The Beautiful Tree

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About the book : 

Most of the discussion on the state of indigenous Indian  education in the early nineteenth century, and the differing viewpoints which give rise to it, use as their source material

(a) the much talked about reports by William Adam, a former Christian
missionary, on indigenous education in some of the districts of
Bengal and Bihar 1835-8,8

(b) published extracts of a survey made by the British authorities regarding indigenous education
in the Bombay Presidency during the 1820s,9 and

(c) published extracts from another wider survey of indigenous education made in the Madras Presidency (from Ganjam in the north to Tinnevelly in the south, and Malabar in the west) during 1822-25.

A much later work on the subject, but more or less of a similar nature is that of G.W. Leitner pertaining to indigenous education in the Punjab. Amongst the above-mentioned sources, G.W. Leitner’s work, based on earlier governmental documents and on his own survey, is the most explicitly critical of British policies. It holds the British authorities responsible for the decay, and even the destruction of indigenous education in the Punjab—the area with which his book is concerned. The reports of Adam, as well as the reports of some of the collectors in the Madras
Presidency refer likewise to the decay of indigenous education in the areas of India with which they were concerned. Of course, they do so much less explicitly—and in language more suited to
British officers and gentlemen—(Leitner, though a British official, was ‘not an Englishman’).
Mahatma Gandhi’s long address at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London on 20 October, 1931, stated that literacy had declined in India in the past 50-100 years and held
the British responsible for it. The statement provided a real edge to the observations of Adam, Leitner, and others and to the view which Indians had held for decades. It was then that all the
above sources relating to indigenous education in the earlier part of the nineteenth century assumed their great importance.

ISBN : 978-8175310957 ; Publisher : Rashtrotthana Sahitya ; Pages :

About the Author : 

Dharampal was an Bharatiya Gandhian thinker. He authored The Beautiful Tree, Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century and Civil Disobedience and Indian Tradition, among other seminal works.

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Dharampal: Collected Writings -Set of 5 Volumes




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