Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India 9781108653374

783 135 5MB

English Pages [364] Year 2019

Report DMCA / Copyright

DOWNLOAD FILE

Polecaj historie

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India
 9781108653374

Citation preview

Introduction Empire, Civil Society, and Educational Transformation in India

I say without fear of my figures being challenged successfully, that today India is more illiterate than it was fifty or a hundred years ago …, because the British administrators, when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root, and left the root like that, and the beautiful tree perished. The village schools were not good enough for the British administrator, so he came out with his programme. Every school must have so much paraphernalia, building, and so forth. […] This very poor country of mine is ill able to sustain such an expensive method of education. Our state would revive the old village schoolmaster and dot every village with a school both for boys and girls.1

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India revisits the radical educational transformation that took place in the nineteenth century. It does so by looking at formal, institutional elementary instruction. In a slow and uneven process, the diverse landscape of indigenous knowledge transmission gave way to a colonial-modern education system. This was socially a highly relevant process, and it is not surprising that it became subject to intense political and historiographical debate. While the agents of empire themselves 1

M.K. Gandhi, 20 October 1931, London, cited in Dharampal, The Beautiful Tree: Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century (New Delhi: Biblia Impex Private Ltd., 1983), 6. This introduced sourcebook includes, besides the earliest colonial data collections in education, the controversy between M.K. Gandhi and Phillip Hartog on the question whether the colonial system of education was destructive or beneficial to the education of the people of India. Hartog was the chairman of the auxiliary committee of the Indian Statutory Commission (1929) appointed to survey the progress of education.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

2

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

opened a discourse that presented their endeavours as a progressive expansion and a qualitative improvement of education, this was challenged by a nationalist counter-narrative. In the nationalist perspective – exemplified by M.K. Gandhi’s above-cited statement – the British cut off the roots of the ‘beautiful tree’ of a culturally meaningful and socially embedded indigenous education. The nationalist hope, however, of ‘reviving’ the pre-colonial institutions – idealized as they appeared in hindsight2 – was impossible to realize. Even if the colonial state had clearly failed to universalize schooling, there was no reverting to the mode of ‘the old village schoolmaster’. The colonial education system, and the pedagogical culture inscribed within, formed the inevitable basis of any further reform efforts. The building of ‘national education’ for an independent India, designed from the 1890s onwards as an alternative to colonial education, took place within the once-established modern structure.3

It is the emergence of this colonial-modern structure that this book explores – a new pedagogical culture, new institutional arrangements, and shifts in the social accessibility of literacy skills. Colonial schooling not only changed the technology of instruction with new ‘buildings, spaces, furniture, textbooks, languages, teachings methods, routines and rituals’, but also introduced new ‘relationships between student, teacher, text, and the world’, embedded in a new politics of centralized control.4 This indeed caused a widening gap between the life-world experiences of students and the knowledge considered valid and ‘useful’ for being imparted at school – a problem that has been highlighted as a core feature of colonial education and haunts India’s school system even today.5

2

3

4 5

Joseph Bara, ‘Colonialism and Educational Fragmentation in India’, in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman 1998), 125–170, 129; Catriona Ellis, ‘Education for All: Reassessing the Historiography of Education in Colonial India’, History Compass 7, no. 2 (2009): 363–375, 366. Harald Fischer-Tiné, Der Gurukul-Kangri oder die Erziehung der Arya-Nation: Kolonialismus, Hindureform und ‘nationale Bildung’ in Britisch-Indien (1897–1922) (Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2003); Michael Mann (ed.), Shantiniketan – Hellerau: New Education in the ‘Pedagogic Provinces’ of India and Germany (Heidelberg, Neckar: Draupadi Verlag, 2015). Nita Kumar, The Politics of Gender, Community, and Modernity: Essays on Education in India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007), 29, 31. Krishna Kumar, Political Agenda of Education (New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 1991); Latika Gupta, Education, Poverty and Gender: Schooling Muslim Girls in India (New Delhi: Routledge, 2015).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

3

However, I show that there were remarkable continuities between the precolonial and the colonial, particularly in terms of pedagogical technology.6 Moreover, it was not only the ‘British administrator’ who ‘came out with his program’ of educational policy. Various actors shaped the process of the building of a colonial education system. This included British, German, and American missionaries as well as Indian intellectuals and social reformers who joined educational associations, vernacular school teachers, and, to some extent, Indian parents and students. Not all of them had an equal impact, acting within the power relations of empire, class, caste, and gender. Education, however, was a highly ‘contested terrain’,7 where the colonizers’ hegemonic ambitions were confronted with multiple agendas and interests. Moreover, the colonial state only slowly and hesitantly assumed responsibility for the spread of popular schooling. Colonial administrators continued to rely on missionaries, civil society, and individual initiative throughout the nineteenth century. To understand these continuities, and to trace the changing role of the colonial state, it is worthwhile to revisit the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Through the lenses of empire, and civil society, I want to see how much of modern public elementary schooling in India was shaped through colonial encounters, and within wider networks of trans-regional communication.

Imperial Experiments with a Global Method In recent years, innovative studies have brought forward non-isolationist, trans-regional, and global perspectives on the history of Indian education.8 The 6

7 8

I.K. Chaudhary, ‘Sanskrit Learning in Colonial Mithila: Continuity and Change’, in Deepak Kumar, Joseph Bara, Nandita Khadria, and Ch. Radha Gayatri (eds), Education in Colonial India: Historical Insights (New Delhi: Manohar 2013), 125–144; Senthil Babu, ‘Indigenous Traditions and the Colonial Encounter: A Historical Perspective on Mathematics Education in India’, in R. Ramanujam, and K. Subramaniam (eds), Mathematics Education in India: Status and Outlook (Mumbai: Homi Bhabha Centre for Science, 2012), 37–62; Nita Kumar, Lessons from Schools: The History of Education in Benares (New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 2000). Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1998). Parimala V. Rao, ‘Introduction: Perspectives Old and New’, in Parimala V. Rao (ed.), New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2014), 1–42, 2–3; Barnita Bagchi, Eckhardt Fuchs, and Kate Rousmaniere (eds), Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-Cultural Exchanges in (Post)Colonial Education (New York: Berghahn Books, 2014).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

4

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

British empire emerged as a ‘transnational educational space’. 9 It provided a framework for the circulation of pedagogical ideas as well as a new horizon for missionary endeavours to teach ‘the heathen’ of the world.10 I argue that it was an imperial educational movement, participating in global conversations on pedagogical innovation, which put mass elementary schooling on the agenda of the colonial education policy in India.

In the first decade of the nineteenth century, a vivid debate took place in Britain about what was called the education of the poor. Two influential voluntary associations claimed responsibility for organizing the expansion and reform of public, fee-free, or low-fee elementary schooling for the working class. The British and Foreign School Society (BFSS) was founded in 1808 by an alliance of dissenters and utilitarians. Its rival, the National Education Society (NES), was set up in 1811, supported by subscriptions of the Anglican Church faction.11 Popular schooling, both parties hoped, would counteract pauperism and political unrest and help to re-establish social order.12 In a politically and economically fast-changing society, public elementary schools appeared as a means of ‘civilizing the masterless poor’.13

9

10

11

12

13

Esther Möller and Johannes Wischmeyer (eds), Transnationale Bildungsräume. Wissenstransfers im Schnittfeld von Kultur, Politik und Religion (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013). Tim Allender, Learning Femininity in Colonial India, 1820–1932 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016), 83–84, 218–228; Parna Sengupta, Pedagogy for Religion: Missionary Education and the Fashioning of Hindus and Muslims in Bengal (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011); Helen May, Baljit Kaur, and Larry Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods: NineteenthCentury Missionary Infant Schools in Three British Colonies (New York: Ashgate, 2014). George Bartle, ‘Benthamites and Lancasterians: The Relationship between the Followers of Bentham and the British and Foreign School Society during the Early Years of Popular Education’, Utilitas 3, no. 2 (1991): 275–288. Karen Jones and Kevin Williamson, ‘The Birth of the Schoolroom: A Study of the Transformation in the Discursive Conditions of English Popular Education in the First-half of the Nineteenth Century’, Ideology and Consciousness 19, no. 6 (1979): 59–110. Pavla Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 1500–1900 (Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1998), 143. To add a note on terminology: in the nineteenth century educational sources, the meaning of ‘public schools’ differs from its later British association with elite institutions such as Rugby or Eton.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

5

In the context of the mushrooming of missionary societies, and the lobbying for including the so-called pious clauses in the charter of the East India Company of 1813, the BFSS and NES formed close ties with the foreign mission movement: ‘For if the world were full of Bibles,’ Andrew Fuller of the Baptist Missionary Society preached on behalf of the BFSS, ‘it would be of little avail if the people were not taught to read them.’14 The BFSS’s expressed aim was to establish inexpensive schools for the poor ‘throughout the whole habitable globe’.15 The BFSS was well connected with the Clapham Sect and individuals such as James Mill – the author of the influential History of British India16 – who could exert their influence on the British East India Company’s policy development. Education societies similar to the BFSS and NES were formed in India’s colonial centres. The Society for the Education of the Poor within the Government of Bombay (the Bombay Education Society, or BES), was modelled after the NES in London, and aimed to promote the education of the ‘European’ poor.17 Even more influential were the Calcutta School Book Society (CSBS),18 the Calcutta School Society (CSS), the Madras School Book and School Society (MSBSS), and the Bombay Native Education Society (BNES), associations which were set up as ‘Europeo-native institutions’.19 In these education societies, which supplied school books and supervised local vernacular schools, the new urban intelligentsia cooperated with the British missionaries and administrators. Their ranks included public figures such as Radhakant Deb in Calcutta (now Kolkata), probably best known as a representative of the Dharma Sabha which opposed the prohibition of sati,20 14

15 16 17 18

19 20

BFSS Annual Report No. 10, 1815, 66. See Paul Sedra, ‘Exposure to the Eyes of God: Monitorial Schools and Evangelicals in Early Nineteenth-century England’, Paedagogica Historica 47, no. 3 (2011): 263–281. BFSS Annual Report No. 10, 1815, 14. James Mill, The History of British India, 3 vols (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1817). BES Report No. 2, 1817, 4. N.L. Basak, ‘Origin and Role of the Calcutta School Book Society in Promoting the Cause of Education in India, Especially Vernacular Education in Bengal’, Bengal Past and Present 78 (1959): 30–69. ‘Proceedings Prior to the Final Establishment of the Society’, CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 69. See David Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization, 1773–1835 (Calcutta: Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay, 1969); Lata Mani, Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

6

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

and the Parsi merchant and philanthropist Framji Cowasji Banaji in Bombay (now Mumbai).21 Indian intellectuals and reformers adopted parts of the missionaries’ discourse of improvement and civilization and ‘vernacularised’ it in their own sociocultural agendas.22 An imperial civil society network emerged, which connected London with the colonial centres of India. The missionaries and education societies understood themselves as cooperating in the ‘cause of universal education’23 and forwarding, therefore, the ‘great work of uplifting mankind’.24

This network provided an important impetus for educational change in India during the Company period. Its members were, directly and indirectly, participating in global processes of communication in which new technologies of organizing group instruction were brought forward and discussed. From the 1810s to the 1830s, the so-called monitorial system of education emerged as a ‘universal method’25 for setting up and re-organizing schools. It also became known under names such as the British system, the system of mutual instruction, or the Bell-Lancaster-method, after its ‘inventors’ – the Scottish pastor Andrew Bell and the London schoolmaster Joseph Lancaster. Pedagogically, the monitorial system advanced new forms of peer-to-peer instruction, or, as Andrew Bell put it, the ‘principle of tuition by the scholars themselves’.26 More advanced students (‘monitors’) would impart lessons to their less-advanced peers. The promise of this pedagogy, again in the words of Bell, was ‘that the school, 21

22 23 24

25

26

Khoshru Navrosji Banaji, Memoirs of the Late Framji Cowasji Banaji: By His Great Grandson Khoshru Navrosji Banaji (Bombay: Bombay Gazette Steam Printing Works, 1892). Brian Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement: Vidyasagar and Cultural Encounter in Bengal (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996). BFSS Annual Report No. 11, 1816, 1. Jü rgen Osterhammel, ‘ “ T he Great Work of Upl if ting Mank ind ”: Zivilisierungsmissionen und Moderne’, in Boris Barth and Jürgen Osterhammel (eds), Zivilisierungsmissionen. Imperiale Weltverbesserung seit dem 18. Jahrhundert (Konstanz: UVK, 2005), 363–425. Jürgen Schriewer and Marcelo Car uso (eds), Nationalerziehung und Universalmethode: Frühe Formen schulorganisatorischer Globalisierung (Leipzig: Leipziger Universitäts-Verlag 2005 [Comparativ 15, no. 1]). Carl F. Kaestle, Joseph Lancaster and the Monitorial School Movement: A Documentary History (New York, London: Teachers College Press, 1973). Andrew Bell, Instructions for Conducting a School, through the Agency of the Scholars Themselves (London: J. Murray, Rivingstons, Hatchard, Archibald Constable and Co., 1808), 3.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

7

how numerous soever, is taught solely by the pupils of the institution under a single master, who, if able and diligent, could, without difficulty, conduct ten contiguous schools each consisting of a thousand scholars’.27 As the ‘disciplinary’ model par excellence in the field of pedagogy (as analysed in Michel Foucault’s Discipline and Punish), it was based on a minute reorganization of space and time in the classroom. It established a sequence of short and easy lessons, which all students had to pass through, and introduced a system of constant examination to diagnose merit and demerit.28 The principle of ‘self-instruction under surveillance’29 was considered a rational, inexpensive, and efficient solution for educational expansion. The crucial aspect was that groups of students could be instructed simultaneously in a systematic way, instead of a one-on-one interaction between tutor and pupil. In pedagogical terms, the relevance of the monitorial system rests in the fact that it helped the transition from the individual method of instruction, which dominated the pedagogical culture of early modern western Europe, to the classroom system. Building on the experiments of the early nineteenth century, the classroom system – where each class is instructed by its own teacher – became the characteristic form of modern of schooling.30

It is not surprising, therefore, that the monitorial system appealed to diverse educational reformers worldwide.The republican elites of the newly independent Spanish America used it as a means to spread a civic catechism and to forward the processes of nation-building.31 The Public School Society of New York, 27 28

29 30

31

Ibid. See Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Vintage Books, 1995 [Paris 1975]), 135–230; David Hogan, ‘The Market Revolution and Disciplinary Power: Joseph Lancaster and the Psychology of the Early Classroom System’, History of Education Quarterly 29, no. 3 (1989), 381–417. Jones and Williamson, ‘The Birth of the Schoolroom’, 73. Marcelo Caruso, ‘Classroom Struggle: Organizing Elementary Teaching in the 19th Century’, in Marcelo Caruso (ed.), Classroom Struggle: Organizing Elementary School Teaching in the 19th Century (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2015), 9–33. Marcelo Caruso and Eugenia Roldán Vera (eds), Pluralizing Meanings: The Monitorial System of Education in Latin America in the Early Nineteenth Century (Paedagogica Historica 41 [2005]); Marcelo Caruso, ‘New Schooling and the Invention of a Political Culture: Community, Rituals and Meritocracy in Colombian Monitorial Schools, 1821–1842’, in Marcelo Caruso and Eugenia Roldán Vera (eds), Importing Modernity in Post-Colonial State Formation (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2007), 277–306; Eugenia Roldán Vera, ‘The Monitorial System of Education and Civic Culture in Early Independent Mexico’, Paedagogica Historica 35, no. 2 (1999): 297–331.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

8

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

led by Governor de Witt Clinton, considered it ‘the only viable method of imposing order and “good habits” on disreputable immigrant children’.32 In the Balkans, the national elites struggling against the Ottoman empire deployed it for the education of the common people and for the formalization and standardization of national languages.33

Protestant missionaries figured among the ‘early adopters’34 of the method: they found it an apt tool to spread the gospel in the vernacular languages, and thus to pave the way for conversion.35 Among them were the Baptist missionaries of Serampore (Srirampur), William Carey, Joshua Marshman, and William Ward, and Christoph Samuel John, stationed for the Danish-Halle Mission in Tranquebar (Tarangambadi). John’s and Marshman’s proposals for the systematic expansion and improvement of Indian ‘native schools’ – which were the earliest, and rather influential formulations of this agenda – were based on the monitorial method.36 Thus, the missionaries and education societies in India were part of the global ‘monitorial moment’ of the 1820s and 1830s.37 32

33

34 35

36

37

Maxine Greene, The Public School and the Private Vision: In Search for America in Education and Literature (New York, London: The New York Press, 2007 [1965]), 90. Fikret Adanir, ‘Die Schulbildung in Griechenland (1750–1830) und in Bulgarien (1750–1878) im Spannungsfeld von Bewahrung der ethnisch-konfessionellen Identität, Entstehung der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft und Herausbildung des Nationalbewusstseins’, in Wolfgang Schmale and Nan L. Dodde (eds), Revolutionen des Wissens? (Bochum: Winkler, 1991); Vera Bojčeva, ‘La France et la dissémination du système d’enseignement mutuel dans les pays balkaniques’, Études balkaniques 27, no. 1 (1991): 118–20. This term was coined by Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations (New York: Free Press, 2003). Moira Ferguson, ‘Hannah Kilham: Gender, the Gambia, and the Politics of Language’, in Sonia Hofkosh and Alan Richardson (eds), Romanticism, Race, and Imperial Culture, 1780–1834 (Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1996), 114–148. Christoph Samuel John, ‘On Indian Civilisation or Report of a Successful Trial Made during Two Years, on That Subject, in Fifteen Tamul and Five English Native Schools’, Missionary Register, 1813, 369–384; Joshua Marshman, William Carey, and William Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools Together with an Outline of an Institution for Their Extension and Management (Serampore: Serampore Mission Press, 1816). Caruso, ‘Classroom Struggle’, 22. The term ‘monitorial moment’ has been coined by Bruce Curtis, Ruling by Schooling Quebec: Conquest to Liberal Governmentality – A Historical Sociology (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2012).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

9

This book, as I said, explores educational change in India in an imperial, sometimes even global, context. However, it does not tell a story of Westernization. The universal method of the monitorial system existed only in local variations. Research in the field of comparative and international education has amply demonstrated that knowledge always transforms while it travels. Global models get adapted to local circumstance.38 My aim is to understand the interplay of global processes of institutional convergence – the spread of the ‘paraphernalia’ of modern schooling – with the construction of ‘colonial difference’.39 What distinguishes colonial-modern structures of educational provision? What are the characteristics of colonial pedagogy, in contrast to its ‘Western’ contemporaries?

A connected histories approach can be useful for sharpening our understanding of the specifics of colonial education in India. More importantly, it allows to go beyond an understanding of institutional export from metropole to colony. Many authors from the fields of new imperial history, global history, and postcolonial studies have emphasized the need to move away from Eurocentric perspectives in the exploration of global modernity.40 Under conditions of imperial power relations, ‘the West’ definitely had a profound impact on ‘the rest’.41 Colonial administrators sometimes had an enormous freedom for testing new schemes and techniques of regulation, without being confined to the legal restrictions,

38

39 40

41

Rahul Mukhopadhyay and Arathi Sriprakash, ‘Global Frameworks, Local Contingencies: Policy Translations and Education Development in India’, Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education 41, no. 3 (2011): 311–326; Barbara Schulte, ‘Wenn Wissen auf Reisen geht: Rezeption und Aneignung westlichen Wissens in China’, in Jürgen Schriewer (ed.), Weltkultur und kulturelle Bedeutungswelten: Zur Globalisierung von Bildungsdiskursen (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2007), 151–186. Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993). Enrique Dussel, ‘Beyond Eurocentrism: The World-System and the Limits of Modernity’, in Fredric Jameson and Masao Miyoshi (eds), The Cultures of Globalization (Durham: Duke University Press 1998), 3–38; Dipesh Chakrabarty, Provincializing Europe: Postcolonial Thought and Historical Difference (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000); Shalini Randeria and Andreas Eckert (eds), Vom Imperialismus zum Empire? Globalisierung aus nicht-westlicher Sicht: Postkoloniale Perspektiven (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2007). Stuart Hall, ‘The West and the Rest: Discourse and Power’, in Stuart Hall and Bram Gieben (eds), Formations of Modernity (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1992), 275–331.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

10

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

institutional frameworks, or moral norms of their home countries.42 At the same time, however, European societies were profoundly shaped through the colonial encounters.43 Colonial knowledge inspired the imaginary of Victorian literature and supplied a language to describe, categorize, and classify ‘savages’, including those dwelling in the impenetrable ‘jungle’ of the poor quarters of the metropolis. The literature on the home base of missionary societies has particularly shown how the experience of the imperial project was crucial for the construction of a middle-class identity and for forging the British nation.44 Speaking of education, Gauri Viswanathan has traced the beginnings of the teaching of English literature in secondary and higher education institutions in India, even before this subject became established in Britain, while Bruce Curtis has shown how the making of the ‘educational state’ took place in Upper Canada and Ireland much more than in the heart of the empire.45 Educational change in England, therefore, cannot be understood as a ‘response to internal pressures’ only. Its national education system did not emerge as an outcome of ‘endogenous processes’, ready to then be ‘exported … to colonized countries’.46 42

43

44

45

46

Gauri Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), 8. The Scottish missionary and educationalist Alexander Duff thus accused the colonial government of using India as a ‘fair and open field for testing the non-religious theory of education’. Duff, Alexander, India and India Missions (Edinburgh: J. Johnstone, 1840), 452. Catherine Hall, ‘Introduction: Thinking the Postcolonial, Thinking the Empire’, in Catherine Hall (ed.), Cultures of Empire: Colonizers in Britain and the Empire in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries—A Reader (New York: Routledge 2000), 1–33, 13; Jean Comaroff, and John Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism, and Consciousness in South Africa (Chicago, London: University of Chicago Press 1991), 12–13. Susan Thorne, ‘“The Conversion of Englishmen and the Conversion of the World Inseparable”: Missionary Imperialism and the Language of Class in Early Industrial Britain’, in Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (eds), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 238–262; Catherine Hall, Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in English Imagination, 1830–1867 (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002); Anna Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 1800–1860 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003). Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest; Bruce Curtis, ‘Capitalist Development and Educational Reform: Comparative Material from England, Ireland and Upper Canada to 1850’, Theory and Society 13, no. 1 (1984): 41–68. Margaret Archer, Social Origins of Educational Systems (University Edition) (London: SAGE Publications, 1984), 14. Despite my critique, I found this classical sociological study in the field of comparative education highly interesting and helpful to understand educational change in early nineteenthcentury England.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

11

On the contrary, the education systems of England and India started to take shape within the connecting frame of the ‘imperial social formation’,47 even if they diverged in the latter part of the nineteenth century.

The history of the monitorial system of education clearly points to multiple, and relevant, imperial entanglements. The method not only built on earlier European modes of mutual instruction,48 but its history starts with a colonial ‘experiment in education’, which Andrew Bell (as I mentioned before, one of the ‘inventors’ of the method), conducted with European and Eurasian military orphans in Madras (now Chennai).49 This provides a concrete example on how the colonies functioned as laboratories of modern social techniques. However, only in the context of a contestation in England, over who should control the education of the poor, did his pedagogical innovation attract public notice. The NES brought Bell forward as the defender of church and state against the Quaker Joseph Lancaster, whose ‘improvements’ in classroom management were similar to Bell’s.50 New standard versions of the ‘British System’ and the ‘National System’ – which closely resembled each other – were laid down in handy manuals. Teachers versed in the new method were sent abroad.51 This is 47

48

49

50

51

For this term, I am referring to Mrinalini Sinha, Colonial Masculinity. The ‘Manly Englishman’ and the ‘Effeminate Bengali’ in the Late Nineteenth Century (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995). I also build on Stoler and Cooper’s call to ‘treat metropole and colony in a single analytic field’. Ann Laura Stoler and Frederick Cooper, ‘Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda’, in Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (eds), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 1–56, 4. Stephan Jürgens, Das Helfersystem in den Schulen der deutschen Reformation (Langensalza: H. Beyer 1913); Jakob Ackstaller, Das Helfersystem in der mittelalterlichen Schulerziehung (Innsbruck: Felician Rauch, 1934). Andrew Bell, An Experiment in Education, Made at the Male Asylum of Madras, Suggesting a System by Which a School or Family May Teach Itself under the Superintendence of the Master or the Parent (London: Printed for Cadell and Davies, 1797). Joseph Lancaster, Improvements in Education, as It Respects the Industrious Classes of the Community: Containing, a Short Account of Its Present State, Hints towards Its Improvement, and a Detail of Some Practical Experiments Conducive to That End (London: Printed and Sold by Darton and Harvey, J. Mathews, W. Hatchard, 1803). Patrick Ressler, ‘Marketing Pedagogy: Nonprofit Marketing and the Diffusion of Monitorial Teaching in the Nineteenth Century’, Paedagogica Historica 49, no. 3 (2013): 297–313.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

12

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

the background of the new system, which then travelled back to India, promoted by the missionaries and education societies. The extraordinary circumstances of the travels of the monitorial system were clearly appreciated by its contemporary supporters: ‘It is remarkable,’ found the BES report of 1821, ‘how the same simple system of education originally taken from the native schools on these shores is now returned with increased effect and with higher and more extensive designs.’52

This is not the end of the story. The educationally interested public in England attentively observed the Indian developments. Eventually, I will show, the colonial experiments not only contributed to a fundamental change of the pedagogical culture in India, but also provided a push towards a secularization of popular schooling in England.

State, Civil Society, and Educational System-building In 1813, a powerful evangelical campaign succeeded in inserting the so-called pious clauses into the new charter of the British East India Company. This prescribed that the Company had to open their territories for missionary activity, even if the cause of religion might disturb the cause of commerce. Moreover, it introduced the idea of the colonial administration’s responsibility for furthering the education of the population under its rule. This is truly remarkable, since there was no consensus on the state’s responsibility for public instruction in England yet.53 By the terms of the charter of 1813, the Company was bound to invest 10,000 pounds annually in the ‘revival and improvement of literature; and the encouragement of the learned natives of India, and for the introduction and promotion of knowledge of the sciences among the inhabitants of the British territories in India’.54 This was a dual objective, and the question for the colonial governance in India was whether to prioritize the support for Indian knowledge traditions and the literature in Sanskrit, Persian, and Arabic or whether to introduce modern European knowledge in English. Within the General Committee for Public Instruction in Bengal, this question played out in the ‘great education debate’ between the Anglicists and the Orientalists, which was resolved with Macauley’s infamous Minute on Education (1835). The policy adopted by the Anglicists was to concentrate 52 53 54

BES Report No. 6, 1821, 20. Rao, ‘Introduction’, 1. Quoted from Bruce Tiebout McCully, English Education and the Origins of Indian Nationalism (New York: Columbia University Press, 1940), 18.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

13

the committee’s limited resources on higher education in English for the elite, hoping that knowledge would diffuse downwards to transform and modernize Indian society from within.55 In the Madras and Bombay presidencies, the Anglicist–Orientalist conflict played out differently. The prioritization of higher learning, and the approach of downward filtration, however, also characterized their education policy before the 1850s.56

The orientation of education policy was embedded in wider negotiations over the nature and limits of colonial governance in the first decades of the nineteenth century. The Anglicist approach in education policy coincided with the shift towards a consciously interventionist social policy, which has been analysed as the ideology of the colonial civilizing mission. In this frame, Indian society was to be reformed and remodelled according to the universalistic standards of utility and good governance.57 At the same time, however, there was the question of the limits of legitimate state interference and the responsibilities of liberal governance.58 I will show that the relation between ‘state’ and ‘society’ 55

56

57

58

Lynn Zastoupil and Martin Moir (eds), The Great Indian Education Debate: Documents Relating to the Orientalist–Anglicist Controversy, 1780–1840 (Richmond: Curzon, 1999); Thomas Babington Macauley, ‘Indian Education. Minute of the 2nd of February, 1835’, in G[eorge] M[alcolm] Young (ed.), Macauley, Thomas Babington, Prose and Poetry, Selected by G. M. Young (London: Hart-Davis, 1952), 719–730. Robert Eric Frykenberg, ‘Modern Education in South India, 1784–1854: Its Roots and Its Role as a Vehicle of Integration under Company Raj’, The American Historical Review 91, no. 1 (1986): 37–65; Dilip Chavan, ‘Politics of Patronage and the Institutionalization of Language Hierarchy in Colonial Western India,’ in Deepak Kumar, Joseph Bara, Nandita Khadria, and Ch. Radha Gayatri (eds), Education in Colonial India: Historical Insights (New Delhi: Manohar, 2013), 187–226. Educational governance in the Punjab took a different direction from the beginning, since it started in a period in which this prioritization of higher learning was no longer hegemonic. See Tim Allender, ‘Surrendering a Colonial Domain: Educating North India, 1854–1890’, History of Education 36, no. 1 (2007): 45–63. Michael Mann, ‘“Torchbearers upon the Path of Progress”: Britain’s Ideology of “Moral and Material Progress” in India’, in Harald Fischer-Tiné and Michael Mann (eds), Colonialism as Civilising Mission: Cultural Ideology in British India (London: Anthem Press, 2004), 1–28; Javed Majeed, Ungoverned Imaginings: James Mill’s The History of British India and Orientalism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1992); Eric Stokes, The English Utilitarians and India (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959). Jana Tschurenev, ‘Between Non-interference in Matters of Religion and Civilizing Mission: The Prohibition of Suttee in 1829’, in Harald Fischer-Tiné and Michael Mann (eds), Colonialism as Civilizing Mission: Cultural Ideology in British India (London: Anthem Press, 2004), 50–68.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

14

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

was constantly renegotiated in the domain of education policy in colonial India. This is particularly relevant for the period of 1813 to 1854, before the Wood’s Despatch (1854) laid out the task of educational system-building.59 But even after that, the debate over the state’s responsibility in educational provision and governance continued.

The pre-1850 period has been described as the age of mission schools.60 Missionaries were important providers of both elementary schooling and higher education throughout the colonial period. They remained important transmitters of new pedagogical ideas.61 At the same time, voluntary associations emerged as leading actors of educational reform. ‘Societies and associations were the signs of the time’, David Hare’s biographer, Peary Chand Mitra, remembered in the 1870s.62 Missionaries and education societies participated in what colonial policymakers acknowledged as the ‘movement of education’,63 which provided the original impetus for popular elementary instruction. While the Anglicists and Orientalists battled over higher education, ‘a new influence in favour of popular education was being brought to bear upon the Indian Government by missionary and philantropic bodies both in this country and in Europe’.64 Missionaries and education societies, as I will show, participated in shaping a vernacular approach towards popular instruction, which combined the standardization of regional spoken languages with the spread of modern empirical or ‘factual’ knowledge. They set the example for educational and social reform activism throughout the colonial period, which was adopted by pioneering and influential reform associations, such as Jotirao Phule’s Society for Promoting the Education of Mahar-Mangs (SPEMM) (1853), the Seva Sadan (1909), or B.R. Ambedkar’s People’s Education Society (1945). 59

60

61 62 63 64

‘Despatch of 1854’, in Bureau of Education, Government of India, and J.A. Richey (eds), Selections from Educational Records: Part II 1840–1859 (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1922), 364–393. Joseph Bara, ‘Higher Education and Christian Missionary Maneuvers in India, 1818–1910’, in Deepak Kumar, Joseph Bara, Nandita Khadria, and Ch. Radha Gayatri (eds), Education in Colonial India: Historical Insights (New Delhi: Manohar, 2013), 147–186, 147. Hayden Bellenoit, Missionary Education and Empire in Late Colonial India, 1860–1920 (London: Pickering & Chatto, 2014); Sengupta, Pedagogy for Religion. Peary Chand Mitra, A Biographical Sketch of David Hare (Calcutta: W. Newman, 1877), xxiv. Report of the Indian Education Commission (Calcutta: Printed by the Superintendent of Government Printing, 1883), 13. Ibid., 8.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

15

Finally, I want to emphasize that the missionaries and education societies cooperated with the colonial administration in setting up the infrastructure of public education.

I have introduced the monitorial system of education, pedagogically, as an intermediary step in the transition from the individual method of instruction towards the modern classroom system. In terms of the general structure and ownership of education, its history marks the transition from a diverse, nonstandardized household and community-based instruction to a centralized education system. In England, the BFSS and NES established education as a public task. The BFSS and NES, but also the BNES, set up schools that were later brought under the control of the state, and incorporated into its education system. Other education societies, such as the Public School Society of New York, were themselves transformed into state bodies.65 Most importantly, education societies introduced new modes of financing education, together with rational, standardized, and statistical techniques of ensuring accountability. They provided uniform materials and standardized curricula. This also meant that teachers and parents had less control over the content and methods of instruction, as compared to private arrangements.

The efforts of these educational associations, I think, can be best understood in the framework of civil society. This is of course a contested concept, which significantly changed its meanings since it was coined in the eighteenth century. Generally speaking, this framework of civil society describes a public space of interaction apart from the state, the market, and the private space of the family. There are many similarities with what Jürgen Habermas has theorized as the bourgeois public sphere.66 The education societies, which play such an important role in the story told in this book, display all the features that distinguish civil society from other spheres of interaction. They are formal, non-profit organizations, funded by subscriptions and donations, which must be spent in accordance with the stated objectives of the organization. They follow the principle of voluntary association, of individuals gathering in pursuit of a common social cause. And even if religion was a motivating force for many of their members, organizations such as the BFSS or the CSBS were explicitly not faith-based organizations. This does not apply, obviously, to the foreign mission societies, which, however, share many of their organizational features. The expansion of civil society has been hailed as an important element of

65 66

Greene, The Public School and the Private Vision, 83–93. Jürgen Habermas, Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1990 [1962]).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

16

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

globalization processes. It entailed the formation of global communication networks and the emergence of a cosmopolitan mindset.67 But the expansion of civil society also overlapped with colonial expansion. Scottish enlightenment moral philosophy developed a concept of civil society, which rested on notions of social progress, or ‘progress of civilization’, which informed the ideology of the colonial civilizing mission.68 I want to emphasize that the paradigmatic civil society actors, voluntary associations, actively participated in civilizing missions in India and elsewhere.69

In India, civil society organizing provided a new space of public engagement, one that was beyond the immediate individual interest and family or communal solidarity. This does not mean that caste bonds or communal identities were unimportant for public organizing.70 But the formal rules of voluntary associations, such as the CSBS, entailed that anyone able and willing to pay the fee would be admitted as a member. They were spaces for conversation between British officials and social activists, British and Indian college professors, and Hindu, Muslim, and Parsi philanthropists. ‘European’ and ‘native gentlemen’ would interact according to rules of formal civility and organizational rationality. I do not propose that they cooperated as social equals. As critics of Habermas have pointed out, the bourgeois public sphere was not free of domination and

67

68 69

70

Akira Iriye, Global Community: The Role of International Organizations in the Making of the Contemporary World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2004). Sudipta Kaviraj and Sunil Khilnani (eds), Civil Society: History and Possibilities (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003, repr.). Corinne A. Pernet, ‘Die Zivilisierungsmissionen der Zivilgesellschaft. Die andere Art der US-Intervention in Lateinamerika von 1910 bis 1945’, in Boris Barth and Jürgen Osterhammel (eds), Zivilisierungsmissionen. Imperiale Weltverbesserung seit dem 18. Jahrhundert (Konstanz: UVK-Verl.-Ges., 2005); Michael Mann and Carey Watt (eds), Civilizing Missions in Colonial and Postcolonial South Asia: From Improvement to Development (London: Anthem Press, 2011). Interesting studies on civil society and the public sphere in India are Margrit Pernau, ‘Gab es eine indische Zivilgesellschaft im 19. Jahrhundert? Überlegungen zum Verhältnis von Globalgeschichte und historischer Semantik’, Traverse 14, no. 3 (2007): 51–65; Neeladri Bhattacharya, ‘Notes towards a Conception of the Colonial Public’, in Rajeev Bhargava and Helmut Reifeld (eds), Civil Society, Public Sphere and Citizenship: Dialogues and Perceptions (New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 2005), 130–156; Shalini Randeria, ‘Entangled Histories of Uneven Modernities: Civil Society, Caste Solidarities and Legal Pluralism in Post-Colonial India’, in Yehuda Elkana et al. (eds), Unraveling Ties: From Social Cohesion to New Practices of Connectedness (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2002), 284–311.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

17

instrumental reason.71 It was characterized not only by social exclusion but also by hierarchical, unequal terms of participation. Joining civil society organizations could be motivated by the wish to enhance one’s status, by claiming to partake in civilized debate and the project of social betterment. This has an element of distinction, of placing oneself above others, as I will discuss in this book for the cases of imperial feminism, and bhadralok72 civility.

Looking at educational change from the perspective of civil society helps to trace the changing and unstable role of the state. I am drawing from the literature on governmentality studies,73 to discuss the changing modes of the governance of education and of colonial governance in general. I show how governmental actors increasingly incorporated institutions and technologies of ruling, which were first developed by non-state social reformers, into their regulatory systems. Colonial officials devised their policies in wider networks of exchange, be it in the imperial circuit or the local. They constantly discussed what their responsibilities were and what could be outsourced to ‘native society’ and local structures of educational voluntarism. In the end, a multiplicity of actors was involved in the making of the colonial education system in India.

Interaction, Transformation, and Social Power Relations My book is inspired by different approaches towards writing an ‘interactional history’,74 which I find helpful for understanding educational change. I agree with Nita Kumar ‘that indeed there is agency in history and that the structures seemingly in place are thus because they are reproduced’.75 Similarly, sociologist Margaret Archer had argued that educational transformations occur, basically, ‘because new goals are pursued by those who have the power to modify Nancy Fraser, Unruly Practices: Power, Discourse, and Gender in Contemporary Social Theory (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989). 72 Calcutta’s ‘gentlefolk’, the new urban elite. See S.N. Mukherjee, ‘Class, Caste and Politics in Calcutta, 1815–38’, in Edmund Leach and S.N. Mukherjee (eds), Elites in South Asia (London: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 33–78. 73 Matthias Bohlender, Metamorphosen des liberalen Regierungsdenkens. Politische Ökonomie, Polizei und Pauperismus (Weilerswist: Velbrück Wissenschaft, 2007); Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon, and Peter Miller (eds), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1991). 74 Peter van der Veer, Imperial Encounters: Religion and Modernity in India and Britain (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 8–11. 75 Nita Kumar, preface to The Politics of Gender, Community, and Modernity. 71

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

18

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

education’s previous structural form, definition of instruction, and relationship to society’.76 I agree with Archer also in that I do not pursue a ‘pure action approach’.77 We need to look at the social, cultural, and institutional conditions under which new goals are formulated in the first place. Why do intellectuals and reformers perceive a need for change? What is the institutional setting they no longer find sufficient? These are questions that I am going to take up at different points. Finally, there is a fundamental contingency to the effects of educational interaction: ‘The nature of education is rarely, if ever, the practical realization of an ideal form of instruction as envisaged by a particular group. Instead, most of the time, most of the forms that education takes are the political products of power struggles.’78

Such power struggles have occurred many times, and in many forms, between the different groups of educational reformers, who are the protagonists of this book. Since colonialism ‘was not a coherent monolith’,79 I explore conflicts between missionaries and the colonial governments – the agendas of ‘religion’ and ‘empire’ were not always in harmony.80 Conflicts of interest and differences in funding priorities also occurred between the British and the Indian members of the education societies in the colonial centres. Moreover, it does not suffice to focus merely on the ‘agency of the powerful’, the competing strategies of educational reformers alone.81 Analysing the responses to the schools provided by the BFSS and the NES in England, Thomas Laqueur argued that ‘changes in the supply side of education, although very important, do not in themselves provide a sufficient explanation’ for educational change. He found ‘a considerable and highly discriminating working-class demand for education’, which directly affected the structure of educational provision.82 Finally, it is important to 76 77 78

79 80 81 82

Archer, Social Origins of Educational Systems, 4. Ibid. Archer, Social Origins of Educational Systems, 1–2; a similar approach is suggested by Kim Tolley, ‘Introduction: Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Transformations in Schooling’, in Kim Tolley (ed.), Transformations in Schooling. Historical and Comparative Perspectives (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 1–11. Comaroff and Comaroff, Revelation and Revolution, 12–13. Andrew Porter, Religion Versus Empire? British Protestant Missionaries and Overseas Expansion, 1700–1914 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004). Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 149, also 167. Pavla Miller makes this point regarding Foucault’s analysis of modern disciplinary regimes. Thomas Laqueur, ‘Working-class Demand and the Growth of English Elementary Education, 1750–1850’, in Lawrence Stone (ed.), Schooling and Society (Baltimore, London: John Hopkins University Press, 1976), 192–205, 195–196.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

19

remember that the children attending schools are also active agents within adult-driven frameworks.83

Such an interactional history is particularly confronted with the problem of colonial archives. This book is based primarily on pamphlets, manuals, and reports published by individual educational reformers and associations who were part of the monitorial movement. This includes the records of the BFSS and the BES, missionary sources (such as the Missionary Register, reports on ‘native schools’ written by missionaries in India, either published or sent to the colonial government), and the reports on schools for ‘Eurasians’ and ‘poor Europeans’ in India which often functioned as models for the reorganization of indigenous education. The reports published by the ‘Europeo-native institutions’, which were available in the cases of the CSBS and BNES, are highly interesting sources. They show how Indian educationalists set their project of a cultural renaissance against the British visions. Together, these materials provide useful information on educational change in the early nineteenth century – in terms of pedagogy and institution-building – which is so far not well researched.

These sources, however, are biased in a double sense. They reveal a general modern reformers’ bias towards existing educational institutions, which, against the background of new educational goals, appear to be ‘woefully insufficient’.84 This bias characterizes the sources on the state of education in western European contexts, such as Lancaster’s Improvements.85 In the case of Indian education, this diagnosed insufficiency of education becomes a signifier of a general lack of civilization. We must also see that these are highly strategic texts, connected to fundraising efforts. They seek to demonstrate the need for improvement and the expediency of success.86 As Patrick Ressler has shown, the reports of education societies were integrated into an overall strategy of non-profit marketing.87

83 84 85 86 87

Ellis, ‘Education for All’, 363. Kaestle, Joseph Lancaster, 2. See Mary Jo Maynes, Schooling in Western Europe: A Social History (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985), 1–6. For an interesting discussion of such sources, see Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 1–7. Patrick Ressler, Nonprofit-Marketing im Schulbereich. Britische Schulgesellschaften und der Erfolg des Bell-Lancaster-Systems der Unterrichtsorganisation im 19. Jahrhundert (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2010).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

20

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

The question then is how the experiences of poor and rural children figure in these sources. Can they speak to the historian through these texts?88 Such methodological concerns have not only been raised by the Subaltern Studies, but also in the literature on Christian missions. In their study of the encounter between British missionaries and indigenous populations in South Africa, Jean and John Comaroff argue that subtexts disrupt the missionary texts, in which ‘the voice of the silent other is audible through disconcerted accounts of his “irrational” behaviour, his mockery, or his resistance’.89 I share Anna Johnston’s scepticism about missionary sources’ capacity ‘to tell indigenous stories’.90 I do not have access to the viewpoint of students and parents, or even Indian teachers. However, missionaries’ and education societies’ reports do contain a lot of information on conflict and interaction. I therefore maintain that it is possible – and fruitful – for historical research to analyse processes of interaction without having direct access to the perspective of all the actors involved in them. From the reports on obstacles and impediments to the diffusion of knowledge (as the missionaries see it), we learn a lot about classroom interaction, about discrepancies between students’ ‘number in the books’ (registered students) and ‘number in attendance’ (students present in the classroom). We learn that missionaries ‘had no hold of the children’.91 They lacked any form of direct coercive power and therefore had to find other ways to attract students. That means that they had to adjust, to some extent, to a discriminating demand for schooling. On the one hand, we can see how the disciplinary tools were constantly refined and the technologies transformed in the complex interaction processes with the targeted populations. In his analysis of the Western Education of Colonial India, Sanjay Seth provocatively argues that even if this education was to transform knowledge and the recipient of it … indigenous practices had warped the system, and the Indian student had bent the system to his [and her] own strength, finding loopholes which resulted in the pedagogic process being shaped by Indian students (and teachers), rather than the students reshaped by the pedagogy.92 88

89 90 91 92

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ in Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (eds), Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 271–313. Comaroff and Comaroff, Revelation and Revolution, 37–38. Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 25. Rev. Thomas Carr on his ‘native school’ in Surat, BES Report No. 6, 1821, 13. Sanjay Seth, Subject Lessons: The Western Education of Colonial India (Durham, London: Duke University Press, 2007), 32.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

21

I think that it was actually both: students, local communities, and public culture were transformed (or transformed themselves) through the selective reception of the modern-colonial school knowledge. At the same time, there was a constant process of pedagogical adjustment, which I am going to illustrate using the example of an emergent ‘copy-book system’ and shifts toward an ‘interrogation method’. On the other hand, this confirms arguments against the notion of an imposition of English education.93 Education, inequality, and social power were closely entwined in colonial India – but not in the way of imposition and resistance.

Schools for All? Colonialism, Educational Expansion, and Social Inequality My book discusses the development of new forms of modern public elementary schooling, which were inspired by an ideology of universal education. The major actors in this story – missionaries and civil society associations – promoted the radically novel idea that the general population, that is, the poor, the peasants, the labourers, girls and boys, were in need of schooling. They experimented with new pedagogical tools to teach large groups of children under conditions of scarcity, both of trained teachers and financial resources. They proposed to set up schools as public institutions, which were open to all and fee-free or heavily subsidized.

The effects of this movement, however, need to be disentangled from its stated aims. Scholars have already pointed to the striking contrast ‘between diminutive geographies’ of children actually reached by missionaries and the ‘macro-scale sociopolitical and economic agendas’ within which their educational reform projects were formulated.94 In the beginning of this introduction, I contrasted the colonial narrative of progress with the nationalist counter-claim, which emphasized the destructive nature of the colonial intervention. Both narratives are wrong. But both also cover, in their own selective way, some aspects of social reality. By the time the nationalist movement came out with their proposals of organizing mass education in the 1930s, British India was not more illiterate than a hundred years ago. However, it was only in the interwar period that 93

94

See Robert Eric Frykenberg, ‘The Myth of English as a “Colonialist” Imposition upon India: A Reappraisal with Special Reference to South India’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 120, no. 2 (1988): 305–315. May, Kaur, and Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods, xvii.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

22

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

the number of schools was finally increasing, and the literacy rate had fallen significantly behind Europe.95

The efforts to spread a new type of schooling aimed at the substitution of the hitherto existing culture of instruction and learning. This implied that the preexisting indigenous schools became increasingly remodelled and incorporated into the new educational structure.96 In this way, they were ‘reformed out of existence’. Alternatively, they could not withstand the competition of the new public schools and were ‘starved out of funds and recognition’.97 Towards the end of the nineteenth century, the indigenous schools of the type in preBritish times had nearly disappeared. And since the colonial government was unable to supply the whole population with the new primary schools,98 there is plausibility in the argument that there was at first a reduction in educational facilities, contrary to the aim of educational expansion.

Such an assessment, however, must be qualified from the point of view of those excluded from formal instruction. The question is not only about the number of schools and the general level of literacy in the population, but also the question of social accessibility. Who had access to literacy skills? This was a crucial question in a society in which public activism, professional opportunities, 95

96 97 98

Dharampal uses the Madras statistics (which will be introduced in Chapter 1) to assess the proportion of boys of school-going age attending a formal educational institution. He argues that this rate declined from at least 25 per cent in the years between 1822 and 1825, to about 13 per cent in 1880. It reached about 28 per cent again in 1900 (Dharampal, The Beautiful Tree, 70–72.) Only in the interwar period did literacy rates finally take off. According to the calculations of the Indian Statutory Commission, 42 per cent of the boys and 10.4 per cent of the girls of school-going age were under primary instruction in British India by 1929. See Indian Statutory Commission, Interim Report of the Indian Statutory Commission (Review of Growth of Education in British India by the Auxiliary Committee Appointed by the Commission) (Calcutta: Government of India Central Publication Branch, 1929), 43. These figures are highly problematic and remain contested but they do give at least some sense of proportion. Kazi Shahidullah, Patshalas into Schools: The Development of Indigenous Elementary Education in Bengal, 1854–1905 (Calcutta: Firma KLM, 1987). N. Kumar, The Politics of Gender, Community, and Modernity, 36. B,N. Vaidya, History of Primary Education in the Province of Bombay from 1815 to 1940 (Bombay: The Local Self-Government Institute, 1947). The same process is shown to have taken place in the region of Bihar by Hetukar Jha, ‘Decline of Vernacular Education in Bihar in the Nineteenth Century’, in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1998), 218–228.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

23

and later active citizenship came to depend on formal education, and the cultural capital derived from it. From the 1820s onwards, I argue, groups who had hitherto been excluded from the domain of formal instruction now entered this domain. Gandhi’s statement endorses schooling for girls, which we rarely find in the early nineteenth-century sources. ‘Women’s education was considered … unnecessary, dangerous and unorthodox’, Aparna Basu summarises.99 Women activists in the nineteenth century recalled the enormous hurdles they had to overcome to educate themselves.100 There is a long history of Dalit communities’ and movements’ struggle for access to education and educational equality – a struggle that still continues.101

Colonial schools, as I will show, were disruptive in more than one sense. They were disruptive of Indian learning traditions, modes of knowledge transmission, and local teaching arrangements. Education lost its cultural embeddedness in a process of structural differentiation. But they were also disruptive of established patterns of social authority, which opened the space for social revolt.102 The confrontation between colonial hegemonic ambitions, on the one hand, and the privileges of caste and ‘Brahminical patriarchy’,103 on the other, produced 99

100

101

102

103

Aparna Basu, ‘Mary Ann Cooke to Mother Teresa: Christian Missionary Women and the Indian Response’, in Fiona Bowie, Deborah Kirkwood, and Shirley Ardener (eds), Women and Missions, Past and Present: Anthropological and Historical Perceptions (Providence: Berg, 1993), 187–208, 189. Eunice de Souza, and Lindsay Pereira (eds), Women’s Voices: Selections from Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth Century Indian Writing in English (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2004). Shailaja Paik, Dalit Women’s Education in Modern India: Double Discrimination (New York: Routledge, 2014); Eleanor Zelliot, ‘Dalit Initiatives in Education, 1880–1992’, in Parimala V. Rao (ed.), New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2014), 45–67; Phillip Constable, ‘Sitting on the School Verandah: The Ideology and Practice of “Untouchable” Educational Protest in Late Nineteenth-Century Western India’, Indian Economic & Social History Review 37, no. 4 (2000): 383–422; Geetha B Nambissan, ‘Equity in Education? Schooling of Dalit Children in India’, Economic and Political Weekly 31, no. 16/17 (1996): 1011–1024. Rosalind O’Hanlon, Caste, Conflict, and Ideology: Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Low Caste Protest in Nineteenth-Century Western India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Parimala V. Rao, Foundations of Tilak’s Nationalism: Discrimination, Education and Hindutva (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2010). A term coined by Uma Chakravarti, Rewriting History: The Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1998).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

24

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

ambiguous social effects. Education was a major site where this confrontation played out.104

This does not cast missionaries or the imperial educational movement of the early nineteenth century in the role of social liberators. Their idea of universal education needs to be disentangled from the progressive ideas of educational equity and social mobility of the twentieth century. Building on earlier conversations on education, social reproduction, and inequality, my book explores the fundamental tension of expansion and control in modern public elementary education.105 To most nineteenth-century reformers in England and India, education for all did not mean equal education for all. Social mobility was feared, not endorsed. Separate schools and differentiated curricula were considered instrumental in producing moral subjects, who knew their place in the social hierarchy. They were meant to ensure that people willingly performed the social roles that the educational reformers and school providers found appropriate. A pattern emerged in the first decades of the nineteenth century – even before the state became the major actor of educational provision and reform – that can be summarized as universal education for inequality. This pattern not only characterized colonial education but also many proposals within the Indian national education movement.106 And one could argue that under the aegis of the Right to Education Act (2009), market forces and informal mechanisms ensure what nineteenth-century programmes explicitly aimed for: a differentiation and segregation of education, based on gender, caste, and economic position.107 104

105

106

107

Sumeet Mhaskar and Jana Tschurenev, ‘Bildung und politische Mobilisierung im kolonialen Indien. Die Anti-Kasten-Bewegung in Maharasthra, 1848–1882’, Zeitschrift für Pädagogik 63, no. 5 (2017): 561–581. Nigel Crook, ‘The Control and Expansion of Knowledge: An Introduction’, in Nigel Cook (ed.), The Transmission of Knowledge in South Asia: Essays on Education, Religion, History and Politics (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), 1–27; Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, ‘Introduction: An Approach to Education and Inequality’, in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), Education and the Dispriviledged: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2002), 1–32; Pierre Bourdieu and J.C. Passeron, Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture (London: SAGE Publications, 1990). Parimala V. Rao, ‘Compulsory Education and the Political Leadership in Colonial India, 1840–1947’, in Parimala V. Rao (ed.), New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2014), 151–175. Geetha B. Nambissan, ‘Private Schools for the Poor: Business as Usual?’ Economic and Political Weekly 47, no. 41 (2012): 51–58.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

25

My point is that the colonial suggestions for mass education endorsed social change, but the social order they envisioned was no less hierarchical than the one they challenged. Still, given the uncontrollable effects of literacy and the spread of cultural capital, these were crucial in creating the conditions that allowed anti-caste and feminist activists to step in.

Structure of the Book The book tells a story of the emergence, ideology, activities, and effects – in terms of pedagogy, knowledge appropriation, institution-building, and social accessibility – of an imperial education movement in India. The story concentrates on the period of 1805–1840, in which this movement was most active. However, the book also looks back to the late eighteenth century, to contextualize both Bell’s initial experiment and the foreign mission movement. Moreover, the final chapters trace some long-term trajectories of institutionbuilding until 1882, with the Indian Education Commission (also known as the Hunter Commission) as an important caesura for education policy. Chronology offers the basic orientation for the construction of the narrative. However, the chapters are also thematically structured, and their time frames overlap. Some of the chapters have a regional focus, while others explore wider transregional connections and comparative questions. My analysis starts with a first chapter on India (‘A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras 1789–1797’). It situates Bell’s innovation in the political and educational context of Madras. On the one hand, it explores the Indian origins of the monitorial system. I review the principal sources on indigenous education in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries and provide an overview on the common vernacular schools (pyal schools or tinnai schools)108 of the Madras region, in comparison with the data available for Bengal and Bombay. This entails an assessment of literacy rates, as they were estimated by British educational reformers in the 1820s and 1830s. On the other hand, I analyse the monitorial system’s ‘roots’, as Phillip McCann put it,109 in Scottish enlightenment natural and moral philosophy. Finally, I contextualize Bell’s 108

109

Senthil Babu, ‘Memory and Mathematics in the Tamil Tinnai Schools of South India in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’, The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education 2, no. 1 (2007): 15–37. Phillip McCann, ‘The Indian Origins of Bell’s Monitorial System’, in Peter Cunningham, and Colin Brock (eds), International Currents in Education (London: History of Education Society, 1988), 29–40, 30.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

26

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

pedagogical approach in the emerging sociopolitical debate on the so-called Eurasian problem. The chapter shows that a new educational approach took shape as the product of an encounter between different knowledge traditions, and in response to the problems connected with the specific institutional setting of a colonial military orphanage.

The second chapter shifts the focus to England (‘Education of the Poor, 1805–1813’). It introduces the second source of the monitorial system, the innovation brought forward by Lancaster. It shows how educationalists and social reformers, confronted with pauperism and political unrest, reformulated the education of the poor as a public good and a social problem that was beyond private solutions. The chapter introduces the BFSS and the NES not only as new actors, who competed for educational control in England, but also characterizes them as a new type of actor, which provided the paradigm for educational activism in India. Finally, it discusses a fundamental tension in debate on the education of the poor: how to balance meritocratic school arrangements against the need to re-establish social authority? How to produce rational, moral subjects, without stimulating social mobility? The third chapter discusses how the demand for ‘Schools for All’,110 formulated by the utilitarian and evangelical ‘friends of popular instruction’111 against the ‘partial system’ suggested by the Anglican Church, became extended to the empire and the world (‘Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1817’). The search for means to govern unruly ‘paupers’ at home corresponded with the pursuit of an imperial civilizing mission abroad.112 This did not only mean the setting up of free schools; the expansion of the structures of civil society organizing was an aim in itself. All were called on to ‘take their share’ in the benevolent endeavours, ‘the rich and the poor’, men and

110

111

112

James Mill, Schools for All, in Preference to School for Churchmen Only: or, the State of the Controversy between the Advocates for the Lancasterian System of Universal Education, and Those, Who Have Set Up an Exclusive and Partial System under the Name of the Church and Dr. Bell, repr. ed. by Jeffrey Stern (Bristol: Thoemmes Press, 1995 [1812]). John Foster, An Essay on the Evils of Popular Ignorance, and a Discourse on the Communication of Christianity to the People of Hindoostan (London: B.J. Holdsworth, 1821). See Fischer-Tiné and Mann, Colonialism as Civilising Mission. For non-state actors particularly: Watt and Mann, Civilizing Missions in Colonial and Postcolonial South Asia.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

27

women, and the ‘respectable classes’ among the colonized.113 On the one hand, this chapter outlines the imperial network of educational reform, which is at the centre of my analysis. Indeed, most of the actors involved in the expansion and reform of popular education in India from the 1810s to the 1830s were connected to this movement. This includes the London (LMS), Baptist (BMS), and Church Missionary Societies (CMS), the German–Danish missionaries in Tamil Nadu, the Scottish and American missionaries in the Bombay Presidency, all major education societies set up in the colonial centres (that is, the CSBS, CSS, MSBSS, BES, and BNES), and their regional affiliates. On the other hand, it shows how this movement opened up a new space for communication, where reports of the missionaries’ successes fuelled the discourse on popular instruction in the metropole. While the third chapter explores the universalistic elements of the educational-civilizing mission, the fourth chapter (‘Class, Race, and Gender: The Social Agenda of Education, 1814–1820s’) focuses on social differentiation. The imperial educational movement coupled the agenda of universal schooling with highly restrictive curricula that aimed to manifest social hierarchies of race and colonialism, class, and gender. The idea was to educate all, but not all in the same way. I discuss several educational programmes formulated by the missionaries (such as the Serampore missionaries and the Tranquebar missionaries) and education societies in India (particularly the BES). I show how they formulated different agendas for schooling, first, the ‘poor Europeans’ and ‘Eurasians’, second, rural Indian children, and, finally, the girls among both groups. I argue that differentiated curricula were connected to establishing a ‘colonial grammar of difference’.114 Finally, I explore the contrast between the rhetoric of an equality of human potential, which imperial educators used when fundraising in the metropolitan context, and a language of fundamental difference spoken in the colony, which already points at the emergent racial thinking.

Chapter 5 (‘Rules and Numbers: Transforming Rural Education, 1814– 1830’) analyses the practical workings of the new missionary ‘British schools’ in rural settings. Thus, we can see the gap between the way in which disciplinary techniques were designed and the way in which they were implemented. The major case studies are the activities of Robert May and J.D. Pearson (LMS) and the ‘Serampore Trio’ near Calcutta, and a network of schools which the CMS 113 114

Missionary Register, 1813, 285. Stoler and Cooper, ‘Between Metropole and Colony’, 7.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

28

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

had taken over from the Danish-Halle Mission in the Madras Presidency. I describe the new schools, their routines, and rituals, and analyse the interaction of educators with local communities, teachers, and students. Although the schools were often well-attended, conflicts arose from the introduction of a new culture of schooling. These conflicts led to many adaptations, including the development of new techniques of educational control and supervision, such as primitive forms of ‘payment by result’. I close the chapter with a discussion on the emerging examination culture and the question of knowledge appropriation on part of the students.

These mission-run schools were among the first to spread a new, colonial pedagogical culture. Their number, however, remained limited. In 1819, the Missionary Register rejoiced that ‘the system originally practised in India, is revived’ and ‘now brought into action in the instruction of Thirty or Forty Thousand Native Children – a number which is continually and rapidly increasing’.115 Against the aim of universal education, this was a drop in the ocean. Much more relevant was the initiation of a public reform discourse and the participation in wider institution-building processes. This the missionaries could only achieve in collaboration with Indian reformers and the colonial governments. Chapter 6 (‘Intellectual Conquest: Education Societies, “Useful Knowledge”, and the Bengal Renaissance, 1817–1854’) analyses the conflicts and collaboration among an emerging triad of missionaries, government, and educational organizations in Calcutta. On the one hand, I look at processes of cultural appropriation and the terms of participation of the bhadralok in the CSBS and CSS. On the other hand, I analyse the conditions for governmental support for the education societies and the debate over religious instruction in government-funded schools. In the end, it was modern European science that, through these multiple collaborations, entered the cultural repertoire of the Bengal renaissance. At the same time, copy-books and a reduced, empiricist understanding of knowledge came to mark the pedagogical culture of vernacular elementary schooling. Chapter 7 (‘Civil Society, Government, and Vernacular Education in the Bombay Presidency, 1826–1882’) presents Bombay as a case study of the monitorial movement’s legacy for educational system-building. The first part of the chapter focuses on the relationships between missionaries, government, and education societies from the 1820s to the 1840s. The second part of the chapter 115

‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 103.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

Introduction

29

discusses the period of 1848 to 1882, focusing on two new developments. On the one hand, there was a shift in the colonial education policy, associated with Wood’s Despatch (1854). On the other hand, independent Indian initiatives now pursued educational reform. Organizations such as the SPEMM in Poona (now Pune) or the Parsi Girls’ School Association (PGSA, 1857) in Bombay took over the organizational repertoire and the publicity and fundraising strategies of the earlier movement. While the SPEMM received government funding under the new, more formalized, grant-in-aid strategy, the PGSS chose to remain outside the fold of government supervision. Looking at these entanglements, the chapter analyses the shifting modes of government engagement with the problem of mass elementary instruction. It closes with a discussion of some of the results of the Indian Education Commission (1882), which had been tasked to review the implementation of Wood’s dispatch and the building of a colonial education system. This also entails an official endorsement of the pupil–teacher system over the now-outdated monitorial system. Chapter 8 (‘Teaching the Marginalized: Universal Education and the Politics of Inequality, 1789–1880s’) examines the monitorial movement’s sociopolitical implications and discursive legacies. First, it looks at the vocational options for Eurasian students. The schools set up in the early nineteenth century aimed to train them as useful servants, clearly subordinate in terms of race and class to the British administrative elite. But they also set up a trajectory, where Eurasians and poor Europeans of both genders had privileged access to the emerging teaching profession. Second, it discusses the missionary politics of female education from the perspective of marginal women’s access to schooling. Third, the chapter traces the conflicts over ‘untouchable’ students’ access to missionary, army, and government schools in the Bombay Presidency. By the time the Hunter Commission (1882) reviewed the state of education, a pattern of caste-based exclusion and segregation had emerged, which perfectly fit the approach towards educational differentiation adopted in the early nineteenth century. I conclude with a discussion of some long-term trajectories of the politics of universal education for inequality.

The Conclusion summarizes the main features of educational change in the early nineteenth century, which shaped the colonial education system. It points out the pedagogical, cultural, and institutional legacies of the monitorial movement (as discussed in Chapters 5, 6, and 7 respectively), and its wider sociopolitical implications (Chapter 8). Coming back to the question of connected histories (Chapters 1, 2, and 3), it outlines the most relevant repercussions of the imperial educational experiments in Britain. Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

30

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

The nineteenth century was the period in which public education systems globally developed, including India’s colonial education system. I will end my analysis with a discussion on modern schooling, liberal notions of subjectivity, and colonial governance.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.001

CHAPTER 1

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796* England’s debt to India in pedagogics has been fitly acknowledged in the tablet in Westminster Abbey, which describes Andrew Bell as ‘the eminent founder of the Madras System of Education, which has been adopted within the British empire, as the national system of education for the children of the poor’.1

The Indian Origins of the Monitorial System One of the most interesting features of the monitorial system of education is that it did not originate in England, but in a colonial setting. An abandoned military fort near the port city of Madras was the scene of an experiment that inspired the formulation of the globally circulating model. Egmore Redoubt, as this place was called, accommodated an asylum for the sons of European officers and soldiers which also provided some basic literacy instruction. In 1789, while his home country was shaken by European political turmoil, the Scottish adventurer, science lecturer, and ordained pastor of the Anglican Church Andrew Bell (1753–1832) was appointed to superintend the education of these children. During his tenure, he completely remodelled the asylum school and transformed it – against the resistance of his teachers – from an old-fashioned charity into a modern, rational, and effective disciplinary institution. *

1

An earlier version of this chapter has been published in Barnita Bagchi, Eckhardt Fuchs and Kate Rousmaniere (eds), Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-Cultural Exchanges in (Post)Colonial Education (New York: Berghahn Books, 2014), 105–120. Benoy Kumar Sarkar, The Futurism of Young Asia and Other Essays on the Relations between the East and the West (Leipzig: Markert & Petters, 1922), 147.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

32

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

This place of origin – the colonial city of Madras – has attracted the attention of colonial policymakers and scholars alike.2 British officials, who were concerned with the expansion and reform of popular instruction in India, were the first to comment on the ‘Indianness’ of the monitorial system. In its educational despatch of 1814, the Court of Directors of the East India Company expressed the opinion that Bell’s new mode of education was, basically, the ‘mode of instruction that from time immemorial has been practiced’ under Indian village schoolmasters, concluding that it must, therefore, be well adapted for the spread of modern knowledge throughout the country.3 This notion of ‘improving’ the institutions of the Indians and ‘returning’ them afterwards occurs regularly in the discourse of the civilizing mission that emerged in the beginning of the nineteenth century. In the controversy of whether the Anglican Bell or his Quaker competitor Joseph Lancaster (1778–1838) had the better claims for authorship of the monitorial system, British educationalists referred to the ‘Indian origins’ to downplay Bell’s role as an innovator. However, this issue never attracted much attention as compared to questions of the place of religion in schools and the potential dangers imagined to spring from the education of the masses.4 With the increasing popularity and spread of the monitorial system in the 1820s and 1830s, and even more so after its substitution by other models in the second half of the nineteenth century, the question of its origins seems to have lost its relevance. It came up again, however, a century later, in the contestations over the writing of Indian history that accompanied the political struggle for Indian independence. The sociologist and nationalist Benoy Kumar Sarkar emphatically highlighted ‘England’s debt to India’ for the ‘so-called Bell–Lancasterian pedagogics’. Emphasizing ‘the fact that even the ancient and medieval civilization of the Hindus has been one of the feeders of this modern civilization itself ’, he 2

3 4

Ingeborg Wilke, ‘Die Bell-Lancaster-Methode und die indische Dorfschule aus dem Gesichtswinkel der komparativen Pädagogik’, Pädagogische Rundschau 22, no. 7 (1968): 352–368; Phillip McCann, ‘The Indian Origins of Bell’s Monitorial System’, in Peter Cunningham and Colin Brock (eds), International Currents in Education (London: History of Education Society, 1988). While Wilke employs some rather a-historical notions of a ‘traditional Indian education system’ influencing Bell, McCann’s article offers an interesting account of Bell’s biography and the administrative setting in Madras, where he conducted the asylum school. Quoted from Arthur Howell, Education in British India, Prior to 1854, and in 1870–71 (Calcutta: Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, 1872), 6. Joseph Fox, A Comparative View of the Plans of Education as Detailed in the Publications of Dr. Bell and Mr. Lancaster (London: Printed at the Free School, Borough Road, 1809); see Chapter 2.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

33

was struggling with the Eurocentric historiography of his time. He argued ‘that the cultural movements in Europe and America since 1776 have been affected to an appreciable extent by the achievements of free India down to that period’. The monitorial system, or the Madras System of Education, as he calls it, illustrated this point, since it has ‘been adopted within the British empire, as the national system of education for the children of the poor’.5 In Sarkar’s own terms, his ‘leitmotif ’ (as quoted in The Futurism of Young Asia) was to wage ‘war against colonialism in politics’ as much as ‘against “orientalisme” in science’.6 Similarly, the authors of a standard textbook on the history of education in India that was first published two years before Independence ‘point[ed] out with pride that the indigenous schools of India contributed the idea of the monitorial system to England’.7 In Nurullah and Naik’s interpretation, Bell acted as a mediator, who ‘advocated the adoption’ of the ‘Indian system of teaching with the help of monitors’ in England. The purpose of this emphasis was the same as Sarkar’s – a politically anti-colonial and academically anti-Eurocentric rewriting of history that included an alternative interpretation of the location of causal powers: ‘Historians talk only of England’s contribution to Indian Education and they generally ignore the great contribution which was made by India to the spread of education among the poorer classes of England herself.’8

My own analysis of Bell’s colonial experiment builds on postcolonial literature, which explores new ways for writing connected histories. A variety of approaches from literary theory, history, and cultural studies has outlined the cultural and institutional repercussions of colonial encounters on metropolitan societies. The changes, which the immigration of people from the former colonies produced in the political constellation of postcolonial metropolitan countries – the emergence of the ‘multicultural question’9 (on part of the majority population) and ‘imaginary homelands’10 (on part of the immigrants) – were only the most visible repercussions. It has been emphasized that even under the direct colonial rule of the nineteenth-century empires, the subjected populations were not mere respondents of ready-made modern sets 5 6 7 8 9

10

Sarkar, Futurism of Young Asia, 147. Ibid., 145, 144, iv. Syed Nurullah and J.P. Naik, A Students’ History of Education in India, 1800–1947 (Bombay: Macmillan, 1955) Ibid., 25. Stuart Hall, ‘The Multi-Cultural Question’, in Barnor Hesse (ed.), Un/settled Multiculturalisms: Diasporas, Entanglements, Transruptions (London: Zed, 2000), 209–241. Salman Rushdie, Imaginary Homelands (London: Penguin, 1992).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

34

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

of institutions and forms of governance presented to them by Westerners, but acted as ‘co-producers’ of global modernity.11 A popular metaphor to grasp the relation between metropole and colony as one of mutual impact under unequal power relations is that the colonies functioned as ‘laboratories of modernity’, where ‘missionaries, educators, and doctors could carry out experiments with social engineering without confronting the popular resistance and bourgeois rigidities of European society at home’.12 And this is exactly how the monitorial system appears again – as one of the ‘key strategies for managing populations both at home and abroad that were developed and refined in the colonies’.13

I take this metaphor (or heuristic device) of the colonies as laboratories of modernity as a starting point of my analysis and, subsequently, assess its explanatory value. I consider Bell’s experiment as a genuine educational innovation and follow the story of its making in detail. I look at the cultural, political, and institutional frame in which this innovation occurred and describe the interactions in which it took shape. Thereby I follow Bell’s (and his friend and biographer Robert Southey’s)14 accounts of why and how he came to remodel the asylum school in interaction with teachers and students. Bell’s experiment occurred under certain cultural conditions, without the consideration of which his innovation cannot be understood. First of all, although Bell never theoretically studied education,15 there was educational and 11

12

13

14 15

Sebastian Conrad and Shalini Randeria, ‘Geteilte Geschichten – Europa in einer postkolonialen Welt’, in Sebastian Conrad and Shalini Randeria (eds), Jenseits des Eurozentrismus. Postkoloniale Perspektiven in den Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2002), 9–49, 26. Ann Laura Stoler and Frederick Cooper, ‘Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda’, in Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (eds), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 1–56, 5. See Gauri Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989), 8. Daniel O’Quinn, Review Essay: Sonia Hofkosh and Alan Richardson (eds), Romanticism, Race and Imperial Culture, 1780–1834 (Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1966), Romanticism on the Net 11 (August 1998) [200711-21]. Robert Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell: Comprising the History of the Rise and Progress of the System of Mutual Tuition, 3 vols (London: J. Murray, 1844). Andrew Bell, The Madras School or Elements of Tuition; Comprising the Analysis of an Experiment in Education Made at the Male Asylum at Madras, with Facts, Proofs, and Illustrations. To Which Are Added Extracts of Sermons Preached at Lambeth; A Sketch of a National Institution for Training the Children of the Poor; A Specimen of the Mode of Religious Instruction at the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea (London: J. Murray, 1808), vi.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

35

pedagogical knowledge available to him, including both ‘Indian’ (specifically Tamil) and ‘British’ (specifically Scottish) knowledge. Second, Bell articulated his innovations in a language of ‘experiment’ and ‘discovery’, inspired by his own training in natural philosophy in Scotland. Finally, the experiment took place in a specific political setting and institutional constellation and in cooperation with a variety of locally influential educational actors, such as the pietist missionaries of Tranquebar. From the discussion of Bell’s intentions – as far as one can trace them – of the reforms he introduced, and of some crucial (cultural and institutional) framings of his actions, it will appear that the colonial situation was in fact an important factor in the emergence of the monitorial system of education but not the only one.

Encountering a Malabar School According to Bell’s own account, the moment that started the chain of events leading to the ‘discovery’ of the monitorial system was his ‘happening on one of his morning rides to pass by a Malabar school’. There he observed ‘the children seated on the ground, and writing with their fingers in sand, which had for that purpose been strewn before them’. This picture made such an impression on Bell that he hastened home, repeating to himself as he went ‘Eureka, I have discovered’; and gave immediate orders to the usher of the lowest classes to teach the alphabet in the same manner, with this difference only from the Malabar mode, that the sand was strewn upon a board.16

The first element of this story that deserves some discussion is the ‘Malabar school’ that Bell had observed. ‘Malabar’, in eighteenth-century British usage, applied to the whole of south India. This means that the term included the territory of the Madras Presidency. Before I start to describe the prevalent educational landscape, of which this Malabar school would have been a part, a remark on the sources is necessary. The historical situation in which people started to systematically record ‘the state of education’ is quite similar in European and colonized countries. Data on the number of schools, the pedagogical and disciplinary practises, the curricula, and the modes of financing schools were systematically produced in connection with a modern reform discourse on the necessity to diffuse useful knowledge among the population 16

Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 173.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

36

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

at large. Against this background, it had to be examined if there was enough supply of schooling and if this supply met the requirements of ‘usefulness’ and efficiency.17 The formation of data-based governance in the field of schooling was an important part of the development of modern governmentality, both metropolitan and colonial.18 Although state administrators played a major role in the production of educational statistics and the evaluation of the internal functioning of schools, the first actors involved in this process were not necessarily state officials. Often, it was the voluntary associations dedicated to educational reform that presented a first overview over the unfortunate state of affairs they set out to change.

Modern reports on ‘the state of indigenous education’ – as different from, for instance, the normative reflections on education contained in the philosophical, religious, and legal Sanskrit literature – started with the Protestant missionaries who began to labour in India in the early eighteenth century. The first missionary accounts of education and learning in India were communicated to a broad European readership by the pietist German missionaries stationed at the Danish territory of Tranquebar in south India. Starting its operations as early as 1706, the Tranquebar mission was run by the Francke Foundations at Halle in cooperation with the Danish crown and received considerable material support from the English Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK).19 In 1713, the Tranquebar missionaries informed their readers that ‘one can find, in all towns, places and villages, schools in which the youth is informed in reading and writing’.20 What is more, they acknowledged to have found among ‘these heathen’ all the arts and sciences which were common in Europe, such as theology, philosophy, physics, and medicine.21 The missionaries, however, 17 18

19

20 21

Mary Jo Maynes, Schooling in Western Europe: A Social History (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985), 1–6. See Chapter 2. Bruce Curtis, ‘Capitalist Development and Educational Reform: Comparative Material from England, Ireland and Upper Canada to 1850’, Theory and Society 13, no. 1 (1984): 41–68. For a history of this mission, see Andreas Gross, Y. Vincent Kumaradoss, and Heike Liebau (eds), Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India, 3 vols (Halle: Franckesche Stiftungen, 2006). Hallische Berichte 3 (1713), 127. The reports of the Danish-Halle mission are written in German; the quotes have been translated into English by the author. Hallische Berichte 3 (1713), 128. The missionaries, however, particularly dwell on the ‘sinfulness’ of ‘heathen’ learning and the pre-eminence of the Indian ‘nation’ especially in ‘the dark arts’ (ibid., 127–128).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

37

stated that only a few of those who had attended a school would have reached ‘perfection’ in reading and writing, and that orthography was generally neglected. Women, they say, were largely excluded from literacy instruction, except for devadasis (female temple dancers).22 A collection of letters from Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg (1682–1719) and Johann Ernst Gründler (1677–1720) edited under the title Malabarische Korrespondenz shows that the Danish–Halle missionaries conducted enquiries into the practices and institutions of their surroundings by asking local experts and practitioners about their work and customs related to it, which included schoolmasters.23 The early missionaries’ curiosity about the social, cultural, and religious practices of the people they hoped to convert left us with telling accounts on the schooling and pedagogy of eighteenthcentury Tamil Nadu. For these missionaries, curiosity was one among the many motives to collect information about education among the population. They were aware that conversion was a difficult venture and noted that ‘if you want to make lasting impressions on these heathen, you will have to concentrate your efforts on the youth’.24

In the beginning of the nineteenth century, new actors entered the field of elementary educational provision and regulation. In 1817, British missionaries, administrators, and educators started the Calcutta School Book Society (CSBS), a voluntary association dedicated to the expansion and reform of popular schooling in Bengal. This association, which was run in cooperation with the bhadralok of Calcutta, served as a model for the formation of other such ‘Europeo-native institutions’ in Bombay and Madras.25 All of these education 22

23 24 25

Ibid., 127–128. Thomas Munro observes that ‘to the women of Brahmins and of Hindoos in general [reading and writing] are unknown, because the knowledge of them is prohibited and regarded as unbecoming the modesty of the sex, and fit only for public dancers’. However, he also writes that ‘the prohibition against women learning to read is probably, from various causes, much less attended to in some districts than in others; and it is possible that in every district a few females may be found in the reading schools’. Thomas Munro, ‘Minute of Sir Thomas Munro, Governor of Madras, June 25, 1822’, in A.N. Basu (ed.), Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, Part 1 (1832) (Bombay, Calcutta: Asia Publishing House, 1952), 176–177. Kurt Liebau (ed.), Die Malabarische Korrespondenz. Tamilische Briefe an deutsche Missionare (Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke 1998 [1714–1717]). Hallische Berichte 1 (1710), 16. N.L. Basak, ‘Origin and Role of the Calcutta School Book Society in Promoting the Cause of Education in India, Especially Vernacular Education in Bengal’, Bengal Past and Present 78, January–June (1959): 30–69. The CSBS will be discussed in detail in Chapter 6.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

38

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

societies began their activities with an inquiry into the state of indigenous education, an inquiry that was focused mostly on showing the lack of quality of the existing schools and proving the need for reform. This attitude is exemplified by Vennelacunty Soob Row, a committee member of the Madras School Book and School Society (MSBSS) since 1820. When he submitted a short review on the educational supply in the Madras Presidency to other committee members, his aim was to inform them of ‘the imperfect mode in which the natives are educated in schools, and to suggest such alterations and amendments of the existing rules, as I think will tend to the general improvement of the knowledge of literature’.26

In the 1820s, individual British tax collectors started to compile records about educational facilities in their district as a private initiative,27 or as part of their involvement in the civil society educational reform movement.28 This, in turn, inspired the governments – who, also in the 1820s, installed agencies to invest in and control education – to undertake more systematic enquiries. Thereby Governors Thomas Munro of Madras, Mountstuart Elphinstone of Bombay, and Commissioner William Adam for Governor General William Bentinck in Calcutta produced the first statistics on the state of education in their respective presidencies.29 The data for all three presidencies clearly show that the British did not enter an educational tabula rasa. Besides the common forms of home education, that 26

27 28

29

V. Venkata Gopal Row (ed.), Life of Vennelacunty Soob Row (Native of Ongole), Translator of the Late Sudr Court, Madras, from 1815 to 1829 (As Written by Himself) (Madras: Foster Press, 1873), 65–66. See A.D. Campbell, ‘On the State of Education of the Natives in Southern India’, Transactions of the Literary Society of Madras 1, no. 5 (1834): 350–360. The case of T.B. Jervis, since 1819 Statistical Surveyor in South Konkan, illustrates this point. He was the brother of George Jervis, who later became the secretary of the Bombay Native Education Society. T.B. Jervis himself established the Native School Society of South Konkan in 1823. In 1824, he compiled a comprehensive report on the state of education on his own initiative. His report was incorporated into the first governmental survey under Elphinstone. R.V. Parulekar, Survey of Indigenous Education in the Province of Bombay (1820–1830), vol. I (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1951 [1945]), xiv–xv, 3–21. A good overview and discussion of the Bengal data is given by Kazi Shahidullah, Patshalas into Schools: The Development of Indigenous Elementary Education in Bengal, 1854–1905 (Calcutta: Firma KLM, 1987). For Madras, see Robert Eric Frykenburg, ‘Modern Education in South India, 1784–1854: Its Roots and Its Role as a Vehicle of Integration under Company Raj’, The American Historical Review 91, no. 1 (1986): 37–65; and for Bombay, the data collection edited by Parulekar: Survey of Indigenous Education.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

39

is, informal instruction in household skills for girls by female family members, training of boys in workshops, and also religious and literary education—there were two streams of a more formal education taking place outside the household. (I am hesitating to use the terms ‘private’ and ‘public’ education before the establishment of the ‘separate spheres’ and the introduction of the categories of ‘private’ versus ‘public’ life in India.) Instruction in philosophy, literature, arts, and sciences, was usually given in Sanskrit, in the case of Brahminical learning, or in Arabic, for Muslim intellectuals. The institutions for imparting such learning were called tols and madrasas respectively.30 Since at least the seventeenth century, there had also been an expansion of Persian instruction. Individual learned scholars often received stipends, as part of courtly patronage. In pre-colonial Maharashtra, this took the form of large-scale giving of dakshina (gifts) to Brahmins by the Peshwa government.31 Sanskrit and Arabic education was crucial for the future pundits and munshis who served as specialists for Hindu and Muslim law. The eighteenth century, although shaped by a decline of the centralized state power of the Mughal dynasty, witnessed a considerable dynamic in the development in the arts and sciences as well as in commerce and industry. These were also accompanied by a new flourishing of vernacular literatures, which paralleled the writings in Sanskrit, Arabic, and Persian.32

While higher learning among the Hindu population was the domain of Brahmin men,33 there was a wide network of common vernacular schools for boys from the upper and middle castes. William Adam distinguishes such 30

31

32

33

Indian Statutory Commission, Interim Report of the Indian Statutory Commission (Review of Growth of Education in British India by the Auxiliary Committee Appointed by the Commission) (Calcutta: Government of India Central Publication Branch, 1929), 9. Dilip Chavan,‘Politics of Patronage and the Institutionalization of Language Hierarchy in Colonial Western India’, in Deepak Kumar, Joseph Bara, Nandita Khadria, and Ch. Radha Gayatri (eds), Education in Colonial India. Historical Insights (New Delhi: Manohar, 2013), 187–226. K.N. Pannikar, Culture, Ideology, Hegemony: Intellectuals and Social Consciousness in Colonial India (London: Anthem Press, 1995), 34–53; Joseph Bara, ‘Colonialism and Educational Fragmentation in India’, in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman 1998), 125–170. On the exclusive knowledge regime of Brahminical learning: Frykenberg, ‘Modern Education in South India’; Poromesh Acharya, ‘Indigenous Education and Brahminical Hegemony in Bengal’, in Nigel Crook (ed.), Transmission of Knowledge in South Asia (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), 98–118; Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1998).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

40

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

‘indigenous elementary schools’ from ‘indigenous schools of learning’.34 It was one of the latter type that Andrew Bell encountered as a ‘Malabar school’. Vernacular schools provided basic literacy in one of the popular languages, which in Madras meant Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, or, sometimes, Kannada.35 Different terms are used to describe vernacular schools, with important regional differences. In the Bengal-focused literature, they are called pathshalas, which literally means ‘recitation hall’;36 sometimes this term is used for describing precolonial vernacular education on a pan-Indian level. In Maharashtra, however, it was the higher learning institutions that were called pathshalas. For Madras, we find the term pyal-school, where ‘pyal’ refers to a small platform erected in front of the schoolmaster’s house that was used for the instruction of the students.37 Tinnai school is another term found in Tamil.38

These institutions were, as Kazi Shahidullah observes, ‘not schools in the modern sense of the term’.39 Rather, they formed ‘an institutionalized part of 34 35 36 37

William Adam, Report on the State of Education in Bengal (Calcutta: G.H. Huttmann, Bengal Military Orphan Press, 1835). Row, Life of Vennelacunty Soob Row, 72. Hartmut Scharfe, Education in Ancient India (Leiden: Brill 2002), 77–78. Charles Lawson gives an illustrative – although pejorative – description of such a pyal-school in late nineteenth-century Madras: It is customary in that city for enterprising individuals to eke out a livelihood from what are called ‘pyal-schools’ – or schools located in unpretentious houses by the wayside, provided with ‘pyals’, or platforms, raised two or three feet above the level of the adjacent road. These pyals are commonly used by sundry vendors for the exhibition of their wares by day; and they are employed for the accommodation of male sleepers by night. They also meet the requirements of schoolmasters. Armed with light rattans as symbols of office, those individuals lounge upon them, and bestow more or less attention from their commanding eminence upon the development of the intelligence of the lads squatting, or standing in a row on the road before them. (Lawson, Memories of Madras [London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., 1905], 216–217.)

38

39

Senthil Babu, ‘Memory and Mathematics in the Tamil Tinnai Schools of South India in the Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries’, The International Journal for the History of Mathematics Education 2, no. 1 (2007): 15–37. Kazi Shahidullah, ‘The Purpose and Impact of Government Policy on Pathshala Gurumohashoys in Nineteenth-century Bengal’, in Nigel Crook (ed.), Transmission of Knowledge in South Asia (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), 119–134, 119.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

41

rural life’.40 They were usually conducted by a master who received payments by the parents in the form of food and money; sometimes they were assisted by a local patron as well.41 The schools were run on the veranda of the teacher’s or patron’s house or within the house during the rainy season. The village schoolmaster’s general task was to see that the ‘children of the peasantry belonging to different castes and communities were equipped with enough competence in such schools for carrying on their occupational obligations’.42 Vernacular schools were open to students from landowning castes, or, as Munro put it, to ‘the potails of villages and principal ryots’. There is no indication that a Shudra status in general prevented children from instruction in vernacular schools. Untouchable students (in Munro’s words, ‘impure castes’), however, could not access the schools.43

In towns, vernacular schools catered to the demands of the ‘commercial’ and ‘manufacturing classes’.44 Therefore, the core of the curriculum was learning to keep accounts, to carry out complex calculations with weights and measures, and writing for business-related correspondence.45 It is to the operation of these schools that the British ascribed ‘the general intelligence of the people as scribes and accountants’, and the competency of Indian bankers and traders to ‘keep their books with a degree of ease, consciousness and clearness … fully equal to those of any British merchant’.46

Although a secular knowledge formed the heart of the curriculum in the common vernacular schools, they also introduced students to the particular religious knowledge and rituals prevalent among the majority of the families 40

41 42 43 44 45

46

Hetukar Jha, ‘Decline of Vernacular Education in Bihar in the Nineteenth Century’, in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman 1998), 218–228, 218. Shahidullah, ‘The Purpose and Impact of Government Policy’; Krishna Kumar, Political Agenda of Education (New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 1991), 71–93. Jha, ‘Decline of Vernacular Education in Bihar’, 218–228. Munro, ‘Minute’, 25 June 1822, 177; for Bombay, Parulekar, Survey of Indigenous Education, xxviii–xxix. Campbell, ‘On the State of Education’, 355. Senthil Babu, ‘Indigenous Traditions and the Colonial Encounter: A Historical Perspective on Mathematics Education in India’, in R. Ramanujam, and K. Subramaniam (eds), Mathematics Education in India: Status and Outlook (Mumbai: Homi Bhabha Centre for Science, 2012), 37–62. First Educational Despatch of the East India Company’s Court of Directors (1814), quoted in Howell, Education in British India, 6; Parulekar, Survey of Indigenous Education, xxi.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

42

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

that the school catered to.47 Muslim parents would sometimes additionally send their children to a maktab, or Koran-school.48 However, in general, the coupling of the common vernacular education with religion appears less strong than in the eighteenth-century western Europe, especially in institutional terms.

Assessing the extent of schooling in India around 1800 is highly difficult. V.D. Parulekar emphasizes that the statistics compiled in the 1820s are rather unreliable. Like in early modern western Europe, there were huge regional variations in the access to educational facilities. No standard method existed for assessing the extent of education or the prevalence of literacy skills among the populace. Moreover, the number of vernacular schools fluctuated quickly, since they were opening and closing according to the local needs.49 The report undertaken by the order of Munro counted 12,498 schools containing 188,650 students, all male, for the Madras Presidency. This shows that the average number of students per school was about 15. Based on the calculation that children between the ages of five and ten constituted one-ninth of the population (altogether 12 million), and that only half of them, the boys, were schooled, he concluded that at least 25 per cent (one in four) of the male children of school-going age received formal instruction. Moreover, he assumed that reading and writing skills were more common than that, considering home-based instruction as well. He therefore concluded that at least one-third of the male population might indeed be literate.50 Parulekar used a similar calculation to assess the proportion of school-attending boys in the Bombay Presidency, based on the two surveys of the 1820s. He reached a similar figure of 25 per cent (one in four) of all boys of school-going age under formal instruction, with Gujarat as the highest (one in three) and Karnatak (Dharwar) as the lowest (one in six).51 In 1835, William Adam estimated 100,000 indigenous elementary schools in Bengal and Bihar, which he correlated with the number of villages: ‘Their number has been officially estimated at 150,748, of which, not all, but most have each a school. If it be admitted that there is so large a proportion as a third of the villages that have 47 48 49 50

51

Campbell, ‘On the State of Education’, 352. Shahidullah, Patshalas into Schools, x. Parulekar, Survey of Indigenous Education, xvii–xxi; see Maynes, Schooling in Western Europe, 7–32. Thomas Munro, ‘Minute of Sir Thomas Munro, March 10, 1826’, in A.N. Basu (ed.), Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, Part 1 (1832) (Bombay, Calcutta: Asia Publishing House, 1952), 187–190, 187. Parulekar, Survey of Indigenous Education, xliii.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

43

no schools, there will still be 100,000 that have them.’ Based on the estimate that the population of Bengal and Bihar was about 40 million people, ‘there would be a village school for every 400 persons’.52 Basically, these are the numbers that were contested in the Gandhi–Hartog debate, which I referred to in the beginning of the introduction to this book. Even if we treat them as highly unreliable, they clearly show that vernacular schools for boys (of the upper and middle castes) were widespread throughout the country, with strong regional variances. This also indicates a demand for formal instruction, which the nineteenth-century reformers could build on.

Bell explicitly acknowledged to have been inspired by one particular element of the ‘Malabar mode of teaching’, which I am going to discuss here. This Malabar mode, however, does not equal a general ‘pedagogy of the Hindus’,53 which ‘from time immemorial has … withstood the stock of revolutions’,54 or to a pre-colonial ‘Indian system of education’.55 When Ingeborg Wilke compared ‘the Indian village school’ to the monitorial system of education, she presupposed that the ‘methods in use since hundreds of years before Christ have been continued well into modern times almost unchanged’.56 Similarly, Hartmut Scharfe combines information given in ancient hymns (Vedas), myths (Puranas), legal scriptures (dharmasastras), and a variety of other sources, Buddhist as well as Brahmin (but no Muslim accounts), with the quantitative data collected and the evaluative account produced by William Adam, for drawing a seemingly timeless picture of ‘ancient Indian education’.57 Against such assumptions of a stability of Indian education (or, as some Orientalists assumed, a stagnation and decline), it is important to emphasize that there is indication of a growth of indigenous vernacular schools throughout the eighteenth century.58 If one is interested in the educational practices and institutions immediately preceding and accompanying the colonial encounter, it makes sense to concentrate on the sources from the seventeenth century onwards. 52 53 54 55

56 57 58

Adam, Report on the State of Education in Bengal, 8–9. Sarkar, Futurism of Young Asia, 145. First Educational Despatch of the Court of Directors (1814), quoted in Howell, Education in British India, 6. Nurullah and Naik, A Students’ History of Education, 25; Wilke, ‘Bell-LancasterMethode’, 360. The quotes from Wilke have been translated from German by the author. Wilke, ‘Bell-Lancaster-Methode’, 359–360. Hartmut, Education in Ancient India. Bara, ‘Colonialism and Educational Fragmentation’, 125–170.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

44

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Moreover, I would not speak of an indigenous system of education but reserve this concept for a modern setting. Sociologist Margaret Archer defines a (state) education system as a ‘nation-wide and differentiated collection of institutions devoted to formal education, whose overall control and supervision is at least partly governmental, and whose component parts are related to one another’.59 The educational situation in eighteenth-century India, in contrast, was fragmented, the control over education resting with the local caste and community leadership. Higher learning and common vernacular instruction existed as parallel streams, catering to different strata of society. Nita Kumar summarized that ‘all the varieties of schools that existed before colonial education, varied in language, standard, design, and purpose. They were not thought of as one “system” … until the British labelled them as “indigenous”’.60 What, then, did Bell describe as the Malabar mode of teaching? The eighteenth- and nineteenth-century sources contain interesting details on the pedagogical techniques used in south Indian vernacular schools. Tax collector A.D. Campbell observed that ‘the first business of a child on entering school is to obtain a knowledge of the letters which he learns by writing them with his finger on the ground in sand, and not by pronouncing the alphabet, as among European nations’.61 This technique of writing in sand, which was common also in other parts of South Asia, is exactly the element which Bell ‘at the first sight … adopted’ from the ‘Malabar school.’62 As Campbell realized, the important 59 60 61

62

Archer, Social Origins of Education Systems, 19. Nita Kumar, The Politics of Gender, Community, and Modernity: Essays on Education in India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007), 25–48, 36. Campbell, ‘On the State of Education’, 351; see also Row, Life of Vennelacunty Soob Row, 66: A boy was ‘first taught to learn the alphabet by causing him to write the same with the thumb of his right hand on sand….’ Similar accounts are given by James Cordiner (Bell’s successor as superintendent of the asylum school) in his A Voyage to India (Aberdeen: Brown 1820), 88. According to the Tranquebar missionaries, writing in sand was also an important technique for memorizing tables of weights and numbers. See ‘Der elfte Brief. Darinnen berichtet wird, mit was für Zeremonien die Kinder in die Schule getan werden und was sie in Schulen nach der Ordnung lernen’, Malabarische Korrespondenz, 134–140. Andrew Bell, An Experiment in Education, Made at the Male Asylum of Madras, Suggesting a System by Which a School or Family May Teach Itself under the Superintendence of the Master or the Parent (London: Printed by Cadell and Davies, 1797), 11. For Bengal, see William Ward, A View of the History, Literature, and Mythology of the Hindoos: Including a Minute Description of Their Manners and Customs, and Translations from Their Principal Works, 3 vols (London: Kingsbury, Parbury and Allen, 1822). ‘Almost all the larger villages in Bengal contain

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

45

difference to western European pedagogical practice was to connect basic literacy to writing, not to reading. In early modern western Europe, reading and writing were taught as separate arts, sometimes by different masters. While writing was not considered to be a necessity for the mass of the population – since it was often done by specialists who were in towns and organised in their own writers’ guild – reading became the heart of all education. The process of confessionalization and the rapid spread of printed books had led to a reading revolution in the eighteenth century. Reading was no longer understood as a collective practice. Instead of declaiming a book aloud for the entertainment and moral instruction of the family, reading became an individual exercise, aiming at intellectually ‘understanding’ the meaning of the written word and, thereby, ‘improving’ the individual mind.63

In contrast, vernacular education in eighteenth- and early nineteenthcentury South Asia concentrated on the arts of writing, for practical purposes such as business correspondence and, especially, on accounting. The techniques of mathematics instruction appear quite elaborate and were a core part of instruction.64 Reading was also ‘considered as a grand part of qualification’,65 but a good reader was someone who was able to please an audience by reciting the written verses. This difference in the understanding of the purpose of reading (individual ‘improvement’ versus aesthetic performance) has been the source of endless complaints about indigenous schools on the part of British educational reformers in India – and to a lesser extent, of some of their indigenous colleagues in the school societies – namely that students were merely taught to memorize and recite, but not to ‘understand’ books.66 Thus, in order to be appropriated for a new pedagogical setting, the technique of teaching the alphabet by writing exercises was isolated from the culture of teaching and learning from which it originated. The ‘sand-writing’ mode of initial alphabetization was not the only technique available to be appropriated by Bell. He found it necessary to ‘particularly [notice] that thus much, and thus much only, was taken from the Malabar school’ and that it was ‘no otherwise connected with the main discovery than as having been one

63 64 65 66

common schools, where a boy learns his letters by writing them, never by pronouncing the alphabet, as in Europe; he first writes them on the ground….’ (vol. I, 160). Maynes, Schooling in Western Europe, 7–32; Barbara Stollberg-Rillinger, Europa im Jahrhundert der Aufklärung (Stuttgart: Reclam, 2000), 138–139. For the methods of teaching mathematics, see Malabarische Korrespondenz, 128–134. See also Babu, ‘Memory and Mathematics’, 15–37. Row, Life of Vennelacunty Soob Row, 68. Ibid.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

46

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

of the links, and the first link, of the chain of fortuitous occurrences which led to it’.67 This ‘main discovery’, as Bell saw it, was certainly the practice of peerto-peer instruction. Of course, the employment of students as helpers has been common in a variety of pedagogical settings.68 The interesting point is how it was organized. For eighteenth-century south India, several sources indicate that the mornings and evenings of a school day were spent in memorizing the lessons learned before.69 This was done by the students themselves. As the letters from the Tranquebar mission tell us, students practised and memorized arithmetical tables in a way that one boy wrote and at the same time rhythmically recited a number, and the others repeated it. One after the other would act as the precentor.70 Such forms of mutual instruction were already observed by the Italian traveller Pietro de la Valle, who visited south India in the seventeenth century.71 The nineteenth-century accounts even report the employment of ‘monitors’. Campbell observed that students ‘are made to stand up twice a day in rows, and repeat the whole [lesson] after one of the monitors’.72 Moreover, ‘monitors’ are now represented as playing a considerable role in the teaching process beyond

67 68 69 70

71 72

Andrew Bell, The English School; or, the History, Analysis, and Application of the Madras System of Education to English Schools (London: Rivingtons, 1814), 31. Jakob Ackstaller, Das Helfersystem in der mittelalterlichen Schulerziehung (Innsbruck: Felician Rauch: 1934). Malabarische Korrespondenz, 128–34; Row, Life of Vennelacunty Soob Row, 67. Es geschiehet aber auf folgende Weise: Die Kinder, so gleiche Profectus haben, sitzen beysammen und eines schreibt nach der Ordnung die Zahl singende im Sand. Ihm singen und schreiben alle andere nach. Unter der Zeit hat er seine geschriebene Zahl wieder im Sande ausgestrichen, und schreibt singende die folgende. Unter seinem Vorsingen und Schreiben streichen alle anderen ihre Ziffern aus und sind gleich parat, ihm die folgende Ziffer nachzuschreiben und nachzusingen. Solches geschiehet in einer grossen Behendigkeit und gleichsam nach dem Tacte. Der Vorsänger und Schreiber muß alles nach der Ordnung wohl auswendig wissen. Denn wenn er irret, so irren alle andere. Es wird aber allemal ein anderer dazu erwehlet, also, daß die Reihe an alle kommt. (Malabarische Korrespondenz, 128–34) The Travels of Pietro della Valle [Extracts], in Dharampal, The Beautiful Tree: Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century (New Delhi: Biblia Impex Private Ltd., 1983). Campbell, ‘State of Education’, 352; for a similar account on Bengal, see Ward, View, I, 160: ‘While employed in writing on leaves, all the scholars stand up twice a day, with a monitor at their head, and repeat the numerical tables….’; Alexander Duff, ‘Review of William Adam’s 2nd and 3rd Reports on the State of Education in Bengal and Behar, 1836 and 1838’, Calcutta Review 2, no. 4 (1844): 301–376.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

47

repetition: ‘The scholars, according to their number and attainments, are divided into several classes, the lower ones of which are partly under the care of monitors, whilst the highest ones are more immediately under the superintendence of the master….’73 Remarkably, these accounts occur only after the monitorial system had become popular, both in England and among the education societies and school reformers in India. Presupposing that the monitorial system was ‘taken’ from India, the nineteenth-century educationalists Campbell, Ward, and Adam use the new term (‘monitor’) to describe what they saw as the indigenous mode. It appears that in a certain part of education, namely in the repetition of lessons, mutual instruction of the students had an important place, but for the employment of monitors as teachers of classes in eighteenth-century south India, which might have influenced Bell, there is no convincing evidence.

The issue of classes and classification is also a difficult one. The nineteenthcentury sources, Collector Campbell for the south and Commissioner Adam and others for Bengal, knew of three to four classes that were defined according to the proficiency of the students in writing. This correlated with the materials the students used to write on: starting by tracing letters in sand with their fingers, the children proceeded to writing with iron styles on palm leaves, which were still a common material to produce manuscripts. Ink on plantain leaves or, if available, on paper would be the last step. This sequence of gaining writing practice before wasting expensive materials is confirmed also by the early eighteenth-century missionary accounts.74 For the question of links to the monitorial system, two points are remarkable. First, both Bell and Lancaster for some time introduced a similar sequence of writing materials (sand board–wooden board–paper), although this measure was never much emphasized by them. Second, the classification of the students was organized not according to age, but to individual merit: ‘A scholar rises from one [class] to the other according to his capacity and progress.’75 This mode of classification was an important feature of the monitorial system that allows for its interpretation as an important intermediary step between the early modern individual mode of tuition and the later classroom system.76 Again, it 73 74 75 76

Campbell, ‘On the State of Education’, 351. Ibid., 351–352; Row, Life of Vennelacunty Soob Row, 67; Malabarische Korrespondenz, 134–140; Adam, Report on the State of Education in Bengal, 10; Ward, View, I, 160. Campbell, ‘On the State of Education’, 351. Marcelo Caruso, ‘Classroom Struggle: Organizing Elementary Teaching in the 19th Century’, in Marcelo Caruso (ed.), Classroom Struggle: Organizing Elementary School Teaching in the 19th Century (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2015), 9–33; Marcelo Caruso, Geist gegen Mechanik. Unterrichtsordnungen und ihre Sinnwelten in Westeuropa, 1800–1870 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2010).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

48

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

is not possible to trace this mode of classification convincingly and solely to the practice of south Indian vernacular schools. It is equally possible that similar pedagogical trends occurred in different places of Europe and Asia without a direct connection between them.

Figure 1.1  Balthazar Solvyns, ‘A School’ Source: François Balthazar Solvyns, A Collection of Two Hundred and Fifty Coloured Etchings: Descriptive of the Manners, Customs and Dresses of the Hindoos (Calcutta [Publisher Unknown], 1799), 151. Robert L. Hardgrave, The Solvyns Project: http://www.laits.utexas. edu/solvyns-project/solvynsonline/pages/Solvyns-Etchings.htm (last accessed 10 June 2018).

Note: Original description: ‘The print represents all these different occupations of the school. The master in one hand holds his hooka or pipe, and in the other a small bambou which he uses as a ferula. It is remarkable that, though the use of paper has been long known in India, all the ancient documents are written, or rather graved, upon the dry leaves of the palm, which, when assembled together, are called Poytas.’ See Chapter 4 for the adaptation of this visual in the Missionary Register.

Roots in Scotland Bell’s inspiration by pedagogical practices from the south Indian vernacular schools was the starting point of his innovation, but not its only source. Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

49

Phillip McCann has argued that even if ‘India was the birthplace of the monitorial method, its roots must be sought in Scotland’.77 If one reformulates the question of ‘roots’ as one of the knowledge that Bell brought from ‘home’, McCann led attention to an important point or, more precisely, two related points: The first is Bell’s biography – his experiences as a private tutor and the events that brought him to India.78 Second, Bell was not only born in eighteenth-century Scotland but also educated in natural philosophy, and this cultural background certainly framed his innovation. In 1769, Bell entered the College of St. Andrews, where he successfully studied mathematics and natural philosophy. Thomas Wilkie, poet, political economist, classical scholar – and a friend of Adam Ferguson, David Hume, and Adam Smith – held the chair of natural philosophy at this time. Thus, the young student Bell had access to a knowledge in natural philosophy that was hardly equalled in other parts of Europe and was not even offered in the English universities of Oxford and Cambridge. He studied in a modern university with a professor who was in touch with the most important innovations in the fields of ‘natural’, and ‘moral philosophy’ (that is, natural and social sciences) of his days. In short, ‘although Bell, in his later life, became a conventional pillar of the Anglican Church, his early manhood was passed in the intellectual ferment of the Scottish Enlightenment’.79 In Southey’s biography, which was very much encouraged by the fame-hungry Bell and based on his voluminous personal correspondence, young Andrew Bell appears as an ambitious adventurer: Aged 21, he went to Virginia in search of employment and spent five years there as a private tutor. Afterwards, he opened a mathematical class at St. Andrews, and, ‘more out of the desire for a regular income than from any strong religious convictions’ he took orders of the Church of Scotland in 1784.80 However, finding it difficult as a Scot to make a career in Britain, Bell continued to live quite poorly on a tiny curacy and as a private tutor. In London, he became inspired by the wealth displayed 77 78

79

80

McCann, ‘Indian Origins’, 30. ‘From early youth Dr. Bell had been employed in tuition and his mind had been more directed to this than to any other object.’ Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 167. McCann, ‘Indian Origins’, 30; Lawson, Memories of Madras, 206; H.J.C. Larwood, ‘Science and Education in India before the Mutiny’, Annals of Science 17, no. 2 (1961): 81–96, 84–85. McCann, ‘Indian Origins’, 30.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

50

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

by the nabobs (and by the famous play of Samuel Foote) and decided to make his fortune in India. Having gained a doctorate from St. Andrews (although in medicine, not in law, as he had desired) and having obtained permission by the East India Company to enter India, he left London in 1787. He took with him a scientific apparatus that he needed for what he planned to achieve in India – to become a distinguished lecturer on experimental natural philosophy. Scientific lecturing, accompanied by experimental illustration, such as ice-making, chemical reactions, or demonstrating the functioning of air pumps and electric machines, became popular in Britain since the beginning of the eighteenth century. Towards the end of the century, public lectures and experiments also attracted the ‘beauty and fashion’ of the colonial cities in India.81

Notwithstanding his initial intentions to travel to India, Bell happened to land in Madras in the midst of the preparations to open a military male orphan asylum. The governing body of this institution, glad to meet a churchman who was not only distinguished by his doctoral degree but also by his long years of pedagogical experience, asked him to become the superintendent of the asylum school. Thus, after having delivered several celebrated and financially rewarding lecture series, which even included the construction of a balloon, Bell came to take charge of the school in September 1789, encouraged by the offer of several chaplaincies as sinecures.82 The history of this asylum, followed by a description of the process of remodelling it, will be given in the next sections. For now, the question is how the ‘roots in Scotland’ mattered for Bell’s experiment. Let us recollect his own account of how he came to remodel the asylum school. He articulated his innovation in a language of scientific discovery: ‘Eureka – I have discovered.’ It is equally remarkable that when he published a report of how he restructured the school, he called the book An Experiment in Education. The first trace of his background in natural sciences is an epistemological one: he perceived his innovation as the product of the experimental method that he applied to his task of conducting a school. Bell claimed to have followed the example of ‘a Newton, a Franklin, a Lavoisier’.83 Looking back at his Madras experiment in 1814, Bell stated that his invention was not the outcome of theoretical studies 81

82 83

Lawson, Memories of Madras, 207–209; see also Larwood, ‘Science and Education’, 87; Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 104–107, 119, 222–226; McCann, ‘Indian Origins’, 30. Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 351–354; Larwood, ‘Science and Education’, 88. Bell, The Madras School, 134.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

51

(he had not yet read any works on pedagogical theory) but of practical trials that led him to ‘hit upon’ the ‘discovery’ of some ‘vital and directive laws’ to usefully govern a school.84

Second, Bell’s writings display a remarkable preoccupation with the notion of ‘system’, which, together with the experimental method, is an important feature of the Newtonian world view: ‘After many attempts, with various success, I rested in a system, surpassing, in any effect, any expectation I had formed.’85 The ‘rhetoric and practices of systematization’, that is, of establishing a series of discrete but interrelated processes, became not only crucial for the organization of industrial production, they also diffused to other social domains and entered Bell’s educational thinking.86 On the one hand, his school was internally to function according to system, method, and order. To produce optimal effects, the classroom as well as the teaching process had to be ‘systematically’ arranged. On the other hand, Bell later promoted a ‘system of education’ that meant to apply the principles of systematization to the educational landscape as a whole.

Bell was not only drawing from the language of the natural sciences but also from the emerging social sciences. Several Scottish enlightenment thinkers were, as moral philosophers, concerned with establishing the ‘general rules’ that governed the social and psychological domains.87 On the one hand, Ferguson and especially John Millar focused on the ‘laws’ of historical development, which they understood as a sequence of stages that humanity passed from that of savagery – found with the indigenous people of America – to the ‘civil society’ of eighteenth-century Britain.88 Smith, on the other hand, was concerned with the ‘laws’ that govern what sociologists later termed ‘social cohesion’ (or social integration) and ‘social change’ (or progress).89 Both human history and human 84 85 86 87 88

89

Ibid., vi; see David Salmon, ‘Bell’s Writings’, The Educational Record 19, no. 49 (1919): 154–176, 170. Bell, Experiment in Education, v. David Hamilton, Towards a Theory of Schooling (London: Falmer Press, 1989), 77–78. Ibid., 92. Adam Ferguson, An Essay in the History of Civil Society (Dodo Press, 2007 [1767]); John Millar, Observations Concerning the Distinction of Ranks in Society (London: Printed for J. Murray, 1773). See Ronald Meek, Social Science and the Ignoble Savage (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976). Hamilton, Towards a Theory of Schooling, 83–84. Hamilton observes that while Adam Smith’s Theory of Moral Sentiments is concerned with the cohesion aspect, with the ‘natural principle’ of ‘sympathy’, the Wealth of Nations focuses on the dynamic aspect, caused by the human ‘propensity’ to ‘truck, barter, and exchange’.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

52

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

society were thereby ‘systematically’ perceived: they appeared as regulated by the movement of societies’ component parts. Such a perception of society was an important condition for any form of interventionist social policies, and the employment of education as a tool for stabilizing a social order or for bringing about progress. It also became reflected in the ideology of the colonial civilizing mission, as the management of the ‘scale of civilisation’.90

Moreover, education had to be in accordance with the ‘laws’ of the human psyche. Bell claimed to have ‘tried every method, which a long and earnest attention to the nature and disposition of youth suggested’.91 The drives and desires of the students were to be employed by the skilful pedagogue rather than suppressed. Bell, and even more so Lancaster, considered competition among the students an important incentive to learning. This was based on a constant assessment of individual merit and a comparison between the students. Thus, the internal ‘moral economy’ of Bell’s classroom was one shaped by liberal notions of competition among equals and progression according to merit.92 For the world outside the classroom, in contrast, he ‘hinged on a vision of an ordered, static, agricultural society’.93 This outside world, which he wanted to supply with an ‘annual crop of good and useful subjects’,94 was hierarchically differentiated in ‘ranks’ that defined the respective ‘station’ of an individual. This tension is not surprising, considering that even Smith, the prominent liberal, was still oscillating between estate-based and merit-based notions of social order.95

The standards of rationality set by Enlightenment philosophy, together with the consolidation of a market-based economy, finally, brought about new standards of efficiency in terms of investment of time and financial resources. Although saving money was not a strong motive for Bell (in contrast to Lancaster, 90

91 92

93 94 95

Michael Mann, ‘“Torchbearers upon the Path of Progress”: Britain’s Ideology of “Moral and Material Progress” in India’, in Harald Fischer-Tiné and Michael Mann (eds), Colonialism as Civilising Mission. Cultural Ideology in British India (London: Anthem Press, 2004), 1–28. Bell, Experiment in Education, v David Hogan accordingly describes the Lancasterian school as a ‘marketplace of desire’. David Hogan, ‘The Market Revolution and Disciplinary Power: Joseph Lancaster and the Psychology of the Early Classroom System’, History of Education Quarterly 29, no. 3 (1989): 381–417. Hamilton, Towards a Theory of Schooling, 83–84. Bell, Experiment in Education, 7. Hamilton, Towards a Theory of Schooling, 83–84.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

53

his main problem was not a lack of funds, but the non-cooperation of his teachers) he laid much emphasis on the need to ‘prevent the waste of time’ in his school, the production of visible outcomes, and a rational management.96 For Bell, rationality and efficiency, ‘constant employment’, and the ‘prevention of idleness’ became as much part of the curriculum as the transmission of information.

The Eurasian Problem Since I am speaking of a colonial experiment in education, I want to now discuss the impact of the colonial situation on Bell’s pedagogical innovation. According to McCann, Bell’s activities must be placed ‘in the setting of the East India Company’s expansion from a trading company to the ruling power of India’.97 During the second half of the eighteenth century, besides the aforementioned ‘indigenous’ developments, two major processes shaped the subcontinent, namely British territorial expansion and the emergence of the colonial state. The East India Trading Company (EIC) not only eliminated the competition of its European rivals but also won several territories from local princes. With the parliamentary settlement of 1784, a governor general was installed in Bengal, with two subordinated governments in the Madras and Bombay Presidencies, who were answerable to the EIC’s Court of Directors in London. Bell’s experiment occurred in the initial phase of colonial statebuilding and the development of the colonial modes of governance.98 The Military Male Orphan Asylum, where it took place, is one of the institutions that represent the beginnings of a consciously interventionist social policy of the EIC.

Towards the last quarter of the eighteenth century, the European public of the colonial cities, composed mostly of company officials, clergymen, missionaries, and the small number of European wives and daughters living with them, became concerned with a phenomenon that is represented in the records as ‘the Eurasian

96

97 98

P.J. Miller, ‘Factories, Monitorial Schools, and Jeremy Bentham: The Origins of the “Management Syndrome” in Popular Education’, Journal of Educational Administration and History 5, no. 2 (1973): 25–42. McCann, ‘Indian Origins’, 29–30. Ravi Ahuja, Die Erzeugung kolonialer Staatlichkeit und das Problem von Arbeit (Stuttgart: Steiner, 1999). For the early colonial debates about how to govern India, oscillating between the poles of Edmund Burke and Jeremy Bentham, see Eric Stokes, The English Utilitarians and India (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

54

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

problem’.99 With the extended warfare of the company, an increasing number of lower-class British men entered its territories as soldiers and petty officers of Indian troops, whose salary would by no means be sufficient to bring a family to India. As the European colonial elite did, the soldiers and officers formed marital and informal sexual relationships with local women, either Indian or ‘Portuguese’ (that is, the Catholic descendants from Portuguese traders and sailors with Indian women). For soldiers, marriage licences were difficult to obtain, and although the EIC’s chaplains tried to promote Christian weddings, many mixed-race couples practised common-law marriages. While the children of upper-class British men did not appear as a public problem – since the men would privately support their families and look after the ‘conduct’ of their children – there was an increasing number of women and children who were left unsupported when the husband died in battlefield or from disease or was removed to Europe, where he was not allowed to bring his Indian family. The increased exclusion of mixed-origin men from the category of ‘European’, which accompanied the administrative reforms of the late eighteenth century, also brought financial hardship.100

However, the material distress of such families was just one part of the problem. What concerned the European public most was the ‘moral’ problem of large numbers of mixed-race, often ‘illegitimate’ children who, as adults, formed an unruly European-descended urban underclass.101 The public display of an undisciplined population that still was connected to the British elites according to religious as well as racial categorization appeared particularly threatening since it destabilized claims to cultural superiority. The blurring of the racial boundary between colonizer and colonized also met with increased unease.102 99

100

101

102

See Valerie Anderson, Race and Power in British India: Anglo-Indians, Class and Identity in the Nineteenth Century (London: I.B.Tauris, 2015), Kindle Position 1112. Ibid., Kindle Position 121, 273–690. Valery Anderson contextualized the ‘othering’ of Eurasians in the context of the global politics of imperial administration, including the fight against corruption, and – against the background of the American experience – the discouragement of settlers. Harald Fischer-Tiné, Low and Licentious Europeans: Race, Class and ‘White Subalternity’ in Colonial India (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2009); Christopher J. Hawes, Poor Relations: The Making of the Eurasian Community in British India 1773–1833 (Richmond, Surrey: Curzon, 1996); Theresa Hubel, ‘In Search of the British Indian in British India: White Orphans, Kipling’s Kim, and Class in Colonial India’, Modern Asian Studies 38, no. 1 (2004): 227–251. Ann Laura Stoler, Race and the Education of Desire: Foucault’s History of Sexuality and the Colonial Order of Things (Durham, London: Duke University Press, 1995), 95–136.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

55

Therefore, the ‘Eurasians’ became a distinct, and high-priority, target group of social regulation in the colonial centres. The imperial civilizing mission, which will be analysed in more detail in the next chapters, started as an ‘internal’ project. A number of institutions that combined welfare and disciplinary purposes were set up, starting with asylums for orphaned children of European soldiers.103 It was considered a matter of Christian charity ‘to smooth the bed of death of many a valuable veteran’104 by assuring him that his children would be kept and educated. This, it was hoped, would positively contribute to the morale of the troops. Moreover, these institutions aimed to ‘fit’ the Eurasian children ‘for “useful” but emphatically subordinate, roles in colonial society commensurate with their race and their class and to rescue them from the “corrupting” influences of the environment in which they were found’.105 This implied that the children were sometimes taken from their homes against the wishes of their mothers, who mourned the loss of their children and expressed fears of estrangement: ‘Fathers were not more desirous to obtain for their children the benefits of this Asylum, than the mothers … were at first averse to it.’106 Since the ‘degradation and depravity of that class to which the mothers mostly belong’ were held responsible for the ‘corruption’ of the children, the ‘moral effects of their education would have been counteracted just in proportion to the intercourse which they were permitted to hold with their maternal relations; and the restriction, therefore, in their case was not more severe than necessary’.107 The founding of colonial military asylums, which displayed characteristics of ‘total institutions’, were part of an emerging colonial governance. Their maintenance and control, however, was not considered the responsibility of the state alone. In England, ‘charity’ was, according to the old poor laws, one of the classical tasks of the vestry, which in this form did not exist in the colonial 103

104 105 106 107

See David Arnold, ‘European Orphans and Vagrants in India in the Nineteenth Century’, The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History 7, no. 2 (1979): 104–128. The first of these military asylums was founded in Calcutta in 1782. The institution in Madras followed its model, upon the recommendation of the Court of Directors in London, who much appreciated the Calcutta charity. McCann, ‘Indian Origins’, 32, quoting from the Madras Military and Secret Proceedings, P/252/20, Vestry to Governor, 24 November 1787. Arnold, ‘European Orphans’, 109–110. For an elaboration of similar institutions in Calcutta and Bombay, see Chapter 4. Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 168. Ibid., 170.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

56

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

context.108 Thus, in a broad sense, it became a task of the public. In the history of the Military Male Orphan Asylum of Madras (which had a female counterpart that was established a year earlier) it appears that the initiative came from the governor, but the preparations involved local church ministers, a committee of military officers as well as the missionaries of Tranquebar, who provided free schools for the people living in the vicinity of all their stations.109 In terms of financing, the asylum was run on a public subscription, supplemented by a government grant. The charity, thus, used a novel form of cooperation of state and non-state actors which became quite widespread for the reform of elementary education in the early nineteenth century.110 However, in terms of pedagogy, the new superintendent Bell was most ‘probably expected [to run] the Asylum … more or less as an eighteenth century charity school’.111

An Experiment in Education Now, ‘it remains to trace the growth of that system of education which originated there’.112 As a superintendent, Bell’s office would not necessarily have entailed 108 109

110 111

112

Ahuja, Erzeugung kolonialer Staatlichkeit, 297. The educational facilities of the Tranquebar mission used a combination of Francke’s pedagogical model of Halle with local practices. In the early nineteenth century, the Tranquebar missionaries implemented the monitorial system as provided by its main British ‘diffusion’ agencies, that is, the BFSS and NES. However, although personal contacts and correspondence existed between Bell and members of the Tranquebar mission, there is no evidence that the pedagogical practices of the Tranquebar schools mattered for Bell’s experiment. The question of the educational impact of the Halle model on Bell has been raised by Heike Liebau, who has studied the schools of the Tranquebar mission in detail. See Heike Liebau, ‘Von Halle nach Madras. Pietistische Waisenhauspädagogik und englische Appropriationen in Indien’, in Jürgen Schriewer and Marcelo Caruso (eds), Nationalerziehung und Universalmethode – frühe Formen schulorganisatorischer Globalisierung (Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2005 [Comparativ 15, no. 1]), 31–57; Heike Liebau, ‘Faith and Knowledge: The Educational System of the Danish-Halle and English-Halle Mission’, in Andreas Gross, Y. Vincent Kumaradoss, and Heike Liebau (eds), Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India (Halle: Franckesche Stiftungen, 2006), vol. III, 1181–1214. This will be elaborated on in Chapters 6 and 7. McCann, ‘Indian Origins’, 32; Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 171: ‘At first nothing more was intended than the common course of instruction in reading, writing, and arithmetic, and the mode of instruction differed in nothing from that of ordinary schools.’ Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 167.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

57

becoming pedagogically active, since he had one ‘master’ and ‘two ushers’ under him to do this job.113 However, Bell tells us that ‘he looked upon perfect instruction as the main duty’ of his office.114

Right ‘from the beginning’ he was ‘dissatisfied with the want of discipline, and the imperfect mode of instruction in every part of the school’. He enthusiastically dedicated himself to reforming the general order and conduct of the school, which brought him into a constant conflict with the teachers who were considerably ‘displeased’ and ‘surprised, that instead of holding the office of the superintendent as a sinecure, his intention was to devote himself earnestly to the concerns of the Asylum’. They therefore reacted unwillingly towards his ‘interference’ in their work. This, in turn, drove Bell to constantly complain about their ‘incapacity’ and ‘obstinacy’. Moreover, if he managed to sufficiently ‘qualify a man for performing his business as an usher’, he would soon leave, to find ‘a situation in which a much higher salary might be obtained with far less pains’.115

The encounter with the ‘Malabar school’ happened in this conflict-laden situation. Therefore, it is not surprising that Bell’s ‘orders to the usher of the lowest classes to teach the alphabet in the same manner’ that he had observed there were ‘either disregarded, or … carelessly executed’. By his resistance to implement Bell’s newly discovered improvement, this teacher came to act (so to speak) as the midwife of the monitorial system, because it made Bell turn towards the students as teachers. Giving up any further attempt to ‘depend on the will and ability of those over whose minds he had no command’, he ‘bethought himself of employing a boy, on whose obedience, disposition, and cleverness he could rely, and giving him charge of the alphabet class’. This time he was not disappointed: ‘What the usher had pronounced to be impossible, this lad succeeded in effecting without any difficulty.’ Encouraged by the experience, Bell ‘systematically’ extended the experiment that had been tried with one class to all the others.116

The new model was first mentioned in a letter written by Bell to his friend Dr Adamson of St. Andrews in May 1792. ‘The conduct of this school’, he explained, ‘is peculiar. Every boy is either a master or a scholar, or generally

113 114 115 116

Ibid., 171. These teachers ‘were men who never had been trained in tuition, but were taken from very different professions’. Ibid., 172–173. After taking charge of the asylum, Bell even abandoned his project of becoming a science lecturer. See McCann, ‘Indian Origins’, 33. Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 171–173. Ibid.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

58

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

both. He teaches one boy, while another teaches him.’117 Bell’s initial model of mutual instruction had a double aspect. On the one hand, there was mutual instruction in the sense of peer-to-peer exercises within the same class. This was quite similar to the practice in the common vernacular schools of the region. On the other hand, more advanced students were, for some time, appointed as teachers of a less advanced class, before they continued their own studies. It is this element which according to David Hogan marks the beginning of the ‘classroom system’ that most probably ‘originated’ rather in Scotland than in Tamil Nadu.118

In the asylum, ‘the master and ushers were now virtually superseded’. Their function was reduced to ‘maintain[ing] the observance of the rules’. However, since Bell also used to frequently interfere with these tasks, the conflicts continued. The ‘mismanagement’ that Bell kept lamenting about included a general ‘neglect’ as well as the ‘ill usage of the little boys’ such as ‘pinching the ears’ and even a visit of one teacher, accompanied by the older students, to the arrack shop in the next village.119 Notwithstanding these problems, the school became increasingly popular. The number of students grew from 20 in 1789 to 30 in 1792 and finally it had to be limited to 100 in the mid-1790s. The curriculum was extended from the ‘three Rs’ first to book-keeping, geometry, and navigation (which could be studied according to the career choices as writer, mechanic, or sailor), and later even to mensuration, surveying, and trigonometry. Moreover, Bell came back to his interest in the natural sciences and used his scientific apparatus for demonstrations for the students. Bible reading was also one part of the curriculum, but religious instruction was by no means the centre of the curriculum, as in the monitorial schools of early nineteenth-century Britain.120

Bell was convinced that ‘the great lesson’ of his school was ‘in opposition to the maxims and breeding of the country, to speak truth and to leave off deceit’. This statement is crucial in the context of what Bell perceived to be his mission: it was nothing less than an ‘attempt’ to ‘alter the character of a race of men’.121 His whole system was calculated to render the ‘stubborn’, ‘perverse’, ‘obstinate’, and ‘lying’ boys ‘valuable to this settlement and subservient to the general good’.122 This

117 118 119 120 121 122

Ibid., 177. Hogan, ‘Market Revolution and Disciplinary Power’, 381–417. Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 176, 184. Ibid., 181, 177–178. Ibid., 171–172. Bell, Experiment in Education, 9, 36, 33.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

59

was connected to the final goal of education: to ‘meliorate the rising generation’ and, thereby, to ‘improve the state of society’. Bell’s trust in the possibility to fundamentally reform his students was rooted in an assumption that their ‘character’ was the outcome of their previous ‘wrong’ education, not of any natural incapacity.123

If Bell was aiming to uplift the character of this ‘race of men’ by means of education, how did he hope to achieve that? It was the ‘grand aim’ of his ‘seminary to instil into these children every principle fitting for good subjects, good men, good Christians’. Therefore, they were ‘brought up in such habits as may render them most useful to their patrons and benefactors, to whom they owe such peculiar duty’.124 There were, basically, two ‘means of correcting the miserable maxims and habits in which most of them had hitherto been bred up’:125 on the one hand, by ‘inculcating upon them on all occasions a sense of their moral duties’, that means, by instilling in them the right ‘maxims’, and, on the other, by ‘produc[ing] habits … favourable to virtue, religion, and good government’. Such habits would be most fruitfully produced by ‘the practise of early youth, and systematic arrangements’.126 His pedagogy aimed at enhancing and stimulating the students’ natural capacities. The learning conditions were to be rendered ‘pleasant’ to the students; their ‘attention’ was to be led ‘to proper pursuits’. This included the establishment of a sequence of short and easy lessons as well as a broad and interesting curriculum. Bell also laid much emphasis on a new kind of ‘discipline’ instead of the ‘despotism’ of the old charity schools: it had to be ‘mild’ and ‘gentle’, but more ‘inflexible’. Instead of punishment, a ‘preventive discipline’ was recommended.127 The new ‘gentle’ disciplinary techniques included a constant examination that allowed for the measurement of individual progress in a standardized sequence of lessons as well as for a comparison of the achievements among a group of 123

124 125 126 127

Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 179: ‘Suppose only deceit and trick taught by the parent, who has generally the charge of the infant mind, as well as by example as precept, and you will readily imagine the consequences.’ The issue of the origin of the ‘wrongs’ of children was further elaborated by Bell in his The Wrongs of Children, Or, A Practical Vindication of Children from the Injustice Done Them in Early Nurture and Education: Addressed to Parents, Tutors, Guardians, and Masters, and to Legislators and Governors, Setting forth the Source of Much Human Misery, and Pointing out the Remedy (London: Rivingtons, 1819). Bell, Experiment in Education, 32. Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 171–172. Bell, Experiment in Education, 32–33. Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 171, 175.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

60

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

peers.128 But not only the intellectual achievement but also the ‘conduct’ of the student was constantly supervised by peer observation and through surveillance by the always-present ‘eye of the master’.129 Taking these elements together – (a) ‘systematic arrangements’ that were supposed to produce favourable ‘habits’, (b) constant examination of the students as developing individuals and as bearers of a certain rank in a group, and (c) mutual observation and panoptical surveillance – we have the core of the functioning of the ‘disciplines’ as Michel Foucault introduces them in Discipline and Punish.130

Conclusion The argument that the colonies functioned as laboratories for modern techniques of social regulation is a helpful metaphor to describe the relationship of metropole and colony as one of mutual impact under unequal power relations. Two limitations, however, have to be kept in mind. First, the colonial ground was no tabula rasa waiting to be inscribed with the knowledge of the colonizers. Of course, imperial minds expressed such fantasies. The leading utilitarians hoped to new-model Indian society with the help of ‘good laws’ and ‘good government’,131 based on the universal principles of utility. The notorious Jeremy Bentham, a supporter of Lancaster, envisioned that ‘[ James] Mill will be the living executive – I shall be the dead legislative of British India’.132 As I have discussed for the educational landscape of India around 1800, there was no such empty space. Indigenous schools were widespread and some of the pedagogical techniques used in them – certainly the teaching of the alphabet by writing exercises and probably the technique of mutual instruction—became a source of Bell’s experiment in education. When missionaries, education societies, and colonial administrators started to expand a new model of public education 128

129 130 131 132

Therefore, a register was kept, as Bell explained in his Experiment in Education (p. 17), which recorded the ‘number of lessons said, pages written, sums wrought, tasks performed, &c. &c. &c.’ by each individual student ‘which the teacher compares with what he did the day before, and what the other boys do’. Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 179. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Vintage Books, 1995 [Paris 1975]), 135–230. James Mill, The History of British India (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1817), V, 541–543. John Bowring (ed.), The Works of Jeremy Bentham (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1843), 450.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

A Colonial Experiment in Education, Madras, 1789–1796

61

based on the monitorial system, they did not introduce elementary schooling. Instead, they transformed it, at times substituting, at times coexisting with the prevalent facilities.

Second, since people are rarely passive respondents of social engineering programmes, but conscious agents ‘capable of circumventing and undermining’ the disciplinary techniques targeting them, there were no ‘controlled conditions’ for social experiments, not even in the colonial contexts.133 It is, however, remarkable that Bell turned to the children as the operators of his system exactly for gaining the kind of unlimited control that is sometimes attributed to European social engineers in the colonies: his school was run ‘by means of agents as are always at command’.134 And this idea was probably as much appreciated by the nineteenth-century educational reformers as the idea of saving the salary of adult teachers. Bell indeed had a strong control over his charges, since the mothers and relatives were not allowed ‘to remove children whenever they pleased’, and even the children’s contact to the outside world was restricted.135 But he also won the cooperation of his students by attracting their interest. He offered a broad curriculum which was unprecedented in the charity school context and which opened prospects for employment beyond the subordinate ranks of the army and navy. One of the most advanced students, William Smith, was even invited to the court of Tippoo Sultan for delivering scientific lectures and for the demonstration of experiments.136 Moreover, although the innovation was presented later as the outcome of an experiment, there was no previous intention to ‘test’ new pedagogical methods to see if they would be well adapted for building national education in Britain. Bell did not go to India to try and see if his ideas about rational classroom management would work. He went there in order to make a fortune and to realize his ambitions as a natural scientist. His innovation was the contingent product of his happening to enter a specific political situation (that is, the emergence of social policies towards the Eurasian population in the context of consolidating British rule), his experimentalist processing of locally observed pedagogical methods, and his interaction with teachers and students in a particular institutional setting. When he published his Experiment back in England he still did not know if his innovation would be applicable to his home 133 134 135 136

Cooper and Stoler, ‘Between Metropole and Colony’, 5. Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell, I, 178. Ibid., 169. Larwood, ‘Science and Education’, 88.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

62

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

country: ‘Whether a similar attempt would be attended with equal success in every charity or free school … I do not say.’ He just published an account of his innovation in order ‘to give it the chance of that diffusion which may produce a fair trial in other situations’.137 A conviction of a wide applicability of the new method came only years later. After the new-model ‘national schools’ had spread all over England, he claimed that the ‘system’ developed for the Eurasian students in Madras was perfectly ‘adapted to the condition of the lower order of youth in this country’.138 Even more: ‘If you or I live a thousand years, we shall see this system spread over the world ’ (emphasis in original).139

Building on the arguments brought forward by governmentality studies, it must be emphasized that the ‘disciplines’ sometimes emerged as local, non-state initiatives that were only later integrated into the institutional settings of the state. In the nineteenth century, this state must be conceived of also as a colonial empire. This is exactly what can be observed in the case of Bell’s ‘attempt to alter the character of a race of men’ by means of pedagogy. The disciplinary machine par excellence in the field of pedagogy came into existence not because of a plan from the central agency of colonial governance, such as the Court of Directors of the EIC, or by order of the Governor of Madras, but as an individual trial of a Scottish adventurer. Only a decade later a similar innovation took place in another part of the empire, as the next chapter will show. The young London schoolmaster Joseph Lancaster, looking for ways to ‘improve’ the education of the ‘industrious classes’, came forward with suggestions for classroom arrangements that became as important for the ‘monitorial system’ that circulated around the world as Bell’s. The framework which connected both localities, Madras and London – and the independent innovations of Bell and Lancaster – will be analysed in the third chapter: a movement dedicated to individual and social improvement by means of education that was as much imperial as it was about disciplining the ‘masterless poor’140 in England.

137 138 139 140

Bell, Experiment in Education, 36. Bell, Madras School, 209. Ibid., 138. Pavla Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 1500–1900 (Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1998), 143–182.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:50, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.002

CHAPTER 2

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

In that general and moral view […] ignorance in the lower orders is beheld the cause of their vice, irreligion, and consequent misery.1

Improvements in Education in London

Andrew Bell’s colonial Experiment in Education2 was not the only source of the monitorial system of education. Five years after Bell had published his book – which, till then, had been ‘buried in obscurity’3 – the young London schoolmaster Joseph Lancaster (1778–1838) gave an account of some educational ‘improvements’ which closely resembled Bell’s innovations. And this publication proved to be highly influential. Lancaster introduced it as an appeal to the public to engage with the reform and expansion of the education of ‘the industrious classes of the community’.4 He pointed at the deficiencies 1

2

3

4

John Foster, An Essay on the Evils of Popular Ignorance, and a Discourse on the Communication of Christianity to the People of Hindoostan (London: B.J. Holdsworth, 1821), viii. Andrew Bell, An Experiment in Education, Made at the Male Asylum of Madras, Suggesting a System by Which a School or Family May Teach Itself under the Superintendence of the Master or the Parent (London: Printed for Cadell and Davies, 1797). Impartial Considerations on the Present State of the Question between Dr. Bell and Mr. Lancaster; With Some Remarks on the First Article of the Thirty-Seventh Number of the Edinburgh Review (London: Printed for J. Hachard, 1812), 3. Joseph Lancaster, Improvements in Education, as It Respects the Industrious Classes of the Community: Containing, a Short Account of Its Present State, Hints towards Its Improvement, and a Detail of Some Practical Experiments Conducive to That End (London: Darton and Harvey, J. Mathews, W. Hatchard, 1803), vi.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

64

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

of the ‘current system’ in vivid terms: the ‘woefully insufficient’5 schools for the working poor, he said, displayed ‘disgusting scenes of noise and riot’. The limited time these children had for gaining the rudiments of moral, religious, and intellectual instruction before they entered their working lives was wasted. The worst treatment was given to the ‘poor oppressed children in the work houses’, who were not offered the least chance for moral improvement. This deficient education did not only produce ‘desolating effects’ on the individual children. In the end, ‘national benefit’ was lost. A ‘national evil’, Lancaster argued, required a ‘national remedy’. So far, a ‘sect-making spirit’ had prevented society from fulfilling its duty towards the very class of people which with its labour produced the wealth of the nation. This unhappy spirit, the young Quaker Lancaster urged, had to be overcome: ‘let the public good become the sole object of your united Christian effort.’6

Lancaster did not only point to the necessity of improving the education of the poor, he also suggested the means to do so: the formation of an interdenominational voluntary association. The task of this association was to bring the existing schools under its supervision, train masters and mistresses, and provide manuals for improving the conduct of the schools. ‘Proper regulation’ and ‘proper management’ would turn the schools for the labouring poor towards ‘real usefulness.’ A regular ‘instruction of youth in useful learning, adapted to their respective situations’, and in the ‘undisputed doctrines’ of Christianity would highly contribute to a ‘promotion of good morals’ and, thereby, to the ‘improvement of society’. Finally, Lancaster suggested some ‘improved methods of tuition’ which enabled him in his school ‘to afford children of mechanics, &c. instruction in reading, writing and arithmetic, at about half the usual price’.7 Carl Kaestle, drawing from a wide range of Lancaster’s writings, tells us how the son of a London sieve-maker had hit upon his improvements: Lancaster was a capable, introspective lad of twenty, when he decided to try his hand at teaching in his parents’ neighbourhood in Southwark, a poor section of London. He acted as an assistant at two schools and then, in 1798, opened his own in part of his father’s house. He proved a hard worker and a popular teacher, and children flocked to the school. Lancaster admitted the poorest students free…. For resources he soon turned to 5 6 7

Carl F. Kaestle, Joseph Lancaster and the Monitorial School Movement: A Documentary History (New York, London: Teachers College Press, 1973), 2. Lancaster, Improvements in Education, iv, 8, 23. Ibid., 26, 44, 56–58.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

65

some philanthropic Quakers in the area; thus he became involved early in an activity that was to preoccupy his entire life: soliciting funds. Early donations were not sufficient, however, to provide paid assistant teachers for the burgeoning enrolment: the 100 children who had crowded into his father’s house became 300 when larger quarters were found. Trying to cope with such numbers, Lancaster hit upon the idea of having the older, better pupils teach the younger ones. This device is the crux of the monitorial system, for which Lancaster became famous.’8

Apparently both Bell and Lancaster came up with a similar ‘device’ for dealing with their particular day-to-day problems. In one case, it was the unruliness of teachers; in the other case, the very impossibility of paying such teachers. Thus, for different reasons, both turned to the employment of the agency of the students themselves. In Lancaster’s version, more advanced students were appointed as ‘monitors’, hence the name – monitorial system.

These similarities partially sprang from the fact that Lancaster was familiar with Bell’s Experiment. Lancaster explicitly acknowledged that he had ‘adopted several hints’ from Bell’s book and ‘recommend[ed] it to the attentive perusal of the friends of education and of youth’. He ‘regret[ed]’, however, not to have been ‘acquainted with the beauty of his system, till somewhat advanced in [his] plan’. An earlier reading, he stated, would have saved him much trouble.9 The context, moreover, in which Lancaster placed his proposals for a more effective classroom management was certainly as new as remarkable: to make education a national concern, which he understood not as the responsibility of the state, but of what he called ‘the public’. In this chapter, I show how the knowledge produced in the colonial encounter (Bell’s Experiment in Education) was combined with educational innovations originating from the metropole (Lancaster’s Improvements) for dealing with a specific metropolitan problem: the emergent pauperism. I first discuss how the monitorial system was designed for disciplining ‘dangerous paupers’, that is, for turning them into ‘industrious poor’. Second, I look at the formation of two influential voluntary bodies who, in competition with each other, promoted the diffusion of the system in Britain and in the empire. I will thus show how the monitorial system, which later circulated around the world, at first took shape as an imperial solution for a domestic problem.

8 9

Kaestle, Joseph Lancaster and the Monitorial School Movement, 3. Lancaster, Improvements in Education, 65.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

66

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Monitorial Schooling and the Government of Poverty In late eighteenth-century England, education had not yet taken shape as a common school system. In contrast to European states such as Prussia, and also to Scotland, there was no direct involvement of the state, neither in terms of provision, nor funding, nor systematic regulation. The first governmental grant for popular instruction was given in 1833, which was 20 years after the British East India Company had been obliged to invest in Indian education. Up to the 1840s, governmental responsibility for the provision of education was still a contested issue. The education of the common people was, for the most part, either household or community based or coupled to religion, that is, to the church and mission societies such as the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK). The former institutions were known as dame schools, the latter as charity schools. Since the 1780s, church-based Sunday schools were added to the picture.10 Generally speaking, the educational situation was not radically different from the scene described in the previous chapter for India around 1800. The initial situation, from which the transition to modern public schooling started, was a rather fragmented, non-standardized educational provision in the frame of local communities. This refers to both metropole and colony. Both contexts started to undergo simultaneous and mutually entangled reform processes in the early nineteenth century.

In the beginning of the nineteenth century, the English public became increasingly convinced of the need to undertake systematic efforts for the provision of schooling. Various factors have been stressed to account for the development of mass schooling, especially by scholars working on the building of a state education systems in western Europe and the (former) British settler colonies. The transition to capitalism and industrial production has been interpreted in different ways to have impacted upon the expansion of schooling. Liberal sociologists have highlighted the need for skilled labour, while revisionist authors focused on social control, the management of class conflict, the establishment of bourgeois hegemony, or, in more general terms,

10

Margaret Archer, Social Origins of Educational Systems (University Edition) (London: SAGE Publications, 1984), 10, 19–38; Mary Jo Maynes, Schooling in Western Europe: A Social History (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985), 7–32; Phillip McCann (ed.), Popular Education and Socialisation in the Nineteenth Century (London: Methuen, 1977).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

67

the reproduction of social inequality.11 Other approaches focused on the changes in the domestic sphere which accompanied the dissolution of household-based production and the spread of wage labour. In this context, an apprenticeship model of socialization gave way to the public school, which was ‘designed to facilitate the passage of children out of the house into society and economy.’12 Scholars have also emphasized the strong link between educational change, state formation, and nation building.13 This took place in an international environment, where governments mutually observed and learned from one another.14 Many recent approaches to the social history of schooling go beyond ‘one-toone models of history’, which attempt to relate educational change to a single aspect of its societal surroundings. Instead, they aim to ‘think contextually’.15 Building on these debates, I want to highlight two conditions for the formation of a movement towards public education which, in England and its empire, preceded the making of state education systems. The first is the search for a new government of poverty in the metropole, which is the issue I discuss next.

11

12

13

14

15

For a discussion of these different approaches, see Archer, Social Origins, 1–10; Bruce Curtis, ‘Capitalist Development and Educational Reform: Comparative Material from England, Ireland and Upper Canada to 1850’, Theory and Society 13, no. 1 (1984): 41–68; Ian Davey, ‘Capitalism, Patriarchy, and the Origins of Mass Schooling: the Radical Debate’, in Ali Rattansi and David Reeder (eds), Rethinking Radical Education: Essays in Honour of Brian Simon (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1992), 1–12; Maynes, Schooling in Western Europe, 1–6. M.P. Ryan, Cradle of the Middle Class: The Family in Oneida County, New York, 1790–1865 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986), 234. See also Pavla Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 1500–1900 (Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1998); Wally Seccombe, A Millenium of Family Change (London: Verso, 1992). Curtis, ‘Capitalist Development and Educational Reform’, 41–68; Kim Tolley (ed.), Transformations in Schooling: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007); Andy Green, Education and State Formation: The Rise of Education Systems in England, France, and the USA (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1990). John Boli, Francisco O. Ramirez, and John W. Meyer, ‘Explaining the Origins and Expansion of Mass Education’, Comparative Education Review 29, no. 2 (1985): 145–170. Kim Tolley, ‘Introduction: Historical and Comparative Perspectives on Transformations in Schooling’, in Kim Tolley (ed.), Transformations in Schooling: Historical and Comparative Perspectives (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 1–11, 3. See Carl F. Kaestle and Maris A. Vinovkis, Education and Social Change in Nineteenth- Century Massachusetts (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1980).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

68

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

The second is the imperial civilizing mission, which I explore in the next chapter. Both developments began in the 1790s and intersected at several points.

In the context of the development of a liberal governmental rationality, social reformers started to draft new technologies for the ‘government of poverty.’16 Scholars who studied the making of a modern governmental rationality, inspired by the later writings of Michel Foucault, have shown how classical liberal thinkers and policymakers struggled to define where to govern and where to refrain from governmental activity.17 (The debates in colonial Bengal on the ‘non-interference’ of the state in the private matters of the colonized are related to these struggles.) The new social science of political economy argued that civil society, and especially the domain of the market were governed by their own internal laws, such as the laws of nature that had been ‘discovered’ by physics and astronomy. Society was no longer understood as constituted by an initial contract of its members, but as the contingent and dynamic product of the interplay of individual interests and actions.18 Interference of the government in this ‘natural course of things’ would not only be futile, but even inhibit the proper functioning of the market, hence the liberal claim to restrain governmental activity.19 At the same time, however, a number of new techniques were developed to regulate the domain of ‘the social’, 20 that is, the living conditions of the population, their 16

17

18 19 20

Matthias Bohlender, ‘Wie man die Armen regiert. Zur Genealogie liberaler politischer Rationalität’, in Leviathan 26, no. 4 (1998): 497–521; Dean Mitchell, The Constitution of Poverty: Toward a Genealogy of Liberal Governance (London: Routledge, 1991); Giovanna, Procacci, ‘Social Economy and the Government of Poverty’, in Graham Burchell, Colin Gordon, and Peter Miller (eds), The Foucault Effect: Studies in Governmentality (Chicago: Chicago University Press, 1991), 151–196. In eighteenth-century England, the term ‘government’ was not confined to the domain of state authorities, but rather used in a broad sense. It included, for instance, the ‘government of children’, which can be seen also in the term ‘governess’ for a female educator in the family. For this broad usage of the term ‘government’, see, for instance, Henry Fielding’s novel The History of Tom Jones (1749), which includes ironic hints on ‘the government of daughters’. Michel Foucault, ‘Governmentality’, in Burchell, Gordon, and Miller (eds), The Foucault Effect, 87–104; Colin Gordon, ‘Governmental Rationality: An Introduction’, in Burchell, Gordon, and Miller (eds), The Foucault Effect, 1–52; Matthias Bohlender, Metamorphosen des liberalen Regierungsdenkens. Politische Ökonomie, Polizei und Pauperismus (Weilerswist: Velbrück Wissenschaft, 2007). Adam Ferguson, An Essay in the History of Civil Society (Dodo Press, 2007 [1767]). Michel Foucault, Die Geburt der Biopolitik [= Geschichte der Gouvernementalität vol. II] (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2004), 399–434. Jacques Donzelot, ‘The Mobilization of Society’, in Burchell, Gordon, and Miller (eds), The Foucault Effect, 169–80.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

69

habits, and customs. The general problem of liberal thinkers and policymakers was to find means of governing subjects in such a way that they would conduct themselves in civil society in an appropriate manner. Popular schooling, as I now want to show, appeared as one of those means.

Several scholars relate the ‘birth’ of the modern schoolroom to the problem of pauperism.21 The great transformation to a market society22 and the development of new techniques of governance, were accompanied by fundamental changes in education. As David Hogan puts it, Lancaster’s Improvements were an ‘important point of entry of the market and “disciplinary” revolutions into modern pedagogy.’23 Analysing such connections does not necessarily imply a functionalist understanding of the ‘needs of the industrial society’, or of schools as plain instruments of ‘bourgeois dictatorship’, as Karen Jones and Kevin Williamson emphasize.24 Margaret Archer suggests that new educational goals, strategies, and programmes are developed when actors become frustrated with ‘strains’ in the functioning or the perceived social effects of the prevalent educational institutions.25 In a similar vein, I want to show how social tensions were formulated as a problem, to which a new model of education could appear as a solution. My approach, therefore, belongs as much to a cultural history which is concerned with changing patterns of interpretations26 as to a social history of education that looks at institutional change, group-relations, and interaction. The social problem that became virulent in the last decade of the eighteenth century was pauperism. Texts that analysed and measured it and proposals for

21

22 23

24 25 26

Karen Jones and Kevin Williamson, ‘The Birth of the Schoolroom: A Study of the Transformation in the Discursive Conditions of English Popular Education in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century’, Ideology and Consciousness 19, no. 6 (1979): 59–110; Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 143–182. Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: Politische und Ökonomische Ursprünge von Gesellschaften und Wirtschaftssystemen (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 2007). David Hogan, ‘The Market Revolution and Disciplinary Power: Joseph Lancaster and the Psychology of the Early Classroom System’, History of Education Quarterly 29, no. 3 (1989): 381–417, 382. Jones and Williamson, ‘Birth of the Schoolroom’, 61. Archer, Social Origins, 6. Jörg Baberowski, Hartmut Kaelble, and Jürgen Schriewer (eds), Selbstbilder und Fremdbilder. Repräsentationen sozialer Ordnungen im Wandel (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2008).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

70

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

its solution multiplied in the 1790s.27 Pauperism, as clearly distinguished from poverty, was an economic category which referred to the problem of ‘indigence’, or dependence on poor relief, in contrast to the industry and independence of the labouring poor. But it was also a political and moral category that denoted a disposition towards unrest and crime.28 It represented a growing ‘population’ which was desperately poor and politically dangerous.29 As Jones and Williamson argue, the English philanthropic and educational discourse around 1800 was pre-occupied with three ‘objects of concern’, which all related to the problem of pauperism: first, the state of the poor and the high costs of poor relief; second, the threat posed to governmental authority by the low state of public morals; and, finally, the increase of crime, as registered in police and judicial statistics.30

I now want to detail this first object of concern, the economic problem of the state of the poor. The notion established by the political economists, that the wealth and strength of the nation rested in its labouring population, also found an entrance into the discourse on the state of the poor. Frederick Eden assumed that the ‘prosperity of a country depends on the welfare of its labouring poor, and no estimate can be formed of its population, industry, strength, virtue, and happiness without considering their condition.’31 (The same notion informed Lancaster’s argument that the industrious classes were entitled to have their children educated at the public’s expense.) This consideration resulted in a critique of the Elizabethan regime of governing poverty, the old poor laws. Although parishes’ expenditure for poor relief had rapidly increased, the old regime did not suffice to take care of all indigent persons. On the contrary, the poor laws were now believed to produce the very pauperism that they were meant to provide relief for. Therefore, proposals for a better relief of the poor 27

28 29

30 31

Sir Frederick Eden, The State of the Poor (abridged and edited by A.G.L. Rogers) (London: G. Routledge and Sons, 1928 [1797]); Jeremy Bentham, Outline of a Work Entitled Pauper Management Improved, 1797 [= John Bowring (ed.), The Works of Jeremy Bentham (Edinburgh: William Tait, 1843), VIII: 369–437]; Patrick Colquhoun, The State of Indigence and the Situation of the Casual Poor in the Metropolis (London 1799). Patrick Colquhoun, A Treatise on Indigence (London 1806); Mitchell, The Constitution of Poverty, 174. Robert Malthus, An Essay on the Principle of Population, as It Affects the Future Improvement of Society, with Remarks on the Speculations of Mr. Godwin, M. Condorcet, and Other Writers (London: Macmillan, 1926 [1798]). Jones and Williamson, ‘The Birth of the Schoolroom’, 62–63. Eden, The State of the Poor, 2.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

71

called for an abolition of the old poor laws. But what was to substitute them? In contrast to Adam Smith, who had hoped that poverty would disappear with the institutionalization of a free labour market, the new generation of political economists such as David Ricardo feared that the same system that produced the wealth of the nation brought about devastating effects at the same time.32 The most radical approach to deal with this tension was represented by Robert Malthus, whose suggestion was to let the problem be solved by ‘the natural course of things’, that is, by letting the size of the population be regulated by procreation and death according to the demands of the labour market. Another approach, which was followed among others by Jeremy Bentham, was to reform the ‘pauper management’ and try to turn ‘indigent paupers’ into ‘industrious poor’.33

The other objects of concern, the apparent dissolution of social authority, and the accompanying increase of vice and crime, were, to some extent, also related to the problem of the population. In the late eighteenth century, a ‘mass of propertyless people, no longer confined by the household discipline of their masters’ wandered the streets of the country, begging and stealing. They proved ‘reluctant to work in factories’, even though the old poor laws tried hard to counteract these phenomena by restricting mobility and confining paupers in the workhouse system.34 These ‘masterless poor’ appeared, Pavla Miller argues, because of a crisis of the personalized authority of the patriarchal household regime, which had resulted in changes in gender and intergenerational relations. Celibacy for servants and dependants could no longer be ensured. Marriage was decoupled from the financial ability to establish a new household. Nothing, in short, ‘seemed able to stop the poor from forming their own households and having children’. Moreover, children (and women), who had to earn their own living by wage labour, were hardly kept under domestic authority. This is reflected in the education reformers’ diagnosis that both filial and parental duties were in crisis.35 In order to civilize the masterless poor, and to re-establish social control, new governmental techniques had to be explored.36 32 33 34 35

36

David Ricardo, On the Principles of Political Economy, and Taxation (London: John Murray, 1821), 466–482. See Bohlender, ‘Wie man die Armen regiert’, 511–520. Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 143–146. Ibid., 145. The failure of the family was also frequently referred to by missionary educators. Public institutions, hence, had to substitute parental authority and at the same time provide the next generation with better parenting skills. This was especially relevant in the case of ‘female education’, which aimed to prepare better mothers (Chapter 4.) Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 149.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

72

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Still another threat to governmental authority became virulent in the 1790s. The spectre of pauperism was completed by the spectre of France.37 As E.P. Thompson has shown, a politically conscious plebeian public sphere had begun to take shape in the last two decades of the eighteenth century. Small artisans and shopkeepers started to organize corresponding societies, printed and circulated cheap versions of writings such as Thomas Paine’s Rights of Men, partially sympathising with the Jacobins. This formation of an oppositional plebeian readership very much concerned reformers involved with bettering the conditions of the poor: ‘At the time of the French Revolution, the greatest danger that existed, was from the pernicious falsities which were industriously circulated among the poor.’ Most problematically, such literature was ‘disseminating false principles of conduct’.38 Means had to be found, therefore, to industriously circulate the right principles of conduct. Different solutions were suggested to the problem of pauperism. There were state-centred suggestions, which included legal reform (the old poor laws were indeed given up in 1834), or proposals to reorganize police forces, such as the reforms of the London police in 1792 and 1798.39 There were suggestions to let private bodies, even joint stock companies, take care of the pauper management. Maybe the most extravagant, and against the background of Britain’s imperial entanglements most remarkable proposal, was Bentham’s idea to apply the model of the East India Company to a project of internal colonization. Bentham suggested installing a National Charity Company that would supervise the resettlement and putting to work of vagrants, criminals, and indigents in ‘pauper-land’.40 A similar idea of Colonies at Home was brought up 20 years later by the Quaker and supporter of the the British and Foreign School Society (BFSS), William Allen (1770–1843).41 Finally, a solution adopted by 37 38

39 40 41

Jones and Williamson, ‘The Birth of the Schoolroom’, 62–63; Bohlender, Metamorphosen, 151–152, 170. Sir Thomas Bernhard (ed.), Of the Education of the Poor; Being the First Part of a Digest of Reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor; and Containing a Selection of Articles Which Have Reference to Education (London: Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor, 1809), 41–42. Bernhard was a prominent supporter of the monitorial schooling according to ‘Bell’s system’ (Ibid., 17). Bohlender, Metamorphosen, 175. Mitchell, The Constitution of Poverty, 173–192. William Allen, Colonies at Home; or, the Means for Rendering the Industrious Labourer Independent of Parish Relief; and for Providing for the Poor Population of Ireland by Cultivation of the Soil (Linfield: C. Green, 1826).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

73

civil society actors was the expansion and improvement of popular schooling under the supervision of voluntary associations.

What I want to discuss now is why schooling could appear as a solution to the problem of pauperism, or, in other words, as one of the new techniques for the government of poverty. Jones and Williamson have traced the development of an influential pattern of interpretation around 1800 that put ‘popular ignorance’ as the primary cause for ‘the unhappiness of mankind’.42 Social problems were interpreted as being fundamentally problems with the principles and habits of the population. Because of its assumed ability to form the right habits and principles of conduct, popular schooling was suggested as a ‘multi-valent tactic’ for social improvement.43 The financial problem of the costs of social welfare was turned into a moral problem: misery was primarily the result of imprudent behaviour and lack of industry. Therefore, the assumption went, teaching indigent and dependent paupers ‘habits of prudence, industry and forethought, domestic economy and a spirit of independence’ would turn them into labouring poor.44 Education for the poor would ‘secure a moral foundation for governmental and religious authority’ and would lead to a reinstallation of social order.45 Finally, the improvement of public morals appeared as the answer to the problem of crime: educated children were seen as much more likely to pursue an ‘honest’ living as comparative statistics for England (which did not provide popular schools) and Scotland (which did) suggested.46 To summarize this argument in the words of Lancaster: ‘Ignorance leads to crime, education prevents it.’47 In a parliamentary debate on the poor laws, Samuel Whitbread proposed ‘to make the education of the children of the lower classes a national and a 42 43 44 45 46 47

Foster, Essay on the Evils of Popular Ignorance, 1. Jones and Williamson, ‘The Birth of the Schoolroom’, 63, 71. Ibid., 66; see Bohlender, Metamorphosen, 171. Jones and Williamson, ‘The Birth of the Schoolroom’, 60; see Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 143–149. Sydney Smith, Review Essay, Edinburgh Review, 1813, 207–219, 208–209. Joseph Lancaster, The British System of Education: Being a Complete Epitome of the Improvements and Inventions Practised at the Royal Free Schools, Borough-Road, Southwark (London: Royal Free School, 1810). The same pattern of interpretation seemed to have existed in the American context in first half of the nineteenth century. See Maxine Greene, The Public School and the Private Vision: In Search for America in Education and Literature (New York, London: The New York Press, 2007 [1965]), 7–24.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

74

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

legislative object’ (emphasis in original).48 In particular, he promoted Lancaster’s plan for educational reform. While popular education in general was suggested to deal with the problem of pauperism, the monitorial system particularly resonated with the new liberal governmental rationality. In the following, I want to highlight three aspects of this.

First, the monitorial system resonated with economic rationality. It included a systematic and minute division of labour as well as techniques of rational management and a new regime of accountability that was adopted from the model of joint stock companies. ‘School managers, like factory managers, were made well aware that they were dealing with the allocation of limited resources, and consequently that it was essential to effect economies in time, labour, and expense.’49 While Lancaster promised to educate children at ‘half the usual price’, Bell imagined a school as a machine. Until recently, he said, machinery has been contrived for spinning twenty skeins of silk, and twenty hanks of cotton, where one was spun before, but no contrivance has sought for, or devised, that twenty children may be educated in moral and religious principles with the same facility and expense, as one was taught before.50

The monitorial machinery was supposed to function in two possible ways. On the one hand, a direct relation was assumed to exist between a line of reasoning on moral questions (or a knowledge of the right principles) and a line of conduct.51 Making students memorize moral statements, therefore, would translate into improved behaviour. On the other hand, educators hoped

48

49

50 51

John Bowles, A Letter Addressed to Samuel Whitbread, Esq., M.P. in Consequence of the Unqualified Approbation Expressed by Him in the House of Commons, of Mr. Lancaster’s System of Education; The Religious Part of Which Is Here Shewn to Be Incompatible with the Safety of the Established Church, and, in Its Tendency, Subversive to Christianity Itself (London: Rivingtons, 1808), 1. P.J. Miller, ‘Factories, Monitorial Schools, and Jeremy Bentham: The Origins of the “Management Syndrome” in Popular Education’, Journal of Educational Administration and History 5, no. 2 (1973): 25–42, 11–12. Andrew Bell, Extract of a Sermon on the Education of the Poor, 1807, cited in Miller, ‘Factories’, 11. Jones and Williamson, ‘The Birth of the Schoolroom’, 68.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

75

to directly shape the habits of students by means of ‘systematic arrangements’52 and constant employment. Those habits, acquired in early youth, would produce good conduct in future life: ‘The practise of early youth, and systematic arrangements, could scarcely fail to produce habits, in advanced years, highly favourable to virtue, religion, and good government.’53

A second feature of the new governmental rationality relates to the use of violence. Foucault has argued in Discipline and Punish that in the eighteenth century, the techniques of power shifted from violent coercion to producing willing obedience. Disciplinary techniques utilized rather than oppressed the desires of the subject. The inventors of the monitorial system emphasized that education had to be in accordance with the ‘laws’ of the human psyche, as they had been formulated by the new theories of psychological development. Bell, it will be remembered from the previous chapter, declared to have ‘tried every method, which a long and earnest attention to the nature and disposition of youth suggested’.54 Part of the new psychological insights was to see children’s character as ‘malleable’, ‘plastic’, and ‘improvable’ by an appropriate education.55 Lancaster saw ‘youth [as] rational and intelligent beings, with minds capable of expansion, and talents formed for usefulness’.56 The drives and desires – the passions – of the students were to be employed by the skilful pedagogue rather than suppressed: ‘nothing conduces so much to good order’, Lancaster argued, ‘or so effectually prevents the natural vivacity of children from being troublesome in school, as the active employment of every boy in it’. An appropriate guidance and management of the ‘natural vivacity’ of children made violent means of 52

53

54 55 56

‘Systematic arrangements’ were the core of the monitorial system, for Bell as well as for Lancaster. They included a minute organization of school space, the systematic proceeding in a standardized sequence of lessons, and, finally, the rational and predictable distribution of rewards and punishments. See Thomas Markus, ‘Early Nineteenth Century School Space and Ideology’, Paedagogica Historica 32, no. 1 (1996): 9–50; Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Vintage Books, 1995 [Paris 1975]), 135–230. Bell, Experiment in Education, 32–33. The rhetoric of improved principles and habits is also to be found in the educational projects targeting the ‘natives’ of India. J[ohn] D[orking] Pearson, The British System of Education as Adapted to Native Schools in India (Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1830), 51 (teaching students ‘sound principles’ and ‘right habits’). Bell, Experiment in Education, v. Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 147; Greene, The Public School and the Private Vision, 15. Lancaster, Improvements in Education, 15.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

76

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

discipline unnecessary: ‘When the attention of children is occupied, quietness unavoidably follows and that without the aid of rigour to enforce it.’ 57 Bell suggested substituting the ‘despotism’ of the old charity schools by a ‘gentle’ discipline: punishments had to be ‘mild’, but the more ‘inflexible’ (that is, regular and predictable).58

However, even if the disciplinary regime of the monitorial system was explicitly opposed to corporal punishment, both Bell and Lancaster also suggested coercive practices to enforce order in the classroom. In his Instructions for Conducting a School, Bell reminded teachers that ‘at all events, the authority of the master must be maintained by discipline, in one shape or another’, even by ‘severe flagellation’.59 Lancaster suggested chaining unruly students to their desks or confining them to a cage. Even if there was a clear tendency towards a new regime of classroom discipline that relied on ‘productive’ techniques of power instead of violent means of coercion, the latter did not immediately disappear.

Finally, while reformers and educators saw popular schooling as instrumental for the re-establishment of social control, this was no longer based on personalized forms of authority between masters and servants. Rather, it relied on impersonal mechanisms of control, and the production of new subjectivities. Maxine Greene argued that the liberal claim that ‘the best government was the one which governed least’ presupposed forms of ‘self-government’ and ‘selfcontrol’ on part of the subjects.60 Against this background, ‘common schools were designed to produce self-governing subjects’.61 Schooling appeared as a means to generally diffuse and popularize the ‘ancient practises of the self ’ which neo-stoicism had reactivated in the sixteenth century.62 In the context of what Norbert Elias has analysed as The Civilising Process, elites started to develop techniques of ‘self-command’ and affect-management.63 As Miller has observed, 57 58

59 60 61 62 63

Ibid., 8. Robert Southey, Life of the Reverend Andrew Bell: Comprising the History of the Rise and Progress of the System of Mutual Tuition, 3 vols (London: J. Murray, 1844), I, 171, 175. See Foucault, Discipline and Punish, 104–134 (‘The gently way in punishment’). Andrew Bell, Instructions for Conducting a School, Through the Agency of the Scholars Themselves (London: Rivingtons, 1808), 14. Greene, The Public School and the Private Vision, 20. Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 194. Ibid., 144–145. Norbert Elias, Über den Prozeß der Zivilisation. Soziogenetische und phylogenetische Untersuchungen, vol. I: Wandlungen des Verhaltens in den weltlichen Oberschichten des Abendlandes (Frankfurt: Suhrkamp, 1997 [1939]).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

77

the ‘common denominator in various forms of the civilising process among the privileged was rigorous self-command; one of the distinguishing features of plebeian (and “native”) mentalities was considered to be a lack of it’. The new idea of the eighteenth century was that the mentalities of the common people needed changing as well. Puritanism and pietism ‘explored techniques that would go beyond obedience to create self-discipline on the part of all’. In this sense, the demand for universal schooling was related, as Miller summarizes, to ‘dreams of establishing universal self-mastery’.64

The monitorial technique resonated with this design for two reasons. On the one hand, it was grounded in the idea of self-instruction, or more precisely ‘selfinstruction under surveillance’,65 which stimulated and regulated activity. On the other hand, ‘the principle of self-tuition’ was explicitly supplemented by students’ ‘self-government’ (emphasis in original).66 An example of this principle – that the ‘pupils govern themselves’67 – was a ‘jury of peers’, which judged once a week on instances of neglect and unruly behaviour in Bell’s school. The machinery of the monitorial system, combining self-tuition with self-government, was, in short, designed to function as an ‘engine of self-improvement’.68

Competitive Conflict: Who Controls the Education of the Poor? In 1723, Bernhard Mandeville had argued that civil society was based on a division of labour where many produce the wealth that some enjoy. The provision of education to the poor was harmful, since it would prevent the many from submitting to the drudgery of hard daily labour, which they had to be made accustomed to by habit from early youth. Intelligent workers would, he feared, not willingly obey the orders given to them by ignorant masters. Hence charity 64 65 66

67 68

Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 144–147. Jones and Williamson, ‘The Birth of the Schoolroom’, 73. James Mill, Schools for All, in Preference to Schools for Churchmen Only: or, the State of the Controversy between the Advocates for the Lancasterian System of Universal Education, and Those, Who Have Set Up an Exclusive and Partial System under the Name of the Church and Dr. Bell (London 1812; reprint ed. by Jeffrey Stern, Bristol: Thoemmes Press 1995), 72. (According to Mill, these two principles had been first introduced in ‘the celebrated institution at Paris of the Chevalier Paulet’, and they distinguished the model suggested by Joseph Lancaster, whom Mill strongly supported.) Ibid., 72. Jones and Williamson, ‘The Birth of the Schoolroom’, 73.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

78

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

schools were not only a waste of working hours but also destructive of the welfare of the community: To make the society happy, and people easy under the meanest circumstances, it is requisite that a great number of them should be ignorant as well as poor. Knowledge both enlarges and multiplies our desires, and the fewer things a man wishes for, the more easily his necessities may be supplied. The welfare and felicity therefore of every state and kingdom require that the knowledge of the working poor should be confined within the verge of their occupations, and never extended … beyond what relates to their calling.69

Towards the end of the century, the Mandeville faction (or, as they were called by their opponents, the ‘friends of ignorance’70) could no longer uphold this strong position. The ‘evils of popular ignorance’ had become too pressing. However, there was still a debate over the best nature and extent of education of the poor, and a conflict over the question of whose control it should be placed in. As I am going to discuss now, this conflict was basically fought by two factions gathering around the ‘two rival societies’71 that either defended the proposals of Lancaster or promoted Bell as an alternative to building a national system of education.72 In 1803, the Quaker Lancaster had come forward with the proposal to establish an association for the extension and improvement of popular instruction on a non-denominational basis. This was taken up in 1808, when his supporters gathered in the Royal Lancasterian Society for Promoting the Education of the Children of the Poor. This society succeeded in securing the patronage of King George III, who announced his sincere wish that every poor child in his dominion should be taught to read the Bible.73 The Lancasterian 69 70 71 72

73

Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of Bees; or, Private Vices, Public Benefits (Edinburgh 1772 [1723]), I, 216. Henry Brougham, ‘Education of the Poor’, Edinburgh Review, 1810, 58–88. Archer, Social Origins, 58. On the history and competition of the BFSS and NES: Patrick Ressler, Nonprofit-Marketing im Schulbereich. Britische Schulgesellschaften und der Erfolg des Bell-Lancaster-Systems der Unterrichtsorganisation im 19. Jahrhundert (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2010); Patrick Ressler, ‘Marketing Pedagogy: Nonprofit Marketing and the Diffusion of Monitorial Teaching in the Nineteenth Century’, Paedagogica Historica 49, no. 3 (2013): 297–313. Helen May, Baljit Kaur, and Larry Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods: Nineteenth-century Missionary Infant Schools in Three British Colonies (New York: Ashgate, 2014), 17.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

79

faction was basically an alliance between influential dissenting circles, led by the abolitionist William Allen and his fellow-Quaker Joseph Fox, on the one hand,74 and the utilitarians and political economists, including James Mill, David Ricardo, and Francis Place, on the other hand.75 These were the very same intellectual currents that constituted the driving force behind the imperial civilizing mission. This alliance brought about also the West London Lancasterian Association, which – on the basis of a systematic collection of data on the prevalent educational supply – started a campaign for ‘schools for all’ in the metropolis. However, powerful as it proved in the beginning, this cooperation did not last long. The tensions between the strong religious motivation of the dissenters and the secular orientation of the utilitarians, who understood religion as a private matter of families only and not the concern of public institutions, became increasingly apparent.76 Important journals in which Lancaster’s advocates published their pamphlets were the liberal Edinburgh Review and the evangelical Philanthropist.

The foundation of the Royal Lancasterian Society and the commencement of its work caused considerable opposition among a group of people who presented themselves as the defenders of the Anglican Church. Lancaster’s proposal ‘to unite benevolent minds of every religious persuasion, in the prosecution of the same plan of education’77 was perceived as an effort to break the church 74

75

76

77

See George Bartle, ‘William Allen – Friend of Humanity: His Role in Nineteenth Century Popular Education’, History of Education Society Bulletin 50 (Autumn 1992): 15–29. James Mill, who worked for the East India Company and authored the muchcited History of British India (1817), was an active public supporter of Lancaster and became a member of the Royal Lancasterian Society in 1811. Francis Place, who had a humble artisan background, supported the chartist movement; he was a friend of Bentham’s, and a public opponent of Malthus, against whose politics he suggested birth control (contraceptives) and public instruction. Place was a member of the committee that drafted the statutes of the BFSS. Jeremy Bentham himself did not join the Lancasterian movement but was highly in favour of the monitorial system, which he tried to adapt to higher education institutions in his Chrestomathia (1816). George Bartle, ‘Benthamites and Lancasterians – The Relationship between the Followers of Bentham and the British and Foreign School Society during the Early Years of Popular Education’, Utilitas 3, no. 2 (1991): 275–288; E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (Penguin, 1970). George Bartle, ‘The Role of the British and Foreign School Society in the Education of Poor Children of the Metropolis during the First Half of the 19th Century’, Journal of Educational Administration and History 24, no. 1 (1992): 74–90. A Letter Respectfully Addressed to the Most Reverend the Archbishops and Bishops of the Church of England on Mr. Joseph Lancaster’s Plan for the Instruction of the Lower Orders of the Community (London: John Stockdale, 1806), 35.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

80

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

monopoly in education. It, therefore, ‘stimulate[d] Anglican efforts to retain control’. The competitive strategy of the church faction – including Tories and Whigs alike – found its expression in the foundation of the National Society for the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church (the National Education Society, or NES) in 1811, which actively promoted an alternative system traced to Bell (Figure 2.1).78 The main journals used by the NES faction were the Quarterly Review and the Anti-Jacobin Review.

Figure 2.1  ‘Bell and the Dragon’ Source: David Salmon, ‘Some Notes and a Portrait’, Educational Record XVIII (1911): 208–217. Note: The Dragon represents the Quaker Lancaster’s school, and his approach of a non-denominational education for the poor, outside of the control of the Anglican Church. See also Ressler, Non-Profit Marketing im Schulbereich, 90–91.

The ‘long controversy’ (ca. 1805–1812) which followed ‘between the advocates of Dr. Bell and Mr. Lancaster’79 was, first and foremost, a ‘competition

78

79

Archer, Social Origins, 57–58. ‘By the early nineteenth century, tories and whigs alike acknowledged the services of the church to social control and to legitimating elitist government; both supported the National Society.’ Ibid., 48. Impartial Considerations, 3.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

81

for educational control’.80 The core claim of the ‘defenders of the Church’ against Lancaster was this: ‘When education is made a national concern, youth must be brought up as members of the national Church.’81 At first, they argued that there was already a ‘national system of education’ under the control of the Church of England, consisting of Sunday and charity schools, which was by no means as deficient as Lancaster had depicted it.82 Later, it was acknowledged that nothing was ‘so much wanted, in this more southern part of our island, as a general system of education for the lower orders’, since the Sunday schools had proved ‘inadequate to that purpose.’ However, before ‘adopting [the Quakers] as superintendents over the education of the rising generation’,83 it was found that the Church of Scotland, which had taken education into their hands, ‘ha[d] set an example in this respect worthy of imitation.’84 The demand for a pre-eminence of the church establishment in the supervision and control of popular education was supplemented by a critique of Lancaster’s proposal of a non-denominational or interdenominational religious instruction. Lancaster had suggested to ground the education for the labouring classes simply in the ‘uncontroverted principles of Christianity’, which he had identified as ‘Glory to god, and the increase of peace and good will among men’. He had declared: ‘I long to see men who profess Christianity, contend, not for creeds of faith, or names, but in the practise of heavenly virtue.’85 Lancaster’s opponents argued that there were no such ‘uncontroverted principles’; that religion was not to be separated from particular creeds; that an education ‘indifferent’ to them would, ‘under the imposing guise of philanthropy’, lead

80 81

82

83 84 85

Archer, Social Origins, 39–59, here: 39, 43. Bowles, Letter Addressed to Samuel Whitbread, 35; see Herbert Marsh, The National Religion the Foundation of National Education; A Sermon Preached in the Cathedral Church of St. Paul (13 June 1811) (London: Rivingtons, 1811). Sarah Trimmer, A Comparative View of Education Promulgated by Mr. Joseph Lancaster, in His Tracts concerning the Instruction of the Children of the Labouring Part of the Community; and of the System of Christian Education Founded by Our Pious Forfathers for the Initiation of the Young Members of the Established Church in the Principles of the Reformed Religion (London: Rivingtons, 1805). Letter Respectfully Addressed to the Most Reverend the Archbishops, 10. Ibid., 53. Bowles, Letter Addressed to Samuel Whitbread, quoting from Lancaster’s Improvements in Education.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

82

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

straight to deism.86 A non-denominational religious instruction, as suggested by Lancaster, would in the end lead to a ‘subversion of Christianity itself ’.87 To his most radical critics, Lancaster appeared as an ‘Archdeceiver’ who was guilty of ‘the promotion of infidelity’.88 The NES faction argued that the spread of moral principles was strictly coupled with instruction in the catechism of the Church of England.89 They saw the foundation of all authority in the authority of the established church, on whose strength the security of the state depended. A second issue that was much disputed between the liberals and the defenders of the church was the question of originality: who had the right to call himself the inventor of the new system? The strategy of the church faction to promote an alternative system included the portrayal of Lancaster as a ‘copyist’. Had Lancaster not himself acknowledged having ‘adopted several hints’ from Bell’s publication?90 In a more moderate position, the merits of Bell’s system were summarized as follows: For although it appears that some of the methods used in the new school, existed in a detached shape both in the East and the West before this time, still the entire system was unknown, until he collected together the scattered processes, augmented their number by several important additions of his own, digested the whole into a regular body, and reduced the results of his reasonings into complete execution in the Male Orphan Asylum near Madras.91

However, even the people who sought to position Bell as the inventor of the system had to admit that his colonial Experiment ‘might, not improbably 86

87 88 89 90

91

Archdeacon Charles Daubeny (critically) cited by Brougham, Edinburgh Review, 1810, 58–88; Letter Respectfully Addressed to the Most Reverend the Archbishops, 48. In the discourse of the ‘defenders of the Church’ one often finds strong polemics against Quakers, who were accused of deism: ‘the original Quakerism constituted, … a disgusting amalgam of all those anti-Christian heresies and blasphemies which were permitted to disgrace and disturb the church in her primitive days’. Ibid., 8. Bowles, Letter Addressed to Samuel Whitbread. Brougham, quoting Archdeacon Daubeny, Edinburgh Review, 1810, 58–88. Bowles, Letter Addressed to Samuel Whitbread. Trimmer, Comparative View. Such are the arguments that the Quaker Joseph Fox (a Lancaster advocate) seeks to disprove: A Comparative View of the Plans of Education as Detailed in the Publications of Dr. Bell and Mr. Lancaster. The Second Edition, with Remarks on Dr. Bell’s ‘Madras School’, and Hints to the Managers and Committees of Charity and Sunday Schools, on the Practicability of Extending Such Institutions upon Mr. Lancaster’s Plan (London: Borough Road, 1809); see also Trimmer, Comparative View, 19. Impartial Considerations, 3.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

83

have remained […] buried in obscurity, had it not fortunately fallen into the hands of Mr. Lancaster’.92

Finally, the nature and extent of education were vividly debated, since these issues were closely connected to competing ideas on how to secure social order. The ‘grand design of education’, the church faction emphasized, was ‘to qualify youth for the stations which they are respectively to occupy in after-life’. More precisely, this meant ‘to furnish the inferior orders with such instruction, and such only, as will be calculated to render them useful members of society, in the humble rank in which it has pleased providence to place them’.93 It deserves notice that these notions of stable ranks and stations, defined by providence – which reappear in the context of the civilizing mission in India – do not figure prominently in the discourse of Lancaster and his advocates. Even though the Mandeville tradition of a ‘defensive conservatism’ had eroded, education of the poor was still perceived as potentially dangerous. It had to be accommodated within a strategy of ‘cautious reform’.94 Against the background of the conservative ‘vision of an ordered, static, agricultural society’,95 one element of Lancaster’s pedagogy – an element in which he indeed differed from Bell – appeared as particularly threatening. Lancaster suggested employing the expectations and, most important, ‘emulation’ among the students as strong stimuli to exertion: ‘The hope of reward sweetens labour’ (emphasis in original). The ‘system of rewards’ that he, therefore, introduced ranged from placement and constant replacement according to performance (an element not unknown to Bell) to the distribution of leather tickets and badges that displayed a student’s merit and demerit. He even established an ‘order of merit’, where only the best students were admitted.96 The kind of anthropological subject Lancaster presupposed was the modern homo economicus, a rational individual driven by interests and desires.97 His classroom was governed by meritocracy. It was not only designed to utilize the passions of the students but also apt to stimulate, in other words to enlarge and multiply, the desires that Mandeville had warned against so emphatically. Lancaster’s school was, Hogan has argued, ‘not so much 92 93 94 95 96 97

Ibid. Bowles, Letter Addressed to Samuel Whitbread, 1. Kaestle, Joseph Lancaster and the Monitorial School Movement, 2. David Hamilton, Towards a Theory of Schooling (London: Falmer Press, 1989), 83–84. Lancaster, Improvements in Education, 62, 18. Foucault, Die Geburt der Biopolitik, 367–398.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

84

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

a church of piety and deference as a manufactory of desire and ambition, a marketplace of competitive achievement, and an engine of disciplinary power’.98

The church faction was scandalized by the notion that a student could raise his rank through individual achievement. They also criticized the broadness of the curriculum, which allowed distinguished students to study philosophical works. Conservative campaigners feared that such a system of rewards would teach students to aspire to higher things outside the classroom. Counties that had introduced popular schooling, they opined, already faced a shortage of labourers. Lancaster’s model was calculated to teach the poor to be discontented ‘with the dispositions of an allwise Providence’.99 His meritocratic classroom seemed to prepare the way to conflict and rebellion, and finally pointed to the threatening example of France.

Bell’s experience in ‘training … young pupils in habits of strict discipline and prompt obedience’100 offered a welcome alternative. It was an educational programme adapted to the conservative politics of cautious reform. The former science lecturer and adventurer fully embraced his new role as defender of the church. In his Instructions for Conducting a School (a manual compiled in order to give teachers advice on how to organize and conduct their school according to the ‘national system’ of the Anglicans), ‘emulation’ was not at work among the students; the schoolmaster was its object. Compared to the experiment in Madras, the modes of disciplining students became stricter. A core instrument was the ‘black book, or register of continued idleness, negligence, ill-behaviour, and of every offence’.101 When he made proposals for the education of the poor in England, Bell also left behind the broad and interesting curriculum which had enabled exceptional students from the Egmore school to become lecturers in science: It is not proposed that the children of the poor be educated in an expensive manner, or even taught to write and cypher [sic]. Utopian schemes, for the universal diffusion of general knowledge, would soon realize the fable of the belly and the other members of the body, and confound, that the distinction of ranks and classes of society, on which the general welfare hinges, and the happiness of the lower orders, no less than that of the higher, depends. Parents will always be found to educate, at their own expense, 98 99 100 101

Hogan, ‘Market Revolution and Disciplinary Power’, 384. A Letter Respectfully Addressed to the Most Reverend the Archbishops, 12. Bell, Experiment in Education, 10. Bell, Instructions for Conducting a School, 8.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

85

children enough to fill the stations, which require higher qualifications; and there is a risk of elevating, by an indiscriminate education, the minds of those doomed to the drudgery of daily labour, above their condition, and thereby rendering them discontented and unhappy in their lot. It may suffice to teach the generality, on an economical plan, to read their bible and understand the doctrines of the holy religion.102

‘Utopian’, a commentator in the Edinburgh Review sarcastically observed, ‘our readers will recollect, always means modern, or French.’103 With this comment, I am coming to the ‘counter-attack’ of Lancaster’s supporters.104 Starting with an Appeal for Justice by Lancaster himself,105 they defended non-denominational instruction as the only means to build up a system of popular education.106 They polemically attacked the church faction for preferring an ‘exclusive and partial system under the name of the Church’ instead of promoting the ‘Lancasterian system of universal education’, culminating in the demand of Schools for All, in Preference to Schools for Churchmen Only.107 While the church faction spoke about ‘education of the poor,’ the Lancasterians advocated ‘popular education’, the ‘general diffusion of knowledge’, and ‘universal education’.108 ‘National education’, the dissenters and utilitarians thought, had to represent the nation in its religious diversity.109 102 103 104 105

106

107

108

109

Bell, Experiment in Education, 2nd ed., 1805, postscript. Edinburgh Review, 1810, 58–88. Archer, Social Origins, 59. Joseph Lancaster, An Appeal for Justice, in the Cause of Ten Thousand Poor and Orphan Children; And for the Honour of the Holy Scriptures: Being a Reply, Exposing the Misrepresentations in the Charge Delivered at the Visitation of Charles Daubeny, Archdeacon of Sarum (London: Printed and Sold by the Author, 1806). Joseph Fox, A Scriptural Education the Glory of England: Being a Defense of the Lancastrian Plan of Education, and the Bible Society, in Answer to the Publications of the Rev. C. Daubeny, Archdeacon of Sarum, the Rev. Dr. Wordsworth, the Rev. Mr. Spry &c. &c. (London: Royal Free School Press, 1810). Mill, Schools for All. This pamphlet, which in several aspects marked the peak of the controversy, was originally published in 1811, in the first issue of William Allen’s Philanthropist. Where the ‘friends’ of Bell, such as Sarah Trimmer, explicitly saw the provision of education as an act of ‘charity’, to which no claims could be made, Lancaster stressed the ‘duty’ of the public to provide schools for the children of the labouring classes, and acknowledged an entitlement of those people to education. Mill, Schools for All, 36.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

86

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Regarding the question of originality, they – secondly – emphasized Lancaster’s merit. While Bell had simply ‘put into execution’ a plan which ‘has been long used in the East’, Lancaster had ‘at least, greatly improved and extended’ that plan.110 The improvements that Lancaster had introduced made it a much more efficient solution, which, according to the utilitarians, was the crucial point in giving preference to one of the two systems. Bell’s proposal was found by no means adequate for a national education programme in England as it contradicted the very liberty that was considered to be the right of every Englishman. This was in contrast to the people of ‘the East’, who were imagined suffering under oriental despotism: If in India Dr. Bell could be the means of raising children, considered as belonging to a degraded caste, from the lowest state in society to situations of respectability and honour, how shocking is it for him to insult the feelings of Britons, by saying that the majority of their children shall be withheld from the benefits of education, and have no chance afforded to them of advancing themselves in life, but be doomed to the drudgery of daily labour. In China and in India, whatever abilities may distinguish an individual, he is by no means permitted to change his caste; but it is one of the glories of our excellent constitution, that while the property of every person is equally protected, the road to promotion is left open to talent and industry. (Emphasis in original)111

Meritocracy, in short, was presented as a laudable element of modern civil society, and as the opposite of a tyrannical caste system that characterized ‘the East’. We will encounter this notion again in the missionary discourse on India.

Finally, the Lancasterians took up the question of whether ‘the extension of popular education’ would ‘encourage anarchy, tumult and revolution’. Regarding the issue of the enlargement and multiplication of desire, the ‘friends of ignorance’ were informed (with the help of political economy) that this, instead of preventing people from labour, would rather encourage them to work, so that they would be able to satisfy their needs. Coming to the ‘favourite of the … topics’ of the church faction, namely that the ‘education of the poor be hostile to subordination’, the materialist counterargument was that the poor would serve as 110

111

Publicola, A Plain Statement of the Case between Dr. Bell and Mr. Lancaster, in Respect to the New System of Education for the Infant Poor. Wherein Is Incontrovertibly Shewn That Neither of Those Gentlemen Is the Inventor of the Plan, but That Dr. Bell Preceded Mr. Lancaster in the Practise of It (London: C. Richards, 1812), 6–8; see Fox, A Comparative View, 11. Fox, A Comparative View, 40, 52.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

87

long as their living depended on it. Labour was not a question of right or wrong ideas, but of material necessity. Moreover, since not only the children of the rich were gifted with talents but also the children of labourers, the development and encouragement of those talents by means of a ‘general diffusion of knowledge’ would promote the common good. Universal education would counteract the influence of immoral and dangerous publications, because the poor were thus enabled to better judge what to believe and what not. Finally, it was stressed that not a single person who had been educated by Lancaster was later convicted of any crime; this strengthened the argument that education could be used as a means of preventing crime. Again, it seemed to prove the favourable impact of the Lancasterian system of education on the social order in general.112

This competitive conflict produced a number of effects on the further development of popular education. First, it led to a reorganization of popular education in England, whereby the NES was able to gain a dominating position. As a contemporary commentator observed, ‘the invention of the new system form[ed] a distinct epoch in the history of the education of the lower orders of this county’, which, earlier, had been only in the hands of the church.113 This ‘distinct epoch’ was an intermediary step between the early modern nonstandardized, community-based forms of schooling and the building of state education systems: a period shaped by ‘philanthropic’, that is, voluntary, nongovernmental organizations, who put education on a public footing. Despite their different political alignments, the Royal Lancasterian Society and the NES functioned in very similar ways: both were modern non-profit organizations that advocated education as a means to ensure the common good. They organized teacher training in their respective ‘central schools’ in London and provided a package of manuals and materials that a local schoolmaster would need in order to remodel and thereby ‘improve’ his school. They promoted a model of fee-free, or low-fee, public schooling, based on subscriptions, that is, the collection of private money for public purposes. Patrick Ressler has analysed their overall strategy as an early form of ‘non-profit marketing’, which included the largescale mobilization of the public as sponsors of popular instruction as well as an organizational franchise system.114 All over the country (and subsequently all over the empire) people were encouraged to form themselves into school committees and auxiliary societies in order to finance the expansion of the ‘new 112 113 114

Edinburgh Review, 1810, 59–62. Impartial Considerations, 19. Ressler, Nonprofit-Marketing im Schulbereich, 225–246.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

88

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

system’. However, even if the efforts of the two rival societies – which strongly stimulated each other – provided a new kind of public education, this did not mean to directly involve the state; in the beginning, both societies had ensured the patronage of the King and of the Archbishop of Canterbury; only later (in 1833) was this replaced by a regular grant-in-aid system which, legitimated by the parliament, prepared the way for the state to take over educational control.115

A second consequence was the further refinement and standardization of the monitorial system. As each society tried to gain influence, they sharpened the profiles of their respective models, that is, the ‘Lancasterian’ or ‘British’ System versus the ‘Madras System’ or ‘National System’, which were laid down in standardized manuals116 (Figure 2.2). These manuals facilitated the spread of the model abroad; they were translated into various languages, and imitated by educational societies in other countries.117 They increasingly specified and emphasized the characteristics and ‘advantages’ of the system: This system rests on the simple principle of tuition by the scholars themselves. It is its distinguishing characteristic that the school, how numerous soever, is taught solely by the pupils of the institution under a single master, who, if able and diligent, could, without difficulty, conduct ten contiguous schools each consisting of a thousand scholars.118

The two models, the ‘British’ and the ‘National’ systems, were developed and gained popularity in communication (and competition) with each other. On the one hand, they were shaped into distinctive solutions, under distinct labels. On the other hand, they became increasingly harmonized. The adopters of the 115 116

117

118

Archer, Social Origins, 19–86; Ressler, Nonprofit-Marketing im Schulbereich, 80. Joseph Lancaster, The British System of Education: Being a Complete Epitome of the Improvements and Inventions Practised at the Royal Free Schools, Borough-Road, Southwark (London: Royal Free School, 1810). Alexandre-Louis-Joseph de Laborde, Plan d’éducation pour les enfants pauvres (Paris: L. Colas, 1816); J. Molesworth, Shallapundhuttee, or, A Treatise of the Managment of Schools According to the Lancasterian System of Education [Marathi] (Bombay: Bombay Native Education Society, 1825–1826); Pathsaler Biboron [= Dr. Bells Instructions for Modelling and Conducting Schools, tr. into Bengali by J.D. Pearson] (Chinsura, Calcutta: Calcutta School Book Society, 1819); Real Sociedad Económica de Amigos del País de Cádiz, Manual práctico del método de mutua enseñanza para las escuelas de primeras letras (Cádiz: Imprenta de Hércules, 1818). See George Bartle, ‘The Teaching Manuals and Lesson Books of the British and Foreign School Society’, History of Education Society Bulletin 46 (Autumn 1990): 22–33. Bell, Instructions, 3.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

89

monitorial system outside England even treated the manuals and materials of both societies as exchangeable. Moreover, other authors took up the manuals of both and integrated them into new variations, such as John Poole’s Village School Improved,119 which, in turn, was adapted by the Calcutta School Book Society (CSBS).

Figure 2.2  ‘British System of Education’ Source: Manual of the System of Primary Instruction Pursued in the Model Schools of the British and Foreign School Society (London: Printed for the Society, 1834).

Conclusion In early nineteenth-century England, middle-class reformers were confronted with the virulent social problem of pauperism. An influential pattern of 119

John Poole, The Village School Improved; or, the New System of Education Practically Explained, and Adapted to the Case of Country Parishes. To Which Is Added an Appendix, Containing Specimens of Catechetical Exercises; An Account of the Method of Teaching Arithmetical Classes; And by the Agency of the Scholars Themselves; Mental Arithmetic on a New and Simple Principle; &c. (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1815). He combines both systems and adds some further ‘modifications’ of his own, such as the connection of ‘writing from dictation’ to ‘every reading lesson (ibid., 14).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

90

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

interpretation, according to which misery, unrest, and crime were basically evils of popular ignorance, allowed for the construction of popular education, and particularly of the monitorial pedagogy, as an instrument for dealing with this problem: it promised to turn indigent and unruly paupers into moral subjects. These were the cultural conditions under which two rival societies, the Royal Lancasterian Society and the NES were formed. Their struggle for educational control thereby fuelled further elaboration and expansion of the monitorial system of education in England and abroad.

The monitorial system took shape as a device that allowed for the effective diffusion of a knowledge of particular ‘principles’ of conduct and the production of ‘habits’ of industry, self-restraint, and order. While liberals could identify with the rather ‘progressivist’ project of establishing a new social order (that is, a market society based on the principle of meritocracy), another variation of the monitorial device was adapted to a conservative strategy of cautious reform. By avoiding an ‘indiscriminate education’ (Bell), by furnishing the ‘inferior orders with such instruction, and such only’ as was seen as appropriate to their ‘humble rank’ ( John Bowles), the monitorial system was part of a strategy to find a way between ‘brutal ignorance’ on the one hand, and the dangers arising from a stimulation of expectation and desires on the other hand.120 Both strategies, the liberal as well as the conservative, found their respective adopters in different parts of the world. The tension of expansion and control, which was a core issue of the British debate on the education of the poor, reappeared time and again in schemes of mass education throughout the nineteenth century.

The new model, which had grown out of pedagogical knowledge produced in the colonial encounter in India, and was theorized in metropolitan struggles, was finally applied to the imperial civilizing mission. From the perspective of a connected history of education, this was the most important outcome of the competition between the Lancasterians and the church faction. In 1813, the Royal Lancasterian Society was re-established as the BFSS. It explicitly extended its sphere of influence beyond the national borders. The aim of the BFSS was to spread its ‘British system’ across the empire and the world. I think this shift in focus can be understood, at least partially, as a reaction to the fact that the NES and its ‘National system’ had won the competition in England. 120

See Carl F. Kaestle, ‘“Between the Scylla of Brutal Ignorance and the Charybdis of a Literary Education”: Elite Attitudes toward Mass Schooling in Early Industrial England and America’, in Lawrence Stone (ed.), Schooling and Society (Baltimore, London: John Hopkins University Press, 1976), 177–191.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

Education of the Poor, 1805–1813

91

The concept of ‘universal schooling’, the claim of ‘schools for all’, which had been formulated against the ‘partial’ plan of the church faction, was now extended to the whole habitable globe. The members and partners of the BFSS presented themselves as fighting the ‘cause of universal instruction’. Their mission included not only children of any denomination or religion in England but also all the new ‘fellow-subjects’ living in the British empire who had come into the reach of philanthropic school activists. Not a single child in the world was to be left without instruction, boy or girl.121 Although the NES also became highly active beyond the national borders, the BFSS proved to be more successful in Asia, Africa, and Latin America.122 While the utilitarians increasingly withdrew from the BFSS, the evangelical influence was strengthened, and the BFSS became particularly connected to the foreign mission movement.

121 122

BFSS Annual Report No. 11, 1816, 1; BFSS Annual Report No. 16, 1821, 34. Ressler, Non-Profit Marketing im Schulbereich, 190–191.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.003

CHAPTER 3

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824 It is generally acknowledged that the attainment of the art of reading is a great advance in the progress of civilisation; and it is equally certain that no well-founded hopes of success on the efforts for the propagation of Christianity can be entertained, unless the rising generation in Heathen countries are enabled to acquire the faculty of searching the Scriptures for themselves. To effect these great objects the means are now provided; and it is only requisite for benevolent men of all sects and parties to concentrate their energies, and […] to employ the best methods for covering the earth with knowledge as the waters cover the sea.1

In the first decades of the nineteenth century, the British Empire became a space for the circulation of pedagogical knowledge, and the development of educational governance. The imperial social formation connected the localities of Madras and London, in which new pedagogical knowledge and strategies of educational reform were produced. It also provided the context in which the British and Foreign School Society (BFSS) and its partner organizations laboured to re-export the new ‘British system’ of education to India, and to other British-controlled parts of the world.

Anna Johnston suggested distinguishing between the ‘imperial’ and the ‘colonial’ as different levels of interaction. This terminology, she argues, ‘attempts to highlight the slippages between imperial policy and the colonial practice of that policy’.2 I found this distinction convincing, and helpful for 1 2

BFSS Annual Report No. 9, 1814, 16. Anna Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 1800–1860 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 211.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

93

structuring my own narrative. Before turning back to the sites of the colonial encounter, this chapter focuses specifically on imperial entanglements. Most importantly, it explores the convergence between the British debate on the education of the poor, and the Protestant missionary revival, which took place almost simultaneously. The same two groups which supported the BFSS, utilitarians and evangelicals, were also a driving force of the ideology of the imperial civilizing mission. This convergence produced an imperial education movement, which created the conditions for intensive pedagogical exchange. A network of voluntary associations – missionary and secular, operating from the metropole and locally in the colony – cooperated in ‘the cause of universal education’.3 The BFSS, the missionary societies who were the ‘early adopters’4 of the monitorial system in India, and the educational associations formed in Calcutta, Bombay, and Madras, shared a trust in the powers of education as an instrument for social uplift. They also shared a social space, an emergent imperial public sphere. Public activism, I emphasize, was not confined to Britain, and not exclusive in terms of gender or class. The educational movement, which I explore, was a highly universalistic endeavour in a double sense. It aimed to provide schools for all. In the BFSS’s more poetic words, it wanted to use the monitorial machinery ‘for covering the earth with knowledge as the waters cover the sea.’5 At the same time, the expansion of civil society organizations was an end in itself. Participation in voluntary associations would turn people into agents of their own moral reform and multiply the agents of social progress. The imperial educational movement which was thus created exerted its influence on both the transformation of elementary schooling in India and the debate on popular instruction in England. Colony and metropole were both changed in the imperial relation.

Civilizing Missions, Civil Society, and Popular Education In the early nineteenth century, cheap and efficient schools for the poor were suggested as a solution to the problem of pauperism in England, as discussed in the previous chapter. Providing better schools for colonized populations was at the same time a crucial part of the colonial civilizing mission. The English term ‘civilizing mission’ is a neologism, taken from the French mission 3 4 5

BFSS Annual Report No. 9, 1814, 33. See Everett M. Rogers, Diffusion of Innovations (New York: Free Press, 2003). BFSS Annual Report No. 9, 1814, 16.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

94

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

civilisatrice. For British empire-builders, a prominent equivalent was the notion of ‘moral and material improvement’. The assumption of a European mission to reform and uplift colonized societies was the characteristic ideology of the age of improvement. It rested in Enlightenment notions of an educability and perfectibilité of the individual – ideas which also figured prominently in the education discourse – and a strong belief that well-directed regulation could help countries to climb the ladder of civilization. Civilizing missions can thus be characterized as governmental and developmental projects.6 They shared the general objective to remodel colonized societies, which were imagined as stagnating in a state of ‘rudeness’, according to the European Enlightenment standards of a refined civil society.7 Civilizing missions were connected to a comprehensive idea of mastery. The civilization package included the establishment of control over a colonized territory, by means of surveying, scientific recording, and measurement, and control over its population, which had to be studied, classified, and regulated as well. It included the renewal of administrative and legal institutions, a reorganization of social relations, such as gender and age relations, and the production of new subjectivities. For this project of social and cultural transformation, education was central. One can even say that civilizing missions were actually pedagogical projects, perceiving the colonizer in the position of the teacher and the colonized as the learner.

Civilizing missions presupposed a strong state, which would regulate and educate the colonized populations – Jürgen Osterhammel thus speaks of ‘the state as an interventionist educator’.8 The utilitarian circle around Jeremy Bentham prominently expressed such notions for the development of the Indian colonial governance. (We have already met the utilitarians as advocates of popular education and inventors of other techniques to manage metropolitan 6

7

8

Michael Mann, ‘“Torchbearers upon the Path of Progress”: Britain’s Ideology of “Moral and Material Progress” in India’, in Harald Fischer-Tiné and Michael Mann (eds), Colonialism as Civilising Mission: Cultural Ideology in British India (Anthem Press, 2004), 1–28; Jürgen Osterhammel, ‘“The Great Work of Uplifting Mankind”. Zivilisierungsmissionen und Moderne’, in Boris Barth and Jürgen Osterhammel (eds), Zivilisierungsmissionen, Imperiale Weltverbesserung seit dem 18. Jahrundert (Konstanz: UVK, 2005), 363–425; Carey A. Watt and Michael Mann (eds), Civilizing Missions in Colonial and Postcolonial South Asia: From Improvement to Development (Anthem Press, 2011). Adam Ferguson, An Essay in the History of Civil Society (Dodo Press, 2007 [1767]); John Millar, Observations Concerning the Distinction of Ranks in Society (London: Printed for J. Murray, 1773). Osterhammel, “The Great Work of Uplifting Mankind”, 366, also 382–383. The quotes are translated from German by the author.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

95

pauperism.) James Mill applied the laws which, according to the Enlightenment philosophy of history, governed the development of human societies to an assessment of the state of Indian civilization. He also laid down the programme for its enhancement: good laws, good government, and light taxation.9 In 1819, he was appointed assistant examiner in the East India House; in 1830, he was even promoted to the chief executive office of the Company in London. He was thus ‘at the very centre of power and in a position to carry into practise the principle of utility as he had expounded in his History of British India.’10 In 1827, Bentham’s close friend William Bentinck was nominated governor general in Bengal.11 (His government, as we will see later, marked an important shift in the educational policy, which affected the monitorial education movement.) The utilitarians tried to govern India – from London and in Bengal – according to universal standards of rationality and utility, albeit in a colonial variation. Their governmental rationality was shaped by the ‘paradox of despotism’, or, as Eric Stokes put it, the ‘paradox … between the principle of liberty and the principle of authority’.12 On the one hand, modern utilitarian government was understood as a liberation project: the new Indian subjects were to be liberated from the ‘despotism of Brahmins’, and from the mental enslavement by their own ‘superstition’.13 On the other hand, there was no idea of Indian ‘liberty’ – ‘good government’ was to be exerted by the British. This included the literal notion of an ‘enlightened despotism’ for the colonies.14 Colonial administrators, however, were by no means the only actors to pursue civilizing missions. Throughout the nineteenth century, civilizing missions continued to include a wide range of non-governmental actors, such as voluntary and religious associations. And this is particularly true for the employment of popular education as a means of furthering ‘civilization’. On the one hand, civil society campaigners indirectly promoted the spread of education throughout 9 10 11 12 13

14

James Mill, The History of British India, 3 vols (London: Baldwin, Cradock, and Joy, 1817). Eric Stokes, The English Utilitarians and India (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1959), 18. Ibid., 51–52. Osterhammel, ‘The Great Work of Uplifting Mankind’, 373–374; Stokes, The English Utilitarians and India, viii. ‘[D]espotism and priestcraft taken together’, Mill opined, had made ‘the Hindus, in mind and body … the most enslaved portion of the human race’. Mill, History, ii, 166–167; see Stokes, The English Utilitarians and India, 53. Stokes, The English Utilitarians and India, viii.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

96

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

the empire. The insertion of the pious clauses into the Company’s charter in 1813 – the obligation to allow missionary activity and to invest 10,000 pounds annually in education – was the response to the concerted pressure of evangelicals, especially William Wilberforce and other members of the Clapham Sect. Although this pressure included legal proposals in Parliament, its power rested in public support. Moreover, the ‘general interest in education, which had been aroused by the labours of Bell and Lancaster’ and the public debate between the BFSS and the National Education Society (NES), fuelled the claim to provide for the education of India.15

On the other hand, missionaries and voluntary associations directly provided popular schooling in British colonies, as the BFSS and NES did in England. Members of trans-continentally active missionary societies particularly engaged with the provision of common schools. In his comparative analysis of mission schools, Brian Holmes established a general sequence of events throughout the British Empire: ‘The traders usually arrived first, then the missionaries. They set up schools. Then later the British officials came along and gradually secularized the control of education.’16 Many of these schools were not mission schools in a narrow sense: they did not cater to the children of the mission staff and converts only. On the contrary, many missionaries set up public schools which provided fee-free education for ‘heathen’ children. The German missionaries at Tranquebar explicitly used the terms ‘public school’ (öffentliche Schule) and ‘free school’ (Freischule) to distinguish educational institutions that were open to all children, in contrast to seminaries which particularly aimed to prepare converts and train mission staff.17 The American missionaries emphasized the importance of ‘free schools’ for gaining the trust of the local communities.18 Mission schools in the British Empire directly aimed at the acculturation of indigenous children and their incorporation into ‘Christian and civilized ways of knowing and being’.19 It is in this context that missionaries connected to the 15 16 17

18 19

Arthur Howell, Education in British India, Prior to 1854, and in 1870–7 (Calcutta: Office of the Superintendent of Government Printing, 1872), 5. Holmes, ‘British Imperial Policy and the Mission Schools’, 10–11. Heike Liebau, Die indischen Mitarbeiter der Tranquebarmission (1706–1845): Katecheten, Schulmeister, Übersetzer (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2008), 302–303. Royal Gould Wilder, Mission Schools in India of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (New York: A.D.F. Randolph, 1861), 31. Helen May, Baljit Kaur, and Larry Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods: Nineteenth-century Missionary Infant Schools in Three British Colonies (New York: Ashgate, 2014), 3.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

97

Baptist, London, and Church Missionary Societies set up the first monitorial schools in colonial settings. To explore this entanglement of monitorial schooling and missionary expansion, I want to now look at the emergence of new missionary societies in the 1790s, and to address the question why they became active promoters of schooling.

Evangelical Revival and Missionary Zeal In 1792, the schoolmaster and Baptist pastor William Carey (1761–1834), a shoemaker by training, published a pamphlet, An Enquiry Into the Obligations of Christians, that was for a long time considered the foundational text of the modern Protestant mission movement.20 On the title page itself, the reader meets a quote of St Paul which contains the message of the Enquiry in nuce: For there is no Difference between the Jew and the Greek; for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him, in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a Preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent?

This was a message of rigorous universalism.21 It was faith alone that defined membership to the Christian community, not social background or cultural belonging (‘whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved’). The self-acclaimed apostle to the heathen, St Paul, had himself experienced a spontaneous conversion or spiritual rebirth. He symbolized the idea that all could be saved if they only heard the Christian message. For Carey, this implied the strongest Christian obligation to teach ‘all nations’. For how ‘shall they believe’ in a god ‘of whom they have not heard?’ The ‘disciples of Christ’ in the ‘apostolic age’ had addressed the Jews as well as the ‘heathens’, the ‘civilized Greeks’ as well as the ‘uncivilized barbarians’. Now, there was a commission to 20

21

William Carey, An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians, to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens: In Which the Religious State of the Different Nations of the World, the Success of Former Undertakings, and the Practicability of Further Undertakings Are Considered (Leicester: Ann Ireland, 1792). See Andrew Porter, Religion Versus Empire? British Protestant Missionaries and Overseas Expansion, 1700–1914 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004), 15, 40–5; May, Kaur, and Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods, 21–32. See Alain Badiou, Paulus. Die Geburt des Universalismus (München: Sequentia, 2002 [orig. Saint Paul – La fondation de l’universalisme, 1997]).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

98

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

go ‘into every country of the habitable globe, and preach to all the inhabitants, without exception, or limitation’.22

Carey’s essay starts with an examination (and refutation) of cases in which this divine command may not be binding to Christians, such as, for instance, ‘natural impossibility’ (emphasis in original): ‘It was not the duty of Paul to preach Christ to the inhabitants of Otaheite [Tahiti], because no such place was then discovered, nor had he any means of coming at them.’ Now, since the globe had been explored and travelled by traders as well as ‘popish missionaries’ (meaning Jesuits) natural impossibility could no longer be pledged.23 After a ‘Short Review of Former Undertakings for the Conversion of the Heathen’,24 Carey proceeds to give a ‘Survey of the Present State of the World’, which offers a ‘comprehensive view’ (that is, a statistical assessment over 23 pages) of ‘the extent of the several countries, their population, civilization, and religion’ in all parts of the world.25 According to his assessment, the inhabitants of the world … amount to about seven hundred and thirty-one millions; four hundred and twenty millions of whom are still in pagan darkness; and hundred and thirty millions the followers of Mahomet; a hundred millions catholics; forty-four millions protestants; thirty millions of the greek and armenian churches, and perhaps seven millions of jews. It must undoubtedly strike every considerate mind, what a vast proportion of the sons of Adam there are, who yet remain in the most deplorable state of heathen darkness, without any means of knowing the true God, except what are afforded them by the works of nature; and utterly destitute of the knowledge of the gospel of Christ, or of any means of obtaining it. In many of these countries they have no written language, consequently no Bible, and are only led by the most childish customs and traditions. […] In many of these parts also they are cannibals, feeding upon the flesh of their slain enemies, with the greatest brutality and eagerness. […] The New Zealanders, and some of the inhabitants of the western coast of America … are in general poor, barbarous, naked pagans, as destitute of civilization, as they are of true religion.26

Carey, Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians, 5–7. Ibid., 10–11. 24 Ibid., 14–37. 25 Ibid., 38. 26 Ibid., 62–63. Such statistical assessments of the field of missionary labour were an important element of the missionary discourse. See ‘Survey of the Protestant Missionary Stations around the World’, Missionary Register, 1820, 1–10; Joshua Marshman, Letter to Andrew Fuller [Secretary to the BMS], 1 September 1811, in Periodical Accounts, 1811, 347–352. 22

23

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

99

Having thus laid open the vast field for missionary labour – in other words, having defined and quantitatively measured the problem to be solved by missionary endeavours – Carey made the crucial point that even those ‘cannibals’ and ‘poor, barbarous, naked pagans’ were exactly ‘as capable of knowledge as we are’.27

The organizational solution which Carey suggested is remarkably similar to Lancaster’s proposal for improving the education of the poor: uniting committed persons in a voluntary association (only, of course, a faith-based one). Both texts, Carey’s Enquiry and Lancaster’s Improvements, generally resemble each other, in the way they define a problem, present evidence, and suggest a solution. Carey strongly promoted the formation of the Particular Baptist Society for Propagating the Gospel among the Heathen (or Baptist Missionary Society, BMS) before he himself departed for India in 1793, accompanied by his wife, Dorothy, and children. Having been joined at the mission station of Serampore, a Danish territorial enclave close to Calcutta, by William Ward (1769–1823) and Joshua (1768–1837) and Hannah Marshman (1867–1847), he became a well-known advocate of social reform in Bengal, and an influential promoter of ‘native education’. Together, Carey, Marshman, and Ward were the ones to draft the ‘course of moral and religious instruction’, which became the standard curriculum of the new-model monitorial schools in Bengal in the 1820s.28

In Britain, the foundation of the BMS in October 1792 marked the reorganization of the missionary enterprise.29 It was the first of the new congregational missionary societies that mushroomed in the 1790s and the following decades. The London Missionary Society (LMS) was founded in 1795, and it cooperated with the Edinburgh Missionary Society (later known as the Scottish Mission Society, SMS), which was established a year later. The Society for Missions to Africa and the East followed in 1799 and was renamed

27

28

29

He adds, ‘I greatly question whether most of the barbarities practiced by them, have not originated in some real or supposed affront, and are therefore, more properly, acts of self-defence, than proofs of inhuman and blood-thirsty dispositions.’ Carey, Enquiry into the Obligation of Christians, 63. Joshua Marshman, William Carey, and William Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools together with an Outline of an Institution for Their Extension and Management (Serampore: Mission Press, 1816). See Chapters 4 and 6. Porter, Religion Versus Empire? 39–63; see Brian Stanley, The History of the Baptist Missionary Society, 1792–1992 (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1992); Catherine Hall, Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in English Imagination, 1830–1867 (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

100

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

as the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1812.30 The Wesleyan Methodist Missionary Society was established in 1813. The earlier British societies, such as the Society Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK, 1698) and the Society for Promoting the Gospel in the Foreign Parts (SPG, 1701) had primarily provided the clergy for white settlers. In contrast, the new societies, ‘were established to intervene directly in the lives of the native “heathens” of the world – particularly those in the British colonies, where some level of colonial governmental support could be assumed’.31 There were, however, predecessors from other European countries, such as the Moravian missions or the German–Danish Tranquebar mission (1706). These missions were frequently referred to by the new British societies as models worthy to emulate.32

The formation of these new collective actors in Britain was encouraged by an interplay of three factors: a new global consciousness, that is, an imagination of the state of the ‘whole world’ and the living conditions of all the ‘sons of Adam’ inhabiting it; the British imperial expansion towards ‘Africa and the East’, which brought them into the reach of missionaries; and the evangelical revival of the late eighteenth century, which ‘provided religious fervour and missionary impulse to ensure religious involvement in colonial projects’.33 Missionary societies were thus, in a relevant sense, the product of British imperial expansion. They were part of a general evangelical reform project which rested on a strong religious motivation, but also developed a broad social agenda for Britain and abroad. Andrew Porter has argued that the religious motivation that incited missionaries abroad, and their evangelical supporters at home, to attempt the conversion of the world rested in the theological developments in eighteenthcentury Protestantism. The Calvinist doctrine of predestination had given way to a doctrine of justification by faith, which caused an ‘enormous sense of relief, joyful

30

31 32 33

The LMS is the main focus of Susan Thorne’s Congregational Missions and the Making of an Imperial Culture in Nineteenth Century England (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1999) as well as of Anna Johnston’s Missionary Writing and Empire. For the CMS, see Kevin Ward and Brian Stanley, The Church Mission Society and World Christianity, 1799–1999 (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans Publishing, 2000). Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 15. See Carey, Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians; also Missionary Register, 1813, 85–97. Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 14; see May, Kaur, and Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods, 9–15.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

101

excitement and an impulsive wish to share one’s faith’. The emotional fervour of the evangelical revival inspired individuals to go abroad, despite the risks of long-distance sea travel, unfamiliar climes, and tropical diseases.34 Moreover, there was a new wave of chiliasm and millenarianism. The ‘signs of providence’ suggested that the ‘second coming’ was near, the ‘latter days’ approaching. This millenarianism was mixed with an observation of historical events. The conquest of the Indian territories particularly fuelled this discourse. How was it possible for a small country as England with scarcely twenty million inhabitants to ‘obtain supremacy over an eastern continent’?35 Evangelicals assigned a special mission to ‘the sons of Britain’ in the empire and the world. With the ‘commitment’ of India to Britain’s ‘guardian care’36 providence gave India ‘a revival in her bondage’ by ‘granting her peace and order, and good government, causing her trade and commerce to revive; restoring to her the arts and the sciences’.37

While religious enthusiasm provided a strong motivation for missionary labour, the engagement with philanthropic causes was a core element of respectable sociability. The evangelical movement comprised a variety of social reform projects, in Britain and the empire, which were meant to counteract both the threat of atheism in England (the spectre of France) and the ‘heathen darkness’ abroad.38 Susan Thorne has argued that the evangelical discourse was marked by a parallelization of the ‘heathen classes at “home”’, and the ‘heathen “races” abroad’: the conversion of Englishmen and the conversion of the world were inseparable.39 The prominent evangelical supporters of the BFSS and NES were involved in a variety of philanthropic causes simultaneously. Mission, education, and moral reform, for them, went hand in hand. Many were abolitionists, such as the BFSS

34 35

36 37 38 39

Porter, Religion Versus Empire? 32–38. William Campbell, British India, in Its Relation to the Decline of Hindooism, and the Progress of Christianity: Containing Remarks on the Manners, Customs, and Literature of the People; on the Effects Which Idolatry Has Produced; on the Support, Which the British Government Has Afforded to Their Superstitions; on Education, and the Medium of Instruction through Which It Should Be Given (London: John Snow 1839), 30. The author had the honour to be, as he introduced himself, a [LMS] ‘missionary to the heathen, a friend of humanity, and an advocate of the rights, the liberties, and spiritual interests of India’ (ibid., v.) SNS Report No. 2, 1818, 4. Campbell, British India, 33–34. Carey, Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians. Susan Thorne, ‘“The Conversion of Englishmen and the Conversion of the World Inseparable”: Missionary Imperialism and the Language of Class’, in Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (eds), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 238–262.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

102

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

committee member William Allen, who had initiated the Society for the Abolition of the Slave Trade (1787). Wilberforce lobbied for Indian education, was a founding member of the CMS, and supported the Society for the Suppression of Vice,40 an association fighting against drinking, gambling, and ‘immoral publications’. He was also a friend of the NES. Together with other members of the Clapham Sect, such as Charles Grant (1746–1823) – who chaired the Court of Directors of the East India Company (EIC), advocated for Indian education, and was member of the British and Foreign Bible Society and the SPG – Wilberforce initiated the foundation of the Sierra Leone Company (1791). This organization was succeeded by the African Institution (1807), which aimed at the establishment of a colony of freed slaves in Sierra Leone and in general sought to promote ‘innocent commerce’ in Africa instead of the slave trade.41 Wilberforce and the CMS explicitly forwarded the education of West Africa as an atonement for the evils brought upon Africans by slave trade and slavery.42 The first issue of the Missionary Register ‘assert[ed] the moral necessity’ for Britain to reverse the horrors brought to Africa in the form of the slave trade, and to support ‘any rational scheme of reparation’.43 The rational scheme of reparation was the introduction of the triad of ‘innocent’ commerce, Christianity, and civilization.44 This was, remarkably, the same cause that the evangelicals promoted for India. The pressure towards mission and education went hand in hand with a campaign to dissolve the EIC’s monopoly in favour of free trade. The promotion of Christianity and civilization at home and abroad were, as the first volume of the Missionary Register emphasized, part of the ‘same great plan’.45

Johnston has argued that the roots of the foreign missions rested in the philanthropic movement in England – it was the idea of extending British charity, or ‘benevolence’, abroad.46 ‘The present state of society in Britain is perhaps distinguished more strongly by no feature than by that of a 40

41 42 43 44 45 46

This society can be considered an important predecessor of a diverse and extensive ‘anti-vice activism’ in the later part of the nineteenth century. See Judith Grosse, Francesco Spöring, and Jana Tschurenev (eds), Biopolitik und Sittlichkeitsreform. Kampagnen gegen Alkohol, Drogen und Prostitution 1880–1950 (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2014). Missionary Register, 1813, 184. Boyd Hilton, The Age of Atonement: The Influence of Evangelicalism on Social and Economic Thought, 1795–1865 (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1988). Missionary Register, 1813, 254. Ibid., 184. ‘An Appeal, particularly to Churchmen, on the duty of propagating the Gospel’, Missionary Register, 1813, 11. Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 15

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

103

benevolent concern for the welfare of others’, the Serampore missionaries opined. Philanthropy, they observed, was ‘demonstrating its celestial origin by attempting to impart to the natives of Africa all those blessings which emanate from knowledge and civilisation’.47 In the missionary discourse, those who had already received the ‘blessings’ of Protestant Christianity were called on to extend those blessings to others whose ‘deplorable state’ was laid open before them: ‘Surely then you will not suffer them to proceed in this course of degradation and wretchedness, without making a single effort to relieve them.’48 The ‘obligation of Christians’ was thus reduced to the formula: ‘Freely you have received, freely give’ (emphasis in original) so that ‘the habitations of cruelty may become the dwellings of peace’.49

The Healing Principle In the early eighteenth century, the German pietist missionaries at Tranquebar had already been convinced that any attempt of conversion had to start with the instruction of the youth. Their trust in the powers of education was reemphasized in the second decade of the nineteenth century: ‘Experience has shown that the most expedient means for spreading Christianity in India is not so much the information of adults but the instruction and education of youth in native schools, and the diffusion of comprehensible translations of the Scriptures.’50 Now, ‘a general and active zeal for this important issue has been awakened in Great Britain’, the pioneers of Tranquebar witnessed. ‘Missionaries, belonging to all societies pay now a special attention to the establishment of new schools and the improvement of the old ones.’51

In contrast to the utilitarians, who promoted national education in England but found that ‘something far beyond the power of mere schooling’ was required for India,52 the missionaries opted for education only. This certainly had a practical component, since the missionaries did not possess the same resources for pursuing legal reform or administrative measures as the utilitarians, who 47 48 49 50 51 52

Marshman, Carey, and Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools, 5. The Annual Report of the Committee of the Baptist Missionary Society etc. (London: J. Haddon, 1820), 45. ‘An Appeal to Churchmen’, Missionary Register, 1813, 8–9. NHB VI, 1825, x. NHB No. 67, 1818, vi–vii. James Mill, Article ‘Education’, Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1824, 45.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

104

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

held positions of institutionalized power within the colonial governance structures. However, I want to emphasize that the pattern of interpretation which I have introduced in the previous chapter – to understand social problems as fundamentally caused by ‘popular ignorance’ – was also at work in the perception of colonized populations. ‘Myriads of heathens’, the opening issue of the Missionary Register insistently told its readers, were ‘perishing for lack of knowledge’.53 The lack of (Christian) knowledge appeared as the source of every ‘mental corruption’ and, in turn, of social evils: Carey and his fellow labourers of Serampore opined that it was the ‘lack of knowledge’ which ‘sink[s the Hindus] far below the most savage nations in vice and immorality’.54 To the evangelicals and missionaries education, therefore, appeared, to use the much-quoted expression of Grant, as the ‘healing principle’.55

An important point of convergence between the BFSS’s project of universal education and the Christian universalism of the mission movement was the notion that all people were equally ‘capable of instruction’.56 ‘Let us no longer be told’, the BFSS reprimanded their readers, ‘that the African race is an order of inferior beings while we can point to Hayti [sic] as a proof, that when their intellect has a fair chance for cultivation, they will naturally rise in the scale of civilisation to a point infinitely higher, than can be fairly claimed by many of those who have proudly despised it.’ A report from a school ‘for the children of Africans’ in New York declared: ‘In fact, let the enemies of these neglected children of men perform a pilgrimage to New York, and at the Shrine of Education recant their principles, and confess that the poor despised African is as capable of every intellectual improvement as themselves’ (emphasis in original).57 On his fundraising tour for ‘Native Female Schools’ in England, Ward (BMS) of Serampore expressed his conviction that properly educated Hindu women would not only equal their men 53

54 55

56 57

‘An Appeal to Churchmen’, Missionary Register, 1813, 1–11; see see John Foster, An Essay on the Evils of Popular Ignorance, and a Discourse on the Communication of Christianity to the People of Hindoostan (London: B.J. Holdsworth, 1821), 1. (Missionaries and evangelical promoters of education usually refer to Hosea: ‘My People are destroyed for lack of Knowledge.’) Marshman, Carey, and Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools, 7–9. Charles Grant, 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. Written Chiefly in the Year 1792; Ordered, by The House of Commons, to Be Printed, 15 June 1813, 75. Carey, Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians. BFSS Annual Report No. 13, 1818, 32; BFSS Annual Report No. 12, 1817, 39. (‘Haiti’ is referring to the educational endeavours of the BMS.)

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

105

but were capable to become the ‘Hannah Mores and Elizabeth Frys of India’.58

The ‘knowledge’ or ‘ignorance’ of a population, according to the evangelical promoters of missions and popular education, had a decisive impact on the placement of a country on the scale of civilization. The missionary discourse, although heavily relying on evangelical notions of ‘providence’, had also appropriated elements from the competing secular concept of history as a universal sequence of progressive stages, which French and Scottish Enlightenment philosophers had introduced.59 They also ranked countries according to their present state of civilization – a state that they believed to be changeable, for better or for worse. It appears in evangelical writings that the ‘West and East’ had similar histories – there was no essential difference. Both started from ‘barbarism’ in antiquity. Also, ‘Britons’ had been once ‘going naked, feeding on acorns, and sacrificing human victims in the Druidical groves’.60 But Europe had, after a period of ‘ruin and decay’, risen under Christianity. Finally, the British had ‘burst their shackles at the glorious revolution, and have long been upon the high-road to freedom and civilisation and happiness’. The ‘nations of the East’, however, had ‘a very different record to unfold’. Throughout the ages of Western progress, they ‘remained the slaves of despotism’.61 However, there was hope. Even countries now ‘retrograde’ could turn towards the highroad to civilization and happiness.62 Among the signs of providence, which showed that the time for uplifting mankind had come – besides the establishment of the British Eastern empire and the abolition of the slave trade in Africa – was that ‘the means [were] now 58

59

60 61 62

William Ward, Farewell Letters to a Few Friends in Britain and America, on Returning to Bengal in 1821 (London: Black, Kingsbury, Oarbury & Allen, 1821), 84. See Clare Midgley, ‘Female Emancipation in an Imperial Frame: English Women and the Campaign against Sati (Widow-burning) in India, 1813–30’, Women’s History Review 9, no. 1 (2000): 95–121, 100. Hannah More and Elizabeth Fry were prominent female representatives of the evangelical movement. Paul Sedra, ‘Exposure to the Eyes of God: Monitorial Schools and Evangelicals in Early Nineteenth-century England’, Paedagogica Historica 47, no. 3 (2011): 263–281; Joyce Goodman, ‘Languages of Female Colonial Authority: The Educational Network of the Ladies Committee of the British and Foreign School Society, 1813–37’, Compare 30, no. 1 (2000): 7–19. Campbell, British India, 21–22; Grant, Observations, 80. Campbell, British India, 21–22. Grant, Observations, 80.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

106

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

provided’ to ‘effect these great objects’.63 The pamphlet On Indian Civilisation written by the Tranquebar missionary Christoph Samuel John (1746–1813), which was inserted in the first volume of the Missionary Register, opens with the sentence: Civilisation, and the education of youth, have, of late years, been very happily promoted; but, especially since a more successful method has been suggested for instruction in reading, writing, and ciphering by the publications of the Rev. Dr. Bell and Mr. Joseph Lancaster, with so much zeal and universal approbation.64

The BFSS explicitly recommended its ‘British system’ as an indispensable means for communicating Christian ‘instruction to the children of the Heathen’, but also for ‘facilitating civilisation’, meaning that the ‘Heathens’ would be ‘ultimately qualified to manage their own affairs’.65 It only remained for ‘benevolent men of all sects and parties to concentrate their energies, and, […] to employ the best methods for covering the earth with knowledge as the waters cover the sea’.66 It seems that the BFSS’s recommendation of its ‘British system’ had been fully answered by missionary societies in Britain as well as by the German missionaries in south India. Even the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) had some of its missionaries trained in Lancaster’s system before sending them out to the American Indian tribes.67 The SMS found the ‘Lancasterian System […] admirably adapted’ to improve the ‘native schools’ in the Bombay region, where they started their activities in 1823.68 Andrew Fuller (1754–1815), a founding member and secretary of the BMS, recommended the BFSS as a society which was much ‘wanted, to give success 63 64

65 66 67 68

BFSS Annual Report No. 9, 1814, 16. ‘The Rev. Dr. John On Indian Civilisation, Being a Report of a Successful Experiment made during two years, on that subject, fifteen Tamul and Five English Native Schools’, Missionary Register, 1813, 369–384. A German version was published in the NHB for 1816. See Heike Liebau, ‘Christoph Samuel John’s Essay on Education Policy’, in Andreas Gross, Y. Vincent Kumaradoss, and Heike Liebau (eds), Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India (Halle: Franckesche Stiftungen, 2006), III, 1323–1332. Report from the Cape of Good Hope about ‘Schools among the Hottentots’, Quaterly Extracts 20 (1831): 63. BFSS Annual Report No. 9, 1814, 16. ABCFM Report No. 7, 1816, 11. Missionary Register, 1826, 110.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

107

to all other institutions for the diffusion of knowledge; for if the world were full of Bibles, it would be of little avail if the people were not taught to read them’. He concluded a sermon in support of the BFSS with the rhetorical question: ‘Is not the British System of Education an engine capable of moving the moral world?’69 The reports on the Tranquebar mission praised the monitorial experiments undertaken by their own Christoph Samuel John and by Carey, Marshman, and Ward of Serampore. Parts of the Serampore trio’s influential pamphlet Hints Relative to Native Schools were translated and included in the Halle mission society’s report of 1818. According to this report, the Hints suggested the perfect method for improving schools in all countries where state authorities had not yet systematically provided for popular schooling, and where teachers and teaching materials were scarce.70 Also the CMS actively promoted the monitorial system. For several years, its Missionary Register reported on the educational endeavours of missionaries and education societies around the world, and thus helped ensure public support, while a separate school fund assisted financing educational projects abroad. Moreover, the CMS introduced the policy that future mission workers had to undergo training in one of the central schools of the BFSS or NES before they were ordained and left the country.71

A Network of Organizations The universalistic zeal of the education movement towards schools for all, which the BFSS and the missionary societies pursued together, was accompanied by a drive towards the expansion of civil society organizations and the establishment of imperial and even global networks. The monitorial movement encouraged the founding of regional and local educational organizations and committees

69 70

71

Rev. Andrew Fuller [BMS], Sermon on behalf of the BFSS (18 December 1814), BFSS Annual Report No. 10, 1815, 66. Although the Halle mission strongly recommended the monitorial system for ‘native schools’ all over the world, they were aware that the ‘Bell-Lancastermethod’ had been very much criticized in German pedagogical discourse. For the German Volksschulen, better methods were already available (NHB 67, 1818 vii–viii). See Marcelo Caruso, Geist oder Mechanik. Unterrichtsordnungen als kulturelle Konstruktionen in Preußen, Dänemark (Schleswig-Holstein) und Spanien 1800–1870 (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2010). NHB 67, 1818; J. Rhenius, Memoir of C.T.E. Rhenius, by His Son (London: Nisbet and Co., 1841).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

108

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

which imitated the models suggested by the BFSS and NES.72 The missionary movement of the early nineteenth century was similarly organized: missionaries abroad would not only build up mission stations but also establish ‘corresponding committees’ to the missionary society at home. Their supporters often established local auxiliary societies which basically helped raise funds, spread news, and pursue advocacy activities.73

I have so far introduced the two major educational societies operating from Britain (BFSS and NES) and the Protestant missionary societies (BMS, SMS, LMS, CMS, and the Halle mission) as the main actors who circulated the monitorial system in the British Empire and brought it back to India. But it needs to be emphasized that the local education societies were crucial partners in this endeavour. Voluntary educational associations were established in the second and third decade of the nineteenth century in many British colonies and in the former colonies in North America, as well as in France, Spain, and Latin America.74 The first specifically educational association in India was formed as early as in 1815. The Society for the Education of the Poor within the Government of Bombay (or Bombay Education Society, BES), as the name suggests, explicitly adopted the model of the NES in England. It provided education, primarily for low-class Europeans and mixed-race children, as part of an ‘internal’ civilizing mission. It also built in interesting ways on the discourse of education of the poor, as I will discuss in the next chapter. Educational associations that were designed to function as agencies of the ‘external’ mission towards the Indians soon followed in all three presidencies. Missionaries connected to the BMS, LMS, and CMS gathered in local societies specifically dedicated to reforming ‘native education’, such as the Society for Native Schools 72

73 74

The rules of the Calcutta School Society explicitly stated that ‘Auxiliary School Associations, founded upon its principles [should] be recommended and encouraged throughout the country’ (CSBS Report No. 1, 1818, 25). The Missionary Register is a rich source for analysing the organizational features of the mission movement. Maxine Greene, The Public School and the Private Vision: In Search for America in Education and Literature (New York, London: The New York Press, 2007 [1965]), 83–93; C.K. Graham, The History of Education in Ghana from the Earliest Times to the Declaration of Independence (London: Cass, 1971); Eugenia Roldán Vera and Thomas Schupp, ‘Bridges over the Atlantic: A Network Analysis of the Introduction of the Monitorial System of Education in Early-Independent Spanish America’, in Jürgen Schriewer and Marcelo Caruso (eds), Nationalerziehung und Universalmethode – frühe Formen schulorganisatorischer Globalisierung (Leipzig: Leipziger Universitätsverlag, 2005 [Comparativ 15, no. 1]), 58–93.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

109

(SNS), which was founded in 1816 as the educational arm of the Serampore missionaries. On the initiative of the Baptist missionaries, the Calcutta Female Juvenile Society, for the Establishment and Support of Bengallee Female Schools, the ‘first institution formed in India for the promotion of native female education’, was founded in 1822.75 It was followed by the interdenominational Ladies’ Society for Native Female Education (LSNFE, 1824) in Calcutta.

Even more important were the so-called Europeo-Native institutions. The distinguishing feature of these associations was their being established as cooperative ventures between British educationalists and Indian reformers. The first of them, that is, the Calcutta School Book Society (CSBS), was formed in 1817.76 It adapted the model of the Cheap Book Society of Dublin (previously known as Kildare Place Society), which was designed to counteract the circulation of ‘pernicious falsities’ among a readership of Jacobin sympathizers. It will be remembered that this was also an important concern among educationalists in England.77 The idea of the CSBS was to apply this model for creating a literate audience for useful printed books. The CSBS was supplemented by the Calcutta School Society (CSS) one year later. The Madras School Book and School Society (MSBSS) and the Bombay Native Education Society (BNES) followed the example of the CSBS in 1820 and 1822.78 These associations in 75

76

77

78

William Adam, Correspondence Relative to the Prospects of Christianity: And the Means of Promoting Its Reception in India (The University Press, Hilliard and Metcalf, 1825), 33–34. Pedagogically, the CSBS drew from multiple sources. They translated and circulated Bell’s Instructions, had a copy of Lancaster’s Improvements in their library, and particularly recommended a variation of the monitorial system that was developed by the missionaries of Serampore (CSBS Report No. 3, 1821, 74–81). Karen Jones and Kevin Williamson, ‘The Birth of the Schoolroom: A Study of the Transformation in the Discursive Conditions of English Popular Education in the First Half of the Nineteenth Century’, Ideology and Consciousness 19, no. 6 (1979): 59–110, 62–63. Among the main texts used in the common schools of England, Jones and Williamson name the publications of the Dublin Kildare Place Society (predecessor to Cheap Book Society) together with the BFSS, NES, SPCK tracts and the Catechism; see also Patrick Ressler, Nonprofit-Marketing im Schulbereich. Britische Schulgesellschaften und der Erfolg des Bell-Lancaster-Systems der Unterrichtsorganisation im 19. Jahrhundert (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, 2010), 167. See N.L. Basak, ‘Origin and Role of the Calcutta School Book Society in Promoting the Cause of Education in India, especially Vernacular Education in Bengal (1817–1835)’, in Bengal Past and Present 78, January–June (1959): 30–69. The reference model of the BNES was ‘the System of Teaching recommended by Lancaster’ (BNES Report No. 1, 1824, 25.)

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

110

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

the colonial centres further collaborated with regional auxiliaries. The CSBS counted the Dacca School Society (DSS, 1818) and the Moorshidabad School Society (MSS, 1819) among its earliest branches.79 The BNES corresponded with the School Society in the South Konkan (SSSK, 1823).80

We arrive at a general timeline: The BMS, SMS, LMS, and CMS, the new congregational missionary societies, were set up between 1792 and 1799, coinciding with the founding of abolitionist and many other evangelical organizations. The BFSS and NES were founded in the next decade. This was followed by a first wave of educational organizing in India (BES, SNS, CSBS, CSS, BNES, MSBSS, DSS, MSS, SSSK, and LSNFE) between 1815 and 1824. For about another decade, until the mid-1830s, they formed a close-knit network of educational exchange before starting to slowly disintegrate again.

Figure 3.1 provides a visual overview on the imperial education movement in the early nineteenth century. It shows – from left to right – the the major education societies on the British Isles, and in India, which were set up in the context of the monitorial movement (marked in dark grey) and their missionary partners (light grey). The school projects included in the illustration (black) will be discussed in the subsequent chapters. They were model projects, undertaken by members of the imperial education movement. As such, they produced and transformed the pedagogical knowledge that circulated in the network. Although not all individual missionaries shared the monitorial movements’ impetus towards vernacular mass education, all the organizations engaged with educational reform in India between 1813 to the mid-1830s were linked to this movement. The BFSS, the education societies in India, and the missionary societies displayed the same features, that is, they were formal, voluntary, non-profit organizations. They entertained close ties, by means of regular correspondence,

79

80

CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 26, 77. The DSS was formed to support the operations of schoolmaster Leonard, who had established a Dacca branch of the Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Indigent Christians (Calcutta). This Benevolent Institution was the first monitorial school established by the Serampore missionaries. As its branch in Dacca, it catered mostly to ‘Eurasians’ or ‘Portuguese’ students. The objective of the DSS was to extend the new system to the non-Christian population. See Chapter 4. BNES Annual Report No. 2, 1825, 20.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

111

Figure 3.1  Network of Organizations and Major School Projects of the Imperial Education Movement Source: Author.

personal visits, and overlapping memberships. They shared relevant information and circulated what today would be called ‘best practises’ in the field of education.81 They exchanged and translated schoolbooks and curricular content.82 They undertook joint fundraising efforts and legitimated each other 81

82

The BES regularly sent its reports to the Government of Bombay, the Court of Directors of the EIC in London, to the archdeacons in Calcutta, Madras, and Colombo, to the NES, and to the Male Military Orphan Asylum, Madras (BES Report No. 4, 1819, 3). In India, the CSBS became the centre for disseminating such knowledge to other parts of the country, as Chapter 6 will show. But this was not the only form of trans-regional exchange within the subcontinent. At the second meeting of the CSBS, a ‘copy of the Reverend Mr. [Gordon] Hall’s Grammar of the English language for the use of Mahrattas, printed by the American Missionaries at Bombay, 1819’ was presented to the meeting, ‘as a proof that the preparation of useful School Books was an object which was already attracting attention in that quarter of British India’ (CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 10.)

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

112

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

by cross-posting their reports. Missionary publications functioned as a kind of ‘clearing house’ for pedagogical ideas from all over the world,83 while the BFSS and NES supplied their partners abroad with trained teachers.84 All of them perceived each other as partners in the same good cause. The BFSS praised the supporters of Indian instruction in the CSS as the ‘friends of mankind’.85 In the project of civilizing the poor at home and teaching the ‘heathen’ abroad, Fuller exalted that missionary, bible, and education societies ‘form[ed] a whole, and, like the different parts of a machine, all work[ed] together’.86

‘All are called on to take their Share’ It remains to discuss the question of participation in the shared space of imperial civil society and the problem of social exclusion. How accessible were these new-model voluntary associations? It has been pointed out that the bourgeois public sphere was marked by multiple exclusions, in terms of gender, class, and, on a global level, imperial and race relations.87 Moreover, there were fragmented publics, which only partially overlapped. Subaltern counter-publics, such as the plebeian public sphere that we have encountered in the previous chapter, posed a threat to bourgeois hegemony. Exclusion, therefore, was not the only form in which unequal power relations were at work in early nineteenth-century civil society. I have argued elsewhere that the early nineteenth-century movement towards universal education was characterized by a fundamental tension of ‘incorporation and differentiation’.88 This tension characterized the educational 83 84 85 86 87

88

Sedra, ‘Exposure to the Eyes of God’, 264; see May, Kaur, and Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods, 28–29. Patrick Ressler, Nonprofit-Marketing im Schulbereich, 90–1. Between 1804 and 1850, 700 trained teachers were sent abroad by BFSS and NES. BFSS Annual Report No. 14, 1819, 27. Andrew Fuller, Sermon on behalf of the BFSS, BFSS Annual Report No. 10, 1815, 66. Jürgen Habermas, Strukturwandel der Öffentlichkeit (Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1990 [1962]). This edition contains a long and interesting preface in which Habermas summarizes and responds to the points of critique that have been raised against his original argument.

Jana Tschurenev, ‘Incorporation and Differentiation: Popular Education and the Civilising Mission in the Early Nineteenth Century’, in Watt and Mann, Civilizing Missions in Colonial and Postcolonial South Asia, 93–124. I am building on an argument brought forward by Ann Laura Stoler and Frederick Cooper, ‘Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda’, in Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (eds), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 1–56.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

113

programmes, as the next chapter will demonstrate. Moreover, it operated among the people who participated in civil society activism.

From the new imperial history, we know that the British middle class invented themselves against the background of civilizing others.89 Male activists and imperial administrators clearly dominated the discourse of the civilizing mission. British middle-class women, however, were not absent from it. From the early nineteenth century onwards, they took up the ‘white women’s burden’.90 Moreover, working people from several European countries supported the foreign mission movement, and colonial expansion.91 Finally, there were various projects of ‘self-civilization’ on the part of the colonized. The ideology of the civilizing mission was an integral part of colonial rule; still, the concrete reform projects it inspired were not simply imposed by outsiders. They relied on an appropriation of the Enlightenment notions of progress, and of the governmental technologies to achieve it, by reformers from colonized countries.92

Even if the emerging imperial education movement was defined by a culture of British middle-class respectability, it was not merely exclusive. Instead, missionary societies and educational associations pursued a strategy of incorporation, and of stimulating processes of self-civilization among subaltern populations. From its very first edition, the Missionary Register called on ‘the poor’ to ‘take their share’ in the ‘benevolent exertions’ of missionary and education societies. It particularly called on the labouring men and women who aspired to conform to the bourgeois codes of respectability, those who had overcome ‘these vices which disgrace so many of the poor’, to join the foreign mission movement: Come forward, then, worthy friends, to our assistance. Give your penny or two-pence a week […] and afford us a little time. We want friends among the poor, who will undertake to collect the weekly contributions. […] 89 90

91

92

Hall, Civilising Subjects; Thorne, Congregational Missions. Antoinette Burton, ‘The White Woman’s Burden: British Feminists and the Indian Woman, 1865–1915’, Women’s Studies International Forum 13, no. 4 (1990): 295–308. Christian Koller, ‘Eine Zivilisierungsmission der Arbeiterklasse? Die Diskussion über eine „sozialistische Kolonialpolitik“ vor dem ersten Weltkrieg’, in Barth and Osterhammel, Zivilisierungsmissionen, 229–224. Mann and Watt, Civilizing Missions in Colonial and Postcolonial South Asia; Osterhammel, ‘The Great Work of Uplifting Mankind’, 363–425.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

114

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India And we shall be happy to see these Collectors at all our Meetings; where they shall, if they please, give their votes on all questions.

In terms of class, the formula of incorporation was: ‘Let all unite then in this good work! Let rich and poor labour together!’93 The participation of workingclass contributors had a double purpose. It could substantially assist the funds of the missionary societies while, at the same time, the care for others would enfold moralizing powers. In this way, the wide participation of the working people in ‘benevolent’ organizations would keep them away from politically ‘dangerous’ associations. By offering recognition for conforming to bourgeois values, it would help further the norms of middle-class morality among working people.

Participation, however, did not imply independence or even equality, a fact that illustrates the tendency towards differentiation, which I mentioned earlier. The collectors among the poor would be allowed to come to meetings and vote. In general, however, their function was reduced to ‘assistance’. The rich and the poor did labour together, but as social superiors and subalterns. The leadership of the voluntary associations, their public relations, the work of lobbying, all this was done by educated middle-class and upper-class men, often prominent intellectuals or social reformers.There was also a striking social gap between the people who ran the missionary societies in the metropole and those who went abroad as missionaries. Holmes has shown that one-third of the members of the inaugural CMS committee were merchants, bankers, and brokers.94 In contrast, many early missionaries who went abroad, such as Carey or Ward had artisan backgrounds.95 They belonged to the same strata that, according to E.P.Thompson, formed the nucleus of the political movement towards making a working class.96 They also shared this background with some of the educationalists connected with the BFSS, including Lancaster himself and Francis Place. Johnston has argued that ‘for many missionaries, colonial service provided a substantially higher position in society than they ever could have aspired to in Britain because they were invested with the cultural authority of predominantly middle-class and prosperous mission societies’. Their upward mobility ‘often caused considerable friction’ in colonial settings, namely in confrontation with colonial elites, who despised the missionaries for their social aspirations.97 93 94 95

96 97

Missionary Register, 1813, 10–11, 285–287. Holmes, ‘British Imperial Policy and the Mission Schools’, 12–13. Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 16. The Baptists had a strongly artisanal constituency, while the LMS recruited its personnel often from among drapers and drapers’ assistants (ibid.) See Thorne, Congregational Missions. E.P. Thompson, The Making of the English Working Class (Penguin, 1970). Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 16.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

115

British women were particularly called on to ‘offer themselves to take that share in the work which can be taken by none but females’.98 Because ‘Indian manners [forbade] females to be placed under the tuition of men’, the education of girls and women was regarded as a special responsibility of the ‘Ladies in Britain’. Two elements from the evangelical–imperialist discourse were combined to present them as the ‘natural guardians of [the] unhappy Widows and Orphans in British India’.99 On the one hand, their ‘Britishness’ obliged them to participate in the imperial civilizing mission. On the other hand, women’s responsibility for the domestic sphere defined the specifically female tasks within this mission. Usually, missionaries were sent out in couples, to model Christian family living.100 While the evangelical ideology of separate spheres excluded women as independent missionaries and especially from preaching, it regarded them as indispensable, albeit subordinate, helpers.101

However, these ideological elements were used by women for claiming what Joyce Goodman called a ‘female colonial authority’, a social authority based on maternal care for other women and for children.102 Contrary to the evangelical norms of female domesticity, this enabled ‘respectable’ women to enter the public sphere, to found committees within the established societies, and to establish associations run by women independently, such as the LSNFE.103 Moreover, it even helped to finally overcome the strong opposition to independent female missionary agency. Engaging with female education made it possible for single women to go abroad as professional educators. The case of Mary Ann Cooke, a BFSS-trained teacher who was sent to Calcutta in 1821, demonstrates 98 99 100 101

102

103

‘Call on British Females’, in Missionary Register, 1815, 397–400. ‘Appeal on behalf of the Native Females of British India’, in Missionary Register, 1820, 433–435. May, Kaur, and Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods, 18. Clare Midgley, ‘Can Women Be Missionaries? Envisioning Female Agency in the Early Nineteenth-Century British Empire’, Journal of British Studies 45, no. 2 (2006): 335–358. Goodman, ‘Languages of Female Colonial Authority’, 7–19; Haggis, Jane, ‘“Good Wives and Mothers” or “Dedicated Workers”? Contradictions of Domesticity in the “Mission of Sisterhood”, Tranvancore, South India’, in Kalpana Ram and Margaret Jolly (eds), Maternities and Modernities: Colonial and Postcolonial Experiences in Asia and the Pacific (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 81–113. LSNFE Report No. 1, 1826. Another example for an independent, female-run association was the Society for Promoting Female Education in China, India, and the East, that took over tasks started by the Ladies’ Committee of the BFSS in 1834.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

116

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

such opportunities for self-empowerment within an ‘imperial frame’.104 This was a response to the fundraising efforts for the Serampore missionaries, in collaboration with the CSS, for the promotion of ‘native female education’, which I have referred to earlier in this chapter. Quitting her low-prestige position as a governess, Cooke was the first unmarried woman who went to India in the missionary context. In Calcutta, she eventually assumed a prominent public position as an education reformer.105 (Six years later, in 1827, the unmarried American Cynthia Farrar arrived in Bombay, where she played a similar role.106 Both women will reappear later in the story.) The highly ambiguous role of British women in the imperialist project has been widely discussed in feminist historical literature. At the same time as British women were subjected to patriarchal domination, they in turn participated in the subjection of others, in terms of class and colonialism.107 What we can see here is that the engagement with colonial education became a part of gender politics at home. This parallels the working-class British men who raised their social status through educating others and by going abroad as missionaries.

‘Europeo-native institutions’, such as the CSBS and CSS, finally, were established to ensure the ‘active co-operation as well as acquiescence’ of the Indian public. They were meant ‘to obtain the labours and gratuitous services of some, the pecuniary contributions of many and the good wishes of all’ (emphasis in original).108 British administrators, college professors, and missionaries clearly initiated these institutions for establishing British cultural hegemony and gaining material resources for their ventures. Still, the bhadralok of Calcutta and the Parsi merchant community of Bombay joined the education societies. And they made use of them for their own plans of reforming and expanding education, as I will show in Chapters 6 and 7. Within the framework of 104 105

106 107

108

Midgley, ‘Female Emancipation in an Imperial Frame’, 95–121. Ibid.; see Priscilla Chapman, Hindoo Female Education (London: R.B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1839). Another important imperial educator, Hannah Kilham, also corresponded with and connected her work to the BFSS: Alison Twells, ‘“Let Us Begin Well at Home”: Class, Ethnicity, and Christian Motherhood in the Writings of Hannah Kilham, 1774–1832’, in E.J. Yeo (ed.), Radical Feminity: Women’s Self-Representation in the Public Sphere (Manchester 1998), 25–51. American Marathi Mission (ed.), Memorial Papers of the American Marathi Mission, 1813–1881 (Bombay: Education Society Press, 1882), 60–61. Ruth Watts, ‘Breaking the Boundaries of Victorian Imperialism or Extending a Reformed “Paternalism”? Mary Carpenter and India’, History of Education 29, no. 5 (2000): 443–456. CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 69; see also Basak, ‘Origin and Role’, 32–35.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

117

supervised participation, British middle-class women, ‘respectable labourers’, and ‘native gentlemen’ followed their own agendas, in some ways remaining within the established hierarchical frame, and in some other ways going beyond these limitations. As the monitorial system was about the self-tuition and selfgovernment of students, the expansion of organizations, lobbying, and fundraising activities sought to encourage endeavours for self-civilization within the hierarchies of gender, class, and Empire.

Empire and Transnational Educational Exchange This expansion of voluntary associations was part of the history of a global civil society, both embedded in and shaping the power structures of the empire.109 At the same time, the monitorial education movement related to the emergence of the British Empire as a framework for educational exchange; in other words, as a ‘transnational educational space’.110 On the one hand, communication about education intensified between Britain and the colonial urban centres. On the other hand, this communication was embedded in wider global processes. This does not only refer to the transatlantic network of the BFSS, which emerged simultaneously with the Eastern-colonial one. The project of missionary education in India included actors from German-speaking central Europe (Halle mission) as well as from the USA (ABCFM). Pietist Germans were also among the ordained missionaries of the CMS. The mission movement was in this sense a transnational one.

In the early nineteenth century, the non-official communication between missionary and education societies, on one hand, and individual activists connected with them, on the other, was particularly important for the circulation of pedagogical knowledge. It supplemented and intersected with the official information flows. The spread of monitorial schooling, as I will discuss now, was only the first case in point. The networks established in its wake in India overlapped with the communication on the ‘infant system’, which peaked 109

110

Harald Fischer-Tiné, ‘Global Civil Society and the Forces of Empire: The Salvation Army, British Imperialism and the “Prehistory” of NGOs (ca. 1880– 1920)’, in Sebastian Conrad and Dominic Sachsenmaier (eds), Competing Visions of World Order: Global Moments and Movements, 1880s–1930s (Palgrave Macmillan, 2007), 29–67. On transnational educational spaces: Esther Möller and Johannes Wischmeyer (eds), Transnationale Bildungsräume. Wissenstransfers im Schnittfeld von Kultur, Politik und Religion (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2013).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

118

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

between the 1820s and 1840s.111 As the monitorial system of education, the infant system was developed in Britain with a view to teaching the children of workers. One major difference was that it targeted children who were even younger, starting from two years of age.112 The first British infant school was established by the industrialist, social reformer, and utopian socialist Robert Owen (1771–1858) in 1816, at his industrial mill complex at New Lanark, Scotland. Against the background of a widespread belief in the habit-forming powers of the social environment – a belief Owen shared with Lancaster – the infant schools’ purpose was to remove children as early as possible from the ‘contaminating’ influences of their unhealthy and morally lacking homes and neighbourhoods. As Samuel Wilderspin (1791–1866), the most prominent promoter of the infant system put it, the aim was to build among the children ‘habits of cleanliness and decorum, of cheerful and ready subordination, [of ] courtesy, kindness and forbearance, and of abstinence from everything impure or profane’.113 Pedagogically, infant schools presented a remarkable ambiguity. They fused a socialization agenda of ‘discipline, order and obedience’ with a learning process ideally characterized by ‘play, freedom and enjoyment’.114 Therefore, they combined the monitorial teaching techniques with the notion of learning via the senses, which was the keystone of the educational method developed by Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746–1827) in Yverdon, Switzerland. Infant schools made use of object lessons and introduced playgrounds for outdoor activity in an urban environment.

From the 1820s onwards, infant schools became a regular feature of British missionary activity, in contexts as different as Canada, New Zealand, and India. Several organizations and individuals became connected with both movements. One example is the aforementioned Mary Ann Cooke, who was trained by the BFSS, but also highly in favour of infant schools.115 The missionary societies that participated in the monitorial movement (see Figure 3.1) would also collaborate with May, Kaur, and Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods, 1; Baljit Kaur, ‘“Keeping the Infants of Coolies out of Harm’s Way”: Raj, Church and Infant Education in India, 1830–51’, in Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood 5 (2004): 221–235; Samuel Wilderspin, Early Discipline Illustrated: Or, The Infant System Progressing and Successful (Westley, 1832). 112 Monitorial schools had often embraced young children of 4–6 years of age together with older students; only later did the two age groups become separated. 113 May, Kaur, and Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods, 109. 114 Ibid., 130–131. 115 Ibid., 131–139. 111

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

119

the Home and Colonial Infant School Society (HCISS) (1836), which emulated the BFSS’s approach for the infant school movement.116 The Ladies’ Association for the Promotion of Female Education in the East (1834), an independent women’s association, sent out unmarried women teachers, trained either by the NES or BFSS in the monitorial system, or by the HCISS in the ‘infant system’.117 Such female educational experts were also sent to the BES and the LSNFE.118 Moreover, the institutions set up within the monitorial movement, such as the BES, kept up with the educational innovation in the metropole, and in the 1830s became interested in incorporating the infant system into their functioning.119

Patrick Ressler has shown how the BFSS and the NES, the major suppliers of monitorial manuals, materials, and teacher-training in England, constantly refined their respective models. They struggled to fit elements from competing pedagogical concepts, such as ‘gallery lessons’ and ‘object lessons’, which were part of the infant system’s product marketing, into their own framework.120 The monitorial system thereby underwent a series of changes and was finally transformed into and labelled as a new system.121 In 1822, the BES expressed its conviction of the ‘superiority of the national system over every other method of instruction’; in 1843, they sounded rather sceptical: However excellent the National System may be and however well administered, it must be admitted that there are serious defects connected with a system in which the principle is that of mutual Instruction. In grave subjects it is obvious that the years of the teachers hinder the maintenance of due reverence and respect for sacred subjects, and that accurate information cannot be secured.122 116 117

118 119 120

121 122

Home and Colonial Infant School Society, Useful Hints to Teachers (London: James Nisbet and Co. 1843). Female Agency Among the Heathen: As Recorded in the History and Correspondence of the Society for Promoting Female Education in the East (London: Edward Suter, 1850). BES Report No. 28, 1843, 14; Missionary Register, 1837, 124–125. BES Report No. 21, 1836, 14. Ressler, Nonprofit-Marketing im Schulbereich, 157–158; see Mary Hilton, ‘A Trancultural Transaction: William Carey’s Baptist Mission, the Monitorial Method and the Bengali Renaissance’, in Barnita Bagchi, Eckhardt Fuchs, and Kate Rousmaniere (eds), Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-Cultural Exchanges in (Post)Colonial Education (New York: Berghahn Books, 2014), 85–104, 91; Parna Sengupta, Pedagogy for Religion: Missionary education and the Fashioning of Hindus and Muslims in Bengal (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2011), 61–101. Ressler, Nonprofit-Marketing im Schulbereich, 141–164. BES Report No. 7, 1822, 9; BES Report No. 29, 1843, 14.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

120

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

This is exactly the kind of criticism that had been raised against the monitorial system in Germany right from its emergence: children cannot teach children, since ‘true’ education affords the paternal authority of an adult teacher.123 With the increasing popularity of this criticism also in England, the BFSS and the NES developed a new model: the ‘pupil-teacher system’. This model was, in a sense, the formalization of a practice that had often occurred in monitorial schools: monitors frequently turned into assistant teachers and later into schoolmasters. The pupil teachers thus ‘grew out’ of the monitors.124 Therefore, the BES too, along with other institutions established in the wake of the monitorial movement, turned towards pupil teachers in the early 1840s. This was about 10 years before pupil teachers were recommended by the British imperial education policy of 1854.125

I want to emphasize that knowledge did not only travel one way. While the imperial civil society network provided the infrastructure for pedagogical innovations to be communicated from Britain to India, the public in Britain also kept a close eye on further colonial experiments in education. In 1820 (or 1821), the founding member of both the CSBS and CSBS, John Herbert Harington, returned to London, where he represented them as a local agent. This was meant to make them known to the British public and to collect and forward donations of books and money. Thus, he delivered the CSBS’s reports and publications to the Court of Directors of the EIC, ‘to be deposited in their library’. He also highly recommended the reports of the SNS, the educational arm of the Serampore mission, as a source of information on the improvement of indigenous schools in India.126 The Serampore missionaries’ Hints Relative to Native Schools and the SNS reports were indeed received in the debate on national education in England. John Foster, campaigning for a nation-wide education system in England (on behalf of the BFSS), was full of ‘admiration and gratitude to the devotedness, the disinterestedness, and the astonishing performances, of the fraternity at Serampore’.127 123 124 125

126 127

Caruso, Geist oder Mechanik. James Kay-Shuttleworth, Four Periods of Public Education as Reviewed in 18321839-1846-1862 (London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1862). Marcelo Caruso and Maria Moritz, ‘The Indian Female Pupil-Teacher: Social Technologies of Education and Gender in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century’, Südasien-Chronik/South Asia Chronicle 8 (2018): 21–52 (https://edoc. hu-berlin.de/handle/18452/20500). CSBS Report No. 3, 1821, 29; 70. Foster, Essay on the Evils of Popular Ignorance, 531.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

Missionaries, Empire, and the Cause of Universal Education, 1792–1824

121

In his article ‘Education’ in the Encyclopaedia Britannica of 1824, James Mill readdressed the question of which knowledge would be ‘useful’ for which social class. (He had already commented on this issue in the context of the struggle between the BFSS and NES for educational control, in 1812.128) He said that all people needed ‘intelligence’ and ‘strength’ for knowing what was useful to one’s own happiness, and ‘justice’ and ‘generosity’ to care for the happiness of others. By filling the early years of life of even ‘the most ordinary’ people with ‘useful instruction’, he opined, a ‘firm foundation [would] be laid for a life of mental action […], wisdom, and reflection’. He continued to praise Lancaster for designing a plan for universal education and Bentham for theoretically grounding it in his Chrestomathia. However, according to Mill, due to financial difficulties, there existed so far but one ‘experiment’ which had practically demonstrated ‘how much of that intelligence which [was] desirable for all may be communicated to all’129: the scientific copy-book system of Serampore. The conceptualization of this system will be introduced in the next chapter, its operation discussed in Chapter 6. I think it is only fitting to close this chapter not just with knowledge flows back to Britain but also with a leading utilitarian’s endorsement of the Baptist missionary educational activity in Bengal.

Conclusion In the early nineteenth century, as we have seen, the convergence of the movement towards national education in England and the missionary revival produced an imperial education movement that displayed strong universalistic tendencies. This movement promoted the monitorial system of education to spread schools among the politically dangerous paupers in England and among the ‘myriads’ of heathens, savages, and cannibals inhabiting the world, which the age of Enlightenment and exploration had discovered. An important point of convergence was the Enlightenment notion of the perfectibility of human nature, which informed not only the education discourse but also the Christian universalism. Both intersecting currents, the education movement at home and the foreign mission movement, agreed that all children were equally capable of instruction. The British education movement was strongly motivated by evangelical zeal; the foreign mission movement, at the same time, found schools the best means to prepare populations for receiving the message of the Gospel. In the Protestant understanding, literacy 128 129

James Mill, Schools for All, in Preference to School for Churchmen Only (London, 1812). Mill, The Article Education, 40–41.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

122

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

and the translation of the Bible were essential for the individual converts’ spiritual ‘rebirth’.

The movement displayed a universalistic tendency in another sense as well: education and missionary societies followed a policy of incorporation in terms of membership. The expansion of civil society and the spread of membership and participation were considered instruments of civilization. Christians of any denomination, the rich and the poor, men and women, and ‘benevolent’ minds not yet Christianized were invited to join the good course of universal instruction. The monitorial principle of self-tuition under surveillance was transferred to civil society organizations: the participation in voluntary associations was supposed to stimulate efforts towards self-civilization, under the guidance of British ‘gentlemen’. The expansion of civil society, an essential part of the formation of a global community, was fundamentally shaped by the hierarchies of class, gender, and Empire. The network of organizations and educational institutions which were formed between 1792 (BMS) and 1824 (the LSNFE as the last of the ‘first wave’ education societies in Bengal) was part of the production of the British Empire as a space for educational exchange. The ‘British system’ was only the first pedagogical innovation that travelled from Britain to India; from the 1820s to the 1840s, the ‘infant system’ and the ‘pupil–teacher system’ followed in its footsteps. Both built on, but also transcended, the monitorial system in terms of pedagogy and the professionalization of teaching. Also, Bell’s Madras ‘experiment’ was followed up with further colonial elaborations on the strategies of education reform. The curricular innovation of the Serampore missionaries were adopted by many Indian actors (CSBS, CSS, BNES, and MSBSS), as the subsequent chapters will elaborate. At the same time, they fuelled the British debate on national education.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:36:17, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.004

CHAPTER 4

Race, Class, and Gender The Social Agenda of Education, 1809–1830 It is remarkable how the same simple system of education originally taken from the native schools on these shores is now returned with increased effect and with higher and more extensive designs.1

Educational Differentiation and Social Inequality It is now time to return to India and thus to the ‘shores’ from the schools of which the inspiration for the monitorial system of education had been ‘originally taken’. This chapter discusses the educational programmes that missionaries and education societies developed in Bengal and Bombay in consideration of the local context. It particularly explores the social agenda of schooling, or, in the words of the Bombay Education Society’s (BES) report of 1821, the ‘higher and more extensive designs’, that the new actors pursued with the re-export of the monitorial system to India.

The previous chapter has emphasized the universalistic orientation of the British and Foreign School Society (BFSS) and its missionary partners. Now, I will analyse the place of education in colonial processes of social differentiation. Education became, as I have argued, understood as a multivalent tool of social reconstruction in England; as such, it was also employed for a project to ‘consolidate and codify new, local social structures’ in the colonies.2 This also relates to the question of unequal social power relations. For missionary educators, mass elementary education aimed to undermine the prevalent 1 2

BES Report No. 6, 1821, 20. Anna Johnston, Missionary Writing and Empire, 1800–1860 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 17.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

124

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

structures of caste- and gender-based domination – the ‘tyranny of Brahmins’ and the ‘domestic slavery’ of women. Alternative forms of patriarchy, class, and colonial divisions, however, were to take their place.

I am building on an argument made by Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler which points to the bounded universality of civilizing missions. In their efforts ‘to make colonized populations into disciplined agriculturalists or workers and obedient subjects of a bureaucratic state, colonial states opened up a discourse on the question of just how much “civilizing” would promote their projects and what sorts of political consequences “too much civilizing” would have in store’ (emphasis in original).3 Catherine Hall has equally emphasized that the elaboration of difference, in terms of both gender and race, was at the heart of imperial culture.4 There is a striking similarity to the tension of control and expansion that characterized the nineteenth-century debates on mass education. How much education was necessary to moralize and discipline subaltern children? And how much education would disrupt the division of labour in society or social authority? The universalistic impetus of the imperial education movement, which the previous chapter has introduced, strongly contrasted with the notion that different people had to be educated in different ways, according to the social position they were to occupy after they left school. This future position was, again, related to the gender and the social and cultural background of the student.

Warning his audience against the dangers of French ‘utopias’, Andrew Bell had, in England, emphasized the ‘risk of elevating, by an indiscriminate education, the minds of those doomed to the drudgery of daily labour, above their condition, and thereby rendering them discontented and unhappy in their lot’.5 The same concern now was expressed by the Baptist missionaries at Serampore with regard to the population of Bengal: ‘instruction […] should be such as to render the inhabitants of a country happy in their own sphere,

3

4

5

Ann Laura Stoler and Frederick Cooper, ‘Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda’, in Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (eds), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 1–56, 7. ‘Introduction: Thinking the Postcolonial, Thinking the Empire’, in Catherine Hall (ed.), Cultures of Empire: Colonizers in Britain and the Empire in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries – A Reader (New York: Routledge, 2000), 1–33, 20. Andrew Bell, An Experiment in Education, 2nd ed. (London, 1805), Postscript.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

125

but never take them out of it.’6 Christoph Samuel John, in his internationally circulating ‘proposals for the civilization of the natives by Free Schools’, hoped that his students would ‘become good subjects, submitting to all their superiors whom Divine providence had placed over them, so that each might learn what his duties were’.7 In this way, a belief in ‘providence’ not only fuelled the missionary zeal, as I have shown in the previous chapter, but also legitimated hierarchical schemes of differentiation. The universalistic impulse of ‘schools for all’ was, in short, bound up in the danger of causing social mobility instead of uplift within a particular ‘sphere’.

Again, the monitorial system seemed to offer a solution. It appeared as a tool to furnish each subaltern group ‘with such instruction, and such only’8 that was considered ‘useful’ for them. In this chapter I will discuss how different curricula were designed for particular groups: first, poor Europeans and Eurasians, whom we have encountered already as Bell’s students in Madras; second, rural Indian children, particularly Hindus; and, finally, the girls among both groups.

European Pauperism in Colonial Cities In 1819, the Missionary Register published an ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, in which the editors summarized that at ‘every Station’ the missionaries’ ‘first object has been to gather together and instruct the poor scattered ignorant Christians, whether European, or descendants of Europeans by Native Parents’. Only after having provided this ‘numerous and increasing class of people’ with a ‘system’ of schools and a teacher training institution would they ‘embrace the Mahomedans and Heathens around them’. It appeared to be a ‘dictate at once of duty and policy’ to turn to the ‘destitute Fellow-Christians’ first.9

6

7 8

9

Joshua Marshman, William Carey, and William Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools together with an Outline of an Institution for Their Extension and Management (Serampore: Mission Press 1816), 11. ‘The Rev. Dr. John on Indian Civilisation’, Missionary Register, 1813, 369–384, 374, 380. John Bowles, A Letter Addressed to Samuel Whitbread, Esq., M.P. in Consequence of the Unqualified Approbation Expressed by Him in the House of Commons, of Mr. Lancaster’s System of Education; … (London: Rivingtons, 1808), 1. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 102–121, 113.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

126

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Two of the earliest and most lasting educational projects that implemented the ‘refined’ monitorial system back in India were directed towards poor Europeans and Eurasians. Their social agenda closely resembled the metropolitan debate on the government of poverty but was informed by colonial racial classification as well. I will now introduce these two projects.

1. The Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Indigent Christians (1809) In Calcutta, William Carey, Joshua Marshman, and William Ward opened the first monitorial school as early as in 1809.10 The Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Indigent Christians, as it was called, was a day school, which provided free instruction in the cheapest possible way (Figure 4.1). Initially, it was run based on public subscriptions, but secured a government grant in 1826 when the funds no longer proved sufficient.11 Although it lost this grant in 1882, the school only closed its gates in 1901.12 Loosely cooperating with the BFSS, the Benevolent Institution relied on the Lancasterian version of the monitorial system.

The student population was classified by the missionaries as ‘country-born’ or ‘indigent’ Christians.13 The category of ‘indigence’ already appears in the institution’s name. Indigence, it will be remembered from the second chapter, defined ‘paupers’, who depended on charity instead of exerting themselves in honest labour.14 It was both an economic and a moral category that pointed to a disposition for unrest, vice, and crime. This also helps us to understand 10

11 12

13

14

A classical source for the history of this inf luential mission is John Clarke Marshman, The Life and Times of Carey, Marshman and Ward, Embracing the History of the Serampore Mission, 2 vols (London, 1859). For an overview on their educational activities, see Michael Andrew Laird, ‘The Contribution of the Serampore Missionaries to Education in Bengal 1793–1837’, Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies, 31, no. 1 (1968): 92–112. Donation to the Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Children of Indigent Christians of All Denominations, of Rupees 13,000: IOR F/4/956/27123. BI Report for 1900 and 1901, Envelope containing Reports on the Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Indigent Christian Children, subsequently named ‘Benevolent Institution Trust Fund ’, Angus Library and Archives, Oxford. Bartle George, ‘The Role of the British and Foreign School Society in Elementary Education in India and the East Indies 1813–1875’, History of Education 23, no. 1 (1994): 17–33. See Patrick Colquhoun, A Treatise on Indigence (London: Hatchard, 1806).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

127

how the Benevolent Institution’s student population were characterized. From the beginning, the Benevolent Institution kept a close record ‘of the circumstances of the parents and friends of the children received into the school’, to form an adequate picture of the ‘state of this class of society’.15 For 1816, schoolmaster James Penney, who had just arrived after finishing his training with the BFSS, gives us the figures in Table 4.1 on the students’ background. Table 4.1 Information on the Background of the Benevolent Institution’s Students Portuguese or born of European parents

198

Armenians

10

Bengallees

6

Jews

Africans

Mussulmans Malays

Chinese

5 2 5 4 4

Source: Report of Schoolmaster Penney, BI Report No. 6, 1817, 12–15.

The managers of the Benevolent Institution calculated that there were about 7,000 families in Calcutta, mostly nominal Catholics of ‘Portuguese’ descent, who occupied ‘the lowest walks of life’.16 The Portuguese Catholics, according to Marshman, were ‘literally the poor of Calcutta’, poorer than most Hindus and Muslims.17 Since many trades and occupations were closed to them because of the caste system, the Portuguese had no option ‘but of betaking themselves to those occupations which the Natives regard with contempt, or reject as quite unprofitable’.18 The records of the Benevolent Institution contain illustrative examples of the students’ diverse and precarious family background. Among 15

16 17

18

BI Report No. 3, 1814, 3–4, Envelope containing Reports relating to Management of the Benevolent Institution of Calcutta for the Years 1812–20, Angus Library and Archives, Oxford. BI Report No. 1, 1812, 4. Joshua Marshman, Letter to Andrew Fuller (Secretary to the BMS), 1 September 1811, in Periodical Accounts Relative to the Baptist Missionary Society (henceforth Periodical Accounts), 1811, 347. BI Report No. 6, 1817, 4–5.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

128

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

them we find a Chinese father, a shoemaker, who had lost his eyesight. Some male relatives were dock workers.19 In most cases, however, the students were in the care of single wage-earning women: They are in many cases under the management of mothers alone, their fathers being in some instances dead, and in others, abroad, perhaps at the sea. These mothers, in addition to the little control which Asiatic mothers have in general over their children, are in most instances obliged to go out to daily labour for the support of themselves and their children.20

The absence of a father was equated with a lack of discipline and moral education in the family. Moreover, ‘Asiatic mothers’, to the male missionary reformers, appeared to be particularly unsuited to properly perform their parental duties. To these domestic circumstances was added the fact that the mothers were working outside the house, often as ayahs (nanny or maidservant).21 It was thus implied that their children remained unsupervised and uncontrolled for the most part of the day.

These uncontrolled ‘half-catholic and half-heathen’22 children were found ‘wandering from street to street in the most wretched and abandoned state’.23 They were begging and stealing, lying and swearing. Owen Leonard, the first schoolmaster of the Benevolent Institution, complained that it was ‘no uncommon thing to hear boys of five or six years old [speaking] a language which would shock even a wicked man in Europe’.24 Many of the Portuguese children of Calcutta, the institution’s managers found, had grown up ‘as ignorant of letters as the inhabitants of New-Zealand’.25 Since they were ‘acquainted with no written medium of instruction’, neither English, nor Portuguese, nor Bengali, they had ‘never been favoured with Christian instruction in any language they could understand’. And ‘as all the service of their churches [was] performed either in Portuguese or Latin, they [were] in darkness thick as midnight, with regard of the way of salvation’.26

19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26

BI Report No. 3, 1814, 3–4. BI Report No. 2, 1813, 8. BI Report No. 5, 1816, 18. Marshman, Letter to Fuller, 1 September 1811, Periodical Accounts, 1811, 347. BI Report No. 2, 1813, 7. Ibid., 9–10. BI Report No. 1, 1812, 8. Marshman, Letter to Fuller, 1 September 1811, Periodical Accounts, 1811, 347; BI Report No. 1, 1812, 3.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

129

In summary, the students which the Benevolent Institution took ‘from the poor hovels of Calcutta’27 moved in ‘a sphere still lower’ than the poor of Britain, and lower still than the military orphans in Calcutta, to whose school they were not admitted.28 At this point, even Eurasians of partially British descent had become excluded from the Military Orphan Asylum in Calcutta – the institution after which Bell’s Madras Asylum had been modelled. As Valerie Anderson has argued, this policy marked a general tendency of increasingly ‘othering’ Eurasians, from late eighteenth century onwards.29 The exclusion of Eurasians from official means of relief underlined the necessity for non-official ‘benevolent’ interventions.

The Benevolent Institution admitted non-Christian Indian students, although ‘the lower ranks of the Christians [were] still deemed [its] most proper object’. Particularly, ‘if any Subscriber wishes to get the son of a valued servant instructed in the English language’, such a student would be welcome.30 Whatever their religious or cultural background, it appears that the children of ‘servants’ formed the major part of the Benevolent Institution’s student body, which is particularly relevant for the curriculum designed for them, which I will discuss later.

Figure 4.1  Interior of the Benevolent Institution, Calcutta Source: Missionary Herald 39, August 1842, 441. 27 28 29 30

BI Report No. 4, 1815, 13. BI Report No. 1, 1812, 4; No. 2, 1813, 5. Valerie Anderson, Race and Power in British India: Anglo-Indians, Class and Identity in the Nineteenth Century (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015). BI Report No. 3, 1814, 9.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

130

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

2. The Society for the Education of the Poor within the Government of Bombay (1815) We find a prioritization of poor Europeans and Eurasians not just among the missionaries. They were also the main ‘object’ of the first new-model education society in India, the BES. The foundation of the BES was initiated in 1815 by the Archdeacon of Bombay, George Barnes. At first, it consisted of one school, with a male and a female department. From 1821 onwards, it combined a military orphanage with a ‘central school’ from where to spread cost-efficient monitorial schools among the European and ‘native’ army regiments and among the general population.

As a model school, it became a relevant agency of educational reform in the Bombay Presidency. Moreover, it provided the infrastructure for the foundation of the more influential Bombay Native Education Society (BNES, 1822).31 Although it shifted both its location and its denomination several times, the former central school of the BES until today provides education to AngloIndian students in Bombay (Figure 4.2).

Figure 4.2  The BES’s Legacy in Byculla, Mumbai Source: Photo taken in 2017 by the author. 31

See Chapter 7.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

131

The primary objective, however, was to provide for the children of British soldiers who had died in service or had returned to Britain, where they were not permitted to take their Indian families: His Majesty’s soldiers, when ordered to Europe [...] are not permitted to take home with them their native families; and no provisions being made for them in the country, their children are thrown upon the world totally unprovided for; the mother is in most cases unable to afford them the common necessities of life, much less to provide any thing like moral instruction … [If the children] adopt any religious worship at all, it is generally one or other of the false systems around them; in no case perhaps are they ever brought up members of a Protestant church.32

The provision of economic relief to British soldiers’ families was one concern. British subscribers from all ranks of the military were guaranteed free admission of their children as boarders in case of their death or removal to Europe. The subscription to the BES, for them, functioned as an insurance for the maintenance and education of their children.33 Even more important, however, was to bring the British soldiers’ children up as members of the Protestant Church and community. It was not only fellow-Christians (as in the case of the Portuguese Catholics taught in the Benevolent Institution) but, as Archdeacon Barnes told his Protestant community, the ‘children of your countrymen’34 who needed saving.

As their Portuguese counterparts, the half-British ‘orphans’ (meaning: destitute, ‘fatherless’ children) also lived ‘in filth and nakedness’. They ‘support[ed] themselves by beggary’,35 and were exposed to the ‘corrupting influence’ of the ‘bazars’.36 But these were not the only corrupting influences. Again, the failure of the family to properly care for the children (as the BES understood it), made public intervention necessary. Usually, the children were not baptized.37 And they were considered to be of ‘llegitimate’ birth.38 The category of ‘illegitimacy’ had already figured prominently in Bell’s writings. It refers rather to a colonial racial stereotype than to a social reality. In fact, the 32 33 34 35 36 37 38

BES Report No. 2, 1817, 6–7. BES Report No. 6, 1821, 11. BES Report No. 1, 1816, 12–13. Ibid. BES Report No. 12, 1827, 14. BES Report No. 1, 1816, 16. BES Report No. 2, 1817, 8.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

132

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

majority of the students of the Madras Male Military Orphan Asylum were of marital birth.39 In the case of the BES, we do not know how many of the students’ parents had been formally married; however, since it was the official policy to give preference to children ‘born in wedlock’, the student body in general does not fit the description of ‘illegitimacy’.40 In any case, the notion of illegitimate birth was part of the categorization of Eurasians (whether Portuguese or ‘Indo-British’) as a ‘degraded race’, which we have found already in Bell’s account.

While all the BES’s central school’s girl students were ‘the offspring of Europeans’,41 the male student population was more diverse. ‘[A]mongst the day scholars are to be considered several children of Natives, Hindoos, Musselmans, and Parsees, who have been admitted at their own expense.’ Those would attend mostly with the motivation ‘of learning the English language, which is in a great degree necessary at Bombay to qualify them for many situations’.42 In the case of such self-paying non-Christian students, the religious instruction, which was mandatory for the boarders, was not enforced.43

If we compare the diagnosed state of the Portuguese and Indo-British mixed population of the colonial cities with the metropolitan discourse on pauperism, there are obvious similarities. The condition of the students targeted by the Benevolent Institution and the BES was defined in terms of indigence, ignorance, and vice. Preparing them to make an honest living, or, in other words, setting them to labour, became a crucial task of both the institutions. Archdeacon Barnes reiterated the discourse on the evils of popular ignorance and the powers of education when he wrote:

39

40 41 42

43

A table giving the parentage of Bell’s students in 1794 includes (as the children of private soldiers): 39 per cent illegitimate children of Indian mothers; 38 per cent legitimate children of Indian mothers; 21 per cent legitimate children of European mothers; 2 per cent not given. ‘Register of Boys on the Foundation of the Male Asylum for 1794’, quoted in Phillip McCann, ‘The Indian Origins of Bell’s Monitorial System’, in Peter Cunnigham and Colin Brock (eds), International Currents in Education (London: History of Education Society, 1988), 29–40, 33. BES Report No. 3, 1818, 4. Ibid., 20. BES Report No. 2, 1817, 17. The report of the BES’s central school for 1818 counts 61 boys who are the ‘offspring of Europeans’, 9 ‘native Christians’, 7 Parsis, 5 Hindus, and 1 Muslim. All of the Indian students and 9 ‘Europeans’ were day scholars (BES Report No. 3, 1818, 20). BES Report No. 3, 1818, 6.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

133

Of all the important measures of domestic policy, that of establishing schools is the most important and most beneficial; for the ignorance of the poor is the root of those evils, for which laws are but an inadequate provision, and is the main cause of all those offences, which render criminal law necessary, but which it is easier, as well as wiser, to prevent than to punish.44

In the colonial context, however, the definition of the European underclass was interspersed with racial undertones. In the early nineteenth-century education discourse, Eurasians and poor Europeans were not yet clearly distinguished. Nor was the classification consistent: the Portuguese could also be grouped among the ‘Asiatic’ population. The difference between those groups, who remained a major concern for colonial policymakers and moral reformers throughout the nineteenth century,45 was still in the making. Both were marked by ‘illegitimacy’. And their ‘ignorance’ had a colonial dimension as well. It was not only, as in England, a lack of religious – and, therefore, moral – knowledge but also the threat of ‘heathenism’ and ‘superstition’.

From Menace to Asset: Eurasians as Cultural Mediators In the colonial cities, the poor population of partially European and Christian parentage were supposed to form ‘the lowest but still the connecting link of European society’ with their Indian environment. Instead, they had become ‘the scoff of the natives’.46 For the education reformers, the task was, therefore, to turn the Eurasians from a menace into an ‘asset’.47

Given the malleability of children’s character, and the importance of the environment, a separation from the scenes of ‘domestic profligacy’48 appeared of utmost importance.49 In 1827, the BES had two new school buildings erected in the suburb of Byculla, for the male and female schools, each for the accommodation of 200 children. The premises also included a kitchen building and a playground. ‘The whole is enclosed by a wall and railing,’ the 44 45

46 47 48 49

BES Report No. 1, 1816, 11. Anderson, Race and Power in British India; Harald Fischer-Tiné, Low and Licentious Europeans: Race, Class and ‘White Subalternity’ in Colonial India (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2009). BI Report No. 6, 1817, 5. Anderson, Race and Power in British India, Kindle Position 171. BES Report No. 1, 1816, 16. BES Report No. 2, 1817, 6–7.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

134

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

BES committee explained. Consequently, ‘while the children will have a large piece of ground for exercise, they can be kept separate from intercourse with the bazars and people without’.50 The rules of confinement were particularly strict in the case of girls: ‘The peculiar circumstances of this country render it essentially necessary that the whole of these girls should be maintained and lodged in the house.’51 From 1824 onwards, the guardians of female students had to sign an agreement to leave the girls in school until their 15th year. In 1829, a new rule was introduced, that ‘no Girls shall be allowed to go out from the School, to her Friends even during Vacations, except her Parents are Married and bear unexceptionable characters’.52

The curriculum of the BES was defined as ‘Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, and such other useful branches of education as may hereafter appear necessary’. Most importantly, however, they were ‘instructed in the principles of Protestant religion according to the Church of England, and in conformity with the System practised by Dr. Bell’.53 The children were daily questioned in the catechism of the Anglican Church. Bell’s system was praised for its capacity to combine ‘amusement’ with instruction, and to excite ‘the best feelings of emulation’.54 However, we do not find many traces of amusement in the records of the school. Emulation was not to be stimulated in a way that it would counteract the important lesson of subordination – a similarity to the ‘National schools’ of England. The liberal version of the monitorial system, which was introduced in the second chapter, was based on the distribution and withdrawal of rewards according to merit and demerit. In the case of the BES, rewards were not given ‘for mere quickness’, but to the ‘most industrious’, the ‘cleanliest and neatest’, and the ‘most constantly and implicitly obedient’ child.55 (In contrast to this, the ‘most diligent’ students of the Benevolent Institution were liberally presented with Bibles and Testaments as ‘rewards of merit’.56)

The BES – drawing on the conservative variation of the monitorial system – introduced a variety of measures for teaching the students ‘to submit themselves

50 51 52 53 54 55 56

BES Report No. 12, 1827, 14. BES Report No. 2, 1817, 11. BES Report No. 14, 1829, 7. BES Report No. 1, 1816, 23. Ibid. BES Report No. 30, 1845, 16; BES Report No. 31, 1846, 39–41. BI Report No. 1, 1812, 14; BI Report No. 2, 1813, 16.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

135

lowly and reverently to their betters’.57 The students were ‘distinguished by a peculiar dress, which teaches them also humility and to consider themselves as children of Charity’. Their food was ‘of the plainest sort and no more than enough’. Their clothes were made of the cheapest material. These measures ensured the saving of costs, and hence a rational management of the subscribers’ valuable contribution: ‘[F]rugality’, the BES committee knew, was the ‘most important branch of faithfulness in the management of charities’.58 Indeed, the records of the BES’s boarding school repeatedly report on changes in the diet and management that would save the donors’ and subscribers’ money. At times, the reader is reminded of the misery of the poorhouse regime in Charles Dickens’ well-known novel, Oliver Twist.59 The children’s poor treatment explicitly aimed to impart a moral lesson as well: namely, to ‘inure’ them ‘to the treatment they must expect to receive in their future life’.60 Their future life was a one of hard labour, service, and subordination. In summary, the BES aimed to train a useful, subordinate European servant class, a social agenda, which closely resembled the programme of the National Education Society (NES) in England. Moral instruction and religion were also among the core lessons imparted in the Benevolent Institution, run by the Baptist missionaries in Calcutta. This is nicely expressed in a poem that the students recited for the pleasure of the subscribers and visitors on their public examination: While others early learn to swear And curse, and lie, and steal

Lord I am taught thy name to fear And do thy holy will.61

From the records of the Benevolent Institution, however, we also learn how education was used as a tool for the construction of what Cooper and Stoler call the ‘colonial grammar of difference’.62 Free schools did not just aim to 57 58 59 60

61 62

BES Report No. 1, 1816, 22. Ibid., 24. Charles Dickens, Oliver Twist (London: Richard Bentley, 1839). BES Report No. 1, 1816, 24. Similar arrangements were made in the Madras Asylum. See Regulations for the Military Male Orphan Asylum, established at a Special Meeting of the Directors, Held on 26 October 1812 (Asylum Press 1824), Papers regarding the Military Male Asylum at Madras: F/4/1558/63799. BI Report No. 5, 1816, 13. Cooper and Stoler, ‘Between Metropole and Colony’, 7.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

136

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

train subaltern children in habits of industry and subordination. They were also deployed to manage the relations between different subaltern groups. The education reformers drafted their programmes with a view to the hierarchies and social relations of colonial society at large. In this scheme, Eurasians were cast in the role of subordinate helpers of the British colonial community and as cultural mediators: ‘the lowest but still the connecting link of European society’.63 Their task was to bridge the gap between the colonizers and the colonized. In this context, their ‘country-born’ status could become an asset: Brought up in poverty and hardship, acquainted with the customs, ideas and manners of the natives; inured to climate, and familiar with the idiom of the language, were the gospel to gladden and conquer their hearts, they are the persons, beyond almost any others, to carry it through the country. 64

The Baptist missionaries thus directly connected their Benevolent Institution to the spread of the Gospel. They hoped to recruit and train the Portuguese underclass for this task. But the role of cultural mediators had a secular dimension as well. With the increased economic transactions of the British, there was a growing ‘necessity for humble assistants’. The advantage of the Portuguese workers was that they were ‘almost equally cheap’ as Indian servants but still ‘somewhat nearer to us by the common ties of Christianity’.65 Thus, they would find an intermediate position not only in the colonial social order but also in practical terms, in the social division of labour.

Accordingly, the curriculum offered in the Benevolent Institution consisted of reading, writing, and arithmetic in English and Bengali. In addition, students were given non-denominational religious instruction in English and Bengali,66 even if they were at liberty to practice any ‘creed or faith’, including Catholicism.67 This bilingual education was necessary for the projected mediating position. It would enable the graduates to ‘comprehend directions given them by English gentlemen’ and convey them ‘to native servants with ease and effect’.68 For a poor European or Eurasian boy in India, a knowledge of English was ‘nearly equivalent’ to teaching a poor boy in England a trade.69 63 64 65 66 67 68 69

BI Report No. 6, 1817, 5; BI Report No. 7, 1818, 7. Marshman, Letter to Fuller, 1 September 1811, Periodical Accounts, 1811, 347. Ibid. Ibid. BI Report, No. 1, 1812, 6. BI Report No. 5, 1816, 5–6. BI Report No. 4, 1815, 4.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

137

The mediating position envisioned for the male graduates of the Benevolent Institution confirms Harald Fischer-Tiné’s argument that ‘white subalterns’ in colonial India still profited from a general ‘racial dividend’.70 They were subjected to rigorous moral policing but could still turn their closer connection to the colonial elite into an employment opportunity. In the early nineteenth century, teaching became one of these opportunities. The Benevolent Institution functioned as a model school, which, according to the aim of educational expansion, trained its monitors to be future schoolmasters. Branch schools were opened in Patna (1812) and Serampore (1814) by former monitors, and in Dacca (1816) by the Benevolent Institution’s former schoolmaster, Leonard. The function of the Eurasian institutions as model schools (or ‘central school’, in the case of the BES) gave the monitors and graduates privileged access to the modern teaching profession.

Moreover, the schools themselves performed a kind of mediating function: they adapted and transformed pedagogical knowledge, which was then applied to the vernacular schools that were directed at the Indian population. Again, the Benevolent Institution is an interesting case in point. Marshman, the educational specialist among the Serampore trio,71 particularly considered the advantages of ‘Mr. Lancaster’s plan of teaching’, which he was familiar with since 1806. When putting it to use in the Benevolent Institution, he made some ‘alterations’ that he hoped ‘will prove valuable to the cause of religion’: You are aware that one part of the plan consists in dictating words, which a class of 50 or 100 may hear from the mouth of one, and learn to read, spell and write it, at the same time.… [I]n the charity-school, where the grand object is to teach the Scriptures, it may be applied to the greatest advantage. My worthy tutor, Dr. Ryland, ... used often to inculcate that a thing written once, is more firmly fixed on the memory than the same thing read five or six times. Why not this mode then, be improved, so as to give a youth a clear and systematic knowledge of the word of God? 72

Marshman here already introduces the core element of the Serampore variation of the monitorial system, namely, writing from dictation. This technique of imprinting students’ minds with (in this case, scriptural) knowledge particularly utilizes the monitor-based instruction of large groups. According to Marshman, it was not only the most effective way to spread the Word of God but also the most efficient one: with an expense of ‘scarcely more than Eight Rupees 70 71 72

Fischer-Tiné, Low and Licentious Europeans. David Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization, 1773–1835 (Calcutta: Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay, 1969), 73. Marshman, Letter to Fuller, 1 September 1811, Periodical Accounts, 1811, 347.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

138

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

[emphasis in original] in Six Months’ per child, ‘including school room, salaries of masters, books and gratuities’ the Benevolent Institution offered the ‘cheapest mode of instruction ever yet known in Calcutta’. In a classroom ‘capable of containing eight hundred children’,73 the ‘multitude’ of Calcutta’s Portuguese children would, within three years, have written and learnt by heart the entire New Testament and, therefore, be reclaimed for Christianity.74

Oriental Despotism in the Classroom In 1816, Marshman, Carey, and Ward published a pamphlet, Hints Relative to Native Schools, which circulated widely among the European missionary audience as well as among the civil society educationalists in India.75 It is probably the earliest systematic proposal for the expansion and reform of popular schooling in India, which underlines the relevance of Protestant missionaries as actors of educational reform. They analysed what they perceived as the failure of the pre-existing institutions and formulated influential strategies for reform. In the Hints, the Serampore missionaries established a plan for setting up a system of public elementary schools for the population of Bengal under the supervision of a voluntary association, an idea which was clearly inspired by Lancaster’s Improvements. At first, the Serampore missionaries founded the Society for Native Schools (SNS) to implement the programme laid down in the Hints locally, around the mission station. Much more important, however, was their cooperation with the Calcutta School Book Society (CSBS, 1817) and Calcutta School Society (CSS, 1818), which will be discussed in Chapter 6. David Kopf even describes the Hints as a ‘manual’ for the CSS.76

The Hints opens with the notion that the Hindu ‘system’ of religion was ‘tending to produce and perpetuate ignorance of the worst kind, and this ignorance, on the other hand, tending to add to the horrors of the system’. The social agenda of the educational intervention was, therefore, to break this vicious circle of ‘ignorance’ and ‘superstition’. In this section, I will explore the missionaries’ diagnosis of what was wrong with India and its ‘native schools’; the following section discusses the practical remedies that they suggested.

73 74 75

76

BI Report No. 1, 1812, 12–14. Marshman, Letter to Fuller, 1 September 1811, Periodical Accounts, 1811, 350–352. Marshman, Carey, and Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools. Extracts from this pamphlet appeared in a range of missionary publications, such as the Missionary Register (1819) or the German reports on the Tranquebar Mission (NHB 1818), as well as in the BFSS report of 1818. Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 74.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

139

The early eighteenth-century missionaries, such as Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg (1682–1719) of Tranquebar, had found Indian society rather like their European homelands. Ziegenbalg, for instance, compared jatis to western European guilds.77 The new missionary movement, however, thought in terms of essential civilizational hierarchies. Carey and his Serampore colleagues are notorious for their polemic against India’s social evils, such as sati but also infanticide, early marriages, and polygamy.78 The missionaries found the basic root of those evils in the mental enslavement of the people by superstition. ‘Superstition’, missionary William Campbell of the London Missionary Society (LMS) believed, was ‘the cause of [India’s] political degeneracy’, and of ‘despotism’ in a comprehensive sense. In the missionary discourse, ‘despotism’ became the code for the prevalent social order, of the forms of authority and governance that the missionaries rejected. It characterized not only the political power but also the religious authority of the Brahmins and the patriarchal structure of the family. It shaped the subjectivity of the people.79 The missionaries, therefore, believed that the programme of social reconstruction under colonial rule had to start with a ‘deliverance’ of the minds of the people ‘from moral bondage’.80 They wanted to break the hold of ‘the shackles of Caste’ over the ‘native mind’.81 The missionaries aimed at nothing less than a ‘complete moral revolution’.82 77

78

79

80 81 82

Gita Dharampal-Frick, ‘Malabarisches Heidentum. Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg über Religion und Gesellschaft der Tamilen’, in Michael Bergunder (ed.), Missionsberichte aus Indien im 18. Jahrhundert (Halle: Francke’sche Stiftungen, 1999), 126–152. William Ward, A View of the History, Literature, and Mythology of the Hindoos: Including a Minute Description of Their Manners and Customs, and Translations from Their Principal Works, 3 vols (London: Kingsbury, Parbury and Allen, 1822). William Campbell, British India, in Its Relation to the Decline of Hindooism, and the Progress of Christianity: Containing Remarks on the Manners, Customs, and Literature of the People; on the Effects Which Idolatry Has Produced; on the Support, Which the British Government Has Afforded to Their Superstitions; on Education, and the Medium of Instruction through Which It Should Be Given (London: John Snow, 1839), 20–22. See also Missionary Register, 1816, 106–107; Missionary Register, 1819, 22. Missionary Register, 1819, 23. Campbell, British India, 23. Missionary Register, 1827, 370. The idea of a necessary ‘moral revolution’, or a ‘revolution in the minds’ was quite frequently expressed in the Missionary Register; see also 1828, 39 (referring to India), 1828, 304 (Sierra Leone), and 1827, 474 (Poland).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

140

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

The means of liberating Indian minds from superstition and of producing this moral revolution was education. British educationalists were aware that ‘a sufficient number of schools’ existed throughout the country; they even found that ‘there are probably as great a proportion of persons in India who can read, and write, and keep simple accounts, as […] in European countries’.83 The content and methods of indigenous education, however, were not to the missionaries’ liking. The prevalent schools did not answer to the new social agenda of missionary–colonial education. British educationalists (including missionaries, activists, and administrators) agreed that indigenous schoolmasters neglected the ‘formation of the moral character of the young’.84 The former missionary turned government commissioner William Adam observed that Bengal’s pathshalas produced ‘chiefly a mechanical effect upon the intellect of their pupils’. They did not activate the students’ ‘self-acting and self-judging capacities’. Summarizing Adam’s findings, Scottish missionary-educationalist Alexander Duff found no attempt to ‘modify’, ‘direct’, and to ‘form the sentiments and habits, and to control and guide the passions and emotions’ of the students.85 This diagnosed deficiency was, on the one hand, traced back to the curriculum offered in the common vernacular schools. The missionaries criticized that it was confined to writing and accounts. Most importantly, there was no regular reading of books, which could stimulate the mind’s improvement. It is remarkable that in south India, the missionaries were aware of books read in the common vernacular schools that, according to contemporary European categories, belonged to the fields of ethics or moral philosophy. Christoph Samuel John, of Tranquebar, praised the didactic writings of the medieval Tamil court poet Aweiar (Auvaiyar), the ‘Atusudi’ (Aathichoodi) and ‘Ronneiwenden’ (Konraiventhan) for the use of young children, and the ‘Mudurei’ (Mooturai) and ‘Nalwali’ (Nalvali) for the youth. In John’s assessment, they contained many ‘useful concepts of the general duties of men, as far as taught by natural religion’.86 However, as he qualified

83 84

85 86

BES Report No. 5, 1820, 10–11. Alexander Duff, Review of William Adam’s 2nd and 3rd Reports on the State of Education in Bengal and Behar, 1836 and 1838, Calcutta Review 2, no. 4 (1844): 301–376, see 333–340; for very similar formulations, see Missionary Register, 1822, 543; BES Report No. 5, 1820, 10–11; A.D. Campbell, ‘On the State of Education of the Natives in Southern India’, Transactions of the Literary Society of Madras 1, no. 5 (1834), 350–360. Duff, Review of Adam’s Reports, 333–340. NHB 39, 1791, 263–264. The letter contains excerpts of John’s translation of the Athichoodi, a composition that offers short moral statements starting with each letter of the alphabet.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

141

his position, these books were ‘written in so high a language that hardly one among a hundred schoolmasters would understand the aphorisms or would be able to explain them in the common tongue’.87 This pointed towards the necessity of stimulating the production and spread of ‘useful’ vernacular books, a project that the missionaries enthusiastically pursued in combination with vernacular schooling. Another British critique was that students were ‘never taught to pursue a connected reading’.88 They clearly judged Indian reading practices against the background of the new – ‘extensified and individualised’ – reading culture that had emerged in early modern Europe.89 To improve the mind, the individual had to go through a sequence of useful literature, to establish connections between the facts contained in books, and to reflect on their meaning. Only the constant practice of individual reading, especially of Christian texts, was perceived as having a moralizing function.

On the other hand, the presumed lack of moral instruction was explained in terms of discipline and pedagogical authority. For the missionaries, ‘oriental despotism’ was at work in the classroom as well. As the rule of the oriental monarch was imagined unlimited, personalized, and irrational (and, therefore, the opposite of the European-enlightened government concerned with the common good), the oriental teacher lacked the pastoral power to morally guide his students. On the contrary, the missionaries found the teachers of indigenous schools contributing to the general ‘mental enslavement’. The teachers were reported not to ‘appreciate the great influence which they might exert over the minds of their pupils, and they consequently neglect the highest duties which their situation would impose if they were better acquainted with their powers and obligations’.90 The teacher’s personal authority was, at the same time, criticized for being nearly unlimited; students would offer him presents and willingly render him ‘many menial and even dishonest services’ (such as preparing his ‘hookah’).91 Discipline was maintained, the missionaries of Serampore opined, solely by means of the ‘cane in the Master’s hand and the rod under the monitors arm’ (Figure 4.3).92 Duff came to the conclusion that ‘if the scheme 87 88 89 90 91 92

NHB 39, 1791, 263–264. BES Report No. 5, 1820, 10–11. Barbara Stollberg-Rilinger, Europa im Jahrhundert der Aufklärung (Stuttgart: Reclam, 2000), 138–139. Duff, Review of Adam’s Reports, 321. Ibid., 335. Missionary Register, 1822, 543. I am citing from the commentary on the picture in Figure 4.3 (which, in turn, quotes the Serampore missionaries).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

142

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

of teaching be throughout one of dull, dry, plodding, monotonous mechanism, acting on head and heart with all the force of a congealing efficacy, the scheme of discipline may be truly characterized as throughout reign of terror’ (emphasis in original).93 The teacher thus appeared as a ‘dreaded tyrant’ whose authority rested exclusively in the threat of physical pain. It was not a pastoral authority that encourages subject formation and self-governance but a despotic one that could lead only to ‘crouching servility’ on part of the students.94

Figure 4.3  ‘A Hindoo Village School’ Source: Missionary Register, 1822, 543. Note: The description in the Missionary Register claims that ‘The accompanying Engraving […] is taken from a drawing by a Native’, though it is clearly an adaptation of the Flemish artist Balthazar Solvyns’ coloured etching ‘A School’ (see Figure 1.1). The explanation which accompanied the picture has been radically altered. The original commentary was that it shows the different occupations in school. Here, it is part of the deficiency discourse: ‘The few Boys here seen at their lessons, small as the number is, have a Master and an Usher or Monitor to teach them. The cane in the Master’s hand and the rod under the Monitor’s arm, with the fruit (as it seems to be) in the Master’s right hand, shew that the general method of getting these poor lads through their tasks, is, to drive them by fear and coax them by rewards; […] Many millions of children in India, have either no education at all, or none but the wretched education which is given in this way. […] The importance and necessity of Christian Schools for Hindoo Children, will be strongly felt from a knowledge of these facts…’ 93

94

Duff, Review of Adam’s Reports, 333–340. For the most part, Duff ’s review is a close discussion of the results of Adam’s survey. He did, however, add a detailed passage on the ‘system of discipline’ of the indigenous schools. This ‘subject […] did apparently not attract Mr. Adam’s attention’, but nevertheless Duff considered it highly relevant. It is worth mentioning that Duff clearly shared the Serampore missionaries’ critique of Indian education, but he is one of the few missionary educators who did not promote monitorial schools as the solution. Duff, Review of Adam’s Reports, 335.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

143

Dictating a Course of Moral and Scientific Instruction Reformed ‘native schools’, as the missionaries envisioned them, had to introduce new knowledge, together with new pedagogical methods, which would ensure that the students would individually understand their school lessons. The schools aimed, after all, at changing mentalities, subjectivities, and worldviews. This also implied a new disciplinary regime. The whole organization of a school and the tasks of the teacher had to be radically altered. The problematic (‘despotic’) authority of the teacher was to be supplanted, on the one hand, by the impersonal functioning of the monitorial machine. On the other hand, the missionary educators turned to the students as ‘instruments’ of their plans, whose ‘obedience’ – as Bell had already believed – was easier to ensure: ‘To remedy the evils resulting from the employment of heathen schoolmasters, a plan is now in operation of instructing the children by monitors.’95

We are now coming to the specific proposals outlined in the Hints. As a first step to disrupt the vicious circle of ignorance and superstition, the missionaries proposed instruction in an orthographically standardized vernacular. This is remarkable, since this vernacular orientation is exactly what distinguished the shared approach towards popular schooling in the nineteenth century. It cut across the division of Anglicists and Orientalists in the domain of higher learning. The Hints introduce vernacular alphabetization prominently as the first step in the learning process in elementary schools. The vernacular approach to schooling corresponded with the Protestant missionary strategy of translating and printing the Bible in people’s regional spoken languages. This introduction of printed characters in the vernaculars furthered processes of linguistic standardization. While the Tranquebar missionaries thus influenced the linguistic development of the modern Tamil and Telugu, the Serampore trio extensively translated and published in Bengali and a variety of north Indian languages. The quality of these works, however, became disputed already in the 1820s. It is worth mentioning that globally we find strong linkages between the introduction of monitorial schools and efforts to formalize vernacular languages. A European example is the standardization of modern Bulgarian.96 In West Africa, British missionaries in 95

96

The Report of the Directors to the Forty-first General Meeting of the Missionary Society, Usually Called the London Missionary Society (London: Westley & Davis, 1835), 56. The report refers to an LMS school project in Bellary. Fikret Adanir, ‘Die Schulbildung in Griechenland (1750–1830) und in Bulgarien (1750–1878) […]’, in Wolfgang Schmale and Nan L. Dodde (eds), Revolutionen des Wissens? (Bochum: Winkler, 1991).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

144

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

contact with the BFSS contributed to bringing spoken languages into a written form.97 Carey’s emphasis on the vernacular was not only in line with a general Protestant policy. The Baptists, particularly those of humble origin, were opposed to a prioritization of elite intellectual culture.98 The Serampore missionaries emphasized that the acquisition of vernacular language skills would ‘facilitat[e] the reception of ideas which may enlarge and bless the mind in a high degree’.99 It was the basis for any individual understanding and active appropriation of knowledge.

In England, it will be remembered, the moral education (or the ‘improvement of the minds’) of working people’s children was closely coupled to religious instruction. In the case of the NES, it concentrated on rote-learning the catechism of the Anglican Church. The NES’s partner in Bombay, the BES, imitated this strategy for disciplining poor Europeans, and the Serampore missionaries imparted non-denominational religious instruction in their Benevolent Institution. In the case of ‘native education’, however, this coupling was disputed, even among the missionaries themselves. ‘Sound policy’, the editors of the Missionary Register emphasized, ‘requires us to proceed with caution.’ This meant that it might be ‘wise’, under some circumstances, to not immediately introduce the Christian scriptures, but probably wait ‘for a season at least’ before doing so.100 While there were missionary voices that admonished their fellow-workers to strictly adhere to Christian instruction,101 the early school projects in Bengal run by the Serampore mission, by the Church 97

98

99 100 101

Hannah Kilham, The Claims of West Africa to Christian Instruction through the Native Languages (London: Harvey and Darton, 1830). See Moira Ferguson, ‘Hannah Kilham: Gender, the Gambia, and the Politics of Language’, in Sonia Hofkosh and Alan Richardson (eds), Romanticism, Race, and Imperial Culture, 1780–1834 (Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1996), 114–148. Mary Hilton, ‘A Trancultural Transaction: William Carey’s Baptist Mission, the Monitorial Method and the Bengali Renaissance’, in Barnita Bagchi, Eckhardt Fuchs, and Kate Rousmaniere (eds), Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-Cultural Exchanges in (Post)Colonial Education (New York: Berghahn Books, 2014), 85–104. Marshman, Carey, and Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools, 7, 11–13. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 102–121, 113. The Missionary Register, 1818, 148, quotes a CMS agent: ‘I really think it is a subject worthy of deep reflection, how far a Christian in the country, and especially a Missionary, is justified in supporting or superintending a School in which merely reading and writing are taught.’ Would the students afterwards ‘not equally read the writings of their own Pundits?’

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

145

Missionary Society (CMS) in Burdwan, and by the LMS in Chinsura tried to find a substitute for, or at least a supplement to, the scriptures.

For higher education, Gauri Viswanathan has shown that the classical curriculum of the grammar schools and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge did not suit the plans of British educationalists in India. Searching for means to gain cultural hegemony, they turned to English literature as a substitute, long before this was established in the curricula in Britain itself.102 A similar substitution strategy, which unconsciously furthered processes of secularizing education, can be found among the missionaries in Bengal. The Hints suggested a substitute, which was adopted by the authors’ LMS and CMS colleagues in Bengal,103 and by the ‘Europeo-native’ educational associations in Calcutta and Bombay (CSBS, CSS, and BNES), namely ‘a course of moral and scientific instruction’.104

This ‘course of moral and scientific instruction’ started with a ‘concise but perspicuous Account of the Solar System’, including ‘so much of the laws of motion, and of attraction and gravity, as might be necessary to render the Solar System plain and intelligible’. This was followed by compendia on geography and natural philosophy, the latter containing facts ‘relative to light, heat, air, water, meteorology, mineralogy, chemistry, and natural history’. The course was completed by one compendium on history and chronology and one on ethics and morality. The last one aimed to impart to the students ‘just ideas of themselves, relative both to body and mind, and to a future state of existence’.105 The Hints repeatedly stressed the powers of scientific knowledge. The curriculum the missionaries suggested, however, mixed a secular knowledge of ‘facts’ with popular evangelical Christianity. This is especially evident in the field of history, which started with the ‘creation’ and continued with a ‘biblical’ and a ‘secular’ branch. Moreover, the geography and history lessons were centred on Britain, according to ‘her pre-eminence among the nations which the God of

102 103

104

105

Gauri Viswanathan, Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India (New York: Columbia University Press, 1989). In the beginnings of the 1820, the educators of Burdwan and Chinsura introduced short ‘dialogues’ containing scripture lessons, and later the Bible, but never as the core of the curriculum. In south India, missionaries used the Bible as a school book right from the beginning, and this was never contested among them. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 102–121, 113. The same course was adopted in Bombay, supplemented by ‘an elementary treatise on navigation, and a description of the countries connected with this port…’ BES Report No. 5, 1820. Marshman, Carey, and Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools, 13–16.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

146

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

providence has given her’.106 The empiricist knowledge, which was presented to the Bengali youth as grounded in a universal rationality, was indeed strongly interspersed with ethnocentric and Christian elements.

The emphasis on astronomy and natural philosophy aimed at nothing less than the substitution of Hindu cosmology – which abhorred Ward so much in his View on the ‘Hindoos’ – with a Newtonian world view. This included not just a memorization of ‘facts’ that were supposed to undermine people’s superstition.107 The Serampore missionaries hoped to ‘inflame a few minds … with an unquenchable desire to know why these things are so’ (emphasis in original).108 Also the Chinsura schools (LMS) aimed ‘to excite a spirit of enquiry’.109 In Burdwan (CMS), students were taught to argue in terms of ‘proofs’ and evidence. They were expected, for instance, to prove by argumentation that the earth is round, as part of their examination. The missionaries aimed to encourage students towards scientific enquiry and experimentalism. The habits of reasoning which students acquired by being trained in natural philosophy were, moreover, supposed to be transferred to other domains of life, such as finding ‘the simplest and easiest method of solving […] practical questions’110 and even hoped to produce ‘habits of moral reflection’.111

In laying out the model curriculum for ‘native schools’, the Bengal missionaries thus married ‘rational religion’ to modern science.112 Their reliance on science was no coincidence. We also find it among other nineteenth-century Protestant missionaries. In his study on LMS activities in the Pacific, Sujit Sivasundaram has shown how amateur research and science education, that is, the knowledge of God’s creation, played an important role in the evangelical project.113 Many Tranquebar missionaries showed a tremendous interest in science and were 106 107 108 109 110 111 112

113

Ibid., 14. Missionary Register, 1816, Letter from Corrie, 20 December 1816, 106–107. Marshman, Carey, and Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools, 13–16. Letter from W.B. Bayley to the Governor General, Marquis of Hastings, 25 April 1821, in Native Free Schools at Chinsurah and Its Vicinity: IOR/F/4/823/21876. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 102–121, quoting from the Hints Relative to Native Schools. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 102–121. The same connection of science and Christianity existed in the missionary higher education projects. See Sujit Sivasundaram, ‘“A Christian Benares”: Orientalism, Science and the Serampore Mission of Bengal’, The Indian Economic and Social History Review 44, no. 2 (2007): 111–145. Sujit Sivasundaram, Nature and the Godly Empire (Cambridge University Press, 2005).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

147

personally active in the classification of flora and fauna. They introduced the use of globes and maps in their schools, materials that were regularly sent to them from the Halle headquarters.114

To impart this new ‘course of moral and scientific instruction’, the Serampore missionaries turned to the machinery of the monitorial system of education. Nothing was necessary for adapting the system already tried out in the Benevolent Institution for ‘native schools’, ‘but the selection of proper ideas for communication, and the organizing of a plan, which, by vigilant superintendence, should secure the communication of these ideas independently of ability in the Master for conveying them’. The core of this plan consisted in ‘writing from dictation’. The advantage of this method was not only that it made the schoolmaster – as we have seen, a favourite target of missionary critique – irrelevant but that his despotic authority would be broken by the knowledge circulated among the students themselves. It would also secure the attention of a whole class. It promoted ‘the improvement of a pupil in reading, writing, orthography, and grammar, at the same time that it convey[ed] clear and distinct ideas to the mind’.115

All an education reformer had to do was to distribute the above-mentioned compendia – which the missionaries indeed compiled and printed soon enough – in the schools under their control. (Their materials were widely used in other mission schools, for instance, in Burdwan.116) These compendia were then to be written sentence-by-sentence by the students under a monitor’s dictation, corrected and repeatedly re-read. In this way, theorems such as ‘[t]he earth moves round the sun in three hundred and sixty five days, which motion forms the year’ or ‘[t]he moon encompasses the earth in twenty-nine days and a half, thus forming the lunar month’ were ‘committed to memory’. The minds of the students were ‘imprinted’ with rational ideas. The missionaries further hoped that the students would take their notebooks home and read them to their neighbours and parents. Thus, ‘the most important facts in History and Natural Science might be circulated […] in every village around, without the least effort’.117 114

115 116 117

Indira Viswanathan Peterson, ‘Science in the Tranquebar Mission Curriculum: Natural Theology and Indian Responses’, in Bergunder, Missionsberichte aus Indien im 18. Jahrhundert, 175–219. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 102–121, 117. CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 80–83. Marshman, Carey, and Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools, 19–24.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

148

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Towards a Colonial Grammar of Difference As the Serampore missionaries hoped, once the machinery of knowledge diffision was set up, it would transcend the school and transform society at large. And there was still another advantage, besides the preparation of the Gospel’s progress. Because ‘India must be indebted to the West’ for being taught these novel ideas, ‘generations yet unborn will pour benedictions on the British name’.118 The schooling plans of the Protestant British missionaries not only inform us about their aspirations to convert people to a radically new world view. They were directly and explicitly supportive of British colonial rule – for them, a gift granted by Divine Providence. James Stewart, a long-acting superintendent of the CMS-supported schools of Burdwan, even introduced ‘some few of the preambles of the East India Company’s regulations’ into the school lessons. Those, he hoped, would ‘convince the Hindus that Government anxiously desires to promote their comfort and advantage’ and, therefore, win the people’s consent to British rule.119 Even if their conversion agenda sometimes brought the early nineteenth-century missionaries in conflict with the colonial authorities (as we will see in Chapter 6), they clearly participated in the efforts to establish British political and cultural hegemony. They were not, as some of the late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Protestant missionaries, ‘anti-imperialists’.120

Irrespective of whether they were allied with the liberal BFSS or the conservative NES, Protestant missionaries in India devised their programme of ‘native education’ in view of a hierarchically stratified colonial social order. Stressing the advantages of the Benevolent Institution, the Serampore missionaries argued that the education it offered would not ‘injure any other class of people’.121 Due to the limited curriculum, there was no danger that Eurasian charity-children would compete with the offspring of the well-to-do British in Calcutta for jobs. The social agenda of vernacular ‘native education’, 118 119

120

121

Ibid., 13. Memoir of the Rev. John James Weitbrecht, Late Missionary of the Church Missionary Society at Burdwan, in Bengal. Comprehending a History of the Burdwan Mission, compiled from his journal and letters by his widow (London: Nisbeth and Co. 1854), 51. Andrew Porter, Religion versus Empire? British Protestant Missionaries and Overseas Expansion, 1700–1914 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2004), 316–330. BI Report No. 6, 1817, 9.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

149

as envisioned in the missionary discourse, was clearly directed at rural and less-affluent urban children. Robert May’s successful Chinsura schools were explicitly framed as ‘education of the poor’.122 The American Marathi mission specifically approached ‘the lower classes’.123 In any case, its targets were not Indian intellectuals and social elites. Vernacular schools aimed to better the circumstances of the students ‘by [their] ideas being enlarged and [their] powers aroused to a greater exertion in [their] own calling’. They must not, however, alienate the students from ‘manual labour’ or from their ‘paternal calling’. English instruction, therefore, was to be restricted to those well-to-do Bengali families who possessed the ‘wealth and leisure’ to seek any education they pleased. Otherwise, ‘thousands of natives’ would be ‘drawn from their proper employments by the golden expectations inspired through their being able to copy an English letter’. Since there was no sufficient employment, a ‘thickening crowd’ was thereby ‘allured to real misery’.124 Even more, English education would put Bengali commoners in a position to compete with the indigent Christians, who were to function as cultural mediators and had a special claim on British charity.125 The vernacular policy of the early nineteenth-century missionaries was, therefore, also motivated by the social agenda of educational differentiation and the management of the division of labour among different subaltern groups within the colonial hierarchy. In the previous chapter, I have introduced Carey’s Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians as a message of rigorous universalism, which corresponded to the BFSS’s emphasis on the equality of human potential. When fundraising in England, his colleague Ward heartily concurred with the position that every child was equally capable of instruction. It was this universalism that Indian

122

123 124

125

Reports on the State of the Police for the Division of Calcutta and relative to the Establishment of Village Schools in Chinsurah and its Vicinity by Mr. May: IOR/F/4/534/12850. ABCFM Report No. 7, 1816, 22. SNS Report No. 1, 1817, 39–40. This argument is almost literally repeated in Auckland’s minute of 24 November 1839: ‘the primary object of the government is to extend education to those who have leisure for advanced study’, rather than ‘the training of a promiscuous crowd of English smatterers’. Cited in Parimala V. Rao, ‘“Promiscuous Crowd of English Smatterers”: The “Poor” in the Colonial and Nationalist Discourse on Education in India, 1835–1912’, Contemporary Education Dialogue 10, no. 2 (2013): 223–248, 231. SNS Report No. 1, 1817, 39–40.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

150

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

critics of caste and gender inequality found interesting about Christianity.126 There is a striking contrast, however, within the early nineteenth-century education movement, between the universalistic talk in England, which underlined the possibility for change, and the missionaries’ writings in India. When Carey, Marshman, and Ward devised their group-specific curricula in India, not much was left of the ‘fundamental egalitarianism of the Christian message’.127 Carey had cited St Paul stressing there was no difference between the Greek and the Jew once they joined the Christian community. Apparently, the same did not apply to Indians. ‘A Hindoo’, the Serampore missionaries wrote, ‘must ever remain a Hindoo, inferior to the European by the force of all those habits which his superior exertions have rendered natural to him.’ The missionaries traced these ‘superior exertions’ to the rougher climate of Europe, where harvest, they thought, required more intensive labour.128 The missionaries assumed a single origin of mankind. Indeed, they stressed this as one of the ‘facts’ that would clearly undermine caste distinctions once it became common knowledge. In the framework of a culture–climate theory,129 however, the missionaries legitimized British rule over the ‘relaxed and timid Asiatic’, who, not ‘less happy because inferior in ability […] may sit in his [European] neighbor’s peaceful shadow’, profiting and learning from his ‘more powerful and more enlightened mind’.130 This is actually a remarkable switch towards the cultural differentialist register of modern racism131 by the very same actors (Carey and Ward), who, when campaigning in the metropole, stressed the equality of human potential.

Equally remarkable is the hierarchical differentiation between ‘European’ and ‘native’ children which the Tranquebar missionaries put into practice. Until the 1770s, one set of free schools catered to Tamil students (‘Malabar schools’),

126

Pandita Ramabai expressed this when explaining her motivation for conversion. Christian universalism, as opposed to the ‘partial’ Brahminical religion is also discussed by Jotirao Phule, for instance in his defence of Ramabai. Meera Kosambi (ed.), Pandita Ramabai through Her Own Words: Selected Works (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000); Jotirao Phule, ‘Satsar. No. 1, June–October 1885’, trans. Urmila Bhirdikar, in Govind P. Deshpande (ed.), Selected Writings of Jotirao Phule (New Delhi: Leftword, 2002), 205–213. 127 Porter, Religion versus Empire? 320. 128 SNS Report No. 1, 1817, 41. 129 See Montesquieu, Der Geist der Gesetze (Frankfurt am Main: Reclam, 1994), 261–273 (= De l‘Esprit des lois, Geneve, 1748). 130 SNS Report No. 1, 1817, 41. 131 Stuart Hall, ‘The Multi-Cultural Question’, in Barnor Hesse (ed.), Un/settled Multiculturalisms: Diasporas, Entanglements, Transruptions (London: Zed, 2000), 209–241, 216. Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

151

the other to European and Eurasian students (‘Portuguese schools’). In the 1780s, they tried a new form of integrating both groups in one school.132 John reported that when he held catechization, the Tamil children had to kneel while the European children stood. He explained that this was necessary because of their ‘different dresses’. At lunch, the Tamil students were required to serve the meals for their European schoolmates, so that they would ‘become acquainted with the European manners’ and learn the skills necessary for the service with Europeans. Moreover, John found, this ‘offered a good opportunity to break their foolish habit of despising beef ’.133

Against the background of these remarkable contradictions, we can now reassess the missionaries’ social agenda of liberating Indians from the bondage of caste. This is highly relevant for the discussion of whether Protestant missionary educators acted as a democratizing force.134 On the one hand, the early nineteenth-century education movement wanted to abolish caste distinctions, which they contrasted to the meritocracy of British liberalism. John James Weitbrecht, sent out by the CMS to Burdwan, observed that his students ‘knew of no precedence but that which was derived from merit. The Brahmin boy and his ignoble [sic] neighbour sat side by side, and if the latter excelled the former in learning, as was often the case, he stood above him’.135 On the other hand, we find restricted curricula, which would help prevent 132

Heike Liebau, Die indischen Mitarbeiter der Tranquebarmission (1706–1845): Katecheten, Schulmeister, Übersetzer (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2008), 309–312, for schedule and curricula, see 315–317. The English translation is published as Cultural Encounters in India: The Local Co-workers of the Tranquebar Mission, 18th to 19th Centuries (New Delhi: Social Science Press [distributed by Orient Blackswan], 2013). 133 Letter of Christoph Samuel John, Tranquebar, 18 October 1784, in NHB 30, 1783, 705–706, translated from German by the author. 134 Ambrose Pinto, Education and Democracy in India: Contribution of the Christian Missions, in Anne Vaugier-Chatterjee (ed.), Education and Democracy in India (New Delhi: Manohar, 2004), 15–26. The position of missionaries within colonial projects has been highly controversial among scholars. While cultural historians such as Catherine Hall and anthropologists such as the Comaroffs tend to be critical of the missionaries’ approach towards indigenous societies, mission historians such as Porter and especially Ingleby tried to defend them against charges of cultural imperialism with reference to their humanitarian agenda. See Catherine Hall, Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in English Imagination, 1830–1867 (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002); Jean Comaroff and John Comaroff, Of Revelation and Revolution: Christianity, Colonialism, and Consciousness in South Africa (Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press, 1991); Porter, Religion Versus Empire? 316–330; J.C. Ingleby, Missionaries, Education and India (Delhi: ISPCK 2000). Memoir of the Rev. John James Weitbrecht, 51. 135 Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

152

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

disturbances in the social division of labour. People should not be alienated from manual labour. Indeed, Rupa Viswanath has argued that Protestant missionaries – who did at times function as allies for the untouchable castes – disentangled the religious aspects of caste (which would appear in my sources as ‘superstition’ and ‘mental enslavement’), which they rejected, from its ‘legitimate’ civil aspects.136 Their opposition to caste, therefore, was never a wholesale plea for social equality.137 Social mobility, instead, was a potential danger that missionary educators had to carefully manage. What we then find is the missionaries’ effort to substitute prevalent forms of intellectual and social authority with a modern colonial grammar of difference. Caste divisions of labour were to be transformed into class relations. Both the German missionaries in the south and the British missionaries in Bengal affirmed the hierarchy of social classes.138 Mass education, in this framework, aimed to produce obedient, useful subaltern subjects.

From ‘Slave’ to ‘Help-Meet’: The Reconstruction of the Domestic Sphere In this framework of differentiation, we can also understand the social agenda of ‘female education’. It was, first, understood as a means of ‘saving women’. This trope already appears in the case of schooling for poor European and Eurasians girls. The ‘indigent girl’, the BES’s patron Archdeacon Barnes warned, was even ‘more neglected, and certainly more exposed to danger and temptation’ than the poor Christian boy. A male youth could find work as a sailor, a mechanic, or a labourer. However, there were very few ‘trades and occupations’ that ‘circumstances’ and ‘nature’ would allow a young woman to support herself. Combined with the absence of paternal control, and the bad example set by an unmarried mother, poor European and Eurasian girls were in grave moral danger. Confining them to the boarding school, and training them as good Christians, was found necessary to save them from a life of vice (meaning informal sexual relationships and prostitution).139 136

137 138 139

Rupa Viswanath, The Pariah Problem: Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014), 16. This, apparently, revoked an earlier pattern of interpretation of caste. In the 1730s, the Tranquebar missionaries had arrived at the conclusion that caste was primarily a civil institution, an interpretation that could also help legitimise caste segregation (between ‘ShudraChristians’ and ‘Pariah-Christians’) within the newly formed congregations. See Liebau, Die indischen Mitarbeiter der Tranquebarmission, 179–812. Viswanath, The Pariah problem, 16. See Rao, ‘Promiscuous Crowd of English Smatterers’. BES Report No. 1, 1816, 19–21.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

153

This ‘saving’ agenda was even more pronounced in the case of ‘native female education’. This shows particularly in the close connection between fundraising for establishing female schools in India and the public campaign in England for the abolition of sati, an invented tradition that began to be referred to – by its advocates and opponents alike – as the symbol of Hindu culture par excellence.140 In 1820, William Ward started a fundraising campaign in England for sending a female expert in the new system of instruction to Calcutta, in cooperation with the Ladies’ Committee of the BFSS. Her task was to initiate there a system of female education, including the training of women teachers.141 (The teacher thus engaged, Mary Ann Cooke, embarked for Calcutta, together with Ward, on 28 May 1821, expecting to be received and supported by the CSS.)142 At the same time, Ward tried to convince the British public of the necessity of a legal ban on sati, which had by this time already emerged as a much-contested public issue in Bengal.143 In the appeals to the public, and especially to the ‘ladies of Britain’ for donating money, women’s education became established as the most promising means to prevent further satis. Another crucial feature of the discourse on native female education was the rhetoric of liberation. The ‘domestic slavery’ to which the Indian woman was

140

141 142

143

Clare Midgley, ‘Female Emancipation in an Imperial Frame: English Women and the Campaign against Sati (Widow-Burning) in India, 1813–30’, Women’s History Review 9 (2000): 95–121. On the abolition of sati and its symbolic status within the British civilizing mission, see Gayatri Chakravorti Spivak, ‘Can the Subaltern Speak?’ in Cary Nelson and Lawrence Grossberg (eds), Marxism and the Interpretation of Culture (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1988), 271–313; Lata Mani, Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India (University of California Press, 1998). For sati as an ‘invented tradition’ (in short: a social practice which in the nineteenth century came to symbolize national identity), see Veena Oldenburg, ‘The Continuing Invention of Sati Tradition’, in John Stratton Hawley (ed.), Sati, the Blessing and the Curse: The Burning of Wives in India (New York: Oxford University Press, 1994), 159–173; also Jana Tschurenev, ‘Between Non-interference in Matters of Religion and Civilizing Mission: The Prohibition of Suttee in 1829’, in Harald Fischer-Tiné and Michael Mann (eds), Colonialism as Civilizing Mission (London: Anthem Press, 2004), 50–68. BFSS Annual Report No. 16, 1821, xi, 32–34. Ibid., 32. The social background of Cooke as a governess has been discussed in the previous chapter in the context of female missionary agency; for her reception in Calcutta and the struggles to get funding for her work, see Chapter 6. The Serampore missionaries were crusaders against sati, and the first who tried to assess its prevalence in quantitative terms. See William Ward, ‘Burning of Widows Alive’, in his View, vol. III., 308–341. See J. K. Majumdar, Raja Rammohun Roy and Progressive Movements in India (Calcutta: Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, 1983 [1941]); Mani, Contentious Traditions, 122–158.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

154

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

subjected (an ‘oriental’, ‘despotic’ patriarchy) was depicted as the opposite of the respected position of the educated British woman, who enjoyed the ‘liberties’ of her country.144 Her liberation was an essential condition for India’s general ‘progress of civilization’.145 Clare Midgley has shown that in the evangelical and missionary discourse, the social wrongs of India were represented as ‘family, fireside evils’ (William Wilberforce), in contrast to the ‘fireside enjoyments, homeborn happiness’ (William Cowper) that distinguished the ideal Christian household.146 In her account on Hindoo Female Education Priscilla Chapman opined that the ‘greatest evil’ of India rested ‘in the home circle, where discord, confusion, and misery reign, from the long-established idea, that the wife must […] be the slave, instead of the help-meet’.147 No social reconstruction, therefore, was possible without the reconstruction of the domestic sphere. This, in turn, depended on the education of women: ‘Wherever […] this sex is left in a state of ignorance and degradation, the endearing and important duties of Wife and Mother cannot be duly discharged; and no great progress in civilization and morals can [….] be reasonably hoped for.’ As a tool of social reconstruction, schooling would remain ineffectual if not ‘extended to both sexes’.148

In the missionary understanding, the fact that Indian girls did generally not have access to formal schooling was identified with a ‘denial’ to them of ‘every vestige of mental cultivation’.149 Missionaries knew that households were spaces of female socialization. Chapman observed that girls were instructed ‘in Hindoo worship’ by their female family members, so that they were able later as

144

145

146 147 148 149

Midgley, ‘Female Emancipation’, 96; ‘Call on British Females’, Missionary Register, 1815, 397–400; ‘Appeal on behalf of the Native Females of British India’, Missionary Register, 1820, 433–435. See also David W. Savage, ‘Missionaries and the Development of a Colonial Ideology of Female Education in India’, Gender and History 9, no. 2 (1997): 201–221. The idea of the ‘state of women’ as a marker of the ‘state of civilization’ had been prominently established in John Millar’s philosophy of history (Observations Concerning the Distinction of Ranks in Society [London: J. Murray, 1773]). We find it prominently reiterated by James Mill. Midgley, ‘Female Emancipation’, 97. Priscilla Chapman, Hindoo Female Education (London: R.B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1839), 64. Daniel Corrie (CMS Corresponding Committee, Calcutta), ‘Appeal in behalf of Female Education’, 23 February, 1822 Missionary Register, 1822, 481–482. BFSS Annual Report No. 16, 1821, 32. Similar words are used by Chapman: ‘entire neglect of their mental powers’; see Hindoo Female Education, 19.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

155

wives ‘to take […] part in the religious household ceremonies’.150 British female missionaries observed girls assisting in running the household and caring for younger siblings.151 This household-based apprenticeship model of learning, however, was not understood as ‘education’ by the missionaries.152 Even worse, girls were socialized into the very same domestic culture that the evangelicals wanted to abandon. Again, a public intervention in the form of formal schooling reacted to a presumed failure of the family’s socializing function. The question was, however, what to teach girls in schools. When they started their work in 1815, the Ladies’ Committee of the BFSS emphasized the need ‘for imparting to Females, belonging to the labouring classes […] such a portion of education […], as shall enable them to discharge the duties of their stations which, as women, they are destined to fill’ (emphasis in original).153 Which ‘stations’ were women to fill ‘as women’? For British working women, one important question was employment, most importantly, domestic service. The BES followed the same agenda: their managing committee regularly reported on the number of girls who were ‘placed in service’ with ‘ladies’.154

Much higher on the colonial educationalists’ agenda, however, was to train wives and mothers. A wife’s duty as her husband’s useful and competent ‘help-meet’155 was laid down in the Bible, as much as grounded in ‘nature’. The fulfilment of this duty, however, still seemed to require education. The Benevolent Institution and the BES cited the number of young women who entered proper marriages ‘within their sphere’ as an important marker of success. 150

151 152

153 154

155

Chapman, Hindoo Female Education, 26. On Hindu women’s ritual culture, see Julia Leslie (ed.), Roles and Rituals for Hindu Women (Delhi: Motilal Banarsidass, 1992). Missionary Register, 1822, 483–485. Nita Kumar suggests differentiating between three kinds of educational practices: formal teaching, apprenticeship, and mothering, whereby only the first one has been recognised as education by colonial observers. Nita Kumar, The Politics of Gender, Community, and Modernity (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007), 99–100. BFSS Annual Report No. 10, 1815, viii. From 2,507 female students who left the central school of the BES between 1815 and 1836, 693 fall into this category, the others are reported to have been withdrawn (1,363), deceased (343), or expelled (108). ‘Return Shewing the Operations of the Bombay Education Society from Its Formation in 1815 to the 1st January, 1837’, BES Report No. 22, 1837. Daniel Corrie, Corresponding Committee CMS, Calcutta, ‘Appeal in behalf of Female Education’, 23 February 1822, Missionary Register, 1822, 481–482.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

156

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Since ‘in every country, the Infant Mind receives its earliest impressions from the Female Sex’,156 the proper performance of motherly ‘duties’ was women’s most important responsibility. The BFSS Ladies’ Committee were convinced that ‘it cannot be expected [from] mothers, who are destitute of every moral principle, [to] be the means of instructing their offspring in the duties they owe to God, their parents, or to society’.157 Teaching Indian women their motherly duties would also help to prevent sati, because these were the duties that women neglected if they chose to die with their husbands.158 The core of the social agenda of ‘female education’ – of Indian as well as poor European girls – was to train them according to a modern-bourgeois ideal of ‘the universal rational mother’.159 Educated mothers, who properly exercised their authority on training their children into moral subjects, could be powerful agents for civilizing and modernizing their own society.160

It seems to have been rather difficult to translate such an agenda into curricular content. All the early nineteenth-century female education projects put much emphasis on ‘needlework’. In the central school of the BES, the girls were put to sewing and mending their own as well as the boys’ clothes. Moreover, they did remittance work for the ‘patronesses’ of the institution for two full days and two afternoons of the week.161 Their needlework was ‘strictly confined to the plainest and most useful kind’ to not cause any ‘mischief ’ among the girls.162 In the Benevolent Institution, the female students learned knitting and needlework ‘as a means of support in future life’, which could even be performed at home, so that they would not be ‘obliged to leave their family during the whole of the day’. The report ensured readers that the female students very much appreciated these lessons.163 Needlework, however, was much more than a useful means to support a family – it symbolized women’s constant employment

156 157 158 159

160 161 162 163

Daniel Corrie, ‘Appeal in behalf of Female Education’, Missionary Register, 1822, 481–482. BFSS Annual Report No. 16, 1821, 25–26. ‘Appeal on behalf of the Native Females of British India’, Missionary Register, 1820, 433–435. Joyce Goodman, ‘Languages of Female Colonial Authority: The Educational Network of the Ladies Committee of the British and Foreign School Society, 1813–37’, Compare 30, no. 1 (2000): 7–19, 17. Kumar, The Politics of Gender, Community, and Modernity, 128. BES Report No. 11, 1826, 8–10; BES Report No. 13, 1828, 8; BES Report No. 20, 1835, 34–35 (Time table). BES Report No. 3, 1818, 21; BES Report No. 8, 1823, 9. BI Report No. 5, 1816, 11–12.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

157

within a Christian, orderly domestic sphere.164 The normative femininity which this implies is nicely illustrated by the (by now somewhat iconic) picture in Figure 4.4 – this is how one of Cooke’s students in Calcutta was envisioned.

Figure 4.4  ‘A Scholar of the Native Female Schools in Calcutta’ Source: Missionary Register, 1828, 174–175. Note: The comment on the picture reads: ‘The accompanying Engraving is taken from a Portrait of one of the Scholars attending the Schools in Calcutta; she is represented in the Native-Female Dress, which is called a “Sarrie” […]. The book in her right-hand shews that she is a scholar: the sight of a girl with a book in her hand, however common in England, was till lately very unusual in India. In her left-hand she holds one of the work-bags sent out by Ladies in England as rewards for the best behaved Girls.’ For further discussion see Midgley, Female Emancipation.

In the eyes of the missionaries, it was only a Christian education which would turn disorderly houses into scenes of domestic happiness. The BFSS Ladies’ Committee considered religious instruction as the heart of female education ‘in every part of the empire’.165 In the early nineteenth-century discourse on girls’ education in India, there was never any discussion on curricular substitutes, nothing that could compare to the ‘course of scientific and moral instruction’ for Indian boys. There was, apparently, no difference between a British and an Indian mother. Only Christian knowledge could produce female ‘virtuous 164 165

Chapman, Hindoo Female Education, 28. See Midgley, ‘Female Emancipation’, 103. BFSS Annual Report No. 10, 1815, iix.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

158

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

conduct’.166 By means of instruction in needlework and the Christian religion, Indian women would, it was believed, ‘acquire habits of industry’ and adopt ‘a holy principle to keep them from evil and direct them to good’. British missionaries even expected that Indian men would ‘grant’ their wives ‘more liberty’167 when they saw that this liberty was not ‘abused’.168

To come back to the question of difference and unequal power relations: poor European and Eurasian girls were clearly put in a subordinate position in terms of both gender and class. I am unsure if Fischer-Tiné’s useful concept of a racial dividend applies to them as it does to their male schoolmates. Their lives were spent in domestic labour, first in service to a socially superior woman, then for their husband and children. In the evangelical-missionary ideology, all women were cast in the role of their husbands’ ‘help-meet’. Public schooling for Indian girls aimed to shift the gender relations from the prevalent (‘patrilineal, patrilocal’) form of patriarchy into a modern (‘bourgeois, romanticised’) domestic regime.169 Both were marked by gender inequality, even if in different ways. By invoking a universal rational motherhood, the imperial discourse on ‘female education’ targeted the heart of the domestic sphere. From there, it was hoped, society at large would be uplifted.

Conclusion In this chapter, I have explored the social agenda of the early monitorial movement in India, at a period when the first new schools were set up, and the first programmes for ‘native education’ were drafted. I have shown that schooling was crucial for the production and management of a colonial grammar of difference. Within a framework of thought that combined popular evangelical 166 167

168 169

Ibid. ‘Call on British Females’, Missionary Register, 1815, 397–400; see Royal Gould Wilder, Mission Schools in India of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (New York: A.D.F. Randolph, 1861), 38. Chapman, Hindoo Female Education, 39. Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘Europa provinzialisieren. Postkolonialität und die Kritik der Geschichte’, in Sebastian Conrad and Shalini Randeria (eds), Jenseits des Eurozentrismus. Postkoloniale Perspektiven in den Geschichts- und Kulturwissenschaften (Frankfurt am Main: Campus, 2002), 283–312; see Kumar, The Politics of Gender, Community, and Modernity, 128; Jane Haggis, ‘“Good Wives and Mothers” or “Dedicated Workers”? Contradictions of Domesticity in the “Mission of Sisterhood”, Tranvancore, South India’, in Kalpana Ram and Margaret Jolly (eds), Maternities and Modernities: Colonial and Postcolonial Experiences in Asia and the Pacific (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 81–113.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

Race, Class, and Gender

159

notions of Providence – a Providence that foresaw different ‘stations’ for the rich and the poor, British empire-builders and colonized subjects, men and women – and the emerging discourse of a natural course of society and the natural differences between people according to ‘race’ and ‘sex’, missionary educators developed specific curricula for particular educational target groups.

Charity and boarding schools for poor Europeans and Eurasians aimed to put them to the service of the British colonial elite. Poor Indo-British girls were the preferred domestic servants among ‘European ladies’. Eurasian boys were trained to become bilingual cultural mediators. Sometimes these schools were still supplemented by other institutions, such as savings bank, which offered security and at the same time regulated the conduct of this lowest part of European society in India. The agenda of ‘native education’ was basically to prepare the way for conversion. Due to considerations of practicality, the Serampore missionaries developed a ‘course of moral and scientific instruction’ as a temporary substitute to teaching Christian scriptures. This empiricist orientation towards teaching rational ‘facts’ became an important feature of vernacular education in the 1820s and 1830s. In contrast to the Anglicist ‘downward filtration’ approach, which came to dominate colonial Bengal’s educational policy in the 1830s, the missionary generation of the 1810s and 1820s tried to reach the common people. They followed a vernacular policy, which was grounded in the notion that new ideas were easier received in the mother tongue. At the same time, it was part of the politics of educational differentiation. The projects to organize public schooling for girls, finally, centred on the notion that without the reconstruction of the domestic sphere and the help of Christian-educated, rational mothers there was no general ‘uplift’ in the ‘scale of civilization’.

A limited, differentiated education aimed to enable the (subaltern) individual to become a recognized agent within a defined social ‘sphere’ and to learn the ‘duties’ that were connected to his or her particular ‘station’. It was meant to produce and strengthen new power relations, to define the limits of social mobility, and to regulate the relations between different subaltern groups. This regulation entailed the management of the division of labour in society. Schooling thus became connected not to the reproduction of existing lines of social stratification – a classical topos in the sociology of education – but to the production of a new social order.170 The spread of new schools and new 170

Pierre Bourdieu and J.C. Passeron, Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture (London: SAGE Publications, 1990). See Nigel Crook, ‘The Control and Expansion of Knowledge: An Introduction’, in Nigel Crook (ed.), The Transmission of Knowledge in South Asia: Essays on Education, Religion, History and Politics (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), 1–27.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

160

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

knowledge aimed to break the prevalent forms of political, religious, domestic, and even educational authority. The objective was to promote a new mode of authority, together with a new, colonial hierarchical differentiation of society.

So far, I have discussed the social and educational agendas of the missionaries and British reformers within the early nineteenth-century imperial education movement. Pavla Miller has emphasized, however, that there are major gaps between this ‘rhetorical curriculum’, the ‘curriculum-in-use’ in schools, and the ‘received curriculum’ on part of the students.171 Sumit Sarkar has pointed out that the demonstration of the hegemonic intentions of colonial education policies does not prove that hegemony was achieved.172 Some elements of the missionaries’ approach – their opposition towards Indian schoolmasters, and the equation of girls’ schooling with Christian instruction – unsurprisingly, caused considerable friction. Considering this, the next chapters will look at the important restrictions to the implementation and effective functioning of these programmes. They were undermined, appropriated, and changed by Indian teachers and students (Chapter 5), and contested in negotiations with Indian social reformers and the colonial governmental authorities (Chapters 6 and 7). The ambitious educational programmes, or ‘extensive designs’ (to come back to the initial quote), indeed produced important ‘effects’, but only some of them had been intended by some of the educationalists.

171 172

Pavla Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 1500–1900 (Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1998), 224–225. Sumit Sarkar, ‘Orientalism Revisited: Saidian Frameworks in the Writing of Modern Indian History’, The Oxford Literary Review 16, no. 1/2 (1994): 205–224.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:18, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.005

CHAPTER 5

Rules and Numbers Transforming Rural Education, 1814–1830 These are the orders of the Sahib, the Teachers and Children must mind and obey them.1

How was the new system of instruction put into practice? In the last chapter, I talked about the missionaries’ ambition to change people’s mentalities with the help of a new type of vernacular schooling. This chapter seeks to understand the processes of educational interaction and transformation in a local context. Indeed, hundreds of new-model schools were set up in the 1810s and 1820s. They attracted thousands of students, often from the same social strata which had attended the old type of the common vernacular schools. To implement the new system of instruction, the early nineteenth-century reformers pursued two strategies: First, the founding of new institutions, which were usually termed ‘native schools’, or ‘native free schools’. Most missionaries used this strategy. Second, they tried to remodel existing ‘indigenous schools’ (as they are described in the sources).2 The latter strategy characterized the Serampore missionaries and the Calcutta School Society (CSS). However, they were not mutually exclusive. What I want to emphasize is that the new educational technology was put into practice in a locally grown, socially embedded 1

2

‘Literal Translation of the Rules and Regulations of the Native Free Schools’, Annex to Robert May’s Report for October to December 1815, Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah: IOR/F/4/605/15020. ‘Education Institutions: Calcutta’, Missionary Register, 1837, 123. The distinction of (prevalent) ‘indigenous’ and (new) ‘native’ schools was taken up by William Adam, Third Report on the State of Education in Bengal; Including Some Account of the State of Education in Behar, and a Consideration of the Means Adapted to the Improvement and Extension of Public Instruction in Both Provinces (Calcutta: Bengal Military Orphan Press, 1838), for instance, 143–144.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

162

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

educational landscape. This encounter was accompanied by considerable friction and fundamentally affected the emerging colonial pedagogy.

In one sense, the functioning of the new-model schools constituted a rupture of the prevalent learning culture. They introduced a new curriculum, new learning techniques, routines, and rituals. As Nita Kumar has argued, already the school building, which became ‘the norm of the age’, was a radical break with a ‘learning and popular culture [that] has been oriented to the outside’ and the ‘continuities of the indoors and outdoors’.3 But there were also many continuities, starting with institutional and personal continuity if the pre-existing indigenous school, or its teacher, were integrated and employed within the new structure. There were continuities in what parents and students expected from a school and the kind of education they demanded. Finally, there were also continuities, as I will show, between the pre-colonial, indigenous mnemotechnics, and the ‘gradgrind’ memorization of ‘facts’4 that marked colonial pedagogy and examination practice.

This chapter starts with an overview on the spread of the new ‘native schools’ and describes the pedagogical culture they introduced. It continues to analyse the conflicts between missionaries and Indian schoolmasters. This entails the question of competition between the new schools and the pre-existing ones, and the conflicts that accompanied the missionaries’ efforts to turn independent schoolmasters into paid agents within a colonial institutional setting.5 Finally, the chapter shifts its focus on the students. It explores not only the demand side of education but also the question: how successful were the missionaries in their efforts to spread new knowledge? We are thus moving from the agenda of education to the curriculumin-practice, and towards the students as learning agents. 3 4

5

Nita Kumar, The Politics of Gender, Community, and Modernity: Essays on Education in India (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2007), 29–31. See Mary Hilton, ‘A Trancultural Transaction: William Carey’s Baptist Mission, the Monitorial Method and the Bengali Renaissance’, in Barnita Bagchi, Eckhardt Fuchs, and Kate Rousmaniere (eds), Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-Cultural Exchanges in (Post)Colonial Education (New York: Berghahn Books, 2014), 85–104, 85–89; Christopher Bayly, Empire and Information: Intelligence Gathering and Social Communication in India, 1780–1870 (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996), 245–246. Kazi Shahidullah, ‘The Purpose and Impact of Government Policy on Pathshala Gurumohashoys in Nineteenth-century Bengal’, in Nigel Crook (ed.), Transmission of Knowledge in South Asia (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), 119–134. See Krishna Kumar, Political Agenda of Education: A Study of Colonialist and Nationalist Ideas (New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 1991).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

163

A First Wave of Educational Expansion (1814–1824) The decade of 1814–1824 was a period of rapid expansion of a new type of common vernacular schools in India. In urban centres, the founding of education societies provided a new impetus for education reform. In rural settings, however, it was the Protestant missionaries who ‘industriously’ and ‘systematically’ laboured for educational change. They set up local systems of free schools (or, sometimes, subsidized public schools), according to a standard ‘plan’.6 The first of those school circles emerged in the (former) Dutch and Danish territorial enclaves, where missionaries had settled prior to the opening of British India for their endeavour (1813). Soon, however, they spread as part of the general development of missionary activity.

By 1820, the Serampore missionaries had brought more than 100 schools under the influence of their short-lived Society for Native Schools (SNS).7 In Chinsurah (Chunchura) and its vicinity, Robert May of the London Missionary Society (LMS) built 36 ‘native free schools’ in which more than 3,000 students were registered.8 After his death in 1819, his colleague John Dorking Pearson took over his work. Around Burdwan (Bardhaman), James Stewart, an adjutant to the provincial battalion, had started two vernacular schools in 1816.9 He was soon joined by several workers of the Church Missionary Society (CMS). By 1823, they were running 13 ‘native free schools’ for about 1,000 students. Stewart was praised for having ‘availed himself of [the monitorial system’s] powers’ by ‘applying it to the instruction of a greater number of Scholars by a given number of Teachers, than seems to be the case in most other schools in India’. He thus reduced the general costs of the schools, which enabled him to employ ‘more competent Instructors’.10 In south India, the CMS ran small systems of up to 24 schools, where a maximum of 1,387 students had registered, in the Tanjore (Tanjavur) region, in cooperation with the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) and the German missionaries. These were the schools that had been originally 6 7 8

9 10

Henry Fisher, Letter to Rev. Thomas Thomason (CMS), 6 May 1817, Missionary Register, 1818, 17; also Missionary Register, 1819, 107. SNS Report No. 3, 1820. ‘A General Statement of Attendance’, June 1818, Report Relative to the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah. Death of Mr. R. May and appointment of Mr. Pearson to succeed as Superintendent of the Schools: IOR F/4/617/15371. Laird, Missionaries and Education in Bengal, 76; CSBS Report No. 1, 1818, 2. Missionary Register, 1820, 40.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

164

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

established by Christoph Samuel John. Moreover, the CMS oversaw 13 schools (456 students) in Madras and started 4 schools (353 students) in Pallamkottah (Palayamkottai), in the Tinnevelly (Tirunelveli) district. Several CMS missionaries, who superintended these school systems, were not only ordained before they went to India but also underwent a training in the National Education Society’s (NES) central school in London. This included Charles Theophilus Ewald Rhenius (1790–1838), John Christian Schnarré, the brothers Bernhard and Deocar Schmid, Andrew Jetter, and James Deer.11

It is the functioning of these missionary educational projects, most importantly of the LMS (May and Pearson) in Bengal – in contrast to the CMS (Rhenius and Schnarré) in south India – which I discuss in this chapter. Those projects are comparatively well documented in the India Office Records, the Missionary Register, and in individual reports and manuals. But I want to emphasize that the number of schools and students grew simultaneously in western India as well. By 1823, the number of students in the central school of the Bombay Education Society (BES) had reached about 200 and 6 regimental schools under its supervision catered to 768 students; branch schools had been furthermore established in Tannah (Thane), Surat, and Broach (Bharuch).12 By 1824, the LMS had started 4 schools in Surat, with about 300 students. The American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions (ABCFM) ran 24 schools in and around Bombay, averaging 50–60 students. The Scottish Missionary Society (SMS) had set up 8 schools, catering to 365 students, around Bankot Fort, about 150 kilometres south of Bombay.13 Also, the ‘Europeo-native institutions’ had started their work. In 123, the CSS had brought 84 of the city’s 190 pathshalas under its superintendence.14 The Bombay Native Education Society (BNES) had just started their central schools for English, Marathi, and Gujarati as model schools and teacher-training institutions.15 It was in this period of enthusiasm and of founding societies and mushrooming schools that the Missionary Register 11

12 13

14 15

Missionary Register, 1818–1823. For biographical information: James Hough, History of Christianity in India: From the Commencement of the Christian Era (London: R.B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1839); J. Rhenius, Memoir of C.T.E. Rhenius, by His Son (London: Nisbet and Co., 1841). ‘Return Shewing the Operations of the Bombay Education Society from its Formation in 1815 to the 1st January, 1837’, BES Report No. 22, 1837. Memoranda regarding the Schools which have been established by the Missionaries at Surat, at Bombay, and at Bacoot, Measures Adopted, and Contemplated by Government for the Promotion of Education among the Natives of this Presidency: IOR/F/4/786/21358, 333–343. See Missionary Register, 1824, 50–53. CSBS Report No. 5, 1823, 5. BNES Report No. 1, 1823.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

165

exaltedly reported that ‘[t]he system originally practised in India, is revived’ and ‘now brought into action in the instruction of Thirty or Forty Thousand Native Children – a number which is continually and rapidly increasing’.16

In south India, the wave of expansion of the new-model schools continued well into the 1830s. By 1837, the number of CMS schools in the Tinnevelly district had grown to over 100, instructing approximately 2,600 students. The LMS had entered the very south of India and ran 50 schools (2,000 students) in south Travancore. Moreover, it provided 12 schools (with 949 students) in Combaconum (Kumbakonam) and 15 (535 students) in Mysore. In the Bombay Presidency, the number of the ABCFM schools grew to 40 (1,620 students).17 In Bengal, however, the second half of the 1820s was already a period of consolidation in terms of the number of schools. The efforts now turned to making the already established schools more efficient: to reform the system of superintendence and adjust the method of instruction. In the early 1830s, as I will discuss in the next chapter, the monitorial movement in Bengal rapidly declined and many of the original schools had to close.

Since the local school circles were usually set up as branch schools around a central school, the central schools were the most long-lived. When the missionaries’ funds dwindled, the first schools that would be closed were the most distant ones, for which – because of the time and costs for travelling – supervision was difficult and expensive. A common strategy was then to ‘collect’ the students of a former local school system together in the central school, which, in practice, meant that the schools in the outstations were closed and only the students who found board and lodging with relatives in the place of the central school were able to further attend.18

‘Titooram Was at the Head of the Class’: The British System in Action In 1830, Pearson published a manual, The British System of Instruction, as Adapted to Native Schools in India, which gives detailed advice on how to set 16 17 18

‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 103. Missionary Register, 1837, 136, 142–146. This tendency is most clearly demonstrated in Jabez Carey’s rather unsuccessful experiment in Rajasthan, which will be discussed in the next chapter. The schools, established between since 1818, were ‘collected’ into one in Ajmer in 1826. Proceedings adopted for the Promotion of Education (Bengal): IOR/F/4/1170/30639.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

166

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

up and run a school.19 The text is a combination of the manuals issued by the British and Foreign School Society (BFSS) and the NES with 10 years of practical experiences with the running of new-model schools around the LMS station in Chinsura, north of Calcutta. These schools had been built from 1814 onwards by his predecessor, May. May had also successfully applied for a government grant – his were the first modern elementary schools in Bengal to receive such funding.

First, there was the erection of a proper schoolhouse, for the accommodation of 100 students.20 There seems to have been a standard model of a new ‘native school’. The schoolhouses in Burdwan (CMS) were slightly larger and aimed at accommodating up to 180 students.21 In any case, this dimension already presents a stark contrast to the pathshalas which have been described in the first chapter of this book, where we would find smaller learning groups assembled around a teacher (see Figures 1.1 and 4.3).22 From May’s reports, we can confirm an average attendance of 63–75 students, for the years 1815 and 1818, respectively.23 Pearson’s ideal schoolhouse would be 30 cubits (ca. 14 metres) long and 10 cubits (ca. 5 metres) wide. Mud walls, with six windows on each side and two at each end, would enclose the schoolroom. Alternatively, walls could be made from posts and beams of wood, ‘against which bamboos are fixed, and covered with matting’.24 A thatch roof would cover the school, and a floor slightly raised from the ground would help in keeping it dry (Figure 5.1). Pearson estimated the cost for erecting such a building as 100–120 rupees.25 19 20 21 22

23

24 25

Pearson, J[ohn] D[orking], The British System of Instruction, as Adapted to Native Schools in India (Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1830). Pearson, The British System of Instruction, 1. Missionary Register, 1819, 105. Thomas Munro calculated 15 students on average for the indigenous vernacular schools in Madras. Thomas Munro, ‘Minute of Sir Thomas Munro, March 10, 1826’, in A. N. Basu (ed.), Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, Part 1 (1832) (Bombay, Calcutta: Asia Publishing House, 1952), 187–190. ‘A General Statement of the Present Number and Different Classes of Children in the Native Free Schools’ (1815), Progress Report on the Free Native Schools established by Robert May in Chinsura and Environs: IOR/F/4/566/13976; ‘A General Statement of Attendance’, June 1818, Report Relative to the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah. Death of Mr. R. May and Appointment of Mr. Pearson to Succeed as Superintendent of the Schools: IOR/F/4/617/15371. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 105. Pearson, The British System of Instruction, 1–2. According to the model established in Burdwan (CMS), ‘The School Rooms average, in size, thirty-five or thirty-six cubits by thirteen or fourteen.’ The description of these schools closely resembles Pearson’s, which confirms the tendency towards standardization. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 105.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

167

The order of the schoolroom had to be visible already at first glance: ‘there be a place for everything and […] everything […] in its place’, Pearson emphasized.26 As we can see, the missionary educators in colonial Bengal reiterated the British education debate’s emphasis on regular arrangements, system, and order, to promote the habits of discipline.

Figure 5.1  ‘Native School at Lakoody, near Burdwan, with Part of the Village’ Source: Missionary Register, 1819, 102.

Note: The picture displays one of the 12 CMS schools under James Steward’s supervision. The description reads: ‘a part of the Village is also shewn with Natives carrying a palanquin and another driving a vehicle drawn by oxen’. Missionary Register, 1819, 103–104.

Figure 5.2  ‘Interior of the Native School at Lakoody’ Source: Missionary Register, 1819, 102.

The Missionary Register gives us a picture of the interior of such a standard new-model school. The room was structured into regular rows, each of which would contain 12 boys (Figure 5.2). From Pearson, we learn that the tables would be low enough for the boys to sit on the ground, not on chairs as the BFSS students in England. This also contrasts with the Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Indigent Christians, in Calcutta, which more closely resembled 26

Pearson, The British System of Instruction, 6, citing Joseph Lancaster.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

168

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

the BFSS model.27 The colonial difference, it seems, characterized the rural ‘native free schools’ much more than the urban schools for poor Europeans and Eurasians.

The rows in which the boys were seated represented the different classes, which were each under the instruction and supervision of a monitor. They were arranged according to the students’ learning progress, but also according to the writing materials that they used. This is a feature we would find in different versions with the BFSS and NES, and in the precolonial Indian pedagogical culture.28 It, therefore, represents both continuity between colonial schooling and indigenous education and change. Pearson gives us the details for this arrangement in classes, together with a visual model (Figure 5.3): 6. Sand Board Class

5. Alphabet Class (writing on palm or plaintain leaves) 4. Spelling Class 3. Lowest Reading Class (writing on slates of teak wood painted white) 2. Second Class 1. Head Class29

27 28 29

See Chapters 2 and 3. For a comparison of the visual images, see Figure 2.2 for the BFSS and Figure 4.1 for the Benevolent Institution. See Chapters 1 and 2. Pearson, The British System of Instruction, 9–16. Pearson further elaborated on a system which had been set up by his predecessor Robert May (‘Literal Translation of the Rules and Regulations of the Native Free Schools’, Annex to Robert May’s Report for October to December 1815, Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah: IOR/F/4/605/15020.) In Burdwan, a similar arrangement was followed: The first Class are learning by the Sand table which is before them. Then follow ten Reading Classes in which the Boys begin with the Alphabet and go up higher till they can read short lessons: their lessons are pasted on boards two of which are fixed up before each class; so that half can look at one and half at the other. Then follow the four upper Classes who have their lessons in their hands: they commit lessons to memory and write out words with their meanings and use printed books. (Missionary Register, 1819, 105)

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

169

Figure 5.3  ‘Arrangement of the Classes in the Schoolroom’ Source: Pearson, The British System of Instruction, 2.

The basic curriculum of the new-model schools consisted of reading, writing, and accounts, with an emphasis on language instruction in the vernacular. This was supplemented by ‘useful knowledge’, such as the Serampore missionaries’ ‘course of moral and scientific instruction’, which the previous chapter has introduced. The alphabet, numbers, spellings, and arithmetic lessons were often provided in a standardized form on large cards or wall tables, which could be put on display in the schoolroom. The students would then copy or read from these tables. The alphabet tables and other lesson boards could be turned around to display a blank side when students were asked to recite a lesson from memory. The monitor in charge of the class was given a pointer to guide the students through their lessons (Figure 5.4).

Figure 5.4  Card Frames and Pointer Source: Pearson, The British System of Instruction, 78. Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

170

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Another publication by Pearson contains a highly interesting account of an ideal-type classroom interaction between teacher, monitor, and students. His Idiomatical Exercises include a section ‘Of a School and Learning a Language’.30 This basically contains the vocabulary a teacher would need to regularly conduct a monitorial classroom with the help of coded commands: Shut your books, and sit down. Lay the books on the desk. Write on slates. The monitor will dictate. The other boys will write. You must write faster. Monitor, correct the mistakes. Read, what you have written. He cannot read his own writing. You write to close. Write the words separate. This is very crooked writing. Draw a straight line. […] Hold your pen not so upright. Copy from the book before you.

Another sequence of sentences shows how to organize the rotation of positions among the students according to achievement or failure. As Pearson explained in his British System, ‘each individual is promoted or degraded according to his relative proficiency’.31 This was the crucial mechanism to stimulate emulation among the students, and to substitute ‘the rod’ as major instrument of discipline: Read in turns, one boy after the other. […] Two or three boys are speaking at once; what sort of reading is this? […] It is not your turn to read. 30

31

Pearson, J[ohn] D[orking], Bakyabolee, or, Idiomatical Exercises, English and Bengalee: with Dialogues on Various Subjects, Letters, &c. &c. (Calcutta: Printed at the School-Book Society’s Press, 1825), 215–227. Pearson, The British System of Instruction, 31.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

171

Why do you speak before your turn? Joychondro, go below. Gobindo, take his place. Titooram was at the head of the class. Boloram was at the bottom of the class. He made a mistake.

The lesson continues to introduce the vocabulary needed to admonish children (‘Ramjoy, what are you doing?’), to manage disturbances and accidents in the classroom, and to prevent disorder: You have inked your hands and face. Go and wash your hands. See how you have daubed your book. Take his place. He lost his place by making a mistake. Monitor, what is that noise in your class?

Finally, the teacher is taught words of friendly encouragement to the students: Do not be ashamed because you made blunders. Except you converse, you will never be able to speak.

We have no way of knowing how far this account corresponds to any actual classroom interaction; it is probably more normative than descriptive. Elsewhere, Pearson has been quoted saying, ‘I have heard it spoken of by the Natives as wonderful to see a boy in tears at losing his place in the class.’32 Pearson and May appear as highly dedicated educators, whose work was unanimously appreciated by the Calcutta education reformers. As we will see in the next chapter, they were actively involved in the Calcutta School Book Society (CSBS). It is perhaps more relevant that this kind of formalized knowledge, or know-how, was available for education reformers. And, as I will subsequently discuss, the missionaries certainly made sure to inform and remind the teachers in their pay of the rules of the new ‘British’ schools. 32

J. Long (ed.), Adam’s Reports on Vernacular Education in Bengal and Behar, Submitted to Government in 1835, 1836 and 1838. With a Brief View of Its Past and Present Condition (Calcutta: Printed at the Home Secretariat Press, 1868), 2.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

172

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Colonial Encounters: Old and New Schools This was the model of a new ‘British School’. I want to turn now to the conflictive processes in which the new-model schools were established. When missionary educators entered a new place, they met with mixed responses. Part of this was due to the fact that they entered communities where educational institutions were already established. It will be remembered from the first chapter that most towns and larger villages had a school which provided a practically oriented vernacular instruction to the commercial and landholding castes. This is true for both the Bengal and Madras Presidencies. The new ‘native free schools’, therefore, frequently met with opposition from the schoolmaster, who did not exactly welcome the competition. When Stewart arrived in Burdwan, he found five schools that were run by the ‘Brahmins themselves’; naturally, ‘their ire was raised by the prospect of being ruined by these newcomers’. He did, however, find a solution to this problem: he ‘chose his teachers from among the ablest natives of the villages where they were situated’ and thus ‘disarmed opposition’. The result was that ‘the five heathen schools soon died of themselves’.33

May pursued a similar strategy in several places around Chinsurah: he employed the schoolmasters who were already there. This co-optation, however, sometimes failed. May reported: ‘The new Bansbaria [Bansberia] Teacher has been much opposed by a relation of [another] Teacher whom I discharged. Frequent complaints were made both by the Parents and Children that they were beaten by the Children of the other School.’ His students came and ‘shewed [him] the marks of violence which they had received’. When May angrily visited the competing school, he was almost beaten himself by a crowd that had assembled to defend the teacher. Luckily for May, a ‘wealthy native’ took his side and accommodated the school in his own house, promising to protect the students. In the end, this protection did not save the school. Due to the ‘continual opposition manifested by some of the Inhabitants’ and their ‘quarrelsome disposition’, May closed it two months after the violent encounter.34 33

34

Memoir of the Rev. John James Weitbrecht, Late Missionary of the Church Missionary Society at Burdwan, in Bengal. Comprehending a History of the Burdwan Mission, compiled from his journal and letters by his widow (London: Nisbeth and Co., 1854), 51. Robert May, Reports for January to March 1816 and for April to June 1816, Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah under the Superintendence of Mr. May: IOR/F/4/605/15020.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

173

But the missionaries also report about cases in which they came to mutually agreeable solutions with the local educational actors. May was once visited by a wealthy local, Ataram Baboo, who told the missionary that ‘he had a School in his House.’ Since May’s school was ‘but at short distance from it’, Ataram suggested to ‘unite’ the two. While the new patron provided a ‘Brick Building sufficient to accommodate 100 Children’ and appointed the teacher, the teacher was paid by May and agreed to introduce the new ‘plan and lessons’. The teacher became ‘one of [May’s] best’, and Ataram ‘appeared well satisfied’.35

These three cases summarize the potential outcomes of the encounter of the old-fashioned pathshalas and the new ‘British schools’. In the first case, the old schools could not withstand the competition of the new. In the second case, local opposition forced the new school to close. In the final case, the prevalent institution was transformed and became a new-model school.

‘These Are the Orders of the Sahib’ From the beginning, the missionaries employed Indian schoolmasters. There was simply no alternative to this even if the missionaries, as the previous chapter discussed, considered the gurumahashaya an oriental despot in the classroom. Initially, the missionaries found it advantageous to obtain ‘men who had already been in the habit of teaching.’36 In Bengal, those were usually Brahmins or kayasths. The missionaries hired formerly independent schoolmasters because of their skill, and (as we have seen earlier) as a measure to ensure the local community’s support. Later, schoolmasters were recruited from the growing body of former monitors and graduates from the newly founded teacher-training institutions. Their number, however, remained quite limited when compared to teachers who had not received a formal training.37

That means that some of the formerly independent village schoolmasters would personally experience the drastic change in the social position of teachers under the aegis of colonialism, which has been controversially discussed in 35

36 37

Robert May, Report for April to June 1816; in Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsura: IOR/F/4/605/15020. See also J.D. Pearson to W.B. Bayley, 12 March 1822, Native Free Schools at Chinsurah and Its Vicinity: IOR/F/4/823/21876. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 118. Duff, Alexander, Review of William Adam’s 2nd and 3rd Reports on the State of Education in Bengal and Behar, 1836 and 1838, Calcutta Review 2, no. 4 (1844): 301–376, for his remarks on teachers, see 318–321.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

174

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

the literature. The gurumahashaya, Krishna Kumar has argued, was ‘guided by conventions of belief and practice in pedagogy and by the needs of the village economy’.38 He was embedded in the caste-based division of labour and exchange of services. The position of the teacher employed by a mission, or in the pay of an education society, such as the CSS or BNES, was indeed radically different in terms of income, autonomy, and social recognition, as I will now discuss.

First, the curriculum was no longer locally defined. Instead, a ‘course of instruction’ was provided by external education reformers. The standard curriculum was laid down in the form of wall tables and, from 1817 onwards, printed textbooks. In the period from 1814 to the mid-1830s, the outsiderreformers were usually missionaries and education societies. From the 1840s onwards, colonial governments would increasingly take over this role.39 The Serampore missionaries expressed very clearly who would take curricular decisions: ‘nothing, in point of instruction, being left dependent on the Monitors, or even on the Master’.40

The Serampore missionaries combined the standardization of curricular content with ritualized methods of instruction. They suggested a new variation of the monitorial system, the core of which consisted of writing from the monitor’s dictation or transcribing from mission-printed compendia. They did not expect the teacher to agree with or even to know the content of the books that his monitors were dictating and his students copying from. In their mind, the impersonal machinery of the monitorial system would ensure the ‘communication of these [new] ideas independently of ability in the Master for conveying them, and indeed render it scarcely necessary for him even previously to possess them’.41 Even Christian knowledge could thus be ‘conveyed to the minds of children […] by idolatrous schoolmasters, without shocking their prejudices at least’.42 The Serampore missionaries’ plan was to turn indigenous teachers, whom they did not trust, into unconscious agents of change and of their envisioned ‘moral revolution’.43 Second, as Pearson’s British System shows, the missionaries set the rules for the internal regulation and the routines of the school. This implied a radical 38 39 40 41 42 43

Kumar, Political Agenda of Education, 72. See Chapter 7. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 119, citing from the SNS Report No. 1, 1817. Ibid. Periodical Accounts V (1812–1815), 178. See Chapter 4.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

175

alteration of the ways in which school time and school space were experienced by both teachers and students. Moreover, it significantly reduced the teachers’ autonomy. As an example, I want to consider the ‘Rules and Regulations of the Native Free Schools’ in Chinsura, which May had forwarded to his financier, the Government of Bengal.44 May’s rules were written on large boards; he ordered that they ‘must hang where all can see it’ (24th rule). The regulations not only stated the core curriculum: ‘The children learn to read, write and cipher in this School’ (5th rule), but also laid down the general time schedule: (6th) The Children are to come at sunrise in the morning, and to attend to reading and writing till 9 O’Clock. (7th) The Children to read in Classes of ten or twelve at a time. (8th) After nine they are to go home to eat their Polpon & to return to School before 10 O’Clock. (9th) From ten to twelve O’Clock they are to attend to ciphering. […] (13th) The Children to return to School at 3 O’Clock in the afternoon and continue till sunset in the evening. (14th) A board lesson to be repeated by all the Children morning and evening. […]45

May was no exception in his imposition of a fixed schedule, nor was it specific to Bengal. It also characterized the Burdwan and Tranquebar schools. When Christian, an Indian agent of the CMS mission in south India, inspected some newly founded schools around Madras, he ‘laid down a rule that such and such lessons were to be taught at such and such regular hours’. Moreover, he ‘strictly admonished the Schoolmaster, at what hour he should begin and close his school; and [he] wrote these things down and gave the directions to him’.46

The association of fixed lessons with a fixed period is familiar to most adults today, as a core element of the universal modern ‘grammar of schooling’.47 In the early nineteenth century, it constituted a new temporal regime, a regime which people closely associated with ‘colonial times’, as Sumit Sarkar has shown. 44 45 46 47

‘Literal Translation of the Rules and Regulations.’ Ibid. Visit of Christian, the Reader, to Vadadelli [Christian’s Journal, March 1817], Missionary Register, 1818, 76–79. D.B. Tyack, and L. Cuban, Tinkering Toward Utopia: A Century of Public School Reform (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1995).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

176

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Just like factories and offices, schools were transformed into a social space, which was run on the colonizers’ clock and, therefore, produced experiences of alienation.48

May’s ‘Regulations’ disrupted the teacher’s authority in many ways. Although they stated that the students ‘must mind all the orders of the Teachers & obey them’ (17th rule), the teacher was himself a recipient of the missionary supervisor’s orders: ‘The Teacher must send to enquire after those who are absent’ (19th rule).49 May’s rules make it very clear that the decisive authority, in all matters, rested with the ‘Sahib’, that is, May himself. This was made known to the teachers and students alike. The 22nd rule thus reads: ‘These are the orders of the Sahib, the Teachers and Children must mind and obey them.’

The function of the teacher was reduced basically to one task: to supervise the self-teaching monitorial machine and to report on its state and performance. May’s report of January 1816 includes a questionnaire that his teachers regularly had to fill in: 1. How many general Monitors are there in the School? 2. How many Brahmin Boys? 3. How many of the other Casts? 4. How many Mussulman Boys? 5. How many Writers on Paper? 6. How many Writers on Plantain Leaf ? 7. How many Writers on Palm Leaf ? 8. How many Writers on the Sand Board? 9. How many have been added to the Paper Class during this month? 10. How many have been added to the Plantain Leaf during this month? 11. How many have been added to the Palm Leaf ? 12. How many Writers on the Sand at present? 48 49

See Sumit Sarkar, Beyond Nationalist Frames: Postmodernism, Hindu Fundamentalism, History (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2002), 10–37. To ensure the attendance of the students by visiting their home in cases of absence was considered a crucial task of the new teacher. See Letter from J.C. Schnarré to the Secretary of the CMS, 14 July 1817, Missionary Register, 1818, 36–37.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

177

13. How many are sick? 14. How many have died? 15. How many have been admitted? 16. How many have left the School? 17. What is the total number of the List? 18. What Holidays have there been and how many days was the School shut?50

It is remarkable that the performance of schools was assessed exclusively in quantitative terms – the question is always ‘how many?’ Quantitative measurement became an important component of the new system of accountability that the missionaries introduced. Schools that received funding from an external source – often a combination of public subscriptions from India and England, donations, and governmental grants – had to prove that these funds had been applied to their proper purpose. This was to be ensured by a ‘system’ of ‘vigilant superintendence’.51

Initially, the missionaries tried to perform the tasks of superintendence themselves. Soon, however, they turned towards Indian employees. The ‘System of Superintendence’ of the Burdwan schools rested on ‘a clever and zealous Brahmin as a Visitor; whose duty it [was] to go round to every School, to examine the Boys, and to report their progress’. The term ‘visitor’ denotes the same function as a superintendent. But again, the final authority rested with the European conductor of the schools: ‘Our Schools are not however left entirely on a Native Visitor. Lieutenant Stewart himself occasionally goes round to each village, and examines the children.’ It, therefore, became the Brahmin visitor’s ‘own interest to see that the immediate Teachers do their duty: for he will himself also have to come under the observation of his employer.’52 Just as the monitorial system was envisioned to function as a continuous process of self-teaching of the students, under the ever-present ‘eye of the master’ (Bell), Indian teachers and superintendents would spread its merits under European supervision. For the Tranquebar mission and the CMS in the south, the Indian mission workers John Devasagayam, Sandappen, and Christian became 50 51

52

Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah: IOR/F/4/605/15020. SNS Report No. 1, 1817; see P.J. Miller, ‘Factories, Monitorial Schools, and Jeremy Bentham: The Origins of the “Management Syndrome” in Popular Education’, Journal of Educational Administration and History 5, no. 2 (1973): 25–42. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 119.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

178

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

respected ‘superintendents of schools’; as Christian converts in the employ of the mission, their position was stronger than that of the anonymous agents of the Bengal missions.53

Finally, employment by a mission or education society altered the form of the teacher’s income. May’s first rule was: ‘This School is free for all Children to attend.’ He emphasized that ‘[t]he Teachers’ wages are paid by the Sahib’ (4th rule), which implied that ‘No pay is to be taken by the Teacher […] nor any thing required of the Children who attend this school’ (2nd rule).54

This rule proved a source of constant tension between the teachers and the missionary. May explained that he found it ‘particularly necessary as the teachers sometimes almost force the Children to give them money, Cloth, rice &c. &c.’, that is, the payments that they had been entitled to before.55 The income of the teacher was now defined as a salary paid by an agent of a mission, or formal association. The missionaries considered the amount of money that families had been used to paying teachers as a point of orientation, when they fixed teachers’ salaries. However, they did not take into account the non-monetary part of the teachers’ income. Alexander Duff, for instance, was unable to make sense of what he saw as ‘grotesquely diversified ways in which teachers are enumerated’.56 It is not surprising, therefore, that the professional elementary school teacher’s job became a poorly paid one.57 Moreover, the amount of his salary became dependent on quantitative indicators. Initially, the teacher was paid according 53

54 55 56 57

The Tranquebar-Mission was already established in 1706, and congregations of Christian converts had emerged, from which regular workers could be hired as schoolmasters, superintendents of schools, catechists, and Bible-women. Moreover, numerous service providers and care-takers were employed by the mission. The Indian workers thus by far outnumbered the European missionaries. Heike Liebau, Die indischen Mitarbeiter der Tranquebarmission (1706–1845): Katecheten, Schulmeister, Übersetzer (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag 2008), 100–101. ‘Literal Translation of the Rules and Regulations.’ Ibid. Duff, Review of Adam’s Reports, 319. The vernacular teachers of Bengal and Bihar received ‘not above one-half of what is usually given in Calcutta to the lowest menials and domestic servants! It may well excite surprise how, at such low and disproportionate rate of remuneration […] any human being […] can manage to subsist or maintain habits of external common decency’ (Duff, Review of Adam’s Reports, 319–320). CMS missionaries Rhenius and Schnarré found the payment of the schoolmasters ‘but small’. Missionary Register, 1815, 413; see Kumar, Political Agenda of Education, 75–76.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

179

to the number of the students ‘in the books’, that is, the number of students who had registered to his school. Later this mode was changed; the principle became ‘to regulate the Master’s wages by the proficiency of the Children’.58 This was an approach that the Serampore and Chinsura missionaries shared with the CMS in the south and with the various missionaries in the Bombay Presidency. Donald Mitchell (SMS), paid the schoolmasters one rupee per four students capable of reading the Balbodh alphabet, one rupee per five Marathi (Devanagari) readers, and one rupee per six students who had mastered writing on a sand board, supplemented by one rupee for the rent of the school.59 In other words, the missionaries experimented with forms to link the salary of the teacher to the performance of students at an external examination. That means they introduced primitive forms of payment-by-result.

The extent of the elementary schoolteachers’ loss of income under the aegis of colonialism is difficult to assess. Parimala Rao argues that teachers’ lives had always been marked by poverty.60 I agree that the loss of income was not the most significant alteration. What seems more relevant is the loss of social standing and of pedagogical authority. This is an element which Krishna Kumar has influentially discussed. As an agent of a mission or education society, teachers were expected to implement a standard curriculum. Instead of a local ‘pacing of pedagogy’,61 the lesson schedule of the school and the rhythm of examination and advancement were defined by outsiders. The personal bond between teacher and student was no longer perceived necessary. On the contrary, the missionaries considered it a hindrance to enhancing the quality of schools. May complained about the ‘remarkable […] degree of attachment between the Native Children and their Teacher’, which would cause the students to leave the school if May fired a teacher for whatever ‘fault’.62 Speaking about the Bombay Presidency, R.V. Parulekar argues that the ‘practice of prostrating themselves on occasions before their masters […] as a mark of veneration was a common one and the 58 59 60

61 62

‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 118. Memoranda regarding the Schools which have been established by the Missionaries at Surat, at Bombay, and at Bancoot, 333–343. Parimala Rao, ‘“Promiscuous Crowd of English Smatterers”: The “Poor” in the Colonial and Nationalist Discourse on Education in India, 1835–1912’, Contemporary Education Dialogue 10, no. 2 (2013): 223–248. Kumar, Political Agenda of Education, 72. Robert May, Report for October to December 1815, Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah: IOR/F/4/605/15020.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

180

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Puntojee, or the Mehta (schoolmaster), in spite of his low economic status, was a person of consequence and respectability among the people whose children he taught’.63 The missionaries wanted a new kind of teacher, trained in the new method and well versed in the new accounting practices – a technically skilled professional, who could at the same time perform the function of a clerk.

In conclusion, I do not think that the change in the position of the teacher is simply a transition from precolonial autonomy to colonial heteronomy. A gurumahashaya (or puntojee) did not just individually decide on what and how to teach; this was regulated by local convention. What we do see, however, is a change in the form of heteronomy, which was probably experienced as alienating and frustrating, particularly in combination with a loss of respect and recognition. Educational control, in the second and third decades of the nineteenth century, started to shift from local contexts to a central agency: a mission station, an education society, and, later, the state.

Against this background it is hardly surprising to find the missionary records full of references to the teachers’ non-compliance. Indeed, the complaints about teachers’ neglect of duties, about ‘disobedience’, bad ‘conduct’, and purposeful misinformation were much more frequent than laments about the students’ behaviour.64 There were power struggles between the missionaries and teachers. Teachers would simply not accept a subordinate position as recipients of orders; such conflicts were usually solved by the ‘dismissal’ or ‘removal’ of the teacher.65 Monetary conflicts with the indigenous teachers were one of the challenges that made the missionaries constantly change their system of ensuring accountability. The missionaries complained about the ‘extreme duplicity of those who must be used as instruments of diffusing knowledge’ and who undertook ‘the work of teaching wholly on mercenary principles’. Lowly paid teachers, whose income depended on the number of their students, frequently inflated this number by adding names to the lists and, when superintendents visited, by gathering children who were otherwise not attending. Although putting it in the racist terms of ‘native character’, the missionaries knew the basic reason for this problem: ‘Schools supported by [public] contribution, are in danger […] 63 64

65

R.V. Parulekar, Survey of Indigenous Education in the Province of Bombay (1820– 1830), I (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1951 [1945]), xxx. Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah: IOR/F/4/605/15020; Extract of the Journal of the Missionaries [Schnarré and Rhenius], October 1815 to August 1816, Missionary Register, 1817, 332–337. Ibid.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

181

of sinking into the state of small endowed schools in England, in which the Master drawing his support from a source which renders him independent of the parents of the children he instructs.’66 The new rational and impersonal means to ensure teachers’ accountability, the registers and inspection, after all, proved less effective than community standing and responsibility. But the most important problem that the missionaries encountered was that teachers would not consistently enforce the new rules and implement the new curriculum. Instead of ensuring regular student attendance, teachers themselves ‘staid […] over the time allowed for the vacation without asking leave’ or closed the school for lunchtime longer than permitted.67 They just acted as before, when schooling was based on local arrangements. When Rhenius and Schnarré took charge of the schools established by Christoph Samuel John in Tranquebar and the Tanjore region, they found the 20 schools in a ‘promising state’. When they started to re-model the schools, however, the teachers apparently found ‘it difficult to enter into the new system of instruction’.68 In the schools that were located at a longer distance from the centre of missionary superintendence, the children were discovered to ‘learn too much of their Heathenish nonsense; as for instance all the names of the multitudes of their gods’.69

‘We Have No Hold on the Children’ From the conflicts between missionaries and Indian teachers, I am shifting the focus now to another level of interaction within which colonial schools took shape. Considering the interaction between the BFSS and the NES, and the British working people whom they wanted to instruct, Thomas Laqueur has found that ‘[c]hanges in the supply side of education, although very important, do not in themselves provide a sufficient explanation’ for educational change. The BFSS and NES had to adjust to a ‘considerable’, but highly ‘discriminating working-class demand for education’. On the one hand, working people set up 66 67 68

69

SNS Report No. 3, 1820, 4–5. Robert May, Report for October to December 1815, Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah: IOR/F/4/605/15020. Extract of the Journal of the Missionaries Schnarré and Rhenius, December 1814 to July 1815, Missionary Register, 1816, 59. An overview over the ‘English and Tamil Free Schools established by the late Revd. Dr. John’ is given in the Missionary Register, 1815, 75–79. Missionary Register, 1818, 33–37.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

182

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

their own educational institutions; on the other, their interest in political and entertaining ‘immoral’ publications stimulated middle-class exertion to affirm their cultural hegemony.70 These insights are an interesting starting point to analyse the interplay between missionaries, parents, and students in rural India. The effects of the encounters were different from those in England. But the missionaries in colonial Bengal and Tamil Nadu equally had to adjust their educational provision to a traditionally strong but selective and specific local demand for schooling.

The new schools were not imposed on the communities in a strong sense. There was no legal enforcement, no means of coercion. The missionaries, basically, had ‘no hold of the children’. 71 They had to convince people to send their children to the new schools; they had to find ways to attract students to attend voluntarily. Therefore, they repeatedly reflected on the ‘necessity of regulating their Schools by the character of those whose welfare they would promote’.72 Missionaries felt that they had to ‘tolerate many things’.73 They had to make conciliations if they wanted ‘to keep the children under […] instruction’.74 In short, they were to some extent willing to adjust their provision to the perceived demand of the population they tried to reach with their educational projects. The new schools established by the missionaries were met with considerable public attention. ‘The whole city’ of Madras, Rhenius wrote in 1816, ‘speaks of our establishing Schools’, although he still ‘discover[ed] strange notions about the School Plan’ among the people.75 The reports of the CMS, LMS, and the Baptist missionaries, from Bengal and Tamil Nadu, are full of accounts on people’s ‘ardent desire’ to send their children to the new schools or to have an English-speaking schoolmaster established in their place.76 To the

70

71 72 73 74 75 76

Thomas Laqueur, ‘Working-class Demand and the Growth of English Elementary Education, 1750–1850’, in Lawrence Stone (ed.), Schooling and Society (Baltimore, London: John Hopkins University Press, 1976), 192–205, 195–196. Rev. Thomas Carr on his ‘native school’ in Surat, BES Report No. 6, 1821, 13. CMS Corresponding Committee Calcutta, quoted in Missionary Register, 1819, 113. Thompson’s Report on the Tranquebar schools, 18 March 1817, Missionary Register, 1818, 33–37. Rev. Thomas Carr on his ‘native school’ in Surat, BES Report No. 6, 1821, 13. Extract of the Journal of the Rev. C.T.E. Rhenius, September–December 1816, Missionary Register, 1818, 28. Reports from August Caemmerer on the state of John’s schools to Rev. Marmaduke Thompson, Chaplain in Madras, 22 October 1813, and 3 February 1814, Missionary Register, 1814, 415, 421.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

183

missionaries, ‘the predilection which the Natives ha[d] for English’ – which they found ‘gratifying’ to their ‘national vanity’ – proved that the ‘English influence [was] increasing’.77 August Caemmerer of the Tranquebar mission ‘almost daily [received] requests for more schools, especially in Tamul’.78 This points to an interest also in the new forms of vernacular instruction. In 1817, within three years May had already formed 36 Bengali-medium schools around Chinsurah, ‘and had the prospect of establishing twenty more’. Due to a lack of funds, however, ‘twenty Petitions from various Villages, some of them very populous, having been refused, from inability to comply with them’.79 In 1818, 3,255 students were registered to May’s 36 schools, and 30–230 students daily attended each school.80

These petitions are a remarkable phenomenon. They appear in the reports of all the major missionary school projects as markers of the good prospects of the missionaries’ work. They proved the need for more donations, since the requests had still to be complied with. The Missionary Register of 1818 published the literal translation of such a petition, ‘written on Cadjan Leaves’, to Rhenius in Madras: The Inhabitants and Headmen of Alagadipettah, in the Talook Tamalavar, viz. Rettiyappah Rettiar, and Mootoo Vengada Chettiar, present the following Petition to the very Honourable Society teaching the way of truth, and bounteous in bestowing charity. We have heard that you establish Charity Schools here and there, and give the Children knowledge and understanding. We hope that you will do this great favour to the poor children in this place also, that they may become learned; and we beg the same of you. If it please you to extend this charity to our village, we shall with pleasure give a place for the Children to learn in, and for the Schoolmaster to dwell in; and shall send our Children to the School, according to your desire. This we shall do: the rest must remain yours.

This petition had been ‘drawn up by Sandappen’, a convert who established and superintended several schools for the CMS around Madras. He had done so, 77 78 79 80

Letter from Rev. Edward Crisp, Madras, to James Millar, Secretary to the BFSS, 2 February 1826 [Manuscript]; BFSS Archives: 202.1/9. Report from August Caemmerer on the ‘State of the School-Establishments [Tranquebar] at the end of 1815’, Missionary Register, 1816, 455–456. Missionary Register, 1818, 37. ‘A General Statement of Attendance’, June 1818, Report Relative to the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah. Death of Mr. R. May and appointment of Mr. Pearson to succeed as Superintendent of the Schools: IOR F/4/617/15371.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

184

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

however, ‘at the request of the people’.81 Another report written by Rhenius tells that the people of Vadadelli ‘agreed to write a petition […] with the request that [the CMS] would establish schools among them’.82 This shows that the petitions were not spontaneous letters; they were part of a formal procedure between the school providers and persons of local influence. The agents of the mission would visit a village and speak to persons they identified as opinion leaders. They explained their educational programme and asked for local support. Sometimes they were rejected. If, however, the people wanted to have a new-model school in their place, they were requested to submit a written petition, so that the missionaries could legitimize their work; they would appoint someone who was skilled to draft it in the proper way and then sign it. Formal letter writing was certainly a common practice. Already the ‘indigenous schools’ had taught students to draft business letters and petitions. This curricular element was often adopted in the new schools. Moreover, language textbooks such as Pearson’s Idiomatical Exercises provided templates of this genre. Even if we understand them as part of a formalized interaction process, and not a spontaneous initiative on the part of Indian villagers, the petitions are an indicator of local interest in the schools. Moreover, they point to collaboration and shared costs.

The motivation of rural Indian families to make use of the new-model schools for their children is difficult to assess. A first question is who exactly attended these schools. In the case of the urban education reform movement in Calcutta, we can trace several former students of the CSS schools. David Kopf has found that two of the leading Derozians, namely Rasik Krishna Mullick (born 1810) and Krishna Mohun Bannerji (born 1813), and probably also Shib Chandra Das (born 1811) and Radhanath Sikdar (born 1813) had attended David Hare’s elementary schools before they attended the Hindu College.83 Another case would be the Christian missionary, journalist, and college professor Lal Behari Day (1824–1892), who received his elementary instruction at the pathshala of his native village, Kanchanpur in the Burdwan district, before he proceeded to Scottish missionary Alexander Duff ’s English Institution in Calcutta.84 I will 81 82 83

84

Petition of the Inhabitants of Alagadipettah, 23 January 1817, Missionary Register, 1818, 98. ‘Opening of Schools, by Sandappen, in Vadadelli’ (Letter from Rhenius to Thompson, 10 February 1817), Missionary Register, 1818, 74–76. David Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization, 1773–1835 (Calcutta: Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay, 1969), 161. See Chapter 6 of the present volume. Robert Hunter, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland in India and Africa (London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1873).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

185

come back to his experiences subsequently. In the case of the rural new-model schools, there are no records of individual students. For Bengal, however, there appears to be a close overlap between the group of people who would have their children taught in a pathshala and those who sent them to a new-model school.

The missionary educational experiments, such as the Chinsurah schools, understood themselves as ‘promoting the education of the poor on the Lancastarian system’.85 This category the of rural poor is difficult to disentangle in terms of caste. In the reports in these schools, the only distinction we find is between the Brahmin and Shudra children.

Table 5.1  Classification of Students in the Chinsura Schools, 1815–1817

Schools

Brahmin

Other castes / ‘Soodra’ Mussulman children

October to December 1815

January to March 1816

April to June 1816

October to December 1816

January to June 1817

354

568

643

698

649

1,243

1,466

1,776

1,844

1,696

71

120

159

190

159

24

27

30

30

33

Source: Compiled by the author, from Robert May’s reports to Magistrate Gordon Forbes, 1815–1818 (IOR).

The missionaries rhetorically targeted ‘heathens’ (referring to Hindus), as the previous chapter has shown. Muslim students, apparently, attended the new schools too, although as a numerical minority. There was a strong presence of Brahmin boys, which was much appreciated by the missionaries: ‘if they have good principles firmly fixed in their minds,’ May hoped, ‘much good will result from their well known influence over the lower classes’.86 Against the background of the missionaries’ anti-caste rhetoric, this is remarkable. In Bengal, the early generation of missionary educators welcomed Brahmin students as potential leaders of a process of cultural change – a rather paradoxical expectation 85

86

Reports on the State of the Police for the Division of Calcutta and Relative to the Establishment of Village Schools in Chinsurah and Its Vicinity by Mr. May: IOR/F/4/534/12850. Robert May to Gordon Forbes, 3 October 1815, Progress Report on the Free Native Schools Established by Robert May in Chinsura and Environs: IOR/F/4/566/13976.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

186

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

if it was the Brahmins’ spiritual authority they hoped to undermine. This policy contrasts with the American and other missionaries’ approach in the Bombay Presidency, who, as Mountstuart Elphinstone remarked, have always found ‘the lowest castes’ their ‘best pupils’.87 Despite the anti-Brahminical and anti-caste rhetoric, which united evangelicals and dissenters, the Bengal missionaries affirmed the Brahmin students’ educational aspiration. Particularly for the poor rural Brahmins, free access to literacy was certainly an attractive option.88 Brahmins consistently formed about one-third of the Chinsura schools’ students. Here, we seem to have one of the instances where the missionaries adjusted to local circumstance.

May emphasized that there was ‘no distinction of Castes in these Schools, all sit together on a mat’.89 Apparently, this was not immediately accepted by the Brahmin students: ‘At first a Brahman boy would not sit down on the same mat with one of another caste.’90 Also, some teachers initially disagreed with this co-teaching of Brahmin and Shudra children.91 But there are no traces of the violent, and persistent, opposition which usually occurred when untouchable students sought entry to the public space of modern elementary schooling.92 There was initial hesitation but otherwise no conflicts over caste occur in the early Bengal sources. The absence of untouchable students was certainly an important factor in this. This is one major difference between the early monitorial schools in Bengal and those in Tamil Nadu. In 1815, when he started to supervise the schools 87

88

89 90

91 92

Board of Education, Bombay, Report of the Board of Education from January 1, 1850, to April 30, 1851 (Bombay: Printed at the Education Society’s Press, 1851), 14–15. On Brahmin students’ economic poverty, Rao, ‘Promiscuous Crowd of English Smatterers’. This is also confirmed in the life histories of prominent Brahmin reformers from different parts of India. See Brian Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement: Vidyasagar and Cultural Encounter in Bengal (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996); Meera Kosambi (ed.), Pandita Ramabai through Her Own Words: Selected Works (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2000). Robert May to Gordon Forbes, 3 October 1815, Progress Report on the Free Native Schools Established by Robert May in Chinsura and Environs: IOR/F/4/566/13976. J. Long (ed.), Adam’s Reports on Vernacular Education in Bengal and Behar, Submitted to Government in 1835, 1836 and 1838. With a Brief View of Its Past and Present Condition (Calcutta: Printed at the Home Secretariat Press, 1868), 3. Ibid. Phillip Constable, ‘Sitting on the School Verandah: The Ideology and Practice of ‘Untouchable’ Educational Protest in Late Nineteenth-century Western India’, Indian Economic and Social History Review 37, no. 4 (2000): 383–422.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

187

around Madras for the CMS, Rhenius was at first happy to report about one successful school, which had grown rapidly. This changed, however, when ‘some Christians of the Paria caste came, and requested us to take their children into our school’. The missionary ‘did not hesitate to admit them; but […] the Malabar caste (the Sudras, &c.) dare not touch Parias, and, therefore, would think it a pollution to stand with the latter before the same card and learn’.93 The school, therefore, lost many students.

The missionary politics of teaching untouchable castes deserves more space, and will discussed further in Chapters 7 and 8. Here, I want to return to the discussion on Bengal, and continue to explore the category of ‘Shudra’. Therefore, I refer to Day’s novel Govinda Samantha, which was advertised as an account of Bengal’s ‘peasant life’.94 The novel entails the school history of the boy Govinda of the Aguri caste. It offers us a description of rural pathshalas, which draw from the author’s own experiences. Moreover, there is an exploration of the rural landholding castes’ interests in their sons’ literacy and numeracy. Although described in the novel as ‘poor people’, the Aguri belonged to the commercial and landholding castes. They aspired to a status of respectability by means of distinguishing themselves from the cultural practices of the ‘lowest people’, which were associated with ritual impurity, such as alcohol consumption.95 In Govinda’s village, there were two schools. One was run by a Brahmin gurumahashaya, instructing Brahmin and kayasth students in grammar and Sanskrit. Kayasths were ritually Shudras, but as scribes traditionally associated with education. The other schoolmaster, Rama Rupa Sarkara, was himself a kayasth. He instructed the ‘lower castes’, which here denotes Shudras, not Untouchables. This was the school relevant in Govinda’s case.

The story begins with ‘an important discussion’ between his father, Badan, and the grandmother, Alanga. ‘Don’t you think’, the father asks, ‘it would be a good thing to give Govin his hate khadi?’ (emphasis in original). Hate khadi, which Day translates as ‘putting chalk into the hands of a child’, happened when a boy turned six years of age. It was a ceremony in which the goddess of learning, Saraswati, 93 94 95

Rhenius, Memoir of C.T.E. Rhenius, 35–36. (The quote is from the journal of C.T.E. Rhenius.) Lal Behari Day, Govinda Samanta, or the History of a Bengal Ráiyat (London: Macmillan, 1874). Ibid. See Sukanta Bhattacharyya, ‘Caste, Class and Politics in West Bengal: Case Study of a Village in Burdwan’, Economic and Political Weekly 38, no. 3 (2003): 242–246.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

188

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

was invoked. The grandmother, however, was hesitant: ‘Reading and writing does not suit poor people like us.’96 To convince her, the father emphasized that the world has changed. In ‘Satya-Yuga’, or the ‘days of piety and virtue’, cultivators did not need to learn lekha-pada (writing and reading). In Kaliyuga, however, raiyats would easily get ‘cheated and oppressed’ if they were unable to read contracts of lease: ‘I cannot read a pata […] or write a kabuliyat. […] I am at the mercy of every deceitful gomasta, and every tyrannical Zamindar.’97 Protecting the poor peasantry from deceit was also an objective of those British officials who promoted rural elementary education. Without education, Robert Shortreed, a subordinate revenue officer in the Bombay Presidency wrote, peasants would become ‘easy prey to the land lords and moneylenders’. In Bengal, Judge SetonKarr opined, ‘We should enable a peasant to write a letter of business, to draw out a bond, to understand the terms of a mortgage, to cast up his accounts to know if his receipts for rent are correctly signed.’98

What Day tells his readers is rather like the official education discourse. But I think that taken together, the different sources do point to a widespread rural demand for literacy, accounts, and language skills. In a changing society, people did not only continue to make use of the prevalent educational institutions. Especially in south India, the mission schools sometimes offered meals, which the distressed people made use of for the children, or they hoped otherwise to gain from a connection to the mission.99 More importantly, however, the new schools offered knowledge, skills, and materials, which sparked the families’ interest. There was a widespread demand for instruction in the English language. The missionaries found ‘multitudes anxious to gain instruction in English, only for the temporal advantages which they expect to derive from it’.100 Mathematical and accounting skills had always been in high demand in common vernacular schools in India. In the mission-run public schools, students could often familiarize themselves with the British forms of counting and accounting. The introductions to arithmetic written in Bengali by May and his colleague John Harle (Gonito/Ganitaksha) were highly popular among the CSBS’s publications. May’s book was ‘composed chiefly with reference to the 96 97 98 99 100

Day, Govinda Samanta, 55–58. Ibid., 57–60; on the ninettenth-century Bengal discourse on Kaliyuga, see Sarkar, Beyond Nationalist Frames, 10–37. Quoted in Rao, ‘Promiscuous Crowd of English Smatterers’, 229. Extract of the Journal of the Missionaries Schnarré and Rhenius, July to September 1815, Missionary Register, 1816, 377–384. Letter from Daniel Corrie (CMS), 20 December 1816, Missionary Register, 1816, 106–107.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

189

principles adopted by the natives in teaching Arithmetic’. Harle explained the English mode of counting and calculation.101 In Tamil Nadu, both Indian and European modes of mathematics instruction were found in the new schools.102

Also the practice of an accurate and elegant handwriting was appreciated. The Provisional Committee of the CSBS observed that transcription from good exemplars was ‘one of the School exercises’ which parents ‘approve[d] most’, since proficiency in penmanship was much admired.103 The colonial official and leading CSBS member William Butterworth Bayley summarized the parents’ demands from elementary schools as follows: ‘a grammatical knowledge of their own language’; ‘the power of reading with facility (both in Manuscript and the printed character)’; ‘writing with tolerable ease & correctness’, and ‘the application with great readiness and accuracy of the rules of Arithmetic […] according to the European as well as the Native System’.104

Particularly in urban environments, schools that offered skills for future employment as writers and clerks and for profitably running one’s own business attracted students. The good impression of seeing ‘youths who since have left the School … decently employed, induce[d] even those parents who live at great distance to send their children from thence’.105 Parents, of course, considered the practical advantages of modern education. This was indeed a point of conflict with the missionary providers of schools. The Chaplain in Surat, Thomas Carr, reduced this difference to the point that while the parents’‘only object [was] to have the children educated sufficiently to enable them to write in public offices’ the missionaries had a ‘further object, to improve and instruct the mind’.106 However, the interest in modern English education cannot be understood in purely instrumentalist terms. 101

102

103 104

105 106

The 3rd report of the CSBS (1821, 2) says that the 2nd edition of May’s Arithmetic (1,500 copies) and the 1st edition of Harle’s Arithmetic (1,000 copies) ‘are completely exhausted’; a new edition was already in planning. Harle was named as J.D. Pearson’s assistant in the 2nd CSBS report (1819, 3). Senthil Babu, ‘Indigenous Traditions and the Colonial Encounter: A Historical Perspective on Mathematics Education in India’, in R. Ramanujam and K. Subramaniam (eds), Mathematics Education in India: Status and Outlook (Mumbai: Homi Bhabha Centre for Science, 2012), 37–62. CSBS, Report of the Provisional Committee, 1817, 4–6. W.B. Bayley to Governor General Hastings, 25 April 1821 [reporting on the basis of J.D. Pearson’s account of his schools]; Native Free Schools at Chinsurah and Its Vicinity: F/4/823/21876. Report from August Caemmerer on the ‘State of the School-Establishments [Tranquebar] at the end of 1815’, Missionary Register, 1816, 455–456. Rev. Thomas Carr on his ‘native school’ in Surat, BES Report No. 6, 1821, 13.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

190

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Intellectual curiosity certainly also provided a strong motivation.107 People were curious about the knowledge of these newcomers, which was made accessible without considerable investment and, apparently, at a calculable risk.

Parents were not generally hostile to their children learning about Christianity. Although there were cases of strong opposition against Christian instruction, many people were indeed interested to hear about Christianity. They allowed their children to read the Bible, and sometimes registered them to a school just to get a free copy of the scriptures or other printed books.108 This did not mean that they considered conversion. On the contrary, parents feared that the missionaries would force their children into the other religion. Before enrolling their children, families made inquiries about potential dangers to their children. Did the missionaries want to ‘ship all the children to England’ or sell them into slavery?109 Rhenius tells in his journal that people asked him ‘whether there is any constraint on the children to change their religion; which’ – he says – ‘of course, we answered in the negative’.110

Indeed, conversion was supposed to be a voluntary and deliberate act, based on inner conviction. Missionaries from all parts of India report to have been careful to question potential converts for their motives, and not all applicants were accepted. But even if there was no coercion, the ‘grant end’ or ‘ultimate object’ of all mission-supported schools was the spread of Protestant Christianity.111 The CMS-, SPCK-, and LMS-supported schools in south India taught Christianity from the first day of their establishment, as the eighteenth-century Tranquebar mission schools had done. The students of the CMS schools of Burdwan also read the Bible once the schools had become firmly established. The mission schools (especially those in the south) introduced Christian rituals, instead of

107

108 109 110 111

Parimala Rao, ‘Introduction: Perspectives Old and New’, in Parimala Rao (ed.), New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2014), 1–42, 21–22. Extract of the Journal of the Missionaries Schnarré and Rhenius, July to September 1815, Missionary Register, 1816, 377–384. Memoir of the Rev. John James Weitbrecht, 50. Extract of the Journal of the Missionaries [Schnarré and Rhenius], October 1815 to August 1816, Missionary Register, 1817, 332–337. Extract of the Journal of the Missionaries Schnarré and Rhenius, July to September 1815, Missionary Register, 1816, 377–384.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

191

the hymns and offerings that had hitherto accompanied schooling.112 Instead of reciting the saraswati bandana,113 the school day was now ‘conclude[d] with [Christian] prayer’. After finishing examination, Rhenius tells, ‘all children (except the Heathen to whom we leave their choice) [fall] with us upon their knees; when we thank the Lord God for the mercies of the past, and pray for his blessings for the future. Yes! May the Lord hear us, and may they become his!’114

Given the sheer foreignness of these schools, with their buildings, and books, and strange Christian and technocratic rituals, there was a lot of friction. Conflicts seemed to centre on two issues. First, there was the clash between the aims of the school providers and the parents’ demand. Missionaries who started teacher-training schools were particularly confronted with this. Institutions that aimed to train teachers and mission workers offered a profound English, scientific, and commercial education. Sometimes, they even supplied free meals, clothing, or boarding. ‘[A]fter their Children have received instruction, and been maintained by charity’, the parents, however, would withdraw them, and ‘employ them to some more advantageous business’.115 Missionaries tried out different solutions to this problem. May stopped giving English lessons after discovering that these lessons were the only motivation of his teacher-training candidates to attend the central school.116 The missionaries of Tranquebar started to require parents to sign an agreement that their sons would stay with the mission. While some parents complied with that rule, others accused the missionaries of practising slavery; still others, seeing ‘their designs’ to obtain fee-free English instruction ‘baffled’, simply withdrew their children.117 112

113

114 115 116 117

On school ceremonies, see Kurt Liebau (ed.), Die Malabarische Korrespondenz. Tamilische Briefe an deutsche Missionare (Sigmaringen: Jan Thorbecke, 1998 [1714–1717]), 134–140; A.D., Campbell, ‘On the State of Education of the Natives in Southern India’, Transactions of the Literary Society of Madras 1, no. 5 (1834): 350–360. Duff, Review of Adam’s Reports, 329: ‘the Saraswati Bandana, or “Salutation to the Goddess of Learning” […] is daily recited by the scholars in a body before they leave school.’ Journal of Schnarré and Rhenius, July to September 1815, Missionary Register, 1816, 377–384. Thompson’s Report on the Tranquebar schools, 18 March 1817, Missionary Register, 1818, 33–37. Robert May, Report of 10 October 1816, Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsura: IOR/F/4/605/15020. Journal of Schnarré and Rhenius, October 1815 to August 1816, Missionary Register, 1817, 332–337.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

192

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Convincing families to register their children was apparently less difficult than to get a new-model school running on a regular basis. This was perhaps the most frequent conflict, which the new schools faced. A constant gap appeared between the students’ ‘number in the books’ and ‘number of attendance’. Even in the successful school projects, just about two-thirds of the registered students were usually present.118 The children seemed to simply ‘follow their own inclination whether they will attend School or not’.119

The missionaries identified several reasons for the ‘irregularity’ of the students’ attendance. The first were religious festivals, of which – in Protestant missionary eyes – Hindus, Muslims, and the ‘Portuguese’ Catholics had ‘appointed a greater number than necessary’.120 May reported that the Hindu festival of ‘Dussarah’ and the Muslim celebrations accompanying the ‘Mohurrum’ had caused more than five weeks of general absence. Apparently, the children left some days before the main festivities began and returned some days after these were over.121 In addition to the general feasts, students took leave for family celebrations such as weddings, sometimes for weeks.122 Moreover, the students were found to ‘attend as much as their poverty and occupations permit’.123 That means that the school attendance was interrupted for the harvest and casual labour. Sickness is finally referred to as an important reason of students’ absence.124

The expectations of the school providers and the cultural and working routines of the rural population were sometimes incompatible. The missionaries did not even close their schools for the most important festivals of the Hindu or Muslim calendar. Instead, they closed them on Sundays. Their perception of the local 118

119 120 121 122

123 124

Ibid. See Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah: IOR/F/4/605/15020, and Native Free Schools at Chinsurah and Its Vicinity: IOR/F/4/823/21876.

Robert May, Report of 4 July 1815, Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah: IOR/F/4/605/15020.

Journal of Schnarré and Rhenius, October 1815 to August 1816, Missionary Register, 1817, 332–337. Robert May, Report for October to December 1815, Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah: IOR/F/4/605/15020. Extracts of the Journal of the Missionaries Schnarré and Rhenius, December 1814 to July 1815, and July to September 1815, Missionary Register, 1816, 50–61, 377–384. Letter from August Caemmerer to Marmaduke Thompson, 14 June 1816, Missionary Register, 1817, 123–124. Visit of Christian, the Reader, to Vadadelli [Christian’s Journal, March 1817]; Missionary Register, 1818, 76–79.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

193

feasts and celebrations closely resembled the attitude of protestant reformers in Europe. Those did not only regard catholic lay piety as ‘idolatry’ and ‘superstition’, but also struggled to reduce the number of holidays, which the population was accused of wasting with drinking, gluttony, gambling, and other vicious and idle entertainments.125 The missionaries did also not consider the patterns of agricultural labour – it was left to the students to absent themselves for harvest. The problem of the population to accommodate to the schedule of schooling, indeed, often accompanied the spread of modern-style mass education.126

In addition to the problem of ‘irregular attendance’, the missionaries were confronted with an ‘early withdrawal’ of their students. Sometimes parents withdrew their children for ‘love of change’, 127 as Rhenius explained it. Apparently, families tried out different schools and sometimes decided in favour of a competing school. Or they appreciated a combination of skills and knowledge from different schools. Moreover, families would often withdraw students when they considered that the children or youths had made enough progress. This kind of behaviour seems to fit with the pattern of precolonial Indian education, where schools often fluctuated. From the perspective of the missionaries and social reformers, this practice ‘greatly diminishe[d] the benefits which the institution [was] otherwise calculated to secure’.128 This was one of the problems that a regular conclusion of a student’s school attendance could help circumvent. And this brings me to a central feature not only of colonial schooling but of modern schooling in general: the examination.

Examination, Interrogation, and the Appropriation of School Knowledge The new-model missionary schools basically aimed to diffuse knowledge of Christianity (CMS, particularly in the south) or, alternatively, a standard ‘course of moral and scientific instruction’ (BMS, LMS, and to some extent CMS, in 125 126

127 128

Richard van Dülmen, Kultur und Alltag in der Frühen Neuzeit, vol. III: Religion, Magie, Aufklärung (München: C.H. Beck, 1994), 48. Mary Jo Maynes, Schooling in Western Europe: A Social History (Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985); Pavla Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 1500–1900 (Bloomington, Indianapolis: Indiana University Press), 183–220; Dülmen, Kultur und Alltag in der Frühen Neuzeit, III, 150n. Extract of the Journal of the Missionaries [Schnarré and Rhenius], October 1815 to August 1816, Missionary Register, 1817, 332–337. Bayley to Hastings, 25 April 1821, Native Free Schools at Chinsurah and Its Vicinity: F/4/823/21876.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

194

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Bengal). The real ‘benefits’ of the new schools were hoped to spring from the dissemination of this knowledge, not from literacy and accounting skills. This was the kind of knowledge, therefore, that had to be reproduced by students in examinations. In the CMS schools of Madras, Tanjore, and the Tinnevelly district, examinations closed with a ‘repetition of the Catechism, and of certain passages of Scripture which the children have learned by heart during the month’.129 In the Bengal schools, students were regularly questioned in astronomy, geography, and chronology, and all kinds of moral and empirical questions. The monitorial schools of the 1810s and 1820s did not yet formalize final examinations. However, examinations formed a regular part of their functioning; in a way, they even formed the heart of the new schooling practices. Constant examination was, after all, how the whole rotation of ranks and individual progress from class to class were organized in monitorial schools. And it was the major disciplinary mechanism, as the second chapter has discussed.

In the colonial cities, the new schools annually examined their most advanced class or classes in public, to make their progress transparent.130 These were highly publicized events, which aimed to ensure further subscriptions and donations. The LMS missionaries in Chinsura and the CMS agents in Burdwan annually assembled the ‘head classes’ of all the schools in the central school, where missionaries and visitors questioned the students. In Burdwan, this was organized as a competition between schools. All examinations included the distribution of money and books as rewards of merit. One such prize book in Bengal was the popular Scientific Dialogues, published by the CSBS.131 The public examinations, thus, offered further opportunities for promoting scientific knowledge and advertising ‘useful’ books.

Additionally, all the students, not only the head classes, were regularly examined by superintendents, missionaries, agents of school societies, and European visitors in the schools. Indeed, this was how the system of payment-by-result worked – the teachers were rewarded for the performance of their students. To successfully pass an examination, the students were required to recite lessons that they had learned by heart, or to respond to ‘catechizing’. Sometimes they were asked to ‘explain’ an answer, to prove that they had personally understood the meaning of the lesson.

This kind of catechizing was later formalized within the teaching process, as the ‘interrogatory’ method. An appendix to Pearson’s British System contains 129

Journal of Schnarré and Rhenius, July to September 1815, in Missionary Register, 1816, 377–384. 130 Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 194. 131 Jeremiah Joyce, Dialogues, Illustrative of the First Principles of Mechanics and Astronomy: Designed to Form a Prize-book in Schools, and a Help to Natives Desirous of Scientific Knowledge (Calcutta: Reprinted forbythe Calcutta Society, Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid the UCSF Library,School-Book on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, 1819). subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

195

several ‘Specimens of the Interrogatory Mode for Conveying Instruction’. The reading lessons were supplemented with several questions, and answers, for the students to reproduce. The first ‘specimen’ is a lesson in political economy, and it is as remarkable for the colonial ideology it expresses as for its pedagogical approach. I am, therefore, quoting the full lesson here: Lesson read. One of the principal sources of the wealth of Hindoostan is, that the various articles which it produces are highly useful to other nations. Its inhabitants scarcely need the produce of any other country, whilst articles that are in great demand elsewhere are produced in rich abundance in Hindoostan; hence, for the purchase of these articles, great sums of money are sent by foreign nations to this country. Under the formers sovereigns of Hindoostan, through the prevalence of oppression, property was insecure. In whatever country this is the case, and justice is not equally administered, foreigners do not, in general, risk their wealth for the purchase of its productions. Under the equitable administration of the British government the trade and wealth of Hindoostan have greatly increased, and are still increasing. Q. What is one of the principal sources of wealth of Hindoostan? A. The various articles which it produces are highly useful to other nations. Q. What do its inhabitants scarcely need? A. The productions of any other country. Q. W here are articles that are in great demand elsewhere, produced in rich abundance? A. In Hindoostan.

Q. For the purchase of these articles what is sent by foreign nations to this country? A. Great sums of money.

Q. Under the former sovereigns of Hindoostan, through the prevalence of oppression, what was insecure? A. Property.

Q. In whatever country this is the case, and justice is not equitable administered, what do foreigners do?

A. They do not, in general, risk their wealth for the purchase of its produce. Q. Under the equitable administration of the British Government what have been increased? A. The trade and wealth of Hindoostan.132 132

Pearson, The British System of paid Instruction, Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access by the UCSF55–56. Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

196

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

This lesson not only underlines the early mission schools’ agenda to help win over hearts and minds for British rule, but also illustrates the nature of questions that were used as part of catechizing or interrogating students. The students were encouraged to almost literally reproduce the lesson’s content and wording. This approach would easily prepare the students for reproducing lessons, also when examined by outsiders. It had, however, nothing to do with reflection or contextualization.

Considering the unfamiliarity of the knowledge, of the methods and rituals of the new-model schools, it is still remarkable that students often performed quite successfully. Schnarré and Rhenius found their students’ ‘progress’ at least ‘tolerable’.133 Pearson appreciated that his students ‘comprehend[ed], and enter[ed] into the spirit, of those modes of tuition adopted in the schools with the like readiness that is found in children at home’, in England.134 Bayley reported that the Chinsura students ‘manifested almost without exception, an eager spirit of emulation, and many of them appeared to have acquired a great facility in reading, in writing and arithmetic, while their answers to the questions put to them, shewed that they understood what they had read’.135 A visitor to Burdwan found it very gratifying to hear a large company of Bengalee boys explain the government of England, speak of the two houses of parliament, the army, and navy, and universities, and chief cities of the United Kingdom; and I can truly add, that I have never seen more sharpness, and zeal for knowledge, and emulation, in the matter of taking places, in any English schools.136

The quality of the new monitorial schools certainly differed considerably; in the programmes initiated and supervised by passionate educators, such as May and Pearson in Chinsurah and Stewart in Burdwan – programmes which were also well-funded compared to others – the students easily accommodated to the new system of examination. This accommodation was probably facilitated by a general familiarity with practices to memorize and recite the written word. We know that memorizing techniques were characteristic for the eighteenth-century pedagogical culture in India, as they are for any oral tradition of knowledge. The repetition of lessons, which was required in the new system of examination, resonated with modes 133 134 135 136

Journal of Schnarré and Rhenius, July to September 1815, Missionary Register, 1816, 377–384. J.D. Pearson to W.B. Bayley, 12 March 1822, Native Free Schools at Chinsurah and Its Vicinity: IOR/F/4/823/21876. Bayley to Hastings, 25 April 1821, Native Free Schools at Chinsurah and Its Vicinity: IOR F/4/823/21876. Letter from the Rev. T. Thomason to W.B. Bayley, 5 March 1819, in CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 80–82.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

197

of learning that had been practised before in the indigenous schools, such as the musical rendering of multiplication tables. Mnemotechnics had been, moreover, an important element of the Sanskrit religious tradition and the recitation of long verse compositions from memory was part of a rather orally oriented popular culture. Senthil Babu has argued that the pathshalas’ pedagogical culture was ‘grounded in a form of memory very different from the modern associations of memory with rote or mechanical mode’.They rested on a ‘recollective memory where memory practices constituted a distinct mode of learning and not merely aids to learning’.137 I do not want to overemphasize the parallels between rote learning and the repetition of textbook lessons, and the memorization and recitation practices that characterized indigenous Indian learning. But it is remarkable that the disciplinary technique of ‘constant examination’,138 which accompanied monitorial schooling, was introduced in a context in which mnemotechnics were common. To some extent, I think, there was a convergence of pedagogical techniques, which facilitated the rapid spread of the colonial ‘text-book culture’,139 which privileged mechanical memorization.

Although the success of monitorial schools became measured in terms of ‘lessons’ and ‘facts’ memorized and reproduced by students, this knowledge was supposed to translate into a new subjectivity and a new conduct of the student. Monitorial schools, it will be remembered, were ‘designed to change the mentalities of the common people’.140 The compendia on natural science and geography were meant to ‘excite a spirit of enquiry’.141 Christian instruction was supposed to translate into the making of a rational and moral subject, and finally of a convert.The missionaries found it rather difficult to understand that ‘some Heathen Youth, from sixteen to twenty years of age, who have received Christian Instruction for three or four years […] do not manifest, as yet, any desire to become Christians’.142 ‘As yet’ – writing, 137

138 139 140 141 142

Babu, ‘Indigenous Traditions and the Colonial Encounter’, 38. For more discussion on the topic of memorising in indigenous Indian education, see Nigel Crook, ‘The Control and Expansion of Knowledge: An Introduction’, in Nigel Crook (ed.), The Transmission of Knowledge in South Asia: Essays on Education, Religion, History and Politics (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), 1–27; Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, ‘Introduction: An Approach to Education and Inequality’, in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), Education and the Dispriviledged: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2002), 1–32. Michel Foucault, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison (New York: Vintage Books, 1995), 184–194. Kumar, Political Agenda of Education, 64. Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 143–182. Bayley to Hastings, 25 April 1821, Native Free Schools at Chinsurah and Its Vicinity: F/4/823/21876. Letter from J.C. Schnarré to the Secretary of the CMS, 14 July 1817, Missionary Register, 1818, 36–37.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

198

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

reciting and learning by heart of the scripture could not remain without effect, the missionaries convinced themselves and their sponsors. Against all the evidence to the contrary, they kept hoping that ‘the instructions […] will not be entirely lost, but that in future life, by the power of the holy spirit, they may produce fruit’.143

For the students, of course, to successfully recite a lesson did not necessarily imply to ‘believe’ it. The educational reformers found it advantageous that the new compendia and textbooks ‘contain[ed] many detached facts and scattered information’144 because they touched a variety of unknown subjects and were translatable into any Indian language. This implied, however, that the facts were also ‘detached’ from the life-world of the students, from anything they were familiar with. They also were often ‘detached’ from a context within which they would make sense. Statements such as ‘[t]he earth moves round the sun in three hundred and sixty five days, which motion forms the year’ (an example from the Hints Relative to Native Schools) can be memorized as isolated ‘facts’, but this does not necessarily imply to draw individual ‘meaning’ from them. Some schoolbooks, such as the popular Scientific Dialogues mentioned earlier, presented scientific knowledge in a structured, systematic, and pedagogically sensible way. But they were more prevalent in the urban context, which the next chapter focuses on. It is no wonder, therefore, if some students ‘appear[ed] to feel very little interest in the glorious truths they daily commit to memory’.145 Even when students were reported to ‘understand’ – to be able to reformulate, to bring together lessons from various books – they appropriated the new knowledge selectively. A ‘curious but important conversation’ that occurred between Rhenius and one of his students ‘[i]n the English Catechising’ clearly depicts the large discrepancies that could exist between memorized lessons and personal attitudes and practices, or to take up once again Pavla Miller’s distinction, the gap between the ‘curriculum-in-use’ and the ‘received curriculum’.146 Rhenius wanted to inform his students on the futility of ‘idol worship’, saying: ‘[Y]ou hear of the power of the idol, and never experience it yourselves.’ In the meanwhile, a laughter began among the Boys; and one of them said, ‘Yes, Sir: I have experienced something of the kind.’ ‘What was that?’ I asked. Boy. ‘The day before yesterday (Thursday) I had not learned the lessons of the New Testament for Friday. I then vowed to one of our goddesses, that if she would make it so on Friday that you should not ask me, I would offer her cocoa-nut, &c. Now yesterday you forgot me, and did not ask me.’ 143

Rev. Addis [LMS, Tranvancore], Letter to the BFSS, Quarterly Extracts 16 (1830). Bayley to Hastings, 25 April 1821, Native Free Schools at Chinsurah and Its Vicinity: F/4/823/21876. 145 Rev. Addis [LMS, Tranvancore], Letter to the BFSS, Quarterly Extracts 16 (1830). Downloaded 146 from Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge https://www.cambridge.org/core. Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 224–225. Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006 144

Rules and Numbers

199

I do not think that this student particularly ‘resisted’ a colonial school lesson; he had just not done his homework. He seemed to not find it inconsistent to memorize and recite Bible lessons in school, and to seek divine protection against being caught negligent elsewhere. The missionary, trying to ‘counteract’ the ‘favourable impression of the power of the goddess’, admonished the boy that she had supported his idleness and could ‘certainly therefore be no good goddess’.147 This, obviously, was a matter of perspective, which the missionary and the student might have disagreed on. In conclusion, there was a disconnect between the introduction of constant examination techniques in the schools and the appropriation of knowledge by the children as active agents in the learning processes. ‘Schools, it is hardly necessary to say, even today find it difficult to measure the acquisition of facts and skills’, Miller observes. And ‘they certainly not have invented a simple way to evaluate changing mentalities’.148

The schools established by the missionaries were an entry point for the appropriation and spread of new knowledge. But this was not something that examinations could measure. The schools were sites where Indians encountered protestant missionary Christianity and, much more importantly, a Westernmodern, scientific world view, and liberal ideas of subjectivity and polity, even if the missionaries contradicted those ideas in their own practice. The encounter with the mission-school curricula at times produced remarkable cases of cultural translation. One example is the appropriation and adaptation of the natural science education offered by the Tranquebar missionaries by the famous Tamil poet Vedanayaka Sastri.149 That this happened in Tanjavur is no coincidence, since this was the south Indian region where the missionaries had already been active for a century, where they had established close ties to the court and had converted the 147 148 149

‘Extract of the Journal of the Rev. C.T.E. Rhenius, September–December 1816, Missionary Register, 1818, 28. Miller, Transformations of Patriarchy in the West, 224. Indira Viswanathan Peterson, ‘Science in the Tranquebar Mission Curriculum: Natural Theology and Indian Responses’, in Michael Bergunder (ed.), Missionsberichte aus Indien im 18. Jahrhundert (Halle: Francke’sche Stiftungen 1999), 175–219; Michael Bergunder, ‘Bethlehem Kuravanci of Vedanayaka Sastri of Tanjore: The Cultural Discourses of an Early-Nineteenth-Century Tamil Christian Poem’, in Judith Margaret Brown, Robert Eric Frykenberg, and Alaine M. Low (eds), Christians, Cultural Interactions, and India’s Religious Traditions (Routledge, 2002), 9–36; also Savithri Preetha Nair, ‘Native Collecting and Natural Knowledge (1798–1832): Raja Serfoji II of Tanjore as a “Centre of Calculation”’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 15, no. 3 (2005): 279–302.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

200

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

largest number of people.150 It also points to the fact that scientific knowledge was something which particularly sparked Indians’ interest in the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. This seems to refer to both rural elementary students and urban intellectuals. It was also science that through the CSBS entered the cultural repertoire of the Bengal renaissance, as the next chapter will show.

Conclusion I started this chapter with a discussion of an initial wave of educational expansion (1814–1824) in the wake of the imperial monitorial movement. New schools seemed to mushroom in all parts of India, which introduced new pedagogical techniques, curricula, management standards, and constant examinations. Against the background of the conflictive processes in which the new ‘system’ was put into practice, I want to now reconsider the issue of educational expansion. What we can observe is rather a transformation of schooling than a clear-cut increase. The missionaries who promoted the monitorial system to win over Indian hearts and minds – for the British colonizers and their religion – did not enter an educational tabula rasa. As we have seen, the new school sometimes substituted the village pathshala or the prevalent institution was changed into a monitorial school. Therefore, the number of new schools that appear in the different missionary and official sources does not necessarily represent educational growth: the increase of the ‘British’-model schools to some extent implied the decline of the indigenous ones. Considering the strategic relevance of the number of the registered students, particularly in the initial years, for the income of the schoolmaster, these figures are generally unreliable. Moreover, the missionaries had an interest in exaggerating them as well, to prove to the subscribers and donors to missionary and education societies that their funds have been well spent. This was essential to motivate the public to continue giving. After these disclaimers, I still want to give a rough estimate of the numbers of students who were affected by monitorial schooling in India, from the founding of the first ‘native’ schools, in 1814 (by May), until the movement declined all over British India, in the late 1830s. Let us assume that by 1824, the first peak of the movement, around 30,000 students were under the new form of instruction in all

150

Joseph Mullens [LMS], Missions in South India: Visited and Described (W.H. Dalton, 1854), 2–4.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

Rules and Numbers

201

the three presidencies.151 Usually, students attended the new-model schools for a maximum of two years. Until 1830, there is no indication of a significant decline of the overall school numbers, although the Chinsura schools in Bengal entered a crisis in the late 1820s.152 We would thus reach a figure of approximately 120,000 students by that year. Considering that the number of Bengal schools dropped around the year 1830, while the growth continued in the Madras and Bombay Presidencies, we might calculate with the same number for the 1830s. This gives us the figure of altogether 240,000 students by the late 1830s.

The relevance of the rural monitorial mission schools was, thus, not so much an expansion of the overall school provision. They, however, affected enough students and local communities to initiate a transformation of the pedagogical culture. Paradoxically, a movement that aimed to bring about a moral revolution tried to do so with the help of tools which, in practice, promoted technocratic management and rote learning of scattered facts. The missionary educators, who distributed compendia for the dictation by monitors of reduced empirical statements, and interrogated students on the benevolent effects of British rule for India’s economy, participated in the making of a new empiricist, colonial information order. Even more, they were already obsessed with the kind of statistical reporting (How many students? How many Brahmins? How many lessons spelled?) that came to characterize bureaucratic government. They were the first to bring evidence-based governance to Indian vernacular elementary schools. This implied completely new tasks for the teacher, who was incorporated into this system of examining-counting-reporting.

Looking at the students’ and families’ responses to the new type of schooling, there is no indication of an imposition of colonial schools on them. This does not change the colonial nature of these schools, or their function in the production of colonial hierarchies. But the missionaries did not dispose of strong means of coercion, and they had to make an effort to attract students, who might otherwise not attend or attend a different institution. There is also no indication that 151

152

In 1819, the Missionary Register had estimated the number of new students as 30,000–40,000 (‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 103). The data which they compiled are based on the reports sent to them by the mission stations, and the education societies; in the cases which I could compare, they roughly match. For 1819, I think the figure of 30,000 students is an exaggeration (considering all the problems with numbers which were just discussed). It becomes more realistic if we count all the students who were, or had been at some point, instructed in the new-model schools by 1824. Supplement to [Fisher’s] Memoir, in A.N. Basu (ed.), Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, Part 1 (1832) (Bombay, Calcutta: Asia Publishing House, 1952), 62–143, 71.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

202

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

communities in general rejected the new-model schools. And considering the sheer ineffectiveness of the ‘monitorial machine’ to spread ‘knowledge’, instead of literacy and accounting skills, there was also much less indoctrination going on than what the missionaries would have wished for.153

This is also important for explaining the closing of many of these schools in the 1830s. I will discuss this further in the next chapter. The major factor for their decline was not a lack of demand. To be sure, there were struggles with the teachers, who, understandably, did not want to obey ‘the orders of the sahib’. Students attended irregularly, because of work demands and family and community life. It also seems that attendance sometimes declined after the schools were no longer a curious novelty. But the major reason for the closing of the schools was a lack of funds. Keeping the public motivated to donate money – even if, as in the case of the mission societies, the promise of large-scale conversion was always postponed – was rather difficult. The only option, as I will discuss, was then to apply for government funds. This was a risky business since government policy was subject to change. It was the victory of the Anglicists, finally, which also brought an end to the monitorial movement’s successes in Bengal. (Bombay’s trajectory is different, as I will show in Chapter 7.) In the end, the schools in Chinsura shared the fate of a more extensive, tax-funded rural education project that took place in the NorthWestern Provinces and the Punjab a generation later.154 Like the North-Western Halkabandi schools, the monitorial schools in Bengal fell victim to a change in governmental funding priorities and the reorientation of educational policy.

153

154

For a discussion on imposition and indoctrination: Robert E. Frykenberg, ‘The Myth of English as a “Colonialist” Imposition upon India: A Reappraisal with Special Reference to South India’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 120, no. 2 (1988): 305–315; Suresh Chandra Ghosh, ‘“English in Taste, in Opinions, in Words and Intellect”: Indoctrinating the Indian through Textbook, Curriculum and Education’, in J.A. Mangan (ed.), The Imperial Curriculum: Racial Images and Education in the British Colonial Experience (London: Routledge, 1993): 175–193. Tim Allender, ‘Surrendering a Colonial Domain: Educating North India, 1854–1890’, History of Education 36, no. 1 (2007): 45–63.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:32, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.006

CHAPTER 6

Intellectual Conquest Education Societies, ‘Useful Knowledge’, and the Bengal Renaissance, 1817–1854 Europeo-native institutions … are destined to accomplish its moral and intellectual, as troops of this character have, the military conquest of this country. (Emphasis in original)1

‘All Unite to Promote the Education of Children’ The previous chapter concluded that the number of students directly reached by missionaries’ schools in Bengal remained limited. Nevertheless, William Carey, Joshua Marshman, John Dorking Pearson, Robert May, and James Stewart left a deep and lasting impact on Indian education. In line with their popular Protestant orientation, the Serampore missionaries pursued a bottomup approach to start the reformation of Bengal’s society. From their mission commune, they aimed to spread rational, useful knowledge among the rural population. It is somewhat ironic, therefore, as David Kopf overserves, that eventually their educational reform programme ‘succeeded best among the children of the Hindu elite in the metropolis of Calcutta’.2

In Calcutta, the missionaries found themselves joined by ‘benevolent and reflecting persons of every rank and condition. The British Governments and some of the Native Authorities, the Governor General, the Bishop of Calcutta, Chaplains, Missionaries, Military Officers, European Gentlemen and Ladies 1 2

‘Proceedings prior to the Final Establishment of the Society’, CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 69. David Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance: The Dynamics of Indian Modernization, 1773–1835 (Calcutta: Firma K.L. Mukhopadhyay, 1969), 159.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

204

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

resident in India, and numbers of the rich Natives themselves’ – all seemed to ‘unite to promote the education of Children’.3

Most importantly, British and Indian reformers cooperated in the Calcutta School Book Society (CSBS), and its sister project, the Calcutta School Society (CSS). Founded in 1817 and 1818, respectively, both associations rested on a temporary alliance of the same missionaries whose school projects we have encountered in the last chapter with the British Orientalists in the General Committee of Public Instruction (GCPI, 1824), and a strong faction among Calcutta’s bhadralok, or ‘gentlefolk’. Radhakanta Deb (1783–1867) and his associates, who later formed the Dharma Sabha in defence of Bengali Hindus’ cultural identity, were among the leading members of the CSS and the CSBS. The CSBS did not only represent a novel kind of British–Indian civil society cooperation, which opened the way for remarkable processes of cultural appropriation. It also became an important hub in the network of education reformers in Calcutta and in a pan-Indian perspective. A visualized summary of these connections is provided in Figure 6.1. The organizational model of the CSBS was copied by education societies in several parts of British India, including the Madras School Book and School Society (MSBSS) and the Bombay Native Education Society (BNES).4 The CSBS supplied these partners with books and materials, which were then further translated and disseminated. This shows that the early civil society networks, as the structures of colonial governance, centred on Calcutta. In her interaction-centred approach to sociologically account for educational change, Margaret Archer has emphasized that ‘the nature of education is rarely, if ever, the practical realization of an ideal form of instruction as envisaged by a particular group’. Its forms must rather be understood as the contingent product of ‘complex forms of social interaction’. Power struggles are an important element of this.5 This particularly applies to such broad and precarious alliances as those supporting the CSBS and CSS. It is easy to summarize the general aim of the new education societies. The first report of the BNES presented the agenda for an improved vernacular schooling as follows: to provide books appropriate 3 4

5

‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 103. CSBS Report No. 3, 1821, 24, 55. The BNES and MSBSS were considered ‘branches’ of the CSBS in the official records. A.N. Basu (ed.), Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, Part 1 (1832) (Bombay, Calcutta: Asia Publishing House, 1952), 93, 119. Margaret Archer, Social Origins of Educational Systems (University Edition) (London: SAGE Publications, 1984), 2.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

205

for the ‘mental improvement’ of the students; to introduce an ‘easy and efficient Method of imparting instruction’; to train teachers and superintendents of schools; and to raise the funds necessary for such an endeavour.6 This, however, still left sufficient space for substantial conflict.

While the first part of this chapter (first to third sections) focuses on the foundation and successful activities of the CSBS and CSS, the second part (fourth and fifth sections) explores arenas of conflict and negotiation. This particularly refers to the question of government funding for Christian instruction. The emerging institutions to control educational spending were faced with a general problem of liberal governance in a colonial context: how far to interfere with the colonized peoples’ ‘private’ matters of religion and family? (In the 1820s, Calcutta also witnessed the peak of the debate on sati, which posed the very same question. Should the government outlaw the practice of burning widows alive? This presented a dilemma, since sati was framed within the very same debate as a religious tradition, and hence beyond the reach of the state.7) The GCPI became increasingly convinced of the principle of funding only non-religious education, which posed problems to missionaries, who applied for funds. I argue that these negotiations, together with a significant public interest in Bengal in modern science, furthered processes of educational secularization. Bengal, therefore, went quite ahead of Britain in the decoupling of elementary schooling from religious authority and faith-based school knowledge. Another contested issue was the place of ‘native female education’ within the infrastructure of educational reform and governance. I will discuss this for the case of the Ladies’ Society for Native Female Education (LSNFE), and Mary Ann Cooke. Neither the CSS nor the GCPI were willing to fund this project. As the last part of the chapter shows, the alliance behind the CSBS and CSS entered a crisis around 1829. The growing influence of the Anglicists in the GCPI, I argue, also ended governmental support for the pioneering projects of vernacular elementary schooling in Calcutta and its rural surroundings. However, the operations of the CSBS continued, which points to the institutional and cultural legacies of the monitorial education movement. 6 7

BNES Report No. 1, 1824, 15–17. Jana Tschurenev, ‘Between Non-interference in Matters of Religion and Civilizing Mission: The Prohibition of Suttee in 1829’, in Harald Fischer-Tiné and Michael Mann (eds), Colonialism as Civilizing Mission (London: Anthem Press, 2004), 50–68; Lata Mani, Contentious Traditions: The Debate on Sati in Colonial India (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

206

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Figure 6.1  Connections between Education Societies, Schools, Colleges, and the GCPI in Calcutta Source: Author.

Europeo-Native Institutions: Missionaries, Orientalists, and Calcutta’s Bhadralok On 6 May 1817, a meeting was held at the College of Fort William in Calcutta, which in hindsight appears as a critical event in the history of education.8 The Fort William College had been established in 1800 with the purpose of teaching vernacular languages to newly arrived British officials. Soon it emerged as a centre for translation and oriental learning.9 The background of the meeting was that individuals engaged with the establishment and support of ‘native schools’ in Bengal – the Protestant missionaries – had ‘found a great obstacle to their exertions in the want of lessons and books in the Native Languages, suited to 8 9

Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 184–185. Peary Chand Mitra, A Biographical Sketch of David Hare (Kolkata: W. Newman & Co., 1877), viii.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

207

the capacities of the Young, or at all adapted to the purposes of enlightening their minds or improving their morals’.10 A schoolbook society, which furthered the production of a useful vernacular elementary literature, would remedy this. The meeting was presided over by William Butterworth Bayley (1782–1860), who would be appointed chief secretary to the government of Bengal two years later (1819). Bayley led the operations of the CSBS until his departure for England, in 1831. He was also the driving force behind the Calcutta Sanskrit College (1824), ‘the last great expression of Orientalist educational policy in Bengal prior to the rise of the Anglicists’.11

Other members of the Fort William College’s staff, and of Governor General Hastings’s ‘service elite’,12 joined the CSBS’s Provisional Committee. Notably, this included Carey of Serampore, who since 1801 served as the head of the Fort William College’s vernacular department, and Edward Hyde East (1767–1847), the Chief Justice of Calcutta and first principal of the Hindu College. The Hindu College, or Anglo-Indian Vidyalaya, had admitted its first students earlier in 1817. It was the first of Calcutta’s distinctly Anglicist higher education institutions, which concentrated on modern science and English. It exists until today as the well-known Presidency College, at College Street, Kolkata. The Church Missionary Society (CMS) was represented, too, in the person of Reverend Thomas Thomason. The significant decision reached at the initial meeting was to establish the CSBS as a ‘Europeo-Native Institution,’ an organization that would invite the collaboration of Bengali intellectuals and scholars. Hence, a week later, six further members were co-opted to the CSBS’s Provisional Committee, three Hindus and three Muslims. These were Deb, who was enabled by his family’s wealth and social standing to pursue private scholarly and publication projects; his friend Tarini Charan Mitra (1772–1837), the chief munshi of the Fort William College’s Urdu department;13 and Mrityunjay Vidyalankar (c. 1762–1819), who had joined the 10

11 12 13

‘Proceedings prior to the Final Establishment of the Society’, CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 69; see N.L. Basak, ‘Origin and Role of the Calcutta School Book Society in Promoting the Cause of Education in India, Especially Vernacular Education in Bengal’, Bengal Past and Present 78, January–June (1959): 30–69, 32–35. Brian Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement: Vidyasagar and Cultural Encounter in Bengal (Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), 44. Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 155. Ibid., 61, 185, 205. ‘Radhakant on his own initiative started to work on a Sanskrit dictionary, which by 1809 had become so large and diversified in subject matter that he transformed it into an encyclopedia.’ Ibid., 193.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

208

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

College as head pandit of the Bengali department in 1801, where he closely worked with Carey.14 The invited Muslim scholars were Maulvi Abdul Wahid, Maulvi Karam Hossain (Fort William College), and Maulvi Aminullah, who taught at the Calcutta Madrassa, the earliest of Bengal’s oriental learning institutions (1781).15

The CSBS was thus one of the first truly secular civil society organizations, in which Christians, Hindus, and Muslims cooperated. This went beyond the British and Foreign School Society’s (BFSS) principle of uniting Christians on a non-denominational basis. All ‘persons of whatever nation’, who paid an annual subscription, were admitted as members of the CSBS.16 Moreover, the CSBS emphasized, it was not part of its ‘design […] to furnish religious books’. This ‘restriction’, it was further explained, was not ‘meant to preclude the supply of moral tracts’. On the contrary, ‘works of a moral tendency, which […] may be calculated to enlarge the understanding and improve the character’ were highly appreciated, as we will see below. The only condition was that they were not ‘interfering with the religious sentiments of any person’.17

The CSBS represented an entirely new mode of British–Indian cooperation. Long before, missionaries had experienced generous support by Indian patrons. Princely courts had sometimes included them in their distribution of gifts in the same way in which they would extend their patronage to Brahmin scholars. The Maharaja of Thanjavur, Serfoji II (1777–1832), who had been educated by the German missionary Christian Friedrich Schwarz (1726–1798), became a prominent patron of the Tranquebar mission’s schools and of other educational ventures.18 The CMS were able to win the Raja of Burdwan as a patron for their schools in this region.19 Even the new education

14 15 16 17 18

19

Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement, 143–147. ‘Proceedings prior to the Final Establishment of the Society’, CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 73. Ibid., 72. Ibid., 71–72. ‘Proceedings of the SPCK’ in South India, Missionary Register, 1816, 353; Missionary Register, 1817, 464; see Savithri Preetha Nair, ‘Native Collecting and Natural Knowledge (1798–1832): Raja Serfoji II of Tanjore as a “Centre of Calculation”’, Journal of the Royal Asiatic Society 15 (2005): 279–302. Memoir of the Rev. John James Weitbrecht, Late Missionary of the Church Missionary Society at Burdwan, in Bengal. Comprehending a History of the Burdwan Mission, compiled from his journal and letters by his widow (London: Nisbeth and Co., 1854).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

209

societies were favoured by princely patronage.20 The crucial Indian partners for the missionary efforts to expand and reform popular schooling in the early nineteenth century, however, were not the traditional elites, but the ‘colonial middle class’, who had emerged from the social distortions of the beginning of the colonial rule.21 Culturally distinguished by a new code of civic respectability, the bhadralok often belonged to a new class of absentee landlords, who had the wealth and leisure to engage in political discourse.22 The emerging vernacular public also included Brahmin scholars and urban professionals. Thus, the dominant form of support was no longer courtly patronage, but cooperation in joint civil society associations.

From the British perspective, the invitation of Indian participation was of strategic importance from a financial point of view, but also for gaining cultural hegemony. The proceedings prior to the establishment of the CSBS expressly tell us that it aimed to assure Indians’ ‘active co-operation as well as acquiescence’ (emphasis in original). This meant, in summary, ‘to obtain the labours and gratuitous services of some, the pecuniary contributions of many and the good wishes of all’.23 British educationalists had found Indians liberal in the distribution of alms. However, the mode of exercising charity did not meet their approbation; it did not follow the ‘operative principle’ of ‘discriminating charity’. Instead of rewarding merit and encouraging industry – as the logic of the new ‘government of poverty’ in early capitalist England prescribed – the ‘gifts’ to the poor that were, for instance, distributed at Bengali funeral ceremonies were criticized as being ‘a great check to the exertions of the industrious poor’.24 Therefore, the British educationalists thought, the laudable Indian charity

20

21 22

23 24

CSBS Report No. 3, 1821, vi: ‘his Majesty the King of Owdh has just communicated, thro’ the Resident at Lucknow, his resolve of making a donation of 1000 Rs. in aid of the School-Book Society’s objects.’ See also Nabob of the Carnatic Furnished with the Reports of the Bombay Native Education Society and Donation form His Highness to the Society: IOR/F/4/1592/64570. Partha Chatterjee, The Nation and Its Fragments: Colonial and Postcolonial Histories (Princeton University Press, 1993), 92. S.N. Mukherjee, ‘Class, Caste and Politics in Calcutta, 1815–38’, in Edmund Leach and S.N. Mukherjee (eds), Elites in South Asia (London: Cambridge University Press, 1970), 33–78. ‘Proceedings prior to the Final Establishment of the Society’, CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 69; see Basak, ‘Origin and Role’, 32–35. Priscilla Chapman, Hindoo Female Education (London: R.B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1839), 53–54.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

210

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

was to be directed ‘from absurd into judicious channels’.25 In their view, Indian benevolence had to be adapted to the rational, formal rules of civic voluntarism.

I think that the case of the CSBS paradigmatically illustrates the tension of incorporation and differentiation that marked imperial civil society. For the most part, the CSBS’s mode of operation was based on formal equality, civility, and deliberation. At the meetings, the ‘native gentlemen’ and the ‘European’ ones proposed and seconded on equal terms and thanked each other for their good services.26 While the Provisional Committee consisted, in the initial design, ‘of 24 Persons, of whom 16 [were] Europeans and 8 Natives’, this proportion was soon changed to an equal number of 10 British and Bengali directors, respectively.27 However, the British claimed leadership as a matter of course. The very highest levels of representation were reserved for the colonial officials. In the case of the CSBS, this included the positions of a Patron (Governor General Hastings), a President (Bayley), and four British Vice-Presidents.28 The discourse of the ‘Europeo-native institutions’ was dominated by Europeans, and addressed to a European audience, even if the reports were translated into Bengali and several north Indian languages. And it clearly partook in the paternalistic, hierarchical language of the colonial civilizing mission. By inviting Indians to participate in the educational societies, British educationalists hoped to make them sponsors and active agents of the uplift of Indian civilization within the frame of colonial hierarchies. The spread of useful knowledge by means of improved vernacular schooling was openly equated to a moral and intellectual conquest: When compared to the Indian troops led by British officers, ‘Europeo-native institutions’ such as the CSBS seemed ‘destined to accomplish its moral and intellectual, as troops of this character have, the military conquest of this country’ (emphasis in original). 29 25 26 27 28

29

‘Proceedings prior to the Final Establishment of the Society’, CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 69. Ibid., 72. CSBS, Report of the Provisional Committee, 1817; and ‘Rules’ of the CSBS (Report No. 2, 1819, iii–iv). The CSS, the MSBSS, and the BNES display the same organisation features. For the CSS and MSBSS this is confirmed by the reports of the CSBS (Report No. 1, 1818, 23–27; Report No. 3, 1821, 55). The BNES will be discussed in detail in the next chapter. ‘Proceedings prior to the Final Establishment of the Society’, CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 69.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

211

This did not, however, prevent the bhadralok from joining the Fort William high-culture Orientalists and the Protestant missionaries in their efforts to improve vernacular elementary schooling. For over a decade, the ‘Europeo-native institutions’ were indeed quite successful in gaining the ‘labours and gratuitous services’ of dedicated Indian reformers, particularly in the CSS, as we will subsequently see. Moreover, they received ‘the pecuniary contributions of many’ Indian donors and subscribers. At the second annual meeting of the CSBS, in Calcutta’s townhall, 4 teachers and 53 students of the Calcutta Madrassa came forward and collectively joined the list of subscribers.30 The CSBS and CSS, it appears, were founded at a very opportune historical moment. Rammohan Roy (1775–1833) had just formed the Amitya Sabha (1815); many Bengali intellectuals started to publish pamphlets and newspapers and developed competing projects of social reform and ‘regeneration’.31 In this political climate of openness and search for development alternatives, the ‘Europeo-native institutions’ provided spaces for engagement and exchange with European thought. They became part of the vibrant cultural encounter that marked Calcutta’s public sphere in the second decade of the nineteenth century. The education movement, it appears, was fuelled by its conjuncture with the beginnings of the Bengal renaissance. S.N. Mukherjee has distinguished two factions within Calcutta’s reformoriented public sphere of the time.32 On the one side, there were reformers such as Roy and the Tagore family, who supported the Brahmo Samaj (1828). This was the anti-sati faction, which, to put it simply, did not exclude religious and spiritual life from the project of cultural renewal. On the other side, there were the supporters of the Dharma Sabha (1829), which included Deb, Mitra, and Ramkamal Sen (1783–1844). While the latter faction endorsed modernization in the domains of political and economic life, they defended religion, domestic life, and gender relations as the refuge of cultural ‘self-assertion’.33 They were the faction that defended the right to burn widows against government interference.34 Scholars have, for different reasons, argued that these lines did not represent

30 31 32 33 34

CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 10. Altogether, 117 Europeans, 68 Muslims, and 30 Hindus had subscribed to the CSBS during the first year of its operation. J.K. Majumdar (ed.), Raja Rammohun Roy and Progressive Movements in India (Calcutta: Sadharan Brahmo Samaj, 1983 [1941]). Mukherjee, ‘Class, Caste and Politics in Calcutta’. Dietmar Rothermund (ed.), Aneignung und Selbstbehauptung: Antworten auf die europäische Expansion (München: Oldenburg Wissenschaft, 1999). ‘Petition of the Orthodox Community against the Sati Regulation’, in Andrea Major (ed.), Sati: A Historical Anthology (Oxford University Press, 2007), 147–151.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

212

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

a general liberal–conservative divide.35 There were many shades of cultural appropriation and assertion, and diverse combinations of Brahminical knowledge, religious orthopraxis, and Western-modern forms of public expression.36 This becomes particularly apparent from the point of view of education. Indeed, both factions were united in their fund-raising efforts for the Hindu College (or the Anglo-Indian Vidyalaya) and joined its management.37 Remarkably, moreover, the Dharma Sabha faction was much more active in their support for the CSBS. Sen joined Deb as a member of the CSBS’s committee in 1818, while Mitra became the ‘native secretary’ of the organization.38 Deb basically ran the operations of the CSS together with David Hare (1775–1842). A former watchmaker from Scotland, Hare became a distinguished teacher and educational activist. He was also part of the circle gathering in Roy’s Amitya Sabha.39 Together, missionary Pearson of Chinsura, Mitra, Deb, and Sen compiled the three-part Nitikatha (Moral Tales), which became one of the CSBS’s most popular books.40 The Bengali original was translated into Hindi, Urdu, and Oriya, and thousands of copies were still distributed in the 1850s.41 Roy laboured for the CSBS as well; he provided a grammar and supervised translation activities.42 However, he remained at the margins of the CSBS’s operations. He was not connected with the CSS and kept his distance from the GCPI. From among the Brahmo movement, Dwarkanath Tagore (1794–1846) and Prasanna Kumar Tagore (1801–1886) joined the CSBS’s committee in the 1830s and 1840s.43

Considering the debate on the education of the poor in England, I do not see a necessary contradiction between a position of social conservatism, 35 36 37

38 39 40 41 42 43

Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 198; Mani, Contentious Traditions. Brian Hatcher’s study on Vidyasagar (Idioms of Improvement) particularly highlights this point. Parimala V. Rao, ‘Introduction: Perspectives Old and New’, in Parimala V. Rao (ed.), New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2014), 1–42, 10; Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 193–194. CSBS Report No. 1, 1818, 1. CSBS Report No. 2, 89–91; Mitra, Biographical Sketch of David Hare, vii. Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement, 156; CSBS Report No. 1, 1818, 4. CSBS Report No. 1, 1818, 8; No. 15, 1853, 4–5, 16–17. CSBS Report No. 3, 1821, 7–8; CSBS Report No. 10, 1834, 6. CSBS Report No. 8, 1830, v; CSBS Report No. 13, 1845, v.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

213

which aimed to maintain traditional hierarchies, norms, and values, and the active promotion of education. Society was already fundamentally changing; a differentiated schooling could help manage these changes, as the British debate has shown. As Kopf has highlighted, Deb and his friends ‘would never have participated in a program that they felt was aimed at the destruction of their own civilization’.44 Promoting a modern English higher education and a vernacular elementary instruction were, initially, not perceived as a threat to bhadralok culture and identity, even by those who were, indeed, profoundly conservative in their normative orientation.

Textbooks, and the Vernacularization of Useful Knowledge The participation of Calcutta’s urban intellectual elite in the efforts to redefine school curricula, design textbooks, and reform schools was part of a wider process of cultural appropriation and translation that accompanied the colonial encounter in Bengal. Brian Hatcher has analysed this as a ‘vernacularisation’ of the British-bourgeois improvement discourse.45 The notion of social progress through purposeful effort – which characterized enlightenment thought, and the colonial civilizing mission – resonated with the bhadralok’s agenda of reform and regeneration. The distortions caused by the establishment of colonial governance, such as the reorganization of land property by the permanent settlement in Bengal of 1793, had to some extent destabilized traditional authority and opened considerable opportunity for social advancement. This social mobility led to a competition for the enhancement of various groups’ status and to the formation of new collective identities over against the British and over against other groups within Indian society. In this context of reformulating cultural standards, the engagement with social reform and popular education could help in forming and strengthening a respectable Hindu identity. The ‘uplift’ of the lower castes and classes by means of public schooling, and the circulation of new genres of print were instrumental in the selective formalization of a Hindu cultural tradition, in contrast to the culture of the colonizers.46 This project of ‘cleaning’ and harmonizing

44 45 46

Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 195. Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement, 7–19. See Eric Hobsbawm, ‘Introduction: Inventing Traditions’, in Eric Hobsbawm and Terence Ranger (eds), The Invention of Tradition (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2000 [1983]): 1–14.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

214

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Hindu culture included a standardization and ‘purification’ of the vernacular language, and the replacement of popular artistic expressions and practices.47 The new urban elite, the bhadralok, represented themselves as the ‘sentinels of culture’.48 They distinguished themselves as the civilizers of the mass of the Indian population, as agents of ‘the moral and mental improvement of their own countrymen’.49

The reports of the CSBS show that British and Bengali educational reformers cooperated in a reconstruction of Hindu culture, in which they combined Brahminical knowledge with the British-bourgeois code of respectability. The committee emphasized the need for a careful ‘selection’ of writings that were considered suitable schoolbooks from the body of vernacular and classical literatures. Bengali, Persian, Sanskrit, and Arabic writings were thought to need ‘approval’ and ‘correction’ before they were printed and sold cheaply to a wider audience.50 The CSBS report of 1821 includes a letter signed by ‘18 Brahmuns and 11 Cayusthus’, whom the committee considered ‘respectable natives’. In this letter, the undersigned expressed their ‘decided disapprobation’ of some ‘very immoral’ and ‘inflammatory works’ that ‘had recently issued from presses entirely under Native controul [sic]’. Publications such as the ‘Cam-sastro’ were ‘calculated […] to shake the minds of the youth, and put them upon bad ways’.51 The erotic arts, it appears, had no part in a purified upper-caste Hindu cultural ethos. Their marginalization became part of a long-standing battle against ‘obscenity’, which marked the construction of ‘chaste’ gender, sexuality, and family norms.52 47

48 49 50 51 52

Sumanta Banerjee, The Parlour and the Streets: Elite and Popular Culture in Nineteenth Century Calcutta (Calcutta: Seagull Books, 1989); Sekhar Bandyopadhyay, ‘Caste, Widow-remarriage and the Reform of Popular Culture in Colonial Bengal’, in Bharati Ray (ed.), From the Seams of History: Essays on Indian Women (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1995), 9–36. Tithi Bhattacharya, The Sentinels of Culture: Class, Education, and the Colonial Intellectual in Bengal (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2005). CSBS Report No. 3, 1821, iii. CSBS, Report of the Provisional Committee, 1817, 3, 5, 50; CSBS Report No. 3, 1821, 51. CSBS Report No. 3, 1821, vi, 51n. Charu Gupta, Sexuality, Obscenity, Community. Women, Muslims, and the Hindu Public in Colonial India (Delhi, Bangalore: Permanent Black; Distributed by Orient Longman, 2005).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

215

In contrast to the Cheap-book Society of Dublin, whose model the CSBS expressly imitated, the initial purpose of the CSBS was not so much to counteract the flow of ‘immoral’ and politically dangerous publications issued from the plebeian presses as it was to create a literate audience and stimulate a vernacular reading culture.53 However, with the emergence of an indigenous culture of print and an independent press, the former aspect gained in relative importance.54 While British administrators engaged in discussions of the dangers of a free press,55 missionaries warned against the spread of atheism.56 The CSBS, therefore, also laboured to substitute dangerous and ‘obscene books’ by ‘correct and instructive books’ that would communicate ‘valuable knowledge’ to the ‘youth of Bengal’. In turn, they received praise in the letter from the ‘respectable’ Brahmins and kayasthas, who recommended the CSBS as an institution that was ‘gradually destroying the darkness of ignorance and introducing the light of knowledge’.57

Efforts to contain the spread of knowledge, however, were precarious. The dangers of education, which social conservatives warned against throughout the nineteenth century, were quite real. The point that the effects of the spread of literacy and literature proved uncontrollable cannot 53 54

55

‘Proceedings prior to the Final Establishment of the Society’, CSBS Report No. 2, 1819; see Chapter 2. Anindita Ghosh, ‘An Uncertain “Coming of the Book”: Early Print Cultures in Colonial India’, Book History 6, no. 1 (2003): 23–55; see Anindita Ghosh, Power in Print: Popular Publishing and the Politics of Language and Culture in a Colonial Society, 1778–1905 (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 2006). Mountstuart Elphinstone, the Governor of Bombay, thus warned against a free press in a colonial situation: I certainly do not propose that we should set up the inconsistency of a free press on an enslaved people. Whenever the Natives are thoroughly prepared to receive a free constitution, and a share in their own Government, a free press should be added, as the most powerful weapon by which those privileges can be defended, but as long as it is necessary to keep up an arbitrary Government and that in the hands of foreigners, common reason must restrain us from introducing among the Natives a principle of which it is the chief glory that it invariably communicates both the power and the inclination to throw off the yoke…

56 57

See his Minute in Measures Adopted, and Contemplated by Government for the Promotion of Education among the Natives of This Presidency: IOR/F/4/786/21358. Daniel Corrie (CMS Corresponding Committee, Calcutta) on the ‘Increase and Importance of Schools in India’, Missionary Register, 1815, 382–384. CSBS Report No. 3, 1821, 52.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

216

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

be emphasized enough. Indeed, the movement of ‘Young Bengal’, which emerged at the Hindu College in the late 1820s, was inspired not just by the empiricism of Francis Bacon and John Locke; Henry Louis Vivian Derozio (1809–1831) and his students also read Thomas Paine’s The Rights of Man and enlightenment radicalism. They turned towards the very same kind of literature that the British movement for the ‘education of the poor’ wanted to combat. (This was also the kind of literature that inspired Jotirao Phule and the anti-caste movement in western India, which I will discuss in the next chapter.) Derozio was appointed a teacher of English literature at the Hindu College in 1826. He became the focal point of a group of Brahmin students who not only became freethinkers and atheists but also started to consciously, and publicly, break caste rules. In 1830, the managing committee of the college – which, at that time, included Deb and Sen – were quick to fire him, while Alexander Duff (1806–1878), the militant Scottish Calvinist, started the General Assembly’s Institution, to direct the minds of young Bengali students away from rational scepticism and towards Christianity.58

To come back to the CSBS: if we look at its publishing policy, four core areas can be defined. These, again, show us how the imperial education movement’s strategies were incorporated into the Europeo-native institutions’ improvement agenda. The four core areas of ‘useful knowledge’ were: (a) vernacular literacy, (b) moral instruction, (c) science and mathematics, and (d) pedagogical technology.59

58

59

Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 253–260. Duff ’s General Assembly’s Institution was re-constituted as the Free Church Institution in 1843, and it still exists as the Scottish Church College (http://www.scottishchurch. ac.in/, accessed 3 November 2018). Duff was not only a staunch Anglicist, he also rejected the secular course of instruction devised by the CSBS and insisted on Christian lessons (Robert Hunter, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland in India and Africa [London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1873], 60). This list of books in Bengali published between January 1830 and December 1831 can serve to illustrate this: 1,245 copies of the Moral Tales (Nitikatha) (3 parts, altogether), 551 Bengali Alphabet on Cards, 520 Digdarshan, 489 Pearson’s Familiar Letters, 447 Bengali First Spelling Book, 319 Pearson’s Geography, with Map of the World, 218 Pearce’s Geography (Bhugol Britant), with Map of the World, 246 Picture Alphabet, 140 Elements of Natural Philosophy and Natural History, 120 Harle’s Arithmetic, 95 May’s Gonito, 71 Radhakant Deb’s Spelling Book, 36 World Maps, 27 Pearson’s School Instructions, 27 Defence of Native Female Education (Stri Shikhya Bidhayak), 21 Pearce’s Geographical Copy Book, 17 Serampore Geography, 8 History of British India. CSBS Report No. 9, 1832, 26–29.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

217

Vernacular Literacy Like the missionary participants in the monitorial movement, the CSBS, CSS, and their partner organizations in Madras and Bombay pursued a vernacularlanguage approach to elementary education. Vernacular schooling was seen ‘as the means by which the mind becomes furnished with useful knowledge, and the capacities of a man as a moral agent are unfolded and improved’.60 ‘The culture of the mother tongue,’ explained the BNES, ‘has proved pleasing and profitable, and the road, in consequence, to intellectual and moral attainments, made plain and easy.’61 While the CSBS, in accordance to the vernacular policy, concentrated its efforts on publishing textbooks in Bengali and other regional languages for elementary instruction, it found Sanskrit and Arabic better adapted to spreading higher education in science and philosophy. Works such as Locke’s Essay on Human Understanding were thus translated into Sanskrit. Moreover, the CSBS comprised a growing English department, which issued language-learning materials as well as popular treatises on astronomy, geography, and history, since such books were in high demand. English education, however, was not linked to popular education, but to the instruction of bilingual mediators.62

The CSBS’s language policy places it, to some extent, at the interface of the Anglicist–Orientalist debate.63 Looking at Calcutta’s early nineteenthcentury reform milieu, Hatcher has pointed out several intersections between the different politics of education. In particular, this affirms the alliance of ‘improving Orientalists’ (Bayly), ‘evangelical vernacularists’ (Carey), and 60 61 62

63

CSBS, Report of the Provisional Committee, 1817, 3. BNES Report No. 3, 1827, 20, 22–24. CSBS, Report of the Provisional Committee, 1817, 6: The English Language possesses strong claims to the early notice of this Institution. Though it were unreasonable to expect that it can ever become the vernacular language of this country, it ought certainly to be considered as an important instrument for the diffusion of useful knowledge, as it will probably, ere long, become the learned language in India, as the Latin and Greek Languages have been considered in Europe. […] Natives learned in the English may become highly useful instructors of their fellow countrymen, they may become the depositories of science in the country, and at no very remote period, may communicate that tone of general information, and perhaps also a portion of that intellectual vigour, which we ourselves have received through our learned forefathers of Europe. Lynn Zastoupil and Martin Moir (eds), The Great Indian Education Debate: Documents Relating to the Orientalist–Anglicist Controversy, 1780–1840 (Richmond: Curzon, 1999).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

218

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

‘improving vernacularists’, such as Ishwarchandra Vidyasagar (1820–1891),64 in the project of promoting elementary schooling. Vidyasagar shared Roy’s background as a kulin Brahmin but came from impoverished circumstances. He was part of the Brahmo movement and initiated a campaign in favour of Hindu widows’ right to remarry, a highly contested reform effort. Vidyasagar did not join the CSBS committee, although he appears as an occasional partner.65 However, he struggled to revive the vernacular education movement in the 1850s. As principal of the Sanskrit College (1850–1858), he aimed to turn it into a ‘vernacularist laboratory’, a normal school for the improvement of rural elementary instruction.66 What distinguished the vernacular approach of the CSBS and its associates was the orientation towards mass education. I want to underline this again, that the cultivation of vernacular languages was meant to spread useful knowledge, not among the elites, who aspired to higher learning, but among the common population.

In the fourth chapter, I have discussed the course of instruction that the Serampore missionaries suggested in their Hints Relative to Native Schools.67 I have thereby linked the politics of vernacular schooling to the processes of linguistic standardization. Part of this standardization process was also a ‘cleaning up’ of the spoken vernaculars. They became more Sanskritized, and the vocabulary and expressions adjusted to new standards of decency. The Hints proposed that the vocabulary of the Bengali students was to be enriched by repeatedly copying and reading a selection of ‘their best words’, the ‘correct meaning’ of which was to be learned by heart.68 This perfectly corresponded with the cultural improvement agenda of the new urban educational elites. Paradoxical as it seems, the politics of an improved vernacular instruction contributed to a marginalization of folk languages in education. This process started in Bengal in the early nineteenth century and was repeated later in

64 65

66 67

68

Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement, 60. CSBS Report No. 15, 1852, 10: ‘A new edition of Lawson’s Natural History of Beasts is going through the press. The style and language, as well as the external appearance of the book, having become antiquated, the present edition has been re-written by Pandit Tarasankar, under the supervision of Pandit Eshwar Chandra Vidyasagar. 1000 copies are being printed.’ Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement, 90–114, xv–xvi. Joshua Marshman, William Carey, and William Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools Together with an Outline of an Institution for Their Extension and Management (Serampore: Mission Press, 1816). Ibid., 7, 11–13.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

219

north India. The educational efforts of the Protestant missionaries and their Indian partners contributed to the replacement of lok bhasha (‘the languages of the common people’), which had been used in the earlier pathshalas, by shisht bhasha (or Sanskritized chaste vernaculars).69

The CSBS produced and disseminated a wide range of language-learning materials. This started with the boards, or wall tables, which the Chinsura and Burdwan schools used. These boards – which are described and depicted in the previous chapter – displayed the alphabet in printed and written characters, as well as elementary reading lessons. In 1821, a new edition (1,000 copies) of Stewart’s Elementary Tables had been ‘wholly exhausted’. Of the two editions (3,000 copies) of Pearson’s Introductory Tables, which were ‘arranged on the plan of the National School Society in England’, only a ‘few copies remain[ed]’. Measures to ensure a ‘more extensive supply’ were already underway.70 Another elementary schoolbook, Pearson’s Familiar Letters, had just been published. It contained ‘letters on familiar subjects, commercial correspondence, forms of pottahs and zumeendaree accounts, and other forms in common use’.71 These were materials that had been tested and refined in the authors’ (Stewart’s and Pearson’s) teaching practice, and aimed to amplify their exertions.72 Pearson’s bilingual Idiomatical Exercises – which were sent to and translated in south India – were also part of language instruction.73

Another important material for vernacular language instruction were introductions to grammar, spelling books, and dictionaries. Those were compiled by the Bengali Hindu members and partners of the CSBS. One example is Deb’s Bengali Spelling Book, published in 1821, which was considered a textbook for more advanced readers.74 Kopf describes it as ‘a small encyclopedia’ for students, 69

70 71 72 73

74

Sabyasachi Bhattarcharya, ‘Introduction: The Contested Terrain of Education’, in Sabyasachi Bhattarcharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1998), 1–28, 9. See Naresh Prasad Bhokta, ‘Marginalization of Popular Languages and Growth of Sectarian Education in Colonial India’, in Bhattarcharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain, 201–217. CSBS Report No. 3, 1821, 2. Ibid., 3–4. CSBS Report No. 1, 1818, 2. J[ohn] D[orking] Pearson, Bakyabolee, or, Idiomatical Exercises, English and Bengalee: with Dialogues on Various Subjects, Letters, &c. &c. (Calcutta: Printed at the School-Book Society’s Press, 1825); Charles Philip Brown (ed. and trans.), Vakyavali; Or, Exercises in Idioms, English and Telugu (SPCK, 1852). CSBS Report No. 9, 1832, 26–29.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

220

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

which ‘included an elementary analysis of language structure, spelling rules, geographical terms, and basic arithmetic’.75 Hatcher adds that Deb ‘combined a systematic list of spelling rules’ – inspired by the ‘English model’ – with lessons drawn from works such as the Hitopadesha (which I will return to below) and lists of caste names and titles.76 This kind of cultural syncretism became characteristic of the emerging vernacular textbook production in Bengal.

Non-Religious Moral Instruction The most popular books produced by the CSBS – according to the number of copies, editions, and languages into which they were translated – were the Nitikatha, or Moral Tales (orig. Bengali). The Nitikatha were inspired by different genres of British, Sanskrit, and Bengali literature. This includes English children’s literature, which aimed to instruct in the form of engaging tales, as well as the Sanskrit Nitishastra tradition. The Nitikatha presented short fables with instructive morals, such as: ‘The poor man may easily become rich [b]ut the fool does not suddenly grow learned.’77 One part of the Nitikatha is a translation of Aesop’s fables, a work which also formed a part of the elementary English reader published by the CSBS. Other fables incorporated in it were translated from Arabic.78 Kopf observes that the Nithikatha ‘were designed to inculcate a feeling of morality without any religious bias’.79 I think this is exactly how fables, or moral tales, became an important element of the new vernacular textbook genre. Combining Sanskrit moral pedagogy with British-bourgeois virtue – such as the ideal of ‘industry’ – moral tales seemed perfectly adapted to the CSBS’s stated aim to further the students’ character improvement without hurting anyone’s religious sentiments. They were the means for a secular moral instruction. Such an interpretation could also build on the earlier Orientalist discovery of the Hitopadesha. This story collection incorporated fables that had spread through Persia, Arabia, and Syria, and had eventually reached Europe. To the early generation of ‘cosmopolitan Orientalists’ – as Hatcher characterises 75 76

77 78 79

Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 195. Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement, 158. For the next section, I am mostly relying on Hatcher’s analysis of Bengali vernacular text-books in the early and midnineteenth century. Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement, 157. He is citing the 1855 edition of Nitikatha, Part 2, 6. CSBS Report No. 1, 1818, 4; CSBS Report No. 9, 1832, 6. Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 195.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

221

them – the genre of the fable seemed to contain a universal wisdom that could appeal to all humans’ moral sentiment. The first English translations of the Hitopadesha from Sanskrit were made in the 1780s, one of them by William Jones. Several pandits at Fort William College translated it into Bengali, among them, most prominently, Mrityunjay Vidyalankar, who also collaborated with Carey in editing a Sanskrit version for publication.80 The Hitopadesha was widely distributed by the CSBS, in Sanskrit (in the translation of Jones), Bengali, and English.81

Building on such early expressions, a new genre of moral children’s literature in Bengali evolved, which linguistically and culturally translated and appropriated British-bourgeois ideals of moral conduct. This appropriation took place on the ground of the Sanskrit tradition of moral pedagogy. Both discourses, the British-bourgeois and the Sanskrit one, thus, shaped the new vernacular idiom of individual morality and social improvement. It was Vidyasagar who became the most important representative of this genre, as the author of highly popular schoolbooks. This is also reflected on a linguistical level, since Vidyasagar’s textbooks further shaped and disseminated the ‘chaste’ Bengali vernacular.82 One of his books, Nitibodh (1851), was distributed by the CSBS.83 Most notable, however, was the two-part primer Varnaparicay (1855). Praised by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore for its simple elegance and poetic expression, Bengali students encounter the book’s well-known characters until today. The Varnaparicay introduces Gopal, the good, studious boy, and the bad boy Rakhal, who does as he pleases. Through the contrast between the two, the moral lessons are imparted: ‘No one likes Rakhal. No boy should be like Rakhal. Whoever acts like Rakhal will not be able to read and write.’84

Arithmetic and Natural Science Textbooks on mathematics and particularly on science were another important branch of the CSBS’s publication activity.85 The introductions to arithmetic 80 81 82 83 84

85

Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement, 141–147, 60. Report No. 17, 1855, 7, 10, 20. Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement, 4. Ibid., 168; CSBS Report No. 19, 1857, 8. Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement, 173–175. (Hatcher cites from Varnaparicay, Part 1, lessons 19–20, in Gopal Haldar (ed.), Vidyasagar-racanasamgraha, 3 vols [Calcutta, 1972], I, 11–12). Samarendra Nath Sen, Scientific and Technical Education in India, 1781–1900 (New Delhi: Indian National Science Academy, 1991), 115–121.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

222

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

written by May and Harle (London Missionary Society, or LMS) were printed in considerable numbers. The former was ‘composed chiefly with reference to the principals adopted by the natives in teaching Arithmetic’, the latter ‘correspond[ed] with the method adopted in Europe’.86 Later, Harle’s work was described as a ‘mixed model’ of mathematics instruction. Both works were still in print in the 1850s. Harle’s model, by then, had become the predominant one.87 This reflects the continued relevance and popularity of mathematics instruction, a mainstay of both pre-colonial indigenous elementary instruction (Chapter 1) and the new model emerging in Bengal in the 1810s (Chapter 5). It also suggests that the new British or combined forms of mathematics instruction gained in relative importance.

Compendia and textbooks in astronomy, geography, and natural philosophy were very popular in English, Bengali, and other vernacular languages. A constant bestseller was the Bengali periodical Digdarshan, or Indian Youth Magazine, which contained miscellaneous information on geography, natural philosophy, and history. It was issued by the Serampore missionaries and distributed by the CSBS. It reflects the Serampore missionaries’ objective, which we found expressed in the Hints Relative to Native Schools, to stimulate the wide circulation of British-based empirical knowledge. The first three issues covered topics such as the ‘Discovery of America’, ‘Commerce in India’, ‘Mr. Sadler’s ascent in a balloon’, and the ‘natural history of the Elephant’.88 Altogether, 26 issues of the Digdarshan were published in Bengali, and 16 issues of a bilingual Anglo-Bengali edition. They were in print for decades; in 1845, both versions of the Digdarshan together (45,000 copies for the Bengali version and 18,000 copies of the bilingual one) outnumbered any other CSBS publication.89

Geography was another focal point. The first geography textbook was issued in 1818 by Reverend W.D. Pearce, but several others were in circulation as well. This was accompanied by the dissemination of maps. In 1845, 4,500 copies of a collection of world maps were available.90 Another long-standing bestseller 86

87 88 89 90

The 3rd report of the CSBS (1821, 2) says that the second edition of May’s Arithmetic (1,500 copies) and the first edition of Harle’s Arithmetic (1,000 copies) ‘are completely exhausted’; a new edition was already in planning. CSBS Report No. 19, 1856, 22. CSBS Report No. 1, 1818, 6. CSBS Report No. 13, 1845, 32–37. Other popular works at the time were the Nithikatha, II (10,000 copies), Lawson’s Natural History (10,000). Ibid.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

223

was William Yates’ Elements of Natural Philosophy and History (Bengali), which was translated into Sanskrit, Oriya, and Hindi.91 Also English popular science books were widely distributed by the CSBS, which included James Ferguson’s Astronomy and Jeremiah Joyce’s Scientific Dialogues. The latter work was published by the CSBS with a view to offering it as a prize book to the best-achieving students.92 The CSBS was not alone in its efforts to translate and popularize scientific knowledge. Its Bombay partner issued a wide range of works on geometry, algebra, trigonometry, and mensuration in Marathi and Gujarati.93 This takes us back to the issue of knowledge translation, appropriation, and vernacularization. The publications of the early nineteenth-century education societies were a first effort to integrate European science terminology into Indian languages, particularly into the vernaculars.94 The fact that both the British Orientalists and Bengali scholars, such as Sen, found Sanskrit the appropriate medium for higher learning also shaped the translation process into Bengali. It reinforced the tendency towards the Sanskritization of vernacular languages.95 To conclude this part, I think that the dissemination and popularization of knowledge of science in English, Sanskrit, and the vernaculars is one of the major legacies of the early nineteenth-century education movement. It was a convergence of Marshman’s and Carey’s strategy to disrupt and change Indian world views by disseminating rational, scientific ‘facts’ with an intellectual curiosity and immense interest in European science among Bengali reformers and students that produced this legacy. Altogether, the CSBS’s publication

91 92

93 94 95

CSBS Report No. 9, 1832, 10, 26–29; CSBS Report No. 9, 1832, 16, 1853, 17. James Ferguson, An Easy Introduction to Astronomy for Young Gentlemen and Ladies. Describing the Figure, Motions, and Dimensions of the Earth; the different Seasons; Gravity and Light; the Solar System; the Transit of Venus, and its Use in Astronomy; the Moon’s Motions and Phases; the Eclipses of the Sun and Moon; the Cause of the Ebbing and Flowing of the Sea, &c. (Glasgow: W. Lang, 1804); Jeremiah Joyce, Dialogues, Illustrative of the First Principles of Mechanics and Astronomy; Designed to Form a Prize-book in Schools, and a Help to Natives Desirous of Scientific Knowledge (Calcutta: Calcutta School-Book Society, 1819). BNES Report No. 4, 1827, 51–54. Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 185–186. Hakim Ikhlef, ‘Constructive Orientalism. Debates on Languages and Educational Policy in Colonial India, 1830–1880’, in Barnita Bagchi, Eckhardt Fuchs, and Kate Rousmaniere (eds), Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-cultural Exchanges in (Post-)Colonial Education (New York: Berghahn Books, 2014), 156–173.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

224

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

strategy helped to radically transform what was understood as the relevant content for elementary instruction, even if we find some continuity in terms of arithmetic, accounts, and letter writing. The CSBS’s ‘systematical course of elementary instruction’96 in language, geography, history, and natural science became characteristic of modern schooling.

Pedagogical Technology The CSBS, and its partner organizations in other parts of India, finally, participated in the production, refinement, and proliferation of pedagogical technology. This was particularly relevant, but not limited to the first decade of their functioning. The ‘Europeo-native institutions’ reviewed the pedagogical knowledge available, selected what they found most useful, and incorporated it into their functioning.97 The report of the CSBS’s Provisional Committee, whose task it was, after all, to prepare the plan for its operations, discusses several pedagogical writings and approaches. This included John Poole’s Village School Improved, which suggested a regular mode ‘of questioning the children on the meaning of what they have read’.98 Moreover, the committee assessed the relative merit of the Hints Relative to Native Schools and the compendia on astronomy, geography, natural philosophy, history, and ethics that they suggested. They weighted the Serampore method of ‘writing from dictation’ against the ‘transcription from boards’, or wall tables, which was prevalent in the Chinsura schools.99 As we will see later, these methods were further experimented with by the CSS. The new education societies issued school manuals, which were in circulation for decades. Pearson’s translation into Bengali of Bell’s Instructions for Conducting a School was particularly relevant.100 Through the GCPI, Bengali

96 97 98

99 100

CSBS Report No. 5, 1823, 4. BNES Report No. 1, 1824, 25; CSBS, Report of the Provisional Committee, 1817, Appendix I. John Poole, The Village School Improved; or, the New System of Education Practically Explained, and Adapted to the Case of Country Parishes… (Oxford: University Press 1815), 45n, quoted in CSBS, Report of the Provisional Committee, 1817, 13–14. Poole explicitly combined Bell and Lancaster and added some further ‘modifications’ of his own. CSBS, Report of the Provisional Committee, 1817, 4–6. Orig. Andrew Bell, Instructions for Conducting a School, Through the Agency of the Scholars Themselves (London: Rivingtons, 1808 [new editions 1809, 1817]); Pathsaler Biboron [= Dr. Bells Instructions for Modelling and Conducting Schools, trans into Bengali by J.D. Pearson] (Chinsura, Calcutta: Calcutta School Book Society, 1819).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

225

and Hindi versions of this book travelled to more remote parts of the country.101 By 1830, it had developed into the comprehensive manual titled The British System of Instruction, as Adapted to the Native Schools of India which I have discussed in the previous chapter.102 On the ‘recommendation of Government’, the BNES published a ‘treatise on the Management of Schools according to Lancasterian system of Education’ in Marathi, compiled by its committee member Captain Molesworth, which was further translated into Gujarati by (unnamed) pandits of the society.103 The relevance of these pedagogical manuals lies not solely in the specific monitorial technology they promoted, even if it was favoured at the time. The point is that they familiarized people interested in education reform with a systematic, institutional, structured, and standardized form of schooling.

The cheap books issued by the CSBS were popular among a growing readership. Although used in all the missionary school circles (Serampore, Burdwan, and Chinsura), it appears that their rural scope remained limited. Many indigenous schoolmasters in the villages of Bengal and Bihar viewed the CSBS publications ‘more as curiosities than as instruments of knowledge’ when William Adam undertook his survey.104 They were, nevertheless, crucial for the reform of urban education. The CSBS usually sold its publications for cost price. The English books published by the CSBS, however, were delivered to the Hindu College free of charge.105 Moreover, and this is what I am going to discuss now, the vernacular textbooks and materials were incorporated into the functioning of the CSS. 101

102 103

104

105

‘Minute by Lord Amherst on the Progress of Native Education’, 26 July 1826, Proceedings Adopted for the Promotion of Education among the Natives of India under the Presidency of Bengal (1829), I: IOR/F/4/1170/30639. The book was sent to ‘Hill stations’ nearby Bhagalpore (Bhagalpur), in Bihar. J[ohn] D[orking] Pearson, The British System of Instruction, as Adapted to Native Schools in India (Calcutta: Baptist Mission Press, 1830). BNES Report No. 2, 1825, 76; BNES Report No. 1, 1824, 57. J. Molesworth, Shallapundhuttee, or, A Treatise of the Management of Schools According to the Lancasterian System of Education [in Marathi] (Bombay: Bombay Native Education Society, 1825–1826); J. Molesworth, A Treatise of the Management of Schools According to the Lancasterian System of Education [in Gujarati] (Bombay: Bombay Native Education Society, 1825–1826). Duff, ‘Review of William Adam’s 2nd and 3rd Reports on the State of Education in Bengal and Behar, 1836 and 1838’, Calcutta Review 2, no. 4 (1844): 301–376, 328. Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 183, 156.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

226

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

The Formation of a School System in Calcutta The CSS was established in 1818, in the public setting of Calcutta’s town hall. The inaugural meeting was ‘very respectably attended both by the European and Native Inhabitants of Calcutta’.106 The CSS’s stated objective was ‘to assist and improve existing Schools, and to establish and support any further Schools and Seminaries which may be requisite; with a view to the more general diffusion of knowledge amongst the inhabitants of India of every description, especially within the Provinces subject to the Presidency of Fort William’.107 The CSS embraced the agenda of universal education, although we will see subsequently that ‘the inhabitants of India of every description’ included only those of the male gender. The practical operations of the CSS remained limited to Calcutta. But those were indeed remarkable.

From the beginning, the education societies in India aimed to form a ‘system of education’(emphasis in original).108 The CSS’s plan to achieve this was to reform and harmonize the instruction given in the indigenous pathshalas that already existed in the city. This approach to convert ‘patshalas into schools’ (which the Bengal government further experimented with after 1854)109 required significantly less financial investment compared to setting up fully funded new schools. The CSS built its operations explicitly on a strategy of remodelling indigenous schools – instead of setting up new ones – which the Serampore missionaries had tried out. This approach centred on the dissemination of ‘scientific copy-books’.110 The copy-book system of Serampore demonstrates the decisive impact that the missionaries’ encounter with rural Indian parents and teachers had on the development of urban educational reform strategies. The CSS, which set out to change Calcutta’s pathshalas, did not implement a reform package from London. It built on local experiences with the new forms of teaching, funding, and supervision. The scientific copy-books were an experiment to substitute the practice of writing from dictation, which was at the heart of the Serampore version of the monitorial system. The CSBS’s Provisional Committee found that the

106 107 108 109 110

CSBS Report No. 1, 1818, 27. Account of the formation of the CSS, Appendix I to CSBS Report No. 1, 1818, 23. CSBS, Report of the Provisional Committee, 1817, 5. Shahidullah, Kazi. Patshalas into Schools: The Development of Indigenous Elementary Education in Bengal, 1854–1905 (Calcutta: Firma KLM, 1987). CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 86–87.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

227

parents were actually ‘averse’ to this practice, since it limited ‘the time spent in transcription’, which parents considered best suited to improve students’ penmanship. The committee explained that ‘[t]ranscribing seems to have been more employed in Asia than in Europe as a means of acquiring knowledge’ while writing from dictation had only recently been ‘systematical[ly] adopt[ed]’ in Europe, by Joseph Lancaster.111 The new copy-books were a compromise between the parents’ demand for handwriting skills and the missionaries’ agenda of diffusing useful knowledge. They adhered to the same kind of ‘facts’ that the Hints Relative to Native Schools had suggested (a ‘course of moral and scientific instruction’). In contrast to other textbooks, they left space for the students to repeatedly copy the printed statements. Empty pages were inserted so that students would write these statements down again from memory. A further development introduced passages that explained the copied and memorized phrases, to ensure that students understood them.112

The design of these copy-books was linked to a major modification of the Serampore mission’s funding strategy, which they adopted in response to the problem of holding poorly paid teachers accountable for implementing their new curriculum.113 The new strategy re-established the private support of the teachers by the parents. At the same time, it provided them with the printed copy-books. The condition for a school to receive the copy-books was that they allowed external superintendents to regularly examine their students. Teachers were paid a reward according to the number of lessons that their students had committed to memory – in line with the missionary educators’ strategy of payment-by-result. The missionaries would thus limit their expenditure per school, to reach more schools than before. The parents saved the relatively high cost of paper for their children’s writing practice. The teacher gained an additional source of income, which was meant as an incentive to help spread the new school knowledge. This was, basically, the system which the CSS adopted.

The CSS was supported by the same reform circle that led the CSBS. Its operations rested on the dedication of its long-standing ‘native secretary’, Radhakanta Deb and his ‘European’ counterpart, David Hare. The CSS started its operations with a survey of the city’s pathashalas, which it aimed to incorporate in a unified system of supervision and textbook supply. This survey 111 112 113

CSBS, Report of the Provisional Committee, 1817, 4–6. ‘On the Plan and Form of the New Instructive Copy Books’, 31–33; Sen, Scientific and Technical Education in India, 115–121. See Chapter 5.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

228

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

counted 190 pathshalas, attended by 4,180 (male) children.114 Deb offered to resume the responsibility for reforming the ‘whole of the indigenous Bengalee Schools from Chitpoor Bridge to Maniktollah Street’. According to the CSS’s survey, this comprised 42 schools, attended by 897 children. To start the new system of supervision and reform, the schoolmasters were invited to a general meeting at the house of Deb’s father, Gopi Mohan Deb, which functioned as the local headquarters of the CSS’s operations. The schoolmasters were offered a free supply of the CSBS’s publications. They were, moreover, promised ‘a present in proportion to the proficiency’ of their students, if they agreed to regular external examination.115

Initially, 17 of the 42 ‘Goorus’ accepted the invitation. The first public examination, to which each schoolmaster brought 3–5 boys, took place ‘in the Chowk of Baboo Gopee Mohun Deb’s house in Sobha Bazar’, on 25 May 1819. The performance of all the students was found ‘satisfactory, and the progress that some had made, after having become so recently acquainted with these printed books, was highly encouraging’. Accordingly, each guru received 2–3 rupees in reward of their students’ progress.116 Because of this success, the CSS asked Deb to extend the plan and recruit three suitable superintendents. The city was divided into four school districts, which Deb and each of his colleagues, Durgacharan Datta, Ramchandra Ghosh, and Umanandan Tagore – all future members of the Dharma Sabha – took charge of. Each district supervisor in turn appointed a ‘Surcar’, or school inspector, whose task was to daily report on the state of the schools and offer explanation and assistance to the schoolmasters of the district.117 The CSS’s system of superintendence was thus run autonomously by the Bengali reformers.

The first materials distributed to the schools were the elementary tables, the Digdarshan (no. 1), Nitikatha (volumes 1 and 2), and May’s Gonito. The number of books used simultaneously was kept limited on purpose, to ensure uniformity in the curriculum and comparability of the examination results. Fresh reading matter, however, was regularly supplied. The aforementioned copy-books were used, too, with a view to improving the students’ writing skills and facilitating the inspection of their progress.118

114 115 116 117 118

Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 160. CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 89. Ibid., 89–90. Ibid., 90–91. Ibid., 91–92.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

229

By 1823, 84 (44 per cent) of the city’s pathshalas had been incorporated into the CSS’s superintendence system. Two years later, their number had grown to 166 (87 per cent).119 This was, however, only one part of the CSS’s system-building efforts. To demonstrate the proper functioning of a school, a limited number of model schools were linked to the CSS. One of these, a free school run by Hare, proved immensely popular. It was established in 1818 opposite the Hindu College, where it can still be found under the name of Hare School. Finally, the CSS found that without the help of competent teachers and translators, the project of disseminating useful knowledge would be futile.120 Since they did not have the means to establish an independent teacher-training institution, the CSS ‘contented itself in this department, with sending to the English School of the Hindoo College 29 Boys, considered to be of promising abilities; and for their tuition we pay the monthly sum of one hundred Rupees’.121

This measure is noteworthy for two reasons. First, the CSS had indeed formed a local school system, which connected the elementary (vernacular) with the higher (English) level of education, combined with efforts to harmonize the whole operations. Elementary school students could, based on individual merit, progress to college studies. This strategy of integrating elementary vernacular schooling with secondary or higher education in English became a major characteristic of the colonial governmental approaches towards educational system-building throughout the nineteenth century. Second, this boosted the CSS schools’ appeal among the local community. The CSS pathshalas were renowned as a road to higher education. When Vidyasagar arrived in Calcutta in 1828, poor but talented and desirous to study, his father’s friends suggested seeking admission to Hare’s school. Not only was the tuition there offered for free but also, if Vidyasagar did well, he could proceed to study at the Hindu College for free. As Vidyasagar recalls in his autobiography, this was considered a promising road to employment. It was the family’s tradition of Brahminical learning that made him enter the Sanskrit College instead.122 Others, however, made use of this opportunity; several Hindu College students, including some of the radical Derozians, had entered there through the CSS schools.123 119 120 121 122 123

CSBS Report No. 5, 1823, 5; Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 162. CSBS Report No. 1, 1818, 23–28. CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 85–86. Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement, 73. Mitra, A Biographical Sketch of David Hare, 63; Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 257.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

230

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Schooling, Gender, and Domesticity:  T he Contested Place of ‘Native Female Education’ The Indian members of the CSBS and CSS embraced the agenda of educational reform for the male youth. This included higher education, both in English and Sanskrit, if the rules of caste and the code of respectability were not broken (as in the case of the radical ‘Young Bengal’), and vernacular elementary instruction in the ‘improved’ pathshalas. The case of girls’ schooling, however, was more complicated. In 1820, Ward of Serampore approached the BFSS’s ‘Ladies Committee’ in England to recruit a female educationalist who would extend the CSS’s system to the female part of the population. This meant the setting up of elementary schools for girls and a central (or model) school for the training of female teachers.124 The teacher thus engaged, Cooke, accompanied Ward to Calcutta in 1821, expecting to be supported by the CSS.125

John Herbert Harington, at that time representing the CSS in London, was fully behind this idea. In a speech delivered at the BFSS’s anniversary celebration, Harington assured the BFSS ladies that ‘the Gentlemen of the Calcutta School Society will, I am sure, give her the kindest reception’.126 This was not fully the case. As the Missionary Register tried to explain, ‘the Committee of this Society, being composed partly of Native Gentlemen, were not prepared, unanimously and actively, to engage in any general plan of Native Female Education’.127 What happened was that the CSS refused to pay Cooke’s salary, stating that its priority was the education of boys. Cooke (after her marriage, Mrs Wilson), therefore, connected her work to the CMS and later continued it under the auspices of the female-led LSNFE.128

124 125 126 127 128

BFSS Annual Report No. 16, 1821, xi, 32–34. Ibid., 32. Speech delivered at the 16th Anniversary of the BFSS; see Missionary Register, 1821, 197. Missionary Register, 1822, 482. See George F. Bartle, ‘The Role of the British and Foreign School Society in Elementary Education in India and the East Indies 1813–1875’, History of Education 23, no. 1 (1994): 17–33, 20–21. For the further development Cooke’s schools, see Chapman, Hindoo Female Education; Daniel Corrie, ‘Appeal in behalf of Female Education’, Missionary Register, 1822, 481–482; ‘Circular Issued at Calcutta Relative to a Central Female-school’, Proceedings of the Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East, for the year 1823–1824, 210–211.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

231

The Bengali members of the CSS, however, ‘expressed their good-will’ towards Cooke’s plan. Some of them even intended ‘availing themselves […] of Miss Cooke’s disinterested services, to obtain instruction for their families’.129 Moreover, Deb participated in the production of a pamphlet, Stri Shikhya Bidhayak, or Defence of Native Female Education (1822), which the CSBS circulated for decades.130 The pamphlet argued that the dharmashastras did not, in fact, forbid female instruction, nor would female literacy lead to widowhood. The association with widowhood was an important element in the familial opposition, which many Indian women encountered, when they started reading and writing in the nineteenth century.131 Although embracing the notion of ‘female education’, the pamphlet urged that girls were instructed largely in the domestic skills at home.132 This is the conservative politics of cautious reform in a nutshell. If girls were given access to literacy, the control over their gendered socialization would still be with their families. It was not handed over to a public institution.

But this was not the only source of tension. The BFSS in London, evangelicals, and missionaries considered ‘female education’ indispensable, as Chapter 4 has argued. However, their concept for schooling girls was no less gendered, and hardly less restrictive, than the bhadralok vision. It tried to propagate literacy for girls, free of charge, which was a radical step. But there was no effort to secularize or to culturally adapt school knowledge. The standard curriculum suggested for ‘native female schools’ in India comprised reading and writing, needlework, and, most importantly, Christian religion. Christianity, in the missionary and evangelical discourse, was the only means to produce female virtue, and to remodel Indian domestic life according to British evangelical standards. Gender relations, religion, and the home, however, were exactly the domain that the conservatives in Bengal urgently wanted to protect. Gender relations became the decisive discursive arena for the contestation and construction of tradition.133 In early nineteenth-century Bengal, the lines between the public and the private spheres were redrawn. A reformed female domesticity was at 129 130 131 132 133

Missionary Register, 1822, 482. CSBS Report No. 15, 1852, 28; Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 195. See Uma Chakravarti, Rewriting History: The Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1998). Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 195. Mani, Contentious Traditions.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

232

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

the heart of the new bhadralok culture and evolved as the foundation of the ‘nationalist resolution of the women’s question’.134 The education of future mothers could, therefore, not be left to foreigners.

Moreover, the practice of publicly examining girl students, which was meant to assure the public that its subscriptions and donations had not been spent in vain,135 was difficult to reconcile with upper-caste norms of female decency and decorum. This might account for the fact that Cooke’s schools, though flourishing over decades, were frequented more by lower-caste girls, whose public sphere of action was less restrained.136 The opposition of the CSS’s Bengali members against ‘female education’ was, in conclusion, a rejection of Christian instruction for girls in public schools, and the bhadralok’s resistance towards the missionary project to reconstruct Indian society from the home. It was part of the 1820s’ contestation over the constitution of a bhadralok private sphere and the efforts to protect it from external meddling.

The General Committee for Public Instruction and the Limits of Educational Governance So far, I have looked at the formation and operation of the CSBS and CSS as major agencies of educational reform. As secular, voluntary, non-profit organizations, they fall well into the category of civil society. This does not mean, however, that they were independent of the government. Members of the colonial administration joined the CSBS’s and CSS’s leadership and held representative posts, or ex-office memberships. Moreover, the voluntary associations were entwined with the build-up of the first institution of educational governance 134

135 136

Partha Chatterjee, ‘The Nationalist Resolution of the Women’s Question’, in Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid (eds), Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990), 233–253; see also Dipesh Chakrabarty, ‘The Difference–Deferral of a Colonial Modernity: Public Debates in Domesticity in British Bengal’, in Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (eds), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 373–403. LSNFE Report No. 1, 1826, 5. Nirmala Banerjee, ‘Working Women in Colonial Bengal: Modernization and Marginalization’ and Sumanta Banerjee, ‘Women’s Popular Culture in Nineteenth Century Bengal’, both in Kumkum Sangari and Sudesh Vaid (eds), Recasting Women: Essays in Colonial History (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1990), 269–301 and 127–179.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

233

in Bengal, the General Committee of Public Instruction (GCPI). Eight of the 11 initial appointees to the GCPI (1824) had familiarized themselves with and pursued educational politics before through their connection with the education societies. Harington, the GCPI’s first president, had served as secretary to the CSBS and acted as the CSBS’s and CSS’s agent in London. Bayley had been and continued serving as the CSBS’s president. Edward Hyde East, J.P. Larkins, W.R. Martin, Horace Hayman Wilson, and Henry Shakespeare had all been vicepresidents of the CSBS, and Holt Mackenzie its active member.137 The GCPI did not initially include Indian members; later, Deb, Sen, Prasanna Kumar Tagore, and other Bengali reformers were co-opted as well.138 Unlike the Public School Society of New York, the CSBS was not itself transformed into a governmental agency.139 But there were remarkable personal continuities between the domain of philanthropy and voluntary association and official policymaking. The main task of the GCPI was to decide how to invest the education budget of 10,000 pounds annually, which the East India Company’s charter of 1813 foresaw. On the one hand, a regular funding policy was necessitated by the fact that the government was confronted with funding applications, which it had to grant or refuse. On the other hand, objectives had to be defined for the targeted stimulation of educational expansion and reform.

Initially, no such objectives were clarified. There was also no policy on how precisely to foster, and interact with, private (for-profit) and voluntary (nonprofit) initiatives in education. When appointing the GCPI, the governor general instructed them: [Y]ou cannot, of course, exercise any authority over private schools; but you will naturally communicate with, and encourage all persons, native and European, who may be engaged in the management and support of 137

138

139

‘Copy of a Resolution on the Establishment of the GCPI’, CSBS Report No. 5, 1823, 20n. The remaining three appointees to the GCPI were H.T. Prinsep, J.C. Sutherland, and A. Stirling. General Committee of Public Instruction, Report of the General Committee of Public Instruction of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal 1836 (Calcutta: Printed at the Baptist Mission Press, 1837), 156; General Committee of Public Instruction, Report of the General Committee of Public Instruction of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal, for the Year 1839–40 (Calcutta: G.H. Huttmann, Bengal Military Orphan Press, 1841), 119; Mitra, Biographical Sketch of David Hare, 46. Maxine Greene, The Public School and the Private Vision: In Search for America in Education and Literature (New York, London: The New York Press, 2007 [1965]), 83–93.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

234

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India such institutions and will afford your assistance in providing for the safe custody and improvement of any funds, which may be devoted to the object of education by individuals.140

Although not invested with a formal ‘authority over private schools’, under which category the schools provided by voluntary bodies were included, the position of the GCPI over against under-funded schools certainly was powerful; if they wanted to receive grants, the missionaries, education societies, and private providers had to adapt their projects to the conditions set by the government. From the perspective of non-state educational activists, government grants were an important and often indispensable encouragement. However, they resulted in a position of dependency, which meant that the missionaries and voluntary bodies had to compromise their objectives. It also made them vulnerable to changes in governmental funding policy, as we will see later. What I want to point out in this section is, therefore, that there were not only tensions accompanying the cultural encounter between British education reformers and their bhadralok colleagues, but equally important were the struggles for educational control and negotiations over the dispersal of scarce funds between the voluntary sector and the government.

I will now discuss the Bengal government’s funding policy towards elementary schooling initiatives in the 1810s and 1820s, from which conclusions on emerging policy-directives can be drawn. The GCPI inherited (so to speak) several funding obligations, which the Bengal government had agreed to prior to its establishment. These also had to reviewed, and affirmed or discontinued. We will see which kind of initiatives were appreciated and which ones were found problematic. The first elementary school project in Bengal that the government supported were the Chinsura schools (1814–1832). Occasionally referred to as ‘the Company’s schools’, they were the only project completely financed from this source, with a monthly grant of 600–800 rupees. Established only a month after the instructions to, in the future, invest in Indian education had been sent to Calcutta, the schools were considered a valuable model project for the spread of elementary schooling.141 However, the CSBS, the CSS, the Benevolent Institution (a charity day school catering primarily to Eurasians),142 140 141 142

‘Copy of a Resolution on the Establishment of the GCPI’, CSBS Report No. 5, 1823, 20n. Basu, Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, 14–15. See Chapter 4.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

235

and the LSNFE all applied for government grants in the 1820s. The schools in Burdwan, in contrast, were completely financed by the CMS and local patronage.143 The CMS provided a stable source of income, which kept the schools independent of the government. This explains why the Bible was read in the schools in Burdwan but not in the other mission-run monitorial schools in Bengal. Marshman’s rural elementary education reform efforts were paid for from the Serampore mission’s funds, and from subscriptions to the Society for Native Schools (SNS).144 Moreover, the copy-book system considerably reduced financial requirements from the mission.

The CSBS applied for government aid in 1821. The society’s operations had been highly successful and liberally supported by the public, the letter to Governor General Hastings stated. However, the number of new schools and, therefore, the demand for the CSBS’s books had increased to such an extent that its resources were now exhausted. The CSBS, the funding application urged, was particularly deserving of government money. It was now universally accepted that an enlightened government should take measures for ‘ameliorating the moral character of its subjects’. The CSBS found no one more suitable to be entrusted with this important task ‘than the union of all the principal classes of people’. As a ‘combination of learned Natives, Hindoos and Moosulmans, with Europeans’ the CSBS could ‘be considered as a fair representative of the people’ whose interests were concerned. The ‘adoption of injudicious, intemperate, or self-destructive measures’ was precluded by their collaboration.145 The government heartily agreed. The governor general was, after all, the official patron of the CSBS. Charles Lushington, the secretary to the government, wrote the reply. Not only was educational patronage widely exercised in Britain, he said, but the schools in Chinsura were already funded as well. Since the CSBS united ‘Europeans, Moosulmans and Hindoos […] in the noble cause of diffusing light and information throughout this land of 143

144

145

William Adam, Correspondence Relative to the Prospects of Christianity: And the Means of Promoting Its Reception in India (Cambridge, Mass.: The University Press, Hilliard and Metcalf, 1825), 33–34. The Serampore mission was economically self-reliant. The missionaries were active in the indigo industry, Joshua and Hannah Marshman raised money by running an elite boarding school, while William Carey got a stipend from his professorship at the Hindu College; see John Clarke Marshman, The Life and Times of Carey, Marshman and Ward, Embracing the History of the Serampore Mission (London: Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans & Roberts, 1859). CSBS Report No. 4, 1821, 3–5.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

236

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

ignorance’, and its plan of operations was ‘wisely and unexceptionably framed’, a one-time payment of 7,000 rupees, and a monthly contribution of 500 rupees were readily granted.146 Two years later, the CSS received the same government grant of 500 rupees monthly (or 6,000 rupees annually.)147

It was not the ‘Europeo-native institutions’ alone that experienced funding difficulties. In 1826, Carey had to inform Governor General Amherst of the ‘embarrassing’ financial circumstances of the Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Indigent Christians. In the Benevolent Institution, students whose families were able to afford it, payed a fee, even if the bulk of the costs was covered by public subscriptions. Because of the ‘Great increase of Benevolent Societies of late in Calcutta’, and the departure to Europe of its most liberal supporters, however, the subscriptions had considerably declined.148 Carey, therefore, asked Amherst to ‘permit the Benevolent Institution to participate in those funds which the liberality of the Government has appropriated to the cause of Public Instruction’, by a single payment of 13,000 rupees – a sum that Amherst readily granted. Carey’s promise to put the Benevolent Institution back on an independent base, however, was not kept. The school continued to receive government money until 1882.149 Subscriptions and donations, which the civil society organizations relied on, were not a reliable source of income; the public’s ‘liberality’ depended on economic prosperity, the number of competing charities, and, of course, changes in public opinion. In these two cases, the government readily granted support. A more conflictive case was a school project conducted by Carey’s son, Jabez, in Rajasthan. In 1818, the Governor General Hastings had expressed his ‘desire for establishing in Ajmere a person thoroughly conversant with the principle and practise of Lancaster’s Schools for the purpose of his introducing that system into the extensive tract of Rajpootana’.150 Territories in Rajasthan had recently come under British control; Hastings found that due to constant warfare, they were now in a desolate condition. A system

146 147 148

149 150

Ibid., 11–12. Basu, Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, 18–19. The MSBSS received 700 rupees monthly from the Madras Government. Ibid., 39. Donation to the Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Children of Indigent Christians of All Denominations, of Rupees 13,000: IOR F/4/956/27123. From the Benevolent Institution’s reports, it appears that the number of subscribers declined from 338 in 1817, to 184 in 1822, and further to 115 in 1831. This is stated in the reports of the Benevolent Institution for 1900 and 1901. Projected Establishment of Schools to Be Conducted on Mr Lancaster’s System of Tuition in Rajpootana: IOR/F/4/717/19535.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

237

of popular instruction, he hoped, would help ‘meliorating the state of that immense community’ and bring it back to ‘civilised life’. The educational project would be funded by government, while its realization was put in the hands of the Serampore missionaries. Hastings did, however, warn against any ‘[a]ttempts of converting them to the Christian faith’ since ‘efforts of that nature’ were ‘not merely hopeless but pregnant with chances of exciting enthusiastic irritation against us’.151

The Bengal government repeatedly expressed their satisfaction with May, for his caution to refrain from introducing the Bible into the Chinsura schools. They emphasized that ‘the ultimate success’ of educational expansion depended on assuring Indians that the new schools were ‘calculated to extend the knowledge, to enlarge the understanding and to improve the moral habits of the Children’ but that they were ‘not directed to any interference in their religious tenets’.152

Hastings, therefore, perceived ‘with much regret the highly injudicious and objectionable course pursued by Mr. [ Jabez] Carey in introducing the sacred Books of Scripture in Institutions of so recent a date in such a state of society as that of Rajpootana’. William Carey was ordered to forward to his son the government’s injunction to stop the usage of ‘all religious tracts calculated to excite alarm as to our motives in the minds of the Natives’ and substitute them with suitable CSBS publications.153 Jabez Carey, apparently, also failed to report regularly on the four schools that he established. In 1826, the GCPI thus decided ‘not to suffer them to consume resources disproportionate to their utility’. The ‘scattered’ schools were reduced to one in Ajmer, which was finally abolished on recommendation of the GCPI in 1832.154 151 152 153

154

Ibid. Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah: IOR/F/4/605/15020. Letter from George Swinton, secretary to the Bengal Government, to the Company’s agent in Delhi, who had been appointed to supervise Carey’s project, 5 July 1822, Projected Establishment of Schools in Rajpootana: IOR/F/4/717/19535; see Pecuniary Aid Afforded to the Schools in Rajpootana. Mr. Carey Ordered to Desist from Teaching the Books of the New Testament: IOR/F/4/830/21965. ‘Minute by Lord Amherst on the progress of Native Education’, 26 July 1826, Proceedings Adopted for the Promotion of Education among the Natives of India under the Presidency of Bengal (1829), I: IOR/F/4/1170/30639; Native Education. Report of the Committee of Public Instruction upon the Different Seminaries under Their Superintendence for 1831 with the Observations of Govt. in Reply (1832): IOR/ F4/1386/55228.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

238

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

These proceedings cemented the educational policymakers’ conviction that ‘Non-interference with the religious opinions of the Natives is a principle which should never for a moment be neglected in the interior administration of India’.155 An interesting conflict, however, occurred between Governor General Amherst and his council members Harington (the president of the GCPI) and Fendall, on the question of how to interpret this principle when Mrs Ellerton, the secretary to the LSNFE, applied for a grant.156

The LSNFE was formed in 1824 to support and reorganize the project of the BFSS-trained educationalist Cooke (Mrs Wilson) after her rejection by the CSS. In 1825, the LSNFE conducted seven schools in Calcutta. Their plan was now to build a central school that would function as a model school and teachertraining institution. Although a fund-raising address for this purpose had been liberally answered by the public, the fund was still insufficient.157 The LSFNFE thus asked the government to ‘donate’ the 10,000 rupees ‘required to purchase the spot of Ground’ on which the central school was to be erected. Harington and Fendall decided to grant the sum – Harington had, after all, been part of Cooke’s recruitment in London, on behalf of the CSS. Secretary Lushington drafted an answer stating that the government was ‘pleased to comply with the application’.158 Amherst, however, did not agree. Minutes and memoranda were exchanged; the debate even led to legal considerations on how to proceed when no agreement was reached between the governor general and his council. Apparently the LSNFE had held a public meeting at the town hall where ‘several Native Gentlemen’ were present. On this occasion, some of the British speakers ‘injudiciously’ implied ‘a sanguine hope that besides the direct object of the Female Schools, under the Superintendence of Mrs. Wilson the pupils educated in them might ultimately be induced by their knowledge of the Scriptures to embrace Christianity, and diffuse it amongst their relations and friends’.159 The fact that the New Testament was read in the schools would 155 156

157 158 159

‘Minute by Amherst on the Grant to the Ladies Female Education Society’, 2 August 1825: Mss Eur F140/115(o). Letter of Mrs Ellerton, 13 June 1825, Application of the Ladies Society for Native Female Education in Calcutta, and Its vicinity, for the Sum of Rupees 10,000 to Purchase a Spot of Ground for the Erection of a Central School: IOR/F/4/861/22777. ‘Circular issued at Calcutta relative to a central female-school’, Proceedings of the Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East, for the year 1823–1824, 210–211. Draft Answer by Charles Lushington, 23 June 1825, Application of the Ladies Society: IOR/F/4/861/22777. Application of the Ladies Society: IOR/F/4/861/22777.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

239

strengthen the impression that its object was religious conversion.160 Amherst personally shared the LSNFE’s position on ‘the deplorable effects of the unreasonable yoke of a degrading religion’161 and did not ‘intend to throw any blame on the Society’ for pursuing conversion as their ultimate end. He did, however, find it an ‘obstacle to a compliance with their solicitation’. The government could not fund Christian instruction.162

Harington argued against this. Conversion was ‘not the direct object of that Society’, even if it was ‘the ultimate hope […] of some of its supporters’ (emphasis in original). The principle of non-interference, thus, did not apply in this case. Moreover, he observed, ‘nearly the whole of the few Native gentlemen who were present [...] after hearing all that was said at the meeting subscribed […] from 50 to 200 Rupees each’.163 The case was finally settled by Amherst emphasizing that in contrast to rewarding the ‘cautious and restricted proceedings’ of May and the CSS, this grant ‘would be at variance with the principle & and practise adopted by this Government and approved by the Hon’ble Court’.164 The LNSFE did not get the grant; however, it was still able to successfully continue its work, because it was supported by the CMS and its partner societies in England.

This conflict leads me to two conclusions. On the one hand, it confirmed the Bengal government’s unambiguous principle of funding only nonreligious instruction. This only applied to the case of ‘native education’. Giving a grant to the Benevolent Institution was unproblematic, since it catered to children who were already considered Christians. It was thus no undue interference with anyone’s religious tenets. The secular morality, vernacular language, and science instruction that the CSBS propagated was highly appreciated by the government. The government’s funding policy thus gave further impetus to the tendency of secularizing elementary school instruction. On the other hand, we see that the kind of Christian-based female education that Cooke and the LSNFE promoted did not fit into the emerging educational infrastructure in Calcutta. Girls’ education was still struggling for a place in public schooling.

160 161 162 163 164

LSNFE Report No. 1, 1826, 3. Minute by Harington, 2 July 1825, Application of the Ladies Society: IOR/F/4/861/22777. Minute by Amherst, 2 August 1825: Mss Eur F140/115(o). Minute by Harington, 2 July 1825, Application of the Ladies Society: IOR/F/4/861/22777. Minute by Amherst, 2 August 1825: Mss Eur F140/115(o).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

240

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Downward Filtration Around 1830, the flourishing vernacular elementary education movement in Bengal entered a crisis. In 1832, less than half of the pioneering Chinsurah schools had survived. Schools ‘formerly supported by the Calcutta School Society, and various Missionary bodies’ were ‘discontinued for want of funds, or changed into seminaries in which English is chiefly taught’, the CSBS reported in 1834.165 The fifth CSS report (1829) was, in fact, the last one. The supervision and examination were discontinued in 1833.166 This also reflected on the CSBS’s operations. The closing of vernacular schools led to a drop in the sales of Bengali textbooks.167 Moreover, the number of Indian subscribers had dwindled and the organization was, again, in debt.168 Notably, other societies simultaneously experienced a decline of funds. In 1832, the funds of the Calcutta Diocesan Committee of the SPCK had been ‘greatly diminished’ because of a ‘decline of public liberality and the increase of Societies’.169 It seems that around 1830, the bhadralok withdrew their financial support for European and European-led reform projects. Several factors contributed to this cutback of the monitorial movement in Bengal. In 1828, William Bentinck (1774–1839) was appointed governor general. His administration brought important changes in the realm of both social and education policy. In 1829, Bentinck outlawed sati, which was answered by the formation of the Dharma Sabha, to protest governmental interference in Hindus’ religious freedom. It is not that Deb and his associates started an outright social boycott against the government or the ‘Europeo-native institutions’. We find leading Dharma Sabha members both in the CSBS and the GCPI throughout the 1830s. However, a new cause now preoccupied the very same activists who had been running the operations of the CSS in the 1820s. Moreover, the scandal caused by Young Bengal, which led to Derozio’s dismissal (1830), pointed to the risks of modern public instruction.

Also, the long-standing president of the CSBS, Bayley, departed for Europe. He had been a powerful advocate of ‘oriental’ (Sanskrit and Arabic) higher education, and of the vernacular elementary education movement. Under Bentinck, the Anglicists came to dominate the GCPI. This not only led to a 165 166 167 168 169

CSBS Report No. 10, 1834, 12. Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 161–162. CSBS Report No. 10, 1834, 12. The number of Bengali subscribers fell from around 80, in 1818, to only 6, in 1830. Kopf, British Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance, 185–186. Missionary Register, 1832, 36.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

241

defunding of ‘oriental’ learning but also of popular elementary instruction in the vernacular languages. The GCPI became ‘averse’ to ‘the employment of their limited funds in the support of mere elementary education. Their professed object was to give a higher education to advanced students’ (emphasis mine). The hitherto praiseworthy Chinsura schools were now considered a ‘discouraging failure’.170 In 1832, the governmental funds for most elementary school projects – including the Chinsura schools – were completely withdrawn. Because the committee wanted ‘that the school rooms and furniture might be left applicable to the purpose of education’, Secretary Horace Hayman Wilson wrote to Hare, the Serampore missionaries, and Duff, asking if they were willing to ‘undertake their future support’. None of them, however, was able to comply. The LMS kept only three of the schools from their own funds.171

In 1835, the new approach was prominently formulated as a policy of ‘downward filtration’. The government would concentrate its funds on Westernmodel higher education in English. The educated elite, it was implied, would become the educators of their people. They would translate knowledge into the vernaculars and spread it among the mass of the population. To invest directly in vernacular mass education, however, was considered beyond the government’s possibilities. The classical formulation of Thomas Babington Macauley (1800–1859), which was endorsed by Bentinck, thus reads: [I]t 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 between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population.172

The shift towards the Anglicist policy was also reflected in a reorientation of the CSBS’s operations. In 1834, the committee found that it was ‘no longer a question, whether English, or Arabic, or Sanscrit, are to be preferred.’ 170

171 172

Report of the General Committee of Public Instruction of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal, for the Year 1839–40 (Calcutta: Bengal Military Orphan Press, 1840), xlv. Native Education. Report of the Committee of Public Instruction: IOR/F4/1386/55228. Thomas Babington Macauley, ‘Indian Education. Minute of the 2nd of February, 1835’, in G[eorge] M[alcolm] Young (ed.), Macauley, Thomas Babington, Prose and Poetry (London: Hart-Davis, 1952), 719–730.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

242

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

The demand for the CSBS’s books had clearly ‘declared in favour of English’. The CSBS, however, did not give up its vernacular publications. ‘Those in the lowest walks of life, who form the majority of the Native youth’, had to study in ‘their own language’. Vernacular textbooks were still needed ‘to make them useful members of society’. Due to the ‘awakening zeal of the friends of native education in the upper provinces’, there was even an increase in the sales of Hindustani books. Moreover, bilingual Anglo-Bengali and Anglo-Hindustani publications were in high demand.173

The CSBS continued its operations successfully until 1862, when it merged with the Vernacular Literature Society. In the 1840s, new partners, such as the Agra School Book Society and the Benares School Book Society, established ties of cooperation with the CSBS.174 The representatives of the CSBS still included prominent and innovative educationalists, such as John Elliot Drinkwater Bethune (1801–1851), who presided over the CSBS in the two years prior to his death.175 His most important legacy was a girls’ school which he founded in 1849 in collaboration with Vidyasagar. Transformed into Bethune College (1879), it produced many prominent women graduates who would shape Bengal’s national and women’s movements in the early twentieth century.176

In 1854, Wood’s Education Despatch reoriented the official educational policy in British India towards mass schooling.177 This reflected not only the failure of the downward filtration approach but also a continued interest, in different parts of British India, in vernacular schooling. Wood’s Despatch formalized the forms in which governments would sponsor voluntary and private initiatives in a regular grant-in-aid scheme. For the CSBS, this did not imply a financial change. Its grant was continued under the new grant-in-aid rules. Moreover, the CSBS was put in charge to provide textbooks for the schools that were set up under the newly founded Education Department.178 The CSBS appointed agents throughout the Bengal Presidency, who organized the local supply. In 173 174 175 176 177

178

CSBS Report No. 10, 1834, 12–15. CSBS Report No. 13, 1845, 8, 15; CSBS Report No. 16, 1853, 2. CSBS Report No. 15, 1852, 2. Kalidas Nag and Lotika Ghose (eds), Bethune School and College Centenary Volume, 1849–1949 (Oxford, 1951). ‘Despatch of 1854’, in Bureau of Education, Government of India, and J.A. Richey (eds), Selections from Educational Records, Part II: 1840–1859 (Calcutta: Superintendent of Goverment Printing, 1922), 364–393. CSBS Report No. 18, 1856.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

Intellectual Conquest

243

Bengal, these were teachers of the government schools, and the deputy inspectors with the Education Department; in the North-Western Provinces, they were Christian missionaries.179 Thus, the colonial governmental system of education, which slowly (and incompletely) developed after 1854, incorporated the voluntary association, which had survived the Anglicist period’s cutback, in its functioning.

Conclusion Many different actors ‘unit[ed]’ in Calcutta in the late 1810s and 1820s ‘to promote the education of Children’.180 The vernacular elementary education movement, which was led by the CSBS and CSS grew quickly, driven by the wholehearted support of the missionaries, the Fort William Orientalists, and a strong faction among the bhadralok, particularly those who came to represent the politics of cultural conservatism. With the Anglicist shift in governmental education policy, and the increasing polarization of Calcutta’s public on questions of social and religious reform, the movement declined again as quickly. However, in this short period, the movement produced fundamental changes in Calcutta’s educational landscape and the politics of education. The movement’s legacies and lessons were felt in several domains. While the schools declined, the concept of systemic schooling, linking the lower (vernacular) with the higher (English) level, remained. This went hand in hand with the definition of a standard elementary curriculum, which the CSBS’s textbooks continued to proliferate for decades throughout the Bengal Presidency. Vernacular literacy, arithmetic, non-religious moral instruction, and popular science constituted the core of this curriculum. Textbooks became the heart of school teaching. The ‘moral tales’, by means of which students were now taught, were developed into a vernacular textbook genre until the 1850s. Vidayasagar’s school books, which emerged from the cultural encounter in the early nineteenth-century education movement, are still well known. Moreover, through the various translations and dissemination of printed books, knowledge of science was widely popularized. Contrary to the CSBS’s founders’ colonial-hegemonic ambitions, there was no ‘intellectual conquest’. The CSBS and CSS provided creative spaces for cultural translation and appropriation, processes which amplified the tendency towards a secularization of schooling.

179 180

CSBS Report No. 25, 1868, 24–27. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 103.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

244

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

In 1816, the Serampore missionaries had come up with ‘a course of moral and scientific instruction’, as a temporary strategic substitute for Christian scriptures. The CSBS introduced the notion that no one’s religious tenets were appropriate school knowledge. The governments’ principle, which the GCPI institutionalized, to not fund Christian instruction further affirmed the secularization of elementary instruction. This did not escape the notice of contemporary observers. In 1840, Duff accused the colonial government of using India as a ‘fair and open field for testing the non-religious theory of education’.181 This points to another relevant colonial experiment in education. Already Bell’s pedagogical innovation had emerged from the colonial encounter. In the 1820s, it was the disentangling of elementary instruction from its entwinement with religion, and religious-based morality, which the colonial situation furthered, even if this was not an essential part of any of the reformers’ original designs.182 As we see from the debates around the Indian Education Commission of 1882 (also known as the Hunter Commission), Hindu reformers as well as Christian missionaries were later united in their critique of government schools as nurseries of scepticism and amorality. The early nineteenth-century elementary school movement in Bengal entailed an important lesson for educational system-building. It proved the impossibility of establishing public schooling without substantial government support. Subscriptions and donations – the classic civil society form of fundraising – enabled activists to set up innovative institutions. But they were insufficient for educational expansion and not stable enough to maintain institutions once the initial enthusiasm waned. The missionary and civil society educational activists experimented with strategies to achieve maximum ends with minimal investments. Instead of fully funding schools, they provided incentives for private-funded schools to implement a new curriculum and new pedagogical tools. This is a strategy that colonial governments continued throughout the nineteenth century. ‘Downward filtration’ was only the first of such policies of limited investment, coupled with the expectation that non-state actors would somehow take responsibility for the education of the masses. After 1854, there were temporary efforts to build tax-funded local infrastructures, such as the North-Western Halkabandi system. But it became characteristic of colonial education policy to try and outsource costs and labour, instead of taking full responsibility for building a comprehensive system of education. 181 182

Alexander Duff, India and India Missions (Edinburgh: J. Johnstone, 1840), 452. For the issue of secularisation and imperial entanglements, see Peter van der Veer, Imperial Encounters: Religion and Modernity in India and Britain (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:04, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.007

CHAPTER 7

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building, Bombay Presidency, 1819–1882 If it be admitted that the assistance of Government is necessary, the next question is, how it can best be afforded, and there are two ways which present themselves for consideration. The Government may take the education of the natives entirely on itself, or it may increase the means and stimulate the exertions of the society already formed for that purpose. The best result will probably be produced by a combination of these two modes of proceeding. Many of the measures necessary for the diffusion of education must depend on the spontaneous zeal of individuals […]. The promotion of those measures, therefore, should be committed to the society; but there are others which require an organized system, and a greater degree of regularity and permanence than can be expected from any plan, the success of which is to depend upon personal character. This last branch, therefore, must be undertaken by the Government.1

The history of the monitorial movement in Bengal has shown that setting up a public educational infrastructure was impossible without substantial and reliable governmental investment. Most of the elementary schools that were defunded in the wake of the Anglicist policy turn had to close. Schools such as the Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Indigent Christians and organizations such as the Calcutta School Book Society (CSBS), which received government grants, however, survived for decades. The monitorial movement became entangled in several ways with the development of the colonial educational policy. Most of the original members of the General Committee of Public Instruction (GCPI) in Bengal (1824) had been running the CSBS before; and after 1854, when the government started its efforts towards educational system-building, 1

‘Extract Minute by the Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone, Governor of Bombay, dated December 13, 1823’, in A.N. Basu (ed.), Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, Part 1 (1832) (Bombay, Calcutta: Asia Publishing House, 1952), 197–211, 197.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

246

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

it incorporated the CSBS’s textbook production and dissemination in its institutional set-up.

This chapter shifts the focus to the Bombay Presidency to explore the monitorial movement’s impact on educational system-building. It analyses the shifting modes of educational governance and the constant renegotiation of the colonial government’s responsibility to provide schools for the Indian population. What was the state’s role in ‘the diffusion of education’, as the afore-cited minute by the Governor of Bombay, Mountstuart Elphinstone (1779–1859), put it? What was better left to the ‘spontaneous zeal of individuals’ and voluntary associations? How to deal with missionary initiative?

Around the mid-nineteenth century, the new colonial capital of Bombay and the old capital of Poona emerged as twin centres of vivid public debates on social and religious reform. Missionaries remained an important part of this, while an outspoken anti-caste movement and feminist reformers began to pursue their own politics of education.2 In defence of the power relations of caste and gender, conservative nationalists tried out different strategies to contain and control the ways of educational expansion.3 These socio-political contestations not only created an immense interest in the politics of education but also stimulated educational competition and, therefore, educational growth. Different interest groups sought to influence educational policymaking, in the form of petitions, protests, journalism, and as members of educational governance institutions. The colonial education system thus took shape in a highly ‘contested terrain’4 of public discourse, and in interaction with diverse Indian reform activists, ranging from egalitarian radicals to social conservatives and Hindu nationalists. The first part of the chapter focuses on the relations between missionaries, the Bombay Education Society (BES), the Bombay Native Education Society (BNES), and the Government of Bombay from 1819 to the 1840s. In contrast to Calcutta, there were rather two loosely connected currents of educational reform activism, than one integrated movement. On the one hand, there were the Protestant missionaries, as pioneers of vernacular elementary schooling. 2

3 4

Rosalind O’Hanlon, Caste, Conflict, and Ideology: Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Low Caste Protest in Nineteenth-century Western India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002); Uma Chakravarti, Rewriting History: The Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1998). Parimala V. Rao, Foundations of Tilak’s Nationalism: Discrimination, Education and Hindutva (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2010). Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 1998).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

247

The American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions (ABCFM), the Scottish Missionary Society (SMS), the Church Missionary Society (CMS), and the London Missionary Society (LMS), in 1825, manifested their alliance in the Bombay Missionary Union.5 On the other hand, there were the combined efforts of the government and the secular-oriented education societies to set up a system of education. These collaborations will be explored in the second part of the chapter. The third part explores two different trajectories of setting up educational institutions for girls from 1848 onwards. The first case are the schools set up by Jotirao Phule (1827–1890) and Savitribai Phule (1831–1897), which built on the earlier efforts of the Scottish and American missionaries in Poona (1848).6 In Bombay, the Parsi Panchayat7 and the Students’ Literary and Scientific Society (SLSS) started vernacular schools for girls one year later. This is the second case study. Originally an association of professors and students of the Elphinstone College, the SLSS represented the new Englisheducated urban elite. This chapter shows that actors as different as Poona’s radical anti-caste reformers and Bombay’s ‘new colonial Brahmins’8 took over the organizational repertoire and the publicity and fundraising strategies of the missionaries and education societies of the 1820s and 1830s. Both projects, the Phules’ schools and the SLSS, were recipients of government funding and became, in different ways, involved in the building of the Bombay Presidency’s public education system. As in the previous chapter, these various connections are illustrated in Figure 7.1; the focus is on elementary schooling. Several institutions for higher or English education in the second half of the nineteenth century are not included. 5

6

7 8

Rufus Anderson, History of the Missions of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in India (Boston: Congregational Publishing Society, 1874), 66–67. For the analysis of the educational politics of the anti-caste movement, I am building on an ongoing collaborative research with my friend and colleague Dr Sumeet Mhaskar (Jindal Global University), and our preliminary results on that topic. See Sumeet Mhaskar and Jana Tschurenev, ‘Bildung und politische Mobilisierung im kolonialen Indien. Die Anti-Kasten-Bewegung in Maharasthra, 1848–1882’, Zeitschrift für Pädagogik 63, no. 5 (2017): 561–581. Christine Dobbin, ‘The Parsi Panchayat in Bombay City in the Nineteenth Century’, Modern Asian Studies 4, no. 2 (1970): 149–164. Shefali Chandra, The Sexual Life of English: Languages of Caste and Desire in Colonial India (Duke University Press, 2012), 30; see Veena Naregal, Language, Politics, Elites and the Public Sphere: Western India under Colonialism (London: Anthem Press, 2002), 89.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

248

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Figure 7.1  Connections between Education Societies, Missionaries, Vernacular School Projects, and the Government of Bombay Source: Author.

Government Policy, Missionaries, and Education Societies: The Basic Constellation Under the government of Elphinstone (1819–1827), radical changes took place in the Bombay Presidency. In 1818, the Maratha Confederacy, a major territorial power of the Indian subcontinent, had suffered its final military defeat. Most of the dominion of the last Peshwa, Baji Rao II, became part of the Bombay Presidency’s territory. This included the city of Poona, the seat of the Peshwa, and a stronghold of Brahminical learning and culture. From the beginning, Elphinstone drafted his educational policy with a dual view of strengthening the collaboration with the new urban elites in the port city of Bombay, the colonial capital, and conciliating the old landowning and cultural elites in Poona. The ‘circumstance of our having succeeded to a Brahmin

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

249

Government’,9 to Elphinstone, suggested an utmost caution in educational matters. The political position and the intellectual hegemony of Brahmins was stronger in the Maratha lands, compared to other parts of India. The sub-caste of the Chitpavan Brahmins held a unique position in the Peshwa administration, and they continued to dominate public discourse in Bombay and Poona throughout the nineteenth century.10 Chitpavan Brahmins included prominent public figures as different as the Christian educational reformer and feminist Pandita Ramabai (1858–1922), her foremost conservative critic, Bal Gangadhar Tilak (1856–1920), and Indian National Congress leader and proponent of compulsory primary education, Gopal Krishna Gokhale (1866–1915).

Bombay’s educational politics, at first, continued the East India Company’s (EIC) eighteenth-century governmental approach to ‘rule in an Indian idiom’.11 In line with the Orientalist educational policy initially pursued in Bengal, the Bombay government extended patronage to Sanskrit learning. They did so in a unique way, in response to the political situation. Under the Peshwa rule, Brahmin scholars could present themselves annually to receive dakshina, or sinecure life grants from the court. The colonial government resumed this practice, even in a considerably reduced from, to prevent large-scale protest. The various changes in the Dakshina Fund illustrate the changes in Bombay’s educational policy in a telling way. A first change was to try and systematically couple the grant to scholarly achievement. In 1821, the government used a part of the Dakshina Fund to set up a Sanskrit college in Poona. The Poona Sanskrit College occupied the palace that had been built as a residence for the last Peshwa ruler (Figure 7.2).12

9 10

11

12

‘Extract Minute by Mountstuart Elphinstone’ (13 December 1823), 197. See Chandra, The Sexual Life of English, 29. Dilip Chavan, ‘Politics of Patronage and the Institutionalization of Language Hierarchy in Colonial Western India,’ in Deepak Kumar, Joseph Bara, Nandita Khadria, and Ch. Radha Gayatri (eds), Education in Colonial India: Historical Insights (New Delhi: Manohar, 2013), 187–226; Rao, Foundations of Tilak’s Nationalism, 4–5. Michael Mann, ‘“Torchbearers upon the Path of Progress”: Britain’s Ideology of “Moral and Material Progress” in India’, in Harald Fischer-Tiné and Michael Mann (eds), Colonialism as Civilising Mission (London: Anthem Press, 2004), 1–28, 3. ‘Fisher’s Memoir’, in Basu, Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, Part 1, 1–61, 57–60; Native Education: Correspondence on the Subject from 1821 to 1829 Both Years Inclusive: F/4/1172/30648, 1–4. See Chavan, ‘Politics of Patronage’, 191, 198; Robert Hunter, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland in India and Africa (London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1873), 263.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

250

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Figure 7.2  Courtyard of  Vishrambag Wada, Pune Source: Photo taken in 2017 by the author.

Note: Built as a princely palace, it was the seat of the Poona Sanskrit College (1821). Today, it is a local history museum, and undergoing reconstruction.

Like the Sanskrit College in Benares (1791) and the Calcutta Madrasa (1780), the Poona College ‘exemplifie[d] the collaborative mode in which the colonial state chose to operate in the early phase of colonialism’.13 It aimed to co-opt the Brahmins into the new structure of power. Until 1850, only Brahmin students were admitted to the Sanskrit College, and even long after that, it remained an institution exclusive to the upper castes.14 The Anglicist-oriented London staff of the EIC did not appreciate the Poona Sanskrit College’s Orientalist approach, which the Bombay government, however, defended as a political necessity. The college was subsequently reformed, with a view to incorporating more modern-oriented studies and to integrate Sanskrit and vernacular education. After 1837, the training of vernacular schoolmasters became an integral part 13 14

Chavan, ‘Politics of Patronage’, 189. Ibid., 200–201, 215.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

251

of its operations.15 In 1868, the institution, renamed Deccan College, shifted to a new campus, where it still can be found today.16

This was not the end of the Dakshina Fund’s turbulent history. In 1849, some young graduates from the Scottish mission’s English Institution in Poona, including the future anti-caste leader Jotirao Phule, drafted a petition to broaden the fund’s scope. This move caused such an opposition that the petition was never formally submitted to the government. However, it was widely publicized by the mission-run, reform-oriented press, so that the suggestions were taken up by the government of Bombay. Indeed, the schools which Phule, his wife Savitribai, and their associates set up between 1851 and 1853, for girls and for untouchable students, became beneficiaries of the Dakshina Fund. This was a remarkable departure from the fund’s original function, ‘to encourage and reward those who have become learned in the Hindu sacred books’.17 An early success of the emerging anti-caste movement, it caused considerable conservative outrage and fuelled the (sometimes violent) opposition which the movement’s educational efforts faced.18 The contestation over the Dakshina ‘dramatically reflects the appropriation and displacement of old systems of learning through the introduction of new cultural and cognitive norms and their institutional elaboration under colonial rule’.19 Modern institutions became the legitimate place for scholarship and learning. Moreover, it shows how elementary education initiatives for the benefit of marginalized groups gained access to the colonial governments’ educational funding. However, the Bombay government’s major focus, until the 1850s, explicitly remained on higher education for an educational elite. Although 15 16

17

18

19

Board of Education, 1842, 24–33. http://www.deccancollegepune.ac.in/, accessed 3 November 2018. The Deccan College’s prominent graduates include Tilak and the co-founder of the nationalists’ Marathi journal, Kesari, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar (1850–1882). Dnyanodaya, 5 January 1853, 2. The bilingual Anglo-Marathi journal Dnyanodaya (‘Rise of Knowledge’) was issued from 1847 onwards by the American missionaries (Anderson, History of the Missions of the American Board, 109). I am grateful to Dr Prabodhan Pol for pointing me to the Dnyanodaya as a useful source on the history of education, and for sharing his notes and translations for the years of 1850–1859. Hunter, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland, 264. Dhananjay Keer, Mahatma Jotirao Phooley: Father of the Indian Social Revolution (Mumbai: Popular Prakashan, 1974), 33–34. Naregal, Language, Politics, Elites, 89.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

252

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

they did not fully embrace Bengal’s Anglicist turn, they shared the downward filtration approach. Brahmins, particularly those motivated by an economic need to cooperate with the colonial government, were identified as the best candidates to diffuse ‘the seeds of education’ among their countrymen.20

Modern elementary schooling (in contrast to indigenous vernacular instruction) in the Bombay Presidency started with missionary enterprise in the wake of the monitorial movement. The first missionaries who established themselves in Bombay after considerable difficulties were the ABCFM in 1813. Travelling through Calcutta, the Americans were welcomed by Reverend Thomas Thomason (CMS) and the Serampore missionaries. Their British friends in Bengal also supplied the American missionaries with a press.21 At first concentrating on the city of Bombay, the ABCFM established another mission in Ahmednagar (1831), a region they had explored after a visit to the newly established Scottish mission in Poona.22 Later, they expanded to Satara and the princely state of Kolhapur. By 1824, the ABCFM had set up 39 vernacular free schools for boys, including 2,000 students.23

The CMS became active in Bombay in 1820. In 1824, they ran three schools with 100 students; three additional schools, which had been set up the year before, had already been closed again due to a lack of teachers.24 The LMS station in Surat, established in 1815, ran four schools with 200 children in 1824.25 The Scottish missionaries started their operations in 1823.26 Since the 20

21 22 23 24 25 26

Board of Education 1851, 10–14: ‘It being then demonstrated that only a small section of the population can be brought under the influences of Government education in India, and the Hon’ble Court having in effect decided that this section should consist of the “upper classes” it is essential to ascertain who these latter consist of.’ An analysis of the Indian elite pointed to a divergence of wealth and intellectual leadership. The conclusion was ‘that the influential class whom the Government are able to avail themselves of in diffusing the seeds of education are the Brahmins, and other high castes’, particularly those who were economically poor. Hence, ‘a very wide door should be opened to the children of the poor higher castes, who are willing to receive education at our hands.’ Anderson, History of the Missions of the American Board, 7–8, 56. Ibid., 83–84. Royal Gould Wilder, Mission Schools in India of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (New York: A.D.F. Randolph, 1861), 153. Missionary Register, 1824, 52. Ibid., 50. In 1820, the LMS also settled in Belgaum. Ibid., 34. The SMS transferred its operations to the Church of Scotland (1835), and in 1843, like Alexander Duff in Bengal, continued under the auspices of the Free Church of Scotland, that is, the Presbyterian, or Calvinist faction. Hunter, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

253

Bombay government did not allow them to settle in Poona – another expression of Elphinstone’s politics of caution – they went to the south Konkan. In Bankot, they experimented with the same strategy of educational reform that the Serampore missionaries had developed in Bengal, to try and introduce new curricular content and methods into the pre-existing educational infrastructure. By 1823, they had thus brought 80 indigenous schools ‘under their nominal control’. This, however, proved completely ineffective, since this number of schools was impossible to superintend by four mission workers.27 The mission in the south Konkan was abandoned in 1831, when the missionaries James Mitchell and John Stevenson and their families had finally been able to settle in Poona and their colleagues shifted their operations to Bombay.28

The first mission schools were ‘vernacular free schools’ for boys.29 From the 1830s onwards, however, we find a dual strategy of vernacular elementary schooling and higher education in English. This was part of the missionaries’ caste politics of education. In the Bombay presidency, the Untouchables constituted a relevant part of the student population in the missionaries’ vernacular free schools. Often, they were most eager to make use of the new education facilities. In 1824, the ‘best school’ run by the LMS in Surat was one for ‘Dheras’, who, the missionaries found, had ‘fewer prejudices’ against Christian-run schools, compared to other communities.30 In Ahmednagar, the ABCFM found that the Mahars – often working as messengers, transporters, and village guards – displayed a special interest in education. Although subjected to the practice of untouchability, the Mahars had their own religious teachers, or gosavis. ‘Besides the brahmins’, the missionaries observed, ‘there is no class of Hindus which affords so many religious teachers, or gurus, in this region, as the mahars.’ This interest transferred to mission schools as well. Mahars also formed the majority of converts in Ahmednagar.31 Mahars and Brahmins were both taught in the vernacular mission schools in Ahmednagar, but in separate schools.32

27 28 29 30

31 32

Ibid., 205–207. Ibid., 209. Wilder, Mission Schools in India, 37, 256. Memoranda regarding the Schools which have been established by the Missionaries at Surat, at Bombay, and at Bancoot, Measures Adopted, and Contemplated by Government for the Promotion of Education among the Natives of This Presidency: IOR/F/4/786/21358, 335–336. Anderson, History of the Missions of the American Board, 100–101. Wilder, Mission Schools in India, 234.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

254

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

The American missionaries in Bombay repeatedly suggested setting up English schools that offered secondary education. They considered this the most feasible means to reach out to the higher castes.33 Modern, high-quality English education was immensely sought after, so much so that upper caste students would, the missionaries hoped, even tolerate the mixing of castes. Moreover, as the case of Alexander Duff ’s General Assembly Institution in Calcutta had shown, modern English education, when coupled to Christian education, did indeed produce upper-caste converts.34 The ABCFM’s efforts to establish their own English institution failed, because the Board in Boston sought to push its agents towards the training of mission staff and preaching.35 The SMS, however, were more successful. The operations of the SMS’s ‘English Institution’ in Bombay (1832), which was modelled after Duff ’s Calcutta school, and its offshoot in Poona (1839) had important educational and social implications.36 Both English Institutions of the Scottish missionaries did produce converts, which caused considerable conflict.37 In 1835, the conversion of two Parsi students in Bombay caused a scandal, which resulted not only in the withdrawal of the Parsis from the school but also led to an organized protest against mission schools.38 The public mobilization against the missionaries went beyond the Parsi community and affected other missionary institutions as well. The ABCFM schools also suffered a temporary loss of students in response to the SMS’s conversion scandal.39 Similar conflicts occurred in 1839 in Ahmednagar, when the Brahmins Haripunt and Narayan, brothers who taught and superintended schools for the ABCFM, converted to Christianity. As American missionary Royal Gould Wilder observed, ‘[w]hen Mahars [were] converted, there [was] no excitement’.40 But the case was different when the economic and intellectual elites were affected. In Ahmednagar, a Brahmin caste assembly decided to boycott the mission schools. As a result, three of the ABCFM’s schools 33 34 35

36 37 38 39 40

Ibid., 187, 229. Hunter, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland, 92. Wilder, Mission Schools in India, 82–83. The Boston policy, in the end, proved ‘disastrous’ for the American missionaries in western India. In 1855, they had to close most of their educational operations, which only slowly recovered afterwards. Hunter, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland, 149. Ibid., 265. Ibid., 213–217. Wilder, Mission Schools in India, 71–72. Ibid., 219.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

255

were closed. Moreover, Brahmin schoolmasters faced social ostracism if they continued to work for the mission.41 Mission schools, however, were an important employment option for Brahmin teachers, including those educated in the Poona Sanskrit College.42 Hence, this boycott was not entirely successful.

These instances show that major conflicts occurred when the missionaries were successful in their conversion agenda. This adds an important dimension to the conflicts accompanying the founding and functioning of the mission schools, discussed in Chapter 5. Religious conflicts had a negative effect on the missionaries’ school operations, at least in the short-term perspective. At the same time, however, they had a major impact on the development of the overall educational landscape. One of the reactions to the aforementioned conversion conflict in Bombay was that the Parsis discussed the necessity of providing their own educational alternatives. Thus, the conflict with the missionaries gave further impetus to the Parsis’ pronounced engagement with educational reform.43 Educational competition – between the British and Foreign School Society (BFSS) and the National Education Society (NES) and between the education societies and plebeian counter-institutions – had been a major stimulant of educational growth in early nineteenthcentury England, as Chapter 2 has shown. In India, we find many efforts to provide Hindu alternatives to Christian institutions in the second half of the nineteenth century, which fuelled public interest and investment in educational expansion.44

While the missionaries’ educational activities had a strong male – and patriarchal – bias, girls’ schools did form an integral part of their overall strategy. I want to highlight the work of two female educationists, with the ABCFM and the SMS, which proved relevant for the foundation of modern formal schooling for girls. Cynthia Farrar (1795–1862) was the first unmarried woman recruited by the ABCFM to oversee the development of ‘female education’. In 1827, she arrived in Bombay. By 1829, she had set up 10 vernacular free schools for girls, 41 42 43

44

Ibid., 74–75, 194–196; see Anderson, History of the Missions of the American Board, 98. Wilder, Mission Schools in India, 201. Hunter, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland, 216; see Zenobia E. Shroff, The Contribution of Parsis to Education in Bombay City (1820–1920) (Mumbai: Himalaya Publishing House, 2001), 37. One such case is the Christian convert Pandita Ramabai’s school for high caste Hindu widows (1889), whose inf luence Brahmin male reformers thought to counter-balance with the Hindu Widows’ Home Association (1896).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

256

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

with 400 pupils under instruction. Due to the practice of public examination, these schools attracted a lot of attention.45 After a temporary stay in the USA due to health reasons, Farrar continued her work in Ahmednagar (1837). In 1845 and 1846, she superintended four girls’ schools, containing over 100 pupils. She kept up several of these schools until 1862, the year of her death.46

Another important female educationalist was Margaret Mitchell, the wife of missionary James Mitchell. She started to make contacts and to superintend the Scottish mission’s girls’ schools in Poona around 1840.47 In 1845, she was joined in this work by her sister, Joanna Shaw. At that point, the Scottish missionaries in Poona ran two English schools, five Marathi boys’ schools, five Marathi girls’ schools, and several girls’ schools in Indapore, comprising altogether 760 children (270 of whom were girls).48 After her husband’s death in 1866, Mitchell assumed the post of head governess of the Alexandra Girls’ English Institution (1863)49 in Bombay. In 1870, she took charge of the newly established Female Training College, Poona. In her capacity as ‘Lady Superintendent’ of one of the only two governmental institutions in the Bombay Presidency for the training of female teachers, she was among the few women experts who testified to the Indian Education Commission of 1882.50

Elphinstone and his successor as the Governor of Bombay, John Malcolm, liberally supported the ABCFM schools, particularly those for girls, as private persons. Moreover, the government allowed the ABCFM ‘the erection of school-houses in four unoccupied lots within the city’.51 As the case of Margaret Mitchell shows, missionary educational experts could be appointed to 45

46 47 48 49 50

51

From the ABCFM’s school statistics for Bombay, we can see that the girls’ schools declined after 1835, although four of them survived until 1853. This was due to the conversion scandal at the SMS’s English Institution, and, even more significantly, to a reduction of the funds sent from Boston. See Tabular view of the ABCFM schools in Bombay, Wilder, Mission Schools in India, 153. American Marathi Mission, Memorial Papers of the American Marathi Mission, 1813–1881 (Bombay: Education Society Press, 1882), 61–62. Hunter, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland, 257. Ibid., 258. http://www.alexandragei.com/, accessed on 3 November 2018. For Margaret Mitchell’s statement, see Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, vol. II, Report: Evidence and Memorials Addressed to the Education Commission (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1884, 382–388. Anderson, History of the Missions of the American Board, 79.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

257

government posts. However, Elphinstone clearly directed governmental policy to keep a distance from missionary enterprise, which he considered dangerous under the volatile political circumstances.52 The government also differed from the missionaries’ caste politics. The missionaries often displayed an uppercaste bias, but they clearly embraced the Untouchables’ school attendance. Elphinstone warned that the government should not follow this example. A system of education could not be built with the help of a marginalized minority: ‘it is to be feared’, he said, ‘that if our system of education first took root among [the lowest castes], it would never spread further, and we might find ourselves at the head of a new class, superior to the rest in useful knowledge, but hated and despised by the [upper] castes’ who, one might add, were preferable partners of colonial governance. To change the caste hierarchies, Elphinstone opined, was simply ‘beyond the just scope of Government interference’.53

An alliance with the education societies was, thus, clearly the preferential option. It was the BES and the BNES who put the need for public-funded elementary instruction on the government’s agenda. In its funding application, the BES argued that ‘the Honorable Court of Directors [of the EIC] will never leave so important a duty as the religious education of poor British Children in this country to the casual benevolence of individuals alone’ because ‘the inconvenience which accompanies uncertain funds is much to be dreaded in a fluctuating society’. Only a combination of stable and certain governmental grants and ‘the private contributions of individuals’ would ensure ‘diligent exertion’ and provide ‘the strongest motives for unwearied perseverance’.54 And indeed, the Bengal experience discussed in the previous chapter confirms that government investment was an indispensable condition for running public schools. The principle laid out here is government–civil society cooperation. Such public–private partnerships (as they would be termed today) marked the Bombay Presidency’s educational development throughout the nineteenth century.

In organizational terms, the BES was a semi-official body. It was a voluntary association, based on individual membership of all like-minded individuals. At the same time, however, actors from government, church, and army were appointed to the BES’s leadership on an ex officio basis. While the Governor

52 53 54

‘Extract Minute by Mountstuart Elphinstone’ (13 December 1823), 197. Board of Education 1851, 14–15. BES Report No. 4, 1819, 7.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

258

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

of Bombay ‘was chosen perpetual President of the society’,55 the managing committee of the BES included ex officio the archdeacon, ‘all clergymen’ as far as they were subscribers, and the ‘Adjutant General, the Brigade Major of H[is] M[ajesty]’s Troops’ and ‘Senior Officers of H.M.s Regiments’. There was no rule stating whom to appoint as vice-president, but usually these were council members and other government officials.56 The BES shared this character as a semi-official body with other institutions for the European and Eurasian poor. This includes the Military Orphan Asylums of Madras, in the male branch of which Andrew Bell had conducted his ‘experiment in education’. It was not only ‘the Chaplains and Churchwardens’ and non-official actors, such as the Tranquebar missionaries, who were invited to participate in planning and designing the establishment. The Madras asylums also pursued a mixed model of financing, that is, a combination of public subscriptions and governmental funding,57 and a mixed model of management. The regulations of the Military Male Orphan Asylum of 1812 stated that the Governor ‘shall be solicited to become the President, and the Chief Justice, the Commander in Chief and the Members of Council’ the vice-presidents of the institution’s governing board. Other officers such as the chief engineer, the commandant of artillery, or the chief secretary to the government as well as the archdeacon were requested to join the managing committee.58

The main objective of the BES, which incorporated the single pre-existing charity school of Bombay in its functioning, was to cater to the European and Eurasian poor of both genders.59 It functioned as a military orphanage and supported regimental schools for British soldiers their children. This entailed the supply of books and the training of the regimental schoolmasters in the BES’s central school. The regimental schools were subsidized by the 55 56 57

58

59

‘Fisher’s Memoir’, 42. BES Report No. 8, 1823. Military Male Orphan Asylum: Application of the Directors for the Extension of the Co’s Gratuity to That Institution of Rs. 750 per Mensem Submitted to Court’s Consideration: IOR/F/4/301/6942. ‘Regulations for the Military Male Orphan Asylum, established at a Special Meeting of the Directors, Held on the 26th October 1812’ (Printed at the Asylum Press, 1824), Papers regarding the Military Male Asylum at Madras: F/4/1558/63799. A school for the European poor had existed in Bombay since 1718, supported by subscriptions and the Company’s chaplains. An endowment was made on its behalf, in 1767, by Eleanor Boyd. The accumulated interest from this endowment was transferred to government grant for the BES. Basu, Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, Part 1, 42. For more on the BES, see Chapter 4.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

259

government.60 The BES’s network of communication and cooperation centred on British Protestant partners, including the Anglican Church, the Madras orphanages, and the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK). Its collaborative ties with London – with the NES and the Ladies Association for the Promotion of Female Education in the East – made it an important hub in the imperial circulation and translation of pedagogical knowledge.61 In 1839, the BES formalized its scheme of teacher training with the setting up of a ‘normal class’.62

From the beginning of the BES’s operations (1815), Indian students were admitted as fee-paying day scholars in its central schools. In 1817, the BES cooperated with the chaplains in Surat, Tannah, and Broach to set up free schools, which included Christian and ‘native’ students alike. In 1818 and 1819, four Anglo-vernacular ‘native schools’ in Bombay followed. 63 In 1819, the BES came up with a systematic proposal on how to ‘improve the system of education among the natives and to afford their assistance to native schools’, which also meant reaching out to potential Indian cooperation partners. The BES’s proposal was translated into Marathi, Gujarati, Persian, and Hindustani, ‘submitted to the Punchaets or native assemblies’, and publicly distributed afterwards.64 It foresaw the establishment of a separate fund for the ‘intellectual and moral improvement [of ] the Natives, and for introducing them to knowledge of the Arts and Sciences of Europe’ by means of the compilation of schoolbooks, teacher training, and the reform of the vernacular schools of the region.65 A separate committee was appointed, which consisted of 12 members of the managing committee of the British-run BES and 12 additional members, ‘being Natives, and Subscribers to the Native School Book and School Fund, selecting four from each of the sects in Bombay: Hindoos, Moosulmans, and Parsee’ with the object of ‘concerting, in union […] the best plan for their future proceedings’. In 1822, this British–Indian committee was transformed 60 61

62 63 64 65

Ibid., 43–44. BES Report No. 4, 1819, 14–15; BES Report No. 6, 1821, 15. See Chapter 3. The NES supplied the BES with manuals and teaching materials, and both the NES and the Ladies’ Association sent qualified teachers. For the BES, this happened in 1818 (BES Report No. 6, 1821, 6), 1826 (BES Report No. 13, 1828, 8), and 1838 (BES Report No. 24, 1839, 8). A trainee of the Ladies’ Association arrived in 1842 (BES Report 28, 1843, 14). BES Report No. 24, 1839, 8. ‘Fisher’s Memoir’, 42–44. BES Report No. 4, 1819, 19–22. BNES Report No. 1, 1824, 7.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

260

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

into an independent association under the direction of ‘a European and Native Secretary’ on a meeting that was ‘numerously attended’ by ‘the Principal Native Inhabitants of Bombay’.66 The support of the ‘Native Authorities’ was further ensured by including, ex officio, the ‘Kazee of Bombay’, a magistrate responsible for the administration of Muslim civil law.67 Like its mother organization, the BNES was presided over by the Governor of Bombay, Elphinstone. To further legitimize its operations, the Nawab of Surat was for some time appointed as the vice-president.68 The BNES emerged as Bombay’s major educational body, until the setting up of the Board of Education (1840), to which it appointed three of the seven initial members.69 It was not only, like the CSBS, established as a ‘Europeonative institution’, but also tried to build on people that the British identified as legitimate representatives of different Indian communities. The BNES thus displays the same collaborative mode of educational governance that guided the – almost simultaneous – foundation of the Poona Sanskrit College.

The Indian leadership of the BNES belonged to an emerging urban elite, which comprised ‘business magnates’ and, increasingly, British-educated intellectuals, or new Brahmins.70 A highly influential group of supporters were the Parsis, one of the ‘Asian entrepreneurial minorities’,71 who were distinguished by their Zoroastrian religion. The Parsi merchants, or shetias, began to enter the public sphere and invest part of their profits in organized philanthropy in the early nineteenth century. Like Calcutta’s bhadralok, Bombay’s ‘merchant princes’ embraced the colonial civic culture and appropriated the discourse of improvement. They became closely involved in the running of the city.72 One of the first ‘native’ directors of the BNES was Jamsetjee Jejeebhoy (1783–1859), the first Indian to be knighted.73 A self-made man, he had acquired a fortune 66 67 68 69 70 71 72

73

Ibid., 8–11. ‘Abstract of Reports on Native Education in India’, Missionary Register, 1819, 103; BNES Report No. 2, 1825. BNES Report No. 2, 1825; BNES Report No. 4, 1828. Shroff, The Contribution of Parsis to Education in Bombay City, 21. Chavan, ‘Politics of Patronage’, 217; Chandra, The Sexual Life of English, 30. Christine Dobbin, Asian Entrepreneurial Minorities: Conjoint Communities in the Making of the World-economy 1570–1940 (Richmond: Curzon, 1996). Prashant Kidambi, The Making of an Indian Metropolis. Colonial Governance and Public Culture in Bombay, 1890–1920 (Ashgate, 2007), 26–27; Chavan, ‘Politics of Patronage’, 215. Chandra, The Sexual Life of English, 207.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

261

with tobacco, alcohol, and opium trade. Later he ran cotton mills when these started to boom in Bombay. He was a member of the Parsi Panchayat, which became a focal point of several educational reform projects. Among those was the Sir Jamshetjee Jejeebhoy Parsi Benevolent Institution (PBI, 1849), which commenced its operations in 1849, after seven years of fundraising and legal preparations. It provided fee-free schooling for Parsi students, boys and girls, who could not afford to pay for it. The quality of the instruction was such that between 1864 and 1884, 170 of the institution’s male students passed the matriculation examination, which allowed them to enrol for university studies.74 Another prominent committee member of the BNES was Framjee Cowasjee (or Framji Cowasji Banaji, 1767–1851), who, in 1836, initiated the Bombay Parsi Charitable School for elementary and religious instruction in Gujarati. He was also part of the Parsi Panchayat.75 Both Jejeebhoy and Cowasjee remained on the BNES Committee from 1822 to 1840. Later, Manockjee Cursetjee (Manakji Kharshedji Shroff, 1808–1887), the founder of the Alexandra Native Girls’ English Institution, one of the earliest schools to prepare female students for the matriculation examination, joined the committee.76 Besides the business magnates, the middle and lower strata of the Parsi community took an active part in the emerging educational institutions.77 The BNES’s plan for the improvement and expansion of education can be summarized as follows: First, they aimed to provide books appropriate for the ‘mental improvement’ of the students, most importantly in Marathi and Gujarati. Second, they identified the need to introduce an ‘easy and efficient Method of imparting instruction’,78 which they found in the ‘Lancasterian plan’.79 The third objective was to train qualified teachers and superintendents of schools. To achieve these objectives, the BNES clearly built on the Bengal experience. 74

75

76 77 78 79

Shroff, The Contribution of Parsis to Education in Bombay City, 37–47. In 1853, 599 boys and 263 girls were under instruction in these schools (Dnyanodaya, 1 August 1853, 241). Shroff, The Contribution of Parsis to Education in Bombay City, 36. Khoshru Navrosji Banaji, Memoirs of the Late Framji Cowasji Banaji: By His Great Grandson Khoshru Navrosji Banaji (Bombay: Bombay Gazette Steam Printing Works, 1892), 24. Shroff, The Contribution of Parsis to Education in Bombay City, 83–90, 201. Margaret Mitchell, of the Scottish mission, headed this school from 1866 to 1870. B. N. Vaidya, History of Primary Education in the Province of Bombay From 1815 to 1940 (Bombay: The Local Self-Government Institute, 1947). BNES Report No. 1, 1824, 15–17. ‘Fisher’s Memoir’, 44–46.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

262

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Not only did they regularly receive books from the CSBS, including the Hints Relative to Native Schools,80 the Digdarshan, Harle’s Gonito, and the Nithikatha. The BNES laid down a comprehensive elementary course of studies, starting with the same kind of materials and wall tables that the CSBS suggested. From there, the students would proceed to a course of reading, comprising short treatises or compendia on (a) geography (India and England), (b) astronomy and the solar system, (c) natural philosophy and natural history, (d) history and chronology, and (e) ethics.81 This is precisely the course of instruction that the Serampore missionaries drafted in their Hints Relative to Native Schools.82 Moreover, both the Bombay government and the BNES were aware and appreciative of May’s experiment in Chinsura.83 To get the funds necessary for this educational reform project, the BNES applied to the government in October 1823.84 It was in response to this funding application that Elphinstone drafted his minute of 13 December 1823, cited in the beginning of the chapter, which laid down a comprehensive strategy for the government’s educational investment. Elphinstone’s minute starts with the acknowledgement of the colonial government’s responsibility for Indian education. Without government funding, ‘the country will certainly’ fall ‘in a worse state […] than it was under the Peishwa’s [rule]’. Elphinstone considered two possible lines of action: the government could ‘take the education of the natives entirely on itself ’ or ‘stimulate the exertions of the society already formed for that purpose’, that is, the BNES. A combination of both, he concluded, would produce the ‘best result’.85 The most important task of the government, for which ‘no pains should be spared’, was to increase the number of schools. Part of the funding for schools could be derived from the ‘gaum khurch’, or general village expenses.86 The government should stimulate private exertion, by organizing regular examinations and by giving prizes, such as honorary dresses, books, and money 80

81 82 83 84 85 86

Joshua Marshman, William Carey, and William Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools Together with an Outline of an Institution for Their Extension and Management (Serampore: Mission Press, 1816). BNES Report No. 1, 1824, 77. Marshman, Carey, and Ward, Hints Relative to Native Schools, 13–16. BNES Report No. 4, 1828, 8. ‘Fisher’s Memoir’, 44–46. ‘Extract Minute by Mountstuart Elphinstone’ (13 December 1823), 197–198. Ibid., 198–199.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

263

to teachers and school providers who had proved their merit. Moreover, they should provide stipends for deserving scholars, authors, and translators, until an English-medium higher education institution could be established.87

The ‘improvement of schools’, on the other hand, was ‘almost entirely left to the Education Society, with such pecuniary assistance as Government may think it expedient to afford’. This included the organization of superintendence, the training of schoolmasters, for whom the government would ensure employment, and the publication and dissemination of concise manuals on the Lancasterian system in Marathi and Gujarati. 88 The provision of rational, scientific schoolbooks was another important task for the BNES. The government would cover the printing costs and authorize any new publication.89

Elphinstone thus devised a comprehensive policy for educational development, a major part of which relied on a civil society organization, the BNES, for its implementation. Still, the Bombay government took a much more active part in educational expansion and reform, than the governor general in Bengal. Indeed, in the early 1820s, there was a stark contrast between the governments’ approach in Bombay and Madras to start building an ‘organized system’90 of education and Bengal’s passive, or reactive, stance.

Elphinstone’s approach was, however, contested. His council member Francis Warden warned that individual initiative and private investment would cease if people became dependent on government funding: ‘If the Government be too prominently forward, all individual exertions will cease, even the poor villager will find his interest to withhold his handful of rice as the payment for his education.’ The government, Warden thought, should simply organize examinations, provide certificates, and make sure to give preference to the official employment of those who could prove educational achievement. This 87 88

89 90

Ibid., 201–203. Ibid., 197–198. J. Molesworth, Shallapundhuttee, or, A Treatise of the Management of Schools According to the Lancasterian System of Education [in Marathi] (Bombay: Bombay Native Education Society, 1825–1826). A Gujarati version was produced by ‘Pundits in the Service of the Society’ (BNES Report No. 4, 1828, 53). ‘Extract Minute by Mountstuart Elphinstone’ (13 December 1823), 202. Ibid., 197. For the Madras policy, which closely mirrored the Bombay proceedings, see ‘Minute of Sir Thomas Munro, Governor of Madras, June 25, 1822’, in Basu Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, Part 1, 176–177; and ‘Minute of Sir Thomas Munro, March 10, 1826’, in Basu, Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, Part 1, 187–190.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

264

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

would gradually improve the state of education without taking over a major part of educational funding.91

A significant outcome of the Bombay government’s internal disagreement was the decision to collect more information. The BNES had argued in its funding application that the state of education in the Bombay Presidency was deplorable. The government decided that a comprehensive survey was necessary to properly assess the need for reform. This is the origin of the large-scale data collection of 1824, which is now a core source for the history of indigenous education in western India.92 Included in this survey was a detailed report, which T.B. Jervis, employed on a statistical survey in the south Konkan and founder of the Education Society in the South Konkan (1823), had compiled on his own initiative.93 This shows how closely embedded the production of the first statistics on education in Bombay (and, almost simultaneously, in Madras) was in the education reform efforts of the 1820s. To come back to the formulation of the governmental educational policy, although disputes continued, the basic line, which Elphinstone had suggested, won out. Not only did the BNES get the grant for its operations, but the government also started to undertake measures for organizing a permanent system of education.94

Building a System of Education (1823–1854) Now that the basic constellation of actors has been introduced, this section discusses the Bombay government’s steps towards educational system-building. The first step was to set up government-funded English model schools ‘in the Mofussil’,95 which meant outside the colonial centre of Bombay. The first Government English Schools were founded in Panwell (now Panvel) (1821), and Tannah (1823).96 By 1851, they had been closed again, while others had been set up in Poona (1838), Ahmednuggur (now Ahmednagar), Surat, Ahmedabad, Broach, Rutnagherry (now Ratnagiri), and Dharwar (now 91

92 93 94 95 96

‘Minute by Francis Warden, Esq., Member of the Council at Bombay, dated December 29, 1823,’ in Basu, Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers, Part 1, 212–218, 212. R.V. Parulekar, Survey of Indigenous Education in the Province of Bombay (1820– 1830), vol. I (Bombay: Asia Publishing House 1951 [1945]). Ibid., xiv.–xv; 3–51. ‘Fisher’s Memoir’, 61. Board of Education 1851, 39. Board of Education 1842, 13, 15.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

265

Dharwad) in 1848. In 1850, 768 students attended the seven English schools.97 The Government English Schools based their pedagogy on the system of instruction practised in the BES’s central school. In 1838, a London-trained teacher reformed the BES by introducing a new form of ranking students according to merit, the so-called circular system. The Government English Schools were reformed accordingly in the following years.98 The rules of admission to the Government English Schools stated that candidates for admission ‘must have a competent knowledge of their vernacular language, be able to write correctly the current hand in which business is transacted, and have a knowledge of arithmetic as far as the rule of three.’99 Thus, they were designed to provide secondary education based on elementary instruction in the vernacular, the provision of which became the task of the Government District Vernacular Schools.

The establishment of Government District Vernacular Schools commenced in 1826, when the first batch of the BNES-trained schoolmasters were ready to be sent out to the different districts. Each of these 24 schoolmasters conducted one Government Vernacular District School. The schools were run on ‘Mr. Lancaster’s monitorial system’, as outlined in the BNES-issued Marathi and Gujarati manuals. ‘Each class has its monitor, while the master exercises a superintendence over all, but gives particular attention to the senior classes.’100 The schoolmasters received their salary of 9–10 rupees monthly from the government, while the district collectors reported on the state of the schools initially to the BNES, and after 1832 to a governmentappointed officer.101 Until December 1841, the number of schools had grown to 99, attended by 5,554 (male) students. As the following Table 7.1 shows, almost all the government schoolmasters were Brahmins. Fifty-three of the 82 schoolmasters for whom the information was available had been trained by the BNES. Twenty-seven had received their education in the Poona 97

98

99 100 101

Board of Education 1842, 9; Board of Education 1851, 39. The Dharwar English School was closed in 1859 due to a conflict over caste and untouchability, which was widely discussed among both the Education Department and the press (Director of Public Instruction 1859, 91). This will be discussed in the next chapter. BES Report No. 25, 1840, 10–11; Board of Education 1842, 13–14. The teacher of the Tannah School, Mr Murray, had been sent to the BES central school to study the new system. Board of Education 1842, 88–89. Ibid., 50–51. Ibid., 40–41.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

266

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Sanskrit College’s vernacular department. This underlines the crucial role of the BNES for the transformation of teaching into a recognized, certified, modern profession. Table 7.1 Schoolmasters Employed in the Government District Vernacular Schools, 1842 Administrative Unit

Poona Collectorate

Ahmednuggur Collectorate Sholapoor Collectorate

Rutnagherry Collectorate

Tannah Collectorate

Surat Collectorate

Ahmedabad Collectorate

Kaira Collectorate

Belgaum Collectorate

No. of School masters

Brahmin School masters

Trained by BNES

Trained in Poona

19

19

8

11

14

14

8

5

4

4

2

2

8

7a

5

2

10

9b

3

7

Other Training

No. of Students 1,138

1

1,125 316

1

365 670

14

14

14

866

6

6

6

295

7

7

7

308

17c 99

471 64

53

27

2

5,554

Source: Board of Education 1842, 113–120.

Notes: aThe remaining schoolmaster was a Maratha. bThe caste of the non-Brahmin schoolmaster is given as ‘Shenwee’. cThese are described as ‘Canarese Schools’, and no further information is given in the report.

In 1837, Thomas Candy (1804–1877), who was put in charge of both the Poona Sanskrit College and vernacular education, introduced measures to integrate these two educational streams. The students who most distinguished themselves

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

267

in the Marathi-medium District Vernacular Schools were, ‘as a reward’, admitted to the Poona College. Since instruction at the Poona College was not only given free of charge, but further subsidized by stipends, students appreciated this opportunity. This was available only to Brahmin students, since other castes were not yet admitted to the Poona College. The measure is remarkable, however, since it systematically integrated vernacular elementary instruction with both secondary schooling in English and academic studies in Sanskrit.102

The participatory mode of governance, which we have already seen with the foundation of the BNES, also guided the implementation of the Government District Vernacular Schools. To ensure that there was indeed a local demand, and a minimum investment from the community, schools were ‘established only on a petition of the inhabitants’ of towns where the population exceeded 2,000 people. The government guaranteed to pay the schoolmaster a fixed salary, a gratuitous supply of schoolbooks, and allowances for poor students’ writing materials. The town’s inhabitants, however, had to provide and maintain the schoolhouse.103 A further step was the establishment, in 1836, of Local School Committees for the supervision of the District Vernacular Schools. Some of the collectors had already undertaken measures to invite ‘influential Natives’ to participate in the superintendence of schools.104 In 1843, the Board of Education specified how to recruit community representatives for the school committee. The collectors were requested to recommend suitable candidates from among five categories of local stakeholders. These were: Government Stipendiary Officers, as Dufterdars, Ameens, Mamlutdars, Moonsifs, Mahalkurries. Hereditary district Officers, as Deshmooks, Deshpandies, (in Gujerat, Dessaees and Muzmoodars) Canongoes, Deshkoolkurnees, Sir-Patells, Cazis. Respectable Soucars, Shopkeepers and Merchants. Jagheerdars, Enamdars, and Wurshasundars. Pensioned Government Servants.105

By treating these groups as representatives of the local community, the Bombay government empowered the financial and revenue officers (Mamlutdar, Dufterdar), landed chiefs (Deshmukh, Patel), village accountants (Kulkarni, Deshkulkarni, Deshpande), bankers (Sowkar), and major landholders ( Jagidars, Inamdars). In the process of building community participation, the colonial 102 103 104 105

Board of Education 1842, 27. Ibid., 125–129. Board of Education 1842, 60. Board of Education 1843, 28.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

268

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

government strengthened the landed elites and affirmed the prevalent power relations. This approach, therefore, had a major impact on the accessibility of government schooling for the lower castes, particularly the Untouchables.106

The year 1836 also saw the establishment of an Experimental System of Village School Instruction in the Poorundhur (now Purandar) district, located about 40 kilometres southeast of Poona. Captain Shortrede, the district’s assistant collector, took the initiative to set up about 60 village schools. The objective of these schools was to test ‘the feasibility of a general introduction of education among the agricultural and labouring classes of the community’. The students were described as the rural poor. Candy, who oversaw the experiment, did not consider these schools fit ‘to communicate much learning’. He had no doubt, however, that they would enable the villagers ‘to check the different accounts in which they [were] concerned, and thus to protect themselves from fraud and exaction’.107 In contrast to the District Vernacular Schools, the Experimental Village Schools did not employ trained schoolmasters, but local providers of common indigenous education. Several of these village puntojees – as they were called, in contrast to the trained schoolmasters – had previously attended the regular District Schools. Most of them, however, simply possessed ‘sufficient knowledge of reading, writing, and accounts to qualify them to teach the rudiments of learning’, as a means of obtaining a livelihood. Most of them (60 out of 63, in 1838) were Brahmins. They received a salary of 3–5 rupees monthly, which was half (or less) of the trained schoolmasters’ salary. The schools were government funded, but each student had to pay 1 anna for their instruction. The puntojees were required to send monthly reports to Candy, ‘countersigned by the Patells and Koolkurnees of the respective villages’. The government further paid the salary of a sur-puntojee, or superintendent, who visited the schools, and prepared monthly summaries on the attendance and progress of the students. This dual structure of reporting was meant to ensure the teachers’ accountability.108 Again, this scheme made sure to involve the participation and cooperation of parents as well as the village authorities. It was continued until 1858. Here, we can observe the development of a basic educational infrastructure, consisting of interconnected lower and higher levels of education and training

Phillip Constable, ‘Sitting on the School Verandah. The Ideology and Practice of “Untouchable” Educational Protest in Late Nineteenth-century Western India’, Indian Economic & Social History Review 37, no. 4 (2000): 383–422; Parimala V. Rao, ‘Educating Women and Non-brahmins as “Loss of Nationality”: Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the Nationalist Agenda in Maharashtra’, Occasional Paper No. 50, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi, 2008, 8–9. 107 Report by Thomas Candy, for 1838, Board of Education 1842, 53–54. Downloaded 108 from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Ibid., 55–56. 106

Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

269

facilities for professional teachers. The curriculum, textbooks, and the methods of instruction became part of the government regulation. All the changes made in the monitorial system of instruction had to be authorized.109 The supervision and management of the different institutions became centralized in the hands of paid government officers.

The different educational levels were characterized by linguistic hierarchies. Primary education was firmly institutionalized as vernacular education. The access to these different levels – with the lowest level, that is, the education of the rural poor, offering few chances for progressing to higher levels – reflected the prevalent hierarchies of caste and class, which were transformed and modernized, but not at all abandoned.110 Table 7.2 gives a comparative overview of the caste composition of the (exclusively male) students in the Poona Collectorate in the different types of government schools in the early 1840s. This includes the Poona Sanskrit College, the Government English School, the District Vernacular Schools, and the Experimental Village Schools.

Table 7.2 Caste Classification of the Students of the Poona Collectorate’s Government Schools, Early 1840s

Brahmin

Koonbee Vani

Sonar

Simpi

Moosulman Purbhoo

Kansar

Nhawee

Chambar

109 110

Poona Sanskrit College (1841)

Government English School (1844)

Vernacular District Schools (1840)

Experimental Village Schools (1840)

Total

86

94

722

335

1,237

38

48

86

6

2

11

127

34

51

29

20

12

428

43

30

23

555

83

83

52

1

32

16

16

19

15

31

15

(Contd)

Board of Education 1842, 124–131. For the connection between linguistic and social hierarchies, see Naregal, Language, Politics, Elites; Chandra, Sexual Life of English.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

270

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

(Contd)

Poona Sanskrit College (1841)

Government English School (1844)

Vernacular District Schools (1840)

Salee

Sootar

Total

13

13

11

11

11

Goorun

Indo-Briton

7

Oilmen/Talee Mhar

Maratha

7

7

6

Gosavee

Ramoosee

Purdeshee

4

Parsi

3

Mudliar

6

5

4

Shenvee Native Christian Booroor

2 1

1

Ghurshee 86

139

7

7

7

6

6

5

4

3

1

Maung

11

4

2

Pureet

Other

Experimental Village Schools (1840)

107

1,141

1

1,023

2

2

1

1

1

1

107

2,389

Sources: The caste data were not available for the exact same years. For the Sanskrit College, the Experimental Village Schools, and the District Vernacular Schools, see Board of Education 1842, 38, 57, and 121–123. The category ‘Other’ is stated as such in the Board’s report. For the English School, see Board of Education 1845, 30. The proportion of Brahmin students was higher in Poona than in the earlier English Schools in Tannah and Panwell.

As this table shows, Brahmin boys and youths constituted about half of the Poona Collectorate’s overall student body (51.78 per cent), followed by children from ‘Maharashtra’s large grouping of [...] land-holding, and cultivating castes, Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

271

the Maratha-kunbis’ (23.3 per cent).111 The third-largest student group were the Banias (3.6 per cent), castes involved in trading, commercial, and moneylending activities.

There were, however, significant differences between the various levels of education. In the Sanskrit College, all students were Brahmins. At the secondary education (English) level, their proportion was 67.63 per cent, at the primary (Vernacular District School) level, 63.28 per cent. In the Village Schools for the poor, they were only the second-largest group (32.75 per cent), while 41.84 per cent of the boys came from Kunbi families. It is also at the lowest level, the Village Schools, that we find students from several untouchable castes, even if they constituted a small minority. Together, children from the Chamar, Mahar, and Mang communities provided 2.25 per cent of the Village School student body, which is 0.69 per cent of all the levels taken together.

I want to return the focus now to the city of Bombay, where ‘the principal native princes, chieftains, and gentlemen’ in 1827 provided the impetus for the foundation of a modern, English-oriented higher education institution.112 This was coupled with a major reorganization of educational governance and the forms of public–private partnership. Supported by Poona’s Brahmins, and several ‘Rajas and Jagidars of the Maratha country’, the Bombay shetias started a subscription for the endowment of three professorships ‘of the English language and European arts and sciences’.113 In honour of the governor, who was about to depart for Europe, these were designated the ‘Elphinstone Professorships’. The Bombay government approved of this scheme and commissioned the BNES to see to its execution. The initiative for the Elphinstone Professorships and the BNES already had close personal overlaps. Jejeebhoy and Cowasjee, for instance, took part in both. By 1830, the substantial sum of 215,000 rupees had been raised, and the EIC’s Court of Directors in London received an application, on part of the government of Bombay, to match this sum. The sum was granted. Two European experts were recruited, financed from the capital interest from the original endowment. One was to teach mathematics, astronomy, and natural philosophy, and the other the applied sciences, including architecture, hydraulics, and mechanics. Botany, horticulture, and agriculture were to be taught by Indian staff. More professorships were added based on further subscriptions. The teaching at the newly founded Elphinstone Native Education Institution 111 112 113

O’Hanlon, Caste, Conflict, and Ideology, 105. ‘Fisher’s Memoir’, 126. Chavan, ‘Politics of Patronage’, 215; ‘Fisher’s Memoir’, 126.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

272

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

commenced in 1835. It took shape as a distinctly modern, Anglicist-oriented institution, which was also informed by the model of Calcutta’s Hindu College. And it became the nucleus of the Elphinstone College, Bombay’s major educational institution throughout the colonial period.114

Bombay’s educational infrastructure was significantly reorganized in 1840, wherein the BNES merged with the Elphinstone Institution, which marked its end as an independent and as a civil-society organization. However, its major operations and personnel were incorporated in the governmental education system. The core of the BNES’s activities was to run ‘central schools’, that is, English-, Marathi-, and Gujarati-medium teacher-training institutions. This was further supplemented by English and vernacular schools throughout the Bombay Presidency.115 This branch of operations was incorporated in the Elphinstone Institution, where normal classes were now formed for training English as well as vernacular schoolmasters. The task of supplying schoolbooks was also transferred to the institution, together with the Poona College. The Elphinstone Institution’s entire educational operations were placed directly under the newly formed Board of Education. The Board of Education consisted of a British president, three British, and three Indian members. The Indian members were, just like in the BNES, appointed to represent the Hindu, Muslim, and Parsi populations. Jejeebhoy, Mohamad Ibrahim Mukba, and Jugunnath Shunkersett ( Jaggannath Shankarseth, 1803–1865) had all been among the original and long-standing committee members of the BNES.116 The Parsi seat was taken over by Cowasjee in 1841.117 Bombay’s Board of Education (which was succeeded by the Education Department in 1854) was marked by the same kind of Indian co-optation in a colonial-hierarchical frame that we have already found in the civil society organizations, the CSBS and BNES. And, like in the case of Calcutta’s GCPI, the personnel from the Presidency’s major education society was transferred into the first official body for educational governance. The difference was that the BNES dissolved into the Elphinstone Institution and the Board, while the CSBS continued its operations as an independent body, even if integrated with the government’s educational system-building efforts.

114 115 116 117

‘Fisher’s Memoir’, 126–128; BNES Report No. 7, 1833, 8; see http://www. elphinstone.ac.in/, accessed 3 November 2018. BNES Report No. 6, 1831, 10. In 1831, the BNES had 3,000 students under instruction, in 56 schools. Board of Education, 1842, 65. Board of Education, 1843, 33.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

273

According to sociologist Margaret Archer, a state education system is a ‘nation-wide and differentiated collection of institutions devoted to formal education, whose overall control and supervision is at least partly governmental, and whose component parts are related to one another’.118 The policy of 1854, the so-called Wood’s Despatch, is often considered the origin of the colonial education system.119 The case of the Bombay Presidency, however, shows, that the basic structure of educational governance was already in place by 1840. The period of 1819 to 1840 was one of significant and rapid educational transformation. The measures that the Wood’s Despatch foresaw were, for the most part, a formalization of practices already in place. The four major elements of the ‘New Scheme of Government Education’, as highlighted by the Dnyanodaya, were, first, setting up departments of public instruction, second, the policy of providing higher education in English and mass education in the vernacular languages, third, the government founding universities, and, finally, devising a grants-in-aid scheme that was ‘meant to encourage the Indians to build their own education system’.120 As a result of the policy of 1854, the University of Bombay was founded in 1857. The Indian universities, modelled after the federal London University, were not teaching, but examining bodies. The teaching was done by affiliated colleges. Thus, several higher education institutions that had been founded in the first half of the nineteenth century were linked to the universities. In Bombay, this included the Elphinstone College, the Poona College (Deccan College), and the General Assembly’s Institution, established by the SMS/Free Church of Scotland.121 In Calcutta, not only the Hindu College (later, Presidency College) but also Duff ’s Assembly Institution (later, Scottish Church College) were affiliated to the university. This constituted a major success of Duff ’s lobbying in England. Duff had been a major campaigner against the principle of governmental non-cooperation with any institution directly and openly providing Christian instruction. In 1854, this strict line was abandoned. Religious schools could now apply for government grants if they offered government-approved secular 118 119

120 121

Margaret Archer, Social Origins of Educational Systems, University Edition (London: SAGE Publications, 1984), 19. ‘Despatch of 1854’, in Bureau of Education, Government of India, and J.A. Richey (eds), Selections from Educational Records, Part II 1840–1859 (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1922), 364–393. Dnyanodaya, 15 August 1854, 242, and 15 February 1871, 52–53. Indian Education Commission. Report of the Bombay Provincial Committee, vol. I (Calcutta 1884), 135.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

274

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

instruction as well. This included but was not limited to Christian education. Thus, the missionaries could now apply for government funding as well.122

The Wood’s Despatch also marked the end of the official endorsement of the monitorial system of education. Instead, it recommended the pupil–teacher system, which had become the new model in England.123 Most importantly, this entailed a new impetus for teacher training. In the early 1850s, the employment of monitors was a matter of course in all the Bombay Presidency’s government schools as well as among the mission-run English and vernacular schools.124 In 1857, the educational inspectors received orders ‘to make arrangements for introducing the pupil-teacher system into all schools where monitors were formerly entertained’.125 Thus, the monitorial system, which had been the pedagogical core of most of the early nineteenth-century efforts of educational expansion, was officially abandoned, although Indian students, until today, are appointed as monitors in a disciplinary function.

Indian Initiative and Government Response:  T he Case of Female Education (1848–1882) The years around 1850 were a watershed moment in Indian education. The new governmental responsibility went hand in hand with two remarkable developments. Indian reformers now became much more active and went beyond the participation in European-led organizations. Moreover, there was a new impetus for the education of girls and women.126 Until 1848, the only modern-type schools for Indian girls and women were provided by missionaries. Before the early 1850s, the colonial governments had not invested a single rupee in the education of the female half of the Indian population.127 The Wood’s 122 123

124 125 126 127

Hunter, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland, 34–36. Marcelo Caruso and Maria Moritz, ‘The Indian Female Pupil–Teacher: Social Technologies of Education and Gender in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century’, Südasien-Chronik/South Asia Chronicle 8 (2018): 21–52 (https://edoc. hu-berlin.de/handle/18452/20500). Hunter, History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland, 179. Director of Public Instruction 1859, 448. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Development of Women’s Education in India: A collection of documents, 1850–1920 (New Delhi: Kanishka Publishers, 2001), ix. The only recipients of government grants who cared for girls’ education, throughout the first half of the nineteenth century, were the schools for Eurasians and the European poor. This refers to all three Presidencies.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

275

Despatch endorsed the promotion of ‘female education’. Several initiatives for girls’ education commenced simultaneously in 1849, which included the prominent Bethune school in Calcutta128 and several Parsi initiatives in Bombay. These initiatives were pursued by reformers at least loosely connected with the CSBS and BNES.

The first Indian girls’ school, however, was founded in 1848 in Poona’s city centre by Jotirao and Savitribai Phule. It was directed towards ‘girls from all communities’, including the Untouchables.129 They not only introduced a novel humanist and rational knowledge-based approach into the repertoire of girls’ schooling, but the founding of this school also marked the beginning of western India’s anti-caste movement, which the twentieth-century efforts towards Dalit emancipation could build on.130 Jotirao and Savitribai Phule were born into the Mali caste. Malis were cultivators and urban sellers of gardening products. They ‘occupied quite a respectable position’, roughly equivalent to the MarathaKunbis. In the four-fold varna scheme, they were ranked as Shudras.131 Jotirao had attended a common vernacular school. Against the pressure of conservative public opinion, he continued his education after his child marriage to Savitribai in 1840. Jotirao studied at the Scottish missionaries’ English Institution in Poona (introduced in the first section), where he completed his secondary education in 1847.132 His educational experience furthered both his intellectual and political development. The school provided a socially heterogeneous learning environment, which included a few Mang and Mahar students. The students heard ‘[a]rguments against the social and ritual distinctions of caste, based on the observable physiological similarities between men everywhere’, which later formed ‘a standard tactic in debate for radicals like Phule’. It is also in this school 128 129

130

131 132

Kalidas Nag and Lotika Ghose (eds), Bethune School and College Centenary Volume, 1849–1949 (Oxford, 1951). Jotirao Phule, Slavery: In This Civilized British Government under the Cloak of Brahminism – Exposed by Jotirao Govindraw Fule (1873), trans. Maya Pandit, in Govind P. Deshpande (ed.), Selected Writings of Jotirao Phule (New Delhi: Leftword, 2002), 23–100, 94. Shailaja Paik, Dalit Women’s Education in Modern India: Double Discrimination (New York: Routledge, 2014); Eleanor Zelliot, ‘Dalit Initiatives in Education, 1880–1992’, in Parimala V. Rao (ed.), New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2014), 54–67. O’Hanlon, Caste, Conflict, and Ideology, 105. Ibid., 110; Keer, Mahatma Jotirao Phooley, 10–13.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

276

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

that Jotirao Phule met Sadashiv Ballal Govande and Moro Viththal Valavekar, both of poor Brahmin background, who supported his early educational projects. The friends engaged in discussion beyond the classroom as well. Reading about the lives of Shivaji and George Washington and the work of Thomas Paine, the youths were ‘fired with ideas of liberating their country from foreign rule’.133

Inspired by the contact with the Scottish and American missionaries, Jotirao decided upon ‘female education’ as the means to further radical social change. When Govande started working in the judge’s office at Ahmednagar in 1848, he took his friend Jotirao to visit the girls’ schools run by Farrar for the ABCFM. Not only did they talk to Farrar about her experiences, but soon after the visit Savitribai Phule went to study with Farrar for a couple of months. Savitribai had at first studied privately with her husband. Then, she attended one of the female schools superintended by Margaret Mitchell of the Scottish mission in Poona. After returning from Ahmednagar, the 17-year old Savitribai became the schoolmistress of the newly established girls’ school.134

Initially, this project was short-lived. Faced with the threat of social ostracism – a common disciplinary tool against non-conformers to caste rules – Jotirao Phule’s father forced his son and daughter-in-law to leave the family’s home.135 Only after establishing their own economic independence could they return to educational activism, this time successfully. Having secured financial support from Erskine Perry, at the time chief justice in Bombay, two long-lasting schools were established in July 1851, in which Savitribai taught together with her colleague, Fatima Sheikh, a Muslim.136 A public examination in early 1852 went very well: ‘The progress […] exhibited by the girls, who had attended the Schools since their foundation’ was found ‘far greater than that made in any of our Boys’ Schools during the same period.’137 133 134

135 136

137

O’Hanlon, Caste, Conflict, and Ideology, 105, 108–110. Keer, Mahatma Jotirao Phooley, 23–24; M.G. Mali, Krantijyoti Savitribai Jotirao Phule (Majestic Publication House, 2012), 28–37. For the analysis of Marathilanguage sources, such as Mali’s biography of Savitribai, I rely on the collaboration with Sumeet Mhaskar. Dnyanodaya, 15 December 1853; Keer, Mahatma Jotirao Phooley, 27. Savitribai Phule, Letter to Jotirao Phule, 10 October 1856, in Susie Tharu and K. Lalita (eds), Women Writing in India: 600 B.C. to the Early Twentieth Century (New York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1991), 213–214. Report of the Second Annual Examination of the Native Female Schools in Poona, Held on 12 February 1853 (Poona: Printed on the Bombay Gazette Press, 1853). The report is reprinted in Y. D. Phadke (ed.), Mahatma Pule Samagra Vangmay

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

277

Against this background, Jotirao Phule successfully applied for a grant of 75 rupees monthly from the Dakshina Fund, which enabled the school committee he had formed to establish a third school.138 Even more funds were raised from public subscriptions. As pioneering and highly contested efforts, the three ‘Native Female Schools’ attracted an enormous attention. They met with official recognition when Jotirao Phule was honoured in a public felicitation ceremony by Candy at the end of 1852.139 The public examination in 1853 turned out as ‘the largest meeting known in Poona’. The courtyard of the Poona Sanskrit College, where it took place, was crowded with 3,000 visitors, with even more people gathered outside.140 This shows how Indian reformers took over the organizational repertoire and the publicity and fundraising strategies that the monitorial movement had introduced. Phule and his friends were able to use them for the advantage of their cause, particularly since the schools generally left the impression of high quality. Their arrangement was found ‘infinitely superior to those for the tuition of the boys […] of the Government schools’, as the Poona Observer stated on 29 May 1852. ‘[U]nless the Board [of Education] exerts itself the utmost’ to improve its vernacular boys’ schools, ‘we shall be disgraced […] by having to admit the superiority of females over the males’.141

The history of these schools is remarkable in several ways. Though building on missionary efforts, they did not repeat the (proto-)Victorian domestic focus on gender socialization. In Farrar’s schools, ‘needlework’ assumed a central place.142 The most advanced students of the Phules’ ‘Native Female Schools’, in contrast, studied a broad curriculum, including the history of the Marathas, the geography of India and Asia, grammar, arithmetic, and basic writings on socio-economic problems.143 The lower classes were taught the maps and read the Marathi textbooks used in the government vernacular schools, such as

138 139 140 141 142 143

(Mumbai: Maharashtra State Literary and Cultural Committee, 1991), 617–632, 618. Dnyanodaya, 15 July 1852, 212. Dnyanodaya, 1 December 1852. Report of the Second Annual Examination, 617. This is the courtyard shown in Figure 7.2. Cited in Keer, Mahatma Jotirao Phooley, 42. American Marathi Mission, Memorial Papers, 61–62. See Chapter 4 for the discussion of needlework and evangelical-model gender socialisation. The list of readings given the Report of the Second Annual Examination contains G.N. Shenvi, Rinunishedhuk [= The Evils of Debt] (Bombay: Deccan Vernacular Society), 70 pages, 8vo. The book is reviewed in the Dnyanodaya, 2 October 1850.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

278

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Niteebodhkutha, or Moral Stories, and the primer Lipidara.144 Only occasionally did the pupils receive ‘lessons in sewing from Mrs. Candy’s Taylor’. 145 Needlework was not something that girls went to school for – Farrar’s students found it ‘mean and degrading’.146 Apparently, it was tolerated as a curricular element if the schools offered sufficient skills and knowledge that the students were actually interested in.

The early western Indian anti-caste movement understood girls’ schooling not in the frame of gender socialization, but in an egalitarian frame of human development. This educational agenda becomes particularly apparent if we look at the schools for untouchable students, which were founded shortly after the girls’ schools. Jotirao Phule’s original plan was to provide schooling for girls of all castes together. After the first unsuccessful effort, however, the girls’ schools and the schools for ‘children from the atishudra communities’147 were pursued separately. While students of diverse castes, Brahmins and Shudras, were taught together in the girls’ schools,148 three separate schools were set up for the untouchable students of both genders between 1852 and 1856. Superintended by the Society for Promoting the Education of Mahar-Mangs (SPEMM), for which Govande and Valavekar functioned as president and secretary, these schools received a monthly grant of 25 rupees from the Dakshina Fund as well.149 (The SPEMM was probably the first educational association in India fully independent from British leadership.) In their various literary and political writings, Savitribai and Jotirao Phule repeatedly expressed the notion that knowledge was the key to social emancipation and human development. The 144 145

146 147 148 149

Board of Education 1842, 159–161; Board of Education 1851, 75. Report of the Second Annual Examination, 625. During a visit of Lady Fitz Clarence and ‘other European ladies’ in 1854, ‘Mrs. A.G. Fraser kindly offered to teach the girls the art of sewing’. The school committee, though ‘much obliged’, did not take her up on this offer, ‘in consequence of some remaining prejudices on part of the parents’. Dnyanodaya, 16 January 1854, 18. Anderson, History of the Missions of the American Board, 80. Phule, Slavery, 94. ‘Atishudra’ is the term used by Phule for the untouchable castes. Dnyanodaya, 1 June 1855, 175–178; Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 382–388. Public Examination of the Poonah Mahar and Mang Schools, 2nd February 1858 (Bombay. Printed at Gunput Crushnaji’s Press, 1858), reprinted in Phadke, Mahatma Pule Samagra Vangmay, 633–665. Mhaskar and Tschurenev, ‘Bildung und politische Mobilisierung’, 569–571.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

279

aim of schooling for the marginalized was to build a critical consciousness. The shudra-atishudra, the serving and untouchable castes, who formed the majority of the population, should learn about the roots of their exploitation. To gain an understanding of their position in society was the core of the Phules’ ‘pedagogy of the oppressed’.150

The three girls’ schools not only had an important impact on the public debate on ‘female education’ but also contributed to its institutionalization. Savitribai and Fatima Sheikh were the first Indian women teachers outside the domain of missionary supervision.151 Their efforts helped open the way for other Indian women teachers. From 1863 onwards, teachers of the three ‘Native Female Schools’ were found from among the graduates themselves.152 In 1870, one of the schools was converted into the governmental Female Training College, to which Margaret Mitchell, originally of the SMS, was appointed superintendent. The other two schools were taken over by the Education Department and incorporated into the Female Training College’s system of superintendence.153 The setting up of female normal schools (another name for teacher-training colleges) had been part of the highly influential policy intervention of the British education reformer and ‘imperial feminist’ Mary Carpenter (1807–1877).154 Due to her emphasis on the woman teacher as a moral role model of young female students, she strongly advocated governmental investment in teacher 150

151

152

153

154

Sharmila Rege, ‘Education as Trutiya Ratna: Towards Phule–Ambedkarite Feminist Pedagogical Practice’, Economic and Political Weekly 45, no. 44 (2010): 88–98; Mhaskar and Tschurenev, ‘Bildung und politische Mobilisierung’, 271– 273. There is a striking resemblance between the educational philosophy of the early western-Indian anti-caste movement and Paolo Freire’s efforts to link social emancipation and critical pedagogy. See Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 30th anniversary ed. (New York: Bloomsbury, 2000). The first documented modern Indian female schoolteacher in the Bombay Presidency was named Gangabai. She taught for the ABCFM in Bombay. American Marathi Mission, Memorial Papers, 61. Director of Public Instruction 1864, 41; testimony of Vithabai Sakharam Chowdari, Headmistress, Bhavnagar School, in Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 85–88. See the testimonies of Margaret Mitchell and Jotirao Phule, in Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 382–388, 140–145. Antoinette Burton, Burdens of History: British Feminists, Indian Women, and Imperial Culture, 1865–1915 (University of North Carolina Press, 2000). On the concept of ‘normal schools’, see Caruso and Moritz, ‘The Indian Female Pupil Teacher’, 25.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

280

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

training, which resulted in the setting up of normal schools in Bombay, Poona, and Ahmedabad.155 From 1872 to 1882, 34 graduates were sent out from Margaret Mitchell’s Female Training College to take up teaching positions throughout the Bombay Presidency.156

The case of Vithabai Sakharam Chowdari, the headmistress of Bhavnagar School, and one of the very few Indian women who testified to the Education Commission in 1882, illustrates how a younger generation of women followed in Savitribai and Fatima’s footsteps and took professionalism in teaching to a new level. Vithabai, also a Shudra, had started her education in one of the ‘Native Female Schools’ set up by the Phules. A talented scholar, she got the first prize from among the 200 girls assembled at the public examination of 1858. In 1865, she took charge of teaching one of those schools, assisted by a former classmate. She continued her teaching career in Bombay, in one of the schools established by the SLSS. (She was not the first of the Poona students who taught for the SLSS. In 1856, a woman named Chimnabai had been recommended by the Poona school committee for employment, and subsequently taught for the SLSS until 1859.157) After deepening her professional training in the newly established (and short-lived) female normal school in Bombay, Vithabai became the headmistress of the ‘practising school’, connected with Margaret Mitchell’s Female Training College, before she proceeded to serve as a private teacher at the Maharaja of Kolhapur’s court.158 Her curriculum vitae is an impressive tour through the Bombay Presidency’s major educational institutions from the 1850s to the 1880s. It also points to the multiple linkages between government, civil society, and missionary initiatives, between Poona’s anti-caste movement and Bombay’s new intellectual elites. This brings me to the major trajectory of girls’ schooling in the city of Bombay. There, the movement was led by the interconnected activities of the SLSS (1848), Jejeebhoy’s PBI (1849), and the Parsi Girls’ School Association (PGSA, 1857).159 This movement, and the zeal of the Parsi community, received

155 156

157 158 159

Tim Allender, Learning Femininity in Colonial India, 1820–1932 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016), 105. These female teachers included 17 Brahmins, 12 Kunbis, 2 Sonars (goldsmith), 1 Pardeshi, 1 Jew, and 1 Muslim. Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 382–388. Students’ Literary and Scientific Society, 1860, 1–2. Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 85–88. http://www.parseegirls.org/, accessed 3 November 2018.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

281

a broad public recognition. The SLSS’s students’ annual examinations took place in the town hall, in the presence of the Governor of Bombay.160 The SLSS was founded among the teachers and students of the Elphinstone Institution. One of them was Dadabhai Naoroji (1825–1917), later a founding member of the Indian National Congress (1885) and the first Indian member of the British Parliament (1892–1895). Another long-standing supporter was Viswanath Narayan Mandlik (1833–1899), who served with the Education Department for 34 years.161 The SLSS was one of the beneficiaries of a governmental grantin-aid, for which it applied after six years of independent operations. They were further supported by members of the Board of Education, such as Jugonnath Shunkerset, who provided a building free of charge, and liberally sponsored by the Bombay public.162

Since Bethune’s initiative in Bengal was the topic of the day, the students and teachers of the Elphinstone Institution decided to take Indian ‘female education’ in their own hands, instead of leaving it to the British. This was to facilitate its acceptance among the Indian population. The members of the SLSS pledged that each of them would volunteer in a newly established girls’ school.163 Seven schools were instituted on 1 October 1849. Aiming to go beyond the provision of literacy, the schools laid a major emphasis on cultivating the girls’ ‘moral nature’ and ‘the formation of habits of order, propriety, and cleanliness’. At the same time, they aimed to foster the intellectual development and the students’ taste, by means of object lessons and exhibitions.164 During the first years, ‘the girls attending the schools of our Society [were] almost wholly from the same classes as the boys and young men, their brothers and future husbands, who attend[ed] the classes of the Elphinstone Institution’. Table 7.3 is taken from the SLSS’s report, including the literal caste descriptions. It compares the background of the girls in the SLSS’s schools to that of the boys under vernacular instruction in the Elphinstone Institution.

160 161

162 163 164

Dnyanodaya, 2 May 1853, 129–130, and 1 May 1854, 130. Anderson, History of the Missions of the American Board, 123. Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 104 (Naoroji), 146–152 (Mandlik); see Chandra, The Sexual Life of English, 41. Students’ Literary and Scientific Society, 1856, 10, 16. Ibid., 8–9, 12. Ibid., 10.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

282

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Table 7.3  Caste Classification of the Students under Vernacular Instruction with the SLSS (Girls) and the Elphinstone Institution (Boys) Marathi

Description of Castes Brahman

Girls

Boys

Girls

Boys

7

44

2

10

58

101

0

4

2

5

46

47

2

12

2

12

2

0

0

4

Shenvi (claim to be Brahman)

24

Sonar (goldsmiths)

21

Prabhu and Kayast (writers) Vaishya and Wani (traders) Shimpi (tailors)

Khatri (weavers)

Sutar (carpenters)

Kasar (coppersmiths)

Kunbi &c. (cultivators)

Gujarati

47 2 13

178

55 23 4 7

10

261

0 2 6 0 2

60

0 0 1 5 4

87

Source: Students’ Literary and Scientific Society, 1856, 46.

While there were proportionately fewer Brahmin girls, compared to the boys, the higher representation of Shimpis was explained by the fact that the school was run in a neighbourhood where they formed the majority. The SLSS committee stated that ‘probably many more children of the Kunby, Koly, and other casts still lower in the Hindu social scale, will be found’ in the missionary schools.165

To help further the ‘general elevation of the masses’,166 the SLSS, in 1851, supplemented its girls’ schools by free schools for poor boys. In 1856, ‘no less than 1,087 children of both sexes, of whom 740 are girls, [were] at present receiving gratuitous instruction, as their predecessors have been for the last six years, in reading, writing, arithmetic, singing, geography, history, popular science, domestic industry and morality’.167 The SLSS’s schools were segregated according to gender, language, and community. Parsis and Hindus were schooled separately, with the Parsis forming the majority of the students.168

In 1857, the SLSS’s Parsi girls’ schools (with 409 registered students) were transferred to the PGSA, which was established for their maintenance and 165 166 167 168

Ibid., 47. Ibid., 14. Ibid., 2. Ibid., 12–13.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

283

management.169 Nowrozjee Furdoonjee (Naoroji Furdunji, 1817–1885), the PGSA’s long-standing secretary, was later appointed by the government to the Bombay Female Normal School Committee, the task of which was to direct government-sponsored training of women teachers.170 Thus, there was now a new generation of English-educated Parsi reformers who started to shape Bombay’s educational and political landscape in the second half of the nineteenth century. At the same time, the work of the older generation of Parsi philanthropists, associated with the Parsi Panchayat, continued. In the early 1850s, around 250 girls annually attended the PBI’s schools.171

The relations between the three initiatives in girls’ schooling – the SLSS, PGSA, and PBI – and the government entered a crisis, when Carpenter entered the scene in 1866. Due to her excellent contacts in London, Carpenter was able to push for the implementation of her teacher-training scheme in India.172 Two major conflicts resulted from her scheme. The first issue was: who would be in control of Indian ‘female education’? Carpenter’s plan was to place Indian girls under the instruction not of Indian men, but British women. Moreover, her aim was to prepare Indian women for salaried professional work. The SLSS, in contrast, aimed to provide schooling for the future wives of modern-educated Indian men, under carefully controlled conditions.173 The SLSS committee shared Carpenter’s diagnosis that the lack of female teachers was a problem. Excepting ‘a few girl-monitors’, all the instruction of the SLSS’s schools had been ‘conducted, superintended, and planned by men’ until 1856.174 The schoolmistress Chimnabai, who was hired that year, was carefully examined by the committee members as to her ‘fitness’ for the job.175 All the education reformers shared the notion that only pre-pubertal girls could be schooled by men; thus, any secondary education for female students rested on female teachers. But the SLSS was somewhat at a loss as to how to overcome this ‘deficiency’. When Perry suggested co-opting the help of a British ‘Ladies Committee’, the SLSS committee respectfully declined the proposal. This 169 170 171 172 173 174 175

Students’ Literary and Scientific Society, 1860, 2. Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 302. Furdunji was also among SLSS’s founding members. Dnyanodaya, 1 August 1853, 241, and 1 May 1854, 130. Allender, Learning Femininity, 102. Chandra, The Sexual Life of English, 49. Students’ Literary and Scientific Society, 1856, 16. Students’ Literary and Scientific Society, 1860, 1–2.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

284

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

was due to the negative reaction of conservative Parsi voices, who saw this as a conspiracy to Westernize the girls. Superintended by ‘European and Christian ladies’ (emphasis in original), the schools would teach Parsi girls English ‘manners’ and, even more dangerous, English ‘liberty’: ‘These girls, instead of living quietly with their husbands, will desire to make slaves of them.’176 The fear was that English education would produce culturally alienated feminists, who would turn the proper order of gender on its head. This became a common trope in different nationalist-oriented literary genres of the late nineteenth century, and a favourite object of satire.177 Carpenter’s teacher-training scheme, under British women’s leadership and emphasizing English gender norms, was prone to evoke all those fears.178

The second major conflict arose from the fact that there were no additional funds supplied for the institutionalization of female teacher training. This means that the already scarce financial resources at the provincial governments’ disposal had to be reallocated according to the new needs. In vain the Bombay government applied to the viceroy in Calcutta for the government to match the impressive amount of funds raised by the SLSS, PGSA, and PBI, of 240,000 rupees, with a grant-in-aid, in addition to the money needed for the female normal schools. Thus, the new scheme was implemented not to supplement the efforts of girls’ schooling already underway, but in financial competition to them.179 Carpenter’s cooperation with the British teachers she recruited for her endeavour failed as well. On her second journey to India, in 1868, two British female teachers accompanied Carpenter. Soon afterwards, Miss Richmond, who had gained her Teacher’s Certificate from the BFSS, followed them to Bombay. Recruited through the BFSS, Richmond was to be employed in the Female Normal School in Bombay. She was rather disappointed, at her arrival, to discover that no such institution yet existed. Richmond and her colleagues were employed by the PGSA, but forbidden to teach English, not to mention Christian religious instruction. Arguments broke out between Carpenter, Richmond, and the other British teachers. Only after Carpenter’s departure, in 176 177

178 179

Students’ Literary and Scientific Society, 1856, 16–17, citing from the satirical Chabuk (Whip). See, for instance, Charu Gupta, Sexuality, Obscenity, Community: Women, Muslims, and the Hindu Public in Colonial India (Delhi, Bangalore: Permanent Black, distributed by Orient Longman, 2005). Chandra, The Sexual Life of English, 49. Allender, Learning Feminity, 105–112.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

285

1869, was Richmond able to establish the Female Normal School in Bombay, under the direction of the Education Department. After Richmond’s death, in 1872, it was closed. Vithabai Sakharam Chowdari remained the only successful graduate the institution produced.180

Carpenter’s imperial activism affected the locally grown educational infrastructure in Poona and Bombay in different ways. In Poona, the first government-funded ‘Native Female Schools’, set up by the early anti-caste movement, were transformed and incorporated in the teacher-training scheme. This fit with their pioneering role in strengthening Indian female agency in education. In Bombay, the collaboration with the PGSA in setting up a female normal school under European women’s leadership had failed. While the SLSS continued to run its Hindu girls’ schools supervised and aided by the Education Department, the PGSA kept its distance. It remained independent both from state aid and state supervision, relying on endowments and donations from the wealthy Parsi community, who thus guarded their girls against the dangers of Westernization.181

The Colonial Educational System and Its Limits I want to conclude this chapter by discussing some of the results of educational system-building in the Bombay Presidency, as they appear from the reports produced by the Indian Education Commission of 1882 (also known as the Hunter Commission). The commission was tasked to review how far the policy directions of 1854 had been implemented, and to suggest the best means for the expansion of mass elementary instruction. This was, again, embedded in the discussion of how best to invest a limited educational budget. The policy discussion did not only involve interviews with hundreds of local educational experts, British and Indian; the hearings were explicitly open to the public, their results all over the newspapers.182

The first efforts to assess the rates of schooling in the Bombay Presidency, in the mid-1820s, had shown that about 25 per cent of the male children of 180

181 182

George Bartle, ‘The Role of the British and Foreign School Society in Elementary Education in India and the East Indies 1813–1875,’ History of Education 23, no. 1 (1994): 17–33, 29–30; Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 85–88. Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Report (I), 156. Bombay Guardian, 18 March 1882, 167; see Bombay Newspaper Reports 1882: IOR/L/R/5/137.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

286

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

school-going age attended indigenous education institutions.183 In 1882, the Education Commission still found that 25 per cent ‘of the boys who should be at school’ were at school.184 But now, the same figure referred to government, government-aided, and government-recognized educational institutions, which formed an integrated system. Government-recognized schools were examined under the rules of the Education Department, which was important for the issuing of recognized certificates, even if they did not receive aid. Outside the domain of government superintendence, there were still various forms of unrecognized education, which included private-funded and community-based indigenous schools, as well as modern-type schools. While this points to the radical transformation of education, from an unregulated, fragmented landscape to a state education system, the changes for girls and women were even more remarkable. In the survey of 1824, all the district reports agreed that there were no female students: ‘The common schools of the time were meant for boys only.’185 In 1882, 24,766 girls and women received education in a state-recognized institution. Except for 73 teacher-training candidates, and 555 students under government-aided English instruction, all of them attended primary-level vernacular schools.186 Table 7.4 gives an overview on the social background of the students in governmentrecognized primary schools for girls, in 1882: Table 7.4  Students in Recognized Primary Schools for Girls, 1882 Student Number Europeans

Native Christians Brahmans

Other Hindus

Muhammadans Parsis

Aborigines Other

Percentage

2

0.01

4,517

22.36

1,366

6.86

684

11,230

1,932

15

171

3.43

56.38

9.70

0.08

0.86

Source: Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Report (I), 154. 183 184 185 186

Parulekar, Survey of Indigenous Education, xliii. Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Report (I), 215. Parulekar, Survey of Indigenous Education, xlvi. Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Report (I), 152– 153. Most of the primary level students (15,634), were taught in in governmentfunded and government-aided schools.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

287

The government-aided girls’ schools run by the SLSS are included in this figure. Not included, on the other hand, was any form of home-based instruction organized by the families or by missionaries. From the 1860s onwards, the CMS, the Free Church of Scotland, ABCFM, and the Indian Female Normal School and Instruction Society started to provide Zenana-teaching, which meant the instruction of Indian women and girls by mission-appointed female home-visitors. Zenana-teaching was not included in the governmental grantin-aid rules. The approximately 600 girls educated by the PGSA, which did not allow government inspection, must also be added to the overall number of female students. One major critique raised by the commission was that there were hardly any facilities for women’s secondary and higher education.187

The Bombay Presidency’s public education system took shape in complex interactions between various missionaries, voluntary associations and social reform activists, and governmental bodies. This entailed close cooperation, as we have seen in the case of the BNES and the Bombay government, but also intense conflict and competition. The conflicts between different religious and political interest groups were prominently articulated in the vivid public debate surrounding the Hunter Commission.

A major conflict persisted between the missionaries and the colonial governmental agencies on the issue of educational secularization. The missionaries, and their supporters in London, tried everything to Christianize Indian education. The governmental authorities in India, however, continued to thwart these efforts, and built their educational governance on the Indian elites’ participation. For the colonial administrators, it was a matter of limiting financial investment, and of political caution, to try and shift educational responsibility into Indian hands. The encouragement of the missionaries had been considered dangerous by Elphinstone, a fear which was fuelled among his successors by the uprising of 1857.188 Among the missionaries, there were discussions after 1854 on whether to withdraw from ‘the drudgery of secular education’. The ABCFM leadership in Boston found that their mission workers should better concentrate on preaching tours and the training of Indian mission staff.189 Their agents in western India, however, emphasized that the government schools were yearly ‘turning out deists and infidels upon the community’.190 Missionaries 187 188

189 190

Ibid., 155–156. Clive Whitehead, ‘The Christian Missions and the Origins of the Indian Education Commission 1882–83’, Education Research and Perspectives 31, no. 2 (2004): 120–136. Anderson, History of the Missions of the American Board, 269. Wilder, Mission Schools in India, 115.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

288

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

should thus persist, drawing on all available resources, including grants-in-aid. The missionaries repeatedly underlined their important role in educational provision in order to legitimize their claim to government grants.191 When the Education Commission reached Bombay, the missionaries were united in their postulate that the government should withdraw support from higher education institutions, which produced infidelity, and fund the high-quality missionary institutes instead.192 The Bombay SLSS activists, in contrast, considered mission-run schools ‘not suited for the purpose of [Indian] national instruction’. Mandlik agreed with his Parsi friends, Naoroji and Furdoonji, that Christian missionaries should not be supported ‘from the public purse’. Instead, Mandlik found the vernacular education imparted by the SLSS ‘quite sufficient for our people generally’.193 This affirms the conclusion that the SLSS and the Parsi educational initiatives were, among other factors, driven by the competition with the missionaries, whom they tried to push out of the field of public instruction. Another hotly contested topic was whether governmental funds should be redirected from higher to elementary education. As Tilak’s nationalist Mahratta framed it, ‘Should Higher Education be sacrificed to promote Elementary Education?’194 Although William Wilson Hunter, the president of the commission, repeatedly tried to explain that the government was not ‘hostile’ to higher education, the opposition to a withdrawal of funds in favour of mass education was massive.195 The government’s consideration was that the Indian educational elite were able to manage and fund their own colleges, while elementary schooling progressed too slowly. This approach of putting higher education against mass schooling fueled the existing conflicts of interest. The exclusively upper-caste beneficiaries of the Poona College and the Elphinstone Institution struggled to retain their privileges. Jotirao Phule’s memorial to the Hunter Commission, in contrast, highlighted that ‘the present system of education […] by providing ampler funds for higher education, tended to educate Brahmins and the higher classes only’. To Phule, it was a matter of justice that those who by their labour produced the wealth of the nation, and 191 192 193 194 195

Dnyanodaya, 15 September 1862, 273, and 15 February 1871, 52–53. Bombay Guardian, 25 March 1882, 184. Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 149, 152. 23 April 1882, in Bombay Newspaper Reports 1882: IOR/L/R/5/137. Bombay Guardian, 5 August 1882, 489.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

Civil Society, Government, and Educational Institution-Building

289

the revenue of the state, should be included in the benefits of public instruction. While he also argued against governmental withdrawal from higher education – all branches of the educated needed to be fostered by the state – he found compulsory primary education the only feasible solution for achieving mass education.196 The evangelical Bombay Guardian agreed: ‘While the Government of India loses itself in endless talk on the subject of primary schools, Japan at a single bound has resolved to establish 53,760 primary schools, with a compulsory system of education.’197

I want to highlight two interrelated features of the process of educational system-building in Bombay, which appear from the Hunter Commission debates. Both are crucial for the issue of educational expansion, inequality, and social power, which the next (and final) chapter will discuss. From the 1820s onwards, the Bombay government considered ‘the general diffusion of education and the elevation of its tone’ impossible without the ‘active co-operation of the people’.198 Elphinstone had thus suggested the recruitment of poor Brahmin students for the project of building a government education system. He made sure to involve the influential shetias in the BNES. The setting up of government-sponsored vernacular primary schooling was accompanied by the founding of local school committees, which rested on the collaboration with the landed elites and the village authorities. In 1882, the government decided that the time was ripe to completely hand over the management of state-owned primary education to the local school boards.199 All these measures were meant, on the one hand, to limit government spending and stimulate private investment. On the other hand, they were part of a strategy to win over the old and new Indian elites for colonial governance and state-building. This had important social effects. The building of the colonial education system implicated a fundamental reconfiguration of social power relations. But it also cemented the existing links between caste, untouchability, and access to learning, and translated the existing social and linguistic hierarchies into institutional hierarchies.

196 197 198 199

Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 141–144. Bombay Guardian, 18 November 1882, 723 Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Report (I), 217. Ibid., 218.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:31, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.008

CHAPTER 8

Teaching the Marginalized Universal Education and the Politics of Inequality, 1789–1937 It is plain then that there is no longer hope for our country. Our religion and all pertaining to it, is gone. The daily ceremonies are observed no longer. Impiety triumphs. Where once thousands learned to recite the Vedas, now nothing is thought of but learning English. The feasts of the Bráhmans are ended, and the English feast in their places. And all these evils are rapidly increasing; henceforth there is no hope for the country. All is destined to ruin.1 Some noble souls have started schools for mahars and mangs, and such schools are supported by the merciful British government. Oh, the mahars and mangs, you are poor and sick. Only the medicine of knowledge will cure and heal you.2

Two testimonies from the early 1850s came to dramatically different evaluations of the social impact of colonial education. Both were published in the AngloMarathi Dnyanodaya, or ‘Rise of Knowledge’, issued by the American missionaries in Bombay.They show that the confrontation between colonial hegemonic ambitions, and the norms of ‘brahminical patriarchy’3 affected different social groups in radically different ways. The first quote is part of ‘an old orthodox Hindu[’s]’ lament about 1 2

3

‘Opinion of an old orthodox Hindu regarding the present state of India’, Letter to the editor, Dnyanodaya, 15 March 1851, 95–96. Muktabai, ‘Mang Maharachya Dukhvisayi’, Dnyanodaya, 15 February 1855, 59–61, and 1 March 1855, 75–76, cited from the English translation in Braj Ranjan Mani, ‘The Revolt of a Dalit Girl: An Essay by a Student of the Phules’ School’, in Braj Ranjan Mani and Pamela Sardar (eds), A Forgotten Liberator: The Life and Struggle of Savitribai Phule (New Delhi: Mountain Peak, 2008), 70–76. An alternative translation, with an introduction, is provided in Susie Tharu and K. Lalita (eds), Women Writing in India: 600 B.C. to the Early Twentieth Century (New York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1991), 214–216. I am borrowing this term, which points to the entwinement of caste and gender norms, from Uma Chakravarti, Rewriting History: The Life and Times of Pandita Ramabai (New Delhi: Kali for Women, 1998).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

291

the decline of Vedic learning and its replacement by English education. It expresses an experience of loss of a learning and religious culture.The second quote represents a genre which could not be more different. It is taken from an essay on the suffering of the Mangs and Mahars, the Untouchables, under the pre-colonial Peshwa rule in western India. The author of this essay, Muktabai, studied in one of the schools for untouchable students, which were established by Jotirao and Savitribai Phule and managed by the Society for Promoting the Education of Mahar-Mangs (SPEMM, 1852). She was herself a Mang, and 14 years old, when she wrote the essay, which is considered one of the earliest modern public expressions of a Dalit woman. Muktabai’s text illustrates the perspective of the anti-caste movement. Colonial rule had disrupted the old social order, which opened new opportunities for the lowest castes. Schools for them were even supported by the state. Through learning and the acquisition of rational knowledge, the Untouchables could transform themselves and pursue their social emancipation.4

Unquestionably, the new colonial schools, which missionaries, educational societies, and colonial governments set up in the first half of the nineteenth century, marked the displacement of classical Indian learning traditions, ways of knowledge, and local pedagogies. Colonial school knowledge was tied up with Eurocentric epistemologies. The spread of education itself was part of the self-assumed British ‘civilizing mission’ and its cultural hegemonic ambitions. At the same time, colonial education to some extent disrupted the existing power relations within Indian society. This led to multiple conflicts, negotiations, and rearrangements between different communities and political interest groups.

Led by the efforts of missionaries, groups hitherto excluded from literacy and formal instruction were now admitted to modern public schooling, often free of charge. Most importantly, this refers to untouchable students, who were not only – like women of all castes and Shudras – banned from studying the Sanskrit canon, but also hardly represented among the students in the indigenous common vernacular schools.5 As the American missionaries in western India 4

5

Sumeet Mhaskar and Jana Tschurenev, ‘Bildung und politische Mobilisierung im kolonialen Indien. Die Anti-Kasten-Bewegung in Maharasthra, 1848–1882’, Zeitschrift für Pädagogik 63, no. 5 (2017): 561–581; see Rosalind O’Hanlon, Caste, Conflict, and Ideology: Mahatma Jotirao Phule and Low Caste Protest in Nineteenthcentury Western India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 72–73, 80. Parimala V. Rao, ‘Educating Women and Non-brahmins as “Loss of Nationality”: Bal Gangadhar Tilak and the Nationalist Agenda in Maharashtra’, Occasional Paper No. 50, Centre for Women’s Development Studies, New Delhi, 2008, 12; R.V. Parulekar, Survey of Indigenous Education in the Province of Bombay (1820–1830), vol. I (Bombay: Asia Publishing House, 1951 [1945]), lvi–lvii.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

292

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

observed, the Mahars had their own religious gurus.6 Untouchables were part of dissenting religious movements and their literary traditions. But they clearly could not enter the same educational spaces that the caste Hindu population had access to in the early nineteenth century. Similarly, there were traditions of home-based instruction for women and remarkable forms of women’s literary expression. Sometimes, individual girls could attend a pathshala, or common vernacular school, with their male siblings. But all the data collected by the colonial governments in the 1820s and 1830s show that schools were paradigmatically male spaces. This started to change from the 1820s onwards, slowly, unevenly, and accompanied by many struggles.7

In this chapter, I explore some of these conflicts and controversies which accompanied the broadening of the social accessibility of schooling. The colonial education system challenged, but also reorganized and reaffirmed social power relations and the hierarchies of gender and caste. This appears, at first glance, from the rates of schooling in the late 1920s. The educational sub-committee of the Indian Statutory Commission (1929), led by Philip Hartog – Gandhi’s opponent in the debate on the progress or decline of education under the aegis of colonialism – found 42.1 per cent of all boys and 10.4 per cent of all girls of school-going age under primary instruction in 1927.8 Among the Untouchables, or ‘depressed classes’ as they were called in the early twentieth century, the school attendance was much lower than among the general population. The Hartog Committee set its hopes in the consistent implementation of compulsory primary education, but also considered measures of affirmative action, or reservations, to increase the educational chances of the depressed classes.9 6 7

8

9

American Marathi Mission, Memorial Papers of the American Marathi Mission, 1813–1881 (Bombay: Education Society Press, 1882), 18. Shailaja Paik, Dalit Women’s Education in Modern India: Double Discrimination (New York: Routledge, 2014); Phillip Constable, ‘Sitting on the School Verandah: The Ideology and Practice of “Untouchable” Educational Protest in Late Nineteenth-century Western India’, Indian Economic and Social History Review 37, no. 4 (2000): 383–422; Geetha B. Nambissan, ‘Equity in Education? Schooling of Dalit Children in India’, Economic and Political Weekly 31, no. 16/17 (1996): 1011–1024. Indian Statutory Commission, Interim Report of the Indian Statutory Commission (Review of Growth of Education in British India by the Auxiliary Committee Appointed by the Commission) (Calcutta: Government of India Central Publication Branch, 1929), 43. The highest figures were reached in Madras (59 per cent for boys and 17.5 per cent for girls), followed by Bombay (49.2 per cent and 16.8 per cent), and Bengal (45.1 per cent and 13.2 per cent). Ibid., 206, 217–228.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

293

Looking at the reach of schooling, however, is only one way of exploring the nexus between educational and social inequality. For the marginalized, access to literacy was a key to empowerment. However, we also know that modern education systems entail mechanisms, formal and informal, for maintaining and producing social inequality.10 The social effects of the educational movement of the early nineteenth century were diverse, uneven, and fundamentally contradictory.11 To explore this, I am revisiting the fundamental tension of incorporation and differentiation that characterized many nineteenth-century projects of educational expansion. The question was not only who had access to schooling but also who had access to which kind of knowledge, skills, and professional opportunities, and to which level of education.

Drawing on the recent research on the ‘education of the poor’ in India,12 I show how the politics of race, class, gender, and caste set the terms for the incorporation of different social groups into the fold of colonial education. Access to literacy and the creation of professional opportunities could radically alter the individual life chances of poor and marginalized students. However, the colonial education system also maintained existing educational privileges and the prevalent patterns of the social division of labour. As the last part of the chapter shows, the dilemma of ‘expansion and control’ also shaped the nationalist politics of mass education, which emerged in the twentieth century.13

Education of the Poor

In the first half of the nineteenth century, the twin projects of educating the poor in England and colonial education in India shared a fundamental ambiguity. They Pierre Bourdieu and J.C. Passeron, Reproduction in Education, Society and Culture (London: SAGE Publications, 1990); Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, ‘Introduction: An Approach to Education and Inequality’, in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), Education and the Dispriviledged: Nineteenth and Twentieth Century India (Hyderabad: Orient Longman, 2002), 1–32. 11 See Rob Higham and Alpa Shah, ‘Conservative Force or Contradictory Resource? Education and Affirmative Action in Jharkhand, India’, Compare 43 (2013): 718–739. 12 Divya Kannan, ‘Missionary Encounters: Female Boarding Schools in NineteenthCentury Travancore’, in Dörte Lerp and Ulrike Lindner (eds), New Perspectives on Gender and Empire (London: Bloomsbury, 2018), 269–294; Arun Kumar, ‘Learning to Dream: Education, Aspiration, and Working Lives in Colonial India, 1880s–1940s’, PhD thesis, Georg-August-University, Göttingen, 2017. 13 Nigel Crook, ‘The Control and Expansion of Knowledge: An Introduction’, in Nigel Crook (ed.), The Transmission of Knowledge in South Asia: Essays on Education, Religion, History and Politics (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996), 1–27. 10

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

294

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

improved individual vocational and employment chances, and at the same time pursued a rigid social disciplinary agenda. I want to illustrate this ambiguity by looking at the orphanages and charity day schools that targeted poor Europeans and Eurasians in early nineteenth-century India. The fourth chapter has explored the agenda for the education of ‘white subalterns’,14 the monitorial system’s earliest target group. It is also for this group that we have records on post-school employment. Finding employment for their graduates was part of the institutions’ management of social class, gender, and race relations. It is these employment and vocational options that I now want to discuss. The treatment that the orphans and destitute children in the Bombay Education Society’s (BES) central schools were subjected to was meant to prepare them for service to the British colonial elite. This included practices of humiliation, which habituated them to subordination. In 1863, the Bombay Guardian found that students were still shamed by their clothes as paupers and ‘charity brats’.15 The core agenda of the ‘education of the poor’ was to put them to labour. The records of the BES’s orphanage show that there was a continuity between students’ labour within the institution and their post-school employment. The female inmates sewed, mended, and laundered their own and the male students’ clothes. Their services as seamstresses were advertised to British ‘ladies’ for fixed prices, published in the institution’s annual reports. The girls were also taught the ‘the whole work of a laundress’.16 In 1871, the Times of India reported that ‘each female pupil teacher’ in the BES orphanage ‘got at most an hour and 20 minutes instruction a week’. Next to their teaching responsibility, they still performed domestic labour.17 The school thus accustomed them to a life of constant manual labour, which they would perform as domestic servants and as wives in working-class households. Vocational training emerged as a core element of poor boys’ education. Writing about the Male Military Orphan Asylum in Madras (the site of Andrew Bell’s ‘experiment’), the East India Company’s (EIC) Court of Directors criticized that the inmates were all educated as ‘clerks’. The school should better ‘teach each lad some useful trade by which he might earn a livelihood on his attaining years of maturity’.18 14 15 16 17

18

See Harald Fischer-Tiné, Low and Licentious Europeans: Race, Class and ‘White Subalternity’ in Colonial India (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2009). Bombay Guardian, 21 February 1863, 60. BES Report No. 2, 1817, 12; BES Report No. 14, 1829; BES Report No. 20, 1835, 12. Times of India, 8 March 1871. Papers regarding the Military Male Asylum at Madras: F/4/1558/63799.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

295

The BES’s boarding school employed a tailor and a shoemaker to instruct six boys each in their trade. Instruction in book-binding was offered as well. For a period of three years, we find the boys’ book-binding, lithography, and shoemaking services publicly advertised with price lists. After this period, however, ‘the efficiency of the trade class’ was found wanting and ‘the effect upon their own education, had been very unsatisfactory’.19 The question whether the girls’ workload negatively affected their studies never seemed to bother the ‘directresses’ of the female department. The BES itself functioned, rather successfully, as a placement agency, which supplied private households, businesses, and public agencies with apprentices and servants. Their report of 1838 included an overview on what had become of the students after they left school. The figures (Table 8.1) are given as ‘from the commencement of the institution’: Table 8.1 ‘Return Shewing the Operations of the Bombay Education Society from Its Formation in 1815 to the 1st January, 1837’ Apprenticed 1823

1824

1825

1826

1827

1828

1829

1830

Boys Girls Boys 48

53

59

76

85

85

98

109

1831

117

1833

130

1832 1834 1835 1836

Placed in Service

22

22

22

22

22

22

22

22

22

24

24

24

24

24

24

25

27

27

Boys

Girls

Boys

21

132

82

24

19

24

28

33

33

35

37

40

124

134

143

145

150

159

173

189

139

22

29

58

203

148

22 22

34 52

58 58

89

93

94

100

119

46

145

85

200

27

53

82

103

22

29

81

180

122

22

Deceased

Girls

Source: BES Report No. 23, 1838.

19

Withdrawn

218 228

22

28

35

37

37

39

39

6

7

11

23

23

25

25

28

8

8

12

12

12

12

12

12

30

12

54

33

15

45

121

55

155

Girls Boys

40

111

138

Expelled

58 60

30 33 34 35

Girls 9

9

9

9

9

9

9

9

9

12

9

16

9

16 16

9 9 9

BES Report No. 16, 1831; BES Report No. 20, 1835, 14.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

296

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

While the highest number of students (324) were withdrawn by their guardians, 88 had died, and 25 were expelled for breaking the school rules. Girls were often withdrawn when their assistance was needed in the maternal household or when a marriage match was found. A considerable number of students (248), however, were either ‘placed in service’ or ‘apprenticed’. For the girls, being placed in service or being apprenticed meant to enter a time-bound contract as a maidservant with a British mistress. It was often seen as an intermediary period, before they established their own household as a married woman. The BES’s Ladies’ Committee regularly received more applications for female maidservants than it could supply.20

The BES were convinced that ‘as long as the elements of useful knowledge, and the precepts of sound religion and decent subordination shall be studiously taught, the boys who have been educated in the school will be most acceptable in their services, either to the public or individuals’. Hence, they undertook efforts to ‘apprentice some of the boys to tradesmen and mechanics’.21 In 1820, two boys were ‘apprenticed to captains of merchant vessels’.22 In 1829, ‘two boys have been set apart as Apprentices to the business of Watchmakers and Jewellers under Messrs. Mathies and Barron’.23 The report of 1830 gives the list of apprenticeships, shown in Table 8.2, that its male students had entered: Table 8.2  Apprenticeships of Male Students Arranged by the BES, 1830 Medical Department

4

Coach Making Business

1

Clock and Watchmaker

Fitting up and Working of Steam Engines Joiners in the Dock Yard Going to the Sea

Apprenticed to the East India Amelioration Fund, to learn the business of Farmers and Mechanics

1 3 4 4 6

Source: BES Report No. 15, 1830, 5.

The BES committee were, moreover, pleased to report that the Bombay government was interested ‘to employ some of the Boys in a public capacity’.24 In subsequent BES Report No. 5, 1820, 9; BES Report No. 7, 1822, 7; BES Report No. 9, 1824, 11. BES Report No. 8, 1823, 7. 22 BES Report No. 5, 1820, 9. 23 BES Report No. 14, 1829, 6. 24 BES Report No. 3, 1818, 22. 20 21

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

297

years, male students were apprenticed with the medical department ‘as assistants to the apothecaries and hospital-stewards’.25 Moreover, ‘[a] plan has been formed in the Chief Engineer’s office’ for the ‘instruction and subsequent employment of a limited number of boys under the Officers in the Engineer and Surveying departments’.26 In 1829, the Bombay government ‘offered situations for apprentices to learn the duties of Engineers on board of the Hon’ble Company’s Steam Vessels’. The BES further hoped ‘that in a short time an opening will be made by the Superintendent of Marine, for the Instruction of Anglo-Indian Boys in the Dock yard as Juniors’.27 In 1837, the chance was offered to ‘European or Indo-Britain’ boys to be apprenticed as ‘Engineer Drivers’.28 Similar arrangements were made for the graduates from the Military Male Orphan Asylum, Madras. The sources on the Madras Asylum tell us that 34 per cent of the boys became writers and clerks; 19 per cent made their living as skilled artisans, such as carpenters, printers, and watchmakers; 9 per cent entered the public service, and 7 per cent the navy. Others became teachers, commercial employees, and shopkeepers.29 Educated poor Europeans and Eurasians, thus, had a privileged access to employment in private British households and businesses and in the government sector. Educated Eurasians, or, as they were termed later, Anglo-Indians, became priority recruits for ‘public service’ in the nineteenth century.30 Subordinate jobs in the public administration were comparatively well paid. BES-educated male youth were recruited for assistant jobs on a monthly salary of up to 15 rupees.31 To put this in perspective: Portuguese ayahs in Calcutta survived on 3 rupees per month (as we learn from the records of the Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Indigent Christians). Untrained village puntojees in western India received 3–5 rupees. Professional vernacular schoolmasters, trained by the Bombay Native

25

26 27

28 29

30 31

BES Report No. 7, 1822, 10–11. BES Report No. 9, 1824, 8. BES Report No. 14, 1829, 5–6. BES Report No. 23, 1838, 11. Military Male Orphan Asylum: Application of the Directors for the Extension of the Co’s Gratuity to That Institution of Rs. 750 per Mensem Submitted to Court’s Consideration: IOR/F/4/301/6942; Andrew Bell, The Madras School or Elements of Tuition … (London: J. Murray 1808), 221–223; Phillip McCann, ‘The Indian Origins of Bell’s Monitorial System’, in Peter Cunningham and Colin Brock (eds), International Currents in Education (London: History of Education Society, 1988), 29–40, 37. Valerie Anderson, Race and Power in British India: Anglo-Indians, Class and Identity in the Nineteenth Century (London: I.B. Tauris, 2015). BES Report No. 3, 1818, 23.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

298

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Education Society (BNES), could expect 9–10 rupees.32 Many BES students came from precarious economic circumstances. Their training – harsh, humiliating, and limited as it was – offered economic prospects that they otherwise would not have had access to. The male European and Eurasian subalterns thus profited form a general ‘racial dividend’ in the colonial situation, which privileged them over Indian workers. At the same time, they partook in a general ‘patriarchal dividend’, which privileged them over their female peers and future domestic ‘help-meets’.33

In the context of educational expansion, there was a dire need for teaching staff. For talented students and monitors, this opened further possibilities for employment. Several poor Portuguese youths, former monitors of the Benevolent Institution in Calcutta, were employed by the Serampore missionaries and their partners as schoolmasters. In the BES records, we find also former female students who became teachers.34 Poor European and Anglo-Indian women, throughout the nineteenth century, remained priority candidates for teacher training, as the records of the later established institutions, such as the Lawrence Asylums, show.35 It, therefore, seems necessary to disentangle the sheer unpleasantness of the early nineteenth-century schools for the poor, and the class and racial frame within which they were designed, from their potentially enabling effects. This refers particularly to the colonial orphanages. A newly arrived London-trained teacher thus wrote about the BES’s central school: ‘I was much pained at observing the total depression of spirits, restlessness, and apathy.’ He traced the general ‘want of amusement’ to the ‘constant, undue, and indiscriminate corporal punishment’ that had ‘broken the spirit and damped the energies of the boys’.36 Some of the innovative ‘native free schools’, which did not confine the students to the disciplinary regime of total institutions, clearly offered better learning experiences. Some of the scenes described by J.D. Pearson, who superintended the government-funded pioneering Chinsura schools, point to lively, stimulating interactions between schoolmaster and students. The girls who attended the schools set up by Jotirao and Savitribai Phule were reported See Chapters 4 and 7. Fischer-Tiné, Low and Licentious Europeans; Raewyn Connell, Gender: In World Perspective, 2nd ed. (Cambridge: Polity [Key Concepts], 2009), 142; Priscilla Chapman, Hindoo Female Education (London, 1839), 64. 34 BES Report No. 10, 1825, 12. 35 Tim Allender, Learning Femininity in Colonial India, 1820–1932 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016), 71–86. 36 BES Report No. 31, 1846, 16–17. 32

33

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

299

to ‘literally run to them with alacrity and joy’.37 They were, however, not offered the same prospects of government employment.

Widows, Orphans, and Female Missionaries The first modern free schools for Indian girls were established by missionaries. One of the earliest projects to systematically introduce schooling for girls was undertaken by Mary Ann Cooke (later Mrs Wilson) from 1821 onwards. Cooke’s efforts are a paradigmatic case of the missionaries’ investment in ‘native female education’.38 As such, they have been discussed from several relevant research perspectives. Cooke’s and her female supporters’ educational activism were early expressions of British women’s engagement with the Empire. It displays a striking contrast between the narrow Christian domestic focus of the curriculum offered to Indian girls and the public position assumed by British educators.39 The schools Cooke established in colonial Bengal entailed a rigorous acculturation of Indian girls into Christian and ‘civilized’ ways of knowing and being. Part of this ‘re-fashioning’ of colonized subjects was also the renaming of converts, and to culturally isolate them from the social environment.40 Cooke’s operations, though rather successful compared to other contemporary elementary school projects, clearly kept her apart form ‘the upper echelons of Indian society’.41 I want to look at Cooke’s case from a perspective of poverty, marginalization, and the prospects of free schooling for disadvantaged girls and women. As discussed in Chapter 6, Cooke’s collaboration with the Calcutta School Society 37

38

39

40

41

Report of the Second Annual Examination of the Native Female Schools in Poona, Held on 12 February 1853 (Poona: Printed on the Bombay Gazette Press, 1853), reprinted in Y.D. Phadke (ed.), Mahatma Pule Samagra Vangmay (Mumbai: Maharashtra State Literary and Cultural Committee, 1991), 617–632. Aparna Basu, ‘Mary Ann Cooke to Mother Teresa: Christian Missionary Women and the Indian Response’, in Fiona Bowie, Deborah Kirkwood, and Shirley Ardener, Women and Missions: Past and Present – Anthropological and Historical Perceptions (Providence: Berg, 1993), 187–208. Clare Midgley, ‘Female Emancipation in an Imperial Frame: English Women and the Campaign against Sati (Widow-burning) in India, 1813–30’, Women’s History Review 9, no. 1 (2000): 95–121. Helen May, Baljit Kaur, and Larry Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods: Nineteenth-century Missionary Infant Schools in Three British Colonies (New York: Ashgate, 2014), 3, 137. Allender, Learning Femininity, 55.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

300

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

(CSS) failed. The Ladies Society for Native Female Education (LSNFE), established to support her endeavour, however, received enough funding from the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and supporters in England to set up a local school system. This entailed a central school for training Indian female teachers. In 1824, the LSNFE managed 22 girls’ schools (including 400 students). Three young women had been successfully trained as teachers, and each of them took ‘charge of a school containing from 15 to 25 Girls’. Ten more candidates were soon expected to finish their training.42 In 1837, Cooke ‘parted’ with the LNSFE to devote herself to an asylum that she had set up for Indian orphan girls. The schools were taken over by two agents (Miss Wakefield and Miss White) of the Ladies’ Association for the Promotion of Female Education in the East, which had been formed in London in 1834. About 250 to 300 students daily attended the Calcutta schools. Moreover, there were ‘Out-Station Schools’ of the LSNFE in Howrah, Alipore, and Culna, and schools conducted by cooperation partners ‘almost wholly supported by local funds’ in Kishnaghur, Nuddea, Patna, Benares, and Allahabad. Approximately 50–80 students attended the largest ones.43

Cooke understood her orphanage work as a social rescue mission. ‘Orphans’ in this case did not only refer to children whose parents’ had died, but destitute children in general. Such destitute Indian girls, including child widows, were subjected to the same rigorous moral policing and labour regime that I have discussed for the boarding schools for poor Europeans and Eurasians.44 Marginalized girls and women were also found in the LSNFE’s central school: ‘It has been objected’, the LSNFE’s report of 1852 states, ‘that we instruct […] only the lowest classes of the Native population of Calcutta.’ They readily acknowledged this, but also defended themselves against the reproach. Since the ‘higher classes’ were not willing to be taught in the school, ‘we thankfully bestow our labor on those who are.’45 The LSNFE thus operated in cultural isolation from the upper castes, who, if willing to invest in the education of their female children, did not depend on free schooling. Its institutional network consisted of schools and orphanages among destitute, Proceedings of the Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East, for the year 1823–1824, 116. 43 Missionary Register, 1837, 124–125. 44 See Allender, Learning Femininity, 50–51; Kannan, ‘Missionary Encounters’, 279–281. See Chapter 4. 45 Ladies Society for Native Female Education, 1853, 6. 42

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

301

widowed, and ‘outcaste’ girls and women.46 It was a small local system, which catered to and rested on the labour of marginal women. The prominent Bethune School, which was founded in 1849, was explicitly set up in contrast to this, to attract female students from the upper castes and the social elite.47

In the contemporary discussion, the LSNFE’s inability to reach the colonial middle class was considered a failure. Indeed, the recruitment of widows and of low-caste women for teaching was an important factor that prevented the ‘mainstreaming’ of public elementary schooling for girls. Upper-caste Hindus would not allow their girls to associate with, not to mention be taught by, widows and Untouchables. The CMS had clearly underestimated the boundaries of caste and the fears and taboos associated with widowhood when it recruited marginal women for its project of educational institution-building.48 The Governor of Bombay, Mountstuart Elphinstone, had a point when he argued that building the public education system on the participation of the lower and lowest castes would not be possible.49 However, this also meant that modern schooling would reaffirm the existing educational privileges and social power relations. In the first half of the nineteenth century, girls’ schooling became strongly associated with the mission context and conversion. This association is confirmed in Vithabai Chowdari’s testimony – it caused her family to hesitate about her school attendance.50 The secularizing tendencies that characterized vernacular schooling for boys (as it was promoted by the CSBS, CSS, and BNES) were delayed in the case of girls’ schooling.

Cooke and her missionary partners, however, increased the social accessibility of schooling, and provided basic income and resources particularly to marginal women. Among the assistant teachers of the LSNFE’s central school there were ‘girls who have been received from the European Female Orphan Asylum’.51 This shows that missionary women’s efforts to teach destitute Indian girls and the education of poor Europeans were linked to each other. But the female orphanages 46 47

48 49

50

51

May, Kaur, and Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods, 132. Mary Weitbrecht, The Women of India and Christian Work in the Zenana (London: Nisbet and Company, 1875), 68. See Allender, Learning Femininity, 50, 55. Board of Education 1851, 14–15. Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, vol. II, Report: Evidence and Memorials Addressed to the Education Commission (Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1884), 85–88. Ladies Society for Native Female Education, 1853, 8.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

302

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

and charity schools employed Indian women educated in their institutional network as well. Often, they oversaw infant schools, or infant departments, which from the 1830s onwards became a regular part of missionary female schooling. Many missionary women, including Cooke, were part of both the monitorial and the infant school movement. One of these Indian infant teachers was Rabee, a mission-raised orphan, who was sent to London to be trained by the Home and Colonial Infant School Society. After her return, she taught at the infant school managed by Mary Weitbrecht, who worked with her husband, John James Weitbrecht, for the CMS in Burdwan. Another case was the young widow Rose, who had been educated in Cooke’s orphanage. Later, she married a ‘native catechist’ and became an infant teacher in a missionary orphan school.52

Female missionaries provided material and intellectual resources to disadvantaged Indian women in other parts of India as well. The female boarding schools set up by the London Missionary Society (LMS) in south Travancore in the wake of the monitorial movement are a remarkable case in point. Starting in 1819, boarding schools were founded to socialize Indian Christian women into British-Protestant norms of respectability and professionalism, and to recruit them for the mission work. Trained in household management, parenting skills, hygiene, and evangelical morality, they were to become Christian role models and support their husbands in the management of Christian congregations. The students trained in these boarding schools had a family background marked by poverty and untouchability. This included girls from the Pulaya and Paraya castes, who were also referred to as slave castes.53 Often, this entailed considerable difficulties, since the landlords would prevent bonded labourers’ school attendance. As in any Protestant mission setting, needlework was an essential part of the female boarding schools’ curriculum. In the school run by the missionary wife Martha Mault in Nagercoil, students were taught lacemaking, which grew into a small industry. In this case, however, the income from the poor girls’ labour was not subsumed in the general school fund (as it was in the BES’s central school). In 1830, ‘eight slave girls had managed to gain their freedom with the savings from their lacework in the Nagercoil School’.54 Missionaries, despite their narrow agenda, and their hierarchical mindset, thus functioned as allies to the Untouchables. May, Kaur, and Prochner, Empire, Education, and Indigenous Childhoods, 131–137. Kannan, ‘Missionary Encounters’, 272–274. On caste and agrarian labour relations, see Rupa Viswanath, The Pariah Problem: Caste, Religion, and the Social in Modern India (New York: Columbia University Press, 2014). 54 Kannan, ‘Missionary Encounters’, 284. 52

53

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

303

The American missionaries in Ahmednagar, in the Bombay Presidency, provided further impetus to bringing disadvantaged Indian women into the teaching profession. Here, I do not only refer to the fact that the mission’s long-standing female educational activist, Cynthia Farrar, provided information and training to Jotirao and Savitribai Phule. The early anti-caste movement’s efforts to set up girls’ schools clearly built on the missionaries’ pedagogical expertise. These schools later came to be transformed and associated with the governmental Female Training College, for the education of female teachers. Enabling Indian women, against all odds, to enter the teaching profession was an important step in itself. The governmental teacher-training candidates included women from diverse caste backgrounds, but no Untouchables.55 These, however, were found among the teachers employed by the American mission in western India. In 1880, the American Marathi Mission – which had recruited most of its converts among the Mahars – employed 14 female teachers, who had all been trained in the mission’s own girls’ schools. The American female missionaries who taught them were all university graduates, and ‘some of them have had practical experience in teaching in some of the best schools of the United States before coming to India’.56

Public Schooling, Untouchability, and Educational Segregation Since the eighteenth century, untouchable students attended mission schools. Most of the early eighteenth-century converts of the south Indian Tranquebar mission came from the untouchable castes. When the convert population became more diverse, the mission staff responded to caste barriers by setting up separate congregations, for ‘Pariah-Christians’ and ‘Shudra-Christians’, respectively. The Shudra-Christians were preferred as teachers, since they could be employed in both kinds of congregations. The Pariah-Christians’ access to teaching jobs was thus hampered, and not a single Pariah-Christian was found among the Indian Christians who were ordained missionaries, at least until the mid-nineteenth century.57 The Tranquebar mission’s convert congregations were Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 384. 56 Ibid., 83. 57 Heike Liebau, Die indischen Mitarbeiter der Tranquebarmission (1706–1845): Katecheten, Schulmeister, Übersetzer (Tübingen: Max Niemeyer Verlag, 2008), 117–118. 55

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

304

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

thus embedded in the existing pattern of social segregation and hierarchical stratification.

The CMS-ordained missionaries, who arrived in south India in the second decade of the nineteenth century, did find this no longer acceptable. C.T.E. Rhenius specifically did not want to reproduce caste segregation in the new-model ‘native free schools’: ‘Our plan is not to admit any distinction of caste among [the students]. If they are in our school, they must learn to leave their superstitious regard for caste at the door.’58 The equally prevalent practice of separating ‘Portuguese’ (or ‘European’) from ‘Malabar’ (or Tamil) students, notably, was never discussed in this context; apparently, it was found unproblematic. It is also remarkable that Rhenius, immediately after stating that caste distinctions were ‘incompatible with true Christianity’, hastens to specify: ‘It is not implied that we thus intend to remove all and every distinction among these men. If there are kings and magistrates, there must be subjects; if there are children, there must be parents; if there are masters, there must be servants; if there are rich, there will also be poor.’59

For all his fondness for authority, Rhenius (like the American and Scottish missionaries in western India), did take a firm stance when it came to ensuring the Untouchables’ access to schooling. The conflicts were particularly pronounced when the Untouchables were cast in the role of educators. The plan to set up a seminary for the training of Indian catechists, ‘or evangelists to their countrymen’, in Palamcottah, in 1821, failed because the Shudra students refused to be seated with the Shanars and Pariahs. Since this was a boarding school, the different castes were expected to dine together. For the Shudra students, this was an emotionally charged situation, because they feared social ostracism. In the end, their parents did not accept the missionaries’ rule and withdrew their children.60

The schools that were set up in cooperation between the government and education societies were equally confronted with conflicts springing from the norms and practices of untouchability. In 1829, the BNES had forwarded a plan to spread education among the Indian regiments in the British army, which the Bombay government was very much in favour of. A circular letter to the military commanders of the ‘native army’, dated Bombay 21 January 1829, directed J. Rhenius (ed.), Memoir of the Rev. C. T. E. Rhenius: Comprising Extracts from His Journal and Correspondence, with Details of Missionary Proceedings in South India, by His Son (London and Edinburgh: James Nisbet and Co.; John Johnstone, 1841), 35. 59 Ibid., 35–36. 60 Ibid., 208–209. 58

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

305

each regiment to send two boys for teacher training to the BNES’s central schools. These candidates were not only required to possess ‘the intelligence and extent of capacity’ necessary for the task but also to be ‘of proper caste’.61 In the Bombay Presidency’s Indian regiments, there was a significant presence of Mahar soldiers. A follow-up circular, dated Bombay 12 February 1829, posed the question whether the ‘inferior castes’ should receive ‘separate instruction’. The adjutant general found this ‘extremely objectionable’. However, he admitted that it sometimes appeared ‘impractical to teach both together’. In such cases, ‘while a due respect is maintained for the peculiar habits and prejudices of the higher class, the lower shall not be deprived of the mains of improvement’. Thus, an assistant schoolmaster was appointed ‘to teach the lower classes separately’.62 This assistant, however, had not received proper training.

In the case of the Bombay Presidency, we can see, that it took the colonial government decades to remove caste bars from public education institutions. Here, the problem was much more pronounced, since government education was, after all, tax-funded. From a perspective of liberal governance, it could be argued, that caste was a private matter and, therefore, beyond the reach of government interference. Education policy could thus simply accept the nexus of caste, textual learning, and religious tradition as they found it.63 Moreover, colonial governments found it necessary to seek collaboration with Indian legal specialists, intellectuals, and land-owning and economic elites. Thus, the Poona Sanskrit College (1821), as a rule, admitted only (male) Brahmin students. The Elphinstone College (1835) was, for a long time, formally caste-exclusive as well.64 For the Calcutta Sanskrit College (1824), it was debated in the 1850s whether to broaden the category of (male) upper-caste students who were admitted.65 These institutions were, therefore, only ‘public’ in a limited sense. Formally, there were no caste restrictions at the primary (vernacular) and secondary (English) levels of government schooling. However, the Bombay government was hesitant to embrace students from untouchable castes. A major policy debate erupted when a Mahar boy, who, in June 1856, applied to attend BNES Report No. 5, 1830, 26. Ibid., 27. 63 Board of Education 1851, 5. 64 Dilip Chavan, ‘Politics of Patronage and the Institutionalization of Language Hierarchy in Colonial Western India’, in Deepak Kumar, Joseph Bara, Nandita Khadria, and Ch. Radha Gayatri (eds), Education in Colonial India. Historical Insights (New Delhi: Manohar, 2013), 187–226. See Chapter 7. 65 Brian Hatcher, Idioms of Improvement: Vidyasagar and Cultural Encounter in Bengal (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1996). 61

62

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

306

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

the Government English School in Dharwar, was denied admission. The student appealed to the Education Department, and even to the government, but the authorities did not intervene in his case.66 What followed was a controversy whether the Bombay government should principally set up separate schools for the ‘low castes’. The EIC’s Court of Directors emphasized that the ‘[e]ducational institutions of Government are intended by us to be open to all classes’.67 On that account, the Bombay government issued a resolution to the effect ‘that all schools, wholly supported by the State, shall henceforth be open to all castes’.68 However, this order was soon relativized again. In 1859, a new order specified that a teacher was not obliged to receive ‘low caste’ students without reference to the Educational Inspector should he have reasonable ground for believing that their admission will force the withdrawal of all or the greater number of the other pupils.69

A determined opposition to the social mixing of the children in the public space of schooling was reflected in various testimonies to the Indian Education Commission. The memorial by ‘Sakharam Arjun Lal, Esq., Hony. Asst. Surgeon to His Excellency the Viceroy’ is a telling case in point.70 He found the ‘principle of equality of all castes in the State schools’ outrageous from an elite parent’s point of view: The Government […], without ceremony, places the son of their covenanted or uncovenanted Civil Servant, of a Judge of their High Court, of a Surgeon in their army, […] or of a millionaire of the city, side by side on the same seat, and on the same level, with the son of a common clerk […], of an office peon, […] of a store lascar, or of a filthy, untidy shop-keeper. The climax has yet to be reached.71 66 67

68 69

70

71

Dnyanodaya, 16 February 1858, 51–52. Decision by Court of Directors, Despatches to India, 6 April to 12 May, 1858: IOR/E/4/851, 598–601. Director of Public Instruction 1859, 449. Dnyanodaya, 16 November 1859, 339. He is probably the same Dr Sakharam Arjun (1839–1885), who supported his step-daughter, Rakhmabai (1864–1955), whose refusal to cohabit with a husband she was married to as a child resulted in a highly publicised court case. Rakhmabai proceeded later to become a pioneering medical doctor. In this case, it seems that a radical reformist stance in regard to gender relations did not imply an anti-caste attitude as well. See Chakravarti, Life and Times; Rao, ‘Educating Women and Non-brahmins’, 14–18. Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 27–28.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

307

This climax, to him, was to mix the children of upper-caste Indian government officers and economic elites with the sons of untouchable sweepers, ‘or of the very lowest purvari groom’. Upper-caste parents, Lal argued, would do everything to protect their children from moral and physical ‘contamination’. Poor children would introduce their ‘well-to-do school fellows’ to ‘indecent words, unbecoming language, [and] rough manners’. They brought ‘filth’ and ‘contagious infections’ to the schoolroom. Lal thus translated caste notions of pollution into the late nineteenth-century language of social hygiene: ‘caste pollution has no weight with the educated’, he stated, ‘but personal cleanliness must have its share’. Lal finished his statement by saying that if the government would do nothing to protect ‘well-to-do’ children from ‘personal annoyance, moral debasement, and danger of disease contamination […] private enterprise will step forward to remedy the evils’.72

Raymond West (1832–1912), vice-chancellor of the University of Bombay, agreed that the government should not expect the upper castes to share a common school space with the Untouchables. Forcing ‘Brahman boys [to] sit and receive instruction in the same class-room with Dheds’, to him, appeared ‘as reasonable as if someone […] should send chimney-sweeps or fish-porters into a church-pew occupied by ladies’.73 The acting principal of Gujarath College M.M. Kunte, carried the comparison further, beyond British class sensibilities. Explicitly equating colonial-racist and casteist attitudes (although he did not use these terms), he observed that the ‘Hindus’ declined to associate with the ‘Mahars and Dheds […] from a feeling perhaps similar to that which causes Europeans and Eurasians to decline to send their children to schools taught by Natives’.74 Although used to defend the educational marginalization of the untouchable castes, this comparison did point to the hypocrisy of a colonial policy that exempted Europeans from the ‘principle of equality’. This brings us back to the basic ‘tensions of Empire’,75 and the problem of liberalism in a colonial context. From the 1880s onwards, there was a heightening of colonial racial attitudes and new strategies were developed to maintain the difference Ibid. Ibid., 138. 74 Ibid., 354. 75 Ann Laura Stoler and Frederick Cooper, ‘Between Metropole and Colony: Rethinking a Research Agenda’, in Frederick Cooper and Ann Laura Stoler (eds), Tensions of Empire: Colonial Cultures in a Bourgeois World (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997), 1–56. 72 73

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

308

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

between the British and Indians.76 If the British found ways to combat Indian competition for government offices and maintain a superior social position, it is not surprising that some elite Indians would try the same.

In terms of policy, Vice-Chancellor West argued that there was ‘no more advantage in driving Brahmans away to make room for Dheds than in excluding Dheds for the sake of Brahmans’. The ‘education and elevation of the low castes’, he found, was best taken care of by ‘the Christian missionaries’.77 In hindsight, we can see that this is exactly what happened, when the principle of equal access of all castes to government schools was guaranteed by the postcolonial Indian nation state. Those who had the means to do so, left governmental institutions. And, indeed, private enterprise stepped in, which furthered a de-facto continuation of social separation, even if it was no longer legally maintained.78

Against this background, setting up separate schools for the children from untouchable communities seemed the only viable solution. In his statement to the Hunter Commission, Jotirao Phule suggested two means to provide for mass education. On the one hand, elementary schooling should be made compulsory. On the other hand, the ‘Mahars, Mangs, and other lower classes, where their number is large enough, should have separate schools for them, as they are not allowed to attend the other schools owing to caste prejudices’.79 However, several interconnected problems hindered the functioning of separate untouchable schools as well. Although the most outspoken opposition was directed at the social mixing of caste Hindus and Untouchable students, their school attendance as such was not considered appropriate by conservative opinion. Schools for untouchable children were often targeted by the disciplinary mechanism of social boycott. School providers, such as Jotirao and Savitribai Phule, faced social ostracism

Mrinalini Sinha, Colonial Masculinity: The ‘Manly Englishman’ and the ‘Effeminate Bengali’ in the Late Nineteenth Century (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995). 77 Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 138. 78 Geetha B. Nambissan, ‘Private Schools for the Poor: Business as Usual?’ Economic and Political Weekly 47, no. 41 (2012): 51–58. 79 Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 142. 76

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

309

as well as physical attacks.80 Teachers in separate governmental ‘low-caste’ schools resigned their posts when threatened with ‘excommunication from caste’.81 Moreover, threats of social boycott were used to ensure that ‘lowcaste’ families did not avail themselves of educational opportunities. As the American missionary Hume (Ahmednagar) stated in his testimony to the Indian Education Commission: ‘In many towns the Mahars are threatened with the loss of their work and allowances, and sometimes are deprived of these when a school is opened for their children.’82

Hume also pointed to a second major problem of separate schools for Untouchables. For economic considerations, government schools were only opened if a group of 25 students, or more, could be assembled. Not in all places enough boys of school-going age could be gathered from ‘low-caste’ communities alone; and gender co-teaching was not considered an option in the Hunter Commission debates. Moreover, what happened when some talented pupils ‘advance[d] to higher grades of study’? Hume rightly pointed to the impracticability of building a complete separate system of education: ‘Neither Government nor local boards would dream of keeping up separate institutions of a higher grade for the lowest castes.’ Children from the untouchable communities would thus be prevented from accessing secondary and college education.83 This points to a crucial question regarding separate schools for the marginalized. What kind of knowledge would they impart? And which social agenda would they pursue? The schools that Jotirao and Savitribai Phule established – the context in which Muktabai wrote her essay on the suffering of the Mang-Mahars – were inspired by the idea of social liberation and human development. They were embedded in a diverse strategy of public reform activism, which linked schools, popular theatre, public events, and civil society Dhananjay Keer, Mahatma Jotirao Phooley: Father of the Indian Social Revolution (Mumbai: Popular Prakashan, 1974), 25–26; M.G. Mali, Krantijyoti Savitribai Jotirao Phule (Majestic Publication House, 2012), 31; Savitribai Phule, Letter to Jotirao Phule, 10 October 1856, in Susie Tharu and K. Lalita (eds), Women Writing in India: 600 B.C. to the Early Twentieth Century (New York: Feminist Press at the City University of New York, 1991), 213–214. 81 Director of Public Instruction 1857, 251–252. 82 Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 343–353. 83 Ibid., 351–352. 80

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

310

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

organizing. Muktabai’s essay was produced in school, read to visitors, and then published in the Dnyanodaya. It thus became a powerful testimony of education enabling subalterns to find a public voice.84

A split later occurred in the SPEMM, which caused Jotirao Phule to completely withdraw from its operations. According to Rosalind O’Hanlon’s thorough analysis, Phule’s break with the committee was caused, on the one hand, by the Brahmin committee members’ unease with Phule’s radical antiBrahminism.85 Indeed, exposing the ‘conspiracy of the bhats [Brahmins] to prohibit education of the shudra and atishudra children’86 was an important element in Phule’s efforts to construct a non-Brahmin identity. However, equally important were the committee’s divergent ideas on the education of the lower castes. As Phule recalled it, some committee members found that if the ‘atishudras’ had to be educated at all, ‘giving them the basic literacy skills [was] enough’.87 This was not what Phule wanted. Another option, which the SPEMM suggested, and which was taken up by the Education Department, from which they received their gran-in-aid, was to ‘remodel these schools and to make them industrial’.88 This suggestion was perfectly in line with the ongoing debate between the Education Department and the Government of Bombay that there was a need for industrial education, particularly for ‘low-caste’ students: ‘His Excellency the Governor in Council attaches much importance to the extension of low-caste schools, and to giving them an “industrial” character.’89 84

85

86

87

88 89

Sharmila Rege, ‘Education as Trutiya Ratna: Towards Phule–Ambedkarite Feminist Pedagogical Practice’, Economic and Political Weekly 45, no. 44 (2010): 88–98; Mhaskar and Tschurenev, ‘Bildung und politische Mobilisierung’, 272–273. Muktabai’s age has led to debates over the essay’s authorship. If we consider that Savitribai Phule was 17 when she became a schoolmistress and that Derozio started teaching at the Hindu College at the same age, it does not seem implausible at all that a 14-year-old would write such a text. Essays, not about this topic, but social reform issues in general, were a standard form of school learning by the mid-nineteenth century. O’Hanlon, Caste, Conflict, and Ideology, 120. Jotirao Phule, Slavery: In This Civilized British Government under the Cloak of Brahminism – Exposed by Jotirao Govindraw Fule (1873), trans. Maya Pandit, in Govind P. Deshpande (ed.), Selected Writings of Jotirao Phule (New Delhi: Leftword, 2002), 89. Phule, Slavery, 94. Director of Public Instruction 1860, 55. Ibid., 415.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

311

In the 1860s, this discussion continued, and the notion that ‘industrial education’ was what the lowest castes needed became a mainstream policy consideration.90 Offering industrial education to untouchable children and the poor was an approach adopted by missionaries, governmental agencies, and civil society education reformers alike. In mission contexts, it was informed by the assumption that labour had a moralizing function. But it was also, as we have seen in the case of the educational programmes of the Serampore missionaries and the BES, motivated by the idea to adapt schooling to the requirements of a differentiated labour market.91 Vocational and ‘industrial’ education not only became the preferred option for poor European and Eurasian boys, but could also appear as a solution to the most widespread objection to schooling for the lowest castes, namely that it disrupted both the division of labour and the social power relations.

First, someone had to perform manual labour and the tasks considered base and degrading. In a remarkable likeness to the British debate of the early nineteenth century on the ‘education of the poor’, Indian conservative opponents to schools for Untouchables feared that the spread of literacy would dissolve the social division of labour: ‘if the low-castes get an education, who will do the coarse and low work of society?’92 Second, if the ‘sons of oilmen, distillers, shoe-makers and other such low classes of people’ were offered access to education on equal terms with the colonial middle class, they would also compete for desirable government jobs. This would also place them in positions of institutional authority. As the Urdu weekly Anjuman-i-Hind (Lucknow) wrote on 26 February 1898, it was very disagreeable to persons of high castes to appear as suitors or vakils before a low caste Judge, or to place their sons under the tuition of a low caste school master. Government should regard the feelings of the people and exclude the lower classes from schools and the public service.93

Such a blatant formal exclusion was no longer possible by the late nineteenth century. But it was possible to try and direct subalterns away from the educational mainstream and the education system’s higher branches. From the 1880s onwards, a new line of educational conflict emerged from the confrontation of Bombay Guardian, 21 November 1863, 384–385; see Sumanta Banerjee, ‘Educating the Labouring Poor in 19th Century Bengal: Two Experiments’, in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1998), 171–200. 91 See Chapter 4. 92 Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee, Evidence and Memorials (II), 344. For the British debate, see Chapter 2. 93 Cited in Kumar, Learning to Dream, 13. Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge 90

Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

312

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

marginalized people’s educational aspirations, or as Arun Kumar puts it, the ‘desires of workers not wanting to be workers’,94 and the efforts of educational policy-makers to direct them away from literary and higher studies.

In conclusion, I want to emphasize that separate educational institutions for the marginalized were not necessarily contributing to the reproduction of social stratification. As the early history of the Phules’ atishudra-schools shows, such institutions could be embedded in strategies of political mobilization that aimed to disrupt the prevalent social order. In the twentieth century, Dalit colleges served as focal points of political community-formation. High-quality educational institutions, which offered recognized school certificates, could indeed enhance social mobility. They helped to build the social and cultural capital necessary for community advancement and political negotiation.95 If they did not offer the requisite certificates to access higher levels of education, or limited their curricula, separate schools for the marginalized were, however, instrumental in containing their educational aspirations. If schools for untouchable students, or other working children, were equated with ‘functional literacy’ and industrial training, they stabilized the social order as it was.96

Persistent Trajectories: From Colonial to National Education The trajectory of educational differentiation, as this last section will show, carried over into the socially, linguistically, and geographically diverse national education movement. From the 1880s onwards, local initiatives set out to ‘nationalize’ education. The national education movement in India was operating in ‘two terrains of contestation’. On the one hand, it challenged the colonial government for educational control.97 Boycotting the colonial education system and providing independent alternatives was coupled to the major waves of national political mobilization in the early twentieth century.98 On the other hand, it negotiated the social power relations within Indian society. ‘The contest between nationalism in Ibid., 2. Laura Dudley Jenkins, ‘A College of One’s Own: An International Perspective on the Value of Historically Dalit Colleges’, in Parimala V. Rao (ed.), New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2014), 68–89. 96 Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, ‘Introduction: The Contested Terrain of Education’, in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1998), 1–28, 8. 97 Bhattacharya, ‘The Contested Terrain of Education’, 6–7. 98 Aparna Basu, ‘National Education in Bengal, 1905–1912’, in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1998), 54–67. 94 95

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

313

education with the colonial state’, Sabyasachi Bhattacharya has argued, ‘is inseparably intertwined historically with the contest for hegemony within our society.’99

The major issue with the colonial state was the control over curricular content. Most national education projects did not challenge the grammar of modern schooling, which colonial education entailed – the once-established institutional structure proved rather persistent. Instead, nationalists sought to use the same institutional models for imparting to students a more relevant school knowledge, apt to overcome the experience of cultural alienation associated with colonial schooling. Some of the efforts to nationalize school curricula and to set up institutions that would strengthen and ‘regenerate’ the Indian nation reformed part of the rituals of schooling as well.100 Others aligned with the world-wide new education movement, to overcome the mechanistic, reductionist pedagogy that was associated with colonial schools. The image of the machinery, which had, in the early nineteenth century, highlighted the monitorial system’s promises of modernity, rationality, and efficiency, was now associated with the dehumanizing aspects of modern schooling. The copy-books, which were once hoped to facilitate the rapid diffusion of knowledge, now symbolized mindless rote-learning. Far from stimulating young persons’ holistic growth, colonial schools could only produce cogs in the wheel of the colonial administration. Rabindranath Tagore satirized this as ‘Parrot’s Training’.101 The twin institutions of Santiniketan and Sriniketan, which he established, aimed to remedy this, with a focus on aesthetic expression, sensual experience, and social responsibility. The efforts to decolonize school knowledge and to improve pedagogical practice were a core element of the national education movement’s struggles. Another major issue was the universalization of education. As we have seen from the discussions surrounding the Indian Education Commission of 1882, the government had clearly failed to achieve significant educational expansion. Much more investment was needed to approach the goal of mass education. Against this background, social radicals such as Jotirao Phule and liberals such as Gopal Krishna Gokhale (an Elphinstone College graduate) promoted compulsory primary education. However, there were

Bhattacharya, ‘The Contested Terrain of Education’, 6–7. Harald Fischer-Tiné, Der Gurukul-Kangri oder die Erziehung der Arya-Nation: Kolonialismus, Hindureform und‚ nationale Bildung’ in Britisch-Indien (1897–1922) (Würzburg: Ergon Verlag, 2003). 101 Christine Kupfer, ‘Isolation or Connection? Tagore’s Education towards the Universal as Pedagogical Province’, in Michael Mann (ed.), Shantiniketan – Hellerau: New Education in the ‘Pedagogic Provinces’ of India and Germany (Heidelberg, Neckar: Draupadi, 2015), 285–308, 292. 99

100

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

314

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

also outspoken opponents of mass education. Bal Gangadhar Tilak (who gained his first degree from Deccan College) drafted his rashtravadi politics as much against foreign rule as against the threat posed by the anti-caste movement, and other social and religious reform currents, to the caste and gender order.102 Almost literally repeating the arguments that Bernard Mandeville and Bell had brought forward in the British debate on the education of the poor, Tilak argued against an ‘indiscriminate spread of education which was unsuited, useless and positively injurious to Kunbi children’. If the government was bent on mass education, the children of the peasantry should be given a limited, vernacular schooling ‘befitting their rank and station in life’ and not more. Spreading liberal English education would encourage ‘the people to defy the caste restrictions’ and shake the foundations of the social order.103

Female education was equally dangerous, according to Tilak. English education deprived women of their femininity and national identity.104 We have encountered this fear already in the public debate over the girls’ schools set up by the Students’ Literary and Scientific Society in Bombay. English education, conservative voices among the Parsi community warned, would make girls unfit for wifely obedience and familial duties. It was against this background that the Parsi Girls’ School Association made sure to stay away from government superintendence. The benefit from a governmental grant-in-aid did, apparently, not outweigh the problem of having to share the community’s control over their female members’ education. For many male reformers, who endorsed girls’ schooling in the second half of the nineteenth century, the aim was to provide suitable marital companions for

Parimala V. Rao, Foundations of Tilak’s Nationalism: Discrimination, Education and Hindutva (New Delhi: Orient Blackswan, 2010). 103 Mahratta, 15 May 1881, 3, cited in Rao, ‘Educating Women and Non-Brahmins’, 6. See Bernard Mandeville, The Fable of Bees; or, Private Vices, Public Benefits (Edinburgh, 1772 [1723]), I, 216: ‘The welfare and felicity therefore of every state and kingdom require that the knowledge of the working poor should be confined within the verge of their occupations, and never extended […] beyond what relates to their calling.’ Andrew Bell, An Experiment in Education, Made at the Male Asylum of Madras, 2nd ed. (London: Cadell & Davies, 1805), postscript: ‘[T]here is a risk of elevating, by an indiscriminate education, the minds of those doomed to the drudgery of daily labour, above their condition, and thereby rendering them discontented and unhappy in their lot.’ 104 Rao, ‘Educating Women and Non-Brahmins’, 13–14. 102

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

315

modern-educated men.105 In their emphasis on gender socialization, and their domestic focus, they were not dissimilar from the earlier missionary projects, even if the normative vision of inner-household relations might differ. It was left to women activists and women’s movements to disrupt this pattern by developing women’s professional expertise in the fields of primary and pre-primary education, medical care, child care, and social work.106 The idea of Jotirao and Savitribai Phule, to link girls’ education simply to human development, remained an exception.

While the above-cited conservative-nationalist currents pursued an outright politics of educational differentiation and containment, the case of the Wardha Scheme of Basic Education is more complicated. In the 1930s and 1940s, the question of how to organize and finance a comprehensive, universal system of education for independent India gained new urgency. In collaboration with the educationist Zakir Husain and other reformers connected with the Jamia Millia Islamia (one of the ‘national’ institutions set up in 1920), M.K. Gandhi suggested a reformed model, which was half-heartedly endorsed as the basis for India’s national education. Embedded in the politics of rural reconstruction, Gandhian Basic Schools concentrated on the instruction in locally adapted productive crafts.107 Thus, they took up activity-based pedagogical techniques that were popular among the international new education movement. Gandhi, Tagore, Husain, and many other education reformers associated with the Indian National Congress were closely linked with this movement.108 Not only Bhattacharya, ‘The Contested Terrain of Education’, 19. Chakravarti, Life and Times; Mary Hancock, ‘Home Science and the Nationalization of Domesticity in Colonial India’, Modern Asian Studies 35, no. 4 (2001): 871–903; Ch. Radha Gayatri, ‘Training Maternity and Child Welfare Professionals: Demands and Constraints in the Early Twentieth Century India’, in Deepak Kumar, Joseph Bara, Nandita Khadria, and Ch. Radha Gayatri (eds), Education in Colonial India: Historical Insights (New Delhi: Manohar, 2013), 399–422. 107 Sureshchandra Shukla, ‘Nationalist Educational Thought: Continuity and Change’, in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1998), 29–53, 32–35. 108 Michael Mann (ed.), Shantiniketan – Hellerau: New Education in the ‘Pedagogic Provinces’ of India and Germany (Heidelberg, Neckar: Draupadi, 2015); Simone Holzwarth, ‘A New Education for “Young India”: Exploring Nai Talim from the Perspective of a Connected History’, in Barnita Bagchi, Eckhardt Fuchs, and Kate Rousmaniere (eds), Connecting Histories of Education: Transnational and Cross-Cultural Exchanges in (Post)Colonial Education (New York: Berghahn Books, 2014), 123–139. 105 106

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

316

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

would a manual-focused curriculum stimulate integrated, experiential learning processes, but the idea was also that such a curriculum was more relevant to the rural workers, since it linked up with their everyday experiences. Moreover, some of the Wardha Scheme’s proponents hoped to make elementary schools economically self-sufficient, since the products of the pupils’ labour could be sold. Thus, they would finally offer a solution to the problem of organizing educational expansion under conditions of the people’s poverty and the state’s limited financial resources. Finally, the universalization of a scheme of Basic Education, which centred on manual labour, Gandhi hoped, would help to overcome the caste stigma attached to manual work. This fit with Gandhi’s approach towards ‘uplifting’ the untouchable castes while keeping the caste-based division of labour intact – an approach which had been spearheaded by the Protestant missionaries.109

As its contemporary critics pointed out, the Wardha Scheme’s implementation among the rural poor cemented the caste structure; middle-class and elite parents would avoid these schools.110 In a long-term perspective, they – probably unintentionally – fell into the established pattern of moralizing and disciplining the children of the poor and putting them to labour. The schools failed to achieve selfsufficiency. But the students were still kept away from literary education, certificates necessary for social mobility and cultural capital. It is not surprising, therefore, that the twentieth-century Dalit movement took the opposite direction and aimed to promote Dalit students’ access to mainstream literary higher education in English.111

Conclusion The early nineteenth-century imperial education movement, and the colonial education system which built on it, produced contradictory social effects. What Muktabai observed in the 1850s was part of this complex reality: the schools set up by missionaries and Indian social reformers, who were supported from government grants, did broaden the social accessibility of schooling. However, untouchable students, who actively sought to make use of these new opportunities, were confronted with a strong, persistent opposition, and the colonial government was rather indifferent towards their claim. The other voice cited in the beginning of this chapter, the letter by an ‘old orthodox Hindu’, also had a point. The prevalent learning culture and the Brahminical knowledge Viswanath, The Pariah Problem, 6–7. Shukla, ‘Nationalist Educational Thought’, 36. 111 Paik, Dalit Women’s Education in Modern India; Jenkins, ‘A College of One’s Own’. 109 110

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Teaching the Marginalized

317

tradition were displaced; the social authority of the intellectual elite, the Brahmins, became subordinated to the overarching colonial domination. They became part of the colonized, along with everyone else. However, members of the old intellectual and economic elites were also able to rework their privileges over against others within the colonial frame. The colonial educational system was both a challenge to and a chance to renew the pre-colonial patterns of social power and access to learning and knowledge production.

In terms of its long-term social effects, the imperial education movement of the early nineteenth century left a legacy that combined the broadening of the social reach of schooling with educational differentiation and segregation. Girls were slowly, and against many obstacles, incorporated into formal schooling, but not on equal terms. Their education, for a long time, remained restricted within a highly gendered, domestic framework. Boys with a working class and untouchable background were redirected towards industrial training, which kept them away from mainstream education. By the end of the nineteenth century, after decades of struggles and controversies, colonial education institutions were formally public spaces, in principle open to all castes. However, informal mechanisms continued to translate social into educational inequality.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:38:51, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.009

Conclusion The Emergence of Public Elementary Schooling in an Imperial Frame

In the early nineteenth century, a diverse imperial civil society movement set out to expand and reform Indian education. This included British, German, and American missionaries, and non-governmental, non-profit organizations dedicated to the ‘cause of universal education’, operating from Britain and in the colonial urban centres (Chapter 3). Together, they triggered a process by which the prevalent, indigenous Indian educational landscape was, slowly and unevenly, substituted by the colonial governmental education system. I have explored this transformation for the elementary level of education, directed not at the social and cultural elites, but at the common people. This transformation entailed, first, a fundamental change in the culture of schooling (Chapter 5). Locally grown forms of pedagogy, learning, and discipline were substituted by standardized teaching technologies in formal institutional settings. School time, and school space were reorganized. Personal student–teacher relationships became embedded in impersonal frameworks of evaluating and measuring success. Examinations, paperwork, and elaborate reporting came to frame the teaching–learning arrangements.

Second, colonial schools changed the curricular content, based on new educational media (Chapter 6). The textbook became the centre of teaching– learning processes. It contained the knowledge that the teacher, trained in the usage of such materials and the school-management techniques, was expected to impart. Standardizing curricula, on the one hand, enabled education reformers (initially missionaries and civil society organizations, later government agencies) to define what was worth teaching. What was it that all children needed to know or be able to perform? On the other hand, it allowed for an easy assessment, comparison, and reward of the students’ progress and the teachers’ work. Building on the experiments of the local missionaries (William Carey, Joshua Marshman, Robert May, and J.D. Pearson), the Calcutta School Book Society Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:03, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.010

Conclusion

319

(CSBS) and the Calcutta School Society (CSS) defined a standard course of vernacular elementary instruction that all schools under their control were expected to impart. This included literacy and language instruction, arithmetic and accounts, secular moral instruction, and the basics of geography, modern science, and history. Vernacular languages were orthographically standardized, translated into printed characters, and culturally refined according to new middle-class norms of social respectability. Third, the control over curricular content and the methods of instruction, but also over access to schooling, were centralized in the hands of government agencies (Chapter 7). In the 1810s and 1820s, evangelical pressure groups in England and missionaries and education societies in India put the issue of public instruction on the colonial governments’ agenda. In the case of the Bombay Presidency, it took the government about 15 years to set up the basic structure of educational governance and provision. The reach of the nuclear government system, however, remained limited, and it continued to operate in a wider field of private and voluntary initiative, both recognized and unrecognized. In the first half of the nineteenth century, most children who received formal instruction did so in indigenous schools. Missionaries, education societies, and governmental agencies slowly stepped in to compete with, substitute, and incorporate these facilities. In the second half of the nineteenth century, Indian initiatives, such as the Society for Promoting the Education of Mahar-Mangs (1852) or the Parsi Girls’ School Association (1857), appropriated the organizational and publicity repertoire of the earlier, European-led civil society organizations, and used it to pursue their own, independent social and educational agendas. Some of them linked their operations to the official education system, in which they became incorporated as recipients of grants-in-aid. But also those who stayed away from the colonial state, to pursue school reform in a community or nationalist framework, now often did so within the grammar of modern schooling.

Finally, the educational transformation entailed the incorporation of groups hitherto unreached by formal, household-external instruction and learning into the domain of public elementary schooling (Chapter 8). This also accounts for the fact that different groups within Indian society reacted quite differently to the social changes they associated with colonial education. However, in general terms, the colonial educational system rested on the existing patterns of social stratification and translated them into further educational inequality. Public elementary schooling, after all, started as a project of educating ‘the poor’ (Chapter 2). The motivation of the imperial education movement of the early nineteenth century was to reach out to those children whose parents Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:03, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.010

320

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

did not have the means to cater to their education themselves. In the colonial context, ‘native education’ was framed in a more general sense (Chapter 4). But the underlying framework was one of mass education, which meant non-elite, working, subaltern people’s education. The – not-so-hidden – agenda of public elementary instruction was thus to discipline and moralize the children of the poor, the workers, and untouchable communities, without shaking up the basic division of manual and non-manual labour in society. For the poor upper-caste boys taught in the CSS schools, it was possible to access the higher education offered by the Hindu College, which was supported by the same groups that run the CSBS and CSS. For the children in the Experimental Village Schools funded by the Government of Bombay – which supplemented the regular District Vernacular Schools set up in cooperation with the Bombay Native Education Society (BNES) – a transition to secondary education in English and higher studies was almost impossible. Thus, marginalized children, including Untouchables, were indeed brought into the fold of modern formal schooling, but they remained confined to its lowest level, or specific industrial- and vocational-training schemes. In the nineteenth century, such fundamental processes of educational change happened almost simultaneously in many parts of the world. The monitorial movement spanned its networks across the British Isles, the Atlantic, continental Europe, and the British Eastern Empire. In Europe, the USA, Latin America, and the colonized countries, states started to assemble education systems. There was a lot of international observation and comparison, mutual learning, and competition for global leadership roles. Against this background, the question that arises is: what was colonial and specific about the building of India’s education system, and the problems inbuilt in it? Speaking about the postcolonial condition, Michael Crossley and Leon Tikly have argued that ‘many existing education systems still bear the hallmarks of the colonial encounter in that they remain elitist, lack relevance to local realities and are often at variance with indigenous knowledge systems, values and beliefs’.1 To some extent, these problems characterize modern schooling in general and have been, time and again, addressed by pedagogical and curriculum reform movements. However, the colonial situation certainly widened the gap between students’ life-world experiences and the knowledge recognized and validated 1

Michael Crossley and Leon Tikly, ‘Postcolonial Perspectives and Comparative and International Research in Education: A Critical Introduction’, in Michael Crossley and Leon Tikly (eds), Postcolonialism and Comparative Education (Comparative Education, Special Issue 28, 40 [2004]): 147–156, 149.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:03, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.010

Conclusion

321

in school situations.2 The early copy-books, textbooks, and school lessons designed by the Baptist missionaries of Serampore and the activists associated with the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in Burdwan aimed to disrupt the Hindu world view and win over hearts and minds for the colonial ‘civilizing mission’. Their educational programmes were meant to strengthen colonial authority, ‘to give the youthful mind an impression favourable to their rulers, and upon this to found principles of submission, attachment, and love’.3 The knowledge they introduced centred on Western popular science, mixed with Christian morality and cosmology. It was blatantly Eurocentric. The textbook production of the 1820s built on Indian intellectual and research expertise, and incorporated elements of Indian literary traditions (such as the Hitopadesha), accounting techniques, and letter-writing forms. But in general, it became embedded in the same colonial framework where authoritative knowledge was produced in Britain (or by the British) and translated and ‘disseminated’ in the colonial context.4 This posed the problem – which the national education movement partially responded to – of how to decolonize school knowledge, without making it irrelevant for a modern society and the students’ demand for qualifications that would enhance their professional and employment chances. Under radically altered social conditions, ‘reviving’ the displaced knowledge traditions proved rather difficult. Another core problem was the language hierarchy inbuilt in the colonial education system. Already in the early 1830s, a basic pattern was firmly in place, according to which common elementary schooling was provided in the (standardized and Sanskritized) vernacular, and secondary and higher education in English. For the missionaries, who were the early promoters of vernacular education, this was motivated by the idea that learning in the mother tongue facilitated the active appropriation of knowledge. Moreover, it was linked to the politics of educational differentiation – not everyone should get their hopes up for finding clerical employment based on English language skills. Although 2

3

4

Krishna Kumar, Political Agenda of Education: A Study of Colonialist and Nationalist Ideas (New Delhi: SAGE Publications, 1991); Latika Gupta, Education, Poverty and Gender: Schooling Muslim Girls in India (New Delhi: Routledge, 2015). Memoir of the Rev. John James Weitbrecht, Late Missionary of the Church Missionary Society at Burdwan, in Bengal. Comprehending a History of the Burdwan Mission, … (London: Nisbeth and Co. 1854), 51. Sabyasachi Bhattacharya, ‘Introduction: The Contested Terrain of Education,’ in Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (ed.), The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India (New Delhi: Orient Longman, 1998), 1–28, 7.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:03, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.010

322

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

many later education reformers agreed that learning was easier for students in their own native language, only English offered the chance to gain upward social mobility. English, the colonizer’s language, became the language of authority, of higher education, of the civil administration. The linguistic hierarchy built in the colonial education system, again, produced and reproduced social hierarchies of colonial racial differentiation, class, caste, and gender.5 English, therefore, also became associated with social movements’ struggle to change the prevalent caste and gender order.6

The elitism that characterized India’s colonial education system was produced at the intersection of the requirements of colonial governance and the prevalent social power relations and cultural hegemony within Indian society. The building of the colonial education system was closely entangled with the building of colonial governance structures in general. From the beginning, this was developed within a wide net of collaboration. Both the civil society education reform movement and the colonial governments crucially relied on Indians’ expertise, skill, and labour. I have, at several times, characterized this as a participatory or collaborative mode of colonial educational governance. As the literature on contemporary educational governance has pointed out, the establishment of public–private partnerships, and the encouragement of non-state initiative, is not necessarily about democratic decision-making. On the contrary, it is often linked to an agenda of limiting state investment, while maintaining state supervision.7 Indeed, there was nothing democratic about the colonial governments’ collaborative approach. The proceedings leading to the foundation of the CSBS perfectly illustrate this. The objective of inviting ‘learned natives’ to join the committee was ‘to obtain the labours and gratuitous services of some, the pecuniary contributions of many and the good wishes of all’.8 European leadership and European models of organization and governance were thereby taken for granted. The co-optation of the Indian intelligentsia 5

6

7 8

Shefali Chandra, The Sexual Life of English: Languages of Caste and Desire in Colonial India (Duke University Press, 2012); Veena Naregal, Language, Politics, Elites and the Public Sphere: Western India Under Colonialism (London: Anthem Press, 2002). Sharmila Rege, ‘Education as Trutiya Ratna: Towards Phule–Ambedkarite Feminist Pedagogical Practice’, Economic and Political Weekly 45, no. 44 (2010): 88–98. Suzy Harris, The Governance of Education: How Neo-liberalism Is Transforming Policy and Practice (London: Continuum Publishing Group, 2007). CSBS Report No. 2, 1819, 69.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:03, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.010

Conclusion

323

and of the landed and economic elites for the project of educational reform served to outsource cost and labour, and to mediate foreign rule through Indian agency. This also fits with Tim Allender’s insight that the colonial education system in India was characterized at the same time by ‘over-governance’ and a strategy of minimal investment.9

The promotion of educational expansion and reform, from the colonial perspective, was part of the self-assumed civilizing mission and the building of the colonial state. This is, however, only one part of the story. Indian reformers, parents, and students who engaged with colonial education had their own agendas as well. Colonial education took shape in multiple contestations, struggles, and interactions between different groups of colonizers and colonized. This produced new local pedagogies and unforeseen, unplannable processes of knowledge appropriation and transformation. Even if the British missionaries and Indian conservatives aimed to restrict and contain schooling for poor, untouchable, and marginalized children, or to keep Indian women away from English education, these strategies did not always work. The missionaries themselves were aware that, after all, literate students might read what they liked, and not what the missionaries and middle-class reformers defined as useful. With the multiplication of presses, the circulation of ‘immoral’ materials was not easily contained. The nineteenth-century opponents of universal education were proved right to some extent: schooling, and the spread of literacy, could endanger the social status quo and enable public dissent. I want to close this discussion by coming back to the imperial dimension of educational reform. It was not the colonial education systems alone that bore the hallmark of the colonial encounter. The case of the monitorial movement shows that the British Empire served as a space for educational knowledge production and exchange. While these processes were certainly embedded in Eurocentric dynamics and colonial power structures, both metropole and colony were transformed in the imperial relation. One of the most remarkable features of the monitorial movement was that the educational technology that it promoted to reform Indian education emerged from a colonial encounter (Chapter 1). It was, however, in Britain that this new pedagogical knowledge was validated and elaborated into an authoritative model of how to run and teach a school (Chapter 2). This model was, again, ‘adapted’ to Indian circumstances by the missionaries and education societies who brought it back to India (Chapter 4). 9

Tim Allender, Learning Femininity in Colonial India, 1820–1932 (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2016), 92.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:03, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.010

324

Empire, Civil Society, and the Beginnings of Colonial Education in India

Although now linked to a radically new culture of schooling, there were pedagogical continuities that facilitated the rapid spread of monitorial schools in the 1810s and 1820s. Its ‘Indian origins’ certainly made the monitorial system attractive to the education reformers. I, therefore, think that its history helps to bring out both the continuity and change in Indian education between the late eighteenth and the mid-nineteenth centuries.

In England we have seen that the knowledge produced in the colonial encounter became part of the contestation over the ‘education of the poor’, where Andrew Bell was brought forward as the saviour of church and state. This contestation fuelled the spread of public elementary schooling in early nineteenth-century England. Also, the educational reform projects in Bengal, in the 1820s and 1830s, were carefully observed by an imperial audience. They were perceived as further educational ‘experiments’ from which insights could be gained and best practices developed. The Serampore missionaries’ proposals on how to spread elementary instruction most effectively, and cheaply, entered the Encyclopedia Britannica. Thus, not only did they inform the school-reform strategies of the CSS and BNES, but James Mill also suggested them as a useful strategy for the English project of ‘educating the poor’. Referring to the passage in the Hints Relative to Native Schools that suggested a sequence of compendia containing basic empirical and ethical lessons, and explained the advantages of letting monitors dictate them in indigenous schools, Mill asked his readers: ‘Why should not the same idea be pursued in England, and as much knowledge conveyed to the youth of all classes at school, as the knowledge of the age, and the allotted period of schooling will admit?’10 The ‘copy-book system’ that the Serampore missionaries had experimented with in response to teachers’ opposition, and parents’ demands, appeared as the perfect indoctrination machinery to Mill in England. Alexander Duff, on the other hand, was less impressed with the course of education reform in Bengal. The Serampore missionaries were the first to suggest a ‘course of moral and scientific instruction’ as a temporary substitute of Christian lessons. The CSBS’s textbook production, particularly the promotion of moral tales for ethics instruction, and the colonial government’s policy of not funding schools that directly taught the Bible or Christianity, reinforced the secularizing tendency. Duff thus accused the Bengal government of using India as a ‘fair and open field for testing the non-religious theory of education’.11 10 11

James Mill, The Article Education Reprinted from the Supplement to the Encyclopaedia Britannica (Routledge/Thoemmes Press, 1993 [1824]), 40–41. Alexander Duff, India and India Missions (Edinburgh: J. Johnstone 1840), 452.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:03, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.010

Conclusion

325

He answered this with a concerted lobby effort in England to change the conditions of educational funding in India. In this way, the discussions over educational secularization, which had sprung from the colonial encounter, entered the public debate in Britain.

In the period between 1790 and the 1820s, the internal civilizing mission towards the British working class and the external, colonial civilizing mission fuelled and legitimized each other. It was a period of heightened enthusiasm, mushrooming organizations, and successful fundraising. The monitorial system, promoted by united effort, appeared as an ‘engine of immense powers’. 12 The progress of education and civilization seemed unstoppable to British evangelicals, social reformers, and missionaries. The stories of success and expectation contributed to forging a nation of ‘civilizers’ and gave new zeal to the civilizing mission.

But subsequently, they produced disappointment instead. Starting in the late 1830s, there was a slowly but steadily growing conscience of failure, which finally thwarted the civilizing mission. As Jürgen Osterhammel summarized, ‘the civilizer wants to do good, and this very fact helps to account for his disappointment when he failed’.13 The extravagant expectations that had been aroused by the initial success stories could not be fulfilled. The Serampore missionaries had promised that at the expense of just a rupee annually for each child the monitorial system was to ‘be acted upon for twenty or thirty years, and with a divine blessing, idolatry would be cut up by the roots’.14 The impossibility to keep such promises turned into the perception of the ‘ungratefulness’ of the objects of the civilizing mission, which was one of the factors that prepared the way for the shift from the universalism of the civilizing mission to the differentialism of biological racism in the second half of the nineteenth century.15 Also in India, racial attitudes heightened in the late nineteenth century. Although there were now some movements to democratize education, it was clear that under colonial conditions, the ‘principle of equality’ would always exclude the colonizer. 12 13

14 15

Missionary Register, 1815, 74. Jürgen Osterhammel, ‘“The Great Work of Uplifting Mankind”. Zivilisierungsmissionen und Moderne’, in Boris Barth and Jürgen Osterhammel (eds), Zivilisierungsmissionen (Konstanz: UVK 2005), 363–425, the quote is translated from German by the author. Periodical Accounts XXXIII (1810–1812): 352–353. See Catherine Hall, Civilising Subjects: Metropole and Colony in English Imagination, 1830–1867 (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2002).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. Access paid by the UCSF Library, on 13 Nov 2019 at 20:37:03, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.010

Bibliography

Archives Baptist Missionary Society Archives, Angus Library, Regents Park College (Oxford).

The BFSS [British and Foreign School Society] Archive Centre, Brunel University, Egham, Surrey. (The Archives have since moved to 1 Hillingdon Hill, Uxbridge, Middlesex UB10 0AA.) British Library (London).

Digital Library of the Gokhale Institute of Politics and Economics (http:// dspace.gipe.ac.in/). Internet Archive (archive.org).

Maharashtra State Archives (Mumbai). National Archives of India (Delhi).

Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (Delhi).

Staatsbibliothek Preussischer Kulturbesitz (Berlin).

Sources Manuscript Sources Annual Report of the Military Male Orphan Asylum: IOR/F/4/557/13669 (Madras Military Department, 1818).

Application of the Ladies Society for Native Female Education in Calcutta, and Its Vicinity, for the Sum of Rupees 10,000 to Purchase a Spot of Ground for the Erection of a Central School: IOR/F/4/861/22777 (Bengal Public Department, 1826).

Bombay Newspaper Reports, 1882: IOR/L/R/5/137.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:16, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.011

Bibliography

327

Letter from the Revd. Dr. Kerr respecting the Government Press: IOR/F/4/301/6943 (Madras Military Department, 1809).

Despatches to India, 6th April to 12th May 1858: IOR/E/4/851.

Measures Adopted, and Contemplated by Government for the Promotion of Education among the Natives of This Presidency: IOR/F/4/786/21358 (Bombay Public Department, 1825). Military Male Orphan Asylum. Application of the Directors for the Extension of the Co’s Gratuity to That Institution of Rs 750 per Mensem Submitted to Court’s Consideration: IOR/F/4/301/6942 (Madras Military Department, 1809).

Nabob of the Carnatic Furnished with the Reports of the Bombay Native Education Society and Donation from His Highness to the Society: IOR/F/4/1592/64570 (Fort St. George [= Madras] Political Department, 1836). Native Education. Correspondence on the Subject from 1821 to 1829 Both Years Inclusive: IOR/F/4/1172/30648 (Bombay Public Department, 1829).

Native Education. Proceedings Connected with Grant to the N.E. Society of Rs. 20,000 per Annum, in lieu of the Existing System of Printing or Lithographing the Society’s Publications at the Expense of Government; – Also with the Establishment of a School at Poonah for Teaching the English Language to the Natives: IOR/F/4/1341/53385 (Bombay Public Department, 1833).

Native Education. Proceedings of Government on the Subject under the Heads of Reports and Minutes, Schoolmasters, Schools, and Scholars, Books, and Stores, Poona College, and Miscellaneous, from April 1827 to October 1829, not Included in Former Collections: IOR/F/4/1173/30649 (Bombay Public Department, 1829).

Native Education. Report of the Committee of Public Instruction in Bengal upon the Different Seminaries under Their Superintendence for 1831 with the Observations of Govt. in Reply: IOR/F4/1386/55228 (Bengal Public Department, 1832). Native Education. Report of the General Committee of Public Instruction in Bengal on the Examinations for 1830: F/4/1289/51641 (Bengal Public Department, 1832). Native Free Schools at Chinsurah and Its Vicinity: IOR/F/4/823/21876 (Bengal Judicial Letters, 1822–1823).

Papers regarding the Military Male Asylum at Madras (including a Printed Copy of the 1812 Regulations): IOR/F/4/1558/63799 (Madras Military Department, 1836).

Pecuniary Aid Afforded to the Schools in Rajpootana. Mr. Carey Ordered to Desist from Teaching the Books of the New Testament: IOR/F/4/830/21965 (Bengal Political Department, 1825).

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:16, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.011

328

Bibliography

Proceedings Adopted for the Promotion of Education among the Natives of India under the Presidency of Bengal, Vol. I: IOR/F/4/1170/30639 (Bengal Public Department, 1829–1830). Proceedings Adopted for the Promotion of Education among the Natives of India under the Presidency of Bengal, Vol. II: IOR/F/4/1170/30640 (Bengal Public Department, 1829–1830). Progress Report on the Free Native Schools Established by Robert May in Chinsura and Environs: IOR/F/4/566/13976 (Bengal Judicial Letters, 1816). Projected Establishment of Schools to Be Conducted on Mr Lancaster’s System of Tuition in Rajpootana: IOR/F/4/717/19535 (Bengal Political Department, 1820). Reports Connected with the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah under the Superintendence of Mr. May: IOR/F/4/605/15020 (Bengal Judicial Letters, 1818). Reports on the State of the Police for the Division of Calcutta and Relative to the Establishment of Village Schools in Chinsurah and Its Vicinity by Mr. May: IOR/F/4/534/12850 (Bengal Judicial Letters, 1815). Report Relative to the Native Free Schools at Chinsurah. Death of Mr. R. May and Appointment of Mr. Pearson to Succeed as Superintendent of the Schools: IOR/F/4/617/15371 (Bengal Judicial Letters, 1819). Lord Amherst. ‘Minute on the Grant to the Ladies Female Education Society, 2 August 1825’: British Library Collections, Private Papers, Mss Eur F140/115(o). Crisp, Rev. Edward. Letter to James Millar, Secretary to the BFSS (Borough Road, Southwark), Madras, 02 July 1826: BFSS Archives, 202.1. Penney, James. Letter to James Millar, Secretary to the BFSS (Borough Road, Southwark), Calcutta, 09 January 1821: BFSS Archives, 202.1.

Printed Materials Reports of Missionary Societies and Educational Associations (Periodicals) ‘Der königlich-dänischen Missionarien aus Ost-Indien eingesandte ausführliche Berichte’ [= Hallische Berichte], vols I–II (= nos 1–24). Halle: Francke’sche Stiftungen, 1706–1727. Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:16, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.011

Bibliography

329

Neuere Geschichte der evangelischen Missions-Anstalten zur Bekehrung der Heiden in Ostindien [= NHB], vols III–VII (= nos 26–83). Halle: Francke’sche Stiftungen, 1790–1825.

American Board of Commissioners to Foreign Missions: Reports Nos 3–7, 1812–1816. Boston: Armstrong.

Baptist Missionary Society: Periodical Accounts, Relative to the Baptist Missionary Society [= Periodical Accounts], vols VI–XIII. London, Bristol, Kettering, 1810–1832. ———: The Annual Report of the Committee of the Baptist Missionary Society etc. London: J. Haddon, 1820.

Benevolent Institution for the Instruction of Indigent Christians: Annual Reports Relative to The ‘Benevolent Institution’ at Calcutta. Serampore, Calcutta, 1812–1820, 1825–1826, 1829–1833, 1835–1836, 1845, 1849–1851, 1859, 1863–1865, 1870, 1900.

Bombay Education Society: Annual Reports of the Bombay Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor, nos 1–50. Bombay, 1812–1864.

Bombay Native Education Society: Annual Reports 1–12. Bombay, 1824–1840 [nos 1–2 edited under the name Bombay Native School Book and School Society; no. 12 edited under the name United Institution of the Elphinstone College, and the School of the Native Education Society].

British and Foreign School Society: Annual Reports of the British and Foreign School Society, nos 9–30. London: Borough Road/Free School Press, 1814–1835.

———: Quarterly Extracts from the Correspondence &c. of the British and Foreign School Society [= Quarterly Extracts]. London: Borough Road/Free School Press, 1814–1835.

Calcutta School Book Society: Reports of the Calcutta School Book Society, nos 1–5, 7–10. Calcutta: Printed by Philip Pereira, at the Hindoostanee Press, 1818–1834. ———: Report of the Provisional Committee of the Calcutta School-Book Society, Printed for the Information of the Subscribers, by Order of the General Meeting, Held at the Town Hall, on July 1st, 1817. Calcutta: Printed by Philip Pereira, at the Hindoostanee Press, 1817. ———: Reports of the Calcutta School Book Society, nos 13–25. Calcutta: Printed at the Calcutta School-Book Society’s Press, Circular Road, 1845–1868. Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:16, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.011

330

Bibliography

Church Missionary Society: Proceedings of the Church Missionary Society for Africa and the East, 1820; 1823–1824. Ladies’ Society for Native Female Education: The First Report of the Ladies’ Association for Native Female Education in Calcutta. Calcutta: Church Mission Press, 1826. ———. Report of the Ladies’ Society for Native Female Education, 1852. Calcutta: Printed by Sanders, Cones and Co., No. 14, Loll Bazar, 1853. London Missionary Society: The Report of the Directors to the Forty-first General Meeting of the Missionary Society, Usually Called the London Missionary Society. London: Westley & Davis, 1835. Penny, Frank. The Church in Madras: Being the History of the Ecclesiastical and Missionary Action of the East India Company in the Presidency of Madras (3 vols). London: Smith, Elder & Co, 1904. SNS: Marshman, Joshua, William Carey, and William Ward. The First Report of the Institution for the Encouragement of Native Schools in India [= SNS 1]. Serampore: Serampore Mission Press, 1817. ———. The Second Report of the Institution for the Support and Encouragement of Native Schools in India [= SNS 2]. Serampore: Mission Press, 1818. ———. The Third Report of the Institution for the Support and Encouragement of Native Schools in India [= SNS 3]. Serampore: Mission Press, 1820. Students’ Literary and Scientific Society. Proceedings of the Students’ Literary and Scientific Society, Bombay, for the Years 1854–55 and 1855–56. Bombay: Printed at the Bombay Gazette Press, 1856. ———. Proceedings of the Students’ Literary and Scientific Society, Bombay, for the Years 1856–57, 1857–58, 1858–59. Bombay: Printed at the Bombay Gazette Press, 1860.

Journals Bombay Guardian, 1857, 1863, 1874, 1880, 1882, 1887, 1889 (These were the volumes available at the Maharashtra State Archives, Mumbai.)

Dnyanodaya, 1846–1872

Edinburgh Review, 1806–1813

Missionary Register, 1813–1837 Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:16, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.011

Bibliography

331

Government Serial Sources Board of Education (Bombay). Report of The Board of Education, for the years 1840–41. Bombay: Printed at the Government Press, 1842.

———. Report of The Board of Education, for the year 1842. No. II. Bombay: Printed at the Government Press, 1843.

———. Report of The Board of Education, for the year 1843. No. III. Bombay: Printed at the Government Press, 1844.

———. Report of The Board of Education, for the year 1844. No. IV. Bombay: Printed at the Government Press, 1845. ———. Report of the Board of Education from January 1, 1850, to April 30, 1851. Bombay: Printed at the Education Society’s Press, 1851. Director of Public Instruction (Bombay). Report of the Director of Public Instruction, Bombay, for the Year 1855–56. Bombay: Printed at the Education Society’s Press, 1857.

———. Report of the Director of Public Instruction, Bombay, for the Year 1857–58. Bombay: Printed at the Education Society’s Press, 1859.

———. Report of the Director of Public Instruction, Bombay, for the Year 1859–60. Bombay: Printed at the Education Society’s Press, 1861.

———. Report of the Director of Public Instruction. Bombay, for the Year 1862–63. Bombay: Printed at the Education Society’s Press, 1864.

General Committee of Public Instruction, Report of the General Committee of Public Instruction of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal 1836. Calcutta: Printed at the Baptist Mission Press 1837.

———. Report of the General Committee of Public Instruction of the Presidency of Fort William in Bengal, for the Year 1839–40. Calcutta: G.H. Huttmann, Bengal Military Orphan Press, 1841.

Individual Publications Anon. A Vindication of Mr. Lancaster’s System of Education from the Aspersions of Professor Marsh, the Quarterly, British, and Anti-Jacobin Reviews, &c., &c. London: Longman and Co., 1812.

———. Impartial Considerations on the Present State of the Question between Dr. Bell and Mr. Lancaster; with Some Remarks on the First Article of the Thirtyseventh Number of the Edinburgh Review. London: Printed for J. Hatchard, Bookseller to Her Majesty, 1812.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:16, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.011

332

Bibliography

———. Female Agency among the Heathen, as Recorded in the History and Correspondence of the Society for Promoting Female Education in the East. Founded in the Year 1834. London: Edward Suter, 1850.

———. ‘The Late Reverend James Penney’. The Bengal Obituary. Calcutta, London: Holmes and Co., W. Thacker & Co., 1851.

Adam, William. Correspondence Relative to the Prospects of Christianity: and the Means of Promoting Its Reception in India. Cambridge, Mass.: The University Press, Hilliard and Metcalf, 1825.

———. Report on the State of Education in Bengal. Calcutta: G.H. Huttmann, Bengal Military Orphan Press, 1835. ———. Third Report on the State of Education in Bengal; including Some Account of the State of Education in Behar, and a Consideration of the Means Adapted to the Improvement and Extension of Public Instruction in Both Provinces. Calcutta: Bengal Military Orphan Press, 1838.

Allen, William. Colonies at Home; or, the Means for Rendering the Industrious Labourer Independent of Parish Relief; and for Providing for the Poor Population of Ireland by Cultivation of the Soil. Linfield: C. Green, 1826.

American Marathi Mission. Memorial Papers of the American Marathi Mission, 1813–1881. Bombay: Education Society Press, 1882.

Anderson, Rufus. History of the Missions of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in India. Boston: Congregational Publishing Society, 1874.

Banaji, Khoshru Navrosji. Memoirs of the Late Framji Cowasji Banaji: By His Great Grandson Khoshru Navrosji Banaji. Bombay: Bombay Gazette Steam Printing Works, 1892.

Basu, A.N., ed. Indian Education in Parliamentary Papers (2 vols), Vol. 1. Bombay, Calcutta: Asia Publishing House, 1952. Bell, Andrew. An Experiment in Education, Made at the Male Asylum of Madras, Suggesting a System by Which a School or Family May Teach Itself under the Superintendence of the Master or the Parent. London: Printed by Cadell and Davies, 1797.

———. An Experiment in Education, Made at the Male Asylum of Madras, 2nd ed. London: Cadell & Davies, 1805.

———. Instructions for Conducting a School, through the Agency of the Scholars Themselves. London: J. Murray, Rivingstons, Hatchard, Archibald Constable and Co., 1808.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:16, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.011

Bibliography

333

———. The Madras School or Elements of Tuition; Comprising the Analysis of an Experiment in Education Made at the Male Asylum at Madras, with Facts, Proofs, and Illustrations. To Which Are Added Extracts of Sermons Preached at Lambeth; a Sketch of a National Institution for Training the Children of the Poor; a Specimen of the Mode of Religious Instruction at the Royal Military Asylum, Chelsea. London: J. Murray, 1808.

———. The English School; or, the History, Analysis, and Application of the Madras System of Education to English Schools. London: Rivingtons, 1814.

———. The Wrongs of Children; or, a Practical Vindication of Children from the Injustice Done Them in Early Nurture and Education: Addressed to Parents, Tutors, Guardians, and Masters, and to Legislators and Governors, Setting Forth the Source of Much Human Misery, and Pointing Out the Remedy. London: Rivingtons, 1819.

Bentham, Jeremy. Chrestomathia; Being a Collection of Papers Explanatory of the Design of an Institution Proposed to Be Set on Foot under the Name of Chrestomathia Day School or Chrestomathia School for the Extension of the New System of Instruction to the Higher Branches of Learning for the Use of the Middling and Higher Ranks in Life. London: Payne and Foss, 1816.

Bernard, Thomas. The New School; Being an Attempt to Illustrate Its Principles, Detail and Advantages. London: Printed by W. Bulmer and Co. for the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor, 1809. ———, ed. Of the Education of the Poor; Being the First Part of a Digest of Reports of the Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor; and Containing a Selection of Articles Which Have Reference to Education. London: Society for Bettering the Condition of the Poor, 1809.

Bowles, John. A Letter Addressed to Samuel Whitbread, Esq., M.P. in Consequence of the Unqualified Approbation Expressed by Him in the House of Commons, of Mr. Lancaster’s System of Education; the Religious Part of Which Is Here Shewn to Be Incompatible with the Safety of the Established Church, and, In Its Tendency, Subversive to Christianity Itself. Including Also Some Cursory Observations on the Claims of the Irish Romanists, as They Affect the Safety of the Established Church. London: Rivingtons, 1808. Bowring, John, ed. The Works of Jeremy Bentham. Edinburgh: William Tait, 1843. Brown, Charles Philip, ed. and trans. Vakyavali; Or, Exercises in Idioms, English and Telugu. SPCK, 1852.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:16, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.011

334

Bibliography

Campbell, A.D. ‘On the State of Education of the Natives in Southern India’. Transactions of the Literary Society of Madras 1 (1834): 350–360. Campbell, William. British India, in Its Relation to the Decline of Hindooism, and the Progress of Christianity: Containing Remarks on the Manners, Customs, and Literature of the People; on the Effects Which Idolatry Has Produced; on the Support, Which the British Government Has Afforded to Their Superstitions; on Education, and the Medium of Instruction through Which It Should Be Given. London: John Snow, 1839. Carey, William. An Enquiry into the Obligations of Christians to Use Means for the Conversion of the Heathens; in Which the Religious State of the Different Nations of the World, the Success of Former Undertakings, and the Practicability of Further Undertakings, Are Considered. Leicester: Ann Ireland, 1792. Chapman, Priscilla. Hindoo Female Education. London: R.B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1839. Colquhoun, Patrick. The State of Indigence and the Situation of the Casual Poor in the Metropolis. London: H. Baldwin and Son, 1799. ———. A Treatise on Indigence. London: Hatchard, 1806. Cordiner, James. A Voyage to India. Aberdeen: Brown, 1820. Dharmpal, ed. The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century. New Delhi: Biblia Impex Private Ltd., 1983. Day, Lal Behari. Govinda Sámanta: Or the History of a Bengal Ráiyat. London: Macmillan, 1874. Deshpande, Govind P., ed. Selected Writings of Jotirao Phule. New Delhi: Leftword, 2002. DiBona, Joseph, ed. One Teacher, One School: William Adam’s Reports on Vernacular Education in Bengal, Calcutta 1835–1838. Delhi: Biblia Impex Private Ltd., 1983.

Dickens, Charles. Oliver Twist; or the Parish Boy’s Progress. London: Penguin, 2003.

Duff, Alexander. India, and India Missions: Including Sketches of the Gigantic System of Hinduism, Both in Theory and Practice; Also Notices of Some of the Principal Agencies Employed in Conducting the Process of Indian Evangelization. Edinburgh: J. Johnstone, 1840.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:16, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.011

Bibliography

335

———. Review of William Adam’s 2nd and 3rd Reports on the State of Education in Bengal and Behar, 1836 and 1838. Calcutta Review 2 (1844): 301–376.

Eden, Sir Frederick. The State of the Poor. Abridged and edited by A.G.L. Rogers. London: G. Routledge and Sons, 1928 [1797].

Ferguson, Adam. An Essay in the History of Civil Society. Dodo Press, 2007 [1767].

Ferguson, James, F.R.S. An Easy Introduction to Astronomy for Young Gentlemen and Ladies. Describing the Figure, Motions, and Dimensions of the Earth; the Different Seasons; Gravity and Light; the Solar System; the Transit of Venus, and Its Use in Astronomy; the Moon’s Motions and Phases; the Eclipses of the Sun and Moon; the Cause of the Ebbing and Flowing of the Sea, &c. Glasgow: Printed for Gray, Mavor & Co., 1804. Fielding, Henry. The History of Tom Jones. London: Penguin, 1985 [1749].

Foster, John. An Essay on the Evils of Popular Ignorance; and a Discourse on the Communication of Christianity to the People of Hindoostan. London: B.J. Holdsworth, 1821 [1820].

Fox, Joseph. A Comparative View of the Plans of Education as Detailed in the Publications of Dr. Bell and Mr. Lancaster. The Second Edition, with Remarks on Dr. Bell’s ‘Madras School’, and Hints to the Managers and Committees of Charity and Sunday Schools, on the Practicability of Extending Such Institutions upon Mr. Lancaster’s Plan. London: Printed at the Free School, Borough Road, 1809. ———. A Scriptural Education the Glory of England: Being a Defense of the Lancastrian Plan of Education, and the Bible Society, in Answer to the Publications of the Rev. C. Daubeny, Archdeacon of Sarum, the Rev. Dr. Wordsworth, the Rev. Mr. Spry &c. &c. London: Royal Free School Press, 1810.

Grant, Charles. 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. – Written Chiefly in the Year 1792; Ordered, by The House of Commons, to Be Printed, 15 June 1813 [1792].

Home and Colonial Infant School Society, ed. Useful Hints to Teachers. London: James Nisbet and Co., 1843.

Hough, James. History of Christianity in India: from the Commencement of the Christian Era. London: R.B. Seeley and W. Burnside, 1839.

Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:16, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://doi.org/10.1017/9781108653374.011

336

Bibliography

Hunter, Robert. History of the Missions of the Free Church of Scotland in India and Africa. With Prefatory Note by Charles J. Brown. London: T. Nelson and Sons, 1837.

Indian Education Commission. Report of the Indian Education Commission. Calcutta: Printed by the Superintendent of Government Printing, 1883.

Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee. Vol. I. Report of the Bombay Provincial Committee. Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1884.

Indian Education Commission, Bombay Provincial Committee. Vol. II. Report. Evidence and Memorials Addressed to the Education Commission. Calcutta: Superintendent of Government Printing, 1884. Indian Statutory Commission, Interim Report of the Indian Statutory Commission (Review of Growth of Education in British India by the Auxiliary Committee Appointed by the Commission). Calcutta: Government of India Central Publication Branch, 1929.

John, Christoph Samuel. ‘On Indian Civilisation or Report of a Successful Trial Made during Two Years, on That Subject, in Fifteen Tamul and Five English Native Schools’. Missionary Register, 1813, 369–384.

———. ‘On Indian Civilisation or Report of a Successful Trial Made since Two Years on That Subject in 15 Tamul & 5 English Run Native Free Schools & Proposals for Establishing a Separate Liberal School Society, Humbly Submitted to the Judgement and Patronage of the Honourable Governments of the Honourable East India Company, of the Respectable Religious Society & of Generous & Charitable Public.’ In Halle and the Beginning of Protestant Christianity in India, edited by Andreas Gross, Y. Vincent Kumaradoss and Heike Liebau, 1467–1491. Halle: Franckesche Stiftungen, 2006 [1812].

Joyce, Jeremiah. Dialogues, Illustrative of the First Principles of Mechanics and Astronomy; Designed to Form a Prize-book in Schools, and a Help to Natives Desirous of Scientific Knowledge. Calcutta: Calcutta School-Book Society, 1819.

Kay-Shuttleworth, James. Four Periods of Public Education as Reviewed in 1832–1839–1846–1862. London: Longman, Green, Longman, and Roberts, 1862.

Kilham, Hannah. The Claims of West Africa to Christian Instruction through the Native Languages. London: Harvey and Darton, 1830.

Kosambi, Meera, ed. Pandita Ramabai through Her Own Words: Selected Works. Delhi: Oxford University Press 2000. Downloaded from https://www.cambridge.org/core. London School of Economics & Political Science, on 09 Dec 2019 at 06:54:16, subject to the Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https://www.cambridge.org/core/terms. https://