Macaulayism in Modern Day India

Lord Thomas Babbington Macaulay had the best interests of the East India Company and the British in mind when he framed the Indian Education System in 1835. A system like that was obviously built for the long run, the British presumed that they would rule India forever those days. But Macaulay would never have expected his legacy to last as long as two centuries and more, even after the British had left India in the hands of her own people. The monster he created has not only survived and flourished but has also grown into an all-encompassing ecosystem shaping and controlling the thought process and the culture of an entire nation and its people, all 1.2 billion of them. The result is a society of corrupt people, us, who have no value or self-respect or are unable to think rationally or for ourselves and ape and worship all that is the West and still think we are the greatest people on Earth even when we have little to show for that, hiding behind the veneer of defensive jingoistic patriotism whenever questioned or pointed out the real state of our country. Sure, there are other factors, but the core of the rot lies in our education system, which is incredibly being used even today to produce worker zombies for the World.

Education is the biggest factor that determines how the people of a nation act and behave. A country is made up physical boundaries but a nation or society is made up of its people. The behavior of this nation or society is determined by the collective behavior of its people, and how people behave depends upon what they are taught. If the people are taught to be well-behaved, courteous and disciplined, the nation or society will be well-behaved, courteous and disciplined. If people are taught to value themselves and given education that imbibes self-respect and valor, we will have a proud, disciplined, hard-working and self-respecting nation. But India is none of these because our people or society at large is none of these. Because we are not taught to. So though we claim to possess great knowledge about everything because we had “read it in school/college”, we are still unable to achieve some basic order in society such drive in lanes, stand in queues, maintain public spaces or respect themselves or others and instead find solace “order in chaos” and other ridiculous ideas.

KR Puram Traffic Jam
“Order in Chaos” at KR Puram, Bangalore. All Indians must be proud of this.

The Basic Tenets of Macaulayism

There exists a popular misconception that Macaulayism means only “Affinity towards English and English Medium of education“. In reality, this is just one part of it and the most advantageous. Macaulayism is a tool used for mental colonization of an invaded people through cultural subjugation, without firing even a single shot. It is the process of transforming an entire people into cultural zombies who are ashamed of themselves and their culture, achieved through the incessant propaganda that their native culture and ways of life are inferior and primitive while that of the invaders is superior and should be followed to achieve glory in life. The objective of the British was to generate slave-minded people literate and well-versed in the language of the King (or Queen) and will do as they are told, while worshiping the white man and their ways as ways of the Gods and profess abeyance towards the white skin, still followed by us Indians of today. We have no value for our own culture and languages but follow and worship the ways of the white man blindly, making us the Children of Macaulay. We are still fit to be only clerk labor (software coolies, anyone?), as we still follow the education system which was designed for exactly that purpose 180 years ago.

During the heydays of the Raj, Indians were made to believe that the only way to achieve glory in life is to learn and worship the white man’s language and his customs and aspire to become like them. It was also implied that all the languages, customs, methods and ways of life of the Indians were inferior, useless, “low-class” and “old” and those learning or following those practices would be left behind. And seeing all the cool people who went to English Universities becoming all scholarly and acquiring wealth and power and friendship with the Gora Sahibs, Indians of all hues promptly dumped their old ways of knowledge, language and culture and jumped on the “aping-the-west” gravy train, priding themselves to be “English in taste and ways of life“. The only thing that stopped them short of becoming full-blown English was their skin color, which is why Indians hate and are ashamed of their skin color even today. Maculayism had won.

How Macaulayism Defines How India Thinks and Acts Today

Macaulayism defines today’s India because today our people are taught to think and behave exactly what people were taught during the British Raj. Our basic education process centers around rote learning from day zero and is incredibly close-minded, where textbook-creators and myopic, ego-encrusted fossils that are teachers and professors decide what and how students they should learn think. Creativity, innovation, talent, free thinking, idea generation, out-of-the-box thinking, intelligence display and World-changing stuff are not just discouraged but are absolutely killed, making sure that no great minds come out of our classrooms. This is because the last thing Macaulay, the East India Company and later the British Empire wanted was a bunch of creative, free thinking Indians coming out of their education system and propelling their country to glory. And today we continue those policies as they were, because the leaders of independent India must’ve thought it to be convenient to keep the populace ignorant and under check. Now you know why there are no Googles, Apples, Facebooks, Sonys, Fords or Disneys coming out of India. We are taught that talent has no place in our society and we are meant to “do jobs” and not create jobs. Think of it. Since we were little kids, it was always hammered into our heads that we have to grow up and get jobs and work our entire life to become “good people”. Have any one of your middle class parents ever told you: “Study well so that once when you grow up you will be able to start a great company that will change the course of human history”?

No doubt about it. Pink Floyd was singing against Macaulayism. We don’t need this education!

Ask any old timer (70-80 years of age) what their grand children are doing, you will probably get a reply that says he or she is “reading” at some University or other. In case you are wondering, “reading” was a terminology widely used among the elite to indicate “studying”, because in India, reading = learning. Everything taught in India focus only on the theoretical in pre-assigned textbooks, never on practicality or problem solving. We are forced to read, read and read our textbooks some more and in the end, whoever is able to memorize the most will be the winner. This results in us “learning” only what we “read”, making us end up straddled with bookish theoretical knowledge that is of no use when it comes to building a productive, well-behaved society. We are not given any moral or value education which has lead to the creation of a society devoid of morals and values, the end results visible for everyone to see.

All that we “learn” from our Macaulayized system of rote-learning does nothing to help us how to think, act, look at things rationally, make informed decisions in life and so on. We are never taught how to be proud of our own selves, our people, languages and heritage, we are never taught to value the “good karma” or being honest, polite, sincere, punctual, helpful, disciplined or cultured. We are also never taught to apply common sense to make decisions or the importance of civic sense. In fact, we are taught everything EXCEPT what is actually needed. Children in more civilized countries are taught from the smallest age the value of discipline, order, politeness, honesty and other such values. They are taught how to behave in public, to respect and value others’ time, space and money, t0 be proud of themselves and even little things like not to litter, wish others Good Morning, cross only at green and so on. This is visible in their societies, while we are only taught to mug up answers to stupid questions on pointless subjects and vomit them on answer sheets to “earn marks and grades” which will ultimately result in us earning useless degrees which will somehow help us to “become big in life”. But in the end, as people who grew up without any value education we turn to the supernatural, apply “jugaad”, think with their “emotions” while taking decisions in life and do not baulk when it comes to cutting corners, raping women and looting public money.

Forget schools, aren’t values taught at home? India and its society is well known for its family values and stuff, right?

Right. It was. Times change. I will illustrate this in the form of some incidents I have encountered:

Lady in a bus on the phone: “Son, don’t give your pencils to that child. What if he gets more marks than you?”

Another one on the road to his kid: “Why are you helping all these people? They will all sit on your head! Aur yeh bahut saare log low-class ke hain (Many of these are low class people).”

And such is the condition of our society. Any surprises?

There are innumerable questions asked on why Indian society and individuals are like this. And yes, education is the answer. Teach the kids to respect women, obey laws and help others from their very first year of schooling, even if “Maths and Science” are not taught. You will see the difference.

Our Schools as the British Raj’s Last Vestige

India has a serious dearth of good schools and Universities which give good value education, especially in the government sector. (This is discounting some Bollywood-ish elite snob schools where students sing and dance wearing minis and designer jackets all day and drive Ferraris when they are not chilling in dorms that resemble luxury resorts). Most of our classrooms of today bear a semblance to the British Raj with their authoritarian, one-way approach commandeered by teachers who are little dictators themselves, weighing heavily on “Syllabus” and where any kind of “questioning the teacher” or questioning of any kind is banned. You just learn by-heart what you are told, memorize question banks, puke all that on answer sheets and score marks. And that is it. Any wonder why everyone in India acts like a small-scale dictator to whose awesomeness everyone has to bow down? Ego rules everywhere from our roads to offices to families to schools and now the Internet because the explicit reason that we are never taught the value of humility. We are taught by authoritarians, and we end up behaving like one. Everyone who wonder why Indians are so intolerant, this is part of the answer.

But there are three visible identifiers which show how Macaulayism still strongly holds sway in our society. These are the craze for English and English Medium, everything “Foreign” including the scramble to get out of the country at any cost and the total disdain and loathing of most things Indian while maintaining a jingoistic, hypocritical attitude of “India is the greatest country in the World!” More about this in the next part.

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  • Raj

    For majority in the Country, government education is the only resort and we need to improve that quality. Folks should compete to be teachers the way they compete to clear Engg/Med Entrance tests. Make teaching the most sought-after job and then see the change in 30 years. But who would want to invest in a complete education-system overhaul is the question. Education is one topic that is close to my heart. For all issues plaguing the country I believe education/learning and teaching methodology should change.

    • That is a big question, sir. No one is bothered or interested in this, especially the ones who should be doing it. They are only interested in accumulating money.

    • Exactly, the only thing that can change this country. But that question is a big question.

  • Srini

    Fantastic Article,we still celebrating the so called ” Maculayism “.None of the things changed from past Instead it becomes worsening.

    • Thank you! Yes, you are right. And it will only get worse.

  • Rajesh

    I saw a vedio saying Finland has the best educational system. These are their key points

    1. 3 teachers per class
    2. Teachers get highest salary
    3. Only the most qualified people are selected to Teach (here they are hired by Microsoft to make software)

    4. The same Teachers teach from class 1 to 12 and maintain a intellectual companionship and motivation for the students .
    To me it was very inspiring

    • And it is showing. This is the case with all Nordic countries. And those countries (Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland) have the highest standard of living in the World and highest social indices. They have absolutely got it right.

    • And that shows. Finland has the best social indicators in the World. A small, frozen country with not much natural resources, they have huge corporations, great art and music, some of the highest standards of living in the World. Why? Because of all that you said.

  • Rajesh

    We still teach children that man landed in mood on 1969! what a joke! By now, we would have countries in Moon if that was true

  • Harini Ethimex

    Fantastic article…

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