Thursday, January 31, 2013

Macaulay vs. the Orientalists

Who were the "Orientalists" that Macaulay opposed, and what did they want? Well, mostly they were James Mill and his son John Stuart Mill, the noted philosopher. Here is Masani:

...And yet, the difference between their two positions was not so wide. Both agreed that government should promote some English teaching; the question was how quickly and extensively. Mill wanted efforts to be concentrated on a small elite of Indians who were already scholars of Oriental Studies and through whom knowledge would trickle down to the vernacular-speaking masses. Macaulay, on the other hand, wanted to use English as the medium for giving as many Indians as possible a Western education, responding to the aspirations of a rapidly expanding middle class and eventually of the entire population. Though not explicitly stated in his Minute, his ultimate goal was of an Indian empire whose citizens, like those of Rome, would become equal partners of their British mentors, with English, like Latin, as their imperial lingua franca. Ironically, Macaulay, rooted in the cautious Whig tradition, had come up with a vision far more egalitarian and inclusive than the linguistic elitism of his radical critic, John Stuart Mill.

Masani, Zareer (2012-11-16). Macaulay: Pioneer of India’s Modernization (Kindle Locations 1789-1796). Random House India. Kindle Edition.