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THE CONFLICT OF CIVILISATIONS

IN INDIA

The ordinary reader may well feel bewildered at the recent intelligence from India. Whatever symptoms of sedition may be produced in other parts of that vast region the focus is evidently in Calcutta ; and the slightest acquaintance with history will suffice to show that in no part of India have the leading classes received more favour from the British Government or have more to lose in the event of any success that might attend their agitation. Nor, indeed, was such a state of things foreshadowed by the earlier relations between one and the other : for, whatever hostility may from time to time have threatened the Government in Northern, Western, or Southern regions the Bengali leaders of the early part of last century displayed warm and genuine loyalty. The two most prominent men among them visited England at a time when the voyage entailed a far greater amount of trouble and expense than it does to-day; the first of them, Ram Mohan Roy, having actually left his bones in England. Such men as these, without the formality of advisory councils, were always ready with useful advice when consulted, and associated freely with British officials. It will surely be both profitable and interesting to inquire into the cause of the present attitude of the successors of such men, at a time when they are no longer excluded from the higher branches of administration and participate in all the advantages of citizens of the British Empire.

In a memorial addressed to the Supreme Court of Calcutta, during the time when the post of Governor-General was temporarily held by Mr. Adam, occur the following sentences :

The natives of Calcutta and its vicinity have voluntarily entrusted Government with millions of their wealth, without indicating the least suspicion of its stability and good faith, and reposing in the sanguine hope that, their property being so secured, their interest will be as permanent as the British power itself ; while, on the contrary, their fathers were invariably compelled to conceal their treasures in the bowels of the earth, in order to preserve them from the insatiable rapacity of their oppressive rulers. . . . During the last war, which the British Government were obliged to undertake against neighbouring Powers, it is well known that the great body of natives of wealth and respectability, as well as the landholders of consequence, offered up regular prayers to the objects of their worship for the success of the British arms from a deep conviction that, under the sway of that nation, their improvement, both mental and social, would be promoted, and their lives, religion, and property be secured.

Actuated by such feelings, even in those critical times which are the best test of the loyalty of the subject, they voluntarily came forward with a large proportion of their property to enable the British Government to carry into effect the measures necessary for its own defence, considering the cause of the British as their own, and firmly believing that on its success their own happiness and prosperity depended. It is manifest as the light of day that the general subjects of observation and the constant and familiar topic of discourse among the Hindu community of Bengal are the literary and political improvements which are continually going on in the state of the country under the present system of Government and a comparison between their present auspicious prospects and their hopeless condition under their former rulers.'?

All this and more to the same effect was the testimony to the loyalty of the Bengali Hindus more than three-quarters of a century ago; and the names of those who signed the memorial are sufficient security against any suspicion of subserviency or insincerity, including, as they do, those of Chandercoomar Tagore, Dwarka Nauth Tagore, Ram Mohan Roy, Prosumnu Coomar Tagore.

The honour and ability of the Tagore clan are too well known for further illustration, while the name of Major Ram Mohan Roy will ever remain a household word among the community of Bengal. If, now, we were to ask the further question, what has caused a change in the sentiments of many members of that body, we must seek it in events which have occurred since the year 1823 and the consequent alteration in the relations between the Government and the governed. In the

year
which
gave

birth to the memorial there were no Universities in India, only a Moslem College, or Madrisa ; a Bishop's College for the training of Christian Ministers; and a Hindu College for the Pundits of Benares. The hereditary customs and laws of the natives were respected and upheld ; the vernacular languages of the country continuing to be the usual medium of education, business, and law.

This state of things continued until the end of Lord Amherst's administration, which, indeed, was too much occupied with Burma, Bhurtpore, and other immediate difficulties to afford much opening for domestic politics. The immediate successor of Amherst was the genial and popular Metcalfe, who preserved the attitude towards the Press to which Mr. Adam had given direction; and when Lord William Bentinck came out with Mr. T. B. Macaulay as his principal adviser, British India offered a ready field for all sorts of liberal reforms. Now that the Press was free the next matter to attract the attention of these philanthropists was State Education, which was then entirely conducted on Oriental lines, and was in fact merely in its infancy. The Parliamentary vote, says Mr. Marshman, of ten lacs of rupees

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| For the full text of this memorial see an excellent article on the · History of Jour sm in India,' by Mr. 8. C. Sanial, in Cale Review, No. ccl.

for the revival and promotion of literature, and the encouragement of learned “nations,” was interpreted in Leadenhall Street and in Calcutta to apply to the revival of native literature, to which it was exclusively applied. Mr. Adam distinguished his brief tenure of office by appointing a Committee of Public Instruction to suggest measures for the better education of the people in useful knowledge, and the arts and sciences of the West. This movement was strengthened by a despatch from the Court of Directors, drawn up by Mr. James Mill, the historian of India, who had obtained an important position at the India House and exercised a beneficial influence on its counsels. The Education Department in Calcutta was under the control of Dr. Horace Wilson, the great champion of Oriental literature and institutions, and the Court was requested to sanction the appropriation of funds from the Parliamentary grant to improve the Hindu College at Benares and the Mahomedan College in Calcutta, and also to establish a Hindu College at the Presidency. In reply to this request, the Court, at the suggestion of Mr. Mill, stated that, “in proposing to establish seminaries for the purpose of teaching mere Hindu and mere Mahomedan literature, the Government bound itself to teach a great deal of what was frivolous, not a little of what was purely mischievous, and a small remainder indeed in which utility was in any way concerned. The great end of Government should be, not to teach Hindu or Mahomedan learning, but useful learning. But Orientalism was still in the ascendent in Calcutta, and, with some trifling exceptions to save appearances, the funds continued to be appropriated to the studies which the Court had condemned.

Meanwhile a predilection for English education was gaining ground in and around the Metropolis, and the demand for it was pressed with increased earnestness on the Education Board. The Board was divided into two hostile and irreconcilable parties—the Orientalists and the Anglicists—the one anxious to devote the education funds to the study of the Shastres and the Koran, the other to the object of unfolding the stores of European science to the natives through the English language; and it became necessary to appeal to the Government. It happened that Mr. Macaulay was not only a member of the Supreme Council, but also President of the Board, and he denounced with irresistible force the continued promotion of Orientalism, as tending, not to support the cause of truth, but to delay the death of error.

We are at present,' he said, 'a board for printing books which give artificial encouragement to absurd history, absurd metaphysics, absurd physics, and absurd theology.' The question was brought to an issue on the 7th of March 1835, by the resolution passed by Lord William Bentinck, in which he most cordially concurred, that 'the great object of the British Government ought to be the promotion of European literature and science among the natives of India, and that the funds appropriated to education would be best employed on English education alone. The cause of English education triumphed, and the language and literature of England have become almost as familiar to the upper ten thousand in our Indian Empire as the language of Rome was to the same class within the circle of her Empire. The name of T. B. Macaulay is justly dear to his countrymen, to whom, by his clear and picturesque style, he became a welcome exponent from the vast stores of his erudition and retentive memory. Unhappily he added to these gifts the less admirable habits of a mind somewhat deficient in reflective power and apt to ignore the consideration of the other side of any question in which he was deeply interested. In his sweeping condemnation of Hindu culture he was condemning that with which he was entirely unacquainted, of which he might at least have known that it had attracted such an accomplished scholar as Sir William Jones, that it had charmed many European thinkers, including Goethe,' and that it had produced forms of civilised society which were at that moment surrounding him in India.

But the reputation and talents of Macaulay carried the day against Wilson and the Orientalists, and the fiat went forth that the national education of the country was to proceed in future on European lines.

Such was the famous education resolution of 1833, which was to have such far-reaching and sinister effects. It has been related in the words of Mr. Marshman, the son of a well-known missionary and himself an enthusiastic disciple of the Anglicising school. To them it was nothing that they were endeavouring to destroy a system under which the races of India had for countless generations developed social qualities which, though subject to human limitations and errors, had made them patient, submissive, frugal, and kindly to kinsfolk. The unsympathetic pedantry of these reformers could see nothing in a literature they could not enjoy and a philosophy they were unable to comprehend ; and for the next two generations instruction and public employment continued to follow European lines, and the democratic spirit of modern Europe influenced the administration of ancient communities. It was reserved for two rulers of exceptional originality to commence the inevitable reaction. Lord Lytton when Viceroy boldly condemned the uncompromising character of British policy in India, and did something to restore confidence in the governing classes ; and Lord Curzon's University legislation has now supplied the instrument by which further mischief may possibly be arrested. Public opinion too, both in India and in England, is beginning to see that institutions and traditions which are the slow result of evolution cannot be profitably imposed by foreigners upon nations which have matured under other conditions. All civilised life has arisen from the conquest of primitive races by invaders hardier than themselves, and the gradual civilisation of the various countries has been affected by their moral and material circumstances. The British people has in this way been formed by Celtic, Teutonic, Scandinavian, and Norman elements, which the insular position of the country has moulded into an amalgamated whole. Christianity, chivalry, and democracy have combined their action, while a rigorous climate and a stormy ocean have kept the people active and taught them to depend on unremitting exertions. It is hardly necessary to observe that in India none of these influences can be seen at work; how then can it be expected that social relations and habits of thought and action can be maintained on the same level ? The case of Japan affords no analogy, the environment and conditions of that singular people being altogether peculiar. Western ways may prove to be suited to their climate and situation; in any case their introduction is not due to the policy and power of aliens, but has been deliberately adopted by the Japanese themselves. Elsewhere the problem is much the same in reverse aspect as that which is raised by the objection of white colonists to the introduction of Hindu immigrants into their midst.

2 Willst du den Himmel, die Erde mit Einem Namen begreifen,

Nenn' ich, Sakontala, dich, und so ist Alles gesagt.

The Colony, we are told, is the white man's country, and it is not desirable that the brown man should intrude into it polygamy and other institutions of which the colonists disapprove. Well and good; but the argument cuts both ways, and the brown man may as reasonably object to the intrusion into his country of the white man and the white man's institutions. It may be said that the white man is in India by right of conquest, and that it is his duty to abolish things of which he disapproves, and substitute others in their place. But then the people of India have never been conquered; when the British Company overthrew certain usurping dynasties there was no national resistance, and the introduction of the Company's rule was welcomed by the Emperor at Delhi and by the legitimate leaders, of whose opinions we have seen a sample in the memorial cited at the beginning of this paper. The Directors of the Company were so fully aware of the obligation imposed upon them by this acquiescence that they never attempted to destroy the arrangements which they found subsisting among the people ; laws were maintained, customs respected, religious endowments undisturbed, and all interference with opinion scrupulously avoided. It was not until after the establishment of middle-class Liberalism in England that any change in this direction was observable. It was in 1833 that the educational revolution occurred; in the next year the superscription of the British monarch was put upon the coins in place of that of the Emperor, and other changes followed almost immediately. The administration of the country assuming a more and more democratic character, a crusade against landlords set in. Talukdars were suppressed in Hindustan; and the annexation of the Punjaub was followed by a similar policy, which led to the final

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