INSIGHT X: Reality of Christian missionaries through the lens of Arun Shourie's book

NewsBharati    15-Oct-2022 10:00:38 AM   
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Namaskar, the new series 'INSIGHT' is an attempt to present the central thought of a thought-provoking book. "Missionaries In India Continuities, Changes, Dilemmas", a book by Shri Arun Shourie compels readers to contemplate various points put forth.

INSIGHT ix Gandhi and Swami's views on Christian missionaries

Also Read: INSIGHT IX: Reality of Christian missionaries through the lens of Arun Shourie's book
Teaching English to Indians was suggested as a solution. ' promotion of English literature and science among the natives of India ' was, for Macaulay, essential.

"No Hindoo(as spelled by him) who has received an English education, ever remains sincerely attached to his religion" he hoped if this is followed there will not be any ' idolator among the respectable class in Bengal', in thirty years.

Of course, some points were raised, like,' should they be taught at all?' ," would it not be introducing them to the ideas of freedom?" (Reference: on the Education of the People of India by Charles Edward Trevelyan, a young Civil servant)

He made some points in his book in chapter 7. He thought it was not their policy to enlighten ' natives of India '. By giving knowledge they would be capable to do without them, it was like giving them power that would be used against them.

If Indians are set on the 'process of European improvement, ...they will cease to desire and aim at independence '. This, he thought would make them safe. They would be scared to form prematurely establish the government of natives. Though this class was a small minority then ,he was confident that it would become the majority in a small span of time. This process, he thought would provide strong foundation and prosperity to their nation. India, he thought would remain ' the proudest monument of British benevolence'.

English, he describes had a greater treasure of true knowledge compared to Indian languages, so Indians will study it with enthusiasm, and it will change them in 'feeling' and 'opinion'. This he said, is based on his experience and observation, as he worked in India for some years in different capacities. He gave his observation from his stay in Bengal that people did not think of 'cutting the throats of English, on the contrary, they wanted to share power and attain prestigious positions. The establishment of national representative assembly was a distant thought. For it, they wanted to work with the help of the British government and gradually improve their countrymen in knowledge and morality.

He considered the native army as the pillar of the empire. He suggested the army have two different classes,the English officers and natives. The English officers would take care of the interest of the empire. The detailed plan is described. Zillah seminary-educated boys would not be enlisted in the army. The entry-level sepoys would be educated in the village schools. They would be thankful to the rulers and systematically they should be made to be attached to the 'British connection'. The habit of obedience would be inculcated. Even intellectuals ( read Brahmins, the writing of Trevelyan refers to this class ) in society would not be able to do much.

Hinduism according to him, never gave space to examination or evidence, it cannot stand the light of European science. Though he considered Mohammedan as a tougher material, he was confident that after English education this would change. This would help changing and reform institutions.

He made suggestions of doing away with some duties and investing in public instruction which would secure moral and intellectual liberation, it would enhance their attachment and they would then deserve alliance with the rulers. 

Prof. Vidya Deshpande

Professor Vidya Deshpande has had a journey of more than four decades in the field of education. Her  main expertise is in the subject of Philosophy,  and she has worked as a teacher of philosophy and logic with Nowrosjee Wadia college for 36 years. She has been associated with the Janakalyan Blood bank for last for 38 years and has also carried out the responsibility as a management committee member of Karve Stree Shikshan Sanstha for 10 years. Her special fields of interest are Philosophy of social sciences, school education, development of skills for self reliance,  and top up skills to make students profession ready,