The Biggest myth … Britishers “educated” us!!!
There goes a famous saying in Tamil, if you want to kill a dog, you give it a bad name and then kill it! That's what the British have precisely done to the ancient Indian education system.
We need to know a few facts that we never (allowed to?!) study at school. As i had already covered in some of my prev posts, India had world famous universities long before the British or for that matter the Muslim invaders came. For a quick recap, there existed the universities of Nalanda, taxasila, Mithila, Benares, Kanchi(The kashi of the south), so on and so forth. The Gurukuls and the Guru-shishya parampara are too well known to need any introduction. The ancient education system was individual based and each student learnt at his own pace. The Guru decided when the shishya can be claimed to be “educated” and leave, to proceed to get married and start his life and livelyhood as a house-hold man (gruhasta) Greed in any form was not encouraged. Respect for elders (old parents not thrown out of houses), respect and worship of Nature (trees and rivers not vandalized), respect for women (yatra naaryasthu poojanyte tatra ramante devataah, where the women are worshiped, Gods dwell there!) were part of the Indian culture and education. The realization that life is beyond just accruing material possessions and at the same time carrying on household duties with perfection was order of the day. A perfect blend of simple living and high thinking !!
Charaka samhita and susruta samhita are 2 main works. Susruta was a great surgeon, who is supposed to have conducted even plastic surgery at those times! He stressed the need to dissect the cadevors and understand the human anatomy for the students of medicine. The course of medicine at Taxila was so long that it is recored that ….a student was sent home reluctantly by his teacher after he studied medicine for 7 yrs. Dhanvantari was another renowned doctor of ayurveda.
Susruta says there can be nothing more magnificent than the act of removing human suffering. The science of life in practice is godly, life giving; indeed it is virtue and fame personified. “Vaidyo narayano hari” goes a sanskrit saying that says doctor is like a God who gives life. Compare it with today's impersonal and commercialized study of medicine and it’s “practice"!!!
Bhaskara - Mathematetian
chanakya - artha saastra(economics), political science
You name a branch of modern science; you have an ancient indian scientist or professor who excelled in it!!! If saying “Gurus”, tarnishes their image, call them professors, if “rishis” is "religious", call them scientists! Refer to my post that maps the endocrine gland system to the 7 chakras. The ancients knew the human anatomy a lot better than we do at present time with all the “advanced” facilities we have! Present day doctors are still caught in “how” the body funtions, the physcial aspects, where as the rishis of the yore delved into the meta physics of “why” the human body is as it is!!!
The education was more all round and based on character building, than on mugging and reproducing verbatium, a few books! Knowledge or education that does not make you humble is said to be incomplete and dangerous! ("vidya dadaati vinayam")
I don't want to get into the destruction of the universities again. google for “Nalanda destruction” and read it urself! Muslims, being the barbarians of the deserts where more outspoken and straight forward. After them came the more dangerous and crafty Britishers! As for the Indian education system just before the Britishers meddled with it, lets know about it from the renowned gandhian, Dharampal.
“Citing the Christian missionary William Adam's report on indigenous education in
Bengal and Bihar in 1835 and 1838, Dharampal established that at that time there were 100,000 schools in Bengal, one school for about 500 boys; that the indigenous medical system that included inoculation against small-pox.
Dharampal relied on Sir Thomas Munroe's report to the Governor at about the same time to prove similar statistics about schools in Madras. He also found that the education system in the Punjab during the Maharaja Ranjit Singh's rule was equally extensive. He estimated that the literary rate in India before the British was higher than that in England. Citing British public records he established, on the contrary, that 'British had no tradition of education or scholarship or philosophy from 16th to early 18th century, despite Shakespeare, Bacon, Milton, Newton, etc'. Till then education and scholarship in the UK was limited to select elite. He cited Alexander Walker's Note on Indian education to assert that it was the monitorial system of education borrowed from India that helped Britain to improve, in later years, school attendance which was just 40, 000, yes just that, in 1792. He then compared the educated people's levels in India and England around 1800. The population of Madras Presidency then was 125 lakhs and that of England in 1811 was 95 lakhs. Dharampal found that during 1822-25 the number of those in ordinary schools in Madras Presidency was around 1.5 lakhs and this was after great decay under a century of British intervention. As against this, the number attending schools in England was half - yes just half - of Madras Presidency's, namely a mere 75,000. And here to with more than half of it attending only Sunday schools for 2-3 hours! Dharampal also established that in Britain 'elementary system of education at people's level remained unknown commodity' till about 1800!
Before the British came, there were schools in every village, supported by the local temple, which in turn was supported by the temple land and the village head. Ok! You say Only Brahmins had access to such education, but not the Dalits? That's the well propagated myth again!!! The classic case of naming the dog “bad” before killing it!!!
There is a research conducted by Dharmapal, a renowned Gandhian. You can read about it here http://www.infinityfoundation.com/mandala/t_es/t_es_goyal_education.htm or i shall summarize it for you.
Sir Thomas Munro, Governor of Madras, ordered a mammoth survey in June 1822, whereby the district collectors furnished the caste-wise division of students in four categories, viz., Brahmins, Vysyas (Vaishyas), Shoodras (Shudras) and other castes (broadly the modern scheduled castes). While the percentages of the different castes varied in each district, the results were revealing to the extent that they showed an impressive presence of the so-called lower castes in the school system.
Thus, in Vizagapatam, Brahmins and Vaishyas together accounted for 47% of the students, Shudras comprised 21% and the other castes (scheduled) were 20%; the remaining 12% were Muslims. In Tinnevelly, Brahmins were 21.8% of the total number of students, Shudras were 31.2% and other castes 38.4% (by no means a low figure). In South Arcot, Shudras and other castes together comprised more than 84% of the students!
During 1822-25 the share of the Brahmin students in the indigenous schools in Tamil-speaking areas accounted for 13 per cent in South Arcot to some 23 per cent in Madras while the backward castes accounted for 70 per cent in Salem and Tirunelveli and 84 per cent in South Arcot.
The situation was almost similar in Malayalam, Oriya and Kannada-speaking areas, with the backward castes dominating the schools in absolute numbers. Only in the Telugu-speaking areas the share of the Brahmins was higher and varied from 24 to 46 per cent. \
Even Dalit intellectuals have questioned what the British meant when they spoke of 'education' and 'learning'. Dr. D.R. Nagaraj, a leading Dalit leader of Karnataka, wrote that it was the British, particularly Lord Wellesley, who declared the Vedantic Hinduism of the Brahmins of Benares and Navadweep as "the standard Hinduism," because they realized that the vitality of the Hindu dharma of the lower castes was a threat to the empire.
Again Dharampal exploded the popularly held belief that most of those attending schools must have belonged to the upper castes particularly Brahmins and, again with reference to the British records (only Europeans can be trusted of being objective as one of my friends at the iland says!), proved that the truth was the other way round.
In October 1931 Mahatma Gandhi made a statement at Chatham House, London, that created a furor in the English press. He said, “Today India is more illiterate than it was fifty or a hundred years ago, and so is Burma, because the British administrators, when they came to India, instead of taking hold of things as they were, began to root them out. They scratched the soil and left the root exposed and the beautiful tree perished”.
Dharampal’s work proved Mahatma Gandhi's statement completely right!
The only reason that Hinduism survived and Buddhism succumbed to the invaders in India is because "religion" is inseparable from "life" for Hindus. Rage the Buddhist monasteries, viharas, kill the monks and Buddhism is threatened. But Hinduism did not just thrive at certain places!! It is a way of life that permeates every sphere of life of a hindu, be it education, profession, political, economic or even that of a house-wife!!! Even an infant sleeps to the lullaby of Rama and wakes up to the stories of Krishna! First the Indians were made believe that these were just fables, mythological figures! Itihasa, which means "it was so" is the "history", it is not a "myth"!!! Discovery of a drowned city (dwaraka) on the shores of Gujarat which matches the times of Krishna in Indian scriptures doesn't deter such "modern" "secular" historians! Nor does the NASA images of rama setu, connecting srilanka to India, which matches the time period of Rama!!! As a first step Indians were made to disown their role models. Disown their culture. Disown their education (character building than money earning machine), values (respect for life, human, plant, animal and nature), dressing (dhoti, saree in humid south, or the kurta paijamas and salwar kameej of the north), food habits (more natural and fresh, milk n milk products, vegetables, yet tasty with spices) ..everything that is "Indian" is to be disowned and everything that is foreign is to be embraced to be abreast of times!! Guess who we owe this perpetuation of degeneration to?? Yes! Macaulay who saw to it that the later generations are successfully cut off from their roots!!! I indeed feel indebted to him beyond by vocabulary permits me to express Mr. arvind verma (he says "that we also owe it to Macaulay, who inculcated literacy in this country to some extent.)!!! Afterall, Macaulay was the one who set out the time bomb, through the western education system, which only does "batch" processing of men, turning the "graduated" finished products only capable of "serving" in jobs and weeding out any kind of self-employment or self-sufficiency!
And a friend of mine is ready to believe Europeans to Vivekananda, Tilak, Gandhi and Aurobindo (he says "Indians as a race can never be trusted to be objective. I would prefer to read about Indian histroy from Europeans .) Now!! I can only pity those Poor/Great Souls, who no longer exist to prove their "objectivity" in person!! Their works, however live on, and speak on their behalf! (I challenge on their behalf for anybody to read them and come up with sth that is untrue or fabricated or bloated in ANY of their works!!!) He further says "what is more pernicious is a bloated self image of our past." I say, may I suggest to you to read "The forgotten Empire" by Robert Sewell. It is an account of the Vijayanagara Empire and the destruction of Hampi. You may believe him, he is a European afterall!!! (Most of those who read it said it brought tears to their eyes. I am yet to read it!)
Interesting read: http://www.indiatogether.org/education/opinions/btree.htm
Please read both the parts of this article. It is indeed simple but eye-opening