There are two pieces of controversial material that I found in my cursory reading of the essay. (By no means, did I read it in its entirety).
The first thing that caught my eye first was this paragraph.
Wow. The British saw this when they were here so early. In my personal opinion, this is true even of today.
The second controversial topic was one that I had blogged about earlier. – the McCaulay address to the Parliament stating that, bringing in the British system of education into India was to ensure that they brainwash us into their system and that they can have more control over the “natives”.
This essay which is dated much before that indicates that the “natives” wanted more British system of Education. The British started setting up Sanskrit Universities, but the “natives” under folks like Ram Mohan Roy wanted more of the British education, and not something that they have been learning for a long time.
Ram Mohun Roy, after praising the Government for the exertions it was making in the cause of native education, goes on to say that, however thankful the natives must feel for the interest thus shown in their welfare, yet they cannot help perceiving that the labours of the Government are being misdirected, whether through ignorance of native wishes, or from other causes not specified. He therefore thinks it incumbent upon him to place before the authorities some statement of the native opinions and desires upon the subject. When therefore it was known that a certain sum of money had been voted for the purpose of promoting and encouraging education among our Indian subjects, ” We were filled,” he says, “with sanguine hopes that this sum would be laid out in employing European gentlemen of talent and education to instruct the natives of India in mathematics, natural philosophy, chemistry, anatomy, and other useful sciences, which the natives of Europe hare carried to a degree of perfection that has raised them above the inhabitants of the other parts of the world.”
If, he observes, the Government wished to preserve the study of the Sanskrit language, it could have done so by holding out certain premiums, and granting allowances to professors, already too numerous, by whom those who were desirous of learning the language, might be instructed; but he regards the establishment of a Sanskrit College, in which the native youth, besides spending much valuable time in acquiring a knowledge of the Sanskrit tongue, would learn that which was taught two thousand years ago, and waste their energies in speculations suggested by the Vedanta, in metaphysical subtilties and logical niceties, much as an Englishman would have looked upon an attempt to replace the Baconian philosophy by the system of the schoolmen, calculated, as it alone was, to perpetuate ignorance. Impelled by these considerations, and a sincere desire for the good of his country, and the spread of true knowledge amongst its inhabitants, Ram Mohun Eoy prays the Governor-General to expend the grant of money in the promotion and extension of Western rather than Oriental learning.
I am not saying that this is the truth or fact. But this seems to introduce more controversy does it not?
Hat tip to ChennaiKaran Plus Ultra for pointing me to this essay.