went on to make as Day had hoped, ‘a great impression’ on ‘the tender mind of a child’ (1791: 1, vi). In a clear pointer to Locke and Rousseau’s influence, Harry symbolised hard work, active virtue and simple life amidst nature. Tommy’s conversion to these same values, in spite of being overtly moralistic, no doubt appealed to the Protestant sensibilities of parents eager to teach their children the importance of resisting the importunity of pleasure. In an already hierarchical society, learning became another reason for discrimination. The lesser- educated congregation regarded educated people, ministers, pastors and preachers with awe. Scholarly learning was to become ostensibly far superior to simple rural occupations, and it was up to the educated gentle people to ‘reform’ the vulgar and the illiterate.8 87

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Education was thus a disciplining tool, a way to shepherd the ignorant, misguided and wicked. Those who were not obedient, submissive, respectful, and did not conform to the expectations of the society were to be condemned and even violently punished. The punishment meted out was generally a divine retribution, by an angry God displeased with the acts of his children. But it was not too difficult to see the symbolic implication for all those who broke the order; transgressors had to be removed from society.

Women writers and education for girls Education was ostensibly for boys, especially aimed at the moral and mental reformation of wayward boys who were bereft of a good social upbringing. Most of the early primers were addressed to ‘the children’, but expected mostly ‘the good boys’ to read them. So, while Tommy, Harry and Jack were regularly admonished, Mary, Jane and others of their sex were conspicuously absent. If the fairer sex deserved any attention at all, it was like in Rousseau’s Emile (1758), to make her a good wife and partner. For someone like the flamboyant Margaret Cavendish, the celebrated seventeenthcentury writer who tried reversing gender roles in her story The Contract, the old Duke was still to choose for his seven year niece ‘such Books to reade in as might make her wife, not amorous’, which would ‘lay a ground and foundation of virtue, and to teach her to moderate her passions and to rule her affections’ (Cavendish 1994: 184). By the late eighteenth century a handful of female writers were advocating agency to women within a cautious framework of virtue and moderation. Negotiating the precarious tenets of patriarchalism and authority, these writers were emphasising the positive aspects of education and emancipation for women. One which enjoyed outstanding success, was Ann Fisher’s The Pleasing Instructor: or, entertaining moralist (1756) which went through forty editions till the 1830s. Fisher (1719–78), ran a girl’s school at Newcastle-upon-Tyne and was concerned with the education of girls. She is credited with the production of instructive schoolbooks for children. The Pleasing Instructor was a compilation of short pieces of prose, with a few verse extracts by Pope, Grey, and Thompson. The title page declared that the book was ‘Designed for the Use of Schools, as well as the Closet, with a view to form the rising minds of the Youth of both Sexes to Virtue, and destroy in the Bud, those Vices and Frailties, which Mankind, and Youth in particular, are addicted to’. The Preface to the book observes that the book was designed with a view ‘to exhibit a connected plan of morality for the instruction of the youth of both sexes’ (Fisher 1756: n.p.; original emphasis). The book was clear in its purpose as affording the best and most elegant pieces of writings in English literature which though most appropriate for the ‘pleasure and the instruction of the youth’ would be equally beneficial for grown-ups (Ibid. iv). An introductory treatise on methods of education marked this textbook as very different from its 88

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predecessors. The book laid stress on a love of learning that has to come naturally; a mere pedantic approach cannot awe a learner. The very purpose of learning is frustrated if the material is not interesting or pleasant for the learners. A good instructor, it spelt out, can communicate and influence with love. He ‘has to be mild, humane, affable, affectionate, and even invitingly accessible; encouraging his pupils in the display of all their little doubts, queries, and divided opinions’ (Ibid., iii; original emphasis). Though utilitarianism as an ethical theory was to emerge in the late eighteenth century, yet Fisher’s book did express a similar sentiment: ‘Useful knowledge, or what I would have comprehended by the word politeness, is the grand mark or summit of education we should aim at’ (Ibid. ii). Ann Fisher’s book was pathbreaking in its emphasis on the importance of education for moral and ethical reasons for both sexes. It recognised the obstacles in the women’s intellectual improvement if they are only taught conventional feminine skills: Women being thus left lame in their learning, are in a great measure incapable of further improving themselves in spite of all the pains that writers have taken, or may take, till the obstacle be removed: and still to aggravate the case, they are mostly put to sewing, or similar articles under the care of some mistress, who is perhaps either utterly incapable of assisting them in the pursuit of knowledge. I do not mean to recommend reading at the expence [sic] of sewing; but would only make a principle of the former (Ibid. viii) Another British author Anna Laetitia Barbauld (1743–1825) was one of the few women writers of her era who contributed largely to the education of children. Referred to as Mrs. Barbauld, the largely home-schooled daughter of a schoolmaster belonged to a prominent liberal family. In about 1775, she and her husband founded their own academy in Suffolk, called the Palgrave School, which went on to become one of the most successful academic institutions in England. In 1778 she wrote a reading primer Lessons for Children, and Hymns in Prose for Children in 1781. Both these books were hugely popular for many generations. Lessons for Children was written for the want of a good book ‘adapted to the comprehension of a child from two to three years old’ (Barbauld 1867: A2). Barbauld’s Lessons began with a series of advices and admonitions for Charles by his mother to ‘Sit in Mamma’s lap’, ‘Now read your book’, ‘Now go and play’, ‘Stand still’, ‘Little boys must come when mamma calls them’… The lessons were in a simple conversational style with the mother teaching the child. These soon progressively developed to explore Charles’ relationship with animals, nature, society, and God (Barbauld 1867). Barbauld’s Lessons outlined a graded text that imparted an education suitable for the psychological and comprehensive development for age-specific readership. 89

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The  overarching purpose of the lessons was to instill the importance of education, hard work and virtuous living. The book was openly meant for the education of young boys. ‘Good boys do not cry’ it stated, and for being good Charles was rewarded with ‘a gun, and a sword, and a hammer’ from the village fair (Ibid., 20). A contemporary of Mrs. Barbauld, and inspired by her, Sarah Trimmer (1741–1810) was the first serious writer for the education of children. In  her Little Spelling Book for Young Children (1786, 2nd ed.) she acknowledged the influence of Mrs. Barbauld. In Easy Lessons for Young Children (1786) Trimmer pointed out the difficulty for beginners to follow Mrs. Barbauld and emphasised the need for a book which familiarised children with the construction of words before they attempted to read sentences (Trimmer 1790: v). As a teacher of her 12 children, Trimmer had first hand experiences of instructing children, and she used these approaches in her Sunday schools. But it was largely for the work on children’s instruction that she was well known. Combining factual lessons with moral and religious teaching, Trimmer wrote primarily for the improvement of the children studying in the Sunday charity schools. In the Little Spelling Book for Young Children she provided clear instructions to the teachers on how to impart the lessons to children. Stylistically too, Trimmer followed Mrs. Barbauld’s easy conversational style, carrying on the conversation with Barbauld’s young protagonist, Charles: ‘Charles, as you can now speak words, I think it time to begin teaching you to read…’; and holds on to the child’s attention by frequent interjections and direct addresses like ‘You see Charles’, ‘Let me hear you repeat’, ‘What does it spell?’, ‘Let me see whether you can’, ‘Will you let him…’, and so on. The lessons were predominated by the authorial voice, making it amply obvious that a child’s play and study have to be both constantly supervised by the adult. Sarah Trimmer’s Little Spelling Book for Young Children was followed by a sequel, Easy Lessons for Young Children (1786) and The Charity School Spelling Book (1790). A noticeable feature of these books was the preeminence of girls in the stories. As Trimmer ran a school for girls from industrial areas that focused on reforming their manners and imparting useful skills like spinning and needlework, her books too were largely instrumental in supplementing this education. Hence, the girls in her tales are neat and hard-working, sewing or reading, keeping a pretty house, looking after their dolls, and learning to make doll’s clothes which ‘could then be helpful for making clothes for live Dolls’ (Trimmer 1790: 132; original emphasis). Girls are advised to spin fine yarn, make their own clothes and for the family (Trimmer 1799: 16). Trimmer’s textual style and content reinforced a small idyllic rural society with an emphasis on neatness and order, a stable and harmonious establishment where middle class families live a life of peace and virtue. This was a far cry from the poverty, crime and misery of industrial establishments where such girls actually 90

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spent their lives. It is only the education of women, as Trimmer seemed to suggest, that can protect their children from such bourgeois contamination, provide a conducive supervised environment, and help to alleviate their situation. Another female author who was writing prolifically for children, and who deliberated over the efficacy of providing gender specific toys and books and the education of girls was the famous Anglo-Irish writer Maria Edgeworth (1768–1849). Greatly influenced by Thomas Day, the author of Sandford and Merton, who was also her father’s constant companion, she wrote several ‘moral tales’ and ‘primers’ for children in a more conversational form. The Parent’s Assistant, or Stories for Children (1796), Practical Education (1798), A Rational Primer (1799), Early Lessons (1801), and 4 volumes of Harry and Lucy (1825) were some of her works to inform and reform young readers. In her first work Letters for Literary Ladies (1795), she chose women’s education as a subject of discussion, a topic that was increasingly becoming an important subject for writers and educationists in the eighteenth century. Edgeworth advised women to use their wits and intelligence productively, while expecting them to be temperate in their behaviour, to have measured degrees of indulgence, to be prudent in their choices, and to justly manage their houses, servants and children (Edgeworth 1798). The Parent’s Assistant (1796) had moral tales, designed to excite a spirit of industry and virtue, and to enable parents to enforce that ‘justice, truth and humanity are not confined to no particular rank’ (Edgeworth 1891: Preface, n.p.). Next, in collaboration with her father Richard Lovell Edgeworth she wrote an educational treatise Practical Education (1798) in two volumes. Like Ann Fisher’s book this too contained a discourse on the ‘manner in which young people should be taught’, often questioning and critiquing prevalent methods and suggesting bold changes (Edgeworth 1815: I, v). Edgeworth voiced her displeasure at toys which do not allow children to ‘exercise their senses or their imagination, their imitative and inventive powers’ (Ibid. 2). And yet she limited boys to playing with coaches and carts and girls with dolls, whose usefulness is seen in ‘inspiring girls with a taste for neatness in dress, and with a desire to make these things for themselves’ (Ibid. 4). The Early Lessons written in 1801 contained the beginning of the long saga of ‘Harry and Lucy’, which defined the education that befitted girls. Lucy is the proverbial ‘good girl’ who ‘did as she was desired to do’, would rather stay indoors, do her needlework in her spare time, assist her mother in the dairy and the kitchen, gather flowers, and read a little (Edgeworth 1856: 6–8), while Harry has to learn about shoeing of horses and brick making (Ibid. 20–23). Girls were expected to be housebound, and boys more adventurous. In her choice of books for girls and boys, Edgeworth cautioned that such books were apt that would make girls ‘perceive the impossibility of their rambling about the world in quest of adventures’ and boys’ education should focus on ‘enterprise and heroism’ (Edgeworth 1815: I, 431). 91

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Needlework for girls and carpentry for boys At the turn of the eighteenth century with industrialisation and urbanisation, changes took place in Britain, characterised by men and women’s roles becoming more sharply defined. As men commuted long distances and worked in factories, women had to stay at home to look after the domestic sphere. Factories, mills and workshops needed more labour and child apprentices were needed to meet the increasing demand for industrial goods. Learning technical skills became more of a necessity especially for the poor class who had to make a living. Schooling was to become a crucial factor in determining training for cheap labour, as traditional skills and practices were promoted, albeit in modified contexts and forms. Writers were more pronouncedly advocating specific gender-oriented education and educationists that saw the advantages of delivering differentiated and segregated training to boys and girls. Dame schools and charity schools, apart from minding the children and teaching them the 3R’s, was imparting useful ‘crafts’ like carpentry and metal works for boys and needlework for girls. Prominent social thinkers like John Ruskin were advocating hands-on learning, and maintaining the importance of education that integrates the manual with the intellectual. Writing on the importance of including physical training and handwork for the general education of boys, Ruskin wrote in 1867: It would be part of my scheme of physical education that every youth in the State – from the King’s son downwards, – should learn to do something finely and thoroughly with his hand, so as to let him know what touch meant; and what stout craftsmanship meant; and to inform him of the many things besides, which no man can learn but by some severely accurate discipline in doing. (Ruskin 1903–12: 17, 426) Manual exercise for boys was equated with strength, discipline, hard work that were considered typical ‘British’ qualities. This was particularly seen in the numerous texts and manuals on building, such as Batty Langley's The Builder's Complete Assistant (1738) and Francis Price's The British Carpenter (1765). Acquiring a manual skill was considered equally important for young girls. The British Foreign School Society’s (BFSS) Lancastrian method of teaching reading and writing in its schools had a structured curriculum that included needlework for girls. Lancaster’s manuals, and a few variations on it, were all that were available on the subject during the first decade of the nineteenth century. Needlework was compulsory, and starting from basic stiches for beginners, girls were taught darning, sewing, embroidery, fixing buttons, to making caps, aprons, mittens, socks and shirts. The BFSS came out with a detailed Manual of the System of Teaching Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and Needlework, in the Elementary 92

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Figure 3.1  ( a and b) BFSS Manual, 1816. Appendix, Specimens of Needlework. Courtesy of Brunel University London Archives, UK.

Schools (Manual of BFSS 1816) [Figure 3.1a and b]. Each girl was provided with thimble, needle, thread, and materials for work. The girls were constantly supervised and instructed by the monitors. The girls from ‘the middling and lower class in life’ were employed to produce things that were useful so as to enable them to be ‘earn their living by taking in needlework’ (Ibid. 41). A slim book which came out in 1785 was Bowles’s Drawing Book for Ladies; Or Complete Florist: Being an extensive and curious collection of the most beautiful flowers, all drawn after nature by A. Heckel. The book published by Carington Bowles was based on the book of flower etchings by the German painter Augustin Heckel,9 and was popularly known as the Bowles’s Drawing Book for Ladies. The book had a short introduction to drawing, directions for mixing and using of colours, and provided an alphabetical index of flowers, with several examples to imitate either for the purpose of drawing or needlework. Though pattern books for embroidery were not new, this manual was a basic guidebook for amateur practitioners for drawing floral designs, colouring, and embroidering patterns [Figure 3.2]. 93

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Figure 3.2  A floral pattern in Bowles’s Drawing Book for Ladies; Or Complete Florist (1785).

The drawing book which assumed a gender based skill was meant ostensibly for ‘ladies’, but curiously addressed the reader as ‘he’ (Bowles 1785). It is evident that while the prospective practitioner was supposed to be a ‘lady’, the reader of the manual was assumed to be a male. The Bowles’s Drawing Book positioned artmaking as an activity for the ‘improvement’ of women who were amateurs in this art. This was not for skilled or professional artists. Earlier, embroidery as a sign of wealth and power was mainly used to decorate the clothing of royalty and rich patrons. More particularly, embroidered textiles were commissioned by churches for sacred vestments, including copes, chasubles, mitres and altar hangings. Opus Anglicanum, meaning ‘English work’, is now used as the generic name for ecclesiastical embroidery that was produced in medieval England. Set in silk, velvet or linen and worked with pearls and gold and silver threads, these were crafted by professional embroiderers, both men and women, in workshops generally run by men (Michael 2016; Desnoyers 2019). By the eighteenth century embroidery had become almost entirely secular in its content and was practiced by enthusiastic amateur practitioners to cover every conceivable surface in everyday domestic use. A manual that was hugely popular was The Workwoman’s Guide (1838) that provided ‘instructions to the inexperienced’ in cutting out and stitching clothes for daily wear apparel and upholstery used at home. Its author, ‘a lady’ expresses her happiness in tendering a ‘humble service’ to ‘persons of her own sex’, a skill which will impart ‘economy and neatness’ to suit ‘both rich and poor’ (The Workwoman’s Guide 1840: A). It provided explicit guidelines to girls from 10 to 16 years of age to sketch the pattern on a slate, to cut it out first 94

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in paper before making useful articles for the home. Meant for women of the upper classes of society and those from humbler means, such skills were to curtail extravagant expenses and waste. The author, ‘as an Englishwoman, reflects with pride upon the number of her country-women, whom the gifts of nature, and a brilliant or careful education enable to grace their place in society’ (Ibid. iv). Apart from the monetary savings, The Workwoman’s Guide pointed out the indirect benefits of such skills which …would be of infinitely more account. The thrifty disposition, the regularity and neatness, the ideas of order and management, inspired by the conscious ability and successful exertion, in one leading branch of good housewifery, cannot be too highly prized or diligently cultivated; for the result is moral. The orderly house but reflects the orderly mind; the humble wife and mother, whose active indefatigable hand, silently executing her careful ingenious thought, improves the comforts, the visible respectability, and real condition of her husband and children… (Ibid. v; original emphasis) In another popular handbook, The Ladies’ Work-table Book (1845) the anonymous author openly advocated Protestant orientation to work wherein both productivist and consumerist values were related to morals and gender. In the Introduction, the ‘high-priestesses of our domestic sanctuaries’ are exhorted to be the caretakers of domestic happiness and the advancement of a society in its morals, civilisation and refinement. The volume by instructing women to be creative with the needle thus urged them to ‘blend the useful with the ornamental’, and uphold ‘the peculiar honour and sacred destiny’ of women (The Ladies’ Work-table 1845: iv). The ‘terrestrial angels’ are exhorted to take up the ‘pleasant employment’ from every childhood for which ‘providence has, in a remarkable manner, adapted woman’s taste and propensities to the station she was designed to occupy in the scale of being’. Such women who remained engaged in household chores were rendered more ‘attractive’, it said, by the ‘beauty and feminine grace’ of such noble occupations (Ibid. v). By the late nineteenth century the art of needlework, knitting, netting, and crochet had reached an exciting height of variety and style with more women writing needlework guides and manuals, and some of them providing training for leisure or professional purposes.10 The most important of these was the Dictionary of Needlework (1882) written by Sophia Frances Anne Caulfeild and Blanche C. Saward. The first edition of the Dictionary of Needlework was published in 1882 and consisted of six volumes. This and another work, the Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework (1884) by Thérèse de Dillmont published in France, went on to become two very comprehensive and classic reference books on needlework. 95

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Puritanism, middle class values and class aspirations Handbooks for needlework, apart from imparting stitching techniques, increasingly demonstrated a common tendency to instruct women in morality too. The Ladies’ Work-table Book pointed out ‘the high moral benefit’, ‘the loveliness and the grace’, and ‘the noblest feelings’ that such artwork bestow on women (The Ladies’ Work-table 1845: v). The needle, it is pointed out, is the ‘silent but salutary moral teacher’ that guides the intellectual powers to be engaged in the attainment of moral goodness (Ibid vii–ix). Such an education was seen as conducive to ‘soften’ the character of women by teaching them to think of the comfort and happiness of others, and enable young girls to become models of ‘sincerity, elegance, and accomplishments’ (Ibid. xi). As part of the Puritan values, needlework came to be associated with assiduousness and duty, for women to keep them occupied in their spare time so that they would not be diverted by ‘corrupt’ thoughts or laziness. Sewing, knitting, embroidery were indelibly associated with home, family and domesticity. No education was considered complete unless founded on virtuous piety. Also, to imitate the arts of nature was considered profoundly spiritual, thus associating the activity with virtue and goodness: To raise at once our reverence and delight, To elevate the mind and charm the sight, To pour religion through the attentive eye, And waft the soul on wings of extacy; Bid mimic art with nature’s self to vie, And raise the spirit to its native sky. (Quoted in The Ladies’ Work-table 1845: 27) In her book The Subversive Stitch Rozsika Parker analyses the ideological underpinnings that connect women and embroidery. She argues that while the activity was instrumental for instilling feminine subservience and conformity, it has also inculcated female bonding and provided an outlet for their creativity. ‘The art of embroidery’, she states, ‘has been the means of educating women into the feminine ideal, and of proving that they have attained it; but it has also provided a weapon of resistance to the constraints of femininity’ (Parker 2010: ix). Such ‘feminine’ skills, along with education for women was proving to be financially empowering, as an increasing number of middle-class women took it up to supplement their family income. The financial accruement from such skills implied that women of modest means within the confines of their domestic sphere could also aspire to access the learned practices of the wealthy. As the titles of the handbooks on needlework like Bowles’s Drawing Book for Ladies, and The Ladies’ Work-table Book indicate, such ‘soft’ skills, as we would term it now, were being deflected from industrious ‘workwomen’ to ‘ladies’. Education and fine skills were being positioned as 96

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qualities of a lady who had enough leisure time to be suitably ‘useful’ to society. The author of The Ladies’ Work-table advised the ladies not to ‘flutter through life like a gaudy butterfly’, but ‘to be useful to our fellow beings’ (The Ladies’ Work-table 1845: 160). The affluent women were encouraged to interest, instruct and promote such knowledge and skills among women who were in a more circumscribed situation. Women from humbler backgrounds were urged to be ‘accomplished’ so as to make ‘it conducive to [their] preparation for a higher state of being’ (Ibid. 161). It became common for children’s Readers and Primers to have idealised pictures of poor people wearing a ‘neat’ cap, having a ‘pretty’ cottage, keeping bees in a ‘nice’ garden. An example of this was the First Book of Reading followed by a Second Book of Reading, published by the Scottish brothers and business partners William and Robert Chambers in 1838. This was used as a basic Reader in schools in Britain and later in the British colonies too. Almost every lesson was devoted to illustrating what a neat room should be like, or how to keep a fine shop, or a thriving garden (Chambers 1838a). On the one hand the lessons imparted the Puritan ideal of being content within one’s own class, to be happy within limited means, and lead a humble, frugal life most befitting to Christianity. On the other hand, the words and the pictures in such Readers paint the picture of ideal domesticity, well-kept rooms with carpets, brisk fire in the fireplace, and cats playing, thereby hinting at the possibility of surpassing class barriers if the correct attitude was adopted. Those who were ‘good’ and obedient could lead a good life; the frivolous and careless met with unhappiness and failure. Thus it was being emphasised that goodness of character was not class specific; it was the result of religious instruction. A rich man and a poor man both could live a happy content life if they led a holy life. Books for the working class insinuated that social hierarchies were acceptable in which each class had a specific function meant to benefit the larger whole. Poems on ‘The Busy Bee’ next to an illustration of a workingwoman, as shown in Second Book of Reading, indicate comparable natural hierarchies and occupational roles which were not to be questioned (Chambers 1838b: 46–7). School textbooks were particularly designed to control discontent and dissension among the working classes. As Hylson-Smith remarked, ‘The books they read, the people they met, and the things they were allowed to see, were all carefully and comprehensively supervised’ (Hylson-Smith 1989: 53). Sarah Trimmer also suggested in her Easy Lessons for Young Children, learning to read and write, cut and stitch clothes, and to keep a neat house could enable women to transcend class boundaries. They can then aspire to become ‘charming young ladies’ who can ‘read both English and French very prettily, learn to write, know how to place the cut maps’ (Trimmer 1790: 126). In this respect Trimmer can be compared to Hannah More who too considered education a liberating and emancipatory force for the poor. Her Cheap Repository Tracts, consisting of about two hundred didactic tracts published between 1795 and 1817 were intended for the moral 97

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upliftment of the poor and labouring class. Hannah More and her sisters, who contributed to the development of rural schools and reading material designed specifically for the literate poor, came up with propagandistic literature from the perspective of educational and philanthropic reform. The Cheap Repository Tracts, written as didactic religious literature for those who could not afford expensive books, functioned as an exemplary moral and value system intended to promote an Evangelical-Christian lifestyle among the poor and middle class. The lessons, with a religious or moral message, were composed for the Cheap Repository. The lessons emphasised middle-class values of piety and honest living, and promoted hard work and discipline. Even as she urged all people to be content in their station, she also gave them the aspiration to rise above their class and social position. Having come from a humble middle-class home, it is likely for this reason that More encouraged middle-class values as a social norm. Nevertheless for More, social mobility was possible without compromising middle-class values. In her tract, Betty Brown, the St. Giles’s Orange Girl, Betty who is socially and educationally deprived, is by her quickness and knack for learning able to improve her financial status. This allows the narrator to establish that ‘Betty, by industry and piety, rose in the world, till at length she came to keep a handsome sausage-shop near the Seven-dials, and was married to an honest hackney coachman’ (More 1801: 16). Although such tracts were not meant to promote upward mobility, for Evangelists like More, adherence to Puritan ethics and the attainment of literacy were the means for lasting social improvements.

Fabulous and advisory tales Sarah Trimmer was a severe critic and campaigner against all those educational materials for children that did not meet her strict Anglican standards. Cheap chapbooks and profane literature were regarded as agents of corruption among the children of the lower classes whose moral senses were deemed to be already depraved. There was a sense of disillusionment and dissatisfaction with the existing literary instructions for the poor. There was strong opposition to the charity schools in which the children of the working poor were mainly drawn in. The strongest criticism came from those who opposed any form of education for the poor, considering it a waste of resources on the poor and a loss of adequate cheap labour force. Their education, it was argued, would severely upset the social and economic order of things. The literary curriculum of charity schools in Britain too came under criticism where it was felt that the labouring poor would aspire to rise above their class. The ‘undue elevation of mind of the charity children’ was severely deplored, and it was urged that ‘writing and accounts should henceforth be omitted from the curriculum’ (Jones 2013: 88). Trimmer was critical of charity schools that based the ‘reformation’ of poor children solely on the basis of the Bible and scriptural teaching. An alternative 98

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method of instruction was sought to banish idleness and instill godly discipline amongst them. A popular method to reform manners and morals of the working poor was through stories and tales based on animals and birds. This was a noticeable feature introduced in elementary reading books for children in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. Stories featuring animals were certainly not new, and were popular amongst children ever since Grimm’s Fairy Tales, but Sarah Trimmer can be attributed as a pioneer in introducing animal tales in the imaginative textbooks she wrote for children. Her book The Charity School Spelling Book, Part II, contained Instructive Fables with an instruction ‘to take particular notice of the Moral’ appended to the end of the tales (Trimmer 1798: 46). Based loosely on Aesop’s Fables, with animals representing human characteristics, the Morals inevitably urged readers to be content with their situation, not to be over-ambitious or greedy, emphasised the value of honest industry, cheerful obedience, and gratitude and thankfulness to God and authority. But it was her Fabulous Histories (1786), later known as The Story of the Robins, on which Trimmer’s literary reputation rested considerably. This was, according to Gillian Avery, ‘quivering with lofty sentiments’ (Avery 1975: 48). On the face of it, Trimmer's purpose was to teach children ‘Christian benevolence’, to ‘shew compassion to the Animal Creation’, neither to torment inferior creatures, nor to spoil them with ‘immoderate tenderness’ (Trimmer 1815: ix). But it did not take too long to see the overarching purpose of introducing animal characters. The interaction of humans with the natural world was to teach the reader his or her place in the grand hierarchy of the universe. Trimmer is quick to point out ‘the line of conduct’ wherein the ‘Supreme Governor’ has given humans the ‘dominion’ over other creatures (Ibid.). Through the allegorical characters of a family of humans, and the other of a family of robins, values of charity and compassion and the extent to which they are to be exercised are sought to be instilled. Harriett and Frederick are the children of a well to do gentleman in whose orchard a family of redbreasts have taken ‘asylum’ and have built their ‘humble habitation’. The children receive the ‘correct’ code of conduct from their mother towards these birds. The robins are similarly instructed by their parents on their behaviour towards the humans. At first the ‘winged suppliants’ approach the humans with ‘eager expectation of the daily handful that their kind benefactress made it a custom to distribute’. Later the robins are ‘surprised at the delay of charity’ and start to employ ‘all their little arts to gain attention’, become presumptuous in soliciting alms, and are reproved for seeking sugar lumps when they ought to be happy with bread (6–7). At the same time the recipients of such largesse are expected to show their gratitude, as the robins do by ‘delighting their benefactors with music’ (8). The children are warned that though the ‘Christian doctrine of universal charity’ is commendable, they ought to regulate their generosity, and different animals are advised to be treated with judicious ‘propriety’ (107). 99

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Very soon the book indicates the ‘correct’ behaviour as expected in a hierarchical society by giving the example of bees. Observing the bees’ duty and loyalty to their sovereign, the instructive lesson from their example given to children is to honour all figures of authority, ‘as the king that governs England, and your papa governs his family’ (113). Children are constantly reminded to treat the ‘little’ and ‘inferior creatures’ with compassion, and appreciate them for … how ingenious their various employments are…how far they are from harbouring malice…how excellently they are formed by the Creator…in their different classes of existence. (117) Children are advised to be kind to those animals which ‘treat us with harmony’, and are ‘useful’ and ‘agreeable’; while those that are ‘devourers’, ‘savage’ and ‘formidable’ are under ‘a necessity of destroying’ (121; 124). Dominion of one species over another, and the reciprocal feelings of subjection, awe and compliance towards authority are considered to be divinely ordained, and hence of a natural order (127). This is echoed in her The Charity School Spelling Book, Part I: Those who are poor, want friends, and friends cannot be had, if folks will not be good. Those who are rich, will not help those who are poor, if they will not try to be good. God loves those who are good, and do as they ought. (Trimmer 1799: 18–19) Trimmer, like most other Evangelists, was performing a balancing act between the classes, trying to satisfy one and pacify the other.

Divine subjection In the eighteenth and nineteenth century, while social class divisions actually became more rigid, England was successful to a large extent in controlling dissent by making the working class conform to their subordinate position. Education, both religious and secular, by targeting the lower classes was able to successfully inculcate in them a quiet acceptance of their destinies. A consensual acceptance of their status in society on the one hand, along with the aspiration of upward social mobility that was perceived as possible on the other, rendered the bourgeois a harmless social order. At the level of the society, the influence that Evangelicals had was instrumental in changing people’s perceptions of class, morals and ideals, and the foundation for this was laid early in life. One of the unintended consequences, as was suggested by Élie Halévy, was the extraordinary political stability that 100

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England enjoyed in this period when the rest of Europe was suffering revolutions and crises. In his book A History of the English People in the Nineteenth Century, first published in 1906, Halévy raised the question: Why was it that of all the countries of Europe England has been the most free from revolutions, violent crises, and sudden changes… Her political institutions were such that society might easily have lapsed into anarchy had there existed a bourgeoisie animated by the spirit of revolution…But the elite of the working class, the hard-working and capable bourgeois, had been imbued by the evangelical movement with a spirit from which the established order had nothing to fear. (Halévy 1960: 424–25; original emphasis) One of the possible means for maintaining this social equilibrium were the efforts of the institutions such as the church, schools and evangelical societies which brought new involvements, and helped to reinforce the allegiance of the working class to the new values. As social tensions accelerated because of industrialisation, the distinction between the ‘rough’ working class and the ‘respectable’ middle class became more marked. Manuals to instruct new and inexperienced housewives on how to run their homes and deal with servants were increasingly becoming popular. Trusler’s Domestic Management (1819) advised on the need for constant vigilance over the servants, and the type and style of clothing most appropriate for them. School textbooks too had advices on the propriety of employer-servant relationship. Lessons meant for the pupils of charity schools supplied both the principles and contents of instruction that aimed to deliver a particular education for a particular end. Practical ‘Daily Lesson Books’ for young children brought out by the BFSS, were to impart basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic. Lesson books for Standard I and II of 64 pages each dealt with alphabet and numbers to be copied, addition, subtraction, and multiplication, followed by good maxims, and easy elementary readings on Kindness, Perseverance and Industry (Daily Lesson Book of BFSS, 1864). Clearly, educating the poor and developing their intellectual powers was not to promote equality of opportunity. School instruction was for the purpose of having clean, hardworking, virtuous, and obedient work force that could become useful servants. An education proper to their rank in life would, would according to Isaac Watts,11 ‘teach the duties of humility and submission to superiors’, and ‘diligence and industry in their business’ (Quoted in Jones 2013: 74). School uniforms, first instituted in the charity schools for the poor in Britain was another way of subduing their individuality. The charity school pupils were prepared for their expected roles as domestic servants in rich households and uniforms marked a greater degree of separation from the staff and the master and mistress of the household. These were deliberately 101

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kept simple and sober, made of coarsest cloth, with dull colours and no ostentatious display, to sufficiently distinguish them from the members of better rank. In his sermon at the Anniversary meeting of Charity Schools in 1743, the Bishop of Oxford emphasised the need to maintain the ‘distinction between them and other children’. Blue was the chosen colour for charity school uniforms, as the blue dye was the cheapest, and blue was also the colour of Christian charity. The Blue Coat Schools, as these institutions were known, were dependent on charity or parish aid. The badges that the children wore in such schools proclaimed their benefactors’ bounty, and school prayers were sang in praise of God and gratitude to their patrons.12 There is very little account to know how these students felt about their uniforms, but the blue uniforms of charity schools being an indicator of their benefactor’s favour, it was expected that the wearers would behave with utmost humility and servility.13 Mrs. Trimmer’s The Servant’s Friend (1786) meant for instruction of would-be servants at charity schools, began by pointing out the ‘proper application of that learning, which is bestowed upon them through the benevolence of their superiors’. Domestic servants, she pointed out, were liable to be exposed to many temptations, and therefore it was necessary to prepare them ‘to resist evil’ and ‘hold fast that which is good’ (Trimmer 1808: A2). When poor Thomas Simpkins in Trimmer’s story gets the opportunity to go to school, and the school uniform is sent to him, Thomas, with a joyful heart, put on the coat of grey, the band and cap, and other articles which composed the uniform of the school; and, though there was a badge on the sleeve of the coat, his pride was not hurt at it, as that of many foolish boys has been, for he considered it as a mark which distinguished him as one whom God favoured with clothes and the means of instruction, which many a poor, naked, ignorant wretch could not obtain. (Ibid. 11) While for a vast majority of children studying in charity schools, the uniforms which advertised their poverty may have been humiliating and a subject of ridicule, Trimmer posits this as a favour and a divine benediction. They are particularly reminded to be obedient, to learn their duties of a servant, and to serve their masters with fidelity. Mr. Brown, Thomas’ master drives home the point: ‘You have put yourself in subjection to me, and your mistress, and are therefore bound to obey all our lawful commands’. At the same time he softens the harsh pronouncement by pointing out that every state and condition of life has its particular duties. The duty of a servant is to be obedient, diligent, sober, just, honest, frugal, orderly in his behaviour, submissive and respectful towards his master and mistress, and kind to his fellow-servants; he must also be contented in his station, because it is necessary that some should 102

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be above others in this world: and it was the will of the Almighty to place him in a state of servitude. (Ibid. 44) Prayers and hymns in praise of God and benefactors were common in Charity and Sunday schools to instill the principles of the Church. The Poor Girls’ Primer – For the Use of the Charity School in Sheffield, written in 1787 by Rev. E. Goodwin of Sheffield, began with the opening prayer: ‘Make me dutiful and obedient to my benefactors, and charitable to my enemies. Make me temperate and chaste, meek and patient…’ (quoted in Jones 2013: 75). Verse was considered a fit medium for the service of God, and hymns were long placed on the list of works published by the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK). Isaac Watts’s compilation of didactic poetry, Divine Songs, first published in 1715, served as a standard textbook in schools for more than 200 years. Watts felt poetry ought to be made use of while teaching children, because ‘what is learnt in verse is longer retained in memory and sooner recollected’. A song at the back of the mind, he emphasised, had greater potential to keep temptations at bay, and inclined one upon the right path, than words of Scriptures could do (Watts 1800: v). By the 1860s a vast majority of domestic servants were uniformed to make a clear distinction between the employers and their staff (Richmond 2013: 254). Dressy female servants were considered to have loose morals. Doubtless, school textbooks, uniforms, badges, prayers, were all about control, of the individual self and the formation of the subjectivity of the working class. These were attempts to regulate physical looks, an invasion of personal liberty of expression, and also an emotional and psychological ‘schooling’ that left an indelible mark of inferiority and subjection on them. There was no initiative to challenge the rigorous binaries in society, to question the economic and social causes of this division. Instead, the divide between the rich and the poor, the godly and the ungodly, the idle and the industrious, the deserving and the undeserving, was more steadfastly perpetuated. Poverty was being romanticised and praised panegyrically. Educating the poor was to make such divisions acceptable to them, to keep them content and pacified, thus ensuring the wellbeing of the privileged class. This was echoed by the British political reformer William Cobbett who wrote scathingly of such ‘charities’ in his Rural Rides (1830),14 when he came across a dozen girls clad in their uniforms of charity: It is impossible not to believe that this is done with a good motive; but it is possible not to believe that it is productive of good. It must create hypocrites, and hypocrisy is the great sin of the age. Society is in a queer state when the rich think they must educate the poor in order to insure their own safety: for this, at bottom, is the great motive now at work in pushing on the education scheme… (Cobbett 1830: I, 72; original emphasis) 103

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Practical readers and nation building By the late eighteenth century it was becoming ever more evident that keeping the social structures unchanged by catechising and religious instructions was not going to work anymore. The old Anglican customs of weekly sermons, Bible teaching, basic reading, writing and arithmetic, along with needlework and knitting taught in charity schools were no longer sufficient to keep the poor class content and ‘in place’. The French Revolution and a flood of literature inspired by Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man (1791), which was widely read by the lower classes, was threatening to stir up a rebellion from down below. The petty bourgeoisie was now more socially conscious and articulate in demanding political and parliamentary reforms that would bring in intellectual and economic parity. It was increasingly perceived that the growing divide between the rich and the poor needed to be bridged, and a more integrated society was to be of greater advantage to maintain equilibrium in the society. With imperialism and colonisation, new strategies of national building were imminent. As Linda Colley has demonstrated, no other period of British history has seen such a conscious attempt to construct a national state and national identity. Britons were anxious to forge a national identity both for its internal and external purposes (Colley 1992). Formal education and textbooks had to be adapted to reflect a positive imperial image. Education for children began to be more oriented towards a practical and informative based learning. Textbooks were composed keeping in mind the growing need for educational materials that would emphasise the unity and the sameness of the people, rather than highlight the separateness. Books began to commonly have lessons on shared geography, history and social unity. Rev. J. M. M‘Culloch, the former Head-Master of Circus-Place School in Edinburgh came up with a series of Reading Books, progressively arranged, and introducing the scholar by easy gradations adapted to their age and intellectual faculty. The contents of the Reading Books ranged from lessons on objects like stars, metals, animals, on the soul, tales from Arabian Nights, and verses from Wordsworth, to hymns, duty of children, and human family, all to ‘afford ample materials for an intellectual, as well as a moral exercise…’ (M‘Culloch 1837: 5). His Course of Elementary Reading in Science and Literature was again intended for an ‘analytical mode of tuition’, with the object ‘of exercising the juvenile mind, by means of Lessons on Useful and Interesting subjects’. The lessons, which contained miscellaneous pieces on Natural Science, tenets of Mechanics, Astronomy, Natural History, Geography, and Religious and Moral Pieces, were intended to serve ‘as an exercise to the ingenuity and sagacity of the Pupil’ (M‘Culloch 1827: iii–v). A prominent change from early textbooks that purported to instill knowledge of the Earth and Heavens was now the insistence on scientific accuracy. A century earlier, Isaac Watts in The Knowledge of the Heavens and the Earth made Easy (1726) claimed to teach the ‘first principles of Astronomy

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and Geography with the help of Globes and Maps’. But he mainly took recourse to religion and scriptures to explain ‘the Heavens as the work of the Finger of God and the Moon and the Stars which He hath ordained’ and the ‘immense Power of God, and Magnificence of his Creation’ (Watts 1726: vi).15 A more rational and systematic approach to physical and political geography can be seen in A Grammar of General Geography meant for the use of schools, by J. Goldsmith was probably first published in 1816.16 Rev. J. Goldsmith was the pseudonym for Richard Phillips (1876–40), a prolific London publisher. His book on Geography had elaborate maps and engravings to show the globe, time zones, and the solar system. Each continent was elaborately described, but it remained rooted in an Anglocentric viewpoint that depicted a hierarchical order of human civilisation and races. Great Britain was eulogised for its ‘fair climate’, ‘the undisputed mistress of the seas’, for her wealth, industry, and ‘intelligence of her inhabitants’, rendering her ‘an object of pride to her own inhabitants, and of admiration to all other nations’ (Goldsmith 1819: 27–8).17 Asia being a land of the ‘pagans’ was where ‘our Saviour exerted himself to reform and save the human race’ (Ibid. 32). One of the most prominent editions of school atlas in nineteenth century Britain was A School Geography (1847) by James Cornwell. The book was actively used by pupils in schools for generations and went through 68 editions by 1881. Cornwell, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, provided detailed topographical information in his book that was regarded to be ‘without exception the best book of its class’.18 Cornwell’s A School Atlas (1848) consisted of thirty beautifully executed maps of steel with a detailed list of places and their exact location on the map. Again, Cornwell’s A Key to the Young Composer (1844) though meant to be a textbook for logical parsing of sentences and figurative compositions, had selections of readings primarily on physical science. Lessons on grammar and sentence construction were based on physical facts like ‘Wool is warm’, ‘the Amazon rises in the Andes’, ‘the Earth turns towards the East’, and ‘Coffee grows in hot countries’. Examples were provided from natural sciences and history, so as to serve the double purpose of teaching language composition and logical facts. It provided information on important public personalities and their contributions: ‘George the First came from Hanover’, ‘the safety lamp was invented by Sir Humphrey Davy’, ‘Wellington conquered Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815’. Examples were provided of goods obtained from all over the world: ‘Wine is imported from Portugal’, ‘Grapes were brought from the banks of the Rhine’, ‘Sandalwood is obtained from Further India’ (Cornwell 1855). Such instances perpetuated an empirical centrality of Britain, as well as a conceptual image of a rich and powerful nation that could obtain a diversity of goods from all over the world. It highlighted illustrious personalities who represented the might and greatness of Britain. These books acted as powerful formulators and reflectors of imperial Britain, and contrasted 105

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sharply with the textbooks written earlier. No longer do these textbooks harp on societal divisions, cultural or religious differences. All differences are elided to present a unified Britain. The country’s perceived shortcomings are compensated by other strengths. For example, in A School Geography Cornwell was quick to point out that although Europe is not rich in the precious metals; but the less showy, the more useful ones, are very abundant… England supplies near a third of the iron used in Europe, almost all the tin, a half of the copper, and almost half of the lead. (Cornwell 1847: 27) Again, The Thames is but a small river, but it is one of the most renowned – ‘Whose ample breast displays unfurled The ensigns of the assembled world’ (Ibid. 37) The importance of Britain and its standing in the world is further accentuated by a panegyric description of its art, wealth and beauty: No nation, ancient or modern, ever had so many ships in their principal port as are daily to be seen between London-bridge and Greenwich. This ‘forest of masts’ consists of vessels trading to all parts of the world. The river is spanned, too, by an extraordinary number of bridges, some of which are among the finest specimens of this description of architecture. The scenery along this river is in many parts very fine… winding its way through rich forest scenery, out of which is seen peeping the mansions of the nobility and gentry. It would be difficult to point out a spot in which art and wealth have been applied with such effect to improve a naturally beautiful neighbourhood. Nor are the charms of literature wanting, to interest us in this river. To say nothing of the residences along its banks, made illustrious by the abode of genius…perhaps no stream is more celebrated in song. (Ibid.)

A study of contrasts and racial stereotyping School textbooks were particularly appropriate to strengthen fixed absolute categories about people and races that could then be as irrefutably established as ‘the Earth moves round the Sun’ or ‘iron rusts when exposed to air’. A large part of the imperial image was based on the construction of binaries, and on stereotyping. A carefully crafted image of the dialectics of 106

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‘us and them’ was necessary to promote imperial ambitions and priorities. Britain had to be posited as the greatest Empire, the most able, and thus the most capable of ruling the world. A positive and constructive image of the exalted self was necessary to shape the confidence and consciousness of its own people and structure their own universe. At the same time negative stereotyping of other people legitimised the control and power over them and their world. The global extension of the British colonies situated in widely different locations like India, Algeria, Burma, and Trinidad meant that the definition of the conqueror and the conquered had to be fashioned uniformly to drive home the differences. The making of identities was firstly based on positive representation of the Self. James Cornwell’s A Key to the Young Composer blatantly proclaimed, ‘England is not only the most wealthy nation in the world, but also the most powerful’ (Cornwell 1855: 51). The large and increasing sale of the Young Composer in Britain and all its colonies warranted that such ideologies were very rapidly disseminated. Textbooks by virtue of their long shelf life also meant that such opinions remained in circulation for a long time and had ample scope to get indoctrinated as the ‘truth’. Such ideas are then repeatedly impressed upon through innocuous lessons on grammar: ‘We speak of our British sailors and soldiers as brave, because their conduct is always courageous’ (107), ‘England is a powerful state’ (113), ‘The English followed up their victory with great vigour (152). The created image, based on stereotypes of capacities and behaviours, was often rationalised by binaries that depicted the image of a weak dependent Other vis-a-vis a strong Self. At any given time stereotypical representations could not be isolated from historical contexts. Britain’s rivalry with other European powers was often the reason for inserting negative portrayals of other nations: Augustus Caesar and Louis XIV of France have been called great princes, but deprive both of their crowns and they dwindle into obscure and trivial characters. (Cornwell 1855: 76) Such insinuated comparisons invariably established a set of images that depicted significant differences between the Self and the Other. While this provided the foundation of solidarity for their own people, it also indicated the politics of inclusion and exclusion: Scotland has been improving in every respect since her parliament was united with that of England. (Ibid. 66) Similarly, J. M. M‘Culloch’s A Series of Lessons in Prose and Verse which  was a seminal textbook to teach basic lessons in prose and verse, 107

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perpetuated the idea of a powerful Britain by suggesting appropriate symbols of strength and power: Our ships are better constructed than those of any other country. British oak is the best in the world; and the same may be said of our sailors. These things conspire to make our navy the envy of nations, and compel our enemies to do us homage. (M‘Culloch 1848: 1) The lessons projected literary symbols that by extended metaphoric implications helped to construct a cultural perception of Britain as a strong, and powerful country. Prose compositions, for example, on the British oak suggested its qualities of strength and durability to be synonymous with the characteristics of the land and the people, and considered it ‘inferior in value only to her religion, her liberty, and the spirit and industry of her people’ (115). M‘Culloch’s Series of Reading-Books meant for comprehensive elementary teaching of grammar, literature, and various branches of science, were eminently adapted to suit the requirements of the times. The textbooks were recommended throughout the empire as a sound and effective means of inculcating Christian values and building the moral character of children. The Third Reading Book familiarised pupils with different countries, races and people through a conversation between Willy and his mother. Willy, who sees a black boy mistakes the latter to be a chimney boy, until his mother explains to him that … there are some countries, a great way off, where the colour of everybody’s skin is black, like that man’s. The people who live in these countries are called negroes. And if that negro was to drink out of my basin of bread and milk, would not his mouth dirty it, nor his hands either? Not in the least, his hands and face are as clean as yours, though they look so black. Everything that is black is not dirty. Willy is taken by his mother to a school where he meets a few ‘negro boys learning to read and write’. He asks them why they have come from their distant lands, and is told: We came to learn to read and write, and a great many things. We have no schools in our country. And do the little boys there do nothing but play about all day? ‘Yes’, they said, ‘But when they grow up to be men, they have nothing; so they can do nothing as well’. (M‘Culloch 1837: 82–83) 108

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Willy expresses his dislike for such a country: ‘I should not like your country’, and the black boy is quick to point out that his country is more pleasant: “It is always summer with us…but I like to learn here…’ (Ibid. 84). In the Manichean world of black and white, hot and cold, us and them, the cultural hierarchies are clearly defined. The black boy wants ‘to learn here’, thus fixing the West as the superior, civilized, enlightened alternate to the Dark Continent. Willy’s mother teaches him: ‘Everything that is black is not dirty’, but despite the textbook’s overt attempt to demystify the stereotypes associated with blackness, the image of the ‘Negroes’ remains submerged in the prevailing stereotypes of class and racial inferiority. The worlds of the white and the black boys are perceived in terms of absolute fixed differences. For the white boy, black is associated with physical and moral impurity, and servitude. The ‘black boy’ as he is referred to, remains an unknown, unnamed non-entity, a part of a denigrated race, and it remains to Willy and his people whether they would like to shake hands with such boys. The black boy comes from a country where there is ‘no school’, ‘nothing to do’, and as a consequence when they grow up they ‘have nothing’ and ‘can do nothing as well’. The series of negations associated with the ‘inferior’ Other, asserts the projected superiority of the Self. The perceived economic, moral and intellectual poverty of such people and races is therefore justified by the establishment of institutional instruction and administration over them. Such knowledge, as Mangan so effectively explained in The Imperial Curriculum, ‘attempts to establish the parameters of acceptable knowledge, impose ideological boundaries, determine the range of permissible interpretations, point the way to action – and both overtly and covertly, create images of self-belief and self-doubt’ (Mangan 1993: 17).

English readers for the colonies By the late nineteenth century, textbooks for shaping the cultural consciousness of its readers, especially in the colonies, were being seen more pronouncedly. The depiction of stereotypic images of the Other that sought to strengthen firmly held preconceived notions featured prominently in The Royal Readers introduced by Thomas Nelson and Sons between 1877 and 1881. Thomas Nelson was a leading bookpublishing firm based in Edinburgh. After the Education Act of 1871, which made mass education compulsory in Britain, there was a great demand for improved school books. A series of school books was initiated by the Nelson’s who began producing cheap colour printed textbooks, based on religious teachings, history, fiction, and adventure, particularly intended for young readers. Their series of Royal Readers (I–VI) was prescribed by the Board of Education (1871) as a part of the Royal School Series textbooks for school children of Britain to exercise ‘their power of reading’. Beginning with lessons on monosyllabic and polysyllabic words, the Readers used extensive examples from ‘objects of Natural History, and the incidents and common 109

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things of daily life, by which children are most likely to be attracted’ (1877: I, iii). The books abounded in illustrations to aid the understanding and interest of the young readers. Word lessons and spellings were followed by short tales and poems, and progressively by lessons on physical geography and useful knowledge. The information and complexity of the Readers were meant to be appropriate for different stages of the learners. The texts were distributed throughout the British Empire and were popular reading materials in various locations outside the English speaking countries, including Nigeria, West Indies, India, and other parts of Asia (Tiffin 2001). These were used as textbooks in schools in Bengal before Peary Churn Sirkar adapted them to a more suitable localised context for Bengali students. The early Readers upheld the examples of British heroes like Nelson, Wellington, Drake and Rodney. While these characters typified the British as a brave and noble people, it implied that colonial subjects ought to be inspired by these instances to be like ‘them’. The Readers were full of ‘fine’ examples of literature, of morals and words of wisdom, which were memorised by generations of colonial learners whose imagination and consciousness were shaped by these textbooks. With the spread of the Empire, the later Readers began to be more inclusive of people and places beyond the Western peripheries. The later Royal Readers III to VI have several references to the British colonies – Ceylon, India and the West Indies. A close analysis of the later Royal Readers from III to VI will indicate the strategies of such inclusion/exclusion of non-Whites and non-Europeans. These reveal the several unstated and often overlooked ideological instillation of differentiation between the coloniser and the colonised. A projected colonial control, and a passive acceptance of such hierarchies seem to be the norm in such textbooks, not to be questioned or critiqued. In her analysis of the effect of Royal Readers on the Caribbean schools, Helen Tiffin is of the opinion that there was a direct transfer of English material and no allowance was made for local cultures or contexts (Tiffin 2001: 46). That was only partially true. In fact, a concerted and conscious effort was to typify the ethnographic and topographic characteristics of the colonies that always invariably focused on wild animals and the rugged nature of the lands. The lessons on elephants characterise the animal as ‘commonly quiet and harmless’, found in the ‘dark’ jungles of Asia and Africa, particularly Ceylon ‘which is the home of elephants’ and where there are ‘vast forests where trees grow thick and tall, so as to make many parts almost dark’ (The Royal Readers 1872: III, 163–65). Similarly, all stories of tigers are based in India, and it is up to the Europeans to rid the country of such dangerous animals (III, 79); and, the West Indies was earlier a land of slaves but the English having liberated them ‘not a slave now exists in the British dominions’ (III, 141). The tale of ‘The English Girl and her Ayah’ tells of the former getting lost in the jungle with her Indian Ayah [Figure 3.3]. While ‘the poor Hindoo’ is frightened at being ‘lost in the dreadful jungle’, the ‘fair-haired English girl’ 110

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Figure 3.3  ‘The English Girl and her Ayah’, The Royal Readers 1872: III, 76.

assures the Ayah that ‘God can save us, and show us the way back’. ‘The little child could feel, as the Hindoo could not, that, even in that lonely jungle, a great and loving Friend was beside her’. When they are face to face with a Bengal tiger, the Ayah cried out in fright, but the little girl ‘cried to God to save her’. Her prayers are heard and her father rescues them by shooting the tiger dead (III, 75–76). In what proves to be an allegorical tale of ‘lost’ Hindoos who need to be redeemed from the dark recesses of wilderness, the white girl shows the ‘way’ by reposing her faith in ‘a great and loving’ God. Such stories by bypassing dry pedantic preaching have a greater effect on the minds of the readers. Ideologies and images seep through the mind and sub-consciousness of the young readers without their realisation of the potent effects such education can have on their subjectivity. As the last tale signified, whiteness is a position of privilege granted by a God that loves them more, inaccessible to the non-believers who can be rewarded if they follow the practices of the Whites. Whiteness is inscribed with superiority, control and civilisation, whereas characteristics of ‘dark’, ‘wild’, ‘dangerous’ are normalised as fundamentally associated with the Other. The Fourth Royal Reader reiterates the image of India as a land of ‘great dark forests’ that are ‘not like our woods’, with dangers lurking everywhere, where the white man cannot venture ‘without the thunder and lightning of 111

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his gun’. Venomous animals lie hidden, and the ‘wild creatures’ ‘are engaged in constant warfare with each other’. The land appears to be populated by Indians with poisoned arrows, and wild creatures that are ‘cunning’, ‘stealthy’ and ‘dangerous’ (IV, 9–10). The Fifth Royal Reader also paints a negative picture of the Indian land by positing a series of adverse features: the plains are ‘dark and deadly’, ‘dismal’, ‘impenetrable’, ‘pestilential’, ‘dark recesses’, ‘a region of death’. Beneath the ‘melancholy shades’ the wild animals prowl, and the human beings present ‘a meagre, dwarfish, and most sickly aspect’. If anything is at all ‘picturesque’ it is what resembles the English parameters of beauty. Hence, the lower mountain ranges are considered to be more pleasant, where the oaks and the pines begin to appear, and the ‘cultured vales’ begin to ‘resemble the most elevated portions of the Highlands of Scotland’ (1879: V, 325). The Himalayas are ‘rugged and stern’ and, do not present that tranquil grandeur, and those picturesque views, which render the mountain scenery of Europe so enchanting. They are rugged, gloomy, and monotonous. The mighty summits overhang no soft pastoral valleys, nor wave with varied foliage, nor are reflected in the bosom of still and transparent lakes. (V, 326) In contrast, if a visitor was to ascend to the top of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, he would see ‘the mighty map of the metropolis’ stretched out before him, ‘the greatest camp of men upon which the sun has ever risen’ (V, 317). The ‘mighty city’ of London powered with ‘Steam and Electricity’, the greatest producer of food and manufactured items, in its arrangements and regulations is acclaimed as ‘the most complete in the world’ (V, 335–40). Again, the Sixth Reader which made greater demands on the competence and knowledge of young scholars, had illustrative lessons on ‘useful knowledge’ on the barometer, the thermometer, the great inventions and the British Constitution. At the same time, it had narrative compositions, both in prose and poetry, on the differences between ‘temperate’ and ‘tropical’ countries, on the need for colonial loyalty to the British Crown, on ‘Education and the State’, ‘English Self Esteem’, and on ‘British Colonial and Naval Power’ (1880: VI). The last Reader in the series is in stark contrast to the earlier Royal Readers. What began as exercises on pronunciation, spelling and grammar in the first and second books, had by the sixth book obviously shaped up to an organised manipulated perspective on Empire and colonisation that was designed to mask, justify, defend, and legitimise Britain’s supremacy. The British colonial power was seen as the result of the ‘sagacity’ and ‘foresight’ of England, to have military naval and commercial strongholds in every part of the world (VI, 337). The text boasts of there being no land, island or peninsula where the British flag does

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not fly, and no ocean, bay or sea, which England does not hold. The rhetoric of possessing, holding, owning is grandiloquently expressed: What a beaten track of commerce is this! What wealth of comfort and luxury is wafted over it by every breeze! What teas of China! The silks of Farther India! The spices of the East! The ships of every clime and nation swarm on its waters! (VI, 338) Deeply imbricated within these textbooks for children were a set of evaluative patterns that were constantly contrasting and appraising one set of society and civilisation with another. While an adverse negative picture of one corroborated the superiority of the other, it indoctrinated several stereotypical assumptions – ones that, in many cases, still persist today and may be traced to these early teaching aids. The Indian film industry’s love affair with Switzerland and other ‘scenic’ places in Europe for the hero and the heroine to romance, is just one dimension of this mindset which continues to see Europe with its ‘temperate’ climates more congenial for the ‘finer’ aspects of life. The representation of an imperial image that construes stereotypic images of the inherent capacities and behaviours of a community, nation or race invariably establishes it as the truth. The icons of superiority, be it the great names in history, military power, or the land and its people, are social constructs that depend on the perpetuation of the absolute ‘truths’. It helps to establish through carefully selected images and appropriate vocabulary a set of significant differences. These then allow for familiar patterns and images of ‘differences’ that can be controlled. The latter books in the series of Royal Readers begin to show the pressure to adapt the contents to suit the growing need for textbooks in the colonies. Not only did the books have to reflect the rapid advances of Britain, commercially and militarily, it had to be increasingly relevant to the colonies. The series was soon to become seminal readings for the colonial-era curriculum in India, West Indies, America and Australia. By the late nineteenth century, the school Readers were used throughout the English-speaking world and were enormously successful as these were freely translated or adapted to the local context. At the same time there was a sense of confusion regarding the general or national scheme of education to be followed in Britain. It was seen to be the duty of the State to provide education to the masses, but there was no clarity among the learners of the purpose or benefit of such education. To the general public, education meant reading, writing and arithmetic, and some useful knowledge as a means to obtain a vocational advantage. Matthew Arnold’s claim that ‘Culture unites classes’, or to paraphrase him, ‘Education unites classes’ was still a far cry from reality. Many of the Public Schools in Britain though founded originally in the interest of poor scholars had

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become out of reach of the poor. The expensive special preparation that was required to get admission in such schools meant that these now catered primarily to the affluent class. Sir Henry Newbolt’s Report19 in 1921 summed up the existing class divisions: We may recognize that it is at present more difficult than it was some centuries ago to educate children of rich and poor side by side in the same schools, but this makes it only the more to be regretted that there is no source of unity to be found in the teaching provided by the different types of school. If there were any common fundamental idea of education, any great common divisions of the curriculum, which would stand out in such a way as to obliterate, or even to soften, the lines of separation between the young of different classes, we might hope to find more easily the way to bridge the social chasms which divide us. (The Newbolt Report 1926: 6) Newbolt and his Committee suggested the use of English language and literature as a common binding force to build the image of a consolidated Great Britain. The Report categorically stated that for English children no form of learning could take precedence of a knowledge of English language and English literature: and that the two are so inextricably connected as to form the only basis possible for a national education (Ibid. 14). The use of liberal learning, especially English literature, was recognised to be the more than just a mere pastime, or an excrescence; it was considered instrumental for the formation of a national character. It was a means to draw upon shared experiences and create a bond of sympathy and belonging. The next chapter analyses the inevitable complexities of such a system that had already been introduced in India.

Notes 1 Andrew White Tuer’s History of the Horn-Book, originally published by The Leadenhall Press, London, 1896, is an authority on handbooks meant for instructing children, containing illustrations and detailed research on the use of handbooks. See the facsimile reproduction (Tuer 1979). 2 Reference made to the original compilation by Edward Burton (1834) at the BL. 3 The Prologue of The Manual of Prayers or the Prymer in English (1539) sets forth the purpose and definition of a Primer: ‘I have here set forth, most dear reader, a rude work, whom it hath pleased me to call the Manual of Prayers, because it is so commonly had in hand with the people, which before was called the Prymer, because, I suppose, that is the first book that the tender youth was instructed in’ (Burton 1834: 321). 4 The ‘Admonition to the Reader’ at the beginning of A Goodly Primer warns readers to not read ‘pestilent and infectious books and learnings, which the Christian people have been piteously seduced and deceived’ (see Burton 1834: 1). 5 A rare copy of this exists in the BL. It is a small book, approximately 2 inches by 3 inches, and has a silver engraved casing with side clasps

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6 A copy of the New England Primer published in Boston by Manning & Loring around 1803 is currently held by the Lilly Library, Indiana University, USA. An 1810 edition is available in the BL. 7 Luther consistently advocated the right kind of schools, and referred to the monastic schools which taught erroneous doctrines propounded by the Church at Rome as ‘devil’s training centres’ (Brandt 1962: XLV, 342). 8 Just prior to the Reformation there was an alienation of education, especially with its Humanistic emphasis, from the practical pursuits of the masses. 9 See Heckel 1757 10 For a detailed listing of popular needlework manuals and guidebooks published in Britain from the 1840s onwards, see Victorian Needlework by Ledbetter 2012: 63–94. 11 Isaac Watts (1674–1748) was a distinguished English minister, hymn writer, and credited as the ‘Godfather of English Hymnody’. His verses and hymns were used as popular teaching materials and remain popular till day. 12 The statue of the Blue Coat Boy and Blue Coat Girl still stand underneath the clock tower of the Viney building in Birmingham as a silent reminder of that past. 13 For a detailed exposition of the role of uniforms in the lives of the poor in nineteenth century Britain, and some accounts of their experiences, see Craik (2005) and Richmond (2013). 14 William Cobbett (1763–1835), a radical reformist from Surrey is now best remembered for Rural Rides (1830), a polemical account of a series of journeys in southern England as the countryside was changing drastically due to economic and social changes. 15 A rare copy of this is available in BL. 16 The London Catalogue of Books published in Great Britain, 1816–51 mentions Goldsmith’s A Grammar of Geography (1851: 220). 17 A copy of the 1819 edition is available in BL. 18 Stated in The Publishers’ Circular, and general record of British and Foreign Literature (1848), Volume XI, 173. 19 Sir Henry John Newbolt, 1862–1938, was an English poet and historian. He was appointed by the Board of Education to enquire into the position of English in the educational system in England, and he came up with his The Teaching of English in England, generally referred to as the Newbolt Report.

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4 CONTENT AND CONTEXT OF TEXTBOOKS IN BENGAL

Books for improvement of company officials Much before native education became one of the foremost responsibilities and agendas of the British colonial civilising mission in India, the English in India sought books for their own improvement. For merchants, travellers and officials who came to India, books were a valuable possession, a refuge from their tedious life in the colony, a comfort, and a link with the land and people they had left behind. Books invariably meant the Book, a copy of the Bible, of prayers and scriptures. A testimony of requisition for books is first recorded at the Hoogly Factory in 1679 when Rev. J. Evans, the first Chaplain at the factory requested the Directors of the EIC to send some additional books for the community stationed at the trading post. The books were wanted to help the community lead a righteous life. In its letter dated 3 December 1679, the Court refused to send additional books, replying that books sent earlier ought to suffice for leading a Christian life: These wee [sic] have well studied, and what may be delivered from them to our People there will be divinity enough for them. Sincerity and practice is the true life of a Christian; and if he preach and they practice, what they both know or may know by the helps wee have sent them, wee should have no cause to blame or lament the abominable evil conversation wee hear some of them are gultie [sic] of. (Hedges 1887: II, cxvi) In 1699 books are again mentioned when the Court of the Company mentioned that Benjamin Adams, the newly appointed chaplain for Fort William was bringing a good supply of books for the newly established settlement at Fort William under Sir Charles Eyre. He brings with him a very handsome collection of modern books as an addition to the library presented by a worthy gentleman William Hewer esq, a member of our Court of Committee. (EIC Letter Book. 1698–1708: II, 252) 116

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It appears that the books brought by Adams were an addition to an already existing library built by Hewer. Adams arrived with the books in Bengal in 1700 and stayed till 1706 during which he initiated the construction of the first church at Fort William. He was succeeded by William Anderson who was appointed by the Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge (SPCK) as the chaplain of Fort William. The SPCK, chartered in 1698 and its subordinate organisation, the Emigrants’ Spiritual Aid Society gave emigrants devotional and other religious literature, provided them with moral instruction while crossing the high seas, and saw to the spiritual needs of Englishmen abroad.1 The Society continued to send books for the purpose of spreading religious, moral and social values among the people of the English trading community in Bengal. Fifty six copies of the New Testament and several English books were shipped to Anderson, which included Johann Arndt’s True Christianity, Bishop Burnet’s Pastoral Care, Benjamin Jenks’ Prayers and Offices of Devotion, Burkett’s Exposition of the New Testament, and Ostewald’s Abridgement of the Bible History (SPCK 1713: 73). The Calcutta parish was advised to make the books accessible to Protestant missionaries as more books for moral improvement were supplied regularly by the SPCK. In 1723 the Special Committee sent another consignment of books which contained several copies of the following titles to be distributed in the Bengal settlement: Against Swearing, Against Drunkenness, Against Uncleanness, Pastoral Letter, Soldier’s Monitor, Advice to Officers and Seamen, Christian Daily Devotion (SPCK 1723: n.p). Such literature was mainly aimed at seamen, coachmen, soldiers, slaves, the sick and wounded in hospitals, and poor children in workhouses (Clarke 1919: 20–21). By the year 1800 the Society had invested Pound 1000 on its India missions and had sent six missionaries (Ibid. 37). The educational work of the SPCK in India based on the Bible and Catechisms, laid the foundation of a tradition of popular education based on moral upliftment. The college at Fort William was especially established to train many of the EIC officials who were still in their teens when they arrived in India, and were mostly ignorant of the socio-cultural milieu in which they had to work. Most of them lacked any formal education, and in his Minute on the reasons for the establishment of a college in Bengal dated 18 August 1800, Lord Wellesley2 stated that for the Company officials it was imperative that Their early habits should be so formed, as to establish in their minds such solid foundations of industry, prudence, integrity, and religion, as should effectually guard them against those temptations and corruptions with which the nature of the climate and the peculiar depravity of the people of India will surround and assail them in every station, especially upon their first arrival in India. (Roebuck 1819: iv–v) 117

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These young lads whose ‘erroneous education’ and ‘pernicious habits’ Wellesley found to a ‘great disadvantage’ required a regular course of study, under which the young men upon their arrival in India might be enabled to correct their errors, or to pursue and confirm the advantages of their European education, and to attain a knowledge of the languages, laws, usages and customs of India, together with such other branches of knowledge, as are requisite to qualify them for their several stations. (Wellesley, 10 July 1800, in Martin 1836: 341) The Asiatic Society of Bengal established in 1784, and the Fort William College (FWC) in 1800 were instrumental in assembling a rich and varied repository of materials and manuscripts dating back to as early as the seventh century. Some of the rare manuscripts belonged to the Mughal Imperial Library, and some were brought from Nepal and Burma. The rich collection of Oriental manuscripts from Tipu Sultan’s library was also added in the FWC. Charles Stewart, Professor of Persian appointed at the College catalogued two thousand volumes of Arabic, Persian and Hindustani manuscripts, besides a rich repository of books on grammar, history, logic, and literature in vernacular languages (Roebuck 1819: 115).

Dialoguing with the natives As communicating with the natives became of foremost importance for the British in India, so that ‘they may convince while they command; and be at once the dispensers of Laws and of Science to an extensive nation’, a greater effort began to be made for understanding Indian judicial and literary texts (Halhed 1778: ii). Nathaniel Brassey Halhed who attempted to explain the grammar of the Bengali language in his A Grammar of the Bengal Language (1778) which was according to him, the first step to cultivate ‘a general medium of intercourse between the Government and its Subjects; between the Natives of Europe who are to rule, and the Inhabitants of India who are to obey’ (Halhed 1778: ii). Several books began to be written to facilitate communication, of which an early example of teaching the English language to the natives was John Miller’s The Tutor, or a new English and Bengalee Work, well adapted to teach the Natives English published from Serampore in 1797. This book claims to be ‘the earliest attempt at a language text for the teaching of English to speakers of any language on the Indian continent’ (Miller 1971: Notes, n.p).3 The author printed it in 1797 at Serampore and in the same year established a printing press there, and therefore precedes the work of William Carey who is generally regarded as the first printer at Serampore. The book begins with an address to Bengali readers with the aim to teach them English so that the Sahebs can accept them. It states that ‘chalti katha’ 118

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(words in common parlance) has been used, and makes use of Urdu/ Hindustani words like ‘kitab’, ‘manjoor’, ‘umeed’, ‘tallash’ to be comprehensible for both the Hindu and Muslim Bengalis (Ibid. iii). The first part of the book deals with letters of the alphabet, word formations, pronunciations, and teachings from the Holy Book and on God, ‘the master of all the earth’. The second part, very briefly touches on grammar. The third part, the main content of the book, is devoted to practical dialogues on various subjects between the Master (M) and his Servant (S). The ‘Master’ is translated as ‘Saheb’ in Bengali thereby making the power hierarchies between the white master and the native servants amply obvious. The dialogue between M and S in English, with translations in colloquial Bengali, are a series of orders that M gives to the Dewan, the carpenter, merchant, bricklayer, labourers and coachman to attend to his needs. The tone of M is haughty and commanding, while S has a deferential, subservient reply: ‘Sir, please to command me’ (Ibid. 100). Dialogue books for communication became essential to understand each other and Lord Hastings, Sir William Jones, Charles Wilkins and later Henry Thomas Colebrooke employed several Indian scholars well versed in Persian and Sanskrit to familiarise themselves with the literature and legal texts of the Hindus and Muslims, and to translate them into English. Sanskrit and Persian in which the sacred legal texts of the Muslims and the Hindus were composed were almost unknown to the Europeans. Two British men associated with the FWC and whose labours marked the beginning of interpersonal communication in literary forms were William Carey and John Borthwick Gilchrist. Carey and Gilchrist were appointed as Professors of vernacular languages in the College of Fort William in Calcutta to produce a corpus of pedagogical and scholarly works which departed significantly from the rigid formalities of classical languages, like Sanskrit and Urdu, towards a more casual and participatory mode of communication. Their book of Dialogues,4 in Bengali and Hindustani respectively, with simultaneous translations in English, were a collaborative Anglo-Indian work, completed with the active assistance of Bengali and Hindustani scholars appointed by the College. These handy bilingual books of day-today expressions sought to enable newly appointed Company officials to read, to write and to speak Indian languages. Hence they could communicate with the ‘natives’ on the ‘most useful and familiar subjects’.5 Carey, a Baptist missionary, was the first teacher of the Bengali language at FWC, and the most illustrious of the English missionaries in Bengal (Das 1966; Dutta 2017a). A shoemaker with no formal education, Carey had arrived in Bengal in 1793 (Smith 1885). He had already published his missionary manifesto in England: An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens (Carey 1792). In 1800 he settled in Serampore, a Danish settlement on the banks of the river Hoogly, and along with Joshua Marshman and William Ward founded the Serampore Mission. The ‘Serampore Trio’, as they were known, pioneered types and 119

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punches for printing in the Bengali language at the Serampore printing press.6 Between 1801 and 1832 they published approximately 212,000 copies of different publications in 40 languages (Roy 1995: 31). Of the total number of books printed in the years between 1801 and 1817, 44.25 percent were related to scriptures and mythologies, followed by 16.09 percent constituting grammar and dictionaries (Ibid. 38). The veritable upsurge of grammar books, dictionaries, translations, can be credited to the efforts of Gilchrist, Jonathan Duncan and Nathaniel B. Halhed who were responsible for popularising the vernacular languages of India. Like Carey, John Borthwick Gilchrist became a successful populariser of India’s vernacular languages at a time when classical languages like Sanskrit, Persian and Arabic enjoyed a superior reputation among the cultured elite. Borthwick, a son of a Scottish merchant and himself a surgeon by profession landed in Bombay in 1782, at the age of 23.7 He immediately began his close association with the language of the upper Gangetic Plain. In particular, Gilchrist was quick to recognise Hindustani as the new language of administration for British India, since the languages variously known as ‘Hindoostanee’, ‘Hinduwee’, and ‘Moor’ were spoken by a majority of the population in India’s northern plains. As a Company official, Gilchrist toured extensively and, with the help of expert munshis, acquired a commendable proficiency in Urdu and Hindustani. His personal experience was crucial in teaching him the merits of these languages (Kidwai 1972: 38). In 1798, Gilchrist was engaged by Lord Wellesley as a language instructor, when knowledge of Hindustani, Persian and Bengali was made essential for all government posts. Gilchrist thus began to work at the Oriental Seminary, known as Gilchrist’s Seminary, since he was its only teacher and superintendent (Siddiqi 1960: 74). In 1798, he published his first set of Hindustani conversations, known as Oriental Linguist, which was subsequently revised and reprinted in 1802 and 1809 as the better-known Dialogues. Hence, when FWC was established, Gilchrist was summoned to teach Urdu and Hindustani to the EIC’s new recruits. Gilchrist sought to inculcate communication skills ranging from the ‘elegant’ to the ‘vulgar’. His Dialogues, English and Hindoostanee (1798) covered a wide range of  topics, in order to furnish students ‘immediately as they reach the shores of Hindoostan…with those portions of local knowledge which may prove of no small consequence to their future welfare as gentlemen’. He described the customs and manners of India’s Hindus and Muslims, so that a newcomer would ‘know how to regulate his conduct and conversation’ accordingly (Gilchrist 1826: 537–38). Specific commands were also instanced, advising the civil servants how in all possible circumstances to instruct, to order and, if necessary, to scold, berate and even abuse their servants. William Carey’s Dialogues Intended to Facilitate the Acquiring of the Bengalee Language (1801), also known as Kathopakathan in Bengali, used Bengali phrases and their English equivalent, as needed by English people 120

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seeking particularly to communicate with Bengalis who provided services as cooks, coachmen, servants, and so forth. In his preface, Carey asserted that the dialogues were written to show the different vernacular idioms used by the upper/lower orders of people in different situations. He thus gave examples of the ‘grave style’ of colonial masters, priests and landlords. He then gave instances of the ‘common talk of labouring people’, ‘the querulous and contentious style’ of women, the informal idiomatic language of ‘common people’ like labourers and beggars, and the language of fishermen that was ‘peculiar to that class of people’ (Carey 1818: iv).8 Carey’s book listed an elaborate content of communications skills, as required for hiring servants, laying tables, ordering the munshi, coachman, khidmutgar [male servant who waited at table], barber and/or gardener. These phrases in Bengali, with consecutive translations in English, were designed to help the newly arrived English to give orders, to instruct, and to reprimand the servants. ‘Saheb’, a term of respect used by Indians for a white man, was translated as ‘Gentleman’ in English. Such a personage should be addressed as ‘Sir’ and referred to by the pronoun ‘apni’ [thou], a term of respect used in Bengali for those superior in class or age. Conversely, the servant was to be addressed with the informal ‘tumi’ [you] or with a simple command: ‘Hey’ or ‘Listen!’ The servant was shown as frequently using a very self-deprecating term, calling himself a ‘ghulam’ [slave] and begging for mercy: ‘Saheb, ghulam er dosh ki?’ [Sir, what is the fault of your slave?] (Ibid. 6–7).9 Clearly there was a hierarchy, a scale of beings with the sahib at the top, the ‘master’ who could order his subjects. Gilchrist ended his Dialogues with the observation that the servants ‘while subservient to us as our dependents, […] never ought to assume the tone and character of our masters; nor should they be trusted in any important duty too far beyond the active control and inspection of an intelligent superior British officer’ (Gilchrist 1826: 572). The Dialogues assembled by Carey and Gilchrist, which purported to show two-way communications, were in reality more a one-sided monologue of a master discourse. The imposing ‘officialdom’ of the dominant power observed and ordered, informed and instructed, ruled and restricted. It demonstrated an evolving and complex attempt to establish an emerging elite class, based on redefining the position of those ‘below’ them. Some later works designed to teach English to the natives and written with far more taste and elegance were G. C. Haughton’s Bengali Selections with Translations and a Vocabulary (1822), and J. D. Pearson’s Bakyabolee, or Idiomatical Exercises, English and Bengali (1825). The former contained reading lessons in Bengali with renderings in English, designed for ‘beginners’ to ‘facilitate our intercourse with the Natives of India [for] their intellectual and moral improvement, as well as to their worldly happiness’ (Haughton 1822: ix). It was criticised for its dependence on foreign sources and as ‘not calculated to imbue the scholar with a pure Bengali style or phraseology’ (The Calcutta Christian Observer, July 1838: 394–95). 121

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Pearson’s Bakyabolee (perhaps a distortion of ‘vocabulary’) containing phrases, dialogues and letters was meant for the use of the natives of Bengal who were desirous of learning English (Pearson 1825: Advertisement, n.p.). Written in English with a simultaneous translation in Bengali, the book continued to have a profusion of Arabic-Urdu-Hindustani words like ‘ketab’, ‘ishtahar’, ‘adangdar’, ‘darkhwasta’, ‘fauz’, ‘nilam’. The book provided easy conversational English phraseology and its Bengali equivalent to be used in context of school, trade, bazaar, dialogues between a gentleman and pundit, forms of salutations and enquiry, forms of petitions, letters, and so on. The book was appreciated for introducing practical technical terms, though it was regretted that ‘the excellent author had not resolved upon a purer style of Bengali rendering, both as to vocabulary and idiom’ having indulged in ‘the most current corruptions of the low spoken dialect’ and had failed in ‘rendering his Bengali as characteristically correct to a native as his English is to an Englishman’ (The Calcutta Christian Observer, July 1838: 393–94). These sources provide a deeper understanding of the entrenched colonial attitudes to issues of class, gender, race and ethnicity. Moreover, such stylistic stereotypes of communication have subsequently had a lasting effect on ways in which many have viewed binary relationships between East and West, colonisers and colonised, ‘modern’ and ‘traditional’. Linguistic style would indicate the economic background of the speakers, and hence their social class. Quite obviously then, vernacular education, apart from fulfilling its political and imperial requirements, was a formative social factor. Language form and variation would from now on be seen as a profound indicator of identity within the power structure of colonialism, and language could be used to construct, to negotiate or even to reject a particular identity.

Standardising vernacular languages and translation of the scriptures During the period from 1770 to 1820, as the momentum to learn Indian languages gained significantly, an important colonial ‘project’ was to transform these languages into a standard format. The effort was to establish and to regularise an ‘officially’ accepted version, so that all sectional or regional differences would disappear, or appear as irregularities and peculiar to only one particular group. The need for a standardised script for Indian languages was felt acutely for which it was necessary to set up a printing press. Due to the efforts of Charles Wilkins and his assistants Panchanan Karmakar and Manohar Karmakar, wooden and metal typeface printing was set up in Calcutta, which ushered in the era of Bengali printing. The first Bengali typeface was used in Halhed’s A Grammar of the Bengal Language (1778), and it marked the beginning of the standardisation of Indian languages [Figure 4.1].10 Aside from Bengali, Panchanan created types for 14 Indian languages. 122

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Figure 4.1  Bengali typeface in A Grammar of the Bengal Language (Halhed 1778: 4).

In 1801 when the Department of Bengali was established in FWC under William Carey, Bengali scholars like Ramram Basu and Mrityunjay Vidyalankar were appointed as munshis, as assistants to help develop the Bengali prose. Ram Ram Basu was a pundit of Bengali, Persian and Sanskrit, and had worked for many years as a munshi for several Englishmen before he was appointed in FWC (Chatterjee 2006). Carey’s A Grammar of the Bengalee Language (1801), and his translation of the Bible was effected 123

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with the active assistance of Ram Ram Basu. As Bengal was the seat of the British government, Bengali was heavily promoted as ‘the language of the country’. In the Preface to his Grammar, Carey recommended the learning of ‘Bengalee’, the study of which he wrote ‘has been much neglected’. The language if properly cultivated, he felt, ‘would be deriving a place among those who are accounted the most elegant and expressive’ (Carey 1801: iv). Ram Ram Basu also produced a number of original works in Bengali, including Christastva (1788), Jyanodyay (1800), Raja Pratapaditya-charitra (1801), Lippi Mala (1802), and Christ-abibaran-amrta (1803). Christastva and Christ-abibaran-amrta as part of Christian literature were on the life of Jesus Christ. Raja Pratapaditya-charita praised the rule of the Hindu king Raja Pratapaditya of Bengal, as Ram Ram Basu emphasised the need to know the history of Bengal, and ‘kings of this country’ (Basu 1801: 1).11 This book, as the first historiography of Bengal written entirely in the Bengali script, was recommended as a textbook for European students of FWC. Such tales/history of past heroism glorifying a Hindu king was to validate the colonial project of writing an alternate history for the self. Ramram Basu’s Lippi Mala written in Bengali with a cover in English titled ‘Lippi Mala, or the Bracelet of Writing’ (1802) was written with the purpose of popularising a standard form of easy language for reading and writing. This was to facilitate the English to conduct their official work smoothly (Basu 1802: 3–4). Comprising a collection of writings, the first part of the book is devoted to teaching formal writing skills, and the second part imparts lessons on writing for informal purposes. The first part is titled ‘From a king to another king’, and the second part is titled ‘From a king to his servant’, followed by model letters in simple language. Mrityunjay Vidyalankar like his contemporary Ram Ram Basu was a Sanskrit pundit at FWC, appointed to prepare textbooks for European students. He was more in favour of a formalised Bengali prose style, which was markedly different from colloquial spoken Bengali. He discarded the use of Persian and Arabic, and shaped a Sankritised Bengali that was to deeply impact Bengali prose style for the rest of the century. He translated a number of works from Sanskrit to Bengali in his original prose style, namely Batrish Singhasan (1802) and Hitopadesh (1808). These two early translations have been recognised as having a great impact on educational textbooks in Bengal (Ghosh 1988). His Rajabali (1808) considered by Partha Chatterjee as ‘the first history of India in the Bengali language that we have in print’ was another textbook used in the FWC (Chatterjee 1993). Vedantachandrika (1817) a devotional narrative, and Prabodhachandrika (written in 1813, printed in 1833) were his other works. The latter was prescribed as a textbook for many years in FWC, Hindu College, Hoogly College, and Calcutta University. This was the beginning of a long professional association with Pundits of Indian languages who generally belonged to the Brahmin or Kayastha castes. The main object of employing these pundits was for the translation 124

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of the Scriptures. William Carey’s translation of the New Testament into Bengali Dharma Pustak (1801) and Pobitro Bible a translation of the Old Testament (1809) appeared with the active assistance of Ram Ram Babu. Carey with the help of pundits translated the Bible into several Indian languages, going on to claim that ‘the number of languages into which the sacred Scriptures are translated, or under translation, are nearly forty’ (The American Baptist Magazine 1817: 65). In their rationale for the translation of the Bible, the Serampore Trio on 17 December 1818, published the statement: The translation of the Sacred Scriptures into those languages in which a translation of them does not exist, is perhaps one of the most important objects which can engage the attention of the Christian public…Unless heathen nations can obtain the oracles of God, they must perish without any knowledge of the way of salvation…it is a duty paramount to all…from which Christians can never be exonerated till versions of the Scriptures are perfected in every language on earth. (Carey 1819: 28) To prepare the translations two things were deemed necessary: an acquaintance with the original Scriptures, and a familiar knowledge of the language into which the translation was to be made. And though the English might have the former qualification, they were quick to realise, that to ‘produce a permanent and standard version, a large portion of native talent must be employed’ (Ibid. 29). A standard version of the Scriptures in the vernacular languages therefore demanded a standard script and grammar. The Committee of the new College established at Serampore in 1818 formed a  Department for Translators to establish the ecumenical purpose of Serampore College. Learned men well acquainted with Sanskrit and vernacular languages were collected from various provinces to be trained in translating the Scriptures. A body of Native Biblical Critics was created to acquaint them with the Scriptures, and thus accelerate the perfecting of translations. Apart from knowledge of vernacular languages, the other consideration in employing native scholars was ‘the amazingly small sum for which the labours of the learned can be obtained in India’ (Ibid. 32). The expense of rendering a department of native translators was far less than procuring learned men from Europe for this task. Moreover, the collaboration of high caste Bengali literati in the formation and dissemination of knowledge was to have a great impact on how such knowledge was to be received by the public. A vernacular version of the Scriptures written by their own scholars was to have a greater receptivity among the Bengali public than any text written by ‘firnagis’. Teachings in a foreign language disseminated by the white sahibs could not have the same success. Likewise it was felt that the native translators would be more effective in spreading 125

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the words of the Gospel than foreign missionaries could among the people. In a graphic description of teaching the Bible to native peasant boys, James Long found ‘oriental’ means of imparting knowledge of the Scriptures as a more effective method. Emblems, illustrations and parables from the Bible which Bengali peasant boys may find culturally alien, were comprehensible only when these were contextualised in Oriental customs, proverbs and pictures.12 The textuality of the Scriptures was found unsuitable too, whereas a greater success was had with poetry, songs and dramatisation of the Scriptures among such learners (Long n.d.: 1–5). Psalms and Canticles were translated into Bengali for the native followers to chant at religious congregations. One such book brought out by the Bishop’s College, The (Bengali) Canticles of the Morning and Evening Prayer, with a view to their being more easily sung to the English chant stated in its Preface: Attempts at chanting have now for a considerable time been made in various Bengali congregations, Hitherto, however, it must be confessed that those attempts have so far been so far from successful that it is even yet a question whether [sic] the English chant can, with an effect at all pleasing, be used for the singing of Psalms in the Bengali tongue. That the language is by no means well adapted for it is obvious enough…If our Bengali chanting is to conduce to devotion, it must be improved. (The (Bengali) Canticles 1870: i–ii; original emphasis) The unnamed author, presumably a Bengali, provides Bengali translations of English hymns and divine songs, which sing the praise of God and his Son. Hey Ishwar, amra tomar prasansha kori: tomar prabhutta sweekar kori (Ibid. 16; Original Bengali) Hey Lord, we praise you and acknowledge your greatness (Translation mine) The use of simple ‘modern’ Bengali, which adheres to the English sentence construction is noticeable here. The result was that a standardised Bengali language and literature was to supplant the local dialects used among the masses. With mass education, language textbooks and primary readers used in schools began to increasingly reflect a uniform version of content and language that neatly swept all differences and dissonances under the carpet. The ‘modern’ Bengali suited the growing new Bengali gentry, the bodolok who were eager to distance themselves from the vulgar lower classes, the chotolok.13 No wonder then that the textbooks developed in nineteenthcentury colonial Bengal reflected the responsiveness of the Bengali bhadrolok that closely emulated the English values and sensibilities.14 126

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English in taste and Christian in sensibilities – first English textbooks in Bengal Much before Macaulay was to announce in his Minute of 1835 his famous diktat of creating ‘a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes…’, there was a Christian core to imperial education that had permeated teaching practices and societal relationships. From the very beginning of educational institutions established by the British in India the purpose of educational institutions like FWC and Serampore College was to bring a permanent change in the ‘heathens’ by a systematic propagation of Christianity amongst them.15 The leading public schools run by David Hare, Robert May, and Alexander Duff were self-consciously Christian foundations. It was but natural that in predominantly Protestant Christian schools, conduct and ethics dominated and was consistently reinforced in these institutions. So, alongside debates on the need for English education involving support and opposition, there was already a network of institutions and individuals, both British and Indian, who were developing textbooks for the purpose of teaching English in India. Early in 1816 some of the affluent and influential Bengali gentry expressed a strong desire for the education of their children in the English language and European science and literature. With the support of contributions raised by them the Hindu College was established in 1817. The Hindu College was ‘not meant for the common folk’ (Basak 1974: 352). Its curriculum was suited to meet the requirements of the urban elite section of the Bengali society. In fact, the Hindu College became the model for many other schools. The Serampore missionaries taking advantage of this wish for ‘improvement’ amongst native learners, propounded their scheme for native education. Joshua Marshman accordingly drew up Hints relative to native schools, a little pamphlet, which was to suggest that the kinds of knowledge proper for the native of India was ‘the introduction of useful knowledge, and of religious and moral improvement’ (Marshman 1816: 5). Marshman stressed the importance of imparting education to the ‘common people’ in their own language. English was unfit, he felt, for those who had an ‘ordinary calling in life’ (11). He suggested a correct system of Orthography, a selection of grammatical rules of the Bengali language, a vocabulary of three or four thousand words in general use, a simplified system of arithmetic, and elementary works on natural philosophy, geography, history, solar system, mineralogy and chemistry. A knowledge of these truths, for the Hindus, was seen to be conducive to rectify their erroneous ideas of objects around them. A Geography of Europe was particularly recommended for the native students, ‘because of its importance in the present state of the world’ with an emphasis on the pre-eminence of Britain among nations which ‘the God of providence had given her’ (14). He proposed a compendium of History that would feature the primitive state of man, the entry of evil, the flood, the gradual revelation of the Scriptures, the advent of the

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Saviour of Man, the invention of printing and gunpowder, the compass, and various discoveries of modern science. Lastly, a treatise on ethics and morality was seen as essential for the improvement of the natives, the complete absence of which was regarded to be the sole reason for the degradation of the country. Marshman’s son, John Clark Marshman designed ‘copybooks’ as learning materials to be used in schools in Bengal. As printed textbooks were limited, learning materials were copied and monitors dictated the lessons from these copybooks for other students in the class to write down and memorise. These copybooks performed an important function, as M.A. Laird pointed out, in providing ‘an effective grounding in the basic skills of reading, writing and arithmetic, together with an introduction to ethical values and modern knowledge’, thus providing a cost effective and convenient way to impart Christian ethics and useful knowledge among the young students in Bengal (Laird 1972: 78). The senior Marshman’s suggestions were thus a utilitarian system of education for the common masses that sought to breed Christian values in a country that he obviously considered lacking in morals. While the native children were to be equipped with ‘the grand principles of piety, justice and humanity’, which would ‘leaven their minds from their earliest youth’, a knowledge of the Holy Scriptures was deemed almost indispensable as the most efficient method to be adopted in schools. The ‘heathen youth’ was to be introduced to ‘that great mass of divine truth, interwoven in history, narrative, ecclesiastical polity, prophecy, doctrine and precept’. At the same time it was apprehended that what was inherently natural for a European to relate may be difficult for the natives to comprehend. Hence it was suggested that even religious teachings ought to be ‘laid down in a way no less clear and definite than those which relate to the solar system, natural  philosophy, geography and history’ (Marshman 1859: II, 123–24). Marshman’s Hints is important to understand the type of textbooks that were to be recommended for the colony. The study materials, which emphasised ‘useful knowledge’ and ‘moral improvement,’ for the lower orders in Britain were considered suitable for the natives in the colonies too. A study of History and Geography were not just to impart factual knowledge. It was interwoven with scriptural teachings, and found ways to promote cultural imperialism along with the greatness of Britain. The ways in which rhetoric and pedagogy colluded was consistent with the Gramscian strategy of dominance by consent. Where an explicit religious preaching would have failed, an apparently benevolent, democratic and inclusionary education succeeded. The first textbooks in English for Bengal were learning materials that were imported from Britain. The books were the same ones as used by students in Britain. In a way it appeared that the colonial authorities were giving their subjects an education, which was at par with that of their ‘own’ education. Indeed, the materials in the texts, the inclusion of ‘high’ literature, science and geography, were seen as worthy elements of scholarship, 128

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essential for the advancement of their subjects. But what the colonial subjects received with that education was an ‘ideological indoctrination’ that distorted their perception of reality and of their own understanding of themselves (Ferguson 2006; Joseph 2012). The books sent to the colonies were the ones, which were meant for the working class students in Britain who required moral and intellectual ‘advancement’. Some of the books approved by the BFSS for its colonies were Chamber’s Education Course, Jenkin’s Primer, Murray’s English Reading, Blair’s Class Book, Carpenter’s Spelling Book, M‘Culloch’s Reader and A Course of Reading, Mrs. Trimmer’s Scripture Lessons, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Goldsmith’s History of England (Report, BFSS, 1847: 235). These texts were specifically for charity schools in Britain and recommended by the BFSS for its colonies. These were not meant for second language learners, nor did they have any contextual relevance for the Indian students. In 1836 the General Committee of Public Instruction in Bengal obtained a large number of books from England for the preparatory schools in the Hoogly district. The selection of books bears evidence of Macaulay’s hand, for it contained a large number of his favourite books. In his characteristically dismissive way he was of the opinion that Grammars of rhetoric and grammars of logic are among the most useless furniture of a shelf. Give a boy Robinson Crusoe. That is worth all the grammars of rhetoric and logic in the world. We ought to procure such books as are likely to give the children a taste for the literature of the West; not books filled with idle distractions and definitions, which every man who has learned them makes haste to forget. (Woodrow 1862, Macaulay’s Minutes, 6 May 1835) The Report for 1837 provided two lists, one of class books and the other of library books, The class books included Prose and Poetical Readers, Murray’s and Lennie’s Grammars. Goldsmith’s Histories, Walker’s Dictionary, and Chamier’s Arithmetic. Among the library books were Robertson’s Charles V and America, Hume and Smollett’s History of England, Milton, The Spectator, Gulliver’s Travels, Robinson Crusoe, Sandford and Merton, Gil Blas, Don Quixote, The Vicar of Wakefield, Richardson and Smollett’s Novels, Plutarch’s Lives, Gibbon’s Rome, some of the Waverley Novels, and many of the English poets and dramatists (Zachariah 1936: 27–28). Lindley Murray’s books were seminal prescribed books for the British colonies. An American who later moved to England and became successful as a grammarian, Murray wrote the English Grammar in 1795 on a request from a girls’ school in York. His language and grammar books were recommended as the standard book in Britain and her colonies, and were adopted in every college and seminary for a very long time. Murray’s works, which 129

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comprised the First Book for Children (1805), An English Spelling-Book (1804), English Grammar (1795), The English Reader (1799), and The Power of Religion on the Mind (1787) were a series of textbooks that were considered essential for elementary instruction. These books, as one reviewer put it, were considered eminently suitable to conduct young persons ‘to pure religion and morality, and to the acquisition of a correct and elegant style’ (Murray 1809: n.p). Murray’s An English Spelling-Book in three parts was calculated to advance the learners by natural and easy gradations, and to teach orthography and pronunciation. Besides Murray’s Grammar, English grammar teaching in Bengal was dominated for a long time by George Campbell’s Philosophy of Rhetoric (1776) and Hugh Blair’s Lectures on Rhetoric and Sermons (1777). George Campbell (1719–96) was a Scottish minister and professor of rhetoric and divinity. He made a name for himself as a Scripture critic and philosopher. Hugh Blair (1718–1800) too was a Scottish minister educated for the Church. His Sermons in five volumes were received with enthusiastic admiration over the whole of Britain and were commended for their eloquent maxims on Christian morals. Rev. David Blair’s The Class Book (1808) consisting of three hundred and sixty five reading lessons for school children were compiled with the purpose of imparting ‘facts and principles of knowledge and science’ for public instruction in ‘Common Schools’. With an obvious dig at Murray’s ‘exercises in elocution’ and ‘elegant compositions’, Blair rejected the ‘gilding’ in favour of ‘gold’, emphasising the need for imparting useful knowledge to the common masses (Blair 1811: Preface, n.p.). Murray’s The English Reader (1799), a textbook used widely in Britain and America, formed the basis of many other textbooks written in Bengal. It was a graded reader calculated to teach young learners to ‘read with propriety’, with narrative pieces that were designed to impart useful information along with didactic teaching. The usual pieces on Ants and Bees and on Industry, Piety, and Charity were followed by ‘On the excellence of the Bible’, and on ‘The Christian Race’ in which ‘A heavenly race’ is exhorted to be zealous for ‘an immortal crown’ (Murray 1831: 154). Another popular textbook was Rev. David Blair’s The Class Book (1808) having lessons on seasons and natural phenomenon, natural history, solar system, principles of religion, industry and piety. These lessons were frequently interspersed with biographies of kings and queens in British history, eulogising the heroism and greatness of King Alfred, the Henry’s and Edward’s and Richard’s, and Mary and Elizabeth. ‘Sketches of London’ and on ‘Rivers in England’ and ‘the natural curiosities of England’ kept the focus of the book on Britain. To be fair to the author, the cities, rivers, mountains and the flora and fauna of other places on Earth are mentioned but it is conclusively stated that ‘to whatever quarter of the globe we turn, we shall find new reasons to be satisfied with that in which we ourselves reside’. While purporting to state the facts, such Readers invariably contrasted a ‘constant’, 130

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‘gentle’, ‘manageable’, ‘transparent’ England with the ‘terrible magnificence’ of the ‘less navigable’, regions of the ‘torrid zone’ (Blair 1811: 205). Innocuous lessons like ‘Principle varieties of Human Race’ posing to give a balanced perspective on the ‘diversities’ of mankind, perpetuated racial stereotypes of the ‘diminutive, ill-shaped’ brown and black inhabitants of the tropics whose ‘aspects are as forbidding as their manners are barbarous’, and where ‘feminine beauty is almost unknown’ (225). In contrast, England is indubitably superior, its people are ‘the first and most powerful people in the world’, its substantial commercial produce was ‘unrivalled’, its fleets ruled all the seas, and its trade and commerce was the greatest in the world (219–20). Western intellectual ideas and prevalent works of Hume’s History of England, Gibbon’s Roman Empire, Mill’s History of India, and Elphinstone’s India were included in the curriculum of Hindu College, and formed the basis of understanding the history of the world and the position of the British Empire (Mukherjee 2009: 318). Some of the books recommended by the BFSS to teach Geography were Fairbairn’s Geographical Text Book, Wilson’s Catechism of Geography, and Sullivan’s Geography (Report, BFSS, 1847: 236). The GRPI of 1846–47 reports that the 1st, 2nd and 3rd classes of the Junior Department of Hindu College were taught Azimghur Reader, Lennie’s Grammar, and Stewart’s Geography (GRPI 1847: 21). Books written in India and adapted to local use in schools were a work on Arithmetic by Mr. Newmarch, late Principal of the Lucknow Martiniere, and Rev. Krishna Mohun Banerjea’s Encyclopaedia Bengalensis (Ibid. 10).

European-Indian collaboration and school book societies Lack of suitable schoolbooks, especially for vernacular schools, was a matter of anxiety amongst the educators. Bengali schools lacked standard books. Sanskrit heavily influenced the textbooks written by the Pundits of the Fort William College at Calcutta, with archaic words and phrases that were far removed from the daily spoken languages of the masses. The cultural and intellectual need was to replace the laboured prose of Ram Ram Basu and Mrityunjay Vidyalankar with a more simplified standard vernacular prose style. The highly Sanskritised Bengali was simplified to a large extent by Jaygopal Tarkalankar (1775–1846), a well-known Sanskrit scholar who was Henry Colebrook’s personal Bengali and Sanskrit tutor. He was also closely associated with the Serampore missionaries, William Carey and John Clark Marshman, helping in the publication of the Bengali weekly Samachar Darpan. It was under Carey’s influence that he composed Shikshasar, a book for the education of children. The second edition was printed in Serampore in 1818. He was appointed a professor of Vernacular Literature when the Sanskrit College was established in 1824. Jaygopal Tarkalankar’s contribution was to rid the Bengali language of Persian and Arabic words that had infiltrated the Bengali language and were seen 131

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to have defiled the purity of Bengali. His Paraseek Avidhan (Persian and Bengali Vocabulary) written in 1838 contained about 2500 Persian and Arabic words for which suitable Bengali words were provided. In the Preface written in English he stated: …much of the elegance of this tongue [Bengalee language] has been lost…yet I have collected together words with great labour, and have now published this Persian Vocabulary, with the intention of substituting elegant Bengalee words, in lieu of the Persian terms, which have been in use. The wise will thus be able to see how many foreign words have got themselves into the Bengalee language, and have made themselves manifest. They will be able now, without any reference to this foreign language, to enjoy the pleasure of reading and writing only in their own language. (Tarkalankar, Jaygopal 1838: 1; original in English) A meeting composed of some of the principal European and Native patrons of learning was held to endeavour to ‘diffuse useful knowledge’ throughout the country ‘which should tend to improve the moral condition of the many millions’ of Indians (The Second Report, CSBS 1819: 5). As a result the Calcutta School Book Society (CSBS) was set up in 1817 under the patronage of Lord Hastings with the expressive objective of ‘the preparation, publication and cheap or gratuitous supply, of works useful in Schools and Seminaries of learning’ (Ibid xi). This was the first time that textbooks were being institutionalised to provide standard books to both regular schools (those under European management) and indigenous schools in Bengal (Ibid. 10). The Society in a conscious bid to include natives constituted a managing committee comprising of a President, four Vice-Presidents, and 20 members, ten of whom were Indians. Other similar institutions established on this model of European-Indian collaborations were The Calcutta School Society (CSS) established on 1st September, 1818, The Dacca School Society established on 11th November 1818, and The Moorshidabad School Society established on 16th June 1819 (The First Report CSBS 1818: 20–29). The design of these Societies was not to furnish religious books, but moral tracts meant for ‘improving the character’ were very much an objective. Suitable books of instruction for the use of Native schools were prepared in several languages (English as well as vernacular). The curriculum and textbooks proposed by these Societies included ‘Grammars, Selections for Reading, Books of Arithmetic, History, Geography, Chronology should all be successively prepared in the Bengalee language and published’ (The Fourth Report CSBS). Under Rev. James Long’s supervision the first collaborative language primer was Lipidhara (1816), with its second edition Barnomala compiled by Captain James Stewart in 1818 (Long 1855: 45; Bandyopadhyay (2010: 15). Rev. May came up with a bi-lingual comprehensive book on mathematical rules, Gonito, being a collection of 132

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Arithmetical Tables (3rd ed., 1821). Published by the CSBS, this contained detailed rules to calculate weights, distance, time, and measurements for land, cloth, liquid, with examples of practical applications to business.16 Some of the books that were printed by the Bengali Department and the English Department of the CSBS in the first two years were: Author

Book

No. of Copies

Stewart J. D. Pearson Radhacanta Deb Robert May John Harle Tarinee Churun Mitra, Radhacanta Deb, Ram Comol Sen May, Harle, Pearson Tarachund Dutt, Captain Stewart Goldsmith

Stewart’s Tables Introductory Bengalee Tables Bengalee Spelling Book Arithmetic Tables Arithmetic Fables (transl. in Bengali)

1000 2000 2000 500 1000 4000

Neeti Cotha Monoronjan Etihas, or Pleasing Tales History of England (transl. in Bengali by Felix Carey) Transl in Bengali Ferguson’s Astronomy Goladhyay (compendium of Geography) Obhidhan (Bengalee Vocabulary) Natural History of the Lion Exemplars for Bengalee Writing Murray’s Spelling-book D’Anselme’s Spelling-book (with trnsl. in Bengali) D’Anselme’s Exercises in English Joyce’s Dialogues on Mechanics and Astronomy Alphabetum Geometricum Bengalee and English Dictionary Dictionary

4000 2000

Birjoomohan Mojoomdar Serampore Missionaries Ramchondro Sormo Rev. Lawson Calee Kumar Ray Murray D’Anselme D’Anselme Joyce W. Johns Ramcomol Sen J. W. Taylor, Tarinee Churn Mitr Pearson

500 N.M. 500 200 N.M. More than 500 N.M. 500 2000 200 N.M. N.M.

English Grammar in the Bengalee language

Based on The Second Report, CSBS 1819: 2–11; 19–23.

By 1821 the Society had put in circulation 126,446 copies of various useful works in different languages (The Fourth Report, CSBS 1821: Appendix 36–38). In July 1830 the CSBS obtained permission to reprint books 133

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published by the London Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (The Ninth Report, CSBS 1832: 13). In 1857 the Society anticipating fresh demands after the country became tranquil after the Sepoy rebellion, reprinted 100,500 more books, which made a total of 117,500 books to have passed through the press in that year (The Twentieth Report, CSBS 1858: 4). The CSBS with the assistance of the Hindu College prepared Bengali translations of well-known English literary and scientific works ‘with the pure and single view of being useful to their countrymen’.17 Rammohun Roy’s Gaudiya Vyakaran, a grammar of the Bengali language was published by the Society in 1833 (Roy 1833). It was based on an earlier text that Rammohun had written in English, Bengali Grammar in the English Language (1826). The School Book Societies also encouraged English primers written by Bengalis. It was increasingly felt that the English textbooks and spelling books that were used for instructing native boys were unsuitable in content. Peary Churn Sircar (1823–75) who was the Headmaster of Barasat School wrote The First Book of Reading for Native Children in 1850 for the students of his school, which was published by the School Book Press. The book was so popular as education material that Peary Churn’s friend and colleague, Prasanna Kumar Gupta recommended it as a textbook for the Colutallah Branch School. The continuing series of Reading Books, from two to six, came out between 1851 and 1870: The later books were brought out by Thacker and Spink. In 1875 the rights of the books were procured by Macmillan: Peary Churn was introduced to Sir Roper Lethbridge by Ramtanu Lahiri and subsequently their literary partnership resulted in the English Readers for young Bengali boys (Lethbridge 1907: xiv). The new volumes contained local contexts and illustrations, a feature that Tagore was to make extensive use of in his primer Sahaj Path.18 Most of the books written in Bengali showed definite traces of having been influenced by their English counterparts used in British schools. A new style of writing and composition emerged which was marked by organising topics under headings, dividing into paragraphs, structuring and sequencing. The earlier elaborate Sankritised style of long periodical sentences and phrases gave way to a tighter, more concise and readable style. As a direct influence of textbooks of English composition and technical writings, indigenous texts began to exemplify a conscious parallelism, especially in the use of full stops to mark the end of a sentence and page design formations. The majority of the books published by Schoolbook Societies focused on language and grammar, and arithmetic and geography. This gave the Societies the credibility of engaging with ‘modern’ and ‘useful’ subjects of study for the natives. Calculation of weights, measurements, distances, and even geographical and historical information were borrowed from European pedagogy and refashioned within an imperial context. The Indian, or to be more specific, the Hindu system of geography, chronology and history was considered ‘monstrous and absurd’ (Captain Wilford, quoted in Gupta 2014: 62). The efforts of the CSBS in promoting the vernacular education are not 134

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to be construed as the spread of mass education. These books and the curriculum were particularly suited for the elite urban classes who were desirous of modern education (Acharya 1986: 747).

The Bengali’s first primers and language books The point of contention was not just the medium of instruction to the working class, but also the level and content of education required by them. While useful knowledge and moral improvement were deemed fit for them, a content that was overly ambitious, it was felt, would only make them discontented with their place in society and instill vain aspirations in them. Radhakant Deb, a member and patron of the CSBS warned of ‘insensible introduction of a system whereby, with a smattering knowledge of English, youths are weaned from the plow, the ax, the loom, to render them ambitious only for the clerkship’ (Adam 1868: 21–2). The Bengali bhadrolok took it upon themselves to supply a suitable range of materials for instructing the students of indigenous pathsalas. Among the first Bengali intellectuals to make a contribution to elementary education was Radhakant Deb, an active member of CSBS and director of the Hindu College. Radhakant Deb (1784–1867) was a typical example of an orthodox Hindu Bengali who accepted western education on the one hand, and who also fanatically defended the existing social and religious status quo. He was opposed to social reforms and at the same time a loyal supporter of the British Government. He was a reputed Sanskrit scholar and also well accomplished in Persian, Arabic and English.19 He produced a Sanskrit encyclopedic dictionary Sabda Kalpadruma in eight volumes between 1822 and 1858.20 His Bangla Shikshagrantha (1820) an elementary Bengali textbook published by the CSBS, was praised by Rev. James Long as ‘one of the best spelling books ever published’ (Long 1855: 45). The early Bengali primers on alphabet, vocabulary, spelling, and sentence construction were understandably modelled on the English textbooks. Radhakant’s textbook began with the Bengali barnamala (alphabet), letters, and spellings to more complex formations of words and sentences. Reading Lessons used rhyming words like ‘ghare jao; khela koro; boi podo’, ‘bayu bahe; agni jale’ (Deb 1827: 24–5) were followed with directives to obey elders and respect parents. The importance of education was emphasised with moral instructions to be good to all (27). Modelled closely upon the advisory lessons in the British charity schools, such Bengali primers also highlighted learning to be a formative character influence in the early stages of life. An educated person was upheld as the richest, knowledge was considered superior to wealth, and a wise man was far worthier than foolish friends (48–9). Moral tales followed this from the Panchatantra and lessons on ‘A Student’s Duty’ (70). ‘Vidya’ (learning), ‘parishram’ (hard work) and ‘punya’ (virtue) were the three pillars on which the whole edifice of ‘improvement’ rested. In a Gramscian sense then, the war of positions was not over 135

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‘English’ education as such, but over the issue of ‘education’. The educated by virtue of their education were virtuous. For the late Victorian Englishmen, and later the Indian bhadrolok, there was only one valid way, only one path of progress, and one method of ‘civilisation’, and that was education. The educated and the non-educated signified the Manichean binaries of cultured and uncultured, and virtuous and non-virtuous, which validated the power of the former over the latter. The outcome of this was a silencing of those who did not have the power to participate in the linguistic discourse. The irony of education was that it gave power to the very section on whose silence the power hierarchies depended. Like their colonial prototypes, Bengali textbooks transmitted acceptable and reassuring explanations of backwardness and moral laxness of the lower classes, and attempted to ‘improve’ them. The CSBS published Barnomala Part I and II in 1830–31, based on English primers of the time. Part I of the 1853 edition introduced the Bengali alphabet (consonants and vowels), followed with compound words, and word making. The second part (1854 edition) began with a series of advices and warnings, to ‘Fear God’, ‘nothing is hidden from God’, not to be lazy, jealous, selfish, cunning or unkind, to help others, to keep good company, and to obey parents. Each of the ‘commandments’ is a translated paraphrase of scriptural teachings: We should respect and fear God; Nothing is hidden from God; Causing harm to small creatures pains God; There is no bigger enemy than pride; Knowledge is the greatest wealth; Give up bad habits (Barnomala 1854: II, 3–5). These ‘lessons’ were obviously addressed to those who were supposedly lacking in these habits and qualities. The reading lessons that followed were exemplary stories of friendship, loyalty, honesty and gratitude. The stories based in Sicily, Rome England, and on characters like Lady Jane Greg and adventures of Horace, was the result of a direct translation of the English sources into Bengali. It appears that the CSBS Bengali primer was not considered suitable by the authorities of the Hindu College for their students (Basak 1974: 188; Acharya 1986: 745). A ‘native’ version of Barnomala Part I, II, and III appeared in 1839 compiled by Kshetromohan Dutta, the superintendent of Hindu College Pathsala, ‘for use in Bengali schools based on the advise of teachers of Hindu College’ (Dutta 1850, 1853, 1854: Cover). Titled Shishusebadhi Barnomala,21 Kshetromohan’s books were noticeably more ‘indigenised’. The reading lessons that followed the usual moral advices were linguistically and contextually familiar for the Bengali students. Instead of a direct transliteration of English sources, Kshetromohan’s reading lessons used epigrams with a distinct essence of advices from Sanskrit sayings. For example, A learned man (gyani) has many qualities. Even a hundred fools are not equal to one wise man. Knowledge (gyan) can never be stolen or spoilt, can never be lessened by giving away, and can be carried far and wide. 136

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A man who is learned in warfare and books (ashtra and shashtra) is the most respected. A land which does not have both the rich (dhani) and the learned (gyani) can never be happy. (Dutta 1853: II, 16–17; translation mine) A wise man like fruit-laden trees is always humble A fool is like dry wood that’s hard and inflexible. (Dutta 1850: III, 19; translation mine) The CSBS in turn did not regard Kshetromohan’s Barnomala to be any better than their publication. According to Yates, the secretary of the Society, ‘The Spelling Books (Burnomalla) contain very little but what has been published before…’ (Quoted in Acharya 1986: 745). Other scholars like Tarkabagish and Vidyabagish were independently producing works in Bengali. Tarkabagish’s Shishubodhak (date n.k) costing just one anna was a remarkable instance of how cheaply Bengali books could be printed, and was so popular as to be regarded as the Lindley Murray of Bengal (Long 1867). It was a modern compilation in print containing Subhankar, Chanakya and Guru Dakshina. The arithmetical rules of Subhankar were employed in many Bengali schools, the Sanskrit verses of Chanakya contained the praises of learning the precepts of morality, and Guru Dakshina was a doggerel composition sung by the elder boys of a school while collecting alms from house to house (Adam 1838: 23).22 A Sanskrit scholar and lexicographer, Ramchandra Vidyabagish (1786–1845) published Shishusebadhi and Barnomala in 1840. Earlier in 1817 he had produced Bangabhashabidhan, the first monolingual Bengali dictionary. There was a deliberate attempt to indigenise Shishusebadhi (1839) and not blindly follow the English models. Based on the position of the sun, calculation of time, days, dates and seasons according to the Hindu almanac were taught. A ‘Jatimala’ listed the surnames based on Hindu castes and professions like Tanti, Tili, Mali, Napit, Karmakar, Kaibarta, Muchi, Dhopa, and so on.23 Titles based on scholarship of Brahmins like vidyalankar, vidyabagish, vidyasagar, shiromani, nyabagish, bhattacharya, were followed by titles based on property (Vidyabagish 1839: II, 32).24 Ramchandra Vidyabagish was closely associated with Rammohan Roy and the Brahmo Samaj. He taught at the Vedanta College established by Roy, and later at the Sanskrit College in Calcutta. Ramchandra had wanted to use the Brahmo Samaj platform for the dissemination of Vedantic Hinduism, but Rammohan had not felt the need beyond uniting all under a formless monotheistic worship. After Rammohan Roy died in England, the Brahmo Samaj was on the verge of closing down, as conservative Hindus saw it as a threat to their religion. Ramchandra in close association with Debendranath Tagore25 in their secret meetings of the Tattvabod­h ini Sabha continued to discuss the Vedas and denounce idol worship.26 137

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In the face of missionary presence in Bengal, the Sabha’s main aim was to present a ‘rational’ form of Hinduism.

The beginning of a new era of bengali prose and selfhood Not only were the Bengali intellectuals trying to give the Bengali language a position of respect, they were in that crucial period of transition, seeking a new socio-cultural identity for themselves. This expression of linguistic interdependence was what Homi Bhabha called the ‘Third Space’, an ambivalent space, that in-between space which made all cross-cultural exchanges and assimilations so meaningful and important (Bhabha 1994: 38). With the establishment of the Tattvabodhini Sabha in 1839, Bengali prose and Bengali identity were to enter a more confident phase. When Christian missionaries were openly involved in proselytisation, and some bright Bengali young men were converting to Christianity,27 Debendranath opened the Tattvabodhini Pathsala in 1841 so that Hindu students would be aware of their own culture. A newspaper from Calcutta informed: We have been given to understand that a new School, having for its object the education of the rising youths in the vernacular languages of the country, is about to be established in Calcutta, under the auspices of some enlightened native Baboos … It is said that new books suited to the capacities of youth, are now in course of preparation in the vernacular languages… (Bandhopadhyay 1957: XII, 13–14; original in English) Akshay Kumar Dutta (1820–86) who was the assistant secretary of the Tattwabodhini Sabha gave a fiery public speech to justify the need for a pathsala to disseminate knowledge through the vernacular: … We are being ruled by foreigners, being educated in a foreign language, being oppressed by others, and we fear that given the rapidity with which Christianity is expanding in our country, it may soon become our national religion. Thus it is imperative that we impart education in our language and propagate our own religion… It breaks my heart that we might very soon lose our identity as Hindus … To avert such a disaster, and to undertake scientific and religious instructions in the Bengali language, the Tattwabodhini Sabha has established this pathsala … (Bandhopadhyay 1957: XII, 16–17; translation mine) The monthly journal of the Sabha, Tattwabodhini Patrika begun by Debendranath Tagore in 1843, with Akshay Kumar Dutta as its editor, became the forum for distinguished intellectuals like Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Rajnarayan Basu and Rajendra Lal Mitra to put forward 138

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polemical debates on religion, social reforms, and ethical aspects of Bengali society.28 While orthodox Hindu principles and practices were being rejected and Derozio and his band of young scholars were inspiring the Bengalis to think for themselves, Akshay Kumar was encouraging a scientific approach and rational explanation in the writings that were published by the Tattwabodhini Patrika. Well-versed in English literature (his initial study had been in a missionary school) and his exposure to Sanskrit and Hindu philosophy during his schooling at the Oriental Seminary, Dutta made a critical contribution to vernacular language and literature.29 His textbook for elementary readings in science and literature, titled Charupath, Part I, II and III came out in 1853, 1854, and 1859 respectively. The advertisement on the first page acknowledged that it was a compilation of several sources from books in English, and some new compositions have been added. The paucity of good selections available in the Bengali language is the stated reason why Charupath was produced for the education and instruction of children (Dutta 1876: I, 1–2). The 31st edition of Charupath, Pratham Bhag (Part I) by 1876 indicate the popularity and demand for this textbook in vernacular schools.30 Akshay Kumar uses sources from English books to emphasise the importance of education, hard work, good behaviour, and proper hygiene. The lessons in Part II are the translated versions of English Readers with examples from foreign places and based on foreign characters. Topics range from the Solar System, Aurora Borealis, Polar regions to the Printing Press, Balloon Travel, Mariner’s Compass, Airplanes, plants and wild life (Dutta 1921: II). The purpose is clearly to introduce the Bengali students to the wider world, to provide useful knowledge on the natural world, and acquaint them with scientific developments in the world. There is evidently an admiration for the knowledge and industrial development of the Europeans: See how the English and the European civilised states have improved their conditions. They have built steam engines and machines and are trading with countries in the world. They are travelling the world with the help of their steamers and balloons, they have built wide roads and bridges over rivers. All these have been possible due to knowledge. (Dutta 1876: I, 1–2; translation mine) At the same time the book urges the readers to make ‘efforts for the development of our country’: A country improves only if its people make an effort to be educated, hard-working and religious… If the country does not have good schools and books to teach, it cannot impart quality education. The common people will then be the victims of superstitions, and all those who are wise and morally good will also be corrupted 139

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by associating with the vulgar fools…So it is our responsibility to spread knowledge, wisdom and good morals. (Ibid. 55–56; translation mine) Ahshay Kumar Dutta spread a new awareness among Bengali writers and readers. He showed how language could be used as a means for advocating changes in the society to fashion a new self-consciousness among the young learners. Akshay Kumar and his contemporaries Madun Mohun Turkalunkar and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar were the first ‘to envisage texts that would build the character of the new generation without sacrificing literary sensitivity. Virtually the entire makeup of the late nineteenthcentury Bengali society was structured through these text books’ (Majumdar in Chaudhari 1990: I, 112–13). Madun Mohun Turkalunkar31 (1817–58) and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar received their education at the same time from the Sanskrit College. In his life, Madun Mohun Serma who was bestowed with the honorific ‘Turkalunkar’ as a recognition of his scholarship, taught at various institutions, at the Hindu College, Barasat Government Vidyalay, the Fort William College, Krishnanagar College, the Calcutta Sanskrit College, and was a judge and deputy magistrate at Murshidabad. Along with Vidyasagar, Madun Mohun established an independent publishing house, the Sanskrit Press and Depository in 1847 that signalled the beginning of the modern era of Bengali publishing. Some important Bengali works were printed here, the first being Bharatchandra Ray’s Anandamangal (Bandopadhyay 1957: XIII, 23-25). Madun Mohun was an ardent supporter of education for girls, and he not only admitted his two daughters to the Hindu school for girls established by Drinkwater Bethune, but also taught there without any remuneration. Before this school, popularly known as the Bethune School, was established, upper class Hindu families were hesitant to send their daughters to public schools. Madun Mohun’s assistance in launching this school was recorded by Bethune in his letter to the Governor-General, Lord Dalhousie dated 29 March 1850: …I desire specially to record my gratitude… [to] Pundit Madun Mohun Turkalunkar, one of the pundits of Sanskrit College, who not only sent his two daughters to the school, but has continued to attend it daily, to give gratuitous instruction to the children in Bengali, and has employed his leisure time in the compilation of series of elementary Bengali Books expressly for their use. (Ibid. 29; original in English) The elementary Bengali textbooks Shishu-Shiksha (in three parts) by Madun Mohun were written for the students of the Bethune girls school, but these went on to become the exemplary yardstick by which all past and future Bengali primers were assessed [Figure 4.2]. Shishu-Shiksha was written in 140

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Figure 4.2  Wooden Block Face from Madun Mohun Turkalunkar’s Shishu-Shiksha (1849). Courtesy Cyber Archive of Bangla Graphemes by Sunanda Mukhopadhyay, Project sponsored by the Asiatic Society, September, 2006- September, 2008.

1849, and by 1855 Part I had gone through ten editions, Part II and III had seen five editions each (Long 1855: 48).32 The English version of the front cover titled The Infant Teacher, compiled for the use of Female Schools in Bengal has a dedication dated 6 September 1850 addressed to the Honorable J. E. D Bethune in which he writes: The want of elementary works in the Vernacular language for the use of children in Bengal has long been felt. The series of which the following pages are the first part, is intended to supply that want, with especial reference to female education… your position as the head of the Educational Department…that aims at the intellectual and moral improvement of the country, or whether I reflect on the deep interest which you have invariably delighted to manifest in the well-being of my countrymen, and especially in the emancipation of the females of Bengal from the most galling and degrading of all yokes…In the hope that the series, of which this little book is the first number, and on which, although they are mere primers 141

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in the language, I have had occasion to bestow some labour and a good portion of my time, will prove acceptable to you, and useful to those for whose benefit they have been compiled. I am, Hon’ble Sir, Your most obedient Servant, Madun Mohun Serma Calcutta, 6 September 1850 (Turkalunkar 1850: I, 1–2; original in English) Madun Mohun no doubt followed the English primers by familiarising students with letters of the Bengali alphabet and simple words in Part I, but made it more appealing for Bengali learners by weaving in rhyming words. nara gan; ghana bon; bada bhoye; paan khaye gaan gaye; daan chaye maan jaye (I, 6) His poetic flair gets manifested in short couplets, which are popular even today: Lekha poda kore je Gari-ghora chade se [One who studies leads a rich life] (I, 27; translation mine) He gave a poetic outlook to even mundane activities: Pakhi sab kore rab… [The Birds twitter…] Rakhal gorur pal loye jaye mathe… [The cowherd drives the cows to the field] (I. 28; translation mine) Part II introduced students to polysyllables and compound letters (sangjukta varna). Sympathetic to the fact that ‘young children are averse to learning long words’ the author takes care to append examples and morals (II, Preface, n.p.): Katu bakya nahi kobe [Never say harsh words] Kukaje akhyati hoye [Bad work brings a bad name] Aarogya sukher mool [Good health is the basis of happiness] Bidya dhan ache jar, sakali susadhya tar [One who has the wealth of knowledge can achieve anything] (II, 1; translation mine) Part III, as the last part of the graded reader, had lessons that imparted moral and useful teachings. It began with ‘Sushil o subodh balak sarbada lekha-poda kore’ [A good and well-behaved boy always attends to his 142

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studies] (III, 1). Almost all the lessons gave examples of good boys and bad boys, addressed to Rakhal or Gopal urging them to be kind, good, well behaved, and so on. Rakhal and Gopal, the two characters representing the binaries of good and bad, which would be immortalised thanks to Vidyasagar’s primers, were still not rigidly compartmentalised as good-bad in Madun Mohun’s Shishu-Shiksha. Based loosely on the dialectics of Tommy-Harry of Daniel Fenning’s and Thomas Day’s popular English textbooks,33 Rakhal in Madun Mohun’s Bengali textbook, as the name implies, is a cowherd. ‘Naughty’ Rakhal took his cows for grazing and fooled people by calling out ‘Tiger, Tiger’, till one day a tiger came and killed Rakhal ‘the liar’ (III, 10). Interestingly he meets the same fate as Harry in Fenning’s textbook in which Harry is devoured by a wild beast. Gopal, on the other hand, had been instilled with the ‘right’ virtues by his mother, goes to school, and hence does not lie or steal. It cannot be overlooked that the character formation of Gopal-Rakhal in Madun Mohun’s text with its deep implications of class and social background, was typically reinforcing the importance of education over manual labour. Though the textbooks were meant for female students, there was very little in the books to indicate a female readership. There were rare exhortations like: ‘Stri loker bidyasiksha kora abashayak’ [It is necessary for women to receive education] (II, 12; translation mine). It is noteworthy that the first edition of Part III of Shishu-Shiksha (1850) included a lesson on ‘Good boys and girls are loved by all’ that insisted that Rakhal ought to learn from the examples of ‘Shyama and Bama of the Ghosal family’: Both sisters are beautiful as well as talented. They are well groomed, never speak rudely to anyone, never fight, and always share their things. See Rakhal! How happy they are! Their parents are so happy! (III, 5; translation mine) By the 15th edition (1860), the girls, Shyama and Bama had been replaced by Ram and Shyam, and Ram and Shyam continued to dominate the lessons till as late as the 129th edition in 1900. The lesson heading was now simply on ‘Good boys are loved by all’ (Bandyopadhyay 2010: 52–3). The only mention of girls in Madun Mohun’s book written specifically for the education of girls had been sadly obliterated.

Unifying Western and indigenous moral pedagogy That there was a direct influence of Evangelicalism and Puritanism on Bengali writers cannot be denied. The colonial expressions of bourgeoise ideology were to a large extent impacted by the moral lesson books arriving from Britain and being recommended for schools in Bengal. Several British academics wrote lesson books for schools in Bengal, the most prominent being Sir Roper Lethbridge (1840–1919). He was appointed a Professor in 143

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the Bengal Educational Department in 1868 and was the editor of the Calcutta Quarterly Review from 1871 to 78. As the officiating Principal of Krishnanagar College in Bengal, Lethbridge wrote several works on India and some of his books were popular prescribed textbooks in the schools in Bengal. His Easy Selections from Modern English Literature (1874), aimed for the ‘Use of the Middle Classes in Indian Schools’ was a collection of prose and poetry pieces by Walter Scott, Longfellow, Goldsmith, Dickens. Lamb and Addison. It also had pieces from the Ramayana and the Mahabharata. He advised against lessons being ‘crammed’, stressing that ‘boys should be made to understand them in connection with the text… teachers should explain either in the vernacular or otherwise’ (Lethbridge 1874 a: Preface, n.p.). His most well known work, A Moral Reader from English and Oriental Sources that was especially prepared for Indian schools first appeared in 1883, followed by four editions. Drawing from oriental sources, from Arabic, Sanskrit, Tamil, as well as English sources, Lethbridge stated in the Introduction: I believe there exists a widespread desire for the more systematic teaching in our schools, of the great principles of Morality and Good Conduct, that are common to all religions… I know of no Moral Reading-book hitherto published that fully satisfies the important condition of neutrality; and in the little book now offered to the public I have endeavoured to supply this want. This Reading-book has been compiled impartially from Hindu, Muhammadan, Parsee, and Buddhist, as well as Christian sources; and whilst I hope it may not be found defective in any important point, I am confident that nothing will be found in it to offend the most sensitive conscience. (Lethbridge 1883: 13) Other English writers who were commissioned to prepare such ‘neutral’ Moral Textbooks for Indian schools were J. Sime who wrote Man and his Duties, a Moral Reader (1896) and Herbert Stark who wrote English Reading for Indian Schools (1899). Sime prepared the textbook at the request of the Punjab Text-Book Committee, but it was soon recognised as a useful textbook for moral improvement in the British colonies. In the Preface Sime writes: The want of moral culture in our Indian Schools has long been felt. It is not believed that, with the advance of education, a higher tone is not being gradually developed; but the intellectual side of the scholars has been chiefly addressed, with the result, that the heartpower, or power of character, has not grown with the growth of the brain-power. This is, of course, a calamity. (Sime 1896: iii; original emphasis) 144

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Among other things, the Government had suggested that the moral textbook be based on the ‘fundamental principles of Natural Religion which should not offend the feelings of persons of any creed’ (Ibid. iv). It was obliquely being denoted that an education that focused on a purely intellectual training was perhaps neglecting the principles and ideals of moral improvement of colonised subjects. To fill up ‘the vacuum’ the textbook had extensive readings on such subjects as Duty, Health, Self-Control, Truthfulness, Punctuality, Integrity, Courage, and so on. At the same time, there was a mutual sharing and overlapping of ideas that clearly denoted that it was not a simple one-directional influence. The moral discourse in nineteenth-century Bengal was as much deeply sunk in Brahmanical ideals of self-restraint, hard work and perseverance as the Protestant notions of industry and virtue. Macdonell recognised that ‘the intellectual life of the Indians has, in fact, all along been more dominated by religious thought than that of any other race’ (Macdonell 1900: 7). Central to the pedagogy of Vidyasagar and some others whose works will be discussed in this section, was the amalgamation of English influence and Brahmanical principles of morality. The use of educational and moral tales for teaching native children had played a particularly important role for Orientalists like William Jones, Charles Wilkins and H. T. Colebrooke. Their interests in Nitishastra, in indigenous texts like Hitopadesh and Panchatantra had greatly shaped the development of schoolbook curricula. These moral books were based on allegories about animals exemplifying kindness, friendship and moral duties. Jones and Wilkins had translated the Hitopadesh in English as early as the 1780s. The first Bengali version of moral tales titled Nitikatha (Moral Tales) was published by the CSBS in 1818.34 The work in three parts was a collaborative project involving Radhakant Deb, Tarinicharan Mitra, Ram Comul Sen and J. D. Pearson who the Superintendent of the H. C. Schools at Chinsurah. Nitikatha represented an important milestone in the formation of vernacular textbooks in Bengal. Not only did it demonstrate the first attempt at vernacularisation of moral textbooks, it also showed a synthesis of western and eastern ethical ideologies. Combining Christian, Hindu and Buddhist moral pedagogy, the instructive moral tales were based on Aesop’s fables and tales from the Panchatantra, Hitopadesh and Jataka Tales. In Part I, each of the short tales on ‘The deer and the lion’, ‘The rabbit and the tigress’ and so on, is appended with a moral lesson (Nitikatha 1855, I). Part II that is a progressively more complex graded reading text contained the usual tales of virtue and vice on friendship and importance of learning. This work is noticeably closer to the Bengali ethos with more familiar Bengali names like Shyamchand, Govindchandra, Bholanath and the ubiquitous Gopal who is a good boy and goes to school every morning. Bholanath who spends his time playing and does not know how to read or write is persuaded by Gopal to mend his ways. He is told ‘Vidya [learning] is the best friend, learning makes a man widely respected’ and is finally convinced to 145

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attend school (Nitikatha 1855, II: 29–33; translation mine). The characters of Gopal and Bholanath no doubt inspired Vidyasagar to create the contrasting figures of Gopal and Rakhal in his primers. Part III with 48 tales is clearly a vernacularised version of Brahmanical ideologies of hard work and moral behaviour (Nitikatha 1854, III). In contrast, Captain James Stewart’s Oopadescotha brought out by the CSBS in 1820 echoed western maxims.35 The bilingual book with moral tales in English and Bengali had examples predominantly based on western figures like Aristotle, Horace, Cicero and Caesar, with ‘Historical sketches of England and her connection with India’ (Stewart 1820: cover).36 In 1829 the Serampore Press brought out Sadgun-o-birjea that was a collection of 95 anecdotes of virtue and valour selected from Greek, Russian, African and Indian history. Ramchandra Vidyabagish’s Nitidarshan (1841) in two parts was published for the use for students in the Hindu College. It elucidated on the philosophy of ‘niti’, and its importance in everyday life. Apart from the usual lessons on discipline, gratitude, friendship and importance of learning, the book dealt with the need for history writing, travel narratives, love for country, the rights of the subjects, and the duties of the rulers (Vidyabagish 1841). At the same time Bengali translations of moral tales from Hitopadesh and Panchatantra were being encouraged. Under the aegis of the Fort William College, the first translation of the Hitopadesh into Bengali was in 1808 by the renowned Sanskrit scholar Mrityunjay Sharma (Vidyalankar).37 The third edition of this work in 1821 emphasised vidya (learning) as the greatest of all wealth for any person; and especially for the ‘neechlok’ (the lower classes) it was regarded as the rarest of all riches. Thus, imparting moral lessons to them in the form of stories was considered most appropriate (Sharma 1821: 3–4). The Hitopadesh was one of the works most frequently translated into Bengali with no less than ten Bengali translations appearing between 1801 and 1840 (S. K. Das in ‘Bangla gadyer Pratham yug’; cited in Hatcher 1996: 142). An 1830 compilation by Lakshminarayan Nyaylankar titled Hitopadesh had simultaneous versions in Sanskrit, Bengali and English (Nyaylankar 1830). Among other popular textbooks based on moral tales Gauramohan Vidyalankar’s Kavitamrtakupa (1826) was a collection of lessons based on the Hitopadesh and meant for the general improvement of school children.38 Sanskrit couplets translated into Bengali provided ethical perspectives on ‘artha’ (goals of life) and ‘niti’ (right conduct). In the introduction to the book, the author mentions: For the development of ethical knowledge, the schools in Bengal have only Chanakya’s book [Arthashastra] to follow. Seeing the popularity of Chanakya’s book that provides so much delight and good education to young students, I have brought out Kavitamrtakupa sourced from many such texts. I hope this will provide more knowledge and improve the children’s knowledge of niti. (Vidyalankar 1826: Introduction, n.p.; translations mine) 146

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Such books produced in the early nineteenth century showed definite patronage of the British Orientalists. The majority of such works used heavily Sanskritised words and were directly sourced or translated from Indian texts. By the mid-nineteenth century there was a marked tendency to balance the teachings from English and Indian sources. Using the medium of vernacular languages a crop of textbooks drew examples, ideas and illustrations from elementary works in English. Rajkrishna Bandhopadhyay’s The Infant Teacher- Moral Class Book, titled Sishushiksha – Nitibodh in Bengali brought out by the Sanskrit Press in 1852 showed the combination of indigenous and foreign influences. In the Preface the author acknowledged that the book meant for the moral development of children was based on William and Robert Chambers’ book The Moral Class Book in English (Chambers 1839). The author insisted that his work was not a direct translation, and all those sections found unsuitable for Bengali students had been omitted. The writings of  Vidyasagar were also recognised as a source of inspiration (Bandhopadhyay 1852: 1–2). The lessons meant for ‘the use of female schools in Bengal’ was grouped under ‘parishram’ (hard work), ‘swachinta’ (independent thinking), ‘swavalamban’ (Self dependence), ‘vinay’ (humility), ‘shistachar’ (good behaviour), and contained examples from the lives of Alexander, Alphonso the Earl of Chester, Benjamin Franklin, Sir Robert Innes, and Louis IV. Vidyasagar himself translated a book of fables, Kathamala (1864) which he acknowledged to be the Bengali translation of Rev. Thomas James’s English translation of Aesop’s Fables (Vidyasagar 1864: Introduction, n. p.). Again, the well-known Bengali poet Ishwar Chandra Gupta wrote Hita Prabhakar (1860) on the instructions of Rev. Bethune to prepare a textbook for the students of his girls’ school. The book in verse form was based on moral precepts. In his letter dated 9 July 1851 addressed to Gupta, Bethune pointed out that it was easier for children to learn and remember verse forms rather than prose, and stated that: …the object being to convey sound sterling sense in simple language, suited to the comprehension of the young minds for whom they are intended…If you will call on me. I will shew you some specimens of English poems written for children, which might be of use to you. I need hardly remark on the necessity of excluding rigorously every loose or impure thought, or indecent word from such a collection. I mention this, however, because it is a fault from which I understand some of your most admired writers are not free. (Gupta 1860: Introduction, 7; original in English) Bethune’s imperious attitude towards improving natives was similarly echoed in The Calcutta Review of 1869. Arguing for the need to include the 147

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teaching of Christian Ethics in institutions of higher learning in Calcutta, it recommended ‘Moral Science’ for native students: There is much in Morals which is perfectly intelligible to all minds without any previous scientific training…the inculcation of which could certainly produce no injurious result, but might in time be instrumental in exercising a salutary influence upon the hearts as well as upon the minds of those who we educate. (The Calcutta Review 1869: 41–2; original emphasis)

Education as the cultivation of moral conduct Madun Mohun’s close friend and associate Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820–91), perhaps more than his predecessors, indicates the strong influence of Puritanical ethos in his writings. He graduated in Sanskrit from Sanskrit College, Calcutta, and was awarded the title of ‘Vidyasagar’ meaning ‘Ocean of Knowledge’ by his alma mater in recognition of his immense scholarship. A well-known educationist and social reformer of nineteenthcentury Bengal, his primers still remain the introductory textbooks for learning the Bengali alphabet. Modelled on the contemporary Primers and Readers in English, Vidyasagar wrote Bodhoday in 1851: This was based on the English publication The Rudiments of Knowledge by the Scottish brothers, William and Robert Chambers (Chambers 1838c). In the preface to the first edition dated 1850, Vidyasagar acknowledged that the lessons including literary and useful works are influenced by English Readers, but is not a direct translation from the sources (Vidyasagar 1851: Advertisement, n.p.). At the same time the author astutely inserted his own views, urging readers to learn and speak Bengali: The English are our rulers, therefore English is our official language [rajbhasha]. That is why everyone is eager to learn English. But it is not right to learn a foreign language before you know your national language. (Vidyasagar 1851 a: 32; translation mine) The contents ranged from lessons on living and non-living things, on God’s creations, on human senses, metals, water, glass, followed by instructive words based on Christian hamartiology of offence and sin: ‘Always tell the truth’, ‘Everyone hates a liar’, ‘Without hard work you cannot achieve anything’, and the Bengali version of ‘It is a sin to steal’ [Churi kora bada paap’] which was to become an axiomatic moral principle to teach native children (Vidyasagar 1851: 32, 58). Though not overtly religious, such primers were suffused with the Puritan conception of men’s behaviour, earthly rewards and punishments. Virtue was associated with worldly success; and the key 148

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to acquiring success, and by extension ‘virtue’, was learning and hard work. Learning was deemed to be the golden key to enlightenment, moral upliftment and worldly success. The association of vidya with niti that is learning with moral conduct, has been quite prevalent in the Indian tradition of moral pedagogy, and Vidyasagar made full use of it for his textbooks.39 His Rijupath [Simple Lessons] published in 1851 in three parts, was to familiarise young children with tales from the Indian epics and literature like Ramayana, Mahabharata, Hitopadesha, Panchatantra, and Ritusanghara. Such ‘ethico-didactic works’ as Arthur Macdonell termed them, suited very well to inculcate doctrines of prudence and diligence in youth in general (Macdonell 1900: 384). But as some parts were considered unsuitable for young readers, the author states to have either rejected or rectified certain portions to make the lessons more agreeable for children (Vidyasagar 1851 b: I, Advertisement, n.p.). But it was Vidyasagar’s Borno Porichay that was to make him immortal. Borno Porichay Part I and II (1855) were published independently from the Sanskrit Press, which was owned jointly by Madun Mohun and Vidyasagar. These were not at the behest of any Society or College. The purpose was to bring out commercially produced cheaply printed textbooks for the masses. The thin pink cover of the textbooks with the image of Vidyasagar on the inner page continued to remain the characteristic trademark of the primers for the next one and half centuries, familiar to every beginner of the Bengali language [Figure 4.3]. In the Preface to Part I, Vidyasagar states to have done away with superfluous consonants and vowels that were not required in modern Bengali language use (Vidyasagar 1855: Advertisement, n.p.). The purpose is to clearly polish the language for a more modern usage. The words used to introduce the letters of the Bengali alphabet again are kept as close as possible to everyday use which were likely to be familiar to the Bengali children. Words like Ajagar, Aanaras, Kokil, Khargosh, Goru, Ghoda, and so on, were selectively from the repository of animals, birds and fruits with which the average Bengali child was acquainted. A few words like ‘Eagle’ and ‘Yak’ were borrowed directly from English. The linguistic structure continued to be borrowed from the English primers, using the same order of words and sentence formation before the learners were introduced to more complex compound letters. The influence of Madun Mohun Turkalunkar was also quite evident with Vidyasagar liberally ‘borrowing’ words and ideas from Shishu-Shiksha, leading to a fracas between the two authors (Acharya 1986: 746). Vidyasagar continued to use simple rhyming words and sentences perhaps with the realization that poetic compositions were innately easier for children to memorise, especially for Indian students whose education for generations was based on the habit of rote learning. Nevertheless, his compositions ‘Kak dakiteche, Pakhi uditeche, pata nariteche, goru chariteche, jal pariteche, phal jhuliteche’ (Vidyasagar 1855: I, 140) appear to be less natural and did not become as popular as Madun Mohun’s use of rhymes and 149

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Figure 4.3  Front cover of Barnaparichay, Part II, by Vidyasagar, 1974; author’s own copy.

alliterations. Vidyasagar’s primer was more pragmatic, if anything else, in trying to inculcate moral teachings among the learners. Following the moral teachings in English primers, he made a conscious effort to distinguish the dialectics of bhalo/kharap (good/bad), subodh/obhodh (obedient/disobedient), uchit/anauchit (right/wrong), paap/punya (sin/righteousness). His primer issued warnings and hinted punitive repercussions on those who did not follow the acceptable path of morality. 150

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Listen Ram! Yesterday you were making a lot of noise while studying. One cannot study well if one makes noise. I am warning you! Do not make noise while studying. … It is not good to use foul language. If you ever abuse anyone again, I will tell others, and no one will ever speak to you again. Girish, why did you not attend school yesterday? I heard that you were absent for no reason, and you spent the day playing and creating a ruckus at home. I am letting you go today, but just be careful not to repeat this offence ever again! (I, 141–42; translation mine) The first person authorial voice is obviously the overriding authoritative guru mahashoy the Master who expected the pupils to follow his dictates. The guru mahashoy in such textbooks appeared to be a prototype of Victorian masters, a strict disciplinarian and taskmaster. Those who were obedient like the subodh balak Gopal were loved by all, whereas Rakhal who was just the antithesis was shunned by the society. Like their English counterparts Tommy and Harry, Gopal and Rakhal continued to be emblematic of the opposition of good and bad, with the sole criterion for their goodness being measured by their attention to their lessons. Education became the yardstick to gauge a person’s moral index, his gentlemanliness. The moral expounding in Vidyasagar’s Borno Porichay was in a way a vernacularised version of the Ten Commandments: Do not steal; Never tell lies; Respect your parents and teachers; Do not covet other’s goods; Do not be lazy; Avoid evil people; Attend to your studies; Do not use bad words, and so on (II: 152). But Vidyasagar’s text is not only limited to Evangelical moral injunctions. It extends further to more of the utilitarian teachings that are neatly structured to bring order and discipline into the lives of the Bengali children. The night has passed. It is dawn. I will not lie in bed any longer. I get up and wash my face. After washing my face I get dressed. After dressing I sit down to study. If I do not study well I will not be able to say my lessons. If I fail to read my lessons, the guru mahashoy will be angry and will not give me new lessons to read. (I, 141; translation mine) The emphasis on education and the curriculum of elementary education as proposed by Vidyasagar and other Bengali intellectuals had hardly any relevance or appropriateness for the labouring classes in Bengal. Education was meant for the native elites who were then expected to take the initiative of extending its benefits to the masses. On the issue of mass education, Vidyasagar in keeping with Macaulay’s ‘Filtration Theory’ too held that, ‘As 151

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the best, if not the only practicable means of promoting education in Bengal, the government should in my humble opinion confine itself to the education of the higher classes on a comprehensive scale’ (Acharya 1986: 747; Quoted by Biswas 2006).40 The upper class bhadrolok Bengalis became the disseminators of education and morality, and thus effectively became the voice of the authoritative guru mahashoy. The well-behaved Gopal and the unruly Rakhal thus illustrate the behavioural stereotyping of the two classes, with the responsibility of the former to tame and discipline the latter. Gopal is the staid studious boy who does not waste his time playing, always does as he is bid to do, never fights, and always attends to his books. Rakhal appears as a more realistic character who is for-ever horsing around, who plays on his way to school, who fights with other boys, and looks forward to playtime breaks (I, 142–43). The primers therefore set out to correct and reform such wilful ‘undisciplined’ lives. The transformation from abhadro to bhadro (uncivilised to civilised) could be achieved, as Part II of Borno Porichay was to emphasise, by restraining the self and making a devoted attempt. It was, as was evidently apparent in these textbooks, only a certain section, the ‘abhadro’, who was required to make that attempt to discipline the self; it being incumbent of the bhadrolok to guide and teach. Vidyasagar emphasises the role and responsibility of the society, the bhadrolok in particular, in ameliorating the moral standards of the society. In the end of Part II when Bhuvan an unlawful character is to be taken to be hanged for his crimes, he requests to have a last meeting with his aunt. He bites off her ear and blames her saying: Aunt, you are responsible for my condition! When I first began stealing, you were aware. If you had reprimanded me then and disciplined me, then this would not have been my state today. You did not stop me, and hence this is your punishment’. (II: 153; translation mine)

Morals based on fables Moral teaching was also evident from the popularity of instructive textbooks for children based on moral fables. Use of parables and tales was common from the very beginning of the nineteenth century when the first illustrated issue titled Pashwabali [Animal Biography] was brought out by the CSBS. These were collections of enlightening lessons in Bengali based on animals.41 The first edition published in 1822 was compiled and edited by Rev. J. Lawson and W. H. Pearce. Each issue was a slim volume on an animal, fronted by an illustration of an animal.42 This was obviously inspired by Rev. William Bingley who was a British naturalist and whose Animal Biography written in 1802 was translated into several European languages.

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Bingley’s work, meant to ‘excite a taste for the study of Natural Science’, was a scrupulously studied work on the animal kingdom dealing with beasts, worms, insects and microscopic creatures (Bingley 1820: v). Drawn on the works of Linnaeus, the four volume series provided ‘authentic anecdotes of the economy, habits of life, instincts, and sagacity of the Animal Creation’ (Bingley 1820: cover title). The Bengali series by the CSBS meant as a schoolbook had illustrations of lion, elephant, tiger, jackal, and so on, followed by a couplet in Bengali and a short description of its habitat, characteristics and food habits. This was then followed by an anecdotal story based on a particular animal, usually based in a western setting like Rome, Naples and London, which elucidated the instructive lessons (Pearce 1828; Lawson 1852). Initially, six issues of the periodical were published, and again reprinted later because of its immense popularity. In its second phase, Pashwabali was compiled and edited by Ramchunder Mitter (Mitter 1838). In contrast with the earlier versions, these later volumes were bilingual editions with English and Bengali texts placed side by side. Though the volumes aimed to convey, in an entertaining manner, scientific information about beasts to children, the content and context continued to remain foreign. Essays on the dog illustrated examples of the German Shepherd, the Greyhound and the Terrier. The stories had references to a man selling penny pies and treating his dog with pies. In an awkward attempt to provide a familiar situation, the Bengali translation referred to it as the man giving mithais worth a paisa to his dog (Mitter 1838: 54–5). Some of the anecdotes were taken directly from Rev J. M. M‘Culloch’s Reading Books. Tarasankar Tarkaratna rewrote another edition of Pashwabali in Bengali based on Lawson’s Animal Biography in 1852. This was also published by the CSBS. Some more instructive works in Bengali based on anecdotal stories were Ushthrer Monoranjan Itihas [The entertaining story of the Camel] (1851), Thakurdadar Hostibishayak Itihas [Grandfather’s Tale about Elephants] (1851), Manoranjan Itihas, Pleasing Tales or Stories designed to improve the understanding and direct the conduct of young persons (1828) by Tarachund Dutt and published by the CSBS,43 Gyansaudamani meant for children’s education by Nandakumar Bhattacharya (1863) published by Vidyaratna Press, Battala, and Bhek Mushiker Juddha compiled by Education Gazette, Calcutta in 1858. The common tendency in the majority of the books was an implicit blending of two traditions – an acknowledgement of the necessity for Western knowledge along with the need to keep learning deeply rooted in traditional indigenous knowledge. As the unnamed author of Bhek Mushiker Juddha wrote, ‘if we can consume the fruits, vegetables and food that grows in Europe for providing nutrition to our body, then cannot we also consume the poetry and literature of Europe for our mental development? (Bhek Mushiker Juddha 1858: Introduction, n.p.; translation mine).

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‘Useful’ and ‘Practical’ education As the application of ‘useful knowledge’ was perceived to be an indispensable criterion for intellectual development, more educated Bengalis began to follow the examples of western writers in bringing out empirical textbooks. Very similar to the pedagogical development in Britain at that  time,  the books written for schools in Bengal particularly from the mid-nineteenth century also began to concentrate on scientifically accurate and informative study. In an age of European styled geographical and historical consciousness, the idea of one’s location played an important role in determining identity and subjectivity.44 The age was characterised by a great deal of travel, data collection, mapping, and survey literature by Europeans, which shaped global and specifically European scholarship and epistemological understanding of the subcontinent of India.45 A survey of the land was compiled by Colonel Charles Reynold in 1798. It was but predictable that the study of Geography would be one of the primary areas of focus in colonial schools in Bengal. The first geography books written in Bengali were by the British. The Serampore missionaries produced a copy-book compendium of Geography and Astronomy in 1819 known as Goladhyay (compendium of Geography). This was taught under the Monitorial System and imparted by dictation. W. H. Pearce’s Bhugol Britanta published by CSBS in 1818 was compiled chiefly from the Serampore Geography. By 1846 Pearce’s textbook, which provided detailed information on Bengal, apart from general information on the Earth and planets, had sold 9000 copies (Long 1855: 18). Pearce referred to the contests in the West between religion and science to overcome similar resistance in India (Pearce 1846). Walter Hamilton wrote an extensive Description of Hindostan in two volumes in 1820 which was a geographical, statistical and historical description of north and south India, and the adjacent countries (Hamilton 1820). In 1824 Rev. Pearson published Dialogues on Geography, Astronomy, etc. Bhugol ebam Jyotish ityadi which gave a general description of the Earth, a history of Hindustan and the zillahs of Bengal, geography of Asia, Europe and America, along with astronomical knowledge on planets, stars, solar systems, meteors, tides and eclipses (Pearson 1824). The first attempt to write a History of Bengal was Captain Charles Stewart’s History of Bengal from the first Muhammadan invasion until the virtual conquest of that country by the English A.D. 1757 (1813) which claims to be ‘a work which faithfully details the events that have been transacted in the country’ (Stewart 1813: i). John Clark Marshman who had managed the Serampore Press and had served as the editor of Samachar Durpan and publisher of the newspaper Friend of India produced a number of influential books on the history of Bengal and India. Some of his works were Outline of the History of Bengal (1839), The History of India from remote Antiquity to the Accession of the Moghul Dynasty (1842) and History of India from the Earliest Period to the Close of Lord Dalhousie’s Administration in three

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volumes published between 1863 and 67. Stewart and Marshman’s books became the basis for a number of works on history in Bengali, including that by Vidyasagar, Govindchandra Sen and Bhudev Mukhopadhyay. For a long time after, the books written by colonial authorities became the bedrock of historical ‘facts’ on which a number of Bengali writers depended and based their writings. It was much later that historians like Rakhaldas Bandopadhyay who refuted colonial sources of information, based his work Banglar Itihas (1917) on evidences obtained from coins and stone and copper inscriptions.46 It has been hailed as the first scientifically written history of Bengal, and Jadunath Sarkar considered it as ‘a landmark in the growth of our historical knowledge’ (Sarkar 1943: II, 502). Schoolbooks on Geography and History written by the colonial educators were based on European sources. Marshman acknowledged that his materials were sourced from Mill, Stewart, Orme, Hamilton and others (Marshman 1857: iv). Stewart’s History of Bengal began with the regret that Persian narratives of the Mussulman kings are not to be trusted as it was under ‘a despotic government, where the tyrant was everything’. He therefore ‘availed myself of the assistance of European writers wherever it offered’ (Stewart 1813: ii). Usually textbooks used in Britain served as the colonial models. Rev. J. Goldsmith’s A Grammar of General Geography (1816?) and Rev. John Robinson’s A Grammar of History (1813) served as the models for writing books for the native readers. These school books had scattered commentaries on human civilisation, and often provided arbitrary understanding of race and ethnic identities. Western civilisation was portrayed as more refined, with an Eurocentric perception that looked down at the rest of the world. Such hierachialised perceptions often used random stereotyping. Goldsmith’s Grammar considered the southern Asiatics to be ‘in general effeminate, luxurious, indolent, and servile’ though they were reckoned to have ‘considerable genius in various arts and sciences’ (Goldsmith 1819: 33); the Burmese were characterised as ‘a lively inquisitive race, and very irascible and impatient’, whereas ‘the Hindoos are remarkable for their indolence and long-suffering’ (Ibid. 38). H. Blochmann (1838–78) who was a professor and then Principal at Calcutta Madrasa, wrote The First Geography. Or, guide to the map of the world (1870) and Contributions to the Geography and History of Bengal, Muhammadan Period, A.D. 1203 to 1538 (1873). Both these books proved to be popular textbooks of geography in Bengal. Blochmann’s The First Geography published by the CSBS propounded a hierarchy of race, countries and religion that characterised the French as ‘intelligent, lively and warlike’, the Italians as ‘temperate’, the Swiss as ‘well educated and intelligent’, the Dutch as ‘persevering’, the Russians as ‘labouring’, the Germans as ‘industrious’, the Greeks as ‘cunning’, and the native Australians as ‘a rude and savage race’ who are ‘tall and dark and go naked, have no houses, and are ignorant of the art of tilling the land’ (Blochmann 1879: 28–46). In the 1870s with the aim of catering to the need for schoolbooks in Bengal, Alexander Macmillan, 155

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whose publishing firm had already attained a reputation in Britain, proposed an Indian series of books. In association with Sir Roper Lethbridge who was Professor in Presidency College, Calcutta, Macmillan began printing a definitive set of books for Indian schools (Chatterjee 2002). Lethbridge came up with An Easy Introduction to the History and Geography of Bengal, for the Junior Classes of Schools in 1874. Lethbridge’s book painted the Muhammadan rule in Bengal as ‘plundering incursion’ with a view to extend their religion (Lethbridge 1874 b: 18). A slew of adjectives like jealous, treacherous, rebellious, wicked, revengeful, cruel, undutiful, atrocious, perverse used to define them brought out by implicit contrast the beingness of the British rule. Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah is depicted as a cruel and perverse ruler for ‘oppressing his Hindu subjects in the most atrocious manner; degrading the noblest families of Bengal by his licentiousness, impoverishing them by his extortions, and terrifying them by his inhuman oppression (80-1). In contrast Clive was ‘respected throughout India’ and during the Sepoy Mutiny had rendered ‘meritorious services’ (93). The book concluded by stating that under the British ‘Bengal had improved in every possible way’ (117–18). The study of geography and history apart from familiarising Indian readers with factual information enhanced their understanding of a geopolitical territory. It cannot be denied that it gave them a sense of community, a collective belongingness, and was instrumental in creating the desire for a nation state. At the same time, the colonial knowledge of the land most often presented a selectively sorted knowledge, which constructed the ethno-cultural identity of the land as primitive and backward. A vast corpus of writings by Christopher Bayly, Sanjay Seth and Sumanthi Ramaswamy has expanded our understanding of the implications of the constructedness of such disciplinary genres (Bayly 1996; Seth 2007; Ramaswamy 2017). Bayly who provided a pioneering insight on the role of geography textbook in stereotyping races and civilisations has shown how such textbooks within colonial education naturalised such knowledge as an axiomatic truth. To quote Bayly, with the institutionalisation of committees of public instruction and schoolbook societies in Bengal, ‘geography became an important component in the outward diffusion of knowledge by the colonial power and the missionaries. It was expected to aid in the undermining of Hinduism and dispel the idea that India was the centre of civilization…’ (Bayly 1996: 309). Most of the textbooks written in Bengali were understandably based on the content available in western textbooks. The Bengali elites’ reconstruction of such colonial knowledge was again, as has been seen in the instance of Primers and Readers, not a simple process of translation from the sources. Akshay Kumar Dutta who taught geography and physics at the Tattvabodhini Pathsala, came out with a book on physical geography Bhugol (1841). It was the first authoritative textbook on Geography in Bengali, and was used

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widely in schools in Bengal. Its importance cannot be undermined even today as some of the terms he coined or translated in Bengali for geographical terms like equator, latitude and longitude, Cape of Good Hope, are still in use in the Bengali language (Dutta 1841). Other Bengali writers synthesised traditional and modern discourses of geography and history. This is evident in Kalidas Moiter’s Bhugol Bigyapak (Geography Advertised) wherein he argued for an interpretation of Hindu cosmography along with Western scientific knowledge (Moiter 1857). One of the earliest textbook of history in Bengali was Vidyasagar’s Banglar Itihas (1848) translated from Marshman’s History of Bengal. Vidyasagar also published biographies of European scientists and great men. Most books by Bengalis, including Akshay Kumar Dutta’s Bhugol, Khetromohan Dutt’s General Geography (1841), and Rajendralal Mitra’s Physical Geography (1855) reproduced the empirical ‘truths’ in European texts. Peary Churn Sircar who was appointed by Lethbridge to prepare textbooks more appropriate for Indian students, wrote Primary Geography for Native Children (1874) and Geography of India (1874). Peary Churn followed English textbooks, and insisted that students should be taught geography of their country from a large map of Hindustan in the classroom. His explanations of the shape of the Earth was in a simple easy language, using terminologies more familiar to native learners. In Primary Geography Sircar replicated the colonial discourse of racial hierarchy and placed the English at the apex, and characterised the Spaniards as ‘haughty’, the Germans as ‘industrious’, the Negroes as ‘rude’, and East Africans as ‘barbarous’. The only resistance to such dialectics is obvious when Peary Churn while acknowledging Bengalis as ‘weak and timid’ creates a new ranking in which they are ‘superior to the natives of other parts of Hindustan’ (Sircar 1874 b: 22). In Geography of India too Peary Churn reiterated the superiority of the Bengalis vis a vis other natives in their mental pre-eminence (Sircar 1874 a: 51). The Bengali literati also produced a fair quantity of scientific books. Kalidas Moiter wrote on Manavdehatatta (The Human Frame) on the principles of Anatomy and Physiology (Moiter 1859). Akshay Kumar produced a book on Chemistry, Padartha-vidya wherein he acknowledged that it was compiled from English sources and translated into Bengali (Dutta 1856: Introduction, n.p.). He was the first Indian to write a text on physics in Bengali (Bhattacharya 1996: 9). The writings by both the British and Bengalis in this period saw an attempt towards a synthesis of Western science and traditional learning. The emphasis was on teaching pupils practical knowledge of Geography, Physics, Chemistry and application of Astronomy, Spherical Trigonometry and Orthographical Projections. The approach towards sciences and physical geography emerged from a wish to provide a scientific understanding, to do away with irrational thinking towards natural occurrences which was traditionally corelated with religious and superstitious beliefs in the minds of Bengalis.47

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Books for female students Formal education for women in colonial Bengal remained a controversial topic for quite some time. Through the efforts of the wives of the Serampore Baptist missionaries who opened schools for girls as early as 1800, and later by the Baptist Female Society and the Ladies Society for Native Female Education, which was set up in Calcutta in March 1824, a perceptible difference was noticeable in female education in Bengal (Dutta 2017a). But when textbooks were being produced by the FWC and later by CSBS, there was no attention paid to the requirements of female students. The reason of course was the negligible presence of girls in the classroom, with upper class Bengalis preferring to educate their girls at home. Early Bengali educationalists like Radhakant Deb took a temperate view, advocating zenana education, for the instruction of females of respectable classes at home and not in formal schools. Much impressed by Radhakant’s efforts at educating women, Bethune addressed a complimentary letter to Radhakant for being the first Hindu in modern time that advocated female education (Calcutta Review, Volume 45, 1867: 320). Radhakant assisted Gaurmohan Vidyalankar in preparing and publishing a pamphlet called Strisiksha Bidhayak on the importance of female education in accordance with the dictates of Hindu shashtras.48 Gaurmohan Vidyalankar’s Strisiksha Bidhayak (1822) written in Bengali was ‘to prove that female education was formerly prevalent among the Hindoos’ (Vidyalankar 1824: Preface, vii).49 It was on the request of Miss Mary Anne Cooke50 and other women missionaries that he wrote this tract primarily to encourage native women to attend schools (Dutta 2017a). Gaurmohan was associated with the Calcutta School Book Society and was the head pundit of School Book Society. Citing precedents of educated women from ancient texts, the author urged for the education of women, as not only would that benefit her children, but she would also be an asset to her husband by managing the household better. He went on to admonish women on their wifely duties, bidding them to be modest, virtuous and pious, and to be devoted to their husband and to God (Vidyalankar 1824: 32). The Barasat school established by Kalikrishna Mitra with the help of Peary Churn Sircar in 1847 and later the Hindu Balika Vidyalaya established by Bethune in 1849, later known as Bethune College, were the first institutions that were attended by girls of upper class natives. As one contemporary newspaper reported, ‘on the first day of the opening of the institution [Bethune’s] many upper-class girls (bhadra balika) attended class’ (Cited in Bandopadhyay 1957: XIII, 26). Though Madun Mohun Turkalunkar sent his daughters to this school and wrote textbooks for the students, there was nothing specifically written to address female pupils. In fact, as has been noted before, apart from a brief appearance of ShyamaBama, female characters were conspicuously absent in his Readers. Nevertheless, Madun Mohun along with Vidyasagar started a monthly

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magazine called Sarbasubhakari Patrika whose first issue was published in August 1850. The second issue brought out a long essay written by Madun Mohun on ‘Strisiksha’ [Female Education] that strongly advocated educating women for the good of the society. The author argued against conventional religious discourses and presented the examples of European women to illustrate the advantages of having strong, thinking, and educated women.51 From Rammohan Roy’s ‘Sahamaran Bishoyak prabortak nibortaker dwitya Sambad’ to Krishna Mohan Banerjee’s essay ‘Native Female Education’ (1841) to Vidyasagar’s Bahu-Bibha in 1871 which strongly condemned polygamy, point to the tumult in the society at that time. Other popular journals and periodicals of this period like Tattvabodhini Patrika, Sulabh Patrika, Masik Patrika, Vidyotasahini Patrika supported women’s issues like education and widow remarriage. Women’s groups within Brahmo Samaj like Brahmika Samaj and the Banga Mahila Samaj established in 1880 were also doing commendable work for the education of girls. The Ladies’ Association published Saral niti path, or Easy Moral Lessons, a collection of moral teachings for children (Sastri 1912: II, 147). The Brahmo Samaj reformer, Keshub Chunder Sen started the Native Ladies’ Normal School in 1871, which was mainly attended by Brahmo girls. The school curriculum demonstrated a shift wherein the course included readings from McCulloch, Addison and Goldsmith. A prize-winning essay written in 1875 was on ‘The Duties of an Unmarried Woman’ by Radharani Lahiri. True to contemporary English and Hindu ideals of womanhood, the essay expounded modesty, diligence and spirituality to be the ideal qualities of a ‘true virgin’ (Quoted in Borthwick 1984: 87). In a rebuttal to Brahmo education, the Mahakali Pathsala established in 1893 was for traditional education for girls. It emphasised a ‘feminine’ curriculum and laid importance on learning puja rituals, culinary skills, sewing, drawing alpana, and wifely duties. Textbooks especially meant for women were quite few and far between. Mythological and historiographical discourses on ‘ideal’ women, like Sitar Banabas by Vidyasagar, Sushilar Upakhyan by Madhusudan Mukhopadhyay, and Savitri Satyavan Natak by Kali Prosonno Singha, were popular readings for young girls (The Calcutta Review 1859). Sushila the chief protagonist of Madhusudan Mukhopadhyay’s book is the exemplary student, the perfect ‘modern’ woman who apart from mastering the lessons on History, Geography and Arithmetic, can recite slokas from the Dharmasastras, and is the perfect instance of how young girls ought to fit into their in-law’s house after marriage (Mukhopadhyay 1859). An undated syllabus meant for girls titled Bangiya Siksha Parishat karttk nirddista balika bidyalayer pathyatalika by Ramaprasad Mukhopadhaya lists the activities and the curriculum to be followed in a classroom for girls between the age group of six to eleven years. The author suggests teaching with the help of illustrated charts, and recommends that each class of 25 minutes may be used to teach reading, grammar, arithmetic, geography, history, natural science, needlework, cooking, ritual and worship, and 159

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spinning on the charkha. Another textbook for the instruction of women,  Adarsa Lipimala, grihini kartavya prabhriti grantha praneta (1911) by Anandacandra Sengupta taught the art of letter writing and how women have to address their husbands. Most books for women maintained a high moral tone, exhorting women to be ‘pure’ and fulfil their social duties and familial obligations. A 1905 textbook Balikar Padya Siksha for the Instruction and Education of Girls by Satyacharan Sengupta stated in the Advertisement: Nowadays many schools have been established in our country to instruct young girls. But unfortunately no special attention is given to female education. Books that are meant for young boys are used for teaching the girls too. The readers have to determine whether it is appropriate for girls to be brought up on tales of heroic characters, actions and skills needed for fighting. And again, is it just enough for them to experience the sorrows of a caged bird or a domesticated elephant? To fill up the gap, Padya Siksha has been written. This book begins with prayers to God and has a compilation of poems that will benefit young girls… (Sengupta 1905: n.p.; my translation) The contents included poems on the ‘Butterfly’, ‘Flowers’, ‘Brother and Sister’, ‘Sati’, ‘the Rose’, ‘the Coy Creeper’, and prose pieces on ‘Suo-Duo rani’, Ram’s address to Sita while going to the forest, Damayanti’s address to the gods during her marriage, and extracts from Shakuntala’s appeal. Such textbooks urged the young girls to follow the examples of mythological figures like Shakuntala and Sita and Shaiba who were paradigms of ideal womanhood. Girls were expected to get up early in the morning and attend to their household work, and not think of their own good. Patibhakti (devotion to the husband) and being a sati (a chaste woman) were the two primary expectations from women. Sati jei jon/pati paye mon/paye joto sukh Jibone morone/sayane sopone/patir bhabna kore [One who is a sati gets the love of her husband and all the happiness in the world One who in her life and death, in her sleep and dreams always thinks of her husband] (Sengupta 1905: n.p.) Sadly, textbooks for girls continued to be regressive and mired in conservative ideas of femininity at a time when Bengali intellectuals like Rammohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar were ceaselessly articulating for women’s rights – for property rights, education, marriage and entitlement to life, 160

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and Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay (1838–94) was creating powerful women characters like Durgeshnandini, Mrinalini and Debi Chaudhurani in his novels. While Bankim was creating radical heroines in his novels and harnessing such bold representations for the unprecedented task of recreating the spirit of the emerging nation, textbooks for girls continued to present the image of womanhood that was fundamentally stuck in traditional social roles and ideals of docility and chastity.

Towards a Swadeshi pedagogy After 1857 with increasing national awareness, the contemporary ideas on education were clearly being reoriented towards ‘swadeshi’ pedagogy, one that would suit the needs of the times. The latter part of the nineteenth century indicated the emergence of a more comfortable balance, a more confident synthesis of textual references that combined vernacular words, names and even classical Sanskrit allusions with western ideas and illustrations. Chiranjib Sharma’s Ballyaskha in two parts published in 1885 was a case in point that no longer indicated any awkwardness in beginning the text with a ‘Vidyadevi Vandana’ (a prayer to the Goddess of Learning). Written in a simple accessible style that was neither pedantic nor didactic, with examples of ‘petuk Ganesh’ (the food loving Ganesh), ‘adure Gopal’ (the lovable Ganesh) and ‘dayalu Suresh’ (kindhearted Suresh), the textbook was aimed at providing a balanced approach to both ‘pada o khela’ (study and play) in a child’s life (Sharma 1885, Part I). Part II in the same way began in the Sanskrit tradition with prayers addressed to Jagdishwar. At the same time the lessons in the text were based on the English tales of love, kindness and bravery. The author’s advice to the readers was to maintain a balance between traditional and modern ways of life, not to be swayed by English mannerisms. The two characters in his textbook Jadumani and Neelmani, it is explicated, have both studied English, but while the former became a saheb in his ways and began to disregard traditional customs, Neelmani did not forget his tradition nor his gods or his parents (Sharma 1885, Part II, 38–41). Jogindranath Sarkar (1866–1937) was another popular author of children's books and the editor of a children’s magazine. Gyanamukul, Charupath, and Shiksa Sanchay were some of the schoolbooks written by him whose simple prose style indicated the Bengali textbooks coming into its own. Hasi Khushi first published in 1897, an alphabet book with illustrated poems and prose and its second part in 1905, drew on Bengali oral traditions of folk songs, rhymes and doggerels. It was popular among Bengali learners for more than a century after its publication. Hasi Khushi was composed almost after half a century after Vidyasagar’s Borno Porichay and provided a completely new direction to primary teaching. Though the content was heavily borrowed from Vidyasagar, the tone of the text had changed considerably. The harsh tone of the imposing guru mohashoy over hapless students was replaced by one that was more sympathetic and 161

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affectionate, and textbooks were more accessible and entertaining for young learners. Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) who was later to come up with a much simpler primer Sahaj Path (1930), had expressed his satisfaction at the publication of Jogindranath Sarkar’s textbooks, stating: ‘Bengali language greatly lacked a textbook like this. What is available for young children are merely schoolbooks that tortures more than it teaches’ (Quoted in Kundu 1960: 7; my translation). For some of the readers their childhood reminiscences of these early Bengali primers were not too happy, to say the least. Bipin Chandra Pal (1858–1932), one of the architects of the Swadeshi Movement and a participant in the Indian Independence movement, was also remarkably competent in writing. Though he had left his studies before graduating, he was well versed in Sanskrit, Arabic and English apart from Bengali, and had started his career as a schoolmaster. His Memories reflect his disapproval of ‘modern primers’ by Madun Mohun and Vidyasagar which … take the youthful minds, for whose benefits they are written, to be far less mature than they actually are. A boy of five or six knows and feels and understands much more than what is usually taken for granted by the manufacturers of the present-day primers. Their interests in life are much deeper and wider than what the stories of familiar animals and little boys, which are served out to them through these books, seem to take for granted. (Pal 1932: 17–18) Like Tagore, Bipin Chandra too felt the ‘torture’ to which he was subjected in learning his lessons from Borno Porichay or Shishu Shiksha. These were ‘commonplace, stale, jejune’, and did nothing to ‘excite youthful curiosity nor inspire youthful enthusiasm or idealism. They do not touch any of the deeper emotions, which are so common in the psychology of little children’ (18). In My Boyhood Days [Chelebela] written in 1940 Tagore recollected feeling disinterested, yawning and dozing off while the master taught Peary Sircar’s Reading Books (Tagore 1945: 5). Time and again, Tagore wrote of the defects emanating from assimilating knowledge through English textbooks, and then through Bengali textbooks, which were frequently a shadow of the former. In Chattreder Prati Sambhashan [An Address to Students] in 1905, Tagore lamented: Fifty years ago there was a time when we had no reprieve from the English school. The school did not let go of us even when we went home. We used to address our friends in English, write letters to father in English, pour our hearts out in English verse and summon our countrymen to a meeting in English…from our childhood onward we have been reading textbooks prescribed for English schools and meant for English boys. Consequently our own country 162

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has become more indistinct and unfamiliar and things in other countries have become comparatively more distinct and familiar to us. (Tagore 1905: 41–43; in Maitra 2014) Tagore’s primer Sahaj Path (1930) [Easy Reader] in two parts meant as a language-learning book for children was a marked departure from earlier pedantic readers. With profuse linocut illustrations by the famous Indian artist Nandalal Bose, and simple poetic and rhythmic compositions in Bengali written by Tagore, the textbook was a perfect outcome of two maestros blending in their respective talents [Figure 4.4]. In Part I, both the

Figure 4.4  Rabindranath Tagore’s Sahaj Path Part I, 1955.

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author and the painter used literal and visual images to portray an idyllic rural Bengal that was at once riveting as it was familiar to the native Bengali children (Tagore 1955). Learning the language was deliberately made easy and entertaining with no trace of the ogre of a guru mahashoy hovering over the heads of the pupils. The primer was free from the oppressive outcomes of those who did not attend to their lessons, with the freedom given to the children to let loose their imagination. Part II of Sahaj Path meant for more advanced learners, is more evolved, with words, ideas and syntax that are noticeably complex. More noticeable is the synchronicity of a rural Bengal and a developing urbane landscape, where village folks, bullock carts, and peasants are juxtaposed with a modern city where Babus with watches, spectacles and cane in their hands, call out to ‘coolies’, as they hurry to board railway carriages and steamers. Apart from his more popular Bengali primers, Tagore also wrote a series of English primers, beginning with Ingreji Sopan, Part I in 1904 and Part II in 1906. The introductory chapter of Part I was revised and reprinted as a spoken English primer called Ingrezi Srutisiksha in 1906. His Ingreji Path, Part I published in 1909 had 18 lessons and Ingreji Sahaj Siksha (Part I and II) in 1930 meant to teach simple English to native children was a thoroughly revised edition of Ingreji Sopan. Some of his textbooks contained a note to teachers. His Ingreji Sahaj Siksha aimed ‘not to teach by rote learning’ but with the design to use words in various contexts so as to make the learners familiar with the usages (Tagore 1983: I, Preface, n.p.). It was a sophisticated primer, very unlike the earlier books, and contained translations of English words in Bengali, teaching simple adjectives, synonyms and antonyms that could be used by the native Bengali to speak English in dayto-day life. Even primers published by commercial firms like Longman’s Readers for Bengal Schools (1900) used an Anglo-Bengali approach.52 Written by W. H. Arden Wood, the primers (in two parts) demonstrated a conspicuous ‘nativisation’ of the content and context. The text and coloured illustrations with examples of farmers tilling their lands, educated Babus with books in hand, women working in the fields, and children playing, were familiar to young Bengali learners. These new texts highlighted the local context of the pedagogy, and easy to follow lessons. Textbooks became markedly more secular and empirical, more familiar to native students, and aesthetically more pleasing. Sister Nivedita, who became a disciple of Swami Vivekananda and came to India in 1898, emphasised on a national education based on national idealism. Such an education ought to be for ‘Jnana-desha-dharma’, that is, the ‘development of the individual for the benefit of the environment’ (Nivedita 1955: IV, 346). She went on to say, ‘Education in India today, has to be not only national, but NATION-MAKING. We have seen what a national education is – a training which has a strong colour of its own, and begins by relating the child to his home and country, through all that is familiar, but ends by making him free of all that is true, cosmopolitan, and universal. This is the 164

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necessary condition of all healthy education, in all countries…’ (Ibid. 347; original emphasis). Nevertheless, the predominance of English learning could not be overlooked. The proliferation of the English education, its importance in the job market and as a marker of modernity, meant that even Tagore had to write English primers. The implicit disciplining of the child into obedient subjects was to bear its rewards, as a whole generation of English educated Bengali Babus was now ready to form the workforce necessary to maintain the British Raj in India.

Notes 1 The SPCK clearly owed its inspiration to the Societies for the Reformation of Manners which began in 1691 for the enforcement of virtue. 2 Richard Wellesley (1760–1842) was Governor-General in Bengal from 1798 to 1805. 3 Only one rare copy of it exists in the Calcutta University. A reprint of this is available in the BL. 4 William Carey’s Dialogues Intended to Facilitate the Acquiring of the Bengalee Language (1801); Gilchrist, John Borthwick’s Dialogues, English and Hindoostanee, Calculated to Promote the Colloquial Intercourse of Europeans, on the Most Useful and Familiar Subjects, with the Natives of India, upon their Arrival in that Country (1798). 5 From the title of Gilchrist’s Dialogues (1798). 6 The Serampore Printing Press, founded in January 1800 by Carey, Marshman and Ward, soon had a huge output, becoming the ‘greatest type foundry in Asia’ (Das 2005: I, 32). 7 For more about Gilchrist’s life and works, see Kidwai (1972) and Siddiqi (1960). 8 Refer to Carey (1818) for conversation between ‘The Gentleman and the Moonshi’, 12–17; for ‘The Discourse of Respectable Old People’, 32–44; for ‘Talk between Two Labourers’, 44–46; for ‘Conversation between Women’ and their quarrels, 54–56, 76–87; for ‘Fishermen’s Talk’, 56–57; and for ‘Conversation of Beggars’, 58–59. 9 For an elaborate analysis of the Dialogues of Carey and Gilchrist see Sutapa Dutta’s essay ‘Dialoguing with the ‘Natives’: Phrase Books for Interpersonal Communication by East India Company Officials’ (Dutta 2017b), and Bernard Cohn’s essay ‘The Command of Language and the Language of Command’ (Cohn 1996). 10 Earlier in 1735, the Portuguese missionary Manoel da Assumpção who was stationed in Dacca wrote Crepar Xaxtrer Orth, Bhed [Kripar Shastrer Ortho Bhed]. Published from Lisbon, the bilingual book in Portuguese and Bengali was the earliest printed Bengali book using Roman script. Written in the form of a dialogue between a teacher and his disciple, it explained the Roman Catholic religion. 11 All translations from the Bengali are mine unless otherwise mentioned. 12 Picture Alphabet Books in Bengali printed on sheets were introduced in 1824. Each letter was illustrated by a picture. This ‘impresses the letters more strongly on the mind and renders the learning of the alphabet much more easy and agreeable’ (Long 1855: 47). 13 Bodolok literally ‘big people’ meant the upper class; chotolok literally ‘small people’ meant the lower classes.

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14 The bhadrolok literally meant the ‘gentle people’, distinguished by class and education. 15 See the Outlines and Objectives of setting up the Serampore College (Carey 1819). 16 The 3rd edition (1821) is available at the BL. 17 Sir Edward Ryan, President of the CSBS wrote to Lord William Bentinck, 29 January 1832. Quoted in Ahmed (1965: 23). 18 In My Boyhood Days, Tagore mentions being taught English from Peary Churn Sircar’s First Book, that made him feel bored and sleepy (Tagore 1945: 5). 19 The Friend of India mentioned Radhakant Deb’s ‘ardent attachment to European knowledge’ (September 1820: I, 129). 20 The Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society, 19th March 1859, observed that Deb’s Sanskrit Encyclopaedia enjoyed ‘a European as well as Indian celebrity’. See Wilson (1860). 21 The covers of Dutta’s textbooks are in Bengali, except the 1850 edition which has a bilingual cover, in English and Bengali. The English portion spells the title of the book as Seesoosabhodhee Burnomalla. Available at BSPL. 22 Bipin Chandra Pal in his autobiography remembers with fondness Shishubodhak as the first printed book to be placed in his hands which he liked better than any of the later school books. See (Pal 1932: 17–19). 23 The insertion of ‘Jatimala’ in Vidyabagish’s book was disapproved by William Yates, the secretary of the CSBS. He reported: ‘From pages 32 to 47 of the Second Spelling Book, the whole is occupied on the names belonging to the different castes, and is calculated to foster ideas which has better be left to fall into oblivion’ (General Report of GCPI, 1840–41 and 1841–42, VI, xxxvi, xl). 24 A rare copy of the second part of Ramchandra Vidyabagish’s Shishusebadhi (1839) is available in BSPL. The title page does not mention the author’s name but the work can without doubt be attributed to Vidyabagish. The Educational Report of 1840–42 mentioned the publication of Vidyabagish’s Shishusebadhi. See also (Bandhopadhyay 1957: IX, 23 fn). 25 He was the scion of the Tagore family, the son of Dwarkanath Tagore and father of Rabindranath Tagore. 26 Sunil Gangopadhyay provides a vivid account of those times in his fictionalized narrative in Bengali, Sei Samay (translated in English as Those Days – A Novel (Penguin, 1997). 27 In between 1839 and 1840, two Hindu men from prominent Bengali families who approached Duff and sought baptism were Govindo Chunder Das and Umesh Chunder Sirkar (Smith 1879: II, 55). 28 For the ‘Renaissance’ that this magazine brought in Bengal, see Tattwabodhini Patrika and the Bengal Renaissance by Amiya Kumar Sen (Sen 1979). 29 For a biography on Akshay Kumar Dutta see Bandhopadhyay (1957); Bhattacharya (1996). 30 Rare copy of Charupath (1876, 31st ed) available at BSPL. 31 I have used the English spelling of his name as has been mentioned on the cover of his book. 32 Rare copy of the second edition (1850) of Part I, and the first editions of Part II and III (1850) of Shishu-Shiksha by Madun Mohun Turkalunkar are available at the NL. 33 See the section ‘The Godly and the Ungodly’ in Chapter 4 of this book. 34 The English title on the cover read: Nitikatha or Fables, in the Bengali Language. The 1855 edition of Part I and II, and the 1854 edition of Part III are available in BSPL. 35 Brian Hatcher considers Stewart’s lessons on learning, industry and success as reflective of the western ideas of material success (Hatcher 1996: 155).

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36 The English title page reads: Stewart’s Oopadescotha, (or, Moral Tales of History): With an Historical Sketch of England, and her Connection with India. The first edition is available in the BL. 37 The full title of Mrityunjay’s work in Bengali reads: Panchatantra prbhrti nishastra hoite uddhrta. Mitrilabh ssuhrdbhed vigraha sandhi. Ettochtusthayvayava visista Hitopadesh. 38 A digitized copy of this is available in the BL. The cover title mentions in English, ‘A Choice Collection of Sanskrit Couplets with a translation in Bengalee’. 39 Brian Hatcher brings out the close relation of niti ‘wise conduct’ with artha ‘power’ in the Indian texts like Chanakya’s Arthashastra. See Hatcher (1996: 127). 40 Letter written by Vidyasagar on 29 September 1859 to John Peter Grant, the Lieutenant Governor of Bengal, opposing the Charles Woods Dispatch of 1854. 41 The English title on the cover is Animal Biography, or Instructive and Entertaining Lessons respecting the Brute Creation. Available in the NL and the BL. 42 The illustrations were drawn by John Lawson. 43 Manoranjan Itihas was a translated work by Tarachund Dutt who was employed by Captain Stewart. It was further translated into ‘Hinduwee’ by Rev. M. T. Adam in 1828 and published by the CSBS. A digitised copy is available in the BL. 44 Refer to Terrestrial Lessons by Sumanthi Ramaswamy for the complex history of the terrestrial globe fabricated in Western workshops and exported over a period of time. It was a singular artefact, a knowledge of whose contours was  ‘constitutive of one’s status as literate and schooled, even enlightened’ (Ramaswamy 2017: xiv). 45 For a further understanding of how the geographic information rooted in ethnicity and race impacted the Bengali intelligentsia’s notion of nation state and identity, refer Subho Basu’s ‘The Dialectics of Resistance’ (Basu 2010). 46 Rakhaldas Bandopadhyay (1885–1930), or R. D. Banerji, was an archaeologist and historian who is better known as the discoverer of the site of Mohenjodaro. For a detailed discussion on Rakhaldas Bandopadhyay, see (Bhattacharya 1999). 47 The Annual Report of the Hindu College (1848: 7) mentions the instance of Mr. Rees, the professor of Mathematics who intimated to the Committee that a total eclipse of the Sun was to be visible in Calcutta on the 9th of October of 1847. As the phenomena was a rare one, it was suggested that the pupils of the first class be taught the calculations of this eclipse. The Council of Education subsequently recommended that mathematical instruments be procured for students to draw precise diagrams of the Solar eclipse. 48 At the same time, Radhakant staunchly defended the customs and institutions of Hinduism. When Lord William Bentinck passed his celebrated edict for abolition of sati, Radhakant citing it as an infringement of the rights of the Hindus petitioned for its repeal (Calcutta Review Volume 45, 1867: 324). 49 A rare copy of this is available in the BL. The cover page provides an English title: An Apology for Hindoo Female Education, Containing evidence in favour of the Education of Hindoo Females. The author’s name is not mentioned. The Preface written by Brajendranath Bandopadhyay corroborates that the author is Gourmohan Vidyalankar. All translations from the Bengali are mine. 50 She was the first woman missionary sent from London by the BFSS in 1821 to open female schools in Bengal. For a full account of her contribution to women’s education see (Dutta 2017a). 51 The complete essay is available in (Bandopadhyay 1957: XIII, 31–54). 52 The 1900 edition of the First and Second Primers are available at the BL.

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…for, according to education statistics, it takes a good round sum to turn out a Bengalee Baboo of the most approved pattern. The Indian Charivari, April 18, 1873: 141 The scanty dress he used to use, He now casts off for pants and shoes; From “dunce” to scholar, man of parts, He’s changed, and “Master” is of “Arts”. This, and more titles all combined, In Baboos of our day you will find. The Indian Charivari, January 9, 1874: 8

5 POPULAR REPRESENTATIONS OF THE EDUCATED BENGALI BABU

The rise of the Bengali Babus The emergence of the bhadrolok Bengali Babu in the nineteenth century, which went on to be typified by genteel qualities and western education in the twentieth century, reflected the unmistakable changes in native identity due to colonial experience in Bengal. ‘Babus’ came to be associated with a new social class of Bengalis eager to define for themselves the markers of gentility that would shape their ‘acceptability’ by the colonialists. The Bengali Babu (and his Bibi) for their puerile imitation of English manners, attire and language were regularly the target of satire in both Indian and colonial discourse. An examination of the popular mediums of representation would indicate how the new class of Babus were perceived by the outsiders and by their own community too. The rise of the Bengali Babu (or Baboo) as a social class can be attributed to colonial trade and enterprise. During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Bengali merchants formed an important trading community in the Bengal Presidency. They played a prominent role not only as interpreters and intermediaries for foreign merchants, but a significant number of these merchants also entered into joint business ventures with their European partners. Most of them belonged to the merchant community bania.1 The Banias were the brokers and agents for foreign trading companies, and served as cross-cultural collaborators. Some of the first generation of indigenous parvenus who made fortunes through collaboration with the British, were people like Ganga Gobinda Singha, Ratan Sircar, Jayram Tagore, Ramdulal Dey, and Kaliprasad Dutta who used to regularly provide loans to the English traders (Rahman 2013: 35). After obtaining the Diwani of Bengal, the EIC used the banias for financial and commercial services. Raja Nabakrishna Deb of the Shobhabazar family, the Dutta family of Haatkhola, Raja Rajendra Mullick, Motilal Seal and Dwarkanath Tagore were some of the successful business families of Bengal. The entire trade in Bengal was practically concentrated in a few hands like these families who apart from managing landed estates, ran banks, insurance companies, shipping companies, trading houses, flour

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mills and speculation markets. The most well known entrepreneur was Dwarkanath Tagore (1794–1846), who founded the Jorasanko branch of the Tagore family. He inherited the zamindari estates, and with his stern and efficient management was successful in pioneering entrepreneurial endeavours in banking, insurance and shipping.2 Because of his wealth, he was also referred to as ‘Prince Dwarkanath’ (Kling 1976; Kripalani 1981). Not all were born with the fortunes of the Tagores; some had a rags to riches story. Ramdulal Dey (1752–1825) belonged to a poor rural Bengali family who lived the life of a dependent at the house of Madanmohan Dutta, the Dewan of Export Warehouses. By sheer luck, honesty and hard work, along with his acumen for speculation, his outstanding negotiation skills, and market intelligence, Ramdulal became one of the foremost millionaire businessmen in Bengal. He had an active interest in stocks and shares and real estate, apart from being the foremost name in the chronicle of the Indo-American maritime trade.3 Ramdulal became a prominent name in America as he was the sole agent from India to supply varied types of Bengal goods, including tea, sugar, indigo, and most importantly, textiles to a number of American trading companies (Bean 1990; Chakraborti 2006). Another bania to make his fortunes in maritime trade was Rajendra Dutt (1818–89).4 Rajendra and his uncle Kalidas proved to be highly creditable businessmen who in no time became the banias of a number of American shipping firms. At the same time, they founded a shipping company in collaboration with an American entrepreneur, and called it Dutts-Linzy and Company. They also invested in other concerns such as the Ganges Pilot and Co., Hooghly Tug and Co., Serampore Spinning and Weaving Co., and Rishra Yarn Co. (Rahman 2013: 47). Motilal Seal (1792–1854) was another bania who having started his business career selling bottles and corks was to become the ‘Rothschild of Calcutta’.5 He was a partner of Oswald Seal & Co., and the sole agent for about twenty European agencies. He was one of the founders of Assam Company Ltd. and among the founders of the Bank of India. He was a successful real estate speculator, one of the richest shipping magnates, and a very committed philanthropist. Upon his death on 20 May 1854 his obituary in the Hindu Intelligencer described him as the ‘richest and most virtuous Baboo’ of Calcutta (Quoted in Sengupta 2011: 211). The Biswanath Motilal family of Bowbazar also rose to prominence from an ordinary position. Biswanath Motilal (1779–1844) was a leading merchant of his time. He received the title of Babu from Queen Victoria and gradually came to be known as Babu Biswanath Motilal (Report of EAP 906: 20–21). These ‘Babus’ received the honorific title from the Company officials and in some cases like Biswanath Motilal, from the Queen herself. It signified a class of wealthy Bengali gentlemen who belonged to some of the most influential families in Bengal. These half a dozen Babus managed all the mercantile business of Calcutta and accumulated vast fortunes. Not only were they

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active partners with western agency houses, but some had also employed Europeans in their firms too. The dependence of the western merchants on these banias meant that the very existence of European mercantilism in Bengal was based on the goodwill and cooperation of these rich banias. The title ‘Babu’ was used as a prefix or suffix to a person’s name as a gratuitous recognition and acknowledgement of such wealthy natives who had provided service, and supported the British in establishing their commercial and political base in India.

Zamindar Babus and their ‘Babu Culture’ The imposition of new agrarian rules by the Government only went on to strengthen the position of the wealthy Babus. The Permanent Settlement by Lord Cornwallis in 1793 had far reaching consequences. The introduction of the zamindari system meant that land became the most valuable asset and the banias began to invest their surplus capital in land. By the middle of the nineteenth century the capital activities of the banias were badly affected. The economic depression in Britain aggravated the economic distress in Bengal, and as a result a great many business houses in Calcutta came to an end. The failure of the indigenous banks like the Commercial Bank and Union Bank in 1847, triggered panic in the money market and the newly rich merchant class began to divert their wealth into landed property. Its repercussions were felt throughout Bengal. It created a new social class, the zamindars, the landed owners, who had hereditary proprietorial rights over their land. While the Company had hoped that the zamindars would be instruments of stable revenue gathering, their greater power meant that the tillers and the labouring class were affected by the zamindars’ riparian exploitations. The new class of urban zamindars entrusted the administration of their estates to their agents (gomastas), who became rich at the expense of the poor tenants. As the landlords prospered, more areas of land were brought under cultivation which had to be let out for cultivation. It created a class of absentee landlords who lived a life of luxury in the city while the rights of the cultivators in the rural areas were completely ignored. It created a sharp schism in the Bengali society, between the urban and the rural, the affluent feudal lords and their poor tenants. Most of the leading business families of Calcutta began to divert their capital to make investments in land and property. The Tagore family, especially Dwarkanath built huge fortunes by managing extensive landed property scattered in different parts of Bengal, Bihar and Orissa. His knowledge of the intricacies of the land system in Bengal, and his investment in landed properties meant that he had extensive properties like indigo factories, mansions, godowns, houses, buildings, tanks, and land, apart from shares in the Union Bank, the Oriental Life Assurance Co. Assam Co., and shipping. Krishna Kanta Nandy of the Kasimbazar Nandy family, popularly known

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as Kantu Babu, also received generous favours from Warren Hastings and purchased plenty of landed property. The Shobhabazar family of Nabakrishna Deb was closely associated with Lord Clive who had conferred the title ‘Maharaja’ on him and given him an important position in the Calcutta Committee of Revenue. His family was given the exclusive rights of the bazaar at Shobhabazar where Nabakrishna built his rajbari, a palatial mansion. The Mallicks of Burrabazar were also renowned for the wealth and estates. Most of the urban landlord families of Calcutta created residential areas in what used to be forests and marshy lands. The ‘jungle clearing inhabitants’ were largely responsible for the emergence of an urban society in Calcutta (Sinha 1978: 18). These rich men’s houses became the first clusters of urban settlement around which a community of people and trade flourished. As the names of the locations suggest, Kasimbazar, Shobhabazar, Burrabazar, Haatkhola were bazar and haat areas (market places) where local people would gather to trade. Furthermore, the tales of the fortunes of the Babus and their largesse drew crowds of people from nearby areas desirous of working in these households, or to take advantage of the lavish charities. The most respected of the Babus, Nabakrishna Deb’s Shobhabazar Rajbari was a mixture of architectural influences with Cornithian pillars, venetian shutters, thakurdalan (place of worship), and jalsaghar (performance hall). The rajbari became the focal point of the Bengali Renaissance which was visited by prominent figures like Ramkrishna Thakur, Swami Vivekananda, Sister Nivedita, Raja Rammohan Roy, and members of the Tagore family. The family hosted some of the most elaborate social and religious functions. Nabakrishna introduced the fashion of inviting Europeans at the annual celebration of Durga Puja which was soon to become a symbol of social status as the rich bania community vied to host lavish entertainments for the Europeans. The Jorasanko house of the Tagores was again a sprawling estate with colonnaded verandahs. It now houses the Rabindra Bharati University apart from a museum. Rajendra Mullick of the Mullick family at Pathuriaghat-Chorebagan built an imposing Palladian edifice known as the Marble Palace in 1835 which was as Geoffrey Moorhouse describes, ‘a fantasy brought to earth’. The Palace which is now preserved by his descendants, has ‘marble everywhere, in ninety different varieties’ to provide ‘floors, wall panels and table tops’, apart from satins and crystal chandeliers and mirrors from Venice, vases from Bohemia, glass figurines from Dresden, clocks from Paris, and paintings by Rubens and Joshua Reynolds (Moorhouse 1994: 22). The family ran a free kitchen, a tradition that still continues. In Ramdulal Dey’s house in Belgachia, a thousand people were fed on a daily basis. The reputation for charity of Mallick Babus of Burrabazar was so great that when they held a sradh, a post-funeral feast, the Bengali newspaper Samachar Darpan reported in 1830 that villages within a radius of 30 miles around Calcutta got empty as people flocked to the Burrabazar residence (Sinha 1978: 72). 174

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Nabakrishna too is said to have spent nearly a million rupees on his mother’s sradh which was attended by thousands of people hoping to benefit from the generous donations. Another zamindar Ganga Gobinda Singha, it was speculated, had spent 15–20 lakhs of rupees on his mother’s funeral ceremony (Ibid. 83). What came to be termed as ‘Babu Culture’ was an ostentatious display of wealth by the nouveau riches in Calcutta. On the one hand was a private consumption of wealth as illustrated by the Mullick family’s collection of a cornucopia of things at their Marble Palace. On the other hand, was a public display of excessive material wealth. The hoarding of materialistic possessions as well as the flamboyant exhibitionist lifestyle of this affluent class reflected an eclectic mix of the bourgeoise excesses of Victorian England and an imitation of the nawabi courtly culture of the Mughal aristocrats. The royal splendour and flamboyance of the erstwhile Mughal rulers was emulated in the ceremonial styles, opulent interiors, and exhibitions of power and wealth considered necessary to suitably impress both the whites and the natives. Rammohun Roy, Dwarkanath Tagore and even an orthodox Hindu like Nabakrishna Deb were all ardent practitioners of nawabi culture (Raychoudhuri 1990: 71). At the same time the upwardly mobile fortune makers copied the architectural vocabulary of the colonialists, evident in the colonnaded entrances, figures of lions flanking the gates, marbled floorings, and nude statues (Choudhury 1990). The result was an architectural hybrid of arched doors, onion shaped domes, richly ornamented doorways, along with designs that were a result of classic Baroque and neo-Palladian inspiration. This was a symbolic bridging of the physical segregation of the town which was divided into the White Town and Black Town. In their way of life too, Babu culture replicated a blend of European and Indian ways and manners that was as much idiosyncratic as whimsical. Babu Ramtanu Dutta who owned a huge mansion at Haatkhola ordered that the palace be washed with rose water twice every day. His dhotis were of the finest Dhaka muslin, but he would not wear a dhoti more than once. Babu Bhubanmohan Niyogi burnt ten rupees notes to light his cigarettes. Ramdulal’s son kept a pet rhinoceros (Deb 1990: 59). While Babus tried to be accomplished in speaking English, to play the piano, and appreciate western art, a nawabi life of entertainment provided by nautch girls, cock fights, along with drinking and smoking the hookah, was just as common. Dance parties, banquets, keeping mistresses, lavish social and religious gatherings were signs of an assertion of wealth and power (Nag 2010). As Babus competed to outdo each other, even philanthropy was a means of demonstrating their wealth. The display of preposterous luxury in their houses and lifestyle indicated a confused mix of precedents of Muslim nawabi grandeur and the manners of the contemporary White Sahibs. The Babus were thus a curious hybrid, something akin to the white nabobs, a class of the nouveau riche who were neither here nor there. 175

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The bhadrolok educated Babu Though broad areas of economic, social and political life were still being dominated by the comprador-zamindar class, a new group of educated men began to emerge from the early nineteenth century. As the power of the landed gentry was considerably undermined by colonial land-revenue policies, it led them to move towards alternative routes of livelihood.6 Throughout the nineteenth century this once privileged rural strata of society moved towards Calcutta in search of either jobs or education. Calcutta held unbounded possibilities which required lawyers, teachers, doctors, and clerks to run the fast expanding official administration. The statistical records of late nineteenth century showed that the majority of migrants to Calcutta were not the labouring class, peasants or artisans, but the upper class rural gentry (Bhattacharya 2005: 224). As their wealth depleted, and lands were being taken away, the only recourse to social dignity and status was English education. This new group of upper class Bengali Hindus who benefitted from a western education emerged out of a social upheaval, but they proved to be useful for the rapidly expanding colonial administration. As Macaulay had envisaged, they functioned as the intermediaries ‘between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of person, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect’ (Sharp 1920: 11). This class was vital to the maintenance of the British rule in India, as the bulk of the requirements for clerks and junior administrators and trading agents could now be sourced from this group. For a majority of these families their degree of opulence remained a mark of their aristocratic status till the late nineteenth century. The Tagores, the Debs and Mullicks were essentially the foremost Indians who were a part of such elitist associations like the British Indian Association. But though the aura of inherited wealth and grandeur was retained, a certain degree of education came to be regarded as essential for participation in Calcutta’s public life. Their status as intermediaries could only be maintained as long as they were functionally useful to the British. Some of them during their lifetime had patronised learning. Motilal Seal had founded the Seal Free College in 1842 which was carried on by his descendants after his death. The next generation of these wealthy banias were the first to receive the benefits of a western liberal education. Nabakrishna Deb’s grandson, Radhakant Deb received English education at the Calcutta Academy. A member of the CSBS, Deb’s contribution to Bengali education has already been discussed. He was the first Bengali gentleman who was conferred several titles like Sir and Raja Bahadur by the Queen in recognition of his learning and position. The British Government also honoured him with the Star of India (Lethbridge 1907: 178–79). Ram Gopal Ghosh, the son of Gobind Chandra Ghosh a  wealthy cloth dealer, received his education from the Hindu College. He edited a journal called Gyananneshur, and organised a ‘Society for the Acquisition of General Knowledge’. He started The Bengal Spectator, and

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supported Bengali students who went to study medicine in England (Ibid. 186–87). Rasik Kishore Mallick, the son of Naba Kishore Mallick who was a well-known thread trader in Bengal, was greatly influenced by the Brahmo Samaj reformer Rammohun Roy and radical thinkers like Derozio. He wrote actively on social issues and went on to become a deputy collector at Burdhaman. The English educated urbanised Bengalis who were collectively categorised as ‘bhadrolok’ were literally the ‘gentlemen’ distinguished from the ‘chotolok’ by their caste, class, education and respectable status in society. There have been several attempts by scholars to define this very abstruse social category. Meredith Borthwick thinks that in its broadest sense it ‘includes all those who are not chotolok, or the hoi polloi’ (Borthwick 1984: 4). But this then entails a characterisation of the chotolok. S. N. Mukherjee in ‘Bhadrolok in Bengali Language and Literature’ refers to them as ‘a de facto social group, which held a common position along some continuum of the economy, enjoyed a style of life in common and was conscious of its existence as a class organised to further its ends’ (Mukherjee 1976: 225–37). J. H. Broomfield whose work gives an account of the bhadrolok in twentieth-century Bengal, equates the term ‘elite’ with the Bengali bhadroloks, which according to him was ‘superior in social status’. They were distinguished by many aspects of their behaviour – their deportment, their speech, their dress, their style of housing, their eating habits, their occupations, and their associations – and quite as fundamentally by their cultural values and their sense of social propriety. (Broomfield 1968: 5–6) As early as 1801, William Carey in his Dialogues had marked the distinctive linguistic style of the respectable class of the bhadroloks. He noted that they spoke in ‘a grave style’ as compared to the corrupted speech of the lower classes and women (Carey 1818b: iv, 33). What these observations highlight is the ‘class’ aspect of the bhadrolok as a defining characterisation. The bhadrolok were a socially constructed group, consciously defining its superiority from the masses by virtue of their economic standing, education and employment. It placed itself in the madhyabitta sreni, the middle class, in between the feudal zamindars and the manual labourers. Its social roots lay not in trade or industry, but in professional services like law, education, and administration. The term was implicitly synonymous with high caste, though caste by itself was not a barrier to entry into the bhadrolok community, provided the other requisite parameters like education and economic class were satisfied. As the hereditary zamindaries lost most of their lands, and individual estates became smaller in size, land holdings which were once the marker of social prestige lost its sheen. This was to be replaced by education, the new marker of social status. The families which had once

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been involved in entrepreneurship and zamindaries, were now quick to grab the opportunities that an expanding imperial setup needed. The demands created for accountants and clerks were met by the English educated bhadrolok class. Education had become an economic necessity. The Simon Commission Report of 1928 noted, As the bhadralok classes practically send all their boys to school, school attendance is a mark of respectability and a sign of a desire, however vague and indefinite, for a better career than that open to the ordinary cultivator or labourer. The school is the one gate to the society of the bhadralok. (Report of the Indian Statutory Commission, 1930: VIII, 24) The sons of the affluent and influential section of the Bengali society were inclined towards Western and Christian education. Many of them like Krishna Mohan Banerjea, Gopinath Nundy, Mohesh Chunder Ghose, Anando Chunder Mazumdar, Lal Behari Day, and Michael Madhusudan Dutt converted to Christianity. Henry Louis Vivian Derozio and his band of young students of Hindu College further fostered a taste in western learning. Moral and social questions were fearlessly discussed in their meetings, and religious and social institutional practices were critically attacked. It was a time of confusion, and Young Bengal was attributed to have been completely infatuated with everything that was ‘western’; they imitated the English style of dressing, spoke only English even at home, quoted Shakespeare and Milton, furnished their homes with nude marble statues, and converted to Christianity. Some notable names who formed a part of the ‘Young Bengal Movement’ as it was called were Krishna Mohan Banerji, Ram Gopal Ghosh and Radhanath Sirkar. In their meetings, ‘the principles and practices of Hindu religion were openly ridiculed and condemned…and it was then resolved that nothing but a liberal education could enfranchise the minds of the people’ (Sastri 1909: 107; original in English). It was an open war between the young reformers and the orthodox Hindu society.

Transformation in the Babu households Babus now came to be associated with this new class of literate English educated class of Bengalis who formed the greater part of the white collar workers required in the cosmopolitan enclave of Calcutta. Howell in his Note on Education, 1867, published by the Government of India, voiced some serious doubts regarding this new class of educated Babus. He put forward the following question: Do native gentlemen, like English gentlemen, return to their Zemindaries to spread around them the reflex of the enlightenment 178

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they have received themselves? Does the process of highly educating a few, and leaving the masses, tend to increase, or to diminish, the gulf between class and class? (Adam 1868: 19) Howell was questioning how an education system confined exclusively to the higher classes could provide for the general population. He was at the same time wary of the social divide this would eventually cause. Like in Britain, education in Bengal too became co-extensive with social identity. The glamour and the social advantages of being associated with the dominant powerful class, made the elite Bengalis eager to adopt western manners and learning. They were satirised, particularly in the colonial discourse, for their imitation of English manners, attire and language in the public sphere, while following the typical Bengali traditional rituals and practices at home. Mrs. Weitbrecht, the CMS missionary stationed in Burdwan wrote: Young Bengal is full of European ideas when abroad, but quite a Bengali when at home. He eats mutton chops and drinks champagne when in society; within the walls of the zenana, he kneels before the image of stone, which is the family idol. Half the amount of education spread over the land would have been sufficient for mighty changes but for their influence. (Weitbrecht 1875: 47–8) For Weitbrecht, the Bengali Babu was clearly an object of derision partly also because of his dependency on the women in the house: The husband consults his wife on questions of domestic economy, and leaves in her hand all the petty details of household business. As natural guardian of the babe in her arms, the husband gives all the consideration due to her rank, and suffers himself to be dictated to, not only in respect to domestic affairs, but to his own pursuits in life and mode of conduct. (Ibid. 47) Clearly, one who ‘suffers himself to be dictated to’ by his women is presumed to be an infantile, effeminate Bengali, as compared to the implied manliness of the Englishman (Sinha 1995). Such a viewpoint contradicted her earlier opinion in particular, and colonial assertion in general, wherein the women of Bengal were seen as ‘prisoners’ of the stronghold of patriarchy (Weitbrecht 1875: 39). Neither does this picture corroborate the western imagining of Indian women as merely sexualised objects of men’s passion.7 In fact, such a contention surprisingly reflects an agency that the Bengali women exercised in their domestic circle and the influence that 179

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these women as mothers and wives had over their men. Ironically, Bengali women’s clout over their families was thought to be the reason why evangelisation and conversion to Christianity in Bengal was so negligible (Ibid. 47–48). Though the general state of women was under the repressive strictures of patriarchy, as was the condition of most women worldwide of that time, there were many Bengali women whose interests and pursuits were beyond the domestic confines. Meredith Borthwick’s book The Changing Roles of Women in Bengal provides many instances of women in Bengal who were prominent zamindars and had a thorough understanding of legal and administrative structure of the society. Some of them were educated and retained a firm control over their estates (Borthwick 1984: 20–1). As English education and western ideas infiltrated within the bhadrolok household, an indicator of the status and mark of being bhadro (civilised) was the education and position of women. Missionaries like Alexander Duff had hit the bulls’ eye when he declared that the young Bengali men educated and familiar with Western culture would no longer want their wives to be illiterate. The highly respected and prominent Bengali pundit Krishna Mohan Banerjea8 used his erudition and influence to persuade upper class Hindu families to encourage their women to study. He summed the general feeling and attitude of the upper classes towards female education when he wrote: Many Hindus of respectability are, I know, from personal observation, very desirous in the abstract of instructing their females. They see the palpable benefits which education has conferred upon their Western sisters, and often wish they could boast of such accomplished wives and daughters as those of their European neighbours. (The Calcutta Christian Observer, March 1840: 128) Some women were quick to seize the opportunity and were eager to bring about a reformation in their lives. Bala Shoondoree Tagore was one such woman who got married at the young age of 12 into the reputed affluent Tagore family of Calcutta.9 Along with her young husband she received English education, and the Scriptures and Bunyan’s allegory so influenced her that she was soon eager to adopt Christianity as her religion. She found the practices of Hinduism ‘profane’ and ‘sacrilegious’, and was prepared ‘to do battle with earnest heart and soul in behalf of the religion of their choice’ (Storrow 1856: 50, 57). Women like Bala were exceptions. Most of them, like Rassundari Debi, were traditional Hindu housewives for whom reading a book was taboo. Rassundari had to persevere to make herself literate by covertly reading from her son’s schoolbooks. At the age of 88 she wrote her autobiography Amar Jiban. In the introduction written by Jyotindranath Tagore, he writes that her desire to read was not from her interest to read novels and plays, but from her intense wish to be able to read all the Hindu 180

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devotional scriptures as an extension of her religious devotion (Debi 1876: Introduction, n.p). Both such sets of women were the objects of strong criticism. There was societal approbation towards women who were keen to read, such activities being considered frivolous, a wasteful pastime amongst women of middle and lower classes for whom working at home or in the fields had more economic value. Women seeking education were seen as not just neglecting their ‘primary’ duty of looking after their families, but were denigrated as ‘aspirational’. Upper class wives of Babus who distinguished themselves with western attainments were also the butt of critical disapproval, often mocked as ‘Bibis’ imitating European women in their dress and manners, and hence distanced from their own community. The wife of Krishna Mohan Banerjea, and some other wives whose husbands had converted to Christianity, and who had themselves adopted western learning and ways of living were ridiculed for their Anglicised ‘memsahib’ like behaviour. Towards the end of the nineteenth century, it was fashionable for girls of elite bhadrolok families to attend European schools like the Loreto House for a more authentic westernised education. Though the numbers were very small, these girls wore frocks to schools and learnt English, French and western music. Such accomplishments were considered favourable for high society marriages.

Imperial impressions of the Babu With the infiltration of English education and western ideas within the bhadrolok household, the native intellect was submitted to pressures of adopting and adapting, to ‘mimic’ colonial superiors. As Homi Bhabha has pointed out, mimicry stems from counter pressures, from ambivalent desires and a complex strategy of identity and differences, which constructs a recognisable Other ‘as a subject of a difference that is almost the same, but not quite’ (Bhabha 1994: 122; original emphasis). The choice available to the colonised was either to submit or reject. Any form of rigidity and opposition to change would have been perceived as backward, and if they copied the ways of the colonised they were considered poseurs: Whether in antagonism or in partnership, the educated Bengali Babu were a laughing stock. Either way he was an object of caricature and disdain, both by his own people and the others. The Babu occupied an ambivalent transcultural space, a ‘hybridity’ as Bhabha termed it, that made any claims to a ‘purity’ of culture untenable (Ibid. 38). Both in England and at home, the Babu began to be satirised as an absurd mixture of imperialist culture and indigenous traditions. As colonial functionaries and interpreters of the Raj, the Babu remained alienated from both the English and Indian elite. The Babu prototype was one whose attire was an assortment of English and Indian, had pretentions to English education, flaunted status in society, spoke in a pedantic tone, made incongruous literal translations into English from the vernacular, speaking a ‘Babu English’ or ‘Cheechee English’ which was to be 181

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literally disparaged. The Indian form of English, known as ‘Babu English’ eventually became the target of Victorian satire. Colonial lexicographers like Colonel Henry Yule and A. C. Burnell published the famous HobsonJobson (1886), a glossary of words and phrases that denoted the peculiar ‘Imperial Babel’10 that resulted from Anglo-Indian contact. It catalogued the word ‘Baboo’ which was initially used as a ‘term of respect attached to a name, like Master or Mr., and formerly in some parts of Hindustan applied to certain persons of distinction’. The word was gradually to signify ‘a native clerk who writes English’, till after 1850’s when the term as used in Bengal came to be often used ‘with a slight savour of disparagement, as characterising a superficially cultivated, but too often effeminate, Bengali’ (Yule and Burnell 1903: 44). Hobson-Jobson provides a compilation of the usages of the word ‘Babu’ from a moniker of respect to a disparaging term. In 1781 a native wrote: ‘From my youth to this day I am a servant to the English. I have never gone to any Rajahs or Bauboos nor will I go to them’. In 1803 Lord Valentia in his Travels referred to a Baboo Dheep Narain, and in 1824 Bishop Heber mentioned ‘the immense convent-like mansion of some of the more wealthy Baboos’. By 1850 it is evident that the British are displeased with the Babus. Sir H. M. Elliot wrote, ‘we should no longer hear bombastic Baboos enjoying under our Government the highest degree of personal liberty… rave about patriotism, and the degradation of their present position’. By 1866, the response of the British had become disparaging towards the Babus who managed clerical positions. Sir Alfred Lyall in The Old Pindaree gave expression to this sentiment when he wrote: But I’d sooner be robbed by a tall man who showed me a yard of steel. Than be fleeced by a sneaking Baboo, with a peon and badge at his heel. By the latter part of the nineteenth century, the English impression of Babus was downright negative. They were seen as covetous sycophants. The Fraser’s Magazine, August 1873, noted: ‘The pliable, plastic, receptive Baboo of Bengal eagerly avails himself of this system (of English education) partly from a servile wish to please the Sahib logue, and partly from a desire to obtain a Government appointment’. Lord Lytton used the term ‘White Baboos’ in 1880 for those English officers who ‘have become de-Europeanised from long residence among undomesticated natives’ (Source: Yule and Burnell 1903: 44). Several Englishmen who came to India in the employment of the EIC transcribed their impressions of the country and the people. An early official was Captain Thomas Williamson who first arrived in India in 1778 and was in the Bengal army of the EIC. He added a wealth of knowledge about the life of Europeans in India from his stay of twenty years in the country (Williamson 1810).11 In The European in India (1813), Williamson 182

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described the native ‘crannies’ (kiranis), the native clerks, who were employed in government offices. They could read and write English with fluency and correctness, but ‘do not understand one word in ten!’ Some of them, he wrote, ‘affect great erudition, which they were desirous of displaying on all occasions. They pore over dictionaries until they think themselves perfectly finished’. Williamson presents a letter, which he claims is copied verbatim, to give an idea of the English compositions of these pedantic Babus. It was written to inform of the blowing away of a window shutter by a storm. Last night monstrous breeze come, make all house palpitate. Window shutter very much agitated; and, after much trepidation, relinquish from the frame, and subside to the ground. I make carpenter come to conjoin immediately. Mistress very great fright. (Williamson 1813: D1–D2) What Williamson found amusing was not just the unidiomatic and wrong usage of English by these clerical Babus, but their naïve and often touching pretentions to equal the English speakers: ‘And nothing hurt the poor fellow more than being told what stuff he had written. He really believed his note to be the very acme [sic] of literature!’ (Ibid. D2) Augustus Prinsep a civil servant in the Bengal establishment and brother of James Prinsep, wrote Baboo and Other Tales, Descriptive of Society in India in 1834.12 The Babu, as Prinsep described, by giving loans had over a period of twenty years ‘accumulated four stone of flesh upon his originally meagre ribs’ (Prinsep 1834: I, 312). ‘Slowly and deliberately did this descendent of the self-mortifying Brahmins of yore’ metamorphose into a rich and gluttonous aristocrat who kept himself supplied of the best champagne, lived in colonnaded houses furnished with the finest Brussels carpets, rich Persian rugs, chandeliers and ottomans. To the Europeans he would say ‘I am your slave’ and take their abuses, but in his own house he was served by a string of servants and enjoyed the rewards of his fortune (Ibid, I, 312–17). George Francklin Atkinson’s Curry & Rice (1859) written in the same vein was a witty exposé of Anglo-Indian social life and manners to ‘afford amusement’ (Atkinson 1859: Preface, n.p). Written immediately in the aftermath of the 1857 Mutiny, the book curiously bypasses the political turmoil of the times,13 and presents a farcical take on English life in the colony where both the coloniser and the colonised fall within the ambit of the satire. Atkinson, who was a captain in the Bengal Engineers, situates his satiric vignettes and lithographic representations in Bengal. There were a total of forty pieces, each accompanied by an illustration.14 These articles ostensible meant to introduce the griffin, the newcomer to India and English life in the colony also exposed the absurdity of Indian life in general. There is a clear divide between ‘us’ and ‘them’ wherein the native is 183

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often the object of fun, particularly the western educated natives. The absurd tastes of the Babus and the rich native’s propensity to horde and exhibit curios were not spared either. In Curry & Rice, a horse with a resplendent orange-coloured tail and orange-coloured legs is said to have belonged to a previous owner, ‘a corpulent Baboo’ who had got them ‘dyed in true Oriental fashion’ (Atkinson, ‘Our Sporting Griff’, 1859: n. p). Again, the Nawab ‘impregnated with a taste for English sports and pastimes’ is an obvious character exaggerated to comical ends. His sporting turnout is a hilarious mix of Oriental and western, bedecked in gold embroidered velvet turban along with patent leather shoes and stockings, as much as his palace which stocks up a jumble of equally mismatched articles like pianos, harps, babies’ cots, ladies’ wardrobes and billiard tables (Atkinson, ‘Our Nuwab’, 1859: n. p).

Packing a punch at the Babu This mildly patronising and amused tone of British humorous writings very soon changed to derision and scorn. The Bengali bhadrolok’s expression of dissatisfaction at not getting equal consideration in administrative posts had been met by Queen Victoria’s proclamation of 1858 assuring equal treatment to all subjects.15 This prompted the Bengali elite to compete for positions in the imperial bureaucracy, law and civil services. The new group of English educated Babus began to travel to England for ‘higher studies’ for bar and civil service exams. They provoked a mixed reaction among the Victorian public. While there was curiosity and awe for the wealthy native ‘rajas’, there was disdain and unease towards those who were seen as social climbers. When Babu Dwarkanath Tagore visited England in the early 1840’s the Queen was suitably impressed and noted in her diary, ‘The Brahmin speaks English remarkably well, and is a very intelligent, interesting man’ (Royal Archives, Queen Victoria’s Journal, 8 July 1842. Quoted in Kling 1976: 169–70). But Charles Dickens joked that he feared to write “baboo” in case his pen made a slip and added an “n” (Dutta 2003: 35). After 1857, Babus, who tried very hard to assimilate English manners and habits, were recurrently the subjects of mockery in the writings of the British. The British magazine Punch or the London Charivari,16 which ran from 1841, regularly published cartoons on India and the Raj. Thomas Rowlandson, James Gilray, James Moffat, and John Doyle17 were some of the artists whose cartoons penetrated the polished veneer of imperialism to expose the ugly, the unethical, and the funny side of the Empire. Punch regularly featured imperial politics and caricatured colonial India, their favourite being the Indian equivalents of the British bourgeoisie. A comic portrayal of the Bengali Babu was Baboo Hurry Bungsho Jabberjee (1897). This was first published in the Punch magazine in serial form under ‘Jottings and Tittlings by Hurry Bungsho Jabberjee’ before appearing as a novel by 184

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F. Anstey.18 Anstey had no personal knowledge of Indians. His impression of the Babu was derived from the expertise of his Anglo-Indian friends, and the circulation of ideas of the racially and intellectually inferior Indian, rampant in the nineteenth century western world. He was warned not to instigate ill feelings among the influential high-class natives in India, but the novel was apparently popular enough among the British readers to warrant a sequel A Bayard from Bengal (1902) (Rangarajan 2014: 155–56). Baboo Jabberjee is the stereotype aspiring colonial native who travels to London to study for the bar exam. On arriving, the Babu seeks to write for the Punch and writes a letter in awkward loquacious ‘Babu English’: ‘Venerable and Ludicrous Sir, Permit me most respectfully to bring beneath your notice a proposal which I serenely anticipate will turn up trumps under the fructifying sunshine of your esteemed approbation’ (Anstey 1897: xiii). Among his accomplishments, he claims to ‘write you the most superior essays on every conceivable subject under the sun’, guaranteeing that his ‘transcendentally superior effusions’ are as good as Tennyson’s and Cowper’s so as not to be ‘detected as spurious imitation’ (Ibid, xv). The burlesque of the ambitious native presents him as a pompous fool who is over confident of his literary capabilities, speaks an outdated, ornate and garbled English, interspersed with cliched Latin phrases. The whole purpose of Anstey’s novel is a scathing satire of the mongrel status of Indians like Baboo Jabberjee who aspired to Britishness [see Figure 5.1]. As a British subject, the Babu desperately hopes that his English education would enable him to be assimilated into the British community, but the incompatibility of his ‘otherness’ is inescapable despite his attempts to mimic the Other. He pretends to be a rich Hindu Prince who wants to build genteel connections in Britain by attempting to marry an Englishwoman. The fractured identity of the Babu therefore represents the split subjectivity of all native subjects who tried very hard to adopt and adapt so as to be accepted as ‘British subjects’. Ironically they only succeeded in being subjected to ridicule, contempt and alienation, becoming at once the comedian and the comic. Baboo Jabberjee as a bumbling infantile native with his effeminate ‘natural timidity’, his cowardice, avarice, unscrupulous deceit, and instinctive bragging, is for the British the quintessential embodiment of ‘the more highly educated civilian class of Baboos’ who could never bridge the gap to become an Englishman (167). Till the end he remains a misfit in the English society, ‘a gay sort of Hindu deceiver’, ‘an inexperienced Oriental ninnyhammer of a fellow’, wearing a ‘double-faced mask of ambiguity’ (266). In his sequel, A Bayard from Bengal (1902), Anstey continued as his theme ‘the adventures of a typically splendid representative of Young India on British soil’ (Anstey 1902: x). Baboo Jabberjee writes of the ‘spanking career’ of the protagonist Chunder Bindabun Bhosh who is an undergraduate student at Cambridge University. While he is confident that his ‘novel was to render all readers dumb as fishes with sheer amazement and prove a very fine feather in my cap’, he is not too sure if his Indian artist friend has 185

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Figure 5.1  Baboo Jabberjee (Anstey 1897: 127).

done justice to the illustrations that accompany the text (Ibid. xiii–xiv). The pictorial depictions of the English society are a hilarious hotchpotch of incongruous East-West fashion and customs [Figure 5.2]. The Indian character socialises amongst the English aristocratic circles with the hope to ‘fascinate’ ladies of the British nobility. After several misunderstandings and escapades wherein the Babu is a target for crude humour, he leaves for India. Such representations of the Babu lampooned natives who aspired to be like the English gentleman. As these parodies indicate such characters 186

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Figure 5.2  A Bayard from Bengal (Anstey 1902: Frontispiece).

were clearly anomalous to the structure of the British society and were seen to cause only disruptions and disharmony.

Depiction of the Babu in Indian Punch The British Punch was instrumental in introducing caricature in India. Punch was already familiar and popular among the avant-garde of Indian intelligentsia. The readership comprised the middle class Indians who had had an English education and were familiar with topical issues in Britain and British India. With the advent of print culture, rapid communication, and growing numbers of western literates, the Indian intelligentsia was ready to wield a foreign tool to articulate its views and aspirations. As Hans Harder has shown in his edited volume Asian Punches: A Transcultural Affair (Harder and Mittler 2013), and as Partha Mitter puts it, ‘The comic 187

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magazine became one of the major Western ‘commodities of international consumption in these fluid times’ (Mitter 2013: 49). A whole lot of comic magazines inspired by Punch surfaced in India in the nineteenth century. Some of them were The Indian Charivari or The Indian Punch, Basantak, The Avadh Punch, The Delhi Punch, Urdu Punch, Gujarati Punch, The Punjab Punch, Hindu Punch and Parsi Punch. Several of these spin-offs were owned and edited by the British in India, but some like Basantak, Avadh Punch and Hindi Punch were run by Indians. In format and style, the Indian comic versions were perfectly suited for the largely bilingual Indian elites to question the imperial policies, to comment on social and political issues, or to ridicule their own people. The first Indian magazine inspired by the English Punch was Delhi Sketch Book, which appeared in 1850. After the 1857 uprising it was relaunched as The Indian Punch which went on till 1802 (Mitter 2013: 57, 28fn) Essentially meant to be a sketchbook of British social life in the colony, it also poked fun at the natives’ body, their names, and their inability to comprehend English customs [Figure 5.3]. Only those who have sufficiently become ‘westernised’ under ‘the new system’ were to be rewarded. The figure of a young man in a tailcoat, trousers, hat and a stick, is in bearing and attire a perfect copy of the English sahibs. It is, as the cartoon illustrates, only by an application to books, which he has tucked under his arm and is engaged in reading the other in

Figure 5.3  English Customs and Native Comments. ‘Sahib, on my behalf please thank the ladies, I really enjoyed their nautch performance!’ (my translation). Delhi Sketch Book, Vol IV, September 1853: 76.

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Figure 5.4  A young man of genius. Delhi Sketch Book, Vol V, January 1854: 18.

his hand, that he can obtain ‘civil appointments’ [Figure 5.4]. This was perhaps a pun on the word ‘civil’, as here was a well-dressed, enlightened, ‘civil’ model for the aspirational Babus to emulate if they were to seek civil services. In north India, the Urdu weekly Avadh Punch (also known as Oudh Punch), which ran from 1877 to 1936 was inspired by the British Punch. It was edited by the well-known academic and historian, Munshi Sajjad Husain of Lucknow. Archibald Constable’s selection from the illustrations which appeared in the Oudh Punch from 1877 to 1881 displayed, according to him, an ‘Eastern sense of humour’ that was based on ‘the same principles as Punch’ to illustrate the ‘evil effects of vicious indulgence’ in the 189

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tradition of the satirist William Hogarth (Constable 1881: i–iii). Avadh Punch became a household name and published some of the greatest comic writers in Urdu literature. Mushirul Hasan in Wit and Humour (2007) reproduces the writings and illustrations of one of the lesser-known writers, Wilayat Ali ‘Bambooque’ who wrote mostly in English, and whose works appeared in Avadh Punch from 1877 to 1881. Bambooque’s gallery presents the favour-hunting specimens of ‘the amusing make-believe of a sahib’ desperately aping the English sahibs in manners and speech (Hasan 2007: 125). His specimens of Babus who have forgotten their culture and language range from the ‘England returned Barrister’, the ticket collector, the deputy collector to the honorary magistrate, who are comic in their unashamed servility to the white sahibs (Hasan 2007: Appendix I). The most successful one in the tradition of the Punch was The Indian Charivari which first appeared in 1872 from Calcutta. In the ‘Prospectus’, Colonel Percy Wyndham, the owner, explained the purpose of the magazine: It has frequently been remarked amongst the European community of the glorious East, and of this its Metropolis in particular, that no literary vehicle exists by which the faults and follies of our Public men may be satirically exposed, and our own various grievances humorously ventilated…It is our purpose…of supplying once a fortnight an Illustrated paper, reviewing current topics and matters of interest in a light playful spirit. (The Indian Charivari, 15 November 1872: I, 3) The magazine lampooned public figures, especially social reformers and westernised Bengalis who pretended to rival the British in intellect. The young Bengali Babu was presented as a cartoon, a ridiculous fusion of East and West, in a dhoti, coat and a hat, wearing monocle, carrying an umbrella, and smoking a cigar [Figure 5.5]. The pictorial mockery of the Babus’ physiognomy was often accompanied by appropriate doggerels: There was a Baboo of Calcutta Who lived upon ‘clarified butter’ Till he grew as obese As cramm’d Strasbourg geese, This ghee-fed Baboo of Calcutta. (The Indian Charivari, 3 October 1873 (II: 301) The Bengali Babu was an ape-like figure, to be shown its size if he tried to even remotely copy the ‘British Lion’ [Figure 5.6]. As a suggestion of their physical appearance and unevolved cognitive capacity, the Bengali Babu was equated with primates [Figure 5.7]. 190

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Figure 5.5   ‘The Young Bengalee Baboo of the Future’. The Indian Charivari, October 3, 1873: II, 291.

Figure 5.6  ‘The British Lion and the Bengalee Ape’. The Indian Charivari, January 24, 1873: II, 69.

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Figure 5.7  ‘The Same at the Zoo’. The Indian Charivari, March 20, 1874: III, 66.

The natives’ ‘Babu English’ was a frequent butt of fun. A cartoon titled ‘Native Progress’ shows a semi-clad Babu holding his newly born child in his arms. Excited at the ‘increase in my domestic occurrences’, he informs the English sahib, ‘Sir, my wife little boy have got. Therefore must put in newspaper – wife of Nobin Chunder Ghosh of boy – no cards!!’ (The Indian Charivari, 6 August 1875: VI, 25). The ‘chattering Babu’, showing off his English education with ‘a curious mixture of conceit’ was a nice piece of ‘talking machine’ to be exhibited and ridiculed at home and abroad (The Indian Charivari, 18 April 1873: II, 141). The spread of education amongst the natives and their social aspirations were frequently satirised. The ‘enlightened and educated Babu’ was presented as a good for nothing, drunk reprobate, whiling away his time, a veritable ‘rubbish’ of the society [Figure 5.8]. The Hindu educated male was represented as the modern Lord Krishna in formal academic regalia complete with gown, cap and shoes. Krishna surrounded by women who are attracted to his tune of ‘education’ was 192

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Figure 5.8  ‘Our Enlightened and Educated Baboo’. The Indian Charivari, September 3, 1875: VI, 57.

clearly a dig at Brahmo men and their attempt to emancipate their women by educating them [Figure 5.9]. Those Indians who ‘fitted’ into the ‘new system’ without a facile aping of English ways were seen as worthy of respect. They were figured alongside notable British statesmen in a special Charivari Album (1875). It was an illustrated album with a note on major public figures in imperial India accompanied by illustrations of the personas. The album offered an approbatory view of those Indians who had mainly been loyal to the British Raj. Babu Rajendralala Mitra, Vice-President of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, was praised as ‘an independent and upright native gentleman’ who enjoyed ‘the esteem of both Europeans and his fellow countrymen in India’ (The Indian Charivari Album 1875: Plate no. 20). Babu Kristodas Pal, the editor of the Hindoo Patriot, was described as ‘a Sudra by caste’, ‘a Baboo who had made his way own way in the world, unassisted by Government pay or patronage, and in this alone he is a worthy example to his fellow countrymen, who are too apt to depend upon Government for everything’ (Ibid, Plate no. 45). Babu Keshub Chandra Sen was commended for ‘his bold 193

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Figure 5.9  The ‘Modern’ Krishna, The Indian Charivari, March 5, 1875: V, 53).

enlightened spirit’ and his courage to convert to Christianity (Ibid, Plate no. 76). And Pundit Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was presented as an erudite native scholar, one of those ‘whom the Government has delighted to honour’ (Ibid, Plate no. 79).

Bengali’s self-mockery and criticism of Babuyana In Bengal, the educated Bengalis took full advantage of their English learning and adapted it to their vernacular milieu to bring out their local version of the Punch.19 The earliest version, Basantak was published anonymously in 1873 in Calcutta, and lasted for just a couple of years. It was brought out by two upper class Bengali zamindar brothers, Prananath Dutta and Girindranath Dutta. Girindranath who was a talented wood engraver and illustrator drew the cartoons. Basantak was printed at the Sucharoo Press in 194

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Figure 5.10  Gajaner swang. The Swang of Gajan See sister, Look at this charade! Don’t be stupid, that’s Calcutta’s Saheb Babu! Oh dear, I did not know that!!! (my translation) Basantak, Vol. 2, 11th issue, 1874: 199

Calcutta, which was owned by the Dutta’s of Hathkhola. The Bengali incarnation of Mr. Punch on the covers of Basantak was a well-fed Brahmin pundit clearly fattening himself on social chaos and religious superstitions, while all around him are scenes of a filthy and depraved city. Chandi Lahiri in the introduction to Basantak writes that inspired by the London Punch, Basantak was the first cartoon journal in the Indian languages. Though Lahiri opines that the magazine ‘had the courage to criticise the British rule’, yet most of its satire was visibly aimed at the English educated natives (Basantak Year n.m: Introduction). The magazine mocked the westernised Bengali Babus often seen as a farcical cartoon [Figure 5.10]. And it reserved the most 195

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Figure 5.11  An educated wife. ‘Can’t you close the door when you blow at the fire?’ (my translation). Basantak, Vol. 2, 9th issue, 1874: 149

vitriolic satire against social reformers and their efforts to emancipate women. The newly educated Bengali women were perceived to have forgotten their ‘traditional’ and ‘feminine’ roles. In a clear resentment of ‘modern’ women, the magazine lampooned the fashionably dressed housewife who is occupied reading a novel, while the husband blows the kitchen fire. The illustration indicates the drawbacks of having an educated wife, as she imperiously orders the husband to close the door because the smoke from the oven is irritating her [Figure 5.11]. Such cartoons drew on the Bengali men’s insecurity that educated women would ignore the hearth and husband. Another Bengali magazine that was modelled to some extent on the British Punch was Panchu-Thakur or Pancha-nanda (1878–83). Indranath Bandyopadhyay brought out a Bengali monthly Pancha-nanda in the form of a series of articles. Though he explained in the Preface that Bengal was still not ready for satires, and the publications were to be untimely and irregular, Pancha-nanda did bring out some strikingly brilliant comments on contemporary society (Bandyopadhyay 1925: 190–2). The writings dealt with criticism of the ‘babuyana’ of the rich bhadrolok boys who 196

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wasted their time in imitating western ways instead of focusing on their education (253–54), and of educated Bengali women who had forgotten their traditional roles. An advertisement for ‘Tails’ shipped from England besought rich customers to buy the ‘tails’ as these would enhance their wealth and respect in society (262–64). A poem ‘The Bengali Boy’ was severely deprecatory of the emasculate effeminate Bengali boys who played the flute and sang tender songs (449). A caricature of an Englishman abusing an Indian Babu on the matter of the infamous Ilbert Bill indicated the magazine’s response to the current issue of Indian Babus judging cases involving Europeans [Figure 5.12].20

Figure 5.12  ‘The effect of the Ilbert Bill’ in Panchu-Thakur (Bandyopadhyay 1925: Vol. 3, 514).

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The vernacular Punch style magazines were contributory in drawing a critical picture of imperial policies, the discrepancies and distortions in the system, and the vulnerability and the insecurity of the colonial subjects. The attempt to mock at their own self was as much an awareness of their frailty and inferiority, as the pathetic ridiculousness of trying desperately to be included. The jibes at the Babu, at his effeminacy, pretentions, and mannerisms, were then by extension directed at all those native subjects who found themselves suddenly alienated from their own people.

Folk depiction of Babus in Battala prints and Kalighat paintings Those who occupied a somewhat marginal position in the colonial discourse were raising some very pertinent attacks and questions on the pretentious facade of the colonial subjects. Education which remained the preserve of the bhadrolok, served to deepen the cultural divide between the high and low culture. The coming of print culture in the nineteenth century, as Sumit Sarkar notes, ‘extended the bounds of literacy, but simultaneously deepened the gulf between the literate and illiterate’ (Sarkar 1990: 102). At the same time, printing provided opportunities for the development of new genres and modifications of a more ‘plebian origin’ (Ibid). The Serampore missionaries had already established printing and publishing activities in 1800. Some of the natives like Panchanan and Karmakar had helped William Ward in starting a wooden press. Later the Serampore Mission had joined with the FWC in printing and publishing Christian tracts and textbooks. The Mission was the first to start an English-made type foundry and even began making its own paper. Most of the European printing presses were operational from the ‘White Town’ and produced the majority of books in demand for vernacular schools. With the increase in literacy and demand for more vernacular works, those men who had been associated with European printing presses moved on to establish their own businesses. They had by then learnt the techniques, and being liberally patronised by the Europeans themselves, went on to set up their presses in ‘Black Town’ area (Ghosh 2006: 112–13; Shripantha 1997: 22). Battala,21 as this area was known, saw a thriving business in popular publications that catered to the tastes of the lower-middle class Bengalis and the less literate masses. Shripantha’s Battala (1997) and Anindita Ghosh’s Power in Print (2006) provide extensive information on indigenous endeavours and the local enterprisers whose book trades were mainly concentrated in the heart of the older part of north Calcutta.22 Ghosh remarks that ‘the early productions of the Battala press reflected popular tastes of the pre-print era’ which mainly consisted of mythological tales, popular legends, scriptural stories, medieval romances, almanacs, and legal and grammatical works (Ghosh 2006: 115–16). Publications were on every conceivable topic. These were written in colloquial language and were attractively packaged with woodcut illustrations. That, and the fact that cheap quality 198

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paper was used for the books, made them easily affordable and accessible for a broader cross-section of people.23 The indigenous lower orders had found an alternate voice, which was in sharp variance to the rigid and unaccommodating morality of the Victorian society of nineteenth century England and a similar bhadrolok morality in Bengal. Their uninhibited articulation of how they perceived the society around them was often coloured by bawdy expressions, raw wit and daring representations. Sumanta Banerjee’s The Parlour and the Streets elucidates the vibrant folk culture comprising verbal, visual and written manifestations of songs, dramatic performances, rituals, and writings of nineteenth century Bengal (Banerjee 1989). In his essay ‘Bogey of the Bawdy’ too, Banerjee has dwelt extensively on what he terms ‘the efflorescence of a vigorous plebian culture’ that started from the fifteenth century and was to culminate in the nineteenth century (Banerjee 1987: 1197). Banerjee defends the folk use of bawdy wit that was commonly sexual and scatological in nature as an ‘innocent ribaldry’, a ‘collective gaiety of the past’ (Banerjee 1987: 1201). He also points out that, The bawdy was not always a trigger for innocent laughter. It could become an important weapon in the hands of the lower orders to transfer the sanctimonious to the material sphere in a gesture of protest against the ethereal world built up by the Sanskrit-educated Bengali brahmin priests and their followers. (Ibid) By the mid-nineteenth century ‘Battala Culture’ began to signify cheap, recreational and profane literature, and was strongly reproved by the educated Bengali elites and highbrow Bengali journals. The first to start a systematic attack on popular art forms were the missionaries. Rev. James Long compiled a list of about 500 books, mostly from the Battala presses, which he considered coarse and vulgar.24 Following his recommendation the 1856 Act was passed under which selling or distributing any form of literature, or exhibiting any form of drawings, or uttering any word or songs that was deemed ‘obscene’ was a punishable offence. What Long thought to be ‘hideously obscene books’ with ‘filthy pictures’ and ‘erotic’ themes with explicit sexual expostulations were banned under the Obscene Publications Act of 1856 (Ghosh 2006: 134). But the high demand and supply of such publications ensured their survival, and such books continued to be sold covertly. Ghosh mentions that by the mid-1870s a new genre of folk representations began to figure prominently at Battala, and this was in the forms of short farces and parodies which reflected contemporary social problems (Ibid. 137). Such writings, which did not have much literary merit, were nevertheless very popular. These were written in a racy language and squarely denounced the promiscuousness of the urban Babus and their Bibis. The Battala press publication unmasked the vices of the city dwellers, the frauds 199

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of ‘holy men’, the hypocrisy of social reformers, and the scandals in upper class households, which were exciting fodder much in demand by the lower middle class. Especially the Elokeshi-Mohanto incident (1874) which rocked the bhadrolok class, led to at least a dozen farces (Shripantha 1997: 27). This was a high profile scandal based on an affair between the chief priest (mohanto) of the Tarakeshwar temple and Elokeshi the wife of an upper class Babu, Nabinchandra Banerji. Enraged at this, Nabinchandra beheaded his wife and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Educated and liberated women were most often the object of mockery, like Pash kora mag [The Graduate Woman] [Figure 5.13], Kalikaler rashik mey [The Flirtatious Women of Evil Times] and Srijukta bau-bibi [The Feminine Women]. It is remarkable that while such incidental farces were critical of women’s education and female liberation, most of these at the same time condemned polygamy and child marriage. What Battala was doing in print, Kalighat was doing in paintings. Kalighat paintings refer to the paintings on handmade scrolls or paper locally produced by folk artists in the neighbourhood of the Kali temple at Kalighat.25 The temple of Kali had been built in the seventeenth century on a desolate strip of marshy land next to the Ganges. As its fame spread and pilgrims flocked the temple, a small settlement grew around it and a brisk trade developed in earthenware idols, woodcarvings, paintings and other souvenirs for pilgrims. The finished product had to be lightweight for pilgrims to carry back with them. These also had to be reproduced quickly for mass sale, and prices had to be low for the generally poor pilgrims to afford these products. All these determined the style of the art form that developed in Kalighat.26 The patua community, which had settled in the Kalighat area were traditionally folk painters who drew on long scrolls of handmade pats (canvases). Their original profession was to display the pats on which were painted narrative stories usually from the epics and popular mythologies. Narrating or singing the illustrated events accompanied this.27 Though figures of Hindu gods and goddesses remained popular, with the passage of time these patuas began to innovate on the themes of their paintings. By the end of the eighteenth century the economic and social changes in Calcutta were responsible for the formative influences on the painters, and by 1888, T. N. Mukharji an official of the Indian Museum noted that ‘of late they have taken to making pictures representing a few comical features of Indian life’ (Cited in Archer 1953: 11).28 The patuas characteristic interest in documentation of contemporary developments was manifested in their depiction of nineteenth century life in Bengal.29 Their opposition to a modernised western lifestyle that was seen to destroy the traditional values and customs, was expressed in the satirical caricatures they drew. Their antipathy towards the new monied class, their resentment for the arrogance of western educated Babus were vented by means of their visual representation of the society. 200

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Figure 5.13  Book cover of Pash kora mag (1888) by Radha Binod Haldar.

The degeneration of the age, decaying morals, the unsavoury aspects of western lifestyle among the Babus, the foppishness of the Babus, their revelry with prostitutes were common themes of Kalighat paintings. The paintings presented sensuous women lying languidly, or embracing their westernised patrons. The threat of the modern women disrupting the harmony of marital life was another typical theme. The dandy Babus were portrayed begging the favour of their women, sheepishly following them [Figure 5.14], or lying in abject surrender at their feet. Paintings regularly depicted domestic friction, of westernised husbands pandering to their modern wives. Western life was perceived as the destroyer of all traditional values. Set against an urban backdrop, a painting titled ‘Revisiting Kaliyug’ 201

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Figure 5.14  A woman leading her lover as a sheep. Museum no. IS.2391953. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

shows a Babu carrying his wife on his shoulders, while the old mother follows on foot, carrying the woman’s handbag, an unmistakable sign of western influence [Figure 5.15].30 Symbolically then, imitating western manners and customs is the reason for the dismissal of traditional values from society. Contemporary issues like the Elokeshi-Mohanto case were subjects of intense fascination among the painters [Figure 5.16].31 The figure of Nabin was derived from the model of the Bengali Babu, a caricature of the foppishness of the nouveau riche who had assimilated western attributes and mannerisms. That women formed the focal point of these paintings is hardly surprising. Whether as objects of desire, as subjects of societal oppression, as disruptive forces, or as powerful individuals, the ‘female principle’ remained the main force behind Kalighat paintings. In Kalighat, the abode of Kali, these paintings show the female embodiment of shakti, and that women were definitely the inspiration behind the aesthetic depictions of folk art in Bengal. 202

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Figure 5.15  ‘Revisiting Kaliyug’. Museum no. IS.50-2011. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Figure 5.16  Nabin about to deliver the fatal blow to Elokeshi. Museum no. IM.1401914. © Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

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Literary parodies of the Babu in early Bengali literature The most striking lampooning of the Babus were the ones that were written by the urban literati. Ironically, the critics were from the same social class of bhadroloks who were being critiqued. It was the educated urban elite, which produced the early self-parodies in their writings and journalism. Early literary satires on the Bengali Babus of Calcutta were produced by Bhabanicharan Bandopadhyay (1787–1848). A contemporary of Rammohun Roy, Bhabanicharan, was according to the newspaper Friend of India (FOI)  ‘one of the ablest men of the age’ (Introduction by Brajendranath Bandopadhyay in Bandopadhyay 1823: ix). He was the editor of Samachar Chandrika, and he used his writings to vociferously attack the English educated young men of Bengal who were getting distanced from their traditional roots. He wrote Kalikata Kamalalaya (1823), Nabababubilas (1825), and Dyutibilas (1825), which were satirical portrayals of the dandyism of the Babus. He is supposed to have been the author of Babur Upakhyan, Shaukheen Babu, and other humourous sketches, which appeared in Samachar Darpan between 1821 and 22.32 As a young man Bhabanicharan had moved to Calcutta from the outskirts of the city in search of employment. This was at a time when Cornwallis’ Permanent Settlement was giving a new shape to the emerging urban space. His Kalikata Kamalalaya [Calcutta, the Abode of Lakshmi]33 through conversations between a Brahmin working in the city and a newcomer, who has come to the city from the countryside, unfolds the contemporary changes in the city of Calcutta. The newcomer voices the prevalent anxieties of city life related to differences in food, language, clothes and customs. The city dweller confirms that the educated bhadrolok Babus have forsaken their language and customs, and are enamored with English and Parsi. They go to their workplace in fine carriages, dressed like a dandy, work for a few hours, and forget to do the evening prayers. They have forgotten their religious rituals, denigrate their sashtras, and consider the sradh rituals for their dead parents as absolutely bogus practices. The more wealthy ones are always busy organising worship of gods and goddesses, celebrating Holi, Durga Puja, and Rath. Particularly for the funeral ceremonies of their parents, grand feasts are arranged where everyone from friends, priests and teachers are invited. Such gatherings witness lavish distribution of wealth and goods, from gold and silver for the pundits, to meals and money for the beggars (Bandopadhyay 1936: 11). These extravagant charities, it is asserted, are more for displaying their wealth and power, a means to earn a reputation and status in society (26). And finally the newcomer wants to know more about the ubiquitous Babus in Calcutta. He is told that they are a class of very fortunate people who are everyday approached by hordes of people. From ordinary people who are desirous of petty favours, to men who are desperate to get their daughters married, to those who are just happy to

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gossip with the Babus, and even pundits who want to learn law and wisdom, everyone seeks the association of the Babus who are an indispensable class in Calcutta (49–51). Another humorous sketch of everyday characters by Bhabanicharan was Nabababubilas [The Amusements of the Modern Babu] (1825).34 It was one of the most popular Bengali books of the time (Sen 1921: 21).35 Bhabanicharan used the pseudonym of Pramathanath Sarma in this work. Brajendranath Bandopadhyay considers this to be the finest work of Bhabanicharan.36 In 1855, Rev. James Long praised this work as ‘one of the ablest satires on the Calcutta Babu, as he was 30 years ago’ and compared it with Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress (Long 1855: 82–3).37 The book opens with an elaborate eulogium to the Company: The divine incarnation of the blessed, holy, and Honorable East India Company, the promoter of holiness, the scourge of vice, the protector of good subjects, possessed of excellent penetration, has opened many channels for the acquisition of wealth and distinction in this country. In this great city of Calcutta there are many spurious baboos…’ (cited in FOI 1825: 290) Nabababubilas defines the ‘half-babu’ as one who had mastered the four ‘pa’: pasha, payra, paradar, poshak (chess, pigeon, other women, dress); and the ‘full-babu’ as one who besides mastering the four ‘pa’ had also mastered the four ‘kha’: khushi, khanki, khana, khyarat (fun, whores, rich food, charity). The Babu is surrounded by flatterers, and as one sycophant outlines, the qualifications of ‘a most excellent Baboo’ are: ‘feeding birds, training nightingales for fighting, social songs, dress, gifts, flying kites, and sylvan feasts’ (cited in FOI 1825: 298). This book provides a satirical view of the education of the new class of wealthy Babus, especially their craze for English education, their flamboyant habits, and their flaunting of social status. Dharer po, the officer, after a good deal of search found a Munshi of Jessore and presented him to our Babu. The Babu said, ‘Look here Munshi, you are to instruct my sons in Persian and when they will have to go out in the carriage to attend some party by invitation, you will have to accompany them. You will have free boarding and Rs. 3 besides, as pay. The Munshi, as he heard the conditions of the offer, departed from the place. Then for a period of one or two months Munshis hailing from Natore, Dacca, Sylhet, Comilla, Boran, and Barisal came as applicants but the Babu dismissed all of them with the remark that their pronunciation was

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not correct… After a time a Munshi of Chittagong was appointed. He showed a certificate from an officer of the dock in which it was stated that he had served as a boatman. We have already described the Babus knowledge of English: he cast a glance at the certificate written in English and said, ‘Yes, it is written here that this man acted as a teacher of Persian for a long time’…The Babu was greatly delighted that the Munshi had served an English company. The boatman agreed to the conditions of the Babu and was forthwith employed. (Sen 1921: 25–7) The young Babu finally learns neither Bengali, Persian or English. He picks up words of abuse from his English teacher which he uses with an English accent, is ill mannered, and learns the art of babugiri to perfection. The book details the licentious progress and eventual fall of the Babu who falls into debt, is imprisoned and is deserted by his flatterers and mistresses. He ends up in a deplorable condition, repenting his former days of babugiri. Bhabanicharan’s satire was not just aimed at the city-bred Babus, but also at women from various sectors who were affected by the glamour of urban life. Dyutibilas [The Glamour of Wealth],38 published in 1825 provided vignettes of women from different sections of the society, their lifestyles and love trysts. Characters like the flower-woman, a barber woman, hairdresser, washerwomen and performing women form the core of the narratives. The title page of the book indicates that it is in verse form, written in the spoken Bengali dialects and in payar (rhyming couplet) and tripadi metres. Written in the form of a panchali (a narrative-performance genre), Dyutibilas brings together themes of eroticism and devotion, and as the title page further reveals, it was written for entertainment. The book begins with an invocation to ‘Dyuti’ (the lustre of wealth): ‘Those who fall at the feet of ‘Dyuti’ forget even the sorrow of losing their sons… your presence can turn the kurupa (ugly) to surupa (beautiful)… everyone sings in praise of you (Bandopadhyay 1825: 5–6; my translation). In the form of dialogues it advises the city-dweller: Listen urban Babus! You are enamoured [by the women in the city]. But be warned before you enter other men’s houses… The citydweller thinks money can buy anything. He boards his carriage and visits the prostitutes every day, but love eludes him. He is forever searching for love. He does not know that the love that money can buy does not bring happiness. (Ibid. 18–19; my translation) Bhabanicharan Bandopadhyay’s Nababibibilas (1831) [The Amusements of the Modern Bibi] was written as a companion piece to Nabababubilas, describing similar acts and habits of the wives of the rich men. Both texts 206

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are analogous in depicting the man-woman link in the degradation of society. If the babus are the ultimate fruit, then the bibis were allegedly considered to be the ‘main root’. Nababibibilas depicts a lonely housewife who distressed at the neglect from her husband, takes up a lover. When the lover deserts her, she takes up the career of a prostitute at a brothel. As a ‘nababibi’ (a modern woman), she learns to dress herself seductively, to flirt with men, and wheedle her patrons to gift her jewels and riches. She is finally ruined, becomes a beggar and laments her life (Bandopadhyay 1840). As regards the works of Bhabanicharan, FOI made a very pertinent observation: ‘Though the work is highly satirical, and though some of the strokes of ridicule may be too deeply touched, we cannot venture to pronounce it a caricature… it is a valuable document; it illustrates the habit and economy of rich native families, and affords us a glance behind the scenes’ (FOI 1825: 289). Through stereotyped patterns of representation of the Babu-Bibi, what were regarded as social malaises of a decadent Bengal were largely mirrored. The dichotomy of urban-rural, modern-traditional, and moral-immoral that these books depict is indicative of the contemporary dilemma in the Bengali minds. On the one hand were the attractions of a glamorous metropolis, the abode of the Goddess of Wealth, the seat of intellectual pursuits, and unbounded social mobility. On the other hand was the naïve rusticity of the countryside. At the same time, the big city was perceived as a potential seductress that could engulf and destroy all simplicity. It was ‘the opposition between the urban and sophisticated, but morally fragile, and the authentic rural, which [was] however a little dumb’ (Harder 2004: 382). At the same time, such representations of the natives strengthened the colonial contention of Bengalis as lazy, effeminate, and morally degraded. The FOI was quick to clarify that In all this however, there is nothing peculiarly characteristic of the habits and manners of the natives. It is the simple progress of a rake, another version of Hogarth’s vivid representation. It is such a course as is exhibited in all countries where money is plentiful, and the restraints of conscience or of society lax’ (FOI 1825: 302) In spite of the parallel drawn with contemporary English bourgeoise society in the above report, the Babu remained an object of ridicule by both the natives and the English. The Babu continued to be resented and systematically impugned by both parties. As Lord Lytton wrote in 1876, the Babus ‘really represent nothing but the social anomaly of their own position’ (quoted in Seal 1971: 134). Despite the popularity of Bhabanicharan’s works during the early part of the nineteenth century, the bhadrolok Bengali writers and literary historians have either ignored his contributions, or have provided a negative assessment. The novelist Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay in 1870 lamented the ‘literary filth’ and ‘mass of rubbish’ by writers of his 207

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previous generation, which included the writer of Nababaubilas (Harder 2004: 384-85). Hans Harder provides a list of literary historians of post1870s who shared either Bankim’s views or did not consider Bhabanicharan’s work worth mentioning (Ibid. 385–90). The reason is not too far away to see. First, Bhabanicharan’s works were seen as more of an evolutionary narrative of an indigenous tradition of erotic literature that did not fit neatly in the Western literary generic paradigms popular in the later nineteenth century. Second, from a linguistic perspective the highly ornate Sanskritised language used by Bhabanicharan was no longer popular among later readers. Third, a more puritanical representation of the bhadrolok Babu which skirted the earlier coarse depictions was to become popular literary readings in the second half of the nineteenth century. The colonised bourgeois like Bankim in claiming to be the agents of ‘bhadrota’ (civility), were kowtowing the colonial ideal of fashioning ‘modern’ and ‘civil’ bourgeoise subjects. This entailed a regulating of the obscene, and an attempt to eradicate India’s ‘obscene’ print culture.39 Simon Gikandi has written perceptively on the affinity between colonisation and the making of middle class sensibilities. One of ‘the most attractive and persistent ideals of colonial culture, as far as the colonised were concerned, was the idea of bourgeois civility and identity; it was what marked the colonised as modern subjects who had broken with outmoded…traditions’ (Gikandi 1996: 32). The formation or the transformation of native identity under colonial influence is deeply embodied in invention and creation of new identities. Such dissemination of ideas were definitely in that direction where the self-perception and selfimage of the colonial subject was being regularly moulded.

New wave of literature on the modern Babu It cannot be denied that Bhabanicharan’s works served as models for later satirical writers for whom the Babu continued to be representational of the unprecedented changes in the metropolis of Calcutta. The city and the Babu were synonymous, both indicative of an epochal moment in history which saw a marked metamorphosis in their entity, that was as much fascinating as it was baffling. Satire remained the preserve of a small if growing minority of the new literati who were themselves steeped in Western culture. Peary Chand Mitter (1814–83), known for his introduction of Bengali modern prose, belonged to the same class of Baniyas who had made their fortunes in Calcutta. He had been critical of the Permanent Settlement, and took up the cause of the peasants exploited by the zamindars.40 As a member of Derozio’s Young Bengal group, Peary Chand was actively involved in the ‘renaissance’ of Bengal. His novel Alaler Gharer Dulal [The Spoilt Brat of a Rich Family] (1857) written in Bengali with a Preface in English was published under the pseudonym of Tek Chand Thackoor.41 The English Preface to the first edition claimed the work to be an ‘original Novel in Bengali

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being the first work of the kind’. The explicit purpose was to illustrate ‘the pernicious effects of allowing children to be improperly brought up, with remarks on the existing system of education, on self-formation’ and on the Hindu ways, manners and customs (Mitter 1857: Preface, n.p.; original in English). The English translation of Peary Chand’s work was brought out as The Spoilt Child: A Tale of Hindu Domestic Life by G. D. Oswell in 1893. The protagonist Matilall, the ‘spoilt child’ of Baburam Babu, is shown to be a decadent character whose wicked dispositions and bad habits are the results of a vacuous mind and wrong upbringing. The author compares the ways in which the English and Indian children are brought up. Boys who have not been accustomed from their childhood to innocent and harmless amusements, are apt to take to diversions of a low kind. The children of Englishmen are instructed by their parents in a variety of innocent pastimes, in order that they may have sound minds and sound bodies: some draw and paint: some cultivate a taste for botany: some learn music: some devote themselves to sport and gymnastics: each takes up the form of harmless enjoyment most congenial to him. Boys in this country follow the example that is set them: their one wish is to be dressed in gorgeous attire, with a profusion of gold embroidery and jewels; to make up picnic parties of their chums and gay companions, and to live luxuriously in all a Babu’s style. Fondness for display and extravagance naturally characterizes the season of youth…and a variety of evils result, by which eventually body and mind alike may be irretrievably ruined. (Mitter 1893: 70) The Lockean principle of sound mind in a sound body that Peary Chand expounds here clearly postulates a superior upbringing of English children vis-a-vis Indian children. This then neatly fits into the prevalent colonial discourse of Europeans being superior in body and intellect. The natives’ propensity to be morally decrepit is implied to be as much of a racial disadvantage, as the obvious lack of ‘schooling the mind’. Matilall’s riotous living, his foppery, extravagant spending, unscrupulous ways, debauchery, indulgence in opium and drinks, nautch parties, and his rapacious intentions towards women, are indicative of the malaise affecting the Babus and by extension the whole of society. Though the protagonist was invested with a greater degree of individualism, he was very apparently an allegorical representation of the degradation of Bengali society of that time. Alaler Gharer Dulal was meant as a timely warning for people to mend their ways, to weed out the disease from an increasingly decadent society. Matilall repents, renounces his bohemian ways and goes to Benares where with the help of a spiritual guide and the teachings of the sashtras he reforms his life.

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Surprisingly, ‘holiness’ is brought back in the life of Matilall by his association with ‘dharma’ – a dharmic place, a dharmic guru, and dharmic texts.42 He concedes in the end ‘my babuyana has been the cause of my ruin’ (Mitter 1857: 179; my translation). He realises the importance of a balanced mental and physical advancement, that without a fit body, ‘without manly exercise from one’s boyhood courage cannot exist’ (Mitter 1893: 215). A reformed man, Matilall returns back to his family house and resumes his household duties once again. Peary Chand’s protagonist thus undergoes ‘chittasuddhi’, a purification of the heart, which was obtained by both devotion to God and love for mankind. True to the fundamental principles of Hinduism, Matilall finally follows the dharma of mankind that is man’s cultivation of all faculties, mental as well as physical for the good of the self and others. The contrast between Baburam and Baradababu in Mitter’s novel is evocative of the dilemma of the Bengali bhadrolok caught between two seemingly opposing value systems. While Baburam is the superficial anglicised babu who forgets his culture and religious practices, Baradababu represents the ideal bhadrolok – one who has achieved this synthesis between tradition and modernity, between the Eastern and Western values. In his novel, Mitter is critical of any sort of so-called progress or modernisation that disregards Manushattva (humanity) which lies in the ability to harmoniously unite all faculties. This requires anusilan, a disciplining of all senses. Only then can one’s karma (actions) be good. The reformed Matilall epitomised the new Bengali madhyabitto (middle class), which was expected to cultivate all human faculties to bring about a change in the society. The madhyabitto Bengali, like Lord Krishna, had to be a householder, a dharmic philosopher, a physically strong warrior if need be, and to save oneself and all others. It was not through renunciation but active participation in society that such changes could be brought. Didactic literature, like moral pedagogy in the classroom, was clearly adapting itself to British ideas of moral discipline, utilitarianism, and positivism, and at the same time the indigenous ethos of dharma, niti and karma. The satirical portrayal of Babus took a new turn with Kaliprasanna Sinha (1840–70) who was born in a rich zamindar family and became involved in social and literary works at a very young age. He established the Vidyotsahini Sabha when he was just 13 years old, and remained associated with all the leading literary magazines of his age. His translation of the Mahabharata into Bengali from the original Sanskrit at considerable cost to himself, was a huge contribution to Bengali literature and remains popular till today. Along with his sympathy for peasants and widows, he was severely critical of the foppery of babudom. His Hutom Pyanchar Naksha [Sketches by Hutom the Owl] (1862) was a collection of satirical essays presented under the pseudonym ‘Hutom’, the wise Owl. It was a powerful portrayal of contemporary colonial Calcutta society and especially targetted at the Babus. Hutom observes the stupendous changes in Calcutta, juxtaposing the old

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and the new with irony and humour. The urban space offered unprecedented avenues of social mobility. The influx of capital, the spread of English education, and a ‘modern’ outlook fuelled by quick money resulted in the nouveau riche adopting spectacular ways of living. The narrator is often disapproving of the new vulgarity, and at times baffled by the chaotic scenario. For Kaliprasanna who belonged to the upper class Bengali Hindu society, it was sarcasm aimed at his own kind. Though he claimed to be a detached spectator, he was also forthright in admitting that he had not forgotten to include himself in the satirical sketches (Sinha 1862: Introduction). But like many who regarded themselves as the bonedi class,43 he was contemptuous of those who had become rich overnight, and made them the targets of his bantering. Gone are those days; the Bengali nouveaux riche have become more civilised. We no longer get to hear of them washing their bottoms with rose water, or wearing the finest muslin, or dusting their pan leaves with pearl dust. There are lesser instances of spending a lakh rupees on their pet dog’s wedding, blowing away currency notes, or oiled Babus being driven in their carriages for their daily ambulation. Those men with curled and parted hair, dressed like Kartik, surrounded by flatterers and kept mistresses, have become as rare as the occasional tidal waves or earthquakes. It is now rare to find upper caste rich men keeping paid toadies; only a few rich Baniyas in the cities are fortunate to afford them. Such characters as the chest thumping buffoons dressed up in foppish clothes, perfumed and drunk out of their senses, demonstrating their high castes and pretending to be educated (even if they cannot decipher the alphabet) are only to be found in the social gatherings of rich Baniya Babus. (Sinha 1862: 25; my translation) Almost at the same time other forms of literary writings like plays were questioning the self-formation and culture of contemporary society. The bhadrolok was contemptuous of popular performances like jatras and kobiwallahs. These were seen as facetious and vulgar, and not up to the refined tastes of the elite Bengalis. Influenced by western theatres, the English educated Bengalis sought to define a cultural alternative that had a noticeable affinity to English plays. Plays by Shakespeare and other English dramatists were encouraged. The rich scions of Bengali families like the Tagore and the Sinhas established theatres in their garden houses where Bengali versions of English plays were frequently staged. The first Bengali play that reflected the style of the English plays was Vidya Sundar, staged in 1835 in Nabin Chandra Basu’s palatial house in Calcutta (Banerjee 1989: 162). The Sinhas of Paikpara had a permanent stage built at their garden house in Belgachia

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where ‘modern’ plays were staged regularly. Not only in the beautifully decorated stage settings and the costumes of the actors, but also in the dialogues in chaste Bengali these plays were far removed from the rustic performances of jatras. Even the theatregoers had to conform to a certain class and decency to be given admission to watch the plays. Plays like Michael Madhusudan Dutt’s Ekei ki baley Sabhyata (1860) and Buro Shaliker Ghare Ron (1860) ridiculed the prevalent manners of society. Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824–73), a Bengali poet and dramatist was hugely influenced by the Young Bengal Movement, seeking to bring about a reformation in Indian society. Much influenced by western writings and western modernity, Madhusudan began his writings in English, travelled to Europe to study law, and even converted to Christianity to express his socioreligious dissent. It was later in his life that much disillusioned with western culture he travelled back to India and began to write in Bengali. He wrote: If there be any one among us anxious to leave a name behind him, and not pass away into oblivion like a brute, let him devote himself to his mother-tongue. That is his legitimate sphere his proper element (Quoted in Poddara 1970: 216) In 1856 Madhusudan returned to Calcutta and renewed his contacts with the world he had left behind. The early 60s saw a prolific production of his plays, and the two satirical comedies Ekei ki baley Sabhyata [Is this civilisation?] (1860) and Buro Shaliker Ghare Ron [The Old Lecher] (1860) made a huge impact on the nineteenth century Bengali theatre goers. The Raja of Paikpara who owned the Belgachia Theatre had invited Madhusudan to write farces but subsequently the plan to stage the plays was withdrawn after some Babus who frequented the Raja’s drawing room objected to the satirical barbs directed at them. The plays had conveyed the manners of the rich and affluent class of Bengal, particularly the profligate habits of contemporary Young Bengal society. In Ekei ki baley Sabhyata, Nabakumar Babu and his young friends are the prototype of the nineteenth century English educated new generation who were derisive of their own traditions. They interspersed their Bengali with a smattering of abuses and slangs in English. While they talked of social reforms, they were scornful of their elders and their values. In a jibe at the numerous societies that were being established in Calcutta purportedly for the reformation of the Bengalis, Madhusudan in his play indicates the hypocrisy of ‘Gyantaringini Sabha’, where Nabakumar Babu and his ilk spend their time idling, drinking and being entertained by prostitutes (Dutt 1862: 26). Madhusudan’s Buro Shaliker Ghare Ron with its pungent satire was again hurtful to the orthodox section of the Hindu Bengali society. In this play Bhaktababu is an old lecher who has a roving eye and a weakness for women.

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He presents himself to the society as a pious Vaishnavite who adheres to religious rituals but exploits the poor and their women (Dutt 1860). Considering the sensitivity of the Babus who saw themselves mirrored in such plays, these were staged much later after they were written.44 Ekei ki baley Sabhyata was staged on 18 July 1865 by the Shobhabazar Theatrical Society, and Buro Shaliker was performed by the Arpuli Natyasamaj in 1866. Both proved to be very popular with the public (Bose 1979: 42). Other plays written in that decade, like Harish Chandra Mitra’s Ghar Thakte Babui Bheje [In spite of having its nest, the weaver-bird gets wet] (1863), Dinabandhu Mitra’s Sadhabhar Ekadashi [The wife’s ‘widowfast’] (1866), and Nemaichand Sheel’s Erai Abar Borolok [They are the rich] (1867) stand out as prominent examples of the upper class getting disillusioned with English education and westernisation. Dinabandhu Mitra’s Sadhabhar Ekadashi,which focused on Bengali youth trapped in the whirlpool of intoxication, appealed greatly to the Calcutta audience. There was pronounced similarity to the Young Bengal youths who were brilliant products of the English education, but who in their eagerness to embrace all that was ‘modern’ had unfortunately become victims of alcoholism and other vices. They profess to be members of the ‘Committee for the Prevention of Drinking’, but as Mitra writes, this was just ‘creating a concourse of hypocrites’ (Mitra 1883: 1; original line in English). Mitra’s plays unfolded a realistic picture of the hollowness of contemporary society and were very popular among theatregoers who could identify with the characters and the situations in the plays. These farces depicted a range of typicality with bawdy jokes, degraded characters, ribaldry, and use of obscene language. The authors belonged to the educated bhadrolok class, who anticipating a backlash from their own class often hid their identity under a pseudonym. The preferred medium of literary prose was the informal chalit bhasha of the common masses. The use of colloquial idiomatic expressions, bordering on the rustic and bawdy, were far removed from Bhabanicharan’s highly Sanskritised sadhu bhasha. Dramatic farces used the city of Calcutta and the ubiquitous Babu as avenues to voice dissent against what were seen as the adverse effects of modernisation, urbanisation and westernisation. These plays and writings were strongly polemical, often with a sharp social and political message. If a certain section of conservative Bengali bhadroloks were offended by the mirror that reflected their faces and the reality of the times, it was because the Calcutta gentry was no different from those in London or Paris who had strongly objected to the satiric plays by Congreve and Moliere. In spite of it, the last half of the nineteenth century saw a prolific turnout of creative writings that were full of repartees and retaliations, as the Bengali middle class looked forward to the next farce that would undermine the image of another prominent bhadrolok.

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The Nationalistic Hindu Babu, a la Krishna Though these satirical plays were very much in the style of the Comedy of Manners of Jacobean Drama, these were in no way a simplistic derivative of western literary models. From late nineteenth century, the indigenous writings were being increasingly used to fit into the larger project of Hindu nationalism. After 1857 especially, there was a growing trend to respond to contemporary tyrannies by the colonisers, and the bhadrolok’s literary attempt was to make the lower orders aware of the atrocities of the colonial planters and oppression of the peasants.45 Perhaps nowhere was this synthesis so well defined as in the writings of Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay (1838–94),46 one of the noted names of the Bengal Renaissance. Much influenced by the British thinkers like Bentham, Comte and Mill, Bankim’s underlying belief in sanatan dharma47 was for him synonymous with nationalism.48 Largely through his writings in the Bangadarshan,49 Bankim emphasised the need to rediscover and restate the glorious cultural identity of Indians. In the emerging consciousness of a nation, Bankim induced a selfbelief in the people that was as much based on a moralistic code of dharma as on physical strength. The ideal man, as Bankim elucidates in Krishnacharitra (1886), was like Krishna – not a divine character, but a human prototype embodying scholarship in knowledge, competence in judgment, promptitude in work, piety at heart, connoisseurship in taste (Chatterjee 1991). Krishna, a major Hindu god considered to be the incarnation of Vishnu, has been traditionally associated as an amorous lover, as the flute-playing cowherd either in a recumbent position or frolicking amidst the gopis. For Bengali Babus who led a very similar life, such an image of Krishna was definitely not a worthy model if they were expected to bring about a revolution in society. The appropriation of Krishna as a strong, virile, masculine warrior was critically important for Bankim’s discourse on nationalism. Bankim believed in cultural and self-regeneration, but not one based on facile imitation of the British or by being a nation of ‘inactive’, ‘effeminate’ and ‘sensual’ people.50 His scathing denunciation of the class of Babus in his article ‘Babu’ denotes his intense pain and disappointment with the present bhadrolok value system. At the same time he was acutely aware that only the Bengali madhyabitto could bring about a change. I will speak of those Babus, variously talented, skilled in eating and sleeping, attend and listen. I extol the character of the Babu, spectacle adorned, belly-minded, many-tongued, and news-loving, attend and listen… those who have patterned clothes, cane in hand, dyed hair and large boots, they are Babus. Those who are invincible in speech, adept in a foreign language and hostile to their mothertongue, they are Babus… Like Vishnu they too will have ten incarnations – namely, clerk, tutor, Brahmo, commercial agent, doctor,

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lawyer, magistrate, zamindar, newspaper editor and idler…He whose wisdom is in childhood in books, in youth in a bottle, in adulthood in his wife’s anchal [the end of a sari], he is a Babu… He who is a Christian with the missionaries, a Brahmo with Keshabchandra, a Hindu with his father and an atheist with begging priests, he is a Babu… The belief will be born in the minds of those of whom I have spoken that by chewing pan (betel leaves), resting on pillows, speaking two languages and smoking tobacco they will achieve the re-liberation of India. (Chatterjee 1986: 27–9) Bankim also mocked the excessive verbosity of the intellectual Bengalis, for most of whom like Babu Jabberjee of the Punch cartoons, speaking and writing a loquacious and chaste sadhu bhasha were constitutive of being a bhadrolok. The need of the hour, he felt, was not the eloquence of words, but deeds; actions that would bring the required progress of society. Like Krishna goading Arjun to fight the battle in the Mahabharata, Bankim was encouraging the slumbering Bengalis to rise up against British subjection. In Kamalakanta (1885), the wise bee advises the opium addicted Bengali Babu to complement knowledge with hard work. The bee laments: Being born in this Bengal of yours, what shall I do if I do not drone? Who being a Bengali leaves off droning?51 Which Bengali has any business other than droning?… To tell you the truth, Kamalakanta, the whining of your race is no longer pleasant. Even I, who am a small insect, do not just drone – I gather honey and I sting. You all can neither gather honey nor can you sting – you can only drone. There is no sign of any action in you – you only moan like a complaining girl. If you can cut out your garrulous speeches and writings, and pay more attention to some work – then you will prosper. Learn to make honey, to sting. Compared to the effusive compositions of your tongue, our stings are more powerful. Nobody dies of words; but our stings are feared by all creatures… Go off! Make honey, set your minds on work! If at all you find your minds straying from work because of your diseased tongues, then bind your tongues with a piece of wood so that you may concentrate on your work. I am tired of your whining. (Chatterjee 1885: 198–201; my translation) The attributes of the bee in Bankim’s Kamalakanta reminds us of Jonathan Swift’s famous satire on the Ancients and the Moderns in Battle of the Books. Like Swift, Bankim was debating over the principles of the old and the new, but unlike the former he was not for a diametrical schism between

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the two. In a clear turnaround from the more liberal reformism of nineteenth century, early twentieth-century Bengal was turning decisively towards a form of Hindu nationalism. Most Bengali intellectuals like Bankim and Tagore were impressed and influenced by modern Western learning and scientific advancement, but not at the cost of a complete rejection of the past. Bengali madhyabitta sreni was looking for a balance that would embrace western progress and the intrinsic values of Hindu culture. While writers like Bankim were advocating a more belligerent masculinity that encouraged Bengalis to emulate the virile westernised nationalism, Tagore had a more cautious approach towards aggressive nationalism. Following the liberal tradition of his Brahmo family, Tagore’s nationalism was an expression of harmony to be realised through an acceptance of the cultural diversity of the modern nation. His Ghare-Baire [The Home and the World] (1915) can be seen as an indictment of extremist nationalism, and at the same time Tagore’s heroine, Bimala literally and symbolically defies all traditional values and walks out of all that held her back. Though the consequences are disastrous, yet the novel implies that such tragedies are inevitably a part of transitional times.

Notes 1 The word ‘Baniya’ was a corrupt form of the Bengali word ‘banik’, meaning trader, and derived from ‘vanij’ in Sanskrit. They were traditionally a hereditary mercantile community. 2 He made huge investments in land and had estates all over Bengal for which he appointed European agents. He became the first Indian bank director in 1828 and founded the Union Bank in 1829. He established an Anglo-Indian Managing Agency, Carr, Tagore and Company, which was involved in trade and shipment of tea, jute, opium and coal. 3 Unlike the British whose trade was controlled by the EIC, the Americans traded as individuals and their association with Indian agents was necessary to conduct successful trading. The Peabody Museum, Salem and the Essex Institute in Massachusetts has a collection of nine portraits of Indian banias as a testimony of this relationship. 4 He was the grandson of Akrur Dutta who was a sloop contractor and the founder of one of the most respectable business families in Calcutta. 5 Kissori Chand Mitra in a lecture on Motilal in 1878 called him the ‘Rothschild of Calcutta’. Mentioned by Tanika Sarkar (Sarkar 2001: 34, fn33). 6 For an exhaustive manual of Land-Tenures and Revenue administration prevalent in British India, with special reference to Bengal, see Baden Powell (1892). 7 On the colonial representation of the Indian zenana see (Dutta 2019). 8 Krishna Mohan Banerjea (1813–85) was a prominent member of Derozio’s Young Bengal group. He converted to Christianity and was the first Bengali priest of Christ Church, and the President of the Bengal Christian Association. 9 For details of Bala Shoondoree’s life see Rev. E. Storrow’s The Eastern Lily Gathered: A Memoir of Bala Shoondoree Tagore (Storrow 1857). 10 The title of Padma Rangarajan’s book (Rangarajan 2014).

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11 Williamson’s The East India Vade Mecum, written in two volumes in 1810 was a meticulous noting down of minute aspects of life and people in India. For a critical analysis of Williamson’s work see (Dutta 2015). 12 Prinsep’s work was brought out by his widow upon his premature death. The 1834 copy is available in the BL. 13 Atkinson was very much preoccupied with the sombre situation of 1857, as his Campaign in India (1859) written only a few months before Curry & Rice depicted the military events and violence of 1857. 14 These images in the tradition of Sir Charles D’Oyly’s representation of picturesque India, were printed by Day and Son, Lithographers to the Queen. 15 Surendranath Banerjee travelled to England in 1868 with some others like Romesh Chunder Dutt to compete in the ICS examinations. He cleared the highly competitive examination but was later dismissed from his post on a flimsy charge 16 Punch was founded in 1841 by Henry Mayhew and Mark Lemon, along with the illustrator Ebenezer Landells. It was subtitled The London Charivari as a reference to the French satirical magazine Le Charivari. 17 John Doyle’s son, Richard Doyle himself a celebrated cartoonist, gave Punch its signature masthead cover in 1849. 18 The articles were written by T. A. Guthrie under the pseudonym F. Anstey. 19 Both Partha Mitter and Chaiti Basu have discussed at length the role of the Bengali Punches in exposing the effects of colonial modernity in Bengal (Mitter 1994; Basu 2013). 20 Proposed by the Viceroy Lord Ripon in 1883, it allowed senior Indian magistrates to preside over cases involving British subjects in India. The introduction of the Bill led to intense oppositions from the British in Britain and those settled in India. 21 Literally meaning ‘under a Banyan tree’. 22 A parallel can be drawn between Battala and Grub Street of London. The latter in between sixteenth to nineteenth century was proliferated by hack writers and low-end publishers, and known for its bohemian society. Similar to the cheap commercial productions in England, Battala in Calcutta was the center point for popular literature which was aimed at contemporary social issues. 23 For a detailed study of Battala and the books published from its presses, refer Shripantha’s Battala (1997). 24 We are indebted to Rev. James Long who in spite of his denunciation of the Battala publications, was the first chronicler of books published in these presses. See his Publications in the Bengali Language in 1857 (Long 1859), and also his Descriptive Catalogue of Bengali Works (Long 1855). 25 For detailed study of Kalighat Paintings, its style and themes, refer W. G. Archer (1953, 1962), Mildred Archer (1977) and Pradyot Ghosh (1973). For a sociocultural study of Kalighat see Indrani Basu Roy (Basu Roy 1993). 26 W. G. Archer calls them the Bazar Paintings of Calcutta. See Archer (1953). 27 For scroll production and artistic practices in late nineteenth century Bengal, see Pika Ghosh (2003). 28 Many of these paintings were collected by artists including the Tagores, Nandalal Bose and Jamini Roy, and connoisseurs like Ajit Ghose and Mukul Dey. For Ghose’s collection see Ghose (1926). Ajit Ghose’s and Mukul Dey’s priceless collection of Kalighat paintings was acquired by W. G. Archer and was housed at the V&A Museum, London. Most of the Kalighat paintings at the V&A Museum were presented by Rudyard Kilping. These were the collections of his father, John Lockwood Kipling who was a Curator of the Lahore Museum in the late 1870s (Sinha and Panda 2011: 15).

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29 William Archer, a leading scholar of Company paintings and Keeper of Indian Art at the V&A Museum finds unmistakable influences of the English lithographs of Charles D’Oyly’s and British natural history illustrations in the Kalighat paintings (Archer 1962: 7). A certain influence of this kind could be perceived in the natural history drawings of Indian fauna, but to regard the Kalighat style as directly influenced by European drawings is certainly farfetched. Hana Knizkova who made an extensive study of the Kalighat paintings housed at the National Museum in Prague iterated that ‘the style of drawings has nothing in common with European models or the natural history drawings’ (Knizkova 1975: 23). 30 Bonti is traditionally used in Bengali households to cut vegetables and fish. 31 The Tarakeshwar affair as it was also known, was the subject of 35 drawings, 17 of which are the property of V&A Museum in London; 12 are housed in the Pushkin Museum of Graphic Arts in Moscow, 4 in Bodleian Library at Oxford, and 2 in Naprstek Museum in Prague. For a detailed list of Kalighat paintings in museums around the world, see Sinha and Panda 2011: 14. 32 FOI (Quarterly) noted: ‘We close this slight and imperfect sketch with a humorous description of the brahmuns and pundits in Calcutta, drawn up, we suspect, by the same able pen to which we are indebted for “The amusements of the modern baboo” [Nabababublas]. March 1826: 324. 33 A rare copy of the first edition is available in BSPL. 34 There is a controversy over the year of publication. According to James Long, the first edition of Nabababubilas appeared in 1823 (Long 1855: 82). Friend of India in October 1825 mentioned that The Amusements of the Modern Baboo was printed in Calcutta in 1825 (FOI 1825: 289). 35 Hans Harder mentions the first positive review of Bhabanicharan’s writings to have featured in Dinesh Chandra Sen’s History of Bengali Language and Literature (1911) (Harder 2004: 386). 36 Brajendranath Bandopadhyay provides facts from Bhabanicharan’s biography to establish that Nabababubilas was the first book composed by the author (Bandopadhyay 1936: xvii). 37 William Hogarth was an eighteenth century English artist whose A Rake’s Progress is a series of eight paintings that shows the decline of the spoilt son of a rich merchant who comes to London and spends his money on gambling and prostitutes. 38 A copy of the first edition is available in BL. 39 As part of the colonial state’s attempt to morally discipline the subjects was the formation of the Society for the Suppression of Obscenity founded in Calcutta in 1873 which tried to keep out ‘obscene’ publications. These were measures of knowledge practices through which the empire was imagined. 40 Peary Chand’s article The Zemindar and the Ryots appeared in The Calcutta Review in 1846. 41 Have used the English spelling of his name as mentioned in the English Preface of the 1st edition of 1857. 42 The original Bengali text uses the word dharmic for the teacher and his teachings (Mitter 1857: 166, 169). 43 Those who had been rich for generations and had inherited their wealth 44 The educated Bengalis sought to disassociate themselves from plays and theatres which were considered to have less literary merit and ‘sometimes much too obscene and immoral’ for gentility (Banerjee 1989: 172). 45 Dinabandhu Mitra wrote the play Nildarpan (1860) to voice his protest against the exploitation of Bengali peasants by the British indigo planters. 46 Also referred to by his anglicized surname Chatterjee. 47 sanatana, that is, ‘traditional’ or ‘eternal’.

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48 Bankim’s literary works and his articles reflect this view. See his ‘Dharma o Sahitya’ in Vividha Prabandha (Chatterjee 1960). 49 Bangadarshan was founded under Bankim’s editorship in 1872, meant for the sushikshit (well educated) Bengalis, and played an important role in forming the opinions of the madhyabitto Bengalis. 50 Bankim referred to Indians as an ‘inactive’, ‘effeminate’ and ‘sensual race’, and blamed popular Bengali poets like Jayadev for their ‘effeminate poetical literature’. See ‘A Popular Literature for Bengal’ in Bankim Rachanavali (Chatterjee 1960: 97–102.). 51 The Bengali word used for droning is ‘gheyn-gheyn’, meaning a constant moaning and whining.

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As the Kenyan novelist, Ngugi wa Thiong’o has observed in Decolonising the Mind, the ‘most important area of [colonial] domination was the mental universe of the colonised, the control, through culture, of how people perceived themselves and their relationships to the world’ (Thiong’o 1986: 16). In specific terms it involves the extent to which the representation of ideas have moulded the thoughts and self-definition of the colonised people. Today when there is a greater scrutiny and awareness of the interconnectedness of ideas and knowledge, a look at the social situations and epistemological productions that were the foundation of the Indian intellectual order is much in need. We need to take cognizance of the obstacles that beset social thought as much as the unprecedented opportunities it gave rise to. The study of colonial education and the perusal of the larger historical processes that have determined the identity formation and subjectivity of the Indians bring us to some general observations. Colonial education no doubt changed the intellectual environment in India; it opened up a vista of western ideas which changed the very fabric of social life and thinking. Liberal reformism initiated by state legislations, missionaries, and Indian reformers challenged some of the archaic pre-colonial social customs and introduced education for women and lower castes. As the colonial model of education veered towards a more nationalistic one, there was a major transformation in the ways in which the content and style of elementary pedagogic materials were formulated. There was a growing consciousness of the role of primary textbooks in shaping the subjectivities of learners. Primers became increasingly child friendly, asthetically pleasing with pictorial and poetic embellishments. The emphasis was now on the joyous nature of education. The earlier authoritarian tone of the textbooks with its insistence on religious morality was softened to a more secular and scientific education. Moreover, the textbooks written by the Bengalis in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century indicate a new ‘imagined community’ of multiple identities (Anderson 2016). The blind emulation of western textbooks gave way to a more perceptive and sympathetic approach to local content and relevance. At the same time, these textbooks presented a more cosmopolitan vision that was global and practical in its aproach. Colonial Bengal’s 220

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‘modernity’ and ‘enlightenment’ was based on the consistent and protracted negotiations of multiple identities by the colonised subjects. Tagore’s idea of ‘Visva-Bodh’, or global consciousness, was part of the discourse of identity formation and was reflected in the textbooks written at that time. This was reliant on an awareness of crafting an identity based as much on one’s local affiliations and cultural roots, as the idea that one’s identity is much more elastic, plural and accomodating. The local and global were no longer mutually exclusive, no longer divergent. That the world was now interconnected and interdependent was to greatly encourage a multicultural education. The curriculum and pedagogical approaches of the erstwhile colonial education have supposedly moved on considerably in these years. The ‘civilising’ mission of the colonial ideology has been apparently eroded, with changes dictated by market pressures and changing demographics of the learners. It has been sufficiently argued that students can go through years of forced ingestion of Chaucer, Bunyan and Milton, without experiencing an iota of moral improvement. Humanities study is at risk as enrolments for classical courses have dropped, forcing most English departments to offer courses that are more ‘useful’ and ‘practical’ for career development. But ironically, nothing much has changed as far as mind-sets are concerned; only one form of hegemony and vested interests has been replaced by another. A close, interconnected and continuous narrative of power and hegemony is evident in knowledge formation and dissemination from precolonial to contemporary times. In India, and as has been seen globally too, education remained a site for contestation of power, about what is to be taught, whose knowledge is ‘authentic’, and who has the right to decide what is to be taught. Pursuit and cultivation of knowledge has continued to remain in the hands of the privileged. The dynamics and mechanisms through which power is maintained was evident even in the pre-colonial times when the Brahmin/Kshatriya nexus asserted academic content and dominated the dissemination of knowledge. Knowledge production has historically been controlled by a select few who have had the power to decide and enforce the ‘legitimate’ approach and subject of enquiry. The earlier system of indigenous scholarship and institutionalised learning with its imposition of authority continued under the British colonialists within a very similar framework. It merely passed from the Brahmanical authorities to the colonial masters and then to the educated elite. The fundamental premise of the book remains rooted on the bedrock of modern knowledge being produced in the western laboratories and then being disseminated and imposed in the colonies. The imposition has been so subtle, so overtly beneficent, that for centuries, and even now, colonial education has been hailed as a god-sent blessing. The purpose of the book is not to weigh its advantages or disadvantages but to highlight how a body of knowledge, be it history, geography, literature, or sciences, manufactured in a totally foreign context have had such a strong hold on the minds of the colonial learners for centuries. The subtleties of the imposition of a hegemonic power 221

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become apparent when there was a break in the previous epistemological and conceptual traditions. Such impositions posit the ‘illegitimacy’ of previously received traditions of knowledge, and define a new set of regrouped knowledge as more worthwhile and pertinent. The colonial mode of education was precisely an ideological imposition where learners were meant to be unquestioning consumers of what was perceived as a benign and beneficient system. This meant that such impositions, manipulation and subordination were regularly concealed, distorted and misrepresented. Colonial institutional education was like a big factory, churning out human capital who for a long time did not question these consciousness-shaping mechanisms. The complex set of relationships between education and economic, political, and social power was based on the whole issue of inclusion and exclusion, the conscious creation of social hierarchies and class boundaries. Colonial education with its emphasis on mass education and standardised textbooks for elementary education meant that on the face of it at least everyone was equal. But that was not to say that the linguistic and literary hegemony of Western/ English education diminished. In fact the control over epistemological and material production meant that the literary imperium of the English Raj and of English education in particular continued to dominate every sphere of life and society, extending its tentacles as widely as possible into all areas. As caste-based privileges, and land-based income depleted, and the earlier buoyancy of Bengali entrepreneurship and financial ventures of the compradors took a nosedive,1 the upper class Bengali’s sole passport to power and opportunities remained in education. Moreover, the colonial project of collaboration with the Bengali upper class validated and legitimised their agenda of diffusion of knowledge. The enrolment of ‘authorities’ from amongst the colonised helped to lend credibility to their imperial mission of civilising the natives and enforcing discipline amongst them. At the same it cannot be overlooked that there was a co-constructive process of knowledge formation through negotiations and reconfigurations of existing knowledge. The close collaboration of the colonisers with native intermediaries like the pundits and munshis for interpreting, translating and writing textbooks indicates the dependency of the former to execute what they themselves were not competent to do. The study of textbooks brought from Britain to ‘educate’ the natives and the textbooks written by the native for their own edification indicate this complex intercultural negotiation of scholarship and lends a more multifaceted meaning to ‘contact zones’. But such instruments of complicity were not always the docile body of collaborators that they had hoped for. A steadily increasing body of scholarship that was more adapted in content and context to locally situated values and sensibilities, demonstrate the confident striding towards a new era of modernity and knowledge formation. The nebulous nexus between knowledge production, dissemination and appropriation brought out the complex networks within a deliberately crafted space that was to transform the social and cultural ways in which we look at ourselves. 222

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Textbook schooling continued to be dictated by overriding concerns of authority, power and discipline even when the Bengali writers and readers negotiated their identity within the colonial vortex. In radical contrast to the earlier phase of Bengali writers who were either merely aiding the English officials or at best copying western compositions, a new breed of writers both highbrow and lowbrow were seen expressing themselves more confidently through vernacular prose and print in the latter half of nineteenth century. From a largely over-imposing colonial system, the educational approach became more constructive and collaborative. But it still remained a hegemonic structure in which education, especially English education, remained the preserve of the upper and middle class bhadrolok Bengalis who jealously safeguarded their interests and privileges by keeping the masses out. Education and its associated privileges were to be monopolised by the upper class for a long time to come. As education became the locus on which all advantages hinged, it remained the only means of maintaining the power balance between the bhadrolok and the chotolok. The privileges and distinctions associated with a particular kind of upper class education made bhadrolok Bengalis resent mass education. An educational structure that was predominantly meant for the elites meant that a large segment of unemployed youth were disgruntled with the system. The filtration effect of colonial education had successfully driven a wedge between the elite and the masses. In the two hundred years of colonial subjection, the power equations had been so internalised that Bengali writers of textbooks and educationists continued to ‘teach’, ‘reform’ and ‘civilise’ those ‘lower down’ on the social scale. If textbooks in the early nineteenth century were a reflection of the British forging a national identity and the Britishness of their Empire (Colley 1992), then the indigenous efforts from late nineteenth century was a belligerent imposition of a Hindu nationalism that was successfully effacing the voice of Muslims, lower castes, and women. This was a definite turn away from the earlier era of liberal commitments, questioning and self-criticism. The emergent politics of early twentieth-century Bengal was based on certain ideological and cultural terrains that were defined by the elite Hindu Bengalis. At the same time, we need to move away from viewing the dynamics as confrontation between the Western and indigenous traditions in the intellectual space of colonial Bengal, and move towards a more nuanced convergence of these traditions. The study of textbooks used in the past is thus a useful tool to understand the ways in which the subjectivity of Indian learners have been framed. It also opens a window to understand present practices of knowledge formation. Such an education system bequeathed to future generations has had important ramifications. It affects the mental conditioning, the subjectivity and the identity of the learners. Even after more than seventy years of freedom from colonial rule, education in India still remains largely undemocratic and authoritarian, with a definite tendency to benefit the more privileged sections of the society. The 223

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praxis of education – how it is conducted, where it is situated, and what is disseminated, provide valuable insights into the continued political and ideological manipulations of the state. Recent studies of school curricula in South Asia have shown that India’s educational policies do not seem to promote democratic values, and that school books present viewpoints of the dominant religious and cultural majority (Flaten 2016; Widmalm 2019). The deceptively exclusionary narratives can sow intolerance and even communal hatred, and severely undermine democratic values. Several works have again demonstrated that a country’s democratic outlook is closely linked to an educational curriculum that supports tolerant political and social views (Dev 1999; Widmalm 2016). Some believe that education per se will result in equality, democracy and tolerance, irrespective of the content (Dewey 1916; Gutmann 1987; Kelly 1995). While education can and does make a society more humane and enables it to make rational choices, such a view does not find clear empirical support in India where discriminations based on class and caste, repression, and communal intolerances persist despite mass education. It is obvious that there is an urgent need to reform the system of primary education which can place educational programmes aimed specifically at bridging differences, which promote social and human rights, and encourage democratic values. It cannot be denied that there is a direct connect between knowledge dissemination and democratic attitudes, and school books in the current political scenario are doing very little in determining the latter. A politicisation of education wherein there are radical reinterpretations of the past to suit political ideologies, or attempts to supress alternate narratives, can be as much hegemonic. In a way, such a mindset is no different from how colonialism shaped our consciousness and subjectivity. ‘The uncritical and fanatical worship of a chauvinist version of our past is a product of the same mind-set’ (Gohain 2002: 4597). If the curriculum content has to be more inclusive, so has to be the method of teaching. The ways of teaching have to be freer and more interactive. The educational system has to be a space for deliberations, for critical reflections, and even dissents.2 At present there are frenetic and concerted efforts to revise and rewrite textbooks.3 The binaries between us and them have unfortunately become more pronounced, and this is no where more starkly evident than in the current education policy.4 There is a gowing clamour for a vigorous revival of the ‘rich heritage of ancient Indian knowledge’ and the implementation of Sanskrit in schools and higher education. The proponents for the revitalization of Sanskrit equate the language with ethical standards, and see it as the sure way to morally develop and enlighten students.5 What is conveniently ignored is that prioritising a particular language as a mark of a ‘glorious’ Indian past is politically inapropriate to say the least, and involves serious issues of erasing India’s tradition of syncretic multiculturalism.6 If the purpose of education is to effectively balance what is innately known and the socially constructed, and to make the individual more 224

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socially acceptable in the community, then it remains doubtful how far our education system has succeeded. Has it made the divides in class and privileges wider? If the curricula are latently aimed to filter people by being meant for some and not for others, then how does our understanding of knowledge relate to our understanding of our own nature and being? If education is merely a form of schooling and disciplining, a standardised way of teaching with uniform expectations of learning from all students, then such an educational system can merely be fit to produce mechanical robotic learners who can be disciplined and obedient, but not individuals who can think and act. But if colonial education is largely responsible for heteronomy and weakened self-confidence, it has also encouraged critical self reflexion and alternate ways of expressions. Helvetius famous comment ‘l’education peut tout’, that ‘education can do all’, reposed faith in men’s abilities which could bring a social transformation (Helvetius 1807). What is needed is an education system that is not a slavish imitation of the colonial hegemonic system or one that promotes fascist dogmatism, but an education that can allow independent and rational thinking, and most importantly, a democratic outlook.

Notes 1 The Sambad Prabhakar noted in 1892: ‘The Lakshmi of sound commerce has abandoned Bengal. Mother Bengal now produces coolies and clerks alone’. Quoted in Sarkar 2001: 35. 2 Recently, certain institutions of higher education, such as Jawaharlal Nehru University and Jamia Millia Islamia in Delhi, and Aligarh Muslim University in Aligarh have faced severe criticism by the State and media for harbouring students’ unrest. These institutions have faced political interventions which have sought to stifle the students’ voices and demands. Such state control seriously defeats the very purpose of educational institutions and learning meant to promote democratic perspective. 3 For a study of the publication of new history textbooks entrenched in the identity politics of Hindu nationalism, see Flaten 2016. Also refer ‘Saffronisation and Textbooks’ by Amrik Singh. The Hindu. 25 August 2001. https://www.thehindu. com/todays-paper/tp-miscellaneous/tp-others/saffronisation-and-textbooks/ article27973649.ece, Accessed on 21 April 2020. 4 At the time of this book going into print, the newly introduced National Education Policy (NEP), 2020, which replaces the previous thirty-four year old policy formed in 1986, still lacks a comprehensive approach to democratise learning. 5 State Sanskrit Education Boards have been encouraged by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ruled states of Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat for the ‘development and revival’ of Sanskrit and ancient learning to ‘teach students ethics’ and ‘develop mindsets’ (Freya Dasgupta, ‘Sanskrit Board in UP Education will teach students ethics…’ in HuffPost dated 29 March 2017). https://www.huffingtonpost. in/2017/03/29/sanskrit-board-in-up-education-will-teach-students-ethicsdevel_a_22017083/, Accessed on 22 April 2020 6 For a critical perspective on the emphasis of Sanskrit in the NEP 2020, see Mundoli Narayanan’s ‘Whose Sanskrit is it anyway?’ Frontline, August 28, 2020, pp. 25–26.

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248

INDEX

Adam, William: Adam’s Reports 7, 30–32, 63, 73 Aliya Madrasa 19 Anglicist 9, 22, 63 Animal Biography (Pashwabali) 152–153, 167n41 Anstey, F. 185, 217n18; Baboo Hurry Bungsho Jabberjee 184; Bayard from Bengal 185–187 Arabic 120, 122, 124, 131, 132, 144; books 28, 118; institutions 30, 32; instruction 29 Arya Nari Samaj 34 Asiatic Society of Bengal 20, 64, 118, 193; Journal 20 Atkinson, George Francklin: Curry & Rice 183–184, 217n13 Avadh Punch/ Oudh Punch 188, 189–190 babu/baboo: culture 173–175; households 178–181; mannerisms 198, 202; see also bhadrolok Bamabodhini Patrika 34 Bandopadhyay, Bhabanicharan: Dyutibilas, Kalikata Kamalalaya, Nabababubilas 204–208, 213 Bandhopadhyay, Rajkrishna: Sishushiksha–Nitibodh 147 Banerjea, Krishna Mohun: Encyclopaedia Bengalensis 131 Bangadarshan 214, 219 bania 171–172, 174; see also merchants Baptist: Baptist Missionary Society 26, 65; Female School Society 27, 158; missionaries 26–28, 62, 67, 119, 158 Barbauld, Anna Laetitia 89–90 Basantak 188, 194–196

Basu, Rajnarayan 76, 138 Basu, Ramram: works 123–124 Battala 198, 217; culture 199; press 153, 198, 199; prints 198 Battle of Buxar 17 Battle of Plassey 17 Bell and Lancaster System of Education 27, 52, 63, 67 Bell, Andrew 3, 43n13, 49, 52–56, 60; An Experiment in Education 43n13, 53, 55; see also Bell and Lancaster System Bengal Hurkaru 43 Bengal Spectator, The 176 Bengali: department in FWC 123; language 134, 138, 149, 162, 118– 120, 126, 131; typeface 122–123 Bentham, Jeremy 46–50; Chrestomathic school 47 Bentinck, William 7, 29, 30, 167n48 Besant, Annie 34, 40, 43 Bethune, John Elliot Drinkwater 33, 140, 147, 158; Bethune College 33, 43n17, 140, 158 bhadralok 75, 178 Bhek Mushiker Juddha 153 bibi 171, 181, 199, 200, 206–207 Bible 65, 74, 82–86, 98, 116; King James version 82; New Testament; teaching 68, 104, 117, 126; translation 66, 123, 125 Blair, David 130–131; The Class Book 130 Blair, Hugh 130; Lectures on Rhetoric 130 Blochmann, H. 155; First Geography 155; Contributions to the Geography and History of Bengal 155

249

INDEX

bodolok 126, 165 Bowles’s Drawing Book for Ladies 93–94, 96 Brahmo Samaj 34, 75, 137, 159, 177 British and Foreign School Society (BFSS) 26, 56–57, 61–63, 68, 73, 92–93, 101, 129, 131 British Raj 18, 42, 67, 165, 193

Atlas 105, 106; School Geography 105–106 Creighton, Henry 27–28 curriculum ix, 3, 5, 12, 30, 59, 71, 73, 92, 98, 113–114, 127, 131–135, 159, 221, 224 Curzon, Lord 40, 78n11; Education Resolution 40–41

Calcutta School-Book Society (CSBS) 25, 64, 132–137, 158 Calcutta School Society (CSS) 25, 132 Calvin, John 86 Campbell, George: Philosophy of Rhetoric 130 Carey, William 26–27, 65–67, 78n6, 118–121, 131; A Grammar 123–124; An Enquiry 65, 119; Kathopakathan (Dialogues) 120–121, 177; translation of Bible 123–125 Carpenter, Mary 68, 78n8 Cavendish, Margaret 88 chalit bhasha 213 Chambers, William and Robert 97, 147; Book of Reading 97; Rudiments of Knowledge 148 Charter Act 1793 24 Charter Act 1813 24, 73 Chatterjee/ Chattopadhyay, Bankimchandra 37, 161, 207–208, 214–216, 219; on ‘Babus’ 214–215; Kamalakanta 215; Krishnacharitra 214 Chinsurah 25, 27, 66, 145 chotolok 75, 126, 165, 177, 223 Christian Missionary Society (CMS) 26–27, 33, 63, 71, 179 Church: Anglican 81; Roman Catholic 81, 165n10 civilizing mission 25–28; see also discipline Clapham Sect 24, 29, 43n9 Clarendon Report 1864 58, 59 Clive, Robert 17, 18, 156, 174 Colebrooke, Henry Thomas 70, 119, 145 colony: Africa 110; Ceylon 62, 110; India 110; Jamaica 62; Nigeria 110; West Indies 110, 113 Cooke, Mary Ann 26, 32–33, 62 Cornwallis, Charles: Permanent Settlement 173, 204 Cornwell, James 105–106; Key to the Young Composer 107; School

Dacca School Society 132 Dalhousie, Lord 32, 36, 140, 154 Day, Thomas: History of Sandford and Merton 50, 87, 91, 129 Deb, Nabakrishna 171, 174–175, 176 Deb, Radhakant 25, 75, 135, 145, 158, 166n19, 167n48, 176; Bangla Shikshagrantha 135; Sabda Kalpadruma 135 Debi, Rassundari: Amar Jiban 180 Delhi Sketch Book 188–189 Derozio, Henry Louis Vivian 75, 139, 177, 178, 208; see also Young Bengal Movement Dewey, John 1, 3–4, 71 Dey, Ramdulal 171–172, 174, 175 dharma 5–6, 164, 201, 214 discipline ix, 6, 55, 58, 60, 72–74, 92, 98–99, 151–152, 210, 218n39, 222, 225 Dow, Alexander 68–69; History of Hindostan 68 Doyle, John 184, 217n17; see also Punch Duff, Alexander 25, 33, 63, 68, 70, 127, 166n27, 180 Duncan, Jonathan 19, 20, 120 Durkheim, Emile 72–73 Dutt, Michael Madhusudan 75, 212; Buro Shaliker Ghare Ron 212; and Christianity 178; Ekei ki baley Sabhyata 212 Dutta, Akshay Kumar 138–140, 156–157; books on science 139, 157; Charupath 139 Dutta, Kshetromohan 136–137; Shishusebadhi Barnomala 136–137 Edgeworth, Maria 3, 50, 85, 91; Parent’s Assistant 91; Early Lessons 91 Edgeworth, Richard Lovell 50, 91; Practical Education 50, 91 Elizabeth I 82, 130 Elokeshi-Mohanto case 200, 202–203

250

INDEX

English East India Company 9, 12, 17, 18, 21, 171, 182; civil servants 18, 29, 53, 117 fables 72; Aesop’s 99, 145, 147; in Bengali 133, 147, 152–153, 166 Fellenberg, Philipp Emanuel von 55 female education 26–27, 32–34, 41, 68, 72, 141, 158–160, 180; see also Ladies Society for Native Female Education Fenning, Daniel 86, 143; The Universal Spelling Book 86–87 Fisher, Ann: Pleasing Instructor 88–89 Fordyce, John 33–34 Fort William 18, 20, 21, 53, 116–117; College 9, 20–22, 118–119, 131, 146 Foucault, Michel: Discipline and Punish x, 7, 74 French Revolution 54, 104 Froebel, Friedrich 2, 3, 71 Gandhi, M. K. 41 gender roles 72, 88, 91, 92, 94 Ghose, Aurobindo 5, 40, 44n25 Gilchrist, John Borthwick 42n4, 119–121; Dialogues 120–121; Seminary 120 Gilray, James 184; see also Punch Gokhale, Gopal Krishna 41–42, 44n27 Goldsmith, J.: Grammar of General Geography 105 Gopal-Rakhal 12, 143, 145–146, 151–152 Grant, Charles 22–24, 27, 70; A Proposal 22, 70; Observations 22, 23, 70 Gupta, Ishwar Chandra: Hita Prabhakar 147 gurukul system 5 gyana 6

137, 167n48, 180, 210; Hindustani 118, 119, 120, 122, 154, 157 Hindu College, Calcutta 25, 32, 37, 75, 124, 127, 131, 134, 178; see also Presidency College Hitopadesh 145, 149; translation 124, 145, 146 Hobson-Jobson 182 Hoogly: college 124; district 129; factory 116; river 21, 119 hornbook 81 Hornbye, William: Hornbyes Hornbook 81 Hume, Joseph 46, 131 Hunter Commission 38 ideology: and education 4; colonial 78, 221 Ilbert Bill 197 Indian Charivari or Indian Punch 188 Indian Education Commission 37–38 Indian National Congress 39 Indian Universities Act 40 Industrial Revolution 46, 51, 52 Jogindranath Sarkar: Hasi Khushi 161–162 Jones, William 19, 20, 69–70, 119, 145 Jorasanko 172, 174 Kalighat: paintings 198, 100–102; patua community 200; temple 200 Karmakar, Panchanan 122, 198 Kiernander, John Zachariah 65 Krishna, Lord 78n10, 192–193, 210, 214–215; Bhagwat Gita 78n10

Haatkhola 171, 174, 175 Halhed, Nathaniel B. 19, 118, 120; Code of Gentoo Laws 19; Grammar 19, 23, 118, 122–123 Hare, David 25, 76 Hastings, Warren 17–20, 32, 132, 174 Haughton, G. C. 23, 121 Helvetius, Claude Adrien 47–49, 225; De l’esprit 49 Henry VIII 81 Hindu 19, 30, 43n14, 69, 70, 78n10, 119, 138, 180; Hinduism 71, 75,

Ladies Society for Native Female Education 27, 33, 158 Ladies’ Work-table Book, The 95–97 Lancaster, Joseph 49, 53, 55–56, 59–61; Improvements in Education 56, 78; Royal Lancastrian Free School 56; see also Bell and Lancaster System Lethbridge, Roper 134, 143, 144, 156–157; Easy Selections 144; Moral Reader 144 Locke, John: Some Thoughts Concerning Education 48–49 London Missionary Society (LMS) 26, 34, 63 London Working Men’s Association 57; see also People’s Charter

251

INDEX

Long, James 73, 76, 126, 132, 135, 199, 205, 217n24; Lipidhara 132 Luther, Martin 86–87, 115n7 M‘Culloch, J.M.: Course of Elementary Reading 104; Reading Books 104, 108; Series of Lessons in Prose and Verse 107–108 Macaulay, Thomas Babington 29, 69, 129, 151, 176; Downward Filtration Theory 151; Minutes 1835 30, 127, 129 Macaulay, Zachary 24, 29, 43n9 Macmillan 134, 155–156 Madras system of education see Bell and Lancaster System of Education Mahabharata 6, 14n1, 144, 149, 210, 215 Malviya, Madan Mohan 41, 44n27 Marble Palace, Calcutta 174, 175 Marshman, Hannah 26, 65–66, 78n7 Marshman, John Clark 128, 131, 154 Marshman, Joshua 26, 65, 119, 127; Hints Relative to Native Schools 127 May, Robert 25, 27, 66, 127, 133 memsahib 181 merchants 21, 171, 173; see also bania metropole 45–46, 62 Miller, John: The Tutor 118 Mill, James 46, 47, 50, 51, 57 Mill, John Stuart 35, 48, 50–51 missionary: Baptists 30, 65, 119; organisations 63–64, 65, 74; schools 11, 25–26, 33 Mitter, Peary Chand 208–210; Alaler Gharer Dulal 208 monitorial system of education see Bell and Lancaster System of Education Montessori, Maria 3, 71 moral/morality: books 12, 145; education 41, 50, 55, 72; improvement 24, 67, 117, 121, 127, 128, 135, 144–145, 221; lessons 31, 84, 135, 146, 159 More, Hannah 54, 85, 97–98; Cheap Repository Tracts 97–98 Motilal, Biswanath 172 Mullick, Rajendra 171, 174, 175 munshis 21, 67, 120, 123, 222 Murray, Lindley: English Grammar 129–130; English Spelling-Book 130; The English Reader 130 Muslims 30, 32, 119, 120, 223; schools 7, 30

nabob 18, 42n1, 175 National Education Society 26 needlework 72, 90–97 Nelson, Thomas: Royal Readers 109–110 Newbolt’s Report 114, 115n19 New-England Primer 83 niti 146, 149, 159, 167n39, 210 Nivedita, Sister 40, 43n22, 77–78, 164, 174 Opus Anglicanum 94 Orientalist/Orientalism 8, 9, 19, 22, 29, 147 Orme, Robert 68, 155 Owen, Robert: New Lanark 51–52 Paine, Thomas: Rights of Man 104 Pal, Bipin Chandra 162, 166n22 Panchatantra 135, 145, 146, 149 Panchu-Thakur or Pancha-nanda 196–197 Pearce, W. H.: Bhugol Britanta 154; Dialogues on Geography 154 Pearson, J. D.: Bakyabolee 121–122 Peggs, James 69 People’s Charter 57 Persian 21, 30–31, 70, 118, 119, 120, 124, 132, 135, 155, 206 Pestalozzi, J.H. 3, 55, 57, 71 Presidency College, Calcutta 32, 37, 156 primer: in Bengali 132–167; definition 82; in English 81–115, 128–31 Prinsep, Augustus: Baboo and Other Tales 183 Protestant: ethics 86–87, 95, 145; missionaries 65, 70, 117; reforms 86–87; school 55, 86, 127 Public Instruction 28–30, 31, 32, 36, 40, 129, 156 Public Schools Act 1868 58 Punch or The London Charivari 184–187; see also Indian Charivari or Indian Punch punishment 73 Punjab Text-Book Committee 144 Puritan/ Puritanism 34, 83, 87, 96–98, 143, 148, 208 Ramakrishna Mission 39 Ramayana 63, 144, 149 Ray, Bharatchandra: Anandamangal 140 Rigveda 5

252

INDEX

Swadeshi movement 162 pedagogy 161–165

Rousseau, Jean Jacques 3, 49, 85, 87; Emile 49, 50, 88 Rowlandson, Thomas 184; see also Punch Roy, Rammohan 25, 28, 137, 159, 160, 174 Royal Society of London 9, 20 Ruskin, John 92 sadhu bhasha 213, 215 Samachar Durpan 154 sanatan dharma 214 Sanskrit College, Calcutta 28–29, 131, 137, 140, 148 Sanskrit Press 140, 147, 149 schools: Barasat 33, 134, 140, 158; charity 53, 55, 58, 60, 90, 98, 101–104, 129, 13; female 57, 141, 147, 167n50; indigenous: kuttab 43n14; madrasa 19, 27, 64; maktab 43n14, 7, 30; pathsala 7, 14n2, 27, 30, 43n14, 53, 135, 13; Normal 33, 61, 15; Sunday 54, 90, 103 Seal, Motilal 171, 172, 176 Sen, Keshub Chandra 75, 193 Sepoy Mutiny 1857 36, 134, 156 Serampore: college 67, 125, 127; Mission 65, 119, 198; missionaries 25, 27, 127, 131, 133, 154, 198; printing press 9, 12, 26, 146, 154; school 25; Trio 26, 65, 119, 125 Sharma, Chiranjib: Ballyaskha 161 Shobhabazar 171, 174, 213 Simla Conference 40 Simon Commission Report 178 Sinha, Kaliprasanna 210–211; Hutom Pyanchar Naksha 210; Vidyotsahini Sabha 210 Siraj-ud-daulah 156 Sircar, Peary Churn 33, 110, 134, 157, 158, 166n18; First Book of Reading 134; Primary Geography for Native Children 157; Geography of India 157 Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) 63, 103, 117, 165n1 Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) 65 Stewart, Charles 118; History of Bengal 154; History of India 154 Stewart, James: Barnomala 132; Oopadescotha 146 subjectivity 10–11, 45, 72, 220–25

Tagore, Bala Shoondoree 180, 216n9 Tagore, Debendranath 137, 138 Tagore, Dwarkanath 166n25, 171–172, 173, 175, 184 Tagore, Rabindranath 71, 162–165, 166n25, 216; Ghare-Baire 216; Ingreji Path 164; Ingreji Sahaj Siksha 164; Ingreji Sopan 164; My Boyhood Days 162, 166n18; Sahaj Path 134, 162–164; Sikshar Herfer 77 Tarkalankar, Jaygopal 131–132 Tattvabodhini: Pathsala 138, 156; Patrika 159; Sabha 137, 138 Taunton Report 1868 58–59 Theosophical Society 39, 43n23 tols/ chatuspathis 7 Trimmer, Sarah 54, 85, 86, 90–91, 97–100, 102, 129; Charity School Spelling Book 86, 90, 99–100; Easy Lessons 86, 90, 97; Fabulous Histories 99; Little Spelling Book 90; Servant’s Friend 102 Trusler’s Domestic Management 101 Turkalunkar, Madun Mohun 140–143, 149, 158–159, 162; Shishu-Shiksha 140–143, 149 Urdu 18, 119, 120, 122, 188, 189, 190 Utilitarian 29, 30, 40, 47–49, 89, 128, 151, 210 Vernacular Literature Society 64 Victoria 36, 172, 184 Victorian 34, 73, 136, 151, 175, 182, 184, 199 vidya 6, 135, 145, 146, 149 Vidyabagish, Ramchandra 137, 146, 166n23; Bangabhashabidhan 137; Barnomala 137; Nitidarshan 146; Shishusebadhi 137, 166n24 Vidyalankar, Gaurmohan: Strisiksha Bidhayak 158 Vidyalankar, Mrityunjay 123, 124, 131, 146, 167n37 Vidyasagar, Ishwar Chandra 33, 138, 140, 143, 145–152, 157–162, 167n40, 194; Bodhoday 148; Borno Porichay 149–152, 161, 162; Rijupath 149

253

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Vivekananda Society 39 Vivekananda, Swami 43n22, 77, 164, 174 Ward, William 26, 27, 62, 65, 67, 119, 198 Watts, Isaac 101, 103, 104–105, 115n11 Weitbrecht, Mary 33, 43n18, 71, 179 Wellesley, Richard Marquis 20, 21, 22, 66, 118, 120, 165n2 Westernisation 22–23, 213 Wilberforce, William 24, 54

Wilkins, Charles 18–19, 119, 122, 145 Williamson, Thomas 182–183, 217n11 Wood, Charles 34–35; Education Despatch 34–35, 64 Young Bengal Movement 75, 178, 179, 208, 212, 213, 216n8; see also Derozio zenana 33, 71, 158, 179, 216n7

254