Mountstuart Elphinstone.

Selections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir online

. (page 7 of 41)
Online LibraryMountstuart ElphinstoneSelections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir → online text (page 7 of 41)
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of schools, and bring them into contact with all classes
of the people. Their duties also at each place must
soon be transacted, and a good deal of time left appli-
cable to such employments as are now recommended.
Some remuneration ought to be given for this
additional trouble; perhaps 150 rupees, with the
actual expenses of carrying books, might be sufficient.
The line of each person's charge should be well marked,
to prevent all mistakes which would be likely to damp
zeal. The vaccinator should be quite independent in
all places of which he took charge, and the collector
should be requested to attend to his suggestions on all
points connected with his schools. Any person who
voluntarily took charge of a school should receive
similar support, and should be encouraged to procure a
successor to take up his charge when he should be
removed from the station. On this subject, however,
the Education Society will be best qualified to suggest
the most desirable mode of proceeding.

17. Inquiries relating to the possibility of providing
salaries for teachers out of the Gram Kharch, or even



MINUTE ON EDUCATION. 87

by a small addition to that fund, and likewise regarding
the possibility of diverting any of the religious or
other Mahratha grants, in the manner before alluded to,
should immediately be addressed to the collectors (those
in the Deccan through the Commissioner), who may
also be requested to send a statement, showing the
villages in their district, and the number of schools in
each, accompanied by such a general report on the
state of schools as they may have the means of afford-
ing. They might, for instance, give a guess at the
number of boys taught at each, the learning they
acquire at each, and the particular classes who attend
them, whether only those whose trade requires a know-
ledge of reading and writing, or others also. Their
opinion should likewise be solicited as to the persons
who could, with most advantage, be employed as
schoolmasters, and as to any other expedients that may
seem practicable for promoting the object at a small
expense. I am aware that a reference of this sort is
usually fatal to a proposal for improvement. The time
of public officers is so fully occupied by current busi-
ness, that they have little leisure for general inquiries,
and must commonly lay aside the letter in despair of
being able to answer it ; while we, equally suffering
under the pressure of current business, often allow a
long period to elapse before we revive a subject which
has been disposed of by such a reference. One im-
portant question, however, in the present instance — that
of the number of schools and scholars — can be as-
certained through the Commavisdars and Shekdars
with the utmost facility, and on the others a few re-
ports from intelligent collectors is all we can expect.
The Secretary will also be able, by making the questions
distinct and simple in the first instance, and by oc-
casionall}^ repeating the call in cases of delay, to prevent



88 MOUNTSTUART ELPHINSTONE.

the usual fatality from attending this highly important
and interesting inquiry. It is a very great satisfaction
to me that, since the draft of this minute was finished,
a plan nearly of the same nature has been proposed
by Major Eobertson, who has also pointed out funds
for supporting it. I consider this voluntar}^ opinion
from so experienced a collector to be of the greatest
value, and recommend that his proposal should be
sanctioned without delay ; at the same time, a copy of
this minute, if agreed to, may be sent to him.

18. The expense of printing school-books may, for
the present, be undertaken by the Government ; the

"nd School- superintendence of the printing and the dis-
Books. tribution, except in certain cases, must be
managed by the Society.

19. The encouragement to be afforded to native schools
is a point of greater difficulty, but is one of the utmost
3rd Encoura e- ii^poi'tance, aud ouc which, if properly made
ment to Schools. ^^^ ^f^ would bc sufficieut to secure very
general improvement in the education of the lower
order. The first step would be to institute examina-
tions in the principal town or village of each Pargannah,
and to distribute prizes to those who showed the most
proficiency in each class. A book, such as will be
published under the superintendence of Government or
of the Society, would be a sufficient prize for ordinary
proficiency, while those of the highest order might re-
ceive a medal ; and those who are well qualified to act
as writers, or Kulkarnis, might be given a certificate to
that effect. The value of that certificate, however, would
depend upon its being cautiously given, so that j)ublic
officers in want of a person of that description might
prefer taking one wdtli a certificate as the surest means
of obtaining the requisite qualifications. Prizes should
likewise be given to those schoolmasters who produce



MINUTE ON EDUCATION. 89

the greatest number of well qualified scholars. It will
be no easy matter to provide for the due adjudgment
of prizes, for few English gentlemen are qualified to
prou ounce on the acquirements of Indians ; the em-
ployment of natives would lead to corruption ; and
many wrong judgments, from whatever motive, would
weaken or destroy the effect of the examinations. In
the earliest part of education, however, this will be
least felt ; and if the plan of taking places were ever
introduced, there would be little difficulty in allotting
the prizes, as the contest for the first class might then
be confined to the upper boys at different schools — say
the three or four upper boys of each. With regard to
the prizes for the higher acquirements to be mentioned
in a subsequent part of this despatch, the gentlemen
who preside might select a certain number of natives
to assist them, guarding against corruption or partiality
by making a new choice each day, and giving no warn-
ing of the persons on whom it was likely to fall. The
judge or a committee, consisting of the collector and
the judge, might be able to spare time and attention for
an annual examination at the head station, while in
the smaller towns the duty might be best conducted b}^
the vaccinators. The vaccinator himself might dis-
tribute the prizes to boys ; the prizes to schoolmasters
he should recommend officially to the collector, who
should be instructed to pay immediate attention to his
application. These prizes should consist of an honorary
dress, or some other present, which w^ould be of a nature
acceptable to natives. It might be accompanied either
on the part of the collector or the vaccinator with a
present of such printed books or tables as are most
useful in teaching a school. The vaccinators should
be furnished with a considerable number of books of all
descriptions to be distributed at their discretion. The







MOUNTSTUART ELPHINSTONE.



present vaccinators should be requested to undertake
this charge, and none should be appointed to it without
his previous acquiescence. Henceforward the appoint-
ment should be inseparable.

20. The following might form a tolerable scale of
prizes for each Pargannah ; but it can be altered to
meet any object of convenience :



CLASS.


NUMBER or


VALUE OF


NUMBER OF


VALUE OF


MEDALS.


EACH MEDAL.


BOOKS.


EACH BOOK.


1st.


1


5 Rs.


1


10 Rs.


2nd.


3


-^ 55


3


6 „


3rd.


3


-* 55


6


6 „


4th.


3




■^ 55


10


3 „



Prizes to schoolmasters (one in every two Pargannahs),
a ' shela ' and ' turban,' or other presents worth
thirty rupees.

21. In the establishment of schools for teaching the
European sciences, we can do no more than lay the
4th. Schools foundation, if, indeed, we can do more than
scicuc^a'"'' sketch an outline of the plan. We may at
present establish certain stipends to be granted to any
person who can pass a prescribed examination, and to
be increased when he shall obtain a certain number of
scholars. These stipends should at first be very liberal;
without such encouragement we would scarcely expect to
procure teachers, when we remember the lucrative em-
ployments open in other departments to persons qualified
for such offices. A man with such a knowledge of
l^higlish as we require would easily get 150 or 200
rupees as a clerk to a merchant. The pupils of whom



MINUTE ON EDUCATION. 91

Mr. Cumin has had the goodness to take charge, and
some who might be simihirly educated by the naturalist
expected from Enghmd, would probably be among the
first candidates for these offices. Some of the young
men educated at the English school at Bombay, which
will afterwards be mentioned, might also qualify them-
selves to aspire to this employment, and the prospect
of a handsome stipend would be a powerful incentive to
all who had any prospect of success. No preference
ought, however, to be given either in the choice of pro-
fessors, the distribution of prizes, or any other mode of
encouragement to persons educated in particular schools.
Proficiency alone, however obtained, should constitute a
claim. It is obvious that these sciences could not be
taught without active European superintendence. As
soon, therefore, as a sufficient number of native pro-
fessors could be procured, it would be necessary to place
a European gentleman at the head of them. He might
be chosen from any line of the service where the requisite
requirements could be found ; although the necessity of
economy in his allowances would probably confine the
choice to thejunior ranks of the military and medical lines.
22. When things should have reached to this stage
(which must be considered as remote), the college at
Puna might be put under the same officer, and the
European and native establishments might be united.
By this arrangement the means of improvement would
be held out to those already in pursuit of knowledge,
and as the European branch might in time be expected
to swallow up the Hindu one, the whole funds of the
Puna College would become applicable to the diffusion
of useful science. At present such a union w^ould be
fatal to both branches. The jealousy of the Brahmins
would repel the approach of foreign doctrines, and the
disadvantageous comparison between their own salaries



92 MOUNTSTUART ELPHINSTONE.

and those of the new-comers would increase then* hostiHty,
and would soon occasion the desertion of the college.

23. There is one science in which great progress
may immediately be made. The Commissioner was
not at first able to procure a medical professor for the
college at Puna, private practice being more lucrative
than the salary he had to offer. This deficiency might
be easilj^ supplied, as there are few sciences in which
the natives have so little to preserve, or in which we
have so much to teach, and so much facility in teaching.
If the attention of our medical establishment could only
be called to this object, we might almost without an
effort communicate to the natives a vast store of sound
and useful knowledge. A small prize (of the value of
200 or 250 rupees) might be offered to any native who
could acquire a certain knowledge of anatomy, medicine,
or chemistry, and the warm approbation of Government
might be held out to any surgeon who would impart
that degree of knowledge. The situation of civil
surgeon is generally reckoned desirable, and it requires
no peculiar qualifications. It might with great ad-
vantage be intimated to the Medical Board, that the
first vacancy in these appointments would always be
conferred on any assistant-surgeon who should either
produce an elementary treatise on one of the sciences
connected with the profession in a native language, or
bring a native instructed by him to a certain pitch in
some one of those sciences. A medical man already a
civil surgeon might be promised promotion to the
superior situations of Puna, Satara, or Cutch, on the
same terms ; for the same temper and knowledge of the
natives which would enable him to accomplish the
condition, would secure his possessing the qualities
peculiarly required at those stations. Each surgeon
should also be indemnified for all the expense incurred



MINUTE ON EDUCATION. 93

on account of the native whom he instructed, provided
he proved to possess the requisite knowledge. The
Medical Board must, however, be required to iix with
some precision the nature of the treatise to be produced
and the exact amount of proficiency to be required from
each native student. When so educated, these native
students might be employed as a superior class of
native medical assistants, and might furnish one or two
professors for the college.

24. It should be an incitement to attempt some-
thing in this branch to know that in Bengal there is
an institution with a medical gentleman at the head of
it who has an allowance of 1,600 rupees a month ; and
a number of students who receive an exhibition for their
maintenance during their studies.

25. It is of comparatively little use that people are
taught to read if their studies are to be confined to
lef2:ends of Hindu cfods ; and it seems at first , „ ,

o o ' 5. Books.

sight to be extremely easy at a trifling expense
to supplant the few inaccurate and expensive manu-
scripts which are in the hands of the natives, by an
abundance of simple and rational publications through
the means of the press. The difficulty, however, has
been found to be much greater than was thought. In
four years we have only accomplished the publication
of two native books, and they also are translations from
the Sanscrit, undertaken more with a view to bring
printed books into use than on account of any instruc-
tion they were themselves calculated to afford. The
principal cause of this delay has no doubt been the
extreme slowness of printing in India, at least at Bom-
bay ; but had the printing not retarded us, w^e should
soon have been brought to a stand for want of transla-
tions to publish. The best remedy appears to be that
suggested by the Society — to advertise for the best



94 MOUNTSTUART ELPHINSTONE.

translations of particular books, or for the best ele-
mentary treatises on particular subjects in specified
languages. The books recommended by the Committee
in No. 1 are most of them well judged ; but next to a
system of arithmetic, which is already in hand, I should
think a treatise on the elements of geometry, with the
application of them to practice in mensuration, etc.,
would be desirable. A system of ethics, as suggested,
would certainly be valuable, but it would be of difficult
execution. In the meantime, a few tracts, or one tract
containing those prudential maxims which are most
important to the poor, and which are least known in
India, would be of the greatest utility. Those most
repugnant to their prejudices, as those which discoun-
tenance the marriage of infants, expensive feasts to the
caste, etc., might be introduced in the mode most likely
to elude or disarm opposition ; but the success of such
books must depend almost entirely on their execution,
and they need only be undertaken by persons who feel
a strong desire to inculcate the truths to which they refer.
26. When the labour required for these translations
is considered, and likewise the previous knowledge
necessary to render them useful, it is obvious both that
the reward must be very liberal and that we need be
under no apprehension from the number of successful
claimants. Each book should, when recommended by
the Education Society, be submitted to a committee or
one individual appointed by Government, who should
pronounce on its fitness for publication. It might be
cx[)edient to have at least two rates of reward, one for
books absolutely fit for publication, and another for
books which could, with moderate attention, be adapted
to the press. I should propose that the remuneration
should vary from 100 to 300 or 400 rupees for school-
books, to 4,000 or 5,000 rupees for superior produc-



MINUTE ON EDUCATION. 95

tions, the amount being left to the Committee, provided
it does not exceed the largest of these sums. In ex-
traordinary cases, where a higher reward seemed due,
the Committee might submit the claim to Government.
27. If English could be at all diffused among persons
who have the least time for reflections, the progress of
knowledge by means of it would be acce- . ^ ,. ,

, "^ . . C. English

lerated in a tenfold ratio, since every man who ^chook.
made himself acquainted with a science through the
English would be able to communicate it in his own
language to his countrymen. At present, however,
there is but little desire to learn English with any such
view. The first step towards creating such a desire
would be to establish a school at Bombay, where English
might be taught classically, and where instructions
might also be given in that language on history, geo-
graphy, and the popular branches of science. This
school might be managed under the Education Society.
A master, I understand, could be found at a salary of
50 rupees, to be doubled when he should pass an ex-
amination in Mahrathi, and again increased by the
amount of his original salary when he should pass in
Gujaratti. He might also be allowed to take fees
from the scholars that attended him, the amount of
which might be fixed by the Committee. To prevent
such a mixture of ranks as might prevent the higher
order of natives from using the school, no boy should
be admitted until he was approved by the Committee,
and a preference should be given to the sons of wealthy
natives and to boys that should show particular promise
of talent. When the school became more extended a
separate class should be instituted for the lower castes.
There might be two examinations a j^ear by the Com-
mittee, with the assistance of one or more gentlemen
whom they might themselves select ; and on those
occasions prizes of books or medals should be distributed.



96 MOUNTSTUART ELPHINSTONE.

28. Should we ever be able to extend English
schools to the ontstations, admittance to them might be
made a reward of merit in other studies which might
tend to render it an object of ambition, or at least to
remove all suspicion of our wishing to force our own
opinions on the natives.

29. If it is difficult to j^rovide the means of instruc-
tion in the higher branches of science, it is still more so to

hold out a sufficient incitement to the acquisi-

I. Encourage- J-

™'=''*' tion of them. The natives being shut out
from all the higher employments in their own country,
neither feel the want of knowledge in their ordinary
transactions nor see any prospect of advancement from
any perfection of it to which they can attain ; nor can
this obstacle be removed until, by the very improve-
ments which we are now planning, they shall be
rendered at once more capable of undertaking public
duties and more trustworthy in the execution of them.
In the meantime their progress must be in a certain
degree forced and unnatural, and for this reason must
require more assistance on the part of the Government
than w^ould be necessary in a better state of society.

30. The first step in this stage also would be to give
prizes. These must be of more value, and distributed
with more care than the prizes formerly recommended.
Part of the prizes of the Dakshina have by long custom
become fixed annuities to certain persons, who are sup-
posed for a succession of years to have best merited
them ; but the remainder ought henceforth to be given
with a very strict attention to proficiency : and as the
annuities fall in, the amount of them should be employed
in the same manner. It would certainly give much
disgust if any part of this fund were immediately to be
applied to the encouragement of European science. A
preference has, however, already been given to the



MINUTE ON EDUCATION. 97

more useful branches of Hindu learning, and this might
be gradually increased as well by assigning all new
prizes arising from lapsed annuities to that species of
attainment as by taking advantage of other oppor-
tunities that might arise. In the meantime a certain
number of prizes distinct from the Dakshina should be
instituted for persons who might stand an examination
in particular branches of European knowledge. The
exact species of knowledge ought not at first to be too
nicely insisted on, but geometry, algebra, the higher
branches of arithmetic, geography, and the knowledge
of our system of astronomy might be among the number.
The principal prizes should be of considerable value ;
and as they would probably not be claimed for several
years, they ought to be allowed to accumulate till the
amount became sufficiently dazzling to be of itself an
inducement to study the elements of a science. Smaller
prizes might in the meantime be granted, that even
attempts at improvement might meet with some
reward.

31. An obvious means of giving effect to public
instruction would be to render a certain examination a
necessary preliminary to admission to all offices ; but as
it is essential that the selection of public functionaries
should depend as much as possible on their fitness for
their particular duties, it is inexpedient to embarrass
the choice of them by any extraneous conditions.
There are, however, instances in which stipends are
enjoyed without the exaction of any corresponding
service, and in these cases it would be by no means un-
reasonable to oblige the possessor to confer a benefit
both on himself and the public by devoting some portion
of his life to study. It might, therefore, at some future
period be announced that no Warshashan, Nemnuk, or
other religious grant or pension would be continued to

7



98 MOUNTSTUART ELPHINSTONE.

the heirs of the actual incumbents, unless they should
first pass a prescribed examination. The notification
might be so expressed as to avoid giving perpetuity to
such allowances as it might be intended to resume,
and a power might be reserved to dispense wdth the
examination in cases where there might be peculiar
claims. It may be a question whether a condition like
the present might not be annexed to the enjoyment
even of Inams when they have avowedly been granted
for religious purposes, and it certainly might be attached
to the succession to such pensions or jahgirs as it may
be thought expedient to make hereditar}^, with the
exception of such as are given for the maintenance of
the representatives of great families. As many of the
claimants to the allowances in question reside at a dis-
tance from European stations and even from the prin-
cipal native towns, it would be necessary that a moderate
knowledge of any useful Indian science should be
sufficient to entitle a person to the benefits of the grant.
Where opportunities of instruction were afforded, some
knowledge of European science might be required, or at
least a smaller portion of European learning might be
made equivalent to much more extensive qualifications
in the sciences of the country. All this, however, is
for future consideration ; at present everything that is
likely to render large classes hostile to our views on
education should be carefully avoided.

32. We are now to see what steps are to be taken
immediately. I have already recommended a

Measures to bo /. in iij tii i

immediately rciereuce to the collectors rcfi^ardmg the number

adopted. . ^ ^

of schools now m existence, and the possi-
bility of increasing it by means of the Gram Kharcli and
other funds distinct from those of the Government. It
will be expedient to wait their report before any decision
is passed on those points.



MINUTE ON EDUCATION. ()



Online LibraryMountstuart ElphinstoneSelections from the minutes and other official writings of the Honourable Mountstuart Elphinstone, governor of Bombay. With an introductory memoir → online text (page 7 of 41)