Saturday, January 26, 2013

Reginald Reynolds on the education of the Depressed Classes

Reginald Reynolds, "The White Sahibs in India" (1937) informs us thusly:

In the education of the Depressed Classes, the Government has shown very little initiative.  The Indian States (ruled by autocratic princes who enjoy the support of the British Army against any attempt to remove them) are no models of good government, and must never be considered as examples of that Swaraj (self-government) of which Gandhi said: "Swaraj does not mean a transfer of power from a white bureaucracy to a brown bureaucracy."  Nevertheless, the advances in education made in some of these States indicate what could have been done in British India; and Baroda State showed till recently a higher percentage of educated "Untouchables" that the educated percentage of the total population of the entire country. [20]

Footnote [20] In this State special efforts for the education of the Depressed Classes have been made since 1883.   Free schools were opened in Baroda City and the principal towns, and even clothing, board and lodging were provided free.  There has since been a steady progress in the facilities offered and a rise in the number of schools and scholars.   In 1928-29 there were in the Baroda State 217 schools for the Depressed Classes and the pupils attending numbered 9,533.   In addition, 6,000 students belong to the Depressed Classes were receiving instruction in the ordinary schools; 9.1 per cent of the total population of the Depressed Classes in the Baroda State were at that time educated, while the general percentage of the educated population in India was only 8.1, taking all classes together.