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Day 3 – Q 1.With what motives did the British introduce English education in India? Discuss. What implications did English education had on Indian society at large? Examine.

1. With what motives did the British introduce English education in India? Discuss. What implications did English education had on Indian society at large? Examine. 

अंग्रेजों ने भारत में अंग्रेजी शिक्षा की शुरुआत किस मकसद से की थी? चर्चा करें। अंग्रेजी शिक्षा का भारतीय समाज पर क्या प्रभाव पड़ा? जांच करें।


In the Round- table conference in 1931, Mahatma Gandhi in one of his speeches said, “The beautiful tree of education was cut down by you British. Therefore, today India is far more illiterate than it was 100 years ago.” British introduced English education not to educate India but to achieve its sadistic goals.


What Alexander, Ashoka and the western missionaries had failed to do was accomplished by Macualay’s minutes, decreeing that India was to receive through English education, the language of the West. Motives behind English introduction were:

  • It was to make the Indians, especially the sepoys ‘disloyal’ to their own language and culture. The British were acutely aware of the danger posed by regional education. 
  • They realized that if the Indian sepoys of the British Army continued learning in their own languages, they would turn against the British someday. The Muslims sepoys would look down on them as infidels if they studied Islamic literature and the Hindu sepoys would look down upon them as adharmic mlecchas if they studied their Sanskrit texts.
  • The British contrived an ingenious, if cunning solution to this tricky problem by educating the elite class of Indians in English and thereby creating a separate class of ‘learned natives’ i.e. formed a class of persons Indian in blood and colour but English in tastes, in opinion, in morals, and in intellect.’ 
  • They imagined that familiarly acquainted with English literature, the Indian would speak of the great Englishman with the same enthusiasm as the British themselves, they would reject the teachings of Brahmin priests, the natives shall not rise against us, because we shall stoop to raise them.
  • Also, the expenses of running administration were becoming costly, so they wanted English educated men in the lower levels to reduce their expenditure. 

Implications of English education on Indian society:

  • The system of giving preference to Brahmins in the govt. and missionary run schools went on for nearly hundred yrs. In the meantime, other castes practicing any trade had lost their business due to the flooding of Indian markets with British goods and also due to the deliberate strangulation of their business by the British. 
  • The systematic destruction of the Indian system of education deprived certain castes of education. Thus over a hundred years these castes had become impoverished and ignorant and the Brahmins who were supposed to lead the society became distorted in their understanding of things, due to foreign education.
  • They observed that no Hindu who has received an English education ever remains sincerely attached to his religion.
  • But they found that though to an extent they were successful in taking away the Brahmins from their ideals, their conversion had not taken place. A decision to slowly target the other castes and tribals in their educational institutions, was taken.
  • It is also noted that Brahmins, allowed themselves to be intellectually corrupted by the British and because they entered into all the professions practiced by other castes. This created issues in society. 
  • Like for instance, they also took on government jobs thus paving the way for competition and hatred among castes in the society. Today they stand discredited in general, and are no longer considered to be the examples to be followed. 

Positive implications of English education:

  • Government Job: It provided a path to join government job for Indians and opportunity for Indians in Administration. 
  • Literature: It gave access to western literature and help question many theories and practices being followed at that time.
  • New class of people: The English education created a new class of people who went on to help reform Hindu society like Raja ram mohan roy, Ishwar Chandra vidya sagar etc. 


Introduce of English education can also be considered as blessing in disguise for Indians just like introduction of railways. Also they believed English educated Indian would act as interpreters between the rulers and the ruled. 

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