Colonial Administration and Social Developments in Middle India: |
The Central Provinces, 1986-1921. Ph. D. 1980 dissertation by Philip McEldowney]
Part II. The British Colonial System
British Colonial Administration:
[Figure 1. Structure of Administration] [Table 7. Central Provinces administration, expenditure and income] [Table 8. Educational Institutions and Literacy] [Table 9. Literacy among religious and social categories]
From the beginning of the creation of the Central Provinces in 1861 it was the goal of the British administration to construct a governmental system providing for the improvement and development of the area. The Government of India Resolution establishing the Central Provinces noted that the previous forms of administration -- of the Saugor and Narbadda Territories under the control of the North-Western Provinces, and a separate Province of Nagpur -- did "not present that unity, completeness and efficiency which are requisite in order that justice may be done to the condition and prospects of Territories so largely capable of improvement." Therefore the Government intended to create a new provincial administration encompassing those two areas Which would provide the new province "with the greatest advantage t the management of the resources and to the development of the capabilities of the whole area." (1) Part II examines the activities of the British provincial government to develop the Central Provinces during the six decades from 1861 to 1921. Though the Government resolution creating the Central Provinces en-
visioned the use of government institutions to promote development, wry few departments dealt with the improvement of the province. Rather they concentrated primarily on law, order, and taxation; only secondarily on providing rudimentary social services; and least of all on economic development. With the imposition of a provincial government most of the procedures of British rule which were designed to consolidate their position in India were brought to the Central Provinces. The wholesale importation of these procedures meant that there was little imaginative attempt to revise the form of provincial administration into what was needed to fit the particular character of middle India, or to meet the specific needs of its economic development.
Raghaven Iyer suggests that there were four dominant imperialistic themes or theories of Government that inspired the British administration and justified their ideas and policies- trusteeship, guardianship, utilitarianism, and evangelism. (2) All were animated by a mixture of paternalism and laissez-faire. On the one hand, British administrators sought to teach and lead Indians in ways to improve their condition in British terms; on the other hand they sought to provide institutions which would free Indians to develop in their own chosen ways. Administrators formed policy based on this mixture of enlightened Western despotism and non-interference. Prevailing attitudes of Victorian idealism and optimism often clouded over inherent contradictions of British policy.
One task of the new government was to form policies based on cu rent governmental theories. The effective implementation of these policies a was quite a separate and more difficult activity. The hierarchical
structure of provincial government imported and superimposed on the Central Provinces tended to divide the policy-making from the implementation functions of administration at the district level. British administrators above the district level debated, decided and finalized provincial policy. British administrators at the district level and below attempted to implement these policies through Indian officials. The division of governmental functions at the district level involving higher and lower levels of administrators tended to create two separate worlds. Those British administrators at the higher levels usually based their policies on English theories with only occasional and superficial reference to empirical information about Indian society and with only rare consideration of Indian opinion. Under the supervision of lower-level British administrators, the Indian officials sought to implement that policy in the context of local Indian society.
The tendencies of the British to segregate policy from implementation and to disassociate British administrators from Indian officials, isolated the higher levels of administration and local society. British provincial administration lacked the ability to penetrate into the lives of a majority of the population in the Central Province and therefore had a minimal affect on them. The Indians whom the British administrators influenced most were those connected with the provincial administration either as part of administration or involved in its institutions. They mainly consisted of lower officials, educators and student., the urban population, and taxpayers, in particular those designated as landlords to pay the land revenue.
This Part II examines the Central Provinces administration and its
interaction with Indian society during six decades from 1861 to 1921. The analytical framework makes three distinctions. The first is between policy and implementation, that is between goals, ideas, and the intentions of British administrators, and the achievements and results of British rule. The second is between two levels, an upper provincial level and a lower district level of administration and the majority of Indians only partially affected by British administration but mainly affected by other events and changes. The third is between the two types of departments. Social service departments include education, health, and local government such as municipal committees and district councils. Consolidative departments consist of judicial, police, and taxation. Thus Part II examines two types of administration activity and its interaction with changes occurring within Indian society. The changes in Indian society consists first of educational changes, p.litical. evolution, and population growth; and second, land policy and taxation, and agrarian relations. Judicial and police activities are not examined separately.
As the first Chief Commissioner of the Central Provinces from 1861 to 1866, Richard Temple formulated the structure of the provincial administration. His first annual report on the administration of the province contains a wealth of information and impressions. (3) He expressed both a concern for the everyday establishment and management of the administration and a vision for the future development of the area. The judicial, police, and taxation systems needed to be organized; substantial begin-
nings had to made in education, health services, local government; and plans had to made for other improvements. Temple estimated that the total provincial revenue from all sources was just over Rs. 8 million. Of this, about Rs. 3.25 million, or a little less than 40 percent consisted of expenses for the civilian government. Rs. 1.1 million, or 13 percent was paid as pensions and subsidies to recently deposed Indian rulers of the Central Provinces. Rs. 2.9 million or over 33 percent want for the military. The remainder, somewhat more than Rs. I million or about 12 percent, was for "material improvements," mainly public works. The accompanying table lists the expenditures of the civilian administration under Temple.
In addition to detailing his reorganization of the administration, Temple stressed the importance of other measures for the improvement of the province. He suggested that the payment of land tax (about 64 percent of all taxes) by landlords of the cultivated parts of the province should be made permanent and unalterable. He was confident that if the central Indian government would except this principal of land taxation, it would stimulate the "industry, enterprise, and self-reliance of the agriculturalist, the application of capital, and the accumulation of wealth." (4) He also investigated the possibility of attracting European colonists to settle unoccupied lands of the province, confident that with "European capital and enterprise, it may be possible for the "a and plough to invade the ancient domain of the Forest and Prairie." (5) Such European
colonization in the Central Provinces, he regarded, as the "hope of the future." Temple also made a preliminary assessment of the forest and mineral wealth of the province, (6) and placed emphasis on the improvement of communications and transportation. He wanted to put the postal and electric telegraphic communications on a sound footing (frail and rotting posts constantly interrupted service in the rainy season) and he had plans to improve the roads. He gave encouragement to private companies to build an extensive railway system across the province. (7) His administrative reorganization was to be implemented within a couple of years while his plans for the development of the province would take several years.
During the five year period (1868-1872) after Temple's administration, the annual income of the provincial administration averaged over Rs. 8.5 million, while expenditure within the province rose to over Rs. 4.5 million. (8)
The table showing provincial expenditures for various departments and activities indicates that the primary role of government was to promote law and order. The judicial and police activities including expenditure for salaries and office supplies always exceeded 50 percent of provincial funds . Social services expenditures for education and health never averaged as much as 17 percent. Expenditures for public works averaged 17 percent during the first three decades but were increased during the famine-troubled 1890's and 1900's to around 33 percent.
Though the general division of administrative expenditure changed little, the activities of government shifted gradually during the six decades of provincial administration under review. Temple's energetic administration in the 1860's saw the foundation of a provincial bureaucracy which exhibited many features similar to other Indian provincial administrations . But even by 1868 Henry Morris (Temple's successor) noted a shift. Rather than Temple's activities of "initiation," Morris emphasized "consolidation and development," (9) and his long term as Chief Commissioner until the early 1880's was largely characterized by an effort to continue the structure of the Temple administration and to sit back and examine its affects on the province. As a result of this examination, several substantial places of legislation were formulated and passed in the decade of the 1880's. The last three decades until 1920 were used to amend that legislation and to revise administrative activity, mainly to deal with the economic problem which the famines of the 1890's had first revealed.
Other broad shifts in the character of the administration occurred during those six decades. Until the middle of the 1880's the Chief Commissionership was held mostly by administrators who had previously served in some capacity in the province. Between then and 1907 many of these Chief Commissioners came from other provinces. The period was characterized by rapid turnovers. Terms were often only two or three years, compared to Morris' thirteen years. Those who served in the Central Province included Alexander MacKenzie, Anthony MacDonnell, John
Woodburn, Charles Lyall, Denzil Ibbertson, John Hewett, Frederic Lely, and John Miller. During these years the subordinate staff of the province provided the only continuity. Frequent changes among these "outsider" Chief Commissioners often resulted in divergent views. One Chief Commissioner said of his predecessor, he "did not understand the question" of land revenue settlement and "let himself be betrayed into raising the . . . rent too high;" he was obstinate in making the amendments. (10)
None of these Chief Commissioners of the middle period had been in charge of another province in India before; but subsequently, making use of their training in the Central Provinces, they advanced to the top positions of other provinces.
This importation of "outsiders" led to a gradual shift in the character of the administration. From the 1880's onward, the administration's policies and problems were viewed more in the broader contest of the British Indian Empire. The relative isolation of the provinces was less noticeable, and its peculiar administrative procedures and concerns became more standardized and general. This was especially so in the late decades of the period under review when investigative commissions frequently toured India, and concerns arose and legislation was formulated in connection with such matters as irrigation, rural debt, cooperative societies, and land transfers.
There were than two recognizable periods during these six decades of administration. Roughly the first half was a period of inauguration and consolidation of British provincial administration, while the second half was a period of revision and standardization in the light both of
From the beginning of the Central Provinces administration in 1861 social services received far less priority than other departments such as law and order. Policies and program for education, health and local government where highly colored by and based mostly on English ideas and institutions. The purposes and structure of education as introduced closely followed British school models. So also with respect to health programs ; British administrators promoted ideas and practices of contemporary Waste= medicine, while Hindu, Muslim, and other local practices and their doctors were disregarded. Local government suffered a similar treatment. The British made a little attempt to collect information about pre-British local governmental institutions or lend support to them. Instead, they established Municipal Committees, District Councils, and eventually a Provincial Council. these essentially British civil institutions were usually expected to be financially self-supporting and this severely limited their effectiveness. During the six decades from 1861 to 1921 these social and local government institutions had checkered history, being alternately promoted and ignored as personnel in the provincial administration changed. As a result they affected the lives of only a small upper segment of the provincial population. This section examines the first of these three social service institutions-education.
In the 1880's the British made an assessment of education in the Central Provinces and considered the situation far from satisfactory. One report states that they found the people "thoroughly uneducated . . . .
In no part of British India can there be found a population lower or darker in this respect." There were no places of Indian learning, "no educated youths anywhere." (11) In the southern part of the province, for example, there were few educated Maratha Brahmins to fill government offices, so Indians were drawn from other provinces and these were considered "foreigners" during these early years. One of the assessments about education indicates the British were beginning to form an education policy which distinquished between different social classes.
Among the great agricultural community the complete preservation of the upper and middle classes is, perhaps, a happy circumstance. They are, indeed, rude and uninstructed, but they exist and maintain their relative position. In all districts there is a middle class, a degree below the upper class, but clearly above the mass of the rustic people. If this middle class can be gradually enlightened and civilized, it will serve as a lever to lift up the mass of the people from the slough of ignorance and apathy. (12)
These British assessments reflect three implications which had significance for the future of education in the Central Provinces. First, education al efforts were to be directed mainly toward the agricultural "middle class," whom the British recorded as the village landlords or malguzars. Second, it was assumed and educated middle class would raise the lower classes from their uneducated state. Third, it was intended that at least some of the newly educated Indians, especially the Maratha Brahins , would fill subordinate administrative posts.
Efforts to encourage education in the Central Provinces waxed and waned over the six decades. Already in the early 1860's an education department had been atablished with its inspectors, a few government
schools and many aided schools. Chief Commissioner Richard Temple supported education declaring that "Commissioners, the Deputy Commissioners and their Assistants are as much responsible for the various Government schools, great and small in their charge, as they are for the Courts, the Jails, the Dispensaries and the District roads." (13) There was an initial period of expansion. During the first decade (from 1862-1872) the number of all schools increased from 1210 to 1778, while the students quadrupled from 21,327 to 82,930. (14) Many local British officials made extraordinary efforts to promote education in the late 1860's and early 1870's. Under the persuasion of district officers some Indians opened private schools. When, later in the 1870's, education began to decline, these same Indians refused to maintain their schools "except under compulsion." In that decade (1870's)educational institutions declined by 213 to 1565, while the number of students rose very slowly, from 82,930 to 89,506. (15) One explanation for this lack of continual growth was said to be compulsive policy of the government.
In the early 1870's a student in the Central Provinces wrote an essay for a comparative scholarship on aspects of these compulsive methods. He complained that British officials severely "oppressed" and punished parents of truant students. Such parents had to meet the British officer at his pleasure, receive admonition, and sometimes sign an agreement to
send their children to school. The student wrote that parents would "at last send their children to school regularly . . . when they suffered all such hardships, viz, that of being detained without purpose for several days together at the house or in the Court of the District Commissioner, and of paying the . . . fees of the peons, the value of the stamp paper, and the fees of the writer." (16) The student suggested that some district officers,
with a view to gain name, spare no means to collect a' many boys as they can, without the least consideration of the he- arising therefrom. They rather seem to think that, unless the ignorant people were punished to a certain extent, they would always object to attend to education. (17)
In a reply required by the Government of India to these and other charges of "oppression used in the Central Provinces to fill Zillah schools," the Chief Commissioner did not directly deny any of the charges, nor wk. a "useless inquiry of the British officers" to ask if they had "been guilty of putting improper pressure on the people . . . and of misusing their authority." (18) Rather he relied on his own personal knowledge and stated that in 1869 the Chief Commissioner had explained to district officers "that though they should use all their endeavours and all their official influence to get parents to send their children to school, no harsh measures would be tolerated." The Chief Commissioner suggested that touring District Commissioners probably did admonish parents of truant children and expressed his opinion that "if Government shows no interest in education and does not push the people, they cannot be expected of
themselves to appreciate a boon" (education), and he felt that in India " among similar people in Europe, education was "held but in light estimation by the lower classes" when they were "not being subjected to compulsory instruction."
Although the Chief Commissioner did not openly denounce these compulsive methods, criticism leveled against it did seem to influence policy. In 1875 the Chief Commissioner ordered that local British officers should encourage education less through their executive assistants (tahsildars) and more through the education department's Indian inspectors. (19) This carried some negative results for by transferring the matter from executive to departmental officers, it left it to officers who had less status and authority. It was at this time that the rapid development during the 1860's slowed down and this decline continued until it reached stagnation in the late 18701s. Stagnation in education continued during this middle period until about 1905. It was during this period that there were a number of short-term Chief Commissioners, many of whom had had no previous knowledge of the province.
The slow progress of education during the last part of the nineteenth century led to disillusionment among British officials. In Fuller's review of the first three decades of provincial administration, he admitted that "Public education in its true sense has indeed hardly begun." (20) Five years earlier the head of the Central Provinces Education Department, in a review of the discipline and moral training in the
schools and colleges of the Central Provinces, commented that as only twelve out of 100 school-going age boys were in the school system, "so far as morality is concerned, our schools affect but little the mass of the population." He also felt that though schools and colleges of the Central Provinces had been modeled after the English system, the results could not be compared. "British colleges are a growth, not a creation. Indian colleges and high schools am not a growth but an alien graft." Sons of gentlemen in England went to college "from fashion, or from the desire of learning." In India they hoped "merely to obtain employment under government." The 110 college students in the Central Provinces were not the equivalent of "gentlemen" in the colleges of England. Only five of the parents had an annual income of over Ea. 5000, while at least a third had annual incomes of less than Rs. 200. (21) The Chief Commissioner in 1890 (MacKenzie) did not seem to encourage education in his annual review. He complained that the Nagpur Municipal Committee lavished funds on higher education, "while the town wants drainage." (22)
The stagnation in education and disillusionment about it continued during the last of the 1800's when famines partially disrupted education efforts. Then by 1905 there were evidences of change. A "great and spontaneous increase had set in" so that the number of students increased from 1902 to 1912 "from 153 thousand to 300 thousand." (23) This progress was
attributed partly to the "new spirit" of social and political movements, partly as people gained "a greater appreciation of the benefits of education," (24) partly from an attempt to revise educational methods, and partly from increased funds. One book which both reflected and encouraged a revision in the educational system was by Henry Sharp, Rural Schools in the Central Provinces. (25)
Sharp wished to make education accessible to rural children. He suggested half-day attendance, and instruction in useful agricultural knowledge such as the forms and methods of village tax accountants (patwaris) and money-landers. He also stressed the need to provide traditional Indian gymnastic exercises (Deshi Kasrat). (26) A large increase in funds was reported, as seen in the accompanying chart for Hoshangabad. There in the 1890's the total annual funds averaged Rs. 40,553 and rose to Rs. 98,734 between 1901-1910. Primary education increased even more sharply in the same period, from Rs. 23,000 to Rs. 64,500. But while funds more than doubled, average annual student attendance increased by only 38 percent and schools by 20 percent.
During the six decades after the establishment of an education department in the Central Provinces, British methods and institutions Of education became firmly established. Within this period education grew by fits and starts as British administrators varied widely in their formation of policy and in their support of its implementation. The first
fifteen years had been ones of extraordinary growth because British executive officers had used their influence and power to push forward education. Also, during the last fifteen years of the period, 1905-1920, more Indians sought education and educational funds showed increases -ally. The near stagnation of the middle years, from the mid 1870's to 1905, my be attributed to British disillusionment, to rapid changes in administrators who had little knowledge of the province, and to adverse economic conditions, particularly the wide-spread famines. By 1921 only 10 percent of the population over ten years old and 5 percent of those over five years of age were literate. Such an advance from almost zero percent in 1860 appears extraordinary, but in fact it was discouraging, for more than 90 percent of the population still could not read or write. Only two out of the eight provinces in British India had lower literacy rates than the Central Provinces and Berar. Education of the masses or mass education, which in the 1890's had "hardly begun," had by the 1920's just barely begun.
The vacillating expansion of British-style education in the Central Provinces over six decades provided a small Indian elite with education, though British administrators had intended, in the early 1860's, for education to produce far greater direct and Indirect changes among the population. As noted earlier, education was intended to achieve three objectives: first, to instruct an "agricultural middle class;" second, these in turn would serve as a "lever" to raise the lower classes; and third, to train some Indians (especially those classified as Maratha Brahmins) for subordinate administrative posts. The uneven effect of the slowly rising literacy can be shown by examining each of these three
"classes." The most immediate need was to train some Indians for
subordinate administrative posts.
The intention to educate Maratha Brahmins as lower officials solved one difficulty but created others. In order to substitute Maratha Brahmins for the predominance of "north Indian" Kayasths, mainly in the Marathi speaking Nagpur Division, some Maratha Brahmins had to be imported from outside that area and they were referred to as "foreigners." The Judicial Commissioner objected to this replacement of north India "foreigners" with imported Marathi Brahmins as an unsatisfactory solution. But on a request from the Government of India, the provincial administration examined the situation in the Nagpur Division closely, and defended its position by saying that it was politically expedient to have a predominantly Maratha lower bureaucracy to rule over a Maratha population, and to have Marathi as the court language. They also pointed out that only 13 percent of the Marathi officials in the Nagpur Division were imported "Deccani Brahmins," while 59 percent were "natives of Nagpur" and the remaining 24 percent were from "Hindustan." Only in the Education Department did "Deccani Brahmins" predominate (61 percent) and that was because there were not enough qualified local teachers so sow had to be imported. The continued presence of so many "Hindustani Kayasths" for sow time made it difficult to promote the Marathi language as the official language of the area. The change-over from Hindi or Urdu to Marathi took time and during this period of transition a strange mixed language emerged which consisted of Urdu grammar and vocabulary,
with some Marathi words, but written in Marathi (Modi) script. (27) By the early 1870's Maratha officials, both local and "foreigners" predominated, largely to the exclusion of Hindustani Kayasths, in the Nagpur Division and a purer Marathi had become the official language.
The education of local Maratha subordinate Indian officials cox. tinned to be a concern at least into the 1870's. Three times in that decade the Chief Commissioner issued circulars complaining that local officials were still hiring foreigners "of the Deccan and North-West Provinces," instead of educated Central Provinces Indians. The Chief Commissioner acknowledged that it had no doubt been necessary in the formative years of the administration to hire foreigners, since "few natives . . . were found fitted for government service." But as education had spread and the number of locally qualified Indians had increased, the Chief Commissioner pointed out it was of "great importance" to employ "as much as possible the natives of the country in its administration." (Central Provinces Proceedings, Home, January 1873, General, #3, p. 6. The circulars are dated January 10, 1873; March 4, 1874, #7; and March 26, 1877, #7). The Chief Commissioner observed that the imported "foreign" officials were "naturally anxious to surround themselves with men of their own race whom they . . . believe more capable," and could trust, but he hoped his instructions "would be observed in the future." He directly criticized the Education Department, since it was from that department that most of the "foreigners" had been transferred to other departments. (28)
Following the employment of "foreigners" as officials did not remain a major concern of the Provincial administration, and it appears that the instructions of the Chief Commissioner were finally implemented local Marathis were educated for various posts so that it was no longer necessary to import "foreigners" for subordinate posts in the government
British policy originally intended to concentrate on educating the agricultural middle-class. Policy differed toward them as British administrators did not attempt to train most of them for government service but rather "to enlighten and civilize them." In 1877 the Chief Commissioner (like the Inspector of Education already quoted in the late 1880,G) did not wish most of the Indian students to view "an appointment in the public service" to be "looked upon as a reward for study." Yet many students in the Central Provinces continued to regard education as the road into government jobs,
Administrators discovered the agricultural middle class, whom the British wanted most to educate, were not generally interested in this educational opportunity. In the context of the 1860's policy statement "agricultural middle class" consisted of the large and small landlords. The majority of the these and their children remained indifferent to the Western-style education offered them. Another type of "agricultural middle class," however, who took advantage of these educational opportunities included rural government officials; such as the patwaris (village tax accountants), landlord agents and their assistants, and banias or the money lenders, together with their assistants, the munims. The character of the Agricultural School in Nagpur gives evidence of this trend. The School was established in the early 1900's with three sections, one for the training of land Revenue subordinates, another for
the instruction of Primary Schoolmasters, and a third for providing the "sons of agriculturalists with a practical training in farming." (29) The weakest part of the school (which became a three-year college in 19051906) was the section intended to provide practical training for sons of landlords. By 1907-1908 the Administration Report admitted that the results of this section were not as good as originally hoped; students were especially reluctant to participate in the manual work that was a part of its practical training. The next year the Administration Report declared that the results of the mulguzari class were "most disappointing" as "it had been from the beginning." Further Administration Reports for 1911-1912 and 1912-1913 observed that the Agricultural School was still not attracting many students from the agricultural castes. On the other hand, the section to train revenue subordinates appears to have functioned well, though few, if any, of the recruits for that section came from the malguzars.
These observations are further substantiated at the Primary education level. The Administration Report of 1902-1903 commented that
Instruction has been pushed on in new subjects of a practical nature which are intended chiefly for the benefit of the cultivating class, such as village records, the use of village maps, the nature of the soils in the village area, the tenancy rights, manuscript reading, and Bania accounts. (30)
Schoolmasters called in local patwaris and banias to assist in these subjects, and it appears that it was mostly children of patwaris, banias, agents of the landlords, and others closely related, who benefitted from this instruction, rather than the sons of landlords, tenants, and agricultural laborers. This first goal had not been achieved in the way it was intended.
Having failed to reach their goals with regard to education for the malguzars, their second goal, that of using them to serve as a "lever" to raise the educational standard of the lower Classes was in jeopardy. There is no indication that those agriculturalists who did take advantage of the educational opportunities that were offered, the rural officials and agents, became that "lever" to uplift the masses. Rather, the lower classes remained the most uneducated section of the population. As in other instances, British intentions and ideas to educate the lower classes were not matched by successful implementation. The low caste Chamars of Chattisgarh. Division provide one example. They comprised more than one-sixth of the population of that Division, living mostly in the central agricultural area of the Chattisgarh plain where they were predominately tenants and agricultural laborers. More than half of the Chamars associated themselves with the Satnami (True Religion) reform sect, thus rejecting their usual "untouchable" status. (31)
In 1868 the Chattisgarh Chamars were first brought to the attention of the provincial administration when the Divisional Commissioner requested special permission to obtain some land for the establishment of a
Christian mission among them. He said an American missionary, Mr. Lohr, would supervise the effort among the Satnamis who were "desirous of religious instruction." (32) The Chief Commissioner, however, objected to approve any special concession for a missionary effort; he felt his sanction would be "unpopular" among the bulk of the Hindu population who looked with "much disfavor" on the Chamars. He speculated that his approval might provide an opportunity for Hindus to accuse "the administration of leaning unduly to the religion of the ruling race," or Christianity. (33) Soon afterward the same Divisional Commissioner requested support for a teacher-training school among the Chamars with Mr. Lohr as the headmaster. He felt such a school would be beneficial as the large Chamar population was backward and desired education, and it was known they received bad treatment in the schools managed by Brahmins, Kayasths, Muslims and others. Again his request was denied for the same reasons. (34)
The Chattisgarh area remained one of the most backward areas of the Central Province particularly in education. In 1875 the Inspector General of Education complained that the Chattisgarhi malguzars were particularly problematic as they could not be trusted to pay the school masters regularly. The Inspector-General. viewed the Chattisgathi people as "backward," living "cheaply," and caring "little for knowledge of any kind not connected with their daily work." (35)
The problem was worst in Simga tahsil, where almost one-fifth of the population was Chamar. In 1884 the problem of collecting the education subscription became so acute that the administration decided to close one-third of the 1-10 primary schools. Almost all the schools closed were in predominately Chamar villages, where the administration felt the people were of a bad character and hostile to education. (36) Chattisgarh made a proposal for promoting education among the Chamars but the Chief Commissioner replied that provision was already being made for them in the general scheme of primary education expansion. (37)
Other attempts by local British administrators to promote lower caste education generally met with failure. In Chanda District, the local high school was closed when some low caste Dher boys, who had passed the entrance examination, tried to enter the school. Though the District Commissioner supported the attempt, all the other high caste boys resigned from the school. Eventually the school was revived as a Zillah school with full attendance. (38) As late as 1917, however, the Central Province administration refused to remove specific restrictions on the admission of low caste girls into schools. While it favored admitting them, in principal, it left their admission and thereby the implementation of
their policy to local officials to deal with as the applications were received. (39)
These cases under review reflect some of the more general and persistent attitudes of the provincial government toward lower class, and especially low caste education. Though in principle it seemed often to hold to the ideal of educational opportunities for most of the population, it did not strongly commit itself to promote education among the lower classes. At the divisional and district levels, British administrators sometimes attempted to implement educational opportunities for specific lower castes in their areas. These effort. often met with opposition or indifference from British administrators at the provincial level and strong opposition and rejection by local higher castes.
Another large category of the Central Province population received almost the same treatment from British rulers as was given the low castes. They were the tribal groups who totaled almost one-fourth of the population in the province. They lived in the mom inaccessible areas and were comparatively backward in education. Though a few British officials and foreign missionaries from time to time labored to promote education among them, such efforts were minute in comparison to the general educational efforts in the province. Some British attitudes toward tribal groups also may have limited British concern for education among them, The Central Provinces Gazetteer (1908) in its summary of the educational position of various segments of the population admitted that only three percent of the tribal boys of school age were in school. The Gazetteer
contended that it was difficult to persuade "the forest tribes to send their children to school, and even when the children do go it is probable that only a few of them have sufficient powers of concentration to learn successfully." (40) Such attitudes among British officials would not reflect a serious effort to promote education among tribal groups. Literacy and caste statistics of the early twentieth century provide further evidence that the educational growth of the first six decades in the Central Provinces benefitted mainly the higher-caste private and government professionals at the expense of the rural malguzars and lower classes, and the forest tribes. Literacy rates in the Central Provinces and Berar were 3.3 percent in 1911 and 4.8 percent in 1921. (41) The three castes with the highest literacy rates (between 24 to 35 percent) were Brahmins, Kayasths, and Banias. A tribal group such as the Gonds had only a 1.1 percent literacy among its males and .1 percent among its females. Brahmins were an exceptionally well-educated though a relatively small caste category, consisting of around 450 thousand or around 3 percent of the provincial population. Yet in 1912 the number of Brahmin students in higher education, 2,280, exceeded the number of all other castes combined, 1,970. (42) They monopolized clerical and government appointments,
and were said to fill 74 percent of government posts above menial positions. (43) The correlation of high caste with high literacy is revealed also at the district level. The Narbudda Valley district of Hoshangabad had a high literacy rate of 6.9 percent in 1921; its percentage of twice born caste population was also high, (20 percent). The forest district of Balaghat had a low literacy rate of 3.4 percent; for it had a large forest tribal population, (25 percent). Bilaspur district in Chattisgarh with a high percentage of "impure castes", (30 percent) had the lowest literacy rate, (2.6 percent).
Four conclusions emerge from the history of education during the first six decades of the Central Provinces administration. First, educational institutions, the number of students, and funds all showed an increase during this period, but the increase was sporadic and was related to British administrative support. Increase and expansion was greatest in the first and last decades when British support was strongest both in idealized policy and in implementation. During the middle decades the British became disillusioned. They were adversely criticized for compulsive methods of promoting education. They withdraw support through executive British officers and transferred the implementation to departmental officials, most of whom were Indians. The British became dissatisfied with the slow educational development and with the type of education which seemed to produce an abundance of Indians seeking government jobs. The divergence between British policy and implementation was greatest during the middle period. The educational resurgence of the last decade
resulted in literacy rate of 5 percent in 1921.
Second, educational development unevenly affected different segments of the C. P. population. Originally the British considered the educational advancement of three segments: the agricultural middle class, the lower classes, and subordinate Indian officials. Whereas the British stressed the first two segments, it was the last segment and their counterparts in the economy which achieved the greatest literacy. At the village level and above they held positions as patwaris, banias, and agents of landlords. British attempts to attract and educate the agrarian middle-class of landlords, the malguzars, generally met with very limited success. Lower castes and forest tribes were even more illiterate. Local British officers who tried to promote education among lower castes often found their efforts were opposed by higher castes and by the provincial administration for one reason or mother. An examination of these reasons indicates that the provincial administration in implementing policies allied themselves with higher castes and did little to remove prejudices against lower castes, by word or action. At the end of these decades, in 1921, literacy was most concentrated among Indians in intermediate administrative and economic positions midway between the colonial structure above and the agrarian society below.
The third conclusion arises from the second. Education gained a greater significance in a colonial society based on a literate bureaucracy. British rule depended on documentation and statistics to form policy, make laws, and decide court cases. British administrators came to rely heavily on a literate, subordinate Indian bureaucracy to supply these. Villagers, an the other hand, had to rely on literate persons to
supply and read various documents for them; documents concerning land rights, contracts for debts, or other legal information. In the context of British rule literacy implied power: power better to understand and control relationships with the British colonial structure above and Indians below.
Lastly, this review of education in the Central Provinces between 1861 and 1921 reaffirms the analytical framework of the beginning of this chapter. The promotion of education under British rule was limited by several factors: by a minimal financial commitment, by the divergence between ideals and results, between policy and implementation, and between provincial and district level British officials. Education directly affected only a small number of Indians, though it indirectly affected a much larger number. In such an agricultural society, British officials often expressed a hope that education would stimulate agricultural production. But, as the practical schemes for agricultural education in the primary schools and the Agricultural College reveal, education did not increase agricultural production, rather it strengthened the position of Indians at the intermediate level in the government and economy, which in turn reinforced the colonial structure rather than change it. Education thus helped consolidate British rule rather than promote development.
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1. Government of India. Resolution, 2 November 1861, in Memorandum and Resolution on the Amalgamation of the Saugor and Narbadda Territories with the Provinces of Nagpur (1861; reprint ad., Nagpur: 1922). [Back]
8. Joseph Bampfylde Fuller, Review of the Progress of the Central Provinces during the Past Thirty Years and of the Present and Past Condition of the People (Nagpur: Secretariat Press, 1892),pp. 20, 25. [Back]
13. Central Provinces, Report on Education in the Central Provinces from the Annexation of the Saugor and Narbadda Territories to the close of 1881-82 (Nagpur: Chief Commissioner's Press 1882), p. 3. [Back]
22. CPHP, August 1890, #20, Report on Education for 1889-90, p. 67. He also felt the Morris College arts program was "a superfluity in Nagpur," and wanted more funds "devoted to Technical education." [Back]
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