The colonised Indian education system has long been churning out deracinated and mediocre citizens. One look at the Lutyens’ elites controlling our public discourse will provide all the necessary evidence.
However, the obsession with English language and glorifying the West has grown manifold since the turn of the century. Rather than treat English as just another helpful tool for career growth, it has been made into the most important subject in many of the new-age ‘international’ schools that have sprung up. English is now taught as two separate subjects in many schools – as Eng. Literature and Eng. Language – at the expense of the mother tongue.
Another phenomenon is the ‘international study tour’ concept which schools are now selling to gullible parents. A mother shared her experience through a twitter thread:
My daughter was ‘selected’ some years ago to travel to UK as a part of a ‘study tour’ that her school offers. Received letter from school to meet the principal to know more details. “She’ll get to see the school where SRK’s son studied, the room where he stayed”, she declared.
“It will be a great exposure for her to see the British schools. Had it not been for the British, we wouldn’t have got such a strong education system here“, the principal added. Proudly took her name off the ‘program’, which I figured was nothing more than a casual trip.
The last thing my daughter needed was ‘exposure’ to the room where Aryan Khan stayed. I have figured that schools come up with different ‘programs’ which are just money-minting schemes. When the ‘selected’ students backed off, the program was open to anyone who wanted to pay!
There are parents who happily send their students for such ‘trips’. I’m not judging them. But I’d rather send my child if the trips are worthwhile, educative and meaningful, like the ones she attended to compete with 50+ other schools for a cultural meet-up.
If the highlight of the ‘study trip’ is going to see Suhana and Aryan Khan’s hostel room, I have serious reservations about calling it a trip of any value! Glad that my daughter herself decided to not go for such a tour, after getting the brief from the principal.
A person living in UK provided their perspective:
I live and work in Harrow. A school in the area also called Harrow attracts a lot of Indian children merely because Nehru studied there! Truth is, that fraud was home-schooled in Allahabad and stayed at Harrow briefly where he was a rubbishy student
He went on to be even more of a rubbishy student at Cambridge. From Cambridge, Nehru asked his father to transfer him to Oxford as there were too many INDIANS in Cambridge! He failed at Cambridge but got a gentleman’s degree, reserved for the rich!
This writer can personally testify to the colonised mindset of our schools today. The below is a photo of a Maths textbook for class 3, being taught in a popular school in Pune:
In the 4th standard social studies book of the same school, this is the list of ‘Remarkable Indians”: Mother Teresa, Shahrukh Khan, Suneeta Williams. During an online class, a teacher was heard saying, “Children, you must watch how Americans had lined up to celebrate the election of President Joe Biden. They were so disciplined, you really must watch it on YouTube…and compare it to what happens here.”
I wonder if the teacher is aware of how far-left and far-right groups were fighting pitched battles with each other and with police in the run up to the same US elections? Or how Trump supporters stormed the US Parliament, unhappy with election results? Or how the entire US election process was replete with tales of fraud, ballot stuffing etc. Bharat’s elections conducted via EVMs are far better, and it is only the ‘secular’ states like Kerala and West Bengal where election-related violence is still a terrible reality.
It must be said here that Shah Rukh Khan is free to send his son wherever he wishes. For the record, even Shweta Nandan Bacchan’s son went to the same Seven Oaks school. We must absorb best practices from schools all over the world, and Seven Oaks may be a great school for all we know. The issue here is about Indian schools and teachers glamorizing elite foreign schools, and breeding a sense of inferiority and self-loathing in their students about Bharat.
The myth of the British education ‘gift’ to Bharat
It is an unfortunate reality that many ‘educated’ Indians still believe in gibberish, colonial-era theories like British gave us a ‘strong education system’. This kind of slavish thinking can be easily countered:
1.) Refer to Shri Dharampal’s book ‘The Beautiful Tree‘ which shows how widespread our indigenous education system was, and how it was inclusive of all sections of society irrespective of jaati or varna.
2.) Another book by Shri Dharampal “Indian science and technology in the eighteenth century,” shows that most of the native skills and technologies that perished as a result of British policies were those of the so-called ‘lower’ castes.
3.) Even Gandhi stated at Chatham House in London on October 20, 1931, that “Bharat today is more illiterate than it was fifty or hundred years ago”.
4.) Bharat’s contribution to world GDP at the beginning of the first millennium of the common era (0 CE) was 33%. The share shrunk to 22% by the time Mughal dominance was ending, briefly rose to 25% as Marathas freed a large chunk of the nation, then plummeted to around 5% by the time British Raj ended. Economist Usta Patnaik has estimated that British siphoned out $45 trillion from Bharat (our annual GDP today is $3 trillion). If British were really interested in improving our education system and in our progress, shouldn’t our economy have grown?
5.) The real intent of the education system that British created after destroying ours, was captured by Thomas Babington Macaulay in his infamous Minute on Education (1835) –
“It is my firm belief that if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolator among the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence. And this will be affected without any effort to proselytise; without the smallest interference in their religious liberty; merely by the operation of knowledge and reflection….
…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.”
6.) There is no denying that Europe and later America made great advances in science and technology in the last 500 years, not least because of the surplus resources they had to invest in research due to all the colonial loot from Asia, Africa, Americas. But no one has a copyright on knowledge.
Just as Bharatiya and Chinese knowledge once flowed West to Europe, it has now travelled East from Europe. But as Japan, Korea and now China have showed us – all modern advances in science & technology, medicine, management, law etc can be quickly assimilated into indigenous education systems and taken even further. Why is it that 75 years after Independence, we are still struggling to lift our people out of poverty despite the ‘advantage’ of the British education system? On the other hand, the Japanese modernized their economy in a mere 30 years after the Meiji Restoration of 1868, by revitalizing (not replacing) the indigenous Japanese education system to teach modern scientific methods.
How many world-class scientists or mathematicians have these hubs of British education system: our convent schools, colleges like St. Stephens produced? Writing a verbose 800 word op-ed for a national newspaper is not a sign of intellect. And let’s not talk about the social ‘science’ graduates this system is producing – most are just regurgitating Western models and frameworks, totally divorced from the Bharatiya civilizational context.
Most of our top English-medium schools today are producing exactly what Macaulay had wished for – a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. Unless we change this, we will keep languishing as a ‘developing’ country fit only to provide outsourcing services to the English-speaking world.