22 December 2016

MACAULAY'S MINUTE : Charter act of 1813

Thomas Babington Macaulay, who is generally regarded as the architect of the system of education in India during the British rule, was a great essayist, historian, linguist, orator, politician, statesman and thinker.
He was regarded as one of the first rate literary figure of his times. As a parliamentarian, he made his mark in British parliament. He came to India in 1838 and joined as the law member of the executive council of the governor-General. He was also appointed as the president of the general committee on Public instruction by governor general Lord William Bentinck.

MACAULAY'S MINUTE, Charter act of 1813
Thomas Babington Macaulay

                                    Macaulay wrote his famous minute on Feb. 2, 1835 in which he vehemently criticized almost everything Indian: astronomy, culture, history, philosophy, religion etc., and praised everything western. On this basis he advocated the national system of education for India which could best serve the interest of the British Empire. His minutes was accepted and Lord William Bentinck issued his proclamation inn march 1935 which set at rest all the controversies and led to the formulation of a policy which became the corner stone of all educational programmes during the British period in India.

     Revival of the chapter ( Charter act of 1813 )

The beginning of the state system of education in India under the British rule maybe traced back to the year 1813 when the east India company was compelled by the force of circumstances to accept responsibility for the education of Indians. Clause 43 of the charter act of 1813 which stated “It shall be lawful for the governor general in council to direct that out of any surplus which may remain of rents, revenues , and profits arising from the said territorial acquisitions , after defraying the expenses of the military , civil and commercial establishment and paying the interest of the debt, in manner hereinafter provided , a sum of not less than one lac of rupees in each year shall be set apart and applied to 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.
The charter act of 1813 did not specify the methods to secure the objects of revival and improvement of nature, the encouragement of learned natives of India and the introduction and promotion of knowledge of sciences among the inhabitants of British territories in India. The vagueness of clause 43 of the charter act 1813 intensified the oriental occidental’s educational controversy in India. Since the dons of 19th century, there had emerged two groups among the officials of the company. One group was of the orientlists or classists who wanted the promotion of Indian education through the medium of Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian whereas the other group was of anglicists or occidentalists who were in favour of developing western education in India through the medium of English.

2   Points of controversy on the interpretation of charter act of 1813 and the national system of education and Macaulay’s role:

At that time a major oriental and occidental controversy was going on in respect of the following issues

1.      Aim of education of the British policy: whether it should be to educate the classes in higher branches of learning or the masses in  elementary education
2.      Type of knowledge: whether to preserve and promote oriental learning or to introduce western knowledge, culture and science
3.      Medium of instruction: whether English or Persian and Sanskrit in Bengal, English or Indian languages in Bombay and madras should become the medium of instruction
4.      Agency of education: whether the government should assume direct responsibility of educating the Indians or the indigenous system of the country to continue
5.      Missionaries: whether the shores of India to be thrown open to missionaries of all parts of the world to promote education or to a few missionaries or not at  all

There were important English officers of the east India Company who were the supporters of the oriental point of view. H.T princep who was the education secretary in Bengal who was the leader of the orientalist group. On the contrary some prominent Indians like Raja Ram Mohan Roy supported the anglicists who were in favour of English and western learning

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