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India! I dare you to be rich

Misrepresentation of Macaulay’s entire work through a single private letter to his father

We all know the story of the five blind men who made the wildest descriptions of an elephant by feeling its trunk, leg, tail, and so on. We now have a phenomenon in India of armchair blogsphere historians who use not even ONE HAIR of the elephant to determine what that creature is! Not only that, they use FALSE HAIR! to determine the nature of that creature.

I am talking specifically about the VERY SHAMEFUL saga of thousands of bloggers in India (particularly on Hindutva blogs) using a statement that Macaulay NEVER MADE to not only misrepresent him but to go off on all kinds of tangents about history.

Historians would hang their head in shame at such 'scholarship' in the Indian blogsphere. 

But there is another statement that Macaulay DID make which was first brought to my notice here and Shantanu Bhagwat has mentioned it on his blog here. Yes, the following statement is TRUE.  In a letter to his father in October 1836, Macaulay wrote:

FIRST THIS: "In a few months,–I hope, indeed, in a few weeks,–we shall send up the Penal Code to Government. We have got rid of the punishment of death, except in the case of aggravated treason and wilful murder. We shall also get rid indirectly of everything that can properly be called slavery in India. There will remain civil claims on particular people for particular services, which claims may be enforced by civil action; but no person will be entitled, on the plea of being the master of another, to do anything to that other which it would be an offence to do to a free-man."

A most devoted son, he ends the letter by looking forward to meeting his family: "some days of intense happiness I shall surely have; and one of those will be the day when I again see my dear father and sisters"

And he also wrote, in between these two portions, the following "offensive" lines:

"Our English schools are flourishing wonderfully. We find it difficult, indeed, in some places impossible, to provide instruction for all who want it. At the single town of Hoogly fourteen hundred boys are learning English. The effect of this education on the Hindoos is prodigious. No Hindoo, who has received an English education, ever remains sincerely attached to his religion. Some continue to profess it as matter of policy; but many profess themselves pure Deists, and some embrace Christianity." [Source]

==MY ANALYSIS==

So, after getting rid of slavery, and all unnecessary death penalties, and after having worked assiduously to bring about a system of honest good governance, he is now known only as a Christian fanatic who was intent on changing Hindus WITHOUT proselytisation - through education in science!  Was Hinduism so weak that it would die merely through slight exposure to English and science. HAS IT DIED? Was his assumption true? No!

He did not ATTACK Hindus. He did not even preach.  

Note that he did not set up English schools – these had been set up BY INDIANS.

And he had, in 1831, well before this letter, looked forward to the day when India will become independent (below for more details). 

And so, this fine fighter for freedom (an enemy of slavery, a commoner who was active in the Reform Act of 1832 which took down the aristocracy in England many notches, and who advocated liberty for women at a time when that was unheard of anywhere in the world) – is today HATED by many Indians!!

I find this really AMAZING AND DISAPPOINTING.

Well before Macaulay came on the scene, people like Raja Ram Mohun Roy had advocated the opening of English schools.  Thus, “Ram Mohun Roy appeared in 1831 before a parliamentary committee in England studying the renewal of the company’s charter. While giving testimony on the question of free European emigration to India, Roy expressed the opinion that English emigration should be unrestricted since English settlers in India “from motives of benevolence, public spirit, and fellow feeling toward their native neighbours, would establish schools and other seminaries of education for the cultivation of the English language throughout the country, and for the diffusion of a knowledge of European arts and sciences.”" (Elmer H. Cutts, “The Background of Macaulay’s Minute”, The American Historical Review, Vol. 58, No. 4 Jul., 1953, p. 828).

Further, Macaulay is GROSSLY over-rated for his influence on Bentick (Bentick did not need Macaulay’s minute to make up his mind on something he had already decided based on extensive consultation).

Finally, acaulay is surely entitled (as are many Hindus today who oppose Madrassas) to his religious views in a PRIVATE letter to his father. Show me one Hindu who in his PRIVATE conversation with his family members (say, father) hasn’t railed against Muslims or Christians and said that we must stop their Madrassas and give them MODERN EDUCATION so they can reduce their fanaticism. 

I don’t understand why we forget the many good things that Macaulay said about India. He was the FIRST Britisher to look forward to the independence of India: “by good government we may educate our subjects into a capacity for better government; that, having become instructed in European knowledge, they may, in some future age, demand European institutions. Whether such a day will ever come I know not. But never will I attempt to avert or to retard it. Whenever it comes, it will be the PROUDEST DAY IN ENGLISH HISTORY.” (see here) [Macaulay was 33 years old when he said this]

Macaulay was one of GREATEST fighters for freedom in the 19th century, and his contributions are on par with J.S. Mill’s. Let us assess people based on their ENTIRE contributions and avoid misjudging them, or judging them by our modern standards.

Yes, he was a Christian, and did not have the highest regard for alleged Indian 'science' (which is highly questionable, anyway). But how many Hindus have a high regard for Christianity or its cosomology? Can our regard for other religions that be a standard of assessment of others?

But he DID have a high regard for freedom. To me that is a crucial thing that many Indians don't have even today.

Note that Macaulay was 36 when he wrote that letter. Now compare the writings of one of the MOST POISONOUS WRITERS THAT INDIA HAS PRODUCED:  Gowlalkar. At age 33 (the age that Macaulay was when he gave his brilliant speech on India), Golwalkar wrote the following POISON:

"The non-Hindu peoples in Hindusthan must either adopt the Hindu culture and language, must learn to respect and hold in reverence Hindu religion, must entertain no ideas but those of glorification of the Hindu race and culture, i.e. they must not only give up their attitude of intolerance and ungratefulness towards this land and its age long traditions but must also cultivate the positive attitude of love and devotion instead – in one word, they must cease to be foreigners, or may stay stay in the country, wholly subordinated to the Hindu nation, claiming nothing, deserving no privileges, far less any preferential treatment – not even citizen’s rights"

"our Race spirit has once again roused itself,' thus giving Hindus the right of excommunicating Muslims"

"'Germany has also shown how well-nigh impossible it is for Races and cultures, having differences going to the root, to be assimilated into one united whole, a good lesson for us in Hindustan to learn and profit by".

WHICH MAN OF AGE 33 WAS BETTER? ONE MAN LOVED LIBERTY, THE OTHER HATED IT. One man who was non-violent and wished to educate India, the other who was violent and wanted to kill a large chunk of Indians? 


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39 thoughts on “Misrepresentation of Macaulay’s entire work through a single private letter to his father
  1. Bhagwad Jal Park

    A good re look at Macaulay. Just goes to show that a person is the sum of their actions and words and not just an isolated quote. Also shows that if you try hard, you can turn anyone into a demon or a god by selectively quoting them!

     
  2. Sandeep S

    "He did not ATTACK Hindus. He did not even preach. "
    http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00generallinks/macaulay/index.html#index
    read http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00generallinks/macaulay/1800_1818_biog.html
    "In September 1808, his mother writes: "My dear Tom continues to show marks of uncommon genius. He gets on wonderfully in all branches of his education, and the extent of his reading, and of the knowledge he has derived from it, are truly astonishing in a boy not yet eight years old. He is at the same time as playful as a kitten. To give you some idea of the activity of his mind I will mention a few circumstances that may interest you and Colin. You will believe that to him we never appear to regard anything he does as anything more than a schoolboy's amusement. He took it into his head to write a compendium of Universal History about a year ago, and he really contrived to give a tolerably connected view of the leading events from the Creation to the present time, filling about a quire of paper. He told me one day that he had been writing a paper, which Henry Daly was to translate into Malabar, to persuade the people of Travancore to embrace the Christian religion. On reading it I found it to contain a very clear idea of the leading facts and doctrines of that religion, with some strong arguments for its adoption."
    A child prodigy in the making.!!!
    "The Gates of Somnauth"
    A SPEECH DELIVERED IN THE HOUSE OF COMMONS ON THE 9TH OF MARCH 1843
    http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00generallinks/macaulay/txt_commons_somnauth_1843.html
    "Yes, Sir; the temple of Somnauth was sacred to Siva; and the honourable gentleman cannot but know by what emblem Siva is represented, and with what rites he is adored. I will say no more. The Governor General, Sir, is in some degree protected by the very magnitude of his offence. I am ashamed to name those things to which he is not ashamed to pay public reverence. This god of destruction, whose images and whose worship it would be a violation of decency to describe, is selected as the object of homage."
    "[13: He has offended and insulted the Mahometans] As the object of insult is selected a religion which has borrowed much of its theology and much of its morality from Christianity, a religion which in the midst of Polytheism teaches the unity of God, and, in the midst of idolatry, strictly proscribes the worship of images. The duty of our Government is, as I said, to take no part in the disputes between Mahometans and idolaters. But, if our Government does take a part, there cannot be a doubt that Mahometanism is entitled to the preference. "
    The above quotes would show Macaulay's love for freedom.
    Sanjeev , don't you think the last line of the para -
    " The duty of our Government is, as I said, to take no part in the disputes between Mahometans and idolaters. But, if our Government does take a part, there cannot be a doubt that Mahometanism is entitled to the preference"
    reflects views of the present age Macaulayites??
     
     
     
    A child 'prodigy' at work (age of seven)!!!

     
  3. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Sandeep

    The rule of law, please! No exceptions for anyone, regardless of religion. That is FTI’s religious freedom policy, and that’s m view. E.g., no subsidies for Muslims for the Haaj, no managing the Tirupati temple through IAS officers.

    In my view also, no religious donations by foreigners, no tax shelters for religious organisations (but that is something FTI will have to look into and decide) – for such funding amounts to people funding other religions. Let everyone fund his/her own religion ONLY. That’s what freedom involves. I, an agnostic who doesn’t believe in any religion, can’t be forced to fund religious bodies.

    Please note that I’m not even remotely an apologist for Macaulay nor do I care to defend questionable statements of ancient classical liberals. For instance David Hume wrote that Negroes were ‘naturally inferior to the Whites’. I admire Hume’s work but that doesn’t mean I agree with every word he wrote!!!!! How stupid would I be if I was a mere replica of someone long dead and gone?!

    We need to assess the classical liberals, including Macaulay, in the CONTEXT of their times. Else we will be SHODDY historians. I hope you appreciate this subtle distinction.

    Btw who are the “present age Macaulaites”? I trust you are not trying to insult me!

    You are aware that the liberal believes ONLY in his own identity and thought. No one else can encroach that freedom. It is offensive to say that I am a “present day Macaulaite” if that’s what you mean to imply! I hope you are slightly more balanced than that.

    I form my own opinion and take on things I believe are right, discarding anything that I disagree with. You are well advised to read DOF if you wish to understand my message even REMOTELY, particularly about freedom and critical thinking.

    Each of us is unique. Let us make sure we talk about our own opinions and not mix them gratuitously with others. Mixing my mind with that of Macaulay’s would amount to TOTALLY shoddy thinking, and I encourage critical thinking, instead. These two things are poles apart.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

    That means looking at all facts on merit and examin

     
  4. Sandeep S

    "We need to assess the classical liberals, including Macaulay, in the CONTEXT of their times. Else we will be SHODDY historians. I hope you appreciate this subtle distinction"
    Simple fact is that you are 'defending' Macaulay and his thoughts.
    "We need to assess the classical liberals, including Macaulay, in the CONTEXT of their times."
    In your article you say  "He did not ATTACK Hindus. He did not even preach. "
    This is plainly wrong, as my first comment would prove. Please correct yourself on this.
    Regards

     
  5. Sandeep S

    "Please prove that he physically attacked any Hindu."
    I hope you realise the 'shoddiness' of your argument.
    Regards

     
  6. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Sandeep

    I only meant physical attack (e.g. some Muslims physically attacked Hindus).

    People are FULLY ENTITLED to “attack” other religions or even people verbally (or in writing) through reasoned debate. That is the basic premise of freedom of speech.

    Even I have “attacked” ALL religions in DOF, if my statements are to be construed as “attacks”. That is not the way I see it. I see it as a viewpoint, a difference of opinion.

    I mentioned clearly that Macaulay DID NOT HAVE a high regard for many aspects of Hindu scriptures, such as their claims of scientific knowledge. That doesn’t constitute an attack but an opinion based on FACTS that Macaulay had considered.

    I’m afraid there is nothing shoddy in my argument!

    Are you saying that people aren’t entitled to verbally disagree with other religions? Are you therefore a follower of Islam and worship the Koran? And are you also a follower of Christianity and worship the Bible? What are you saying, that people aren’t entitled to their views and must worship every view that comes up and claims our allegiance?

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  7. Sandeep S

    Dear Sanjeev,
    In your article you say  "He did not ATTACK Hindus. He did not even preach. "
     
    TBM was from his childhood, a  religious fanatic. That he retained his religious fanaticism throughtout his life is well known.
    "You are aware that the liberal believes ONLY in his own identity and thought"
    "Please note that I’m not even remotely an apologist for Macaulay nor do I care to defend questionable statements of ancient classical liberals"
    Now I am confused. If you are "not even remotely" being an apologist for Macaulay, what is the purpose of this article?
    If you are saying that it is unfair on the part of Indians to 'blame' Macaulay for a single private letter or his educational policy promoting English; it only shows that you are not willing to look at the bigger picture.
    Macaulay's role in 'recruiting' pseudo scholars like Max Muller to denigrate "Sanatana Dharma" is also well known.
    Do you suppose that even those kinds of 'polytricks' would come under 'political liberalism'?

     
  8. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Sandeep

    Rajaji was a religious "fanatic" for Hinduism and yet was a classical liberal. It is NOT necessary to disavow one's religion to promote liberty. Many people on FTI (e.g.Shantanu) are devout Hindus. Some Indian liberals are Christians.

    Religion is an IRRELEVANT issue for classical liberalsm.

    Macaulay's lack of enthusiasm for Hinduism is NOT justification enough to ignore his contributions to liberty, which, among many others, include:

    a) Opposition to slavery

    b) Fight for women's liberties

    c) Promotion of democratic reforms

    d) Aspiration for the independence of India, etc. etc.

    He did not sing praises for Hinduism. But note that he had the LIBERTY to do so, just as you have the liberty to oppose Christianity.

    You complain about Max Muller. I don't know the full details between Max Muller and Macauay but WHO stopped the Hindus from translating their own Vedas?

    He only helped translate a document!!!! He did not kill any Hindu nor demolish any temple. Or did he? Can people not translate documents? Is that a crime by your book? 

    I stated clearly that Macaulay was NON-VIOLENT (unlike Golwalkar who was VIOLENTLY inclined). Let's be clear on that. He did not HARM anyone. He expressed his views and he was entitled to do so.

    He did NOT prevent other views from being expressed, either. 

    If you, today, INSIST on judging him by purely his lack of enthusiasm for Hinduism then what you want is that whole world should be a SERVANT of Hinduism.

    Sorry young man, you can't expect that! Everyone is entitled to their views so long as they don't HARM anyone.

    Macaulay is DEFINITELY one of the classical liberals. That does not mean he is perfect or that I (or you) have to agree with everything he wrote (I haven't even read everything he wrote or said!), including his private letters.

    Note that by insisting that Macaulay SHOULD have been rapturous about Hinduism and not free to express his views, you are showing your lack of understanding of liberty.

    You may not like him, and that's fine, but please note that he DID help the world move towards greater freedom. He is not a major player, but a very important one, nevertheless.

    His work can't be judged by his views on Hinduism.

    Regards

    Sanjeev

     
  9. Sandeep

    "Rajaji was a religious "fanatic" for Hinduism"
    "I stated clearly that Macaulay was NON-VIOLENT (unlike Golwalkar who was VIOLENTLY inclined). Let's be clear on that. He did not HARM anyone. He expressed his views and he was entitled to do so."
    Sanjeev, who are you kidding? Why are you bringing on Golwalkar when we are discussing Macaulay. (  I am willing to discuss Golwalkar if you are man enough to show any other 'poisonous' article written by him ( other than the one you have cited)
    You claim that Macaulay was a NON VIOLENT MAN.
    Yet you will not be able to hide the fact that this NON VIOLENT MAN  justified W.Hastings, the rapist goon who plundered Bengal.
    "You complain about Max Muller. I don't know the full details between Max Muller and Macauay but WHO stopped the Hindus from translating their own Vedas? He only helped translate a document!!!! He did not kill any Hindu nor demolish any temple. Or did he? Can people not translate documents? Is that a crime by your book?"
    Show me where I complained.
    Were you born yesterday? Sanjeev ; don't you know the implication of 'mistranslation' of Vedas?

     
  10. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Sandeep

    You make strong claims here. Please show me that Macaulay deliberately mistranslated the Vedas!

    Second, even if he did (and I’ll need to see your proof, first) what prevented Raja Ram Mohun Roy’s Brahmo Samaj from translating it “properly”? Did Macaulay imprison Raja Ram Mohun Roy?

    You are committed to painting Macaulay as a monster responsible for everything that happened in the whole of India! He was a mere law member, a mere functionary under Bentick.

    I’d request you to stop your one-sided examination of Macaulay based on your perceptions about his religious views. The points you make are pretty wild, as well. Where is the proof of the statements you make?

    You know that I am an advocate of critical thinking. Let’s look at all the facts – and please be precise.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  11. Sandeep

    "Please show me that Macaulay deliberately mistranslated the Vedas! "
    In my previous comment, I had written "Macaulay's role in 'recruiting' pseudo scholars like Max Muller to denigrate "Sanatana Dharma" is also well known.
    I think you are asking me to show where Muller deliberately mistranslated the Vedas.
    Read Dr. Prodosh Aich's " Lies with long legs" .
    " what prevented Raja Ram Mohun Roy’s Brahmo Samaj from translating it “properly”?
    You are the one who is being wild here by bringing in another un-related character into this discussion.
    { FYI : Roy was already a  'unitarian' preacher who was 'teaching' 'religion' to his masters}

     
  12. chaitanya

    Dr.Sabhlok
     
    By same standards, can you back your statement that Advani is "instigator in-chiefs  of communal hatred" (from another post) ?. That's a very strong statement.

     

     
  13. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Sandeep, I’m asking not for Max Muller’s “deliberate” mistranslation which is not the topic of my blog post, but about Macaulay’s mistranslation. And I have no idea of the article – can you please cite it appropriately?

    Raja Ram Mohun Roy is NOT unrelated. He was a frequent visitor of Macaulay (remember the British headquarters were in Calcultta) from my limited reading on this subject. He promoted the Vedas through the Brahmo Samaj. What stopped him from translating the Vedas correctly?

    I think you have simply been unable to show me why I must change my views about Macaulay’s role in the history of freedom. I urge you to read ALL of Macaulay and then revert.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  14. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Sure, Chaitanya

    Please show me ONE reason why the head of a political party is supposed to go about dressed as Ram, with a bow and arrow? The total exploitative mixing of religion and politics – for personal fame and power – was clearly Adavani’s speciality.

    I have with me somewhere in my records (hard copy) a book published by BJP that kept talking about the Ram Janmbhoomi. Why is a political party supposed to talk about a historical issue?

    And numerous reports of his direct participation in the Babri Masjid – including I recall a detailed article in Outlook in 1992.

    What else is Advani but an instigator of communal hatred? A cheap demagogue, with nothing to offer India but petty hatreds: no solutions for its poverty, no solutions for its corruption and misgovernance?

    I can go back and dig up these documents but it is clear that without the Rath yatra and inflaming the Babri Masjid issue by Advani BJP was a non-entity, merely one splinter group of the Janata Party. Advani single-handedly made BJP the big political force it became, and PURELY on the basis of dividing Hindus and Muslims – through the TOTAL mixing of religion and politics, which is anathema to the classical liberal.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  15. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Something about Advani:

    The RSS mouthpiece Organiser of January 14, 1990 … claimed that it "was not a case about the title of a place but of undoing a historical wrong and for that matter no court could decide it."

     

    Advani set out in September on his 10,000 kilometer rathyatra (chariot procession), which was to converge on Ayodhya for construction and to force the govern ment to hand over the site to the Hindutva forces[“Along the route of the procession, Hindus clashed with Muslims and hundreds were killed in the name of god – Rama or Allah”, Barbara Stoler Miller in her Presidential Address: Contending Narratives -- The Political Life of the Indian Epics, The Journal of Asian Studies, volume 50, No. 4, 732-792]. 

    In a statement on December 8, Advani retorted (supporting the demolition of Babri Masjid): “[W]hen an old structure which ceased to be a mosque over 50 years back is pulled down by a group of people exasperated by the tardiness of the judicial process, and the obtuseness and myopia of the executive, they are reviled by the President, the Vice President and political parties as betrayers of the nation, destroyers of the constitution and what not! … I wish to caution Government against this approach. Their pronouncements against kar sevaks are only strengthening the movement.” (N. Ram, "Hindutva's Challenge," Seminar 402 (February 1993), p. 25. 30. Chanchreek and Prasad, Crisis in India, p. 109.)

     
  16. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    More: 

    Launching the party's election campaign in Faizabad (near Ayodhya) on February 6, 1998, L. K. Advani reiterated the party's resolve to build the temple. He reasoned, "The BJP has put the Ayodhya issue in its election manifesto. We cannot overlook the popular sentiments for construction of a Rama temple in the birthplace of Lord Rama." ("Advani Reiterates Resolve toBuild Ram Temple," The Hindu, February 7, 1998.)

    Also read this: http://www.hvk.org/specialrepo/bjpwp/

     
  17. chaitanya

    So a native person-A wears cultural symbolism of a land (Ram), and he's marked for "communal hatred".
     
    Person-B goes to a foreign land, speaks with disdain about native religion, one should ignore that and look at his contributions to "freedom" ?
     
    Strange logic Dr.Sabhlok.
     
    PS: we are not discussing here the question of mixing up state and religion. In ideal case, obviously they should not be. But, in India, they are deeply inter-twined. Even other religious groups have their representative parties. It doesn't mean all those parties are preaching "hatred". Its just a political group. Even in American, religion is deeply intertwined with politics. Bible belt and all that.

     
  18. chaitanya

    Dr.Sabhlok
     
    Advani is a politican, and he latched on to a political issue. I do not support everything he did (infact, neither of us actuall have the full facts of what he said or did), but none of the evidence you pointed out is enough to mark advani as "instigator-in-chiefs of communal hatred". (my opinion anyway).
     
    My main point here is that while you are quick to give this label to Advani, you are quite liberal in your portrayal of Maucaulay. That appeared to me as a double-standard.
     
    Anyway, lets close our conversation here. There are better things for you and me to do :)

     

     
  19. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Chaitanya

    You are backing yourself into the trap of judging people adversely because they may not agree with your religion. That’s where critical thinking comes in. Please read all the works of Macaulay before (effectively) denying that he made contributions to freedom.

    And no!! Advani has not merely worn cultural symbolism of a religion DURING a political exercise (thus DESTROYING the concept of liberty) but brought even more rabid people into BJP so that ultimately it has become an extremist Hindu party, the most illiberal outfit in India today.

    A political party’s job is to provide even-handed governance. How can someone who acts as a religious nautanki and actively supports the illegal demolition of buildings be even remotely condoned? Yes, he not only is SOAKED to his heart in communal hatred but he is (indirectly) responsible for the DEATHS of many innocents.

    I’m afraid I can’t even remotely understand how you treat Advani so lightly.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  20. Sandeep

    "Sandeep, I’m asking not for Max Muller’s “deliberate” mistranslation which is not the topic of my blog post, but about Macaulay’s mistranslation. And I have no idea of the article – can you please cite it appropriately?
    "Macaulay's Mistranslation" is your deliberate distortion. If you want to know Macaulay's role in recruiting Pseudo scholars like Muller , please read Dr.Prodosh Aich's book "Lies with long legs".

     
  21. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Sandeep

    You are indeed making far-fetched claims. As a first step, I’d expect this claim to be at least mentioned in Wikipedia. At http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_M%C3%BCller it says:

    He began to translate the Upanishads for Schelling, and continued to research Sanskrit under Franz Bopp, the first systematic scholar of the Indo-European languages. Schelling led Müller to relate the history of language to the history of religion. At this time, Müller published his first book, a German translation of the Hitopadesa, a collection of Indian fables.

    Müller moved to England in 1846 in order to study Sanskrit texts in the collection of the East India Company. He supported himself at first with creative writing, his novel German Love being popular in its day. Müller’s connections with the East India Company and with Sanskritists based at Oxford University led to a career in Britain, where he eventually became the leading intellectual commentator on the culture of India, which Britain controlled as part of its Empire. This led to complex exchanges between Indian and British intellectual culture, especially through Müller’s links with the Brahmo Samaj. He became a member of Christ Church, Oxford in 1851, when he gave his first series of lectures on comparative philology. He gained appointments as Taylorian Professor of Modern European Languages in 1854. Defeated in the 1860 competition for the tenured Chair of Sanskrit, he later became Oxford’s first Professor of Comparative Theology (1868 – 1875), at All Souls College.

    You tell me that an Oxford professor is a pseudo-scholar? Well, you are entitled to your opinions, but they do seem highly emotional and not reason-based.

    Second, even assuming that Macaulay “recruited” Max Muller, did he control Muller’s pen? If I recruit you to do some MASSIVE translation, can I control your pen if I don’t pay you?

    I’d like to see serious evidence in favour of your claims.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  22. Sandeep

    "I’d like to see serious evidence in favour of your claims."
    Thats the reason I requested you to read Dr.Aich's book "Lies with long legs"
    "Vivekananda studied Max Muller carefully and had nothing but praise for him"
    Its true that Vivekananda praised him; that doesn't mean that he "studied Max Muller Carefully'
    If you have any sources which proves that Vivekananda "studied Max Muller carefully" ; Please provide them.

     
  23. Sandeep

    "He began to translate the Upanishads for Schelling, and continued to research Sanskrit under Franz Bopp, the first systematic scholar of the Indo-European languages"
    read what Muller himself says about this "autodidactic" scholar in his autobiography.
    "At this time, Müller published his first book, a German translation of the Hitopadesa, a collection of Indian fables"
    By 1844, there were many translations of Hitopadesa by many authors ( even by indians) in multiple languages ( even in English) in the "market".
    "Second, even assuming that Macaulay “recruited” Max Muller, did he control Muller’s pen?"
    Try reading Muller's Biography ( or better Dr.Aich's book); Max Muller was troubled by "poverty" till he met his English Masters.
    If I recruit you to do some MASSIVE translation, can I control your pen if I don’t pay you?
    He was paid handsomely.

     
  24. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    OK Sandeep

    This journey down the historical lane is going well beyond my area of interest. I don’t have time to read a book on Max Muller. I really don’t care. If you have a specific extract from Aich’s book please cite in full. Better still, I’ll publish a guest blog post of yours on my blog if you can diligently, and with full academic referencing, prove your allegations. Let there be debate among those who know this issue.

    As far as I am concerned, you have made too many wild statements so far and it is not believable that all the historians so far have confused the whole thing.

    I do recall reading “Scholar Extraordinary: The Life Of Friedrich Max Muller” by Nirad C Chaudhuri. But that was more than 35 years ago. Indeed, I had two copies of that book but now have none, having left them (or given them away) in India. My recollection is that Nirad Chaudhuri was very positive in his depiction of Max Muller. That was a very well researched book.

    You say that Vivekananda did not study Max Muller. So what made him praise him sky high? Was Vivekananda a shallow scholar? I am sure he had compared Max Muller’s translation with the original, found it to be quite satisfactory, and therefore called him a great vedantin.

    The ball is now squarely in your court. Your claims may be correct – but you now need to prove the following:
    a) Macaulay hired Max Muller
    b) Macaulay told Max Muller what to write in his translation
    c) Macaulay paid him ONLY subject to evidence being provided that Muller’s had suitably mistranslated the Vedas
    d) Macaulay held 100% control over Max Muller’s career, including his selection as professor at Oxford.

    Please write your detailed blog post and I’m happy to publish it for public comment.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  25. Sandeep

    "you have made too many wild statements so far "
    Not as wild as this sentence  "I don’t see why we forget the many good things that Macaulay said about India"
    " I don’t have time to read a book on Max Muller"
    What if I say your hero "T.B.Macaulay" is also mentioned in some detail in that book?
    "The ball is now squarely in your court"
    This balls and courts are all "political" statements. Please avoid them.
    I will try to copy the relevant passages from "Lies with long legs"  later
     
     
     

     
  26. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Sandeep

    This is not getting us anywhere. Please write a blog post that has looked at at least 3-4 academic journal articles on Macaulay, and Nirad Choudhuri’s work, and prove that Macaulay deliberately commissioned a mistranslation of the Vedas. You can publish on your blog or mine. I am a very diligent and critical thinker and am never persuaded by arm waving.

    You may be right but currently the probability of that seems remote, from the evidence you have offered – which is a general reference to some book. Precise argument is needed now.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  27. Sandeep

    Sanjeev,
    One question.
    You have cited your source from Treveleyan's book 'Life and Letters of Lord Macaulay" ; Are you confident that Treveleyan  "truthfully" reproduced the letters of TBM exactly as  was written by his uncle TBM??
    Regards
    Sandeep

     
  28. Sandeep

    Dear Sandeep,

    I don’t intend to spend the rest of my life as a Macaulay scholar. Treveleyan did what he wanted to. Macaulay MAY have been a bigot (which I don’t think he was!).

    That still doesn’t mean he was not on the classical liberal tradition. His achievements and contributions to world liberty simply outweigh any harm that his ‘bigotry’ might have caused.

    But you are diverting from your wild allegation. Please prove that Macaulay authorised a mistranslation of the Vedas.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  29. Sandeep

    Sanjeev,
    I am surprised that you 'erased' my second question with your response.
    Can you please explain that?
    Is this the "classical liberalist' way of discussion??
    Regards
    Sandeep
     

     
  30. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Sandeep

    I did not erase anything. I don’t erase anything except foul language (which then gets the person off into the spam bin very soon).

    However, in a hurry all kinds of accidents might happen so I don’t know if I’ve pressed some wrong buttons. I don’t know what you are referring to, so please send your ‘question’ again – I have not seen it!

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  31. Sandeep

    "I did not erase anything"
    [Sandeep says:
    October 20, 2010 at 11:36 pm
    Dear Sandeep,
    I don’t intend to spend the rest of my life as a Macaulay scholar. Treveleyan did what he wanted to. Macaulay MAY have been a bigot (which I don’t think he was!).
    That still doesn’t mean he was not on the classical liberal tradition. His achievements and contributions to world liberty simply outweigh any harm that his ‘bigotry’ might have caused.
    But you are diverting from your wild allegation. Please prove that Macaulay authorised a mistranslation of the Vedas.
    Regards
    Sanjeev"]
    which means you have already answered my questions.( practically erasing my questions)
     
    A few excerpts from "Lies with longs" By Dr.Prodosh Aich for you.
    Minute on Indian Education is in fact a far-reaching programme for colonising minds. We have read the whole minute. We have not found anything in it, which would have been similar to the references used by Thomas R. Trautmann as a frame for his partial quotation. There is nothing about ‘Grant’s Anglicist policy’, nothing about ‘fostered by Charles Trevelyan’, nothing about ‘to form an elite class’ and nothing about ‘middle Anglicised class’. But sentences like: “We now come to the gist of the matter. We have a fund to be employed as Government shall direct for the intellectual improvement of the people of this country. The simple question is, what is the most useful way of employing it?…means of pursuing higher studies can at present be effected only by means of some language not vernacular amongst them. What, then, shall that language be? One half of the committee maintain that it should be the English. The other half strongly recommends the Arabic and Sanscrit. The whole question seems to me to be, which language is the best worth knowing.
    I have no knowledge of either Sanscrit or Arabic. – But I have done what I could to form a correct estimate of their value. I have read translations of the most celebrated Arabic and Sanskrit works. …I am quite ready to take the Oriental learning at the valuation of the Orientalists themselves. I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia. The intrinsic superiority of the Western literature, is, indeed, fully admitted (…) In India, English is the language spoken by the ruling class. …of all foreign tongues, the English tongue is that which would be most useful to our native subjects. (…) We are not content to leave the natives to the influence of their own hereditary prejudices. (…) it is possible to make natives of this country thoroughly good English scholars. … We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions we govern; a class of persons Indian in blood and colour, but English in tastes, in opinions, in morals and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population.
    The Minute on Indian Education is nothing else but a programme of cultural cloning. We are genuinely intrigued because diligent Thomas R. Trautmann doesn’t refer to this publication of 1935 by G. M. Young at all and takes resort instead to Selected Writings of Thomas Babington Macaulay edited by John Clive & Thomas Pinney published in 1972. Why? Did G. M. Young eventually make a wrong selection of speeches and writings? Or is this a technique to hide an older publication and thus make certain aspects of history obscure, even obsolete? Doesn’t G. M. Young fit into today’s ideology? Well, we have gone through both volumes. There is a striking difference between them. Assuming that Thomas R. Trautmann also went through both volumes, we are inclined to conclude that he preferred to select the volume in which Thomas Babington Macaulay is celebrated as one of the greatest scholars and totally whitewashed in 1972 from his many mischiefs.
    This is different in the book of G. M. Young. In his editorial introduction he referred (p. xv) to the first biographer of Thomas Babington Macaulay with the following lines: “An intellect less vigorous might have doubted the loveliness and intelligence of early Victorian England: an intellect more subtle might have been perplexed to account for its more obtrusive stupidity and squalor. Modern psychology would ask whether a man who seems so sure of everything was really sure of anything.” We didn’t check the quotation as it is far away from our focus of search. We are also astonished to be informed that (p. xviii): “For their celebrity and their consequences, Macaulay’s Minutes on Indian Education are the least accessible writings in the language. They were not reprinted in his works: Sir George Trevelyan in the Life gave only an abbreviated text: there is no complete copy in the British Museum (Why is it so? We must leave this question unanswered.). …Neither Mill nor Macaulay had any doubts where the path on which they were entering would lead them. An administration open to all Indians and manned even in the higher branches by Indians of birth was bound in the long run to become an Indian administration. It remained to fit the Indians for their future, which, intellectually, meant to detach them from past and graft them, if they could be grafted, on to the stock of Western science and culture.
    We apologise for this small look-ahead on Thomas Babington Macaulay who will be dealt with in detail later. We conclude with a short quotation: “Macaulay’s reputation is not what once it was – he has been convicted of historical inaccuracy, of sacrificing truth for the sake of epigram, of allowing personal dislike and Whig bias to distort his views of men and incidents (Chambers’s Biographical Dictionary, Original Edition 1897)”
     
     
     

     
  32. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Sandeep

    I’ve got no time to respond, but re: which means you have already answered my questions.( practically erasing my questions)
    – have you considered that you may have made a mistake. I don’t recall seeing any of this stuff earlier.

    Once again please stick to issues, don’t get personal. I DID NOT erase anything and do not erase any discussion, not matter how unpleasant.

     
  33. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Sandeep

    Came back from a long day and had a chance to glance through your detailed comment.

    Where does it prove that Macaulay authorised the mistranslation of the Vedas? Second, I trust you are aware Macaulay's minute was NOT pivotal in the introduction of English in Bengal. It was INDIANS like Raja Ram Mohun Roy who wanted it. And Bentick had made up his mind anyway. Macaulay's minute is grossly over-rated.

    Third, I have written in BFN this:

    Despite being a major trading power in the world with extensive commercial relationships, India did not care to find out what was happening in other parts of the world. No analysis took place of the changes taking place in England and elsewhere in the world since the Magna Carta of 1215. The English language had come to India in 1603 in Akbar’s time. But no one showed curiosity about these traders or their society. No one asked them the ‘latest news’ in England. No one hitched a ride to England to investigate and report back in the manner of a Huen Tsang. There was no urgent economic reason for Indians to learn English before 1757 either. And so English remained, for India’s first 150 years of association with the British, merely one of the many foreign languages along with Portuguese, Dutch and French. The Indian world was decidedly self-centred. 

    This insularity can only partly be explained by difficulties in travelling to different parts of the world in those times. One of the reasons was the focus on the problems arising from incursions by foreign powers (Islamic in the West, and Southern Chinese, Ahoms, in the East). High levels of illiteracy also did not permit most people to use their minds intelligently. Most importantly, perhaps, it was due to a great haughtiness among the Indian elites who believed they needed to learn nothing from others. I say this because this trait continues in India even today. I have often suggested to my erstwhile civil service colleagues to ask me questions about how things work in Australia so they can consider improving things in India, but I have always received a stunned silence in response. For how dare I even suggest that people other than Indians know something better? This all-knowing Indian mind strikes me as a uniquely Indian trait. 

    Why did the Indians NOT learn English for 230 years of English presence in India? Why did the British have to learn their languages and study and document them but Indians remained aloof? Because there was LITTLE OR NO humility in the Indian mind to learn from others.

    There is NOTHING in Macaulay's minute that I find particular fault with. I find fault with the Indian stupidity of not learning from others and imagining they know everything. That stupidity seems to be continuing.

    The fruitless effort spent in analysing Macaulay would be better spent in learning about the theory and practice of freedom.

    Regards

    Sanjeev

     
  34. Sandeep

    "Why did the Indians NOT learn English for 230 years of English presence in India?Why did the British have to learn their languages and study and document them but Indians remained aloof? Because there was LITTLE OR NO humility in the Indian mind to learn from other"
    This is like saying that If I am not willing to learn "theory and practice of freedom" from you ; then you have every right to make a 'slave' out of me.
    "There is NOTHING in Macaulay's minute that I find particular fault with. I find fault with the Indian stupidity of not learning from others and imagining they know everything. That stupidity seems to be continuing."
    Nothing surprsing here. That's the reason why we have an article titled "Misrepresentation of Macaulay’s entire work through a single private letter to his father".
    Your initial argument was that his entire work is criticised unfairly by INDIANS because of one single Private letter written by him.  When it was pointed out that he was a life long religious bigot ; you said that that it was ok for a 'political liberal' to be a religous bigot.
    Please note that I have just cited one 'passage' from Lies with long legs.
    I will copy some more such 'important' passages.

    P.300 of Lies with long legs
    "…he told me one day that he had been writing a paper, which Henry Daly was to translate into Malabar, to persuade the people of Travancore to embrace the Christian religion."……
    His early Christian missionary zeal was reinforced in the private school "Aspenden Hall", run by Reverend Preston in Little Shelford, a village close to Cambridge. Father John Zachary earned not only £500 annually as a secretary of the Sierra Leone Company. He had also set up the business enterprise “Macaulay & Babington” with a nephew to make money in the “Africa Business”. ……
    In July 1822 he earned his first money giving private lessons for nine months, an hour daily, for a total remuneration of 100 Guineas (£105)."
    At age of twenty-six he ended his studies at the Trinity College, Cambridge. A year before he was among the contributors to the influential Edinburgh Review. His breakthrough. He lived again in the house of his father who has lost property of estimated at one hundred thousand pounds through bad business deals. As the eldest son he had to take care of his siblings. In the meantime he was earning about £500. In January 1828 he was appointed a Commissioner of Bankruptcy. For four years. The annual earnings were £900."
    Sanjeev, Now do you know how much TBM was earning (1834-'38) when he was preaching "freedoms"   to ignorant INDIANS??
    Regards
    Sandeep
    PS: "I DID NOT erase anything and do not erase any discussion, not matter how unpleasant."
    I am willing to be proved wrong on this. Please look at the entry made on October 20, 2010, at 11:36 pm.

     
  35. Sanjeev Sabhlok

    Dear Sandeep
    You have not added anything in your comments to change my mind. Your argument is incoherent.

    a) You have taken an extract from something Macaulay wrote as a SEVEN YEAR OLD, and allege that makes him a bigot.
    b) You have proved that he earned some money for his family. What is the ‘crime’ there?
    c) You have not provided ONE SHRED of evidence to show that there is anything in the “Minute” that constituted anything more than an opinion. Just like an opinion in the op-eds, just like a parliamentarian’s opinion. What’s the issue there? And in large part his comments have a basis.
    d) You have wildly insinuated that Macaulay effectively mistranslated the Vedas, and provided NOT ONE SHRED of evidence in support.
    e) You have failed to show me whether you understand the concept of freedom even today, and yet make a WILD claim that I’ve even remotely insinuated that “This is like saying that If I am not willing to learn “theory and practice of freedom” from you ; then you have every right to make a ‘slave’ out of me.”.

    You are busy making one wild claim after another. That doesn’t show even the remotest understanding of the DEMANDS of evidence that a critical thinker asks for.

    Please provide evidence in support of your claims if you wish me to respond further.

    Regards
    Sanjeev

     
  36. Sandeep

    "Please provide evidence in support of your claims if you wish me to respond further."
    Are you trying to avoid discussion now? Relax. What's the big hurry?
     
    "a) You have taken an extract from something Macaulay wrote as a SEVEN YEAR OLD, and allege that makes him a bigot."
    TBM was a life long religious bigot.
    If you want further proof, See TBM's farewell letter to his electors
    (Source: "Lies with Long legs" p.312-313)
    " On January 8, he took his oath as a member of the Supreme Council of India. For his purchases he had not been able to mobilise more than £ 600. On February 4, he resigned as MP for Leeds and wrote a farewell letter to his electors (highlighted by us): "Gentlemen, It is well known to you that the great Corporation to which parliament has entrusted the government of our Indian empire has appointed me to one of the highest posts in its service, – … In Asia as in Europe, the principles which recommended me to your favour shall be constantly present to my mind. While legislating for a conquered race, to whom the blessings of our constitution cannot as yet be safely extended, and to whom the benignant influence of our religion is unknown, I shall never forget that I have been a legislator chosen by the unforced and uncorrupted voices of a free, an enlightened, and a Christian people".

    "b) You have proved that he earned some money for his family. What is the ‘crime’ there?
    The crime is that TBM was a part and parcel of the criminal gang that looted our country. It was not "some money" as you casually remarks. His annual salary in INDIA was £10000  ( more than six times the amount he was getting in England)

    From Lies with long legs P.309-310
    "
    On December 3, 1832 the Secretary of the Board of Control Hyde Villiers died. On December 8, Thomas Babington Macaulay wrote to his sister Margaret: "I was shocked and deeply grieved, as you may well imagine, to hear the sad news of villers's death. Poor fellow! He was very kind to me, and I was truly attached to him. I have heard from C.Grant. The government press me earnestly to take the vacant office; and I have consented to do so. the Salary is £ 1500 a year:….."
    "As a "Placeman" of the East India Company he was tinkering at his career in India. He took breakfast and dined with Lords and Ladies of both political camps. He continued making brilliant speeches in Parliament on all important issues, though diplomatically. Because he wanted to get through the pending "India Bill" without resistance. It involved the protection of the income of the East India Company and also his career in India. The Bill was passed with quite a big majority …"
    "By the new India Bill it is provided that one of the members of the Supreme Council which is to govern our Eastern empire is to be selected chosen from among persons who are not servants of the Company. It is probable, indeed nearly certain, that the situation will be offered to me."
    "The advantages of the situation are very great. It is a post of the highest dignity and consideration. The salary is ten thousand pounds a year. I am assured by persons who know Calcutta intimately, and who have themselves mixed in the highest circles and held the highest office at that presidency, that I may live in splendour there for five thousand a year and save the rest of the salary with the accruing interest. I may therefore hope to return to England at only thirty-nine, in the full vigour of life, with a fortune of thirty thousand pounds. .."
    P.322 of Lies with long legs
    "…Even before his arrival at Calcutta on September 25, the monetary aspects of his new position overwhelmed him. "Money matters seem likely to go on capitally. My expenses, I find, will be smaller than I accepted. The rate of exchange – if you know what that means – is very favourable indeed: and, if I live, I shall get rich fast. …I can asure you that, after next Christmas, I expect to lay up on an average about seven thousand pounds a year while I remain in India."

     

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