The damage Macaulay did to India


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October 14, 2006

A country needs people who are proud of their own culture and civilization in order to move forward. That is what true nationalism – as opposed to jingoism – is all about. It also requires an intelligentsia which reflects this pride in its newspapers, books, paintings, sculptures and sports.

But for such overall excellence to be achieved, a country needs intellectuals in contact with their society, who know their roots, who have been groomed in the intricacies, the subtleties and genius of their own culture, while not being blind to its faults. For intellectuals are the ones who shape the psyche of a nation.

In India, we generally find there exists a brilliant intelligentsia, which is at par with most of the Western intelligentsia. Indian intellectuals are fluent in English, write it even better, are cognizant of Western literature; indeed, they can often quote Camus, Sartre, Freud, and Jung; they know the latest trends in the West, have read the latest books, and can converse on any subject on this earth, be it ecology or fashion.

Unfortunately, not only are they totally ignorant of their own culture, but they also look down upon it. Not only have they no idea about the greatness of the Bhagavad Gita, of meditation, of Ayurveda, or pranayama, but they use the best of their talents to run it down, with wit, good English and a nasty and acerbic pen.

These intellectuals are all a product of a man called Macaulay, who, more than 200 years ago, had the brilliant idea to fashion sahibs out of brown-skin natives and make them not only more British than the British, but also make them ashamed of their own culture, spirituality and ethos. When they took over India, the British set upon establishing an intermediary race of Indians, whom they could entrust with their work at the middle level echelons and who could one day be convenient instruments to rule by proxy, or semi-proxy. The tool to shape these British clones was education.

In the words of Macaulay, the pope of British schooling in India: “We must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions we govern, a class of persons Indians in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals and in intellects.” Macaulay had very little regard for Hindu culture and education: He stated “All the historical information which can be collected from all the books which have been written in the Sanskrit language, is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgement used at preparatory schools in England.”
He further said : “Hindus have a literature of small intrinsic value, hardly reconcilable with morality and full of monstrous superstitions.”

It seems today that India’s Marxist intelligentsia could not agree more with Macaulay, for his dream has come true: Today, the greatest opponents of Indianised and spiritualized education are the descendants of these brown sahibs; the “secular” politicians, the journalists, the top bureaucrats, the whole westernized cream of India. And what is even more paradoxical, most of them are Hindus!

It is they who, on getting independence, have denied India its true identity and borrowed blindly from the British education system, without trying to adapt it to the unique Indian mentality and psychology; and it is they who are refusing to accept a change of India’s education system, which is totally West-oriented and is churning out machines, learning by rote boring statistics which are of little use in life.

And what India is getting from this education is a youth which apes the West: They go to McDonald’s, thrive on MTV culture, wear the latest Klein jeans and Lacoste T-Shirts, and in general are useless, rich parasites, in a country which has so many talented youngsters who live in poverty . They will grow up like millions of other Western clones in the developing world, who wear a tie, read The New York Times and perhaps swear by liberalism and secularism to save their countries from doom. In time, the same youth will reach elevated positions and write books and articles which make fun of India; they will preside over human-right committees; be “secular” high bureaucrats who take the wrong decisions and generally do tremendous harm to India, because it has been programmed in their genes to always run their own country down. In a gist, they will be the ones always looking to the West for approval and forever perceive India through the Western prism.

Dr. Murli Manohar Joshi is absolutely right. Indian children should be told about the immense human and spiritual values of their own literature, like we in Europe are brought up on the values of the Iliad and the Odyssey, or the great Greek tragedies. Therefore, education in India has to be more Indianised – it is not a question of being “nationalistic”, or “saffron-oriented”, as Indian Marxists are fond of saying, but of knowing one’s own culture, the Vedas, the Bhagavad Gita, the Ramayana, which in fact, according to many Western scholars, stand among the greatest literary
works of all times.

At the same time, it is true, as Sri Aurobindo pointed out: “Though we must save for India all that she has stored up of knowledge, character and noble thoughts in her immemorial past, we must also acquire for her the best knowledge that Europe can give her and assimilate it to her own peculiar type of national temperament.

Unfortunately, at a time when the West, sick with antibiotics and a blind medicine which kills more than it cures, is rediscovering the virtues of Ayurveda, every third shop in India sells allopathic prescriptions. When the West, sick with materialism is rediscovering the virtues of Swadeshi, Coca Cola, McDonald, or Ford are given a free hand in India. When the West, amidst violence, depression and stress is rediscovering the virtues of spirituality and pranayama, it is not even taught in Indian schools and
universities. When the West, in mortal combat with a religion which says: “Unless you believe in my God, I will kill you,” is rediscovering the virtues of the Indian dharma – the only living spirituality left in the world – it is made fun of by India’s own intelligentsia. If only they knew on what treasure they are perpetually spitting on!

2 responses to “The damage Macaulay did to India

  1. nowdays festival celebrating is in new style for example ganesh festival
    in this festival peoples are doing bad bad activitis so,
    plz take care of our festivals

  2. As a representative of the youth from the relatively smaller towns of India, I must tell you that what you say makes more sense in the tier-II and III cities of India than in the metropolitan cities. I’ve seen people teaching their children about the Western culture, while those children have no idea about their own culture, religion, and roots. Of course, there are exceptions everywhere, but those are by definition and application, only exceptions.

    Thank you for enlightening me with your article. A part of me is impressed with your detailed account of the reality. The other part is shocked at what all of us might encounter one day in the not-so-distant future. Your article is also is a wake-up call for people. A call that they should address to, and see the world with a lens that they for long have decidedly kept away.

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