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is completed by frequent attendance at I will escape from it.” A wife, says a the temples in company with their native in a Bengali periodical, describing parents, where they are initiated in all the usual character of his people, "is the disgusting ceremonies, the san- considered in no other light than an guinary rites, and vile practices that object of cupidity, and a tool for peralmost universally characterize the forming the drudgery of domestic offices. worship and festivals of the gods. By her agency the Hindoo discharges
We must not leave this saddening the duties of a sweeper, a cook, a picture of Hindoo education without scullion, and a water-bearer.” The some reference to that of females, or most direful calamities, says Mr. Ward, rather to the entire absence of it. All are threatened at the woman who shall that has been said relates solely to boys. dare to aspire to the dangerous preFemales are never instructed, with the eminence of being able to read and partial exception of a few who are write. Not a single female seminary, employed for the vilest purposes in the he adds, exists among the Hindoos. sacred enclosures of the Brahmins or in Their doom, as expressed in the horrid the temple service. Their condition is and unfeeling words of a Brahmin, is to thus powerfully described by the Hon. perish : Women go to hell, and let and Rev. Baptist Noel. “They are them." treated as slaves. They may not eat To complete this picture of Bengali with their husbands. They are ex- education, we must not omit some referpressly permitted by law to be beaten. ence to the character of the literature Throughout India anything is thought in favour with the people. The number good enough for them, and the roughest of works in the vernacular tongue of words, the poorest garments, the Bengal is not large, but such as they scantiest alms, the most degrading are they have a very wide circulation, labour, and the hardest blows are so much so as to indicate that the progenerally their portion. They are by portion of readers is great. As comsystem deprived of education. They pared with the Mahommedan part of are debarred from religious instruction. the population, it is found that in They may not join in religious worship Bengal generally there are to every without their husbands, and are con- educated Mussulman about nine edusidered by their laws as irreclaimably cated Hindoos. wicked. Degraded and despised, they A very popular work with the middle naturally sink towards the level assigned and upper classes of the Hindoos is the them by public opinion. They have no “Annanda Mangal.” From its size the mental employment whatever.” The price places it beyond the reach of the moral and physical condition of the mass of the people ; but it is regarded Hindoo female is consequently pitiable as the best specimen that exists of a in the extreme. It is a proverb indica- work of genuine Bengali origin. It tive of the low esteem in which she is consists of a great variety of verse, tales held, “How can you place the black from the history of Shiva and Durga rice-pot beside the golden spice-box?" forming the staple. One romantic or from another, “How can the sweet poem, entitled Bidya and Sunda, is said mangoe grow forth from the bitter neem to be treated in a manner which, while tree ?" She is supposed to pollute every- it "commands admiration, so far as the thing she touches—"a dog, a sudra, and beauty of its language and the richness a woman,” says another proverb, “are of its descriptions are concerned, is in not to touch the idol, or the godhead its tendency essentially and grossly
immoral, and its perusal by native are read, or to whom they are recited
of the most filthy character. In the A few other works might be named name of their national religion these of a reputation not less than the above vices are perpetrated, and books written for elegance of style ; yet poisoned by to inculcate or incite to the practice of an equal amount of abominable matter. them. The names and pictures of their But these are comparatively bearable to gods figure on their front. Every book a larger class, which forms the chief and and every section of a book commences in many cases the only intellectual food with an invocation, or a prayer : and of the Bengali people. It consists partly hypocrisy clothes itself in the most of mythological works, and partly of spiritual forms and elevated language. amatory tales. Krishna and his adul- Such was the early education and the terous consort Radha form the subject mental food of the natives of Bengal, of at least seven of them. Some are when the missionaries of the cross paraphrases or versions of the Bhagavat entered the country, and by the publicaPurana and the Mahabharata, while tion of a variety of books and tracts, others present the popular tales of the both in English and in the vernacular Hindoo gods in a variety of forms, to tongue, together with translations of suit the various tastes of their multi- the word of God, sought to dispel the tudinous readers.
thick darkness that covered the face of It may be presumed that these works the people, and to train up their youth are widely read from the fact that in the nurture and the admonition of Krishna and Radha are the favourite the Lord. deities of Bengal. Inexpressibly vile is With much brevity we proceed the character of these deities, and their to sketch the rise and progress of example exercises a frightful influence education amid the thirty millions of over the popular mind. The upper Bengal, where the greatest progress has classes, indeed, pay homage rather to been made ; and the more since this Shiva and Durga, or Kali, who may be presidency formed the chiefest scene of regarded as the national deity of Bengal; the vigorous and well-directed efforts of but these gods are not less vile, while William Pearce. they add the most fiendish cruelties to The earliest step taken by the Hon. lust.
East India Company for the education The mind is repelled with disgust of the natives of India after their from the perusal of these frightful acquisition of the country, was in 1781, sources of vice. “It is,” says one who when a Mahommedan college was attempted it, “almost impossible to founded in Calcutta, and again in 1792, conceive of anything more truly horrible the date of the formation of the Sanskrit than some pages of each of these college in Benares. The course of volumes. They must utterly pollute study pursued in these institutions was the imagination of those by whom they wholly oriental, and solely adapted to
produce qualified persons for he judi- | hundred pupils in daily attendance. In cial administration of the Ilindoo and after years it was conducted by Mr. Mahomedan law. But no sooner were Penny, and is at the present time in missionary operations commenced than active operation under the supervision we find an effort immediately made to of Mr. Wenger.
It has been a very instruct the people, not only in Chris- successful institution. Many of its tianity, but in the rudiments of secular scholars have occupied, and still occupy, knowledge through the medium of their places of usefulness under government, own tongue. Thus in 1797, Dr. Carey in houses of agency, and in schools ; had opened a school at Mudnabatty, while in many instances conversion to which continued in operation till his God was apparent, and even where removal to Serampore in the year 1800. avowed attachment to Christianity was At this very early period of mission not expressed idolatry has been abanschools fifty children were thus taught doned, and the Hindoo mythology to read and write, who otherwise would publicly contemned. have known nothing. From this small It was about the year 1812 that spring has arisen the flood of knowledge vernacular schools came to be widely now pouring its rich stream of light and extended, and recognized as a still more life through the desert and arid plains important department of missionary of Hindoo philosophy and theology. labour, so much so that heathen schoolDr. Carey's school-operations were re-masters were largely employed in the commenced at Serampore, and in a few routine of instruction. In the year 1814 days after his arrival a Bengali school it was stated, that not less than a of forty boys was assembled under the thousand children were instructed in able care of Mr. Marshman. In the fol- their native tongue in the elements of lowing year the attainments of Dr. Carey useful knowledge by the Serampore induced the government to appoint him missionaries, and other Christian men teacher of Sanscrit and Bengali in the were incited to follow their example. college at Fort William : so that both the success, so far as numbers were Christian and secular education for the concerned, was immediate. One excelnatives of India may truly be said to lent minister, a Mr. May, within a year have originated in missions, and those of the commencement of his plan, had the missions of the Baptist Missionary established sixteen schools, containing Society. In the year 1802 a native upwards of nine hundred pupils. In Christian became for the first time a 1818, four years from his first attempt, teacher of a Bengali school, until under the schools had multiplied to thirty-six, additional teachers drawn from the with three thousand scholars. Many small Christian community that had difficulties, chiefly arising from the gradually formed around the missionary prejudices and fears of the natives, were nucleus, about three hundred boys were encountered and overcome. They were receiving education in the mission gradually removed by conciliatory conschools.
duct, and by not pressing prominently The year 1809 was marked by the on the minds of the children the truths formation in Calcutta of the Benevolent of Christianity. Indeed as heathen Institution, for the purpose of affording masters were the chief and most instruction to children of indigent numerous instructors, it was impossible Christians. It was formed on the to secure the preponderance of the monitorial system, for both boys and Christian element. girls, and has averaged about three These various efforts of missionaries
paved the way for the formation of the exposing them to the danger of Hindoo College in 1815, by the voluntary proselytism in the missionary institucontributions of the natives themselves. tions. Its establishment gave a great impulse Some missionaries even predict a to education in European knowledge revolutionary harvest as the natural and literature. It was the first serious growth of this infidel education, and effort put forth by the natives for the think they see in the public meetings instruction of their youth in English of the young Hindoo philosophers, where science. The institution was not, how they declaim on patriotism and liberty, ever, opened till January, 1817. On the and represent the government as tyranfirst day there were but twenty pupils. nical, the commencement of those A learned native present expressed his rumblings which precede the political hope that the Hindoo College would earthquake, and threaten the very resemble the bur, the largest of trees, existence of society. Says one, " There which yet at first was but a small can be no doubt that, in the order of proseedling. In three months the pupils vidence, India will one day be freed from numbered sixty-nine boys, all of whom England's supremacy ; but it is awful to made English their principal study. think that its government shall be Largely as at the beginning it was abolished, as was that of France, by endowed by native gifts, like everything philosophical infidels." These sentinative it soon began to give evidences ments are exaggerated fears ; for it is of decay, till in 1823, it fell into the certain that while many throw off all hands of the government, by whom it respect for every form of religion, others continues to be supported. At the become converts to Christ, and seek in present time it contains more than five the word of God that faith in the unhundred pupils, who pay about £3000 seen, which finds no resting place in annually in college fees. The books their ancestral religions. used are the chief classics of English Throughout India vernacular schools literature, such as, in poetry-Milton had for some years continued to increase. and Shakspeare; in history, Hume and Additional impetus was given to their Mackintosh ; in mental and moral philo- formation by the labours of the Calcutta sophy, Smith, Reid, and Abercrombie ; School Book Society, which institution in natural philosophy, Mary Somerville was founded in the year 1818. In and Herschel ; while the works and addition to the establishment and supinstruction in the vernacular tongue port of elementary schools, it conare very few and scanty. By the mis- templated the training of masters, and sionary bodies this Institution, with its early placed several pupils in the allied schools in the other presidencies, Hindoo College for this end. Its attenis regarded as fraught with pernicious tion was, however, arrested by the results. Christianity, and the records evident want of suitable books, and to of Christianity, are rigidly excluded supply them was among the earliest of from its walls. So also are the religious its plans. With this society both Dr. works of the Brahmins. It is therefore Yates and Mr. William Pearce became affirmed that infidels inevitably spring immediately connected, the one as its from these schools. Even Hindoo secretary for publications in the Sanscrit fathers will forbid their sons visiting and Bengali, the other as its general the college, on the ground that the secretary. In this capacity Mr. William pupils who attain proficiency become Pearce for many years directed its nasticks, that is, atheists, and prefer operations, and as a printer carried
through the press the numerous works were obliged to employ Hindoo teachers, and editions the society quickly supplied clever and cunning Brahmins who well for the use of schools. At the time of knew how to carry water on both the society's formation, a minute inquiry shoulders. On the one hand they gave 211 as the number of schools in encouraged the missionaries whose Calcutta, in which 4908 children received partial acquaintance with the language instruction. In 1821, of these schools assisted the imposition, to expect good 115, containing 3828 scholars, received fruit from the youthful plant, which books from the School Society, and were in its growth it was said would throw off examined by its inspectors; while 96 | its ignorance and superstitious reverence schools, with 1080 scholars, remained for the gods. On the other, the parents unconnected with the Society. The were assured no harm would befall their introduction of suitable lesson books children under the careful tuition of a greatly changed the aspect of the native twice born descendant of Brahm. The vernacular schools. The palm leaf was bright hopes thus encouraged were laid aside, the worn manuscript was not realized, and, for the most part, displaced by the well-printed book, such schools are discontinued. The paper instead of sand became the de- vernacular schools that remain are pository of alphabetic signs, and of the formed almost wholly of the children of early attempts of the scholar to enter sincere or nominal Christian converts, on the art of penmanship. Improve- and except in rare cases are taught by ments took place in the monitorial a known and consistent disciple of system, and greater order and pro- Christ. It has always been a wonder ficiency were soon manifested in the to us that any other course should general progress of the schools. At this ever have been adopted. There are time the schools belonging to our own supposed to be about 7000 children in missionary society in the various fields the missionary vernacular schools of of labour alone numbered somewhat Bengal. more than 9000 children, embraced in It is now by means 'of an English 120 schools. The pupils were taught education the missionary bodies in reading, writing, arithmetic, the ele- India seek to influence the native mind ments of grammar, astronomy, natural in favour of Christianity. The Seramphilosophy, geography, history, and pore College, founded in 1818, was the other sciences. Christianity but rarely first institution to offer to the youth of found a' willing teacher among the India a liberal and classical education. school-masters employed.
Its example was not much followed till The foundation of the Scotch Free Dr. Duff commenced the important Church Institution in 1830 commenced institution whose formation has been a new era in the history of education in signalized by his eloquence and its Bengal. From this time vernacular success. Other bodies have rapidly schools fell into desuetude among the followed the example, till from 5000 to missionaries of every denomination, and 6000 boys are receiving a Christian are now everywhere given up except in education through the medium of the villages. For some years dissatisfaction English language. The course of eduhad been growing with respect to the cation pursued is alike in its general vernacular schools. They were found character throughout the whole, varied in but very few instances at all helpful only by the taste or judgment of their in the great work of evangelization. respective directors. The usual elements From several causes the missionaries of knowledge are freely imparted, to
VOL. XV.FOURTU SERIFS.