Why did the British impose English on India
So why did the British impose English on India? First reason was convenience: it started out with that because they didn’t want to learn all the Indian languages, and they couldn’t understand Indian languages. So, it was very convenient to have English speaking menials, English speaking people. So, this says, let’s set up English educational centers. But the most important reason was that ‘these sepoys would become disloyal’. Now they needed an army as well. So, they had an Indian army and they realized that if the suppose started learning in their own languages, there’s going to be trouble, because the Muslims would real that these people are all infidels and we should not be having any business with them, if they kept studying the Islamic literature in their own language. Then they would, they would not be loyal to the British. The same thing with the people who studied Sanskrit becausethen they would regard them as malicious and unclean people who don’t have Dharma, adharmic people.
So, the British realized the danger of letting the education continue in the regional languages and then with the elite, they realized that if you make them study in English, then familiarly acquainted with the English literature, the Indian would speak of great Englishmen, with the same enthusiasm as the British themselves. By the way, these are not my theories, this is all written down by Macaulay’s brother-in-law Trevelyan. He also played a big role in the educational policy. So, he wrote all this, he said ‘familiarly acquainted with English literature that in Indian would speak of the great Englishman with the same enthusiasm as the British themselves, they would rejectthe teachings of Brahmin priests, the natives shall not rise against us, because we shall stoop to raise them’. It was a well-thought-out policy, very well thought out and after all, after fifteen-year debate between the Anglicists and the Orientalists, came the McCauley’s minute.
The Macauley memorandum which was circulated in order to come to a decision about what kind of educational institute should they fund. So, they came up with the English Education Act of 1835 after the debate. But we must look at my college minute. I’m sure many of us know it. Let’s read it again: “we must at present do our best to form a class, who may be interpreters between us and the millions who be govern a class of persons Indian in blood and colo,r but English and tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect. To that class, we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population.” So now after this was the English Education Act was passed.