Beyond Macaulay : Education in India, 1780–1860 book cover
1st Edition

Beyond Macaulay
Education in India, 1780–1860

ISBN 9781032177076
Published September 30, 2021 by Routledge India
272 Pages

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Book Description

Beyond Macaulay provides a radical and comprehensive history of Indian education in the early colonial era — from the establishment of the Calcutta Madrasa in 1780 until the end of the East India Company’s rule and the beginning of the administration by the crown in 1860. The book challenges the conventional theory that the British administration imposed English language and modern education on Indians. Based on rich archival evidence, it critically explores data on 16,000 indigenous schools and shows that indigenous education was not oral, informal, and Brahmin-centric but written, formal, and egalitarian. The author highlights the educational policies of the colonial state and the way it actively opposed the introduction of modern education and privileged Brahmins. By including hitherto unused 41 Educational Minutes of Macaulay, the volume examines his educational ideas, and analyses why the colonial state closed down every school established by him. It also contrasts the educational ideas of the British elites and the Orientalists with dissenting Scottish voices. The book discusses post-Macaulayan educational policies and the Wood’s Despatch of 1854 as well as educational institutions during the revolt of 1857. It covers indigenous education in Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic and modern Indian vernaculars, the impact of the colonial policies on these schools, and traces the history of education in Bengal, North India, and Madras and Bombay Presidencies, as also the role of caste and religion in society.

This book will be of great interest to scholars and researchers of education, history of education, Indian history, South Asian history, colonial history, sociology, political history and political science.

Table of Contents

List of Tables


1. Introduction: Methodology and Historiography

2. Indigenous Schools in India

3. The Early British and Indian Interactions

4. Educational Policy in Bengal and North India, 1810–1834

5. Brahiminisation of Education: Bombay Presidency, 1820–1839

6. Ambiguous Educational Policies: Madras Presidency, 1789–1850

7. Analysing Macaulay

8. Undermining Macaulay: The Post-Macaulayan Educational Developments, 1839–1850

9. Closing Years of the East India Company’s Rule, 1850–1860

10. Concluding Observations: Addressing the Myths



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Parimala V. Rao teaches history of education at Zakir Husain Centre for Educational Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India. Twice, she was a Visiting Fellow at the Institute of Education, London (2011, 2014). As a historian, Rao has worked extensively on educational policies and practices of the colonial state, Indian nationalists, curriculum, girls’ education and funding of schools. She has authored Foundations of Tilak’s Nationalism: Discrimination, Education, and Hindutva (2010/2011) and edited New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education (2014/2016). She has co-edited the Encyclopaedia of Asian Educators (Routledge 2020) and a special issue on modern education in Asia for the journal Espacio, Tiempo y Educación (2018).