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to withhold its aid from the literature of the country, but to resume endowments granted for the support of its professors, and appropriate to the hope. less realization of a wild theory the funds that had been set apart for very different purposes.
It appears from late accounts,* that the proceedings of the Bengal Government, in regard to native literary institutions, awakened in the people of Calcutta serious apprehensions that the abolition of those institutions was in contemplation. The Mohammedans, to use their own words, “ were confounded and beside themselves at the intelligence ;” anticipating, in the suppression of the Madressa, not only the extinction of their classical literature, but a preliminary step to an authoritative interference with their religion. They accordingly addressed a petition to government, signed by above eight thousand persons, including all the talent and respectability of the Mohammedan community, in which they stated their fears, in the most forcible language they could well devise, and prayed the Government, “ from motives of justice, philanthropy, and general benevolence, and to ensure its own stability,” to give orders for the continuance of the Madressa. The occurrence is unprecedented in the annals of Calcutta, and great, indeed, must have been the dismay of the people before they could bave ventured to remonstrate with their rulers at all, much more to use language of the tenor employed in their petition. Although the Hindus did not come forward in the same open and resolute manner as the Mohammedans, yet letters from men of the highest character, men versed in public affairs, and well acquainted with the system of the British Government,”---men also warmly attached to it,—have assured me that they fully participated in the fears and sentiments expressed in the Mohammedan petition. Whether the alarm entertained by the people of Calcutta was well-founded or not, it cannot but be deeply lamented that such apprehensions should have been excited, and it is still more deeply to be regretted that the reply of the Government was ill-calculated to gain credence and to allay mistrust.
The answer of the Governor-general in Council disclaims, it is true, all purpose of departure from the tolerant principles which had ever influenced the councils of the British Government of India, and declares that “his Lordship in Council would feel uneasiness if he thought that the Government authorities had, in any part of their conduct or proceedings, afforded ground or occasion of any kind for such an apprehension to be entertained by any classes of the subjects of the state.” The petitioners, however, might have referred to the public newspapers for the grounds of alarm furnished by Government functionaries, and general professions were little likely to be credited in opposition to avowedly proposed acts. They were told, indeed, that it was not intended to abolish the Madressa, but they were told, at the same time, that it had been determined to introduce an innovation which, in their estimation, must have been equivalent to abolition. The reply stated, that “the purpose of Government was not to abolish, but to reform;" and, that “the reform contemplated extended only to the discontinuance
• See Asiatic Journal for October last, p. 95.
for the future of the practice of granting stipends to scholars, as an induce. ment to them to continue their course of studies;” it also added, that this reform was to be extended to all other Government institutions.
Now every person acquainted with the circumstances of India must be aware, that, to withdraw wholly the stipends of the scholars of the native colleges, is virtually to abolish them. In the Madressa, the Sanscrit college of Calcutta, the Sanscrit college of Benares, and the colleges of Agra and Delhi, a considerable portion of the students receive small monthly allowances, not “ as an inducement to continue their course of studies,” but to enable them to engage in them at all. These stipends are their chief, very osten their sole, means of living, whilst absent from their homes, and to deprive them of these means is to banish them from the colleges. Now, in all civilized countries, a provision for poor scholars is liberally made. The stipends of the native students are the scholarships and exhibitions of Oxford and Cambridge, and if these are beneficial and necessary, amidst the wealth and social refinement of England, they are infinitely more so in the poverty and backward civilization of Hindustan. Those classes especially, which furnish the candidates for admittance to the Government institutions, the respectable and the learned,-are least of all able to incur any expense for the education of their sons, or for their support whilst in attendance upon their studies. To deny them the help they have hitherto received, is, therefore, to exclude them from the colleges, and when the students have been driven away, the professors will be superfluous. It is scarcely credible that the Government did not anticipate this result, and at any rate it would be hard to persuade the petitioners, many of whom look beyond the smooth surface of professions, that the inevitable consequence of abolishing all stipendiary grants had not been foreseen,—had not been designed. The British Government will, in such case, have compromised its character not only for liberality but for truth.
The discontinuance of all support to the students is the virtual abolition of the colleges; the expedience of the former, therefore, hinges upon that of the latter measure ; but, even if they were not necessarily connected, if the one did not result from the other, the arrangement is in itself objectionable upon other grounds. Admitting, for the sake of argument, that students would resort to the Government institutions, even without stipends, there can be no doubt that they would be members of a particular class alone, or the sons of persons residing in the cities where the establishments are situated. If a few of the more opulent inhabitants of Calcutta, or the decently-salaried native officers of Government, may be able to dispense with pecuniary aid for their sons, whilst studying in the immediate vicinity of their parents, and living in fact at home, the same absence of necessity does not apply to the sons of persons living at a distance; they must be precluded from benefiting by public endowments, and instead of being diffused, as at present, all over India, the advantages of the Government colleges will be restricted to the capital and one or two great towns. Hitherto, the reverse has been the case, and the students have been chiefly 1
composed of natives of the surrounding districts, of remote provinces, or even of distant regions. I have known a native of Malabar a student in the Sanscrit college of Calcutta, and a native of Badakhshan amongst the pupils of the Madressa. That it is highly desirable to encourage the resort of students from the villages and provinces is scarcely to be questioned, especially in the present circumstances of India, in which the country population has such imperfect opportunities of acquiring instruction of any sort, and has no means of becoming acquainted with the persons, character, or conduct of the ruling authorities. Hitherto, whilst receiving tuition, the best of its kind, the natives of the country, as well as those of the city, have been put in the way of much valuable collateral information; they have seen close at hand the principles and practice of English sway, and they have been brought into personal intercourse with many of its principal functionaries,-an intercourse which as yet has tended to dissipate prejudice, attract confidence, and beget affection, and which has sent forth hundreds of well-instructed young men to disseminate similar feelings amongst their countrymen. Even, then, if the natives be mistaken in regarding the cessation of scholarships as preliminary to the downfall of their institutions, the measure is one that cannot be vindicated upon the grounds of justice, liberality, or policy.
That the abolition of all native institutions for native education is the ultimate object of Government, is, however, confirmed by the subsequent resolution to discontinue the publication of Oriental works. Undoubtedly, if there are no students, there is no need of books; but, without pupils and without books, there is no need of professors. It is, therefore, idle—it is worse—it is untrue—to disclaim such a purpose. The consequence is infallible, and must be generally known to be so. It were more consistent with the dignity and with the safety of the Government to avow its intention, and announce its determination to suppress the existing colleges and apply their funds to the expenses of English education alone, if it feels satisfied of the justice and wisdom of the arrangement.
The first point to be considered, -the justice of applying the funds that are disbursed under the control of the General Committee of Public Instruction in Calcutta, to instruction in English exclusively,-requires some more accurate investigation into the nature and employment of those funds, than they appear to have undergone. From a statement printed by the Committee of Public Instruction, the annual income available for native education, in 1831, was Rs. 2,37,000, or about £23,700; a considerable part of this, or one lakh of rupees per annum, was granted under the clause of an Act of Parliament, in 1813, which directed that a sum of money to this extent should be appropriated “to the revival and improvement of literature, and the encouragement of learned natives of India.” The law was enacted, it is understood, upon a recommendation from the Governor-general in Council. In the address of the Asiatic Society* to the Government of Bengal, it is very reasonably suggested, that the terms of the Act entitle native literature at least to a fair proportion of the grant, and although some
* Asiat. Journ. for December, p. 301.
thing may have been left to the discretion of the Government, yet it cannot be denied that the law provides for the encouragement of “ learned natives.” Learned natires assuredly implied “persons cultivating Oriental literature," - their own literature ; and this is further intimated by the expressions “revival and improvement:" reviral could not apply to English, which had never formed any branch of native literature, and it would be a strange, though not, perhaps, a wholly unparalleled, interpretation of the term improrement, to argue that it signified “annihilation." Adverting, also, to the authors of the measure,—to the Government of India at the time, with Lord Minto, a liberal patron of Oriental' literature, at its head, and that eminent scholar, Mr. Colebrooke, a member of council,there can be no doubt of the spirit of the provision; there can be no doubt that the bounty was intended to rescue the native scholars and professors of Hindustan from the state of destitution into which they had been plunged by foreign rule, and to afford them means and inducements to prosecute, with renovated vigour and hope, the cultivation of their own languages and their own literature. It was not designed to elevate upon their downfall a new race and new studies.
The annual grant has, however, been ordinarily regarded as appropriable to the general purposes of education, and a considerable portion of it,
- the largest portion, or 70,000 rupees a-year, * -was applied, in 1831, to the promotion of English education. The natives, therefore, had no great reason to think that the designs of the legislature in their favour had been fulfilled, or to be well-satisfied with the inconsiderable benefit they derived from the bounty of Parliament. As long, however, as the preference given to English was not exclusive, as long as those objects which they prized were not entirely overlooked, they shewed no disposition to complain. They were satisfied to be unequal sharers in the more recent liberality of the Government, as long as they were not despoiled of what former benevolence had assigned to them, as long as the cultivation of English was not extended at their expense, as long as the funds specifically appropriated to native institutions remained inviolate. This is no longer the case when the scholarships of the native colleges are to be abolished, that the sums thence saved may be expended upon a purpose foreign to their foundation, the dissemination of English.
The Madressa, or Mohammedan college, of Calcutta was founded in 1781, by Warren Hastings, expressly “to assist in preserving a knowledge of Persian and Arabic literature and of Mohammedan law amongst respectable individuals of that persuasion." The college was endowed with lands, which were afterwards commuted for an annual money payment of 30,000 rupees. This allowance maintains a certain number of professors and pupils who, according to the terms and avowed objects of the founda
* It was thus distributed :-Hindu or Anglo-Indian college, 26,000 rupees : Mádressa, English class, 4,900 rupees ; Sanscrit college, English class, 3,000 rupees; Delhi institution, 9,600 rupees ; Benares school, 9,600 rupees ; Agra college, English class, 1,680 rupees; printing and books, about 15,000 rupees. The Committee's establishment, or 12,000 rupees n-ycar, since increased to 18,000, may also be considered as defrayed from this source; making an appropriation of 87,60) rupcea, not applied to native literature or learned natives.
dation, have a right to the income assigned to them. Even if the Government think it advisable to remodel the Madressa, therefore, it cannot in justice divert the funds to any purpose not legitimately connected with the objects of the institution; and the retrenchment arising from the abolition of stipends to the students should go to the enrichment of the professors, or the printing of books required for their studies. This, however, is not the end in view, and the students may, no doubt, keep their allowances, if the Madressa cannot—as in liberality and equity it cannot—be deprived of them.
The Sanscrit college of Calcutta arose out of a resolution of the Bengal Government, passed in 1811, to re-establish the Hindu colleges that had formerly flourished in Tirhut and Nadiya, but which had fallen into decay under a foreign administration. An annual sum of 25,000 rupees was devoted to this purpose, and although it was ultimately deemed expedient to transfer the institution to Calcutta, no change was made in its character, and the endowment was designed exclusively for the encouragement of Hindu literature and of learned Hindus.
The Benares college was founded, in 1792, by Mr. Duncan, under the authority of the Government, declaredly " to preserve a knowledge of Sanscrit literature and Hindu law amongst the Pundits ;" 20,000 rupees ayear were assigned, from the revenues of the province, for the support of the college, and it enjoys an addition of 6,000 rupees a-year, the interest of a sum accummulated out of its income. It will scarcely be maintained, that any part of the revenue of this establishment is legitimately applicable to the cost of education in English.
The funds of the Agra college consist of the rents of certain villages, bequeathed by a Hindu for charitable purposes and native tuition, and the Delhi college is maintained by the interest of a considerable donation, made by the minister of the king of Oude for the promotion of Mohammedan education in the city of Delhi. There can be no question that neither Gangadhar. Pundit, nor [timad-ad-Doula, intended to provide for instruction in English, and it is a sorry encouragement to donors and testators, if no regard is to be paid to their wishes and designs in the distribution of their munificence.
Besides these special endowments, the committee has the disposal of about 9,000 rupees a-year, the interest of donations made by Hindu gentlemen, in full reliance, no doubt, that their benefactions would be disposed of amongst those
persons who had the best claim to the bounty of their country,--pundits and poor students,-or for the furtherance of that literature which they had been accustomed to venerate.
Of the remainder of the lakh of rupees, after providing for English education and Committee's office, above 16,000 are appropriated to the maintenance or aid of different provincial seminaries for native tuition of an elementary character, and this would more than exhaust the grant, except that a further annual income of about 20,000 rupees arises from the interest of portions of the lakh not expended in former years. This, then, or 17,000 rupees, about £1,700, is the whole sum actually available for the general