Let’s Recall and Discuss- Civilising the Native, Educating the Nation Ncert Class 8th


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1. Match the following:

William Jones respect for ancient cultures
Rabindranath Tagore learning in a natural environment
Thomas Macaulay promotion of English education
Mahatma Gandhi critical of English education
Pathshalas gurus

2. State whether true or false:
(a) James Mill was a severe critic of the Orientalists – TRUE
(b) The 1854 Despatch on education was in favour of English being introduced as a medium of higher education in India.  – TRUE
(c) Mahatma Gandhi thought that the promotion of literacy was the most important aim of education.- FALSE
(d) Rabindranath Tagore felt that children ought to be subjected to strict discipline. – FALSE

Solution Let’s Discuss

3. Why did William Jones feel the need to study Indian history, philosophy and law?

In 1783, a linguist named Willia Jones arrived in Calcutta for an appointment in the supreme court set up the Company. Jones along with a being an expert in the law, had studied Greek and Latin at Oxford, knew French and English, had picked up Arabic from a friend and had also learnt Persian. In Calcutta, he started learning Sanskrit language and grammar and poetry from a pandit. Soon he started studying ancient Indian texts on law, philosophy, religion, politics, morality, arithmetic, medicine and the other sciences.

He felt Indian civilization had attained its glory in the ancient past but had subsequently declined and in order to understand India, it was necessary to discover the sacred and legal texts that were produced in the ancient period. He also believed, the project would not only help the British learn from Indian culture, but it would also help Indians rediscover their own heritage and British will become the guardian and masters of Indian culture in this way.

4. Why did James Mill and Thomas Macaulay think that European education was essential in India?

In the 19th century, the Angliest began to criticise the Orientalist vision of learning. They said that knowledge of the East was full of errors and unscientific thought, light-hearted and non-serious. They argued that it was wrong on the part of the British to spend so much effort in encouraging the study of Arabic and Sanskrit language and literature.  One of them was James Mill a Scottish scholar. He stated that ‘the aim of education ought to be to teach what was useful and practical’. So Indians should be made familiar with the scientific and technical advances that the West had made, rather than with the poetry and sacred literature of the Orient.

Thomas Babington Macaulay was one more critic who finds India uncivilised and said that  “a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia”. Macaulay felt that knowledge of English would allow Indians to read some of the finest literature the world had produced; it would make them aware of the developments in Western science and philosophy.

5. Why did Mahatma Gandhi want to teach children handicrafts?

Mahatma Gandhi said, western education focused on reading and writing rather than oral knowledge; it valued textbooks rather than lived experience and practical knowledge. He argued that education ought to develop a person’s mind and soul. Literacy – or simply learning to read and write – by itself did not count as education.
People had to work with their hands, learn a craft, and know-how different things operated. This would develop their mind and their capacity to understand, this is the reason he wanted children to learn handicrafts.

6. Why did Mahatma Gandhi think that English education had enslaved Indians?

Mahatma Gandhi argued that colonial education created a sense of inferiority in the minds of Indians. It made
them see Western civilisation as superior and destroyed the pride they had in their own culture. It had enslaved Indian in a way that they were charmed by the West, appreciated everything that came from the West, and Indians educated in these institutions began admiring British rule and lost their sense of nationality. Mahatma Gandhi wanted an education that could help Indians recover their sense of dignity and self-respect.

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