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these latter belong to the covenanted service and the former do not belong to it; but professedly on the ground that the average amount of native qualifications can be presumed only to rise to a certain limit. It is this line of demarcation which the present enactment obliterates, or rather, for which it substitutes another, wholly irrespective of the distinction of races. Fitness is henceforth to be the criterion of eligibility.
To this altered rule it will be necessary that you should, both in your acts and your language, conform. Practically, perhaps, no very marked difference of results will be occasioned. The distinctions between situations allotted to the covenanted service, and other situations of an official or public nature, will remain generally as at present.
Into a more particular consideration of the effects that may result from the great principle which the Legislature has now for the first time recognised and established, we do not enter, because we would avoid disquisition of a speculative nature. But there is one practical lesson which, often as we have on former occasions inculcated it upon you, the present subject suggests to us once more to enforce. While, on the one hand, it may be anticipated that the range of public situations accessible to the native and mixed races will gradually be enlarged it is, on the other hand, to be recollected that, as settlers from Europe find their way into the country, this class of persons will probably furnish candidates for those very situations to which the natives will have admittance. Men of European enterprise and education will appear in the field, and it is by the prospect of this event that we are led particularly to impress the lesson already alluded to on your attention. In every view it is important that the indigenous people of India, or those among them who by their habits, character, or position may be induced to aspire to office, should as far as possible be qualified to meet their European competitors. Hence there arises a powerful argument for the promotion of every design tending to the improvement of the natives, whether by conferring on them the advantages of education, or by diffusing among them the treasures of science, knowledge, and moral culture. For these desirable results, we are well aware that you, like ourselves, are anxious, and we doubt not that, in order to impel you to increased exertion for the promotion of them, you will need no stimulant beyond a simple reference to the considerations we have here suggested.
While, however, we entertain these wishes and opinions, we must guard against the supposition that it is chiefly by holding out means and opportunities of official distinction that we expect our Government to benefit the millions subjected to their authority. We have repeatedly expressed to you a
very different sentiment.
Facilities of official advancement can little affect the bulk of the people under any government, and perhaps least under a good government. It is not by holding out incentives to official ambition, but by repressing crime, by securing and guarding property, by creating confidence, by ensuring to industry the fruit of its labour, by protecting men in the undisturbed enjoyment of their rights, and in the unfettered exercise of their faculties, that Government best ministers to the public wealth and happiness. In effect, the free access to office is chiefly valuable when it is a part of general freedom.
In the latter part of the despatch quoted above the Directors insisted on the necessity of providing facilities by which Indians would be enabled to fit themselves for employment in the public services, and be qualified to meet their European competitors on equal terms. As will be shown later, efforts were being made to improve the system of education within the country. In 1844, Lord Hardinge's Government was anxious to profit as largely as possible by the improved facilities for instruction which were then given to Indians. A resolution, therefore, was issued dealing with the methods which should be used in employing the services of Indians who had been trained in the English-speaking schools.
The Use of English in the Public Services
Source.-Lord Hardinge's Resolution. 'Education in British India." A. Howell. (Calcutta General Press.)
The Governor-General having taken into his consideration the existing state of education in Bengal, and being of opinion that it is highly desirable to afford it every reasonable encouragement by holding out to those who have taken advantage of the opportunity of instruction afforded to them a fair prospect of employment in the public service, and thereby not only to reward individual merit, but to enable the State to profit as largely and as early as possible by the result of the measures adopted of late years for the instruction of the people, as well by the Government as by private individuals and societies, has resolved that in every possible case a preference shall be given in the selection of candidates for public employment to those who have been educated in the institutions thus established, and especially to those who have distinguished
themselves therein by a more than ordinary degree of merit and attainment.
2. The Governor-General is accordingly pleased to direct that it be an instruction to the Council of Education and to the several local committees and other authorities charged with the duty of superintending public instruction throughout the provinces subject to the Government of Bengal, to submit to that Government at an early date, and subsequently on the Ist of January in each year, returns of students who may be fitted according to their several degrees of merit and capacity for such of the various public offices as, with reference to their age, abilities, and other circumstances, they may be deemed qualified to fill.
3. The Governor-General is further pleased to direct that the Council of Education be requested to receive from the governors or managers of all scholastic establishments other than those supported out of the public funds similar returns of meritorious students, and to incorporate them, after due and sufficient enquiry, with those of Government institutions, and also that the managers of such establishments be publicly invited to furnish returns of that description periodically to the Council of Education.
4. The returns when received will be printed and circulated to the heads of all Government offices both in and out of Calcutta, with instructions to omit no opportunity of providing for and advancing the candidates thus presented to their notice, and, in filling up every situation of whatever grade, in their gift, to show them an invariable preference over others not possessed of superior qualifications. The appointment of all such candidates to situations under the Government will be immediately communicated by the appointing officer to the Council of Education, and will by them be brought to the notice of Government and the public in their annual reports. It will be the duty of controlling officers with whom rests the confirmation of appointments made by their subordinates to see that a sufficient explanation is afforded in every case in which the selection may not have fallen upon an educated candidate whose name is borne on the printed returns.
5. With a view still further to promote the diffusion of knowledge among the humbler classes of the people, the GovernorGeneral is also pleased to direct that, even in the selection of persons to fill the lowest offices under Government, respect be had to the relative requirements of the candidates, and that in every instance a man who can read and write be preferred to one who cannot.
THE SUPPRESSION OF INHUMAN CUSTOMS
IN the preceding pages an attempt has been made to point out the nature and the objects of British rule in India during the years immediately succeeding the close of the Mahratta wars. The great rulers of those days had grasped certain principles which guided their policy. They understood that the people over whom they ruled were firmly attached to their old ways of government, and that their customs, even if they appeared faulty in the light of modern experience, should be respected. In building up a civil administration, therefore, they sought not so much to introduce new methods which were at variance with the ways of the people, but rather with infinite patience to reform the old and accepted system and, so far as was possible, to utilise native agency in the public work of the country. In the matter of land revenue little effort was made to establish uniformity of system, but the methods obtaining in each part of the country were adopted and gradually reformed to meet modern requirements. In the administration of justice the rulers were reluctant to supersede the Hindu or Muhammadan law and respected, as far as possible, the law and customs of the country. In their system of education, which was based on Western learning and experience, they put as a goal before them the formation of a vernacular literature. Above all, they showed the most complete toleration in matters of religion and, though themselves devout and God-fearing Christian men, made no effort to convert the Hindus to their own belief. Their primary object was to benefit those over whom they ruled. They had infinite faith and patience. They trusted that in the gradual progress of civilization and in the development of
true learning the people of India, guided by reformers of their own such as Ram Mohan Roy and others, would of their own free will emancipate themselves from the chains and shackles which impeded their thoughts and actions, and "assume their places among the great families of mankind."
There were certain matters, however, in which they could not allow this benevolent policy of non-intervention to become a fixed rule. In moments of crisis, as has been shown already in the case of Elphinstone, these rulers felt themselves bound to act with force and determination. They were firmly convinced that, in the interests of Indians themselves, the safety of the British Empire should be maintained, and therefore no rash experiments should be made; but when the calls of humanity demanded action they showed courage and decision.
The most difficult of these problems was that connected with the Hindu rite of Sati. The word "Sati" by derivation means one that is true," and came to be associated with a faithful wife, a true woman who identified her life with that of her husband. The ideal of marital purity is familiar in the mythology and folklore in Hindu homes, and the stories of Sita and Savitri still exercise considerable influence in moulding the attitude of Hindu wives towards their husbands. And there were instances of deliberate selfdestruction in accordance with satitva in the Puranic narratives. The origin of the custom in modern times is shrouded in the general mystery which obscures social history in India The practice of Sati was at no time very widespread in India outside the ruling caste of Rajputs. Among the Rajputs and quasi-Rajput tribes it survived mainly perhaps because of perpetual internecine warfare and latterly because of the violence of the conquering Mussulman. About the beginning of the nineteenth century cases of Sati were found among castes other than those who claimed descent from the Khatryias; and the practice became general in the northern provinces of India, including Bengal. It was soon discovered that the motives which actuated the victim in the work of self-destruction were not always those of pious zeal or marital fidelity. Social