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not be disastrous to the influence of the progressive schools of Hindu thought. But if it is only such a faculty that is wanted, there is no necessity for a Hindu university. In Scotland we have four universities, every one of which has a faculty of theology, which in every case is Presbyterian. But the universities are no Presbyterian : they are not even Christian, in the sense of requiring the profession of Christianity, by tests or otherwise, from either professors or students. More than this, these universities do not even require attendance at the classes of this faculty for the sake of a degree in theology: other theological colleges are recognised for this purpose. A new university is not required merely for the sake of teaching theology; and if unnecessary it is undesirable. Let the student have the inestimable advantage
. of the broadening influence of university life; and let him have his specialised teaching in theology in another college, without sacrificing his religious convictions and beliefs.
I do not believe, however, that it is specialised theological education that is the real object of the great mass of the promoters of this scheme : the proposal has originated in the deep and widespread anxiety for religious education generally. Serious evils, predicted by a few thoughtful men long ago, and undoubtedly present to the minds of the great statesmen who framed the Educational Despatch of 1854, are now attributed on all hands to the neglect of religious teaching. When Lord Minto, as Viceroy, was touring among the native States, he received addresses from Indian chiefs describing the absence of religious instruction in the schools as a potent cause of wrong ideas.' The Sri Bharat Dharma Mahamandal also petitioned his Excellency to help us in our efforts to guide the awakening life of the Hindus throughout India by means of a spiritual religious education.' These representations, or such as they, have been made by men of all races and creeds; and they lie at the bottom of this demand for sectarian universities. I sympathise with this view, but I earnestly believe that the plan adopted will not produce the desired result.
Only just the other day (24th of January 1912) a public meeting was held in Calcutta to promote this scheme of a Hindu university. The young Maharajah of Bikaner made a fine statement of his views on the subject. This young prince is a great athlete and sportsman, and has been well educated. He has a high reputation as a ruler, has rendered specially distinguished services to the Crown, and has received many marks of the royal recognition of his services both to the Government and to the peoples of India. He has exercised full ruling powers over his State since he was invested with them at the age of eighteen, in 1898, and has manifested a sympathetic and broad spirit. His breadth of view led him at Calcutta to insist that there is no inten
tion on the part of the promoters of the Hindu university to emphasise or perpetuate differences, but rather that 'both Musulmans and Hindus well recognise the common humanity which unites them and the common goal to which they are striving by different paths.' This is not the kind of language which one expects from a man who is advocating the establishment of a sectarian university; and it is scarcely to be hoped that the attainment of the latter object will tend to secure the fulfilment of his aspirations.
He went on to say that it is important to remember that both the Muhammadan and Hindu universities are to be open to students of all creeds and classes.' It cannot be forgotten how different this is from the views held by many of the influential supporters of the scheme; nor can it be hoped that a Hindu university, teaching the Hindu religion, will attract any considerable number of students of other religions. The doubt cannot fail to arise also in the mind of most Hindus whether, if it did so attract students, this would not involve something altogether different
their conception of Hinduism. Many thoughtful men will share the opinion of a Madras Hindu writer that it is at least doubtful whether sectarian universities can conduce to any spirit of unity among the various Indian communities. This writer says, 'In the case of the Muhammadans there are other facts—the social forces, for instance, which tend to unity and national cohesion. But among the Hindus institutions which have received the sanction of religion have long flourished, perpetuating social discord. These will surely receive fresh inspiration from a university calculated to keep Hindus apart, in the plastic period of their youth, from the rest of the Indian people.'
The Maharajab's address, however, is a most valuable statement of the sentiments and hopes which have led to the adoption of the scheme. I pass over what he says regarding secular instruction, especially the provision for technical instruction and research. These matters, which have been too much neglected until recently, now occupy a very prominent place in the thoughts both of the Government educational authorities and of non-officials interested in the subject. What strikes me as specially remarkable is the clear statement made regarding the importance of religious education. The Maharajah drew attention to the steady increase of the demand for religious teaching, and to the growing conviction that character can best be built up when it rests on the precepts of a great and noble religion. He admitted that 'certain difficulties may at first present themselves as regards religious instruction '; but, he added, no such difficulties should obscure the fact of its necessity.' 'The Hindus, as also our Muhammadan brethren,
are proud of being the heirs of a great civilisation, a great religion, and a great literature. It is to foster and conserve these that the two new Muhammadan and Hindu universities are now being promoted.' This is only one of innumerable illustrations which might be given to show that the demand for these sectarian universities arises from dissatisfaction with the Government system of education, as at present administered, in respect of the fact that it takes practically no account of the moral and religious training of the rising generation.
There is another difficulty in our present system which demands attention. It has arisen naturally through the progress of education. As education has advanced there has been a much more general resort to higher institutions. These necessarily are fewer in number than the primary schools. To attend them, therefore, means to many pupils or students that they have to leave their homes. If the system is not to be most dangerous to the moral life of these young people, it is clear that efficient arrangements must be made for the maintenance, as far as possible, of a sound and healthy home life for them. The need for this has attracted the attention of Government for a long time; and efforts have been made to provide hostels in connection with central institutions. These institutions have become to that extent residential. An efficient system of residential colleges is undoubtedly required, and ought to be provided by the united efforts of Government and of beneficent and wealthy individuals throughout the country. In these hostels, if they are private institutions, even though in connexion with Government colleges, arrangements can well be made for religious instruction; and then we should have students coming, in their hostel, under the religious influences of a good home, while in their secular work they found themselves side by side with young men of all religions, just as they will when they enter the world.
The great objection now taken in India to the Government system, as at present administered, is that it neglects this great subject of religion, but this is the opposite of the intention of the orders of 1854. There it is distinctly provided that religious instruction must be encouraged, though Government, being neutral, will not give any financial aid in respect of it; and the system devised for encouraging and maintaining the possibility of religious instruction, under a neutral Government, was the system
a of grants-in-aid for secular education. This has rendered possible the existence of a great number of religious institutions-Christian, Hindu and Muhammadan, existing alongside of the secular schools of the Government. The people are demanding more religious instruction in accordance with this policy; and it is deplorable to think that the answer which the Government seems inclined to give is to go back on the old policy and to press Government institutions even where there is no evidence of failure on the part of existing private institutions. This policy has been strongly resisted by men of influence in Madras; and it is to be hoped that no change of principle will be allowed in this respect.
Another great complaint against our system of education by many thoughtful Indians is this, that it has tended to denationalise the peoples of India. No one who knows the subject can fail to recognise that there is a great deal of truth in this complaint. It has become far too general to impart education almost exclusively through the English language and to neglect the vernacular. This is entirely opposed to the system prescribed in the Dispatch of 1854. The framers of that Dispatch knew how unjust it is to the great masses of the peoples of India that their officers should not know their vernaculars. They also recognised how impossible it is to disseminate knowledge throughout the masses of the people by any other channel than through the vernacular. They therefore maintained the necessity for the study of the Indian classical languages and for the improvement of the vernaculars. They insisted that the medium by which knowledge, even of western civilisation, was to be communicated to the people of India generally, was the vernacular; and they deplored a tendency, even then existing, ‘unduly to neglect the study of the vernacular languages. They also directed the training of schoolmasters in the vernacular, and the provision of vernacular schoolbooks to provide European information for the lower classes of schools.
The Maharajah of Bikaner also mentioned as a point in favour of the Hindu and Muhammadan universities' that much good can be done by diverting the charities and activities of the two communities towards the promotion of education by creating institutions which will appeal to them in a special degree.' Here he touches another defect in the application of the Government system. The Dispatch of 1854 directed the encouragement of private beneficence, and relied for the success of the Government system on the well-known liberality of Hindus and Muhammadans towards education ; but unfortunately the narrow spirit of departmentalism has, to a very large extent, tended to choke off this important means of advancing education. It is necessary that the Government and its officers should let the people understand that they greatly value and honour beneficence in regard to education. Many Indians desire to receive guidance in the practice of that liberality which is characteristic of them; and such guidance ought not to be denied.
I am strongly of opinion that the sentiments which have led to the movement for the Hindu and Muhammadan universities in India are sentiments which are worthy of all honour. But I
do not believe that these universities will be of advantage to the cause of education, concord and progress in India. It appears probable now that these schemes may be carried through; for funds are being freely supplied. I earnestly hope, however, that the institutions will really be nothing more than colleges with the power of giving certain special degrees, and will not involve any revolution in the system of education in India. At the same time I earnestly hope that the system as prescribed will be enforced by the Government of India, and that deviation from it by departmental officers, contrary to the spirit and ideas of the peoples of India, will not be tolerated. The demand for religious education, and the protest against denationalisation by education, are too strong and too widespread to be ignored by a Government that desires to retain its place in the affection and loyalty of the peoples of India. I believe that, if we had Government giving itself, in accordance with the principles which have been formally accepted and consistently maintained, to assisting the people in obtaining good residential colleges, where religious and moral education would be effective, we should not bear of movements to establish sectarian universities. But these principles must be rigorously enforced, against departmental indifference or opposition, in accordance with the best Indian sentiment.
A. H. L. FRASER.