In this series of articles, we are introducing the book ‘The Beautiful tree’ by Shri Dharampal, to readers old and new. Shri Dharampal was one of the leading intellectuals & writers of Independent Bharat, whose work was subsequently marginalised & suppressed by the left-leaning academic establishment. We are grateful to VoiceOfDharma.org for making this treasure trove of books/articles available for the common public.
Annexure A part I
Minute of governor Sir Thomas Munro ordering the collection of detailed information on indigenous education: 25.06.1822*
(TNSA: Revenue Consultations: Vol.920: dated 2.7.1822)
1.Much has been written both in England and in this country about the ignorance of the people of Bharat and the means of disseminating knowledge among them. But the opinions upon this subject are the mere conjectures of individuals unsupported by any authentic documents and differing so widely from each other as to be entitled to very little attention.
Our power in this country and the nature of its own municipal institutions have certainly rendered it practicable to collect material from which a judgment might be formed of the state of the mental cultivation of the people. We have made geographical and agricultural surveys of our provinces.
We have investigated their resources and endeavored to ascertain their population, but little or nothing has been done to learn the state of education. We have no record to show the actual state of education throughout the country. Partial inquiries have been made by individuals, but those have taken place at distant periods and on a small scale and no inference can be drawn from them with regard to the country in general.
There may be some difficulty in obtaining such a record as we want. Some Districts will not but others probably will furnish it and if we get it only from two or three it will answer in some degree for all the rest. It cannot be expected to be very accurate, but it will at least enable us to form an estimate of the state of instructions among the people. The only record which can furnish the information required is a list of the schools in which reading and writing are taught in each district showing the number of scholars in each and the caste to which they belong.
The Collectors should be directed to prepare this document according to the form which accompanies this paper. They should be desired to state the names of the book generally read at the schools. The time which scholars usually continue, at such schools.
The monthly or yearly charge to the scholars and whether any of the schools are endowed by the public and if so the nature and amount of the fund. When there are colleges or other institutions for teaching Theology, Law, Astronomy, etc. an account should be given of them.
These sciences are usually taught privately without fee or reward by individuals to a few scholars or disciples, but there are also some instances in which the native governments have granted allowances in money and land for the maintenance of the teachers.
2.In some districts, reading and writing are confined almost entirely to Bramins and the mercantile class. In some, they extend to other classes and are pretty general among the Patails of villages and principal Royals. To the women of Bramins and of Hindoos in general they are unknown because the knowledge of them is prohibited and regarded as unbecoming of the modesty of the sex and fit only for public dancers.
But among the women of the Rujbundah and some other tribes of Hindoos who seem to have no prejudice of this kind, they are generally taught. The prohibition against women learning to read is probably from various causes, much less attended to in some districts than in others and as it is possible that in every district a few females may be found in the reading schools, a column has been entered for them in the Form proposed to be sent to the Collector. The mixed and impure castes seldom learn to read, but as a few of them do, columns are left for them in the Form.
3.It is not my intention to recommend any interface whatever in the native schools. Everything of this kind ought to be carefully avoided, and the people should be left to manage their schools in their own way. All that we ought to do is to facilitate the operations of these schools by restoring any funds that may have been diverted from them and perhaps granting additional ones, where it may appear advisable. But on this point, we shall be better able to judge when we receive the information now proposed to be called for.
25th June 1822.
(Note: Minor edits have been made to the content to conform with HinduPost styleguide)
(Click here to read the previous article in the series)
Book: The Beautiful Tree
Originally published: 1983
Published by: Voice of India
Did you find this article useful? We’re a non-profit. Make a donation and help pay for our journalism.