The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Indian Education in Eighteenth Century
Author : Dharampal
432 pages | Paperback
About the Book
In 1931, Mahatma Gandhi generated a controversy among the British by observing that literacy in India had actually declined during the preceding century and that the colonial rulers were squarely responsible for this state of affairs. 'Instead of taking a hold of things as they were, 'he said, 'they began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root and left the root like that, and the beautiful tree perished.'
England's intellectual elite protested Gandhiji's observations. But Dharampal's research into Indian and British archives proves beyond doubt that not only did India have a functioning indigenous educational system at the end of the eighteenth century but that it actually compared more than favourably with the system obtaining in England at the time in respect of the number of schools and colleges proportionate to the population, the number of students in school and college, the diligence as well as the intelligence of the students, the quality of teachers and the financial support provided from public and private source . Contrary to received opinion, those attending school and college included an impressive percentage of lower caste students, Muslims and girls.