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VIII.-Chapter of Indian Correspondence.
No. IV. The good cause continues steadily to prosper. Prejudices are every where lessen
ing, and a desire for improvement rises in their place. Already has Education established a line of outposts reaching from Lodiána to Arracan; many of them on the only sure ground, the Rock Christ.' And if He lift upon our efforts the light of his countenance, every English school throughout the land shall be. come a Christian seminary, and innumerable native voices shall be heard, blessing us for training up themselves and their children in the nurture and admo. nition of the Lord.] -ED.
1.-PROGRESS OF EDUCATION IN RAJPUTANA.
Sehore, 318t October, 1831. “ With the view of getting a regular supply of such books as I wanted, or rather of such books as my scholars required, I have twice or thrice asked Mr.- to transmit to me a number of books from Calcutta, and to sell them on his own account at such an advance on the Calcutta prices, as would insure him some profit. According to the nature of the proverb “ Máli muft, dil be rahm,” I am opposed in principle to the gratuitous distribution of books, and wish that such a state of things should be produced that the sale of them might be so profitable as to render the trading in them to be eagerly sought. That state of things will arrive, if it has not already done so, in the course of a very few months.
“ The Bhopal Nawab has been out here under my superintendence for the last month. He is unsteady, and it is difficult to fix his attention for any length of time. I give two hours before breakfast almost daily to his service. He is a boy, however, of great talent and smartness, and has read and digested 40 or 50 pages of Abu Talib's Travels. With the contents of vur maps, or rather of the Persian maps, he is tolerably well acquainted ; in a short time, his knowledge of them will be more complete. He is delighted with his acquisitions in knowledge, and if I can only get the Begam to allow him to remain long enough under my care, I will give him such a sense of the deficiencies of his people, by enlarging his own knowledge, as will give us the best founded hope of his rightly using the power, he may one day be expected to have, of enlarging the bounds of useful knowledge of the Bhopal people. He is the cleverest prince in Rajputana and Malwa.
“I have derived great assistance from the co-operation of young who has been my guest for the last four months. He had an ardent disposition to advance the good of the natives, before he encountered me: he was also a great advocate for education; but he knew not how to set practically about it. I have taught him to see how to effect the fulfilment of his wishes. How many civil servants of the Company are there scattered over the country also well disposed to promote the cause of education, and still abusing the heartlessness of our Government in the cause. They do not see that each of us individually is a part of the Government: that if each would do his duty in his own sphere, the change they 80 ardently pray for would soon be effected. Do they expect that mere prayers and wishes will accomplish the object ; or that Government can afford to disburse annually a crore of rupees for the purpose? They will not look at the thing practically. One year's labour to get the master of a school in their neigh bourhood' thoroughly versed in all our elementary books would ensure a vast increase of sound knowledge to the present generation.
“I do not want any higher reward, than the sight of the genuine satisfaction of all my scholars, infant or adult, which their very countenances betray when they catch hold of some new and interesting knowledge or truth.
“Let Providence give me health ; and in your next visit to Malwa and Rajputana, I hope then to introduce to you a set of chiefs and people satisfied with my controul, well disposed to our government, and full of grati. tude for some advances they shall have made on the road to truth and sound knowledge.”
2.-ON THE BEST MEANS OF DIFFUSING KNOWLEDGE AMONG THE NATIVES.
“ Sehore, 19th October, 1834. “I am exceedingly rejoiced to learn, that you have begun to pay particu. lar attention to the Hindusthání, which I anticipate will one day consti. tute the written language, as well as the colloquial of the entire continent. At present it certainly has no pretensions to being so ; but I feel littla doubt that it will eventually become the “ Aaron's rod;" although of the Persian supplanting the Hindi charcter, I do not entertain by any means the same certainty, nor, indeed, do I think it desirable. As you have very judiciously printed a little work in both characters (the Fables), the relative demand for these, after depôts have been instituted in the mufassil, will I trust enable you to form some judgment on this point. I anxiously look to the time when the native youths of the metropolis, who have imbibed a strong taste for literature, shall begin to supply the market with works of utility and interest, whether original or otherwise, in their native tongue. I am one of those, who think that, although in countries in their pristine state of barbarism, the work may be begun, as it were, ab initio, and in any language or character, which may be deemed most desirable ; yet in those already possessing a national literature, nothing important can be effected on a general scale, except, through that with which they are familiar. In Europe, I conceive, that the progress of mind has been unnecessarily retarded by the forced culture of Latin and Greek, while all that is of value in them (excepting their utility to the grammarian) might have been trans, ferred into the national languages, two centuries ago, and the time expended on their acquisition by ninety-nine out of a hundred have been employed with infinitely greater advantage in acquiring knowledge,which few in after-life will persuade themselves to strive after unless early initiated. In this view I have no desire to see English or any foreign tongue made an elementary study. That it should be cultivated in colleges, I think highly desirable
, and in the institutions where it is cultivated in all its branches, and with all collateral matters of interests at the presidencies, viewed as a species of normal schools, I feel the deepest interest. I think too, that whereas at Kota we have an opportunity of instilling European literature and European Sciences into the minds of the princes of the land, or their immediate attendo ants, the most direct means should be at once resorted to ; but with regard to the mass of the population, and the bulk of our district schools, at which we must not as yet håpe for the attendance of the children of influential persons, the colloquial languages must necessarily be our great and especial
As yet the labourers in this department are lamientably few, but I trust increasing. While at Ajmir, I commenced translating into Hindusthání, by means of a respectable Musalman, some chapters of “ Mason on Self-knowledge,” but found, he had not the tact requisite for the work; and in truth, to execute it well, I hold it to be essential, that the translator should understand the genius of both languages. I trust that Calcutta will now be able to send forth many such ; and that with the blessing of God, we shall ere long see a much greater profusion of really good works in History, Biography, Natural Philosophy, and the fixed Sciences - Morals being as much as possible combined with all. With such works available, the mere institution of circulating libraries, at stations and in large towns, would of itself, I believe, give an amazing impetus to the literary taste of the country at large, provided, however, they be written in conformity with that
taste, not in opposition to it. As an instance, I may mention a little work, entitled the “Subha-bilas,” which is sought after with incomparably great. er eagerness than any other, and read with avidity. Not having myself read the work, I should apprehend from its not being named in your lists, that it contains something objectionable ; but there can, I think, be no reason, why works of the same description should not be made to combine, in an eminent degree, utility with amusement: they would be read with interest and fully understood ; while works written entirely after European ideas, are not unfrequently read through as a sort of task, without a single sentiment being comprehended or appreciated : an instance has come to my knowledge where such was the case with Brougham's “Essay on the Pleasures and Advantages of Science,” although admirably translated into Mahratta. For the same reasons, I think that one of our first efforts should be to transfer all (and there is much) most valuable in their own literature ; which subject Mr. Wilkinson has of late most ably elucidated.
“If the Missionary desire a land not yet watered by the dew from heaven, I would point to Central India, where the darkness is sad indeed, though under our rule.”
3.-ADVANTAGE OF INSTRUCTING NATIVE YOUTH IN ENGLISH.
Calcutta, Sept. 21, 1834. “In educating the natives of India, many have thought that it is easier for one Englishman to learn Bengáli
, than for twenty Bengálís to learn Eng.. lish, and this seems very plausible, and is possibly true; but the proposition may be a little varied. Is it not as easy for an Englishman to teach 50 Boys English, and in the same time, as for an English Man to learn Bengálí, or any of the native languages ? I think it is, and much easier, if we may judge from experience; for how is it that while there are not more than about one or two dozen Europeans in this city that have acquired the native languages, there are thousands of native boys who have acquired a knowledge of English? I have no doubt that if English boys were set to the task, they would as readily becomeBengáli scholars as the Bengális become English; but the truth is, men have neither time, patience, inclination, nor memory, for such a task : and thus it is accounted for, why it is more easy for 50 native boys to be instructed in English than for one Englishman to acquire a Na. tive language. And hence I infer that we should immediately set about establishing schools for teaching English ; but I have already been antici. pated; and this to me is a further proof of the practicability of diffusing English. I find that we have now schools in Dihlí, Agra, Lakhnau, Banáras, Allahabad, Sehore, Kotah, and many other places, where English is chiefly taught; and I have heard that the demand for English spelling books and grammars, &c. is most extensive. I rejoice at this, for I am persuaded, after all, that the English language, and through it, English literature, science, and religion, is the only instrument of Hindú regeneration.” 4.-MISSIONARY PROSPECTS IN AKYAB AND SUDIYA', AND ACCOUNT OF THE A'RA'KA'NESE PRIESTS.
Akyab, Sept. 1834. “Akyab has a school, which, as far as it extends, seems fully to succeed ; some two or three Magh boys can read the English language, and appear thoroughly to understand easy lessons in it; the number that attend, how. ever, is few : the principles on which the school is conducted are the Lancasterian. Mr. Fink deserves the thanks of his brethren for the perseverance and zeal with which he carries on his labors; these are not confined to the school, but frequent preaching also occupies him, in the town and its adjacent parts, when the weather permits; he has a few converts in different places, who we may hope, through the blessing of God, will act as good seed, and spread their happy influence around.
“ The natives, having seen so few Europeans, and among them so very few who have EVINCED any concern for the honor of the religion, which is now preached to them as that which their rulers possess, it is indeed a wonder that anything at all has been effected; but so it is in all cases, and in all the work truly is of God alone. The natives of course are in nature hard to believe, but when told of the truth, these obstacles, augmented by our own people, are at once seen to be two-fold, as they frequently advance, “ If what you say be truth, why do not your own nation believe:"-for of necessity they attach the observance of the creed as a natural consequence upon its acceptance; and to the honor of the benighted heathen, this in. consistency does not attend their deluded professions of a false faith. What a slur upon the Christian, with motives so exalted, so eminently sublime, to constrain him to the practice of that to which with his lips he consents, and with which without a doubt his conscience urges him to comply.
“With reference to the people of this province, there is a great mixture, especially about Akyab, of Bengális both Musalmans and Hindus, with the Maghs, or Arrakanese ; the latter form of course the bulk of the population, and are promising objects for Missionary labors : they have no prejudices of caste; they are naturally an indolent people, though physically far supe. rior to Bengális ; they however frequently evince a great independence of spirit, and in this form quite a contrast to them; they are, notwithstanding, very accessible, and would present fewer artificial barriers than most people, to the reception of the Gospel.
“ Their Priests enter first into a vow to renounce the world, its pomps and vanities, and admit of no conformity to it whatever, in any of the fraternity, Their mode of evincing this feature of their profession is by a studied neglect of temporal comforts and usages. Their dress, for instance, is always one sombre color, a reddish brown, in quantity barely sufficient to cover them, composed generally of a short sheet carelessly thrown round the body and across the shoulder. The hair among the Arrakanese is their great pride ; the priests in consequence shave their heads, and if not bald, this orna ment of nature is never permitted to grow long. As regards money, they admit of no concern whatever in it, and will never purchase even a few ne. cessaries of life, depending solely on the contribution of food from their people; it being their practice to collect provisions for their daily subsistence from door to door. This is done as follows: generally, in the morning, soon after sun-rise, the priests with rosaries in their hands, followed by their disciples with large plates or baskets, pass through the streets without no. ticing any person or thing; and as they thus patrole their circle or parish, the inhabitants bring out the food they have prepared, and hardly a householder permits them to pass, without adding his mite, in the shape of some eatable or other, into this general receptacle.
“ The most conspicuous and really essential feature of these peculiar people, is their exemplary conduct, with reference to the instruction of youth, Their tuition of the children is gratuitous, and connected with this is a custom peculiar to the province; it is that every child must at one time or other be a disciple of the Phúngi or priest, i. e. in other words, devot, ed to the service of the deity, if it be only one day. The service, which attends this introduction into the religion or creed of the fathers, is the most grand epoch of their lives, and the parents are more anxious to lay by a sufficient sum towards meeting the expense of a display on this occasion, than they were in previously providing the means of their marriage. By this instalment into the priesthood, almost every Arrakanese is able to read and write his native tongue; because, let the rank of the novice be what it may, so long as he is made over to the priest, he remains with him, and must conform to the rules of the convent, (for their establishments approach more to a fraternity of monks than any thing I can suppose.) The disciple, when received, has his head shaved, is professedly dedicated to
their god, and while he continues in the monastery, is regularly instructed in reading and writing, &c.
“Such are the characteristic marks of the people of this province, as regards their religion: that the Maghs will however attend to our instruction notwithstanding their national provision on this head, is obvious from the success of Mr. F. here ; who though he has been enabled to make but little way to appearance, is nevertheless listened to by some, and has at times congregations not to be despised ; nor in any case can we despise the day of small things.” Tracts likewise in the Magh language, are distributed, and this two-fold diffusion of the Word of Life shall not be in vain" the bread which is cast upon the waters shall return after many days.". Our fellow-soldiers of the Baptist standard, under which Mr. F. is enrolled, have led the way here, and we must not be slack in following on after them.”
“Sudiya, Nov. 2nd, 1834. “I have asked Lieut. Charlton, at Sudiya, to endeavour to translate some of your elementary books into the Shan dialect, prevalent in that quarter. The field in that direction is, as Mr. Bruce says, unlimited, and entirely ours for the reaping ; but we have no hands and no funds. Would it be possible, as Mr. Bruce suggested, to get a steady Missionary family settled at Sudiya by the assistance of any of the societies ? I fear Government will do nothing to aid us. What are the Education Committee doing on my propositions. Formerly, Mr. Scott was allowed a teacher to endeavour to cultivate the minds of the Garrows, but that attempt has died away, probably, because it was made too soon-before there was any general attention paid to education, and the success of the attempt depended entirely on the superintendence Mr. Scott was able to afford to it ; but he had his hands full, and probably his workmen were inefficient. If any assistance was allowed us, I would rather it should be given for Sudiya, than any where else in Assam. The Shan tribes are undebased by Brahmanism, and are a fine manly race of people, with none of the superstitions of the western people, and I believe very few vices. They have been obliged from cir. cumstances to live with the sword in their hand, and have been accustomed to a life of rapine and violence; but these barbarians, I consider, much easier reclaimable than the superstitious and debauched population of Bengal.”
5.-EDUCATION IN NAGPORE.
“ Loharduga, Nov. 9th, 1834. “ The teachers have arrived*, and I hasten to tell you, that they are quite convalescent, and in excellent spirits; in fact, quite well.
“ I am delighted with what I have seen of them. They are much superior to any thing I imagined, and I trust that they will be the means of doing much good here ; their eagerness to set to work and diffuse the knowledge they have acquired is quite cheering.
“ Unfortunately, they have been necessarily so long detained on the road, that they have only arrived just four days before my starting on my tour, so that one object is in a manner defeated, that of having established them, and their school here, before my departure. This I hope, however, is all for the best, for they will now go over to W.'s station, and commence there, and be the means of forming the nucleus of a future establishment there ; he has promised to give them a house, and his countenance, and wrote to me to recommend him a batch of your books, which he was about to send for; so that though I shall not have the pleasure of immediately superintending the school, I shall still have it in my district, and shall be able to pay a visit
• They were sent from the General Assembly's School, Calcutta.