WRITTEN BY R. NANJAPPA                        

Post No. 8562

Date uploaded in London – – – 24 August 2020   

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                                                      R. Nanjappa

                          THE COLLECTED WRITINGS OF DHARAMPAL- 4.

                                                      Chapter 9 – Part 4


Prendergast was a member of the Council in the Bombay Presidency. He stated in 1821:

“…every member of the Board knows …that there is hardly a village, great or small,

throughout our territories, in which there is not at least one school, and in larger villages

more; many in every town, and in large cities in every division: where young natives are

taught reading, writing and arithmetic, upon a system so economical, from a handful or

two of grain to  perhaps a rupee per month to the school master according to the ability of

the parents, and at the same time so simple and effectual, that there is hardly a cultivator

or petty dealer who is not competent to keep his own accounts with a degree of accuracy,

in my opinion, beyond what we meet with amongst the lower orders in our own country;

while the more splendid dealers and bankers keep their books with a degree of ease,

conciseness, and clearness that I rather think fully equal to those of any British



We thus see from the accounts of Britishers and other foreigners themselves that India did

have a flourishing system of education, which served it well. It was comparable to the best

in the world. Indeed, it was better in some respects to their own that even the British

borrowed elements from it. 

All this testimony was available in writing, but they had not yet become ” printed documents”

to which “precise references” could be drawn. The colonial powers willfully suppressed

them. It was a pity that no nationalist leader did take up this challenge. It was unfortunate

that even our so called academics did not access the original documents and follow up

on the debate, even after Independence. Most of them continue to follow the British lies

and concoctions without critical scrutiny or application of mind, or even plain conscience..

It was Dharampal who unearthed the hidden papers and published them. He has done what

a true University should have done. He proved, on the basis of British documents

themselves, that Gandhiji was totally right in his claims about Indian education.


These accounts also reveal more than educational decay. They show how the country

got into the deathly grip of the imperial power , our whole economic system, polity, social

arrangements, which indeed supported education and other public purposes, collapsed.

There had been revenue assignments for many of the teachers, and these were

dispossessed. The village community lost its financial independence and

political  control. They lost their financial resources. There was an “over all disruption 

and decline of Indian society and its institutions under British rule”. Decline of our

education was but one part of it.

We are not idealising or romanticizing the past or working for its return as it was. But

we should at least  know that in its own time and place, Indian education served the

intended purposes well, and promoted national prosperity so that India was a leading

contributor to world GDP till the middle of the 18th Century. It contains elements which

are still relevant. It incorporates methods which are still valid. It may not be beyond

criticism, from the modern mentality, but those who choose to criticise should at least

know what they are criticising! They should know the facts first. These are what

Dharampal provides in his volumes-incontrovertible, solid facts, based on official

After conducting surveys and collecting much information about the state of our

education, and knowing well how extensive and effective it was, the British allowed

the material to gather dust, and the education system to decay and die. As Gandhiji

said in 1931,

“They scratched the soil and began to look at the root and left the root like

that, and the beautiful tree perished.”

Yes, the Beautiful Tree of indigenous Indian education perished. The government of

Independent India buried the remnants.  Our so called educated and the pseudo

intellectuals, the sepoys of Macaulay, are celebrating it.                                                                   *** Chapter 9 concluded

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