Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A quote from Sir Thomas Munro

"I do not understand", said Sir Thomas Munro in 1813, "what is meant by the civilisation of the Hindus. In the higher branches of science, in the knowledge of the theory and practice of good government, and in education which, by banishing prejudice and superstition, opens the mind to receive instruction of every kind from every quarter, they are much inferior to Europeans.

But if a good system of agriculture, unrivalled manufacturing skill, a capacity to produce whatever can contribute to either convenience or luxury, schools established in every village for teaching reading, writing and arithmetic, the general practice of hospitality and charity among each other, and above all, a treatment of the female sex full of confidence, respect and delicacy are among the signs which denote a civilised people, and if civilisation is to be an article of trade between England and India, I am convinced that England will gain by the import cargo." (Quoted in Reginald Reynolds, "The White Sahibs in India")