Saturday, August 03, 2013

Facebook forwards and Lord Macaulay

Recently I noticed this picture doing the rounds on Facebook.

I must say I was surprised. I assumed it was hoax. I tried to look up the Parliament archives. But before that I saw a lot of articles about this issue. It's an old forward, very very old. Obviously given it is claimed to be some 1835 archive.

The forward is clearly fake.
For the following reasons given by many people (who claim this is purely faked by Hindu Nationalists):
1. Lord Macaulay was in India on this date and stayed in India a few years staring 1834, that includes 2nd Feb 1835 so he could not have addressed the British Parliament.
2. Lord Macaulay would not have been addressed as Lord then because he was not a lord yet.
3. And most importantly, that this was not his exact quotation.

and many more reasons I do not want to give benefit to, but basically surrounding other fringe points as above.

Also many claim that it could have possibly been mis-linked to a report he produced called the "minute on education" about Indian form of education where in he talks of Hindoos learning Sanskrit and various Sanskrit scriptures and similarly Arabic and Islamic laws.

If we were to look at the spirit and not the letter, this so called "forward" was not forwarded because it was Lord Macaulay (I doubt how many would know of him, I heard his name but I had to google him to know who exactly he was). It wasn't forwarded because it was said on 2nd Feb 1835 or that it was addressed to the British Parliament.

It was forwarded for what it said in the matter of the words and not in the words itself. It is true that there is no documentary proof for what Lord Macaulay said (he might have said the same exact words). But in his Minute on Education, he does talk of Indian education. He does talk of how proud Indians are and how useless it is for British to try to conquer India while they are still proud of their cultural heritage. He instead suggests that British create an English educated class of people who feel that English as a language and everything else British is far more sophisticated and elite than being purely Indian in education and culture and that would be needed to be able to break this country.

In spirit he had said those words, and much much more.

So it's up to you when you read this that you would rise up and say it's a hoax or it is true that is indeed a strategy that was adopted. If "divide and rule" was an acceptable strategy why do you find it so hard to believe they had used this strategy as well?

Update: Incidentally a book will be launched recently, a biography of Macaulay by Dr Zareer Masani. If I end up going to the launch, I might witness some interesting debate.

1 comment:

  1. Sethu7:05 am

    Nice search and summary. Have always somehow believed these thoughts attributed to Macaulay, to be more likely true than otherwise.

    ~ Sethu