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THE PEOPLE OF INDIA.
The Measures first adopted for educating the Natives.— The Establishment of the Committee of Public Instruction. Their first Plan of Operations. Difference of Opinion which arose.—The Resolution of Government of the 7th March 1835.- The Measures adopted by the Committee in consequence. No Distinction of Caste allowed in the new Seminaries.- Cultivation of the vernacular Languages. -Education of the Wards of Government. The Medical College. - Mr. Adam's Deputation.
THE history of the first efforts made by us for the education of our Indian fellow-subjects may be told in a few words. The Mohammedan college at Calcutta was established A.D. 1781, and the Sanskrit college at Benares A. D. 1792. The
course of study at these institutions was purely oriental, and the object of it was to provide a regular supply of qualified Hindu and Mohammedan law officers for the judicial administration. The next step taken was at the renewal of the Company's charter in 1813, when 10,000l., or a lac of rupees a year, was set apart "for the revival and promotion of literature, and the encouragement of the learned natives of India, and for the introduction and promotion of a knowledge of the sciences among the inhabitants of the British territories." The subject was however regarded at that time in India with so much apathy, that no measures were adopted to fulfil the intentions of the British legislature till 1823. On the 17th of July in that year the governor general in council resolved, that "there should be constituted a general committee of public instruction for the purpose of ascertaining the state of public education, and of the public institutions designed for its promotion, and of considering, and from time to time submitting to government, the suggestion of such measures as it may appear expedient to adopt with a view to the better instruction of the people, to the introduction among them of useful knowledge, and to the improvement of their moral character." Corresponding instructions were addressed to the
gentlemen who were to compose the committee*, and the arrears of the annual lac of rupees were accounted for to them from the 1st May 1821. From this period the general committee of public instruction must be regarded as the sole organ of the government in every thing that concerns that important branch of its functions.
The first measures of the new committee were to complete the organization of a Sanskrit college, then lately established by the government at Calcutta, in lieu of two similar institutions, the formation of which had been previously contemplated at Nuddea and Tirhoot; to take under their patronage and greatly to improve the Hindu college at Calcutta, which had been founded as far back as 1816, by the voluntary contributions of the natives themselves, for the instruction of their youth in English literature and science; to found two entirely new colleges at Delhi and Agra for the cultivation of oriental literature; to commence the printing of Sanskrit and Arabic books
* In the instructions addressed to the committee, the object of their appointment was stated to be the "considering and from time to time submitting to government the suggestion of such measures as it may appear expedient to adopt with a view to the better instruction of the people, to the introduction of useful knowledge, including the sciences and arts of Europe, and to the improvement of their moral character."
on a great scale, besides liberally encouraging such undertakings by others; and to employ an accomplished oriental scholar in translating European scientific works into Arabic, upon which undertaking large sums were subsequently expended. English classes were afterwards established in connection with the Mohammedan and Sanskrit college at Calcutta, the Sanskrit college at Benares, and the Agra college; and a separate institution was founded at Delhi in 1829 for the cultivation of western learning, in compliance with the urgent solicitation of the authorities at that place.
The principles which guided the proceedings of the committee throughout this period are explained in the following extract from their printed report, dated in December 1831:
"The introduction of useful knowledge is the great object which they have proposed as the end of the measures adopted or recommended by them, keeping in view the necessity of consulting the feelings and conciliating the confidence of those for whose advantage their measures are designed.
"The committee has therefore continued to encourage the acquirement of the native literature of both Mohammedans and Hindus, in the institutions which they found established for these
purposes, as the Madressa of Calcutta and Sanskrit college of Benares. They have also endeavoured to promote the activity of similar establishments, of which local considerations dictated the formation, as the Sanskrit college of Calcutta and the colleges of Agra and Delhi, as it is to such alone, even in the present day, that the influential and learned classes, those who are by birthright or profession teachers and expounders of literature, law, and religion, maulavis and pundits, willingly
"In the absence of their natural patrons, the rich and powerful of their own creeds, the committee have felt it incumbent upon them to contribute to the support of the learned classes of India by literary endowments, which provide not only directly for a certain number, but indirectly for many more, who derive from collegiate acquirements consideration and subsistence amongst their countrymen. As far also as Mohammedan and Hindu law are concerned, an avenue is thus opened for them to public employment, and the state is provided with a supply of able servants and valuable subjects; for there is no doubt that, imperfect as oriental learning may be in many respects, yet the higher the degree of the attainments even in it possessed by any native, the more