WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8552

Date uploaded in London – – – 22 August 2020   

Contact –

Pictures are taken from various sources for spreading knowledge; this is a non- commercial blog. Thanks for your great pictures.


                                                      R. Nanjappa


                                                 Chapter 9 – Part 2


Most students were fed by the teachers or by the village community.
This was especially so in the case of Brahmins who were usually poor. The teacher himself

being poor, the boys were fed by different families in turn. The Collector of Cuddapah stated:

They receive some portion of the alms daily at the door of every Brahmin in the

village, and this is conceded to them with a cheerfulness which considering the

object in view must be esteemed as a most honourable trait in the native

character and its unobtrusiveness ought to enhance the value of it.”

The Collector of Guntoor also said about the teaching of theology, law, astronomy:

“These sciences are privately taught to some scholars or disciples generally by

the Brahmins learned in them without payment of any fee or reward.” 

These Brahmins were from families who had received some grants of land (maunyams) from

the Zamindar in the past, though not specifically for this purpose.
If the student is poor, “the student procures his daily subsistence from the houses

in the villages.. which willingly furnish such by turns.”


Reading, writing and arithmetic formed the core subjects, But a number of books were used.
In Bellary
A.Most commonly used:
Ramayana, Mahabharata, Bhagavatam
B.Used by children of Manufacturing Classes:
Nagalingayna Katha, Vishvakarma Purana, Kumalesherra Kalika Mahata
C.Used by Lingayat Children:
Buwapurana, Raghavan-Kunkauya, Geeeruja Kullana, Unbhavamoorta, Chenna Basaveswara

Purana, Gurilagooloo, etc
D.Lighter Literature:
Panchatantra, Bhatalapunchavunsatee, Punklee-soopooktahuller, Mahantarangenee,
E.Dictionaries and Grammars:
Nikantoo, Amara, Subdamumburee, Shubdeemunee-Darpana, Vyacurna, Andradeepeca,

Andranamasangraha, etc.
About 43 books were used in the schools of Rajhamundry.
Different books were used in higher learning.
Apart from the Vedas, its 6 subsidiaries like Tarkam, Jyotisham seem to have been taught,

along with Dharma Sastra and Kavyas.

More than school enrollment

Most of the Collectors said that a large number of boys, and especially girls, were receiving

education at home. In the Malabar, the number of such students were 21 times the number

attending the regular institution of higher learning. Theology, Astronomy, Metaphysics,

Ethics, Poetry, Literature, Medical Science, Music and Dance were learnt in this way. In

Madras, the number privately studying at home was reported to be 4.73 times the number

attending regular schools. Most girls were educated this way. The Collectors of Masulipatam,

Madura and Tinnevelly reported that the girls who attended schools were usually

dancing girls.

These surveys are full of interesting details. They show how the network of indigenous

education flourished, covering all castes, with minimum of outlay, that too largely provided

and maintained by the community. Change of rulers did not affect this, till the British came.

Education then meant more than formal schooling.

Adam’s Reports: 1835-38

W.Adam came to India as a Methodist Missionary, but later turned a journalist. He undertook

three surveys of the education scene in Bengal province, which then included parts of Bihar.

He was a typical British product of his day, combining the zeal to evangelise and Westernise.

He wanted to show that education was in a decayed state, but his surveys reveal much

information about the number of schools, caste-wise composition of students and teachers,

the books used, etc.

The greatest controversy he created was in regard to numbers. He said that every village

had at least one school. With Bengal and Bihar having 1,50,748 villages, “there will still be

1,00,000″ villages that have these schools. He also informed that there were at least 100

institutions of higher learning in each district. He said that while the elementary schools

were generally held in the residence of some respectable villagers, the schools of higher

learning had their own structures. The scholars were usually fed and clothed by the teachers,

and were often assisted by the villagers. He presented the data district by district.

Bengali, Hindi, Oriya, Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic were the languages taught. English was

taught in 8 schools.
He said that there were four stages in elementary education, beginning with forming

letters on the ground with a small stick; the second stage  (covering from 2.5 to 4 years)

covered writing on palm leaf, learning to read and write, commit to memory numeration

table; they also had to learn land measurement tables. The third stage, lasting 2 to

3 years, covered writing on plantain leaf, in addition to learning addition, subtraction, etc.

In the fourth stage, lasting up to two years, writing was done on paper. The student was

then expected to be able to read the Ramayana at home, and also be competent in

accounts, be able to write letters, draft petitions, etc.

The teachers and the taught came from a wide variety of social groups. While many

teachers came from Kayastha, Brahmin, Sadgop and Aguri communities, a large number

came from 30 other castes, including 6 from Chandalas! The students came from all castes,

the Brahmins and Kayasthas no where exceeding 40%, while in the two districts of Bihar,

they formed only 15 to 16%. In Burdwan large number of students  in the native schools

were from the 16 lowest castes.

There were 353 Sanskritic schools. The teachers were predominantly Brahmins. The

subjects taught were: Grammar, Logic, Law, Literature, Mythology, Astrology, Lexicology,

Rhetoric, Medicine, Vedanta, Tantra, Mimamsa, Sankhya. The age of entry and duration

of study varied depending on the subject. lasting from 7 to 15 years.
The teachers were mostly in their thirties.

                                                                ***   Chapter 9  to be continued

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: