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In view to the increasing prominence of physical science and practical teaching in the higher institutions, the Lieutenant-Governor has sought to introduce an infusion of such teaching into our schools also. He hopes that arrangements, yet on a small scale, will be soon extended for introducing 'object' lessons by means of pictures and diagrams into many of our lower schools. In the middle and higher schools the teaching of Physical Geography (in the wide sense of the term) is being introduced, and Surveying is now very generally taught. This last subject has been selected as one which forms a useful link between mere book-learning and practical work, and a sort of test of ability to apply what has been taught; while it is, at the same time, an art of the utmost use not only to every one who looks to Government service, but to every one who is connected with land in a high or low degree, as almost every one is in this country.
The teaching of Gymnastics has also been introduced m ,. , „ . into our colleges and some of our
leaching of Gymnastics. * , ..V . ...
schools with extraordinary success. The Lieutenant-Governor thought that exercises of this kind were of all things best calculated to supply to the Bengalee what was most wanting to him, but he hardly hoped that gymnastic teaching would be accepted with much readiness at first. It proves, however, that the Bengalee youth have shown a most ready appreciation of, and a real aptitude for, these exercises. Sir George Campbell believes that at no European school could better performers be found, and he is very sanguine that we have discovered the means of inducing these native youths to take a pride in physical energy, activity, and endurance. The Bengalee intellect is acute; these physical qualities were the great want, and if such qualities are generally acquired, the Bengalee race may have a great future before it.
For Government employment, especially, physical qualities are very important, and such qualifications have been much insisted on. There has been some disposition to ridicule the rules which require young candidates for the Native Civil Service to ride twelve miles at a rapid pace and in a successful manner, or to walk twelve miles in three and a half hours without difficulty or prostration ; but Sir George Campbell fully believes that such tests are good and necessary tests, and that he cannot do a greater kindness to the natives of Bengal than by holding out to them such standards by which they may gradually fit themselves to emulate Europeans.
As regards the teaching of English, it has been a great En lish Education mistake to suppose that Sir George
ng is uca i n. Campbell was hostile to the spread
of that language among the natives. On the contrary, bis feeling is strongly this, that in these provinces we have as it were cut adrift from native traditions and manners as regards our official business and our higher education; it is now impossible to conduct either one or the other without English. And since that must be the medium of business and instruction, Sir George Campbell thinks it most undesirable that our choice of men should be restricted to a very limited class. In order to widen the field of selection and bring larger classes of natives within reach of Western knowledge, he would extend the knowledge of English among all who seek to go beyond the lower branches of education by every means in the power of Government. The simple vernacular languages do not supply words through which a higher instruction can be imparted. If we would avoid English we can only supply the want in Bengal by importing Sanscrit, a language almost as strange to the ordinary natives as English, and far more complicated; while in Behar the language is supplemented by Arabic brought in (through the Persian) by the Mahomedan conquerors of India. It has seemed to the Lieutenant-Governor that it is not for us to impose upon the natives of India the very difficult foreign language of a previous set of conquerors; and in Bengal he is unwilling to burden the youth of our schools with two strange languages. While therefore he would encourage and give facilities for the study of the classical languages of the East by those who would study them for literary purposes (very few they are, it is to be feared,) he has declined to allow them to be made compulsory on those who would pursue a bread-earning education in our schools, and whose wish is to learn English.
Sir George Campbell certainly inclines to the belief that, in the present circumstances of Bengal; the real vernacular (to the exclusion of an artificially concocted language) for lower education, and English for those who would go higher, is the best arrangement that can be made.
It has been said that, while the problem of educating the
lower Mahomedans is simple
Mahomedan Education. i ,v j i« <• fi
enough, the education of the higher Mahomedans is full of difficulty. A people who form a small minority in a country, and yet affect a foreign literature of their own, radically different in its substance and its written character from those of both the rulers and the ruled, must be at a great disadvantage. Religious reasons combine with social prejudices to make the study of Arabic and Persian a necessity to these people. Already behind in the race, they are left more and more behind when English and Bengalee are the languages effective for bread-winning. All that can be done is to supply them with places of instruction where their prejudices are respected, where so much of the language they affect is supplied to them as they think really necessary, while special facilities are given to them for acquiring at the same time English and Western knowledge of a bread-winning character. This attempt the Government is now making. During the year arrangements have been made by which it is hoped to bring the Mahomedans more than hitherto within the modern system of education. On the recommendation of this Government, the Government of India has sanctioned the application of the funds of the Hooghly Mohsin Endowment to the establishment of special Mahomedan schools at several of the chief centres of the Mahomedan population, and has been good enough to supply the means of continuing at the same time on its present footing the existing Hooghly College, to which a special Mahomedan hostel is attached.
It is also proposed to improve the Mahomedan Madrissa (maintained by Government in Calcutta,) under the guidance of a competent European Principal, who shall combine Western science and knowledge with a sufficient taste for Oriental languages to bring him into sympathy with his pupils.
Arrangements for effecting these objects are now in progress.
Chapter XXIX, Literature and Art, gives what can be given on these subjects. The Lieutenant-Governor has been surprised to find from the reports of the Divisional Commissioners how very superficial as regards any direct influence over „, „ .. D the people is the Native Press
The Native Press. r ii • i n i
oi these provinces and all the education and literary advance which has been yet achieved. In several great Divisions, Provinces it may be said, each containing several millions of people, not a single newspaper or periodical is published, and very few are read. In other Divisions the press is confined to t\t o or three papers of the humblest character and smallest circulation. It is only in Calcutta and the neighbourhood, and to some extent in Dacca, that there is a considerable Native Press; and in those places it would seem that the influence and circulation of the various publications is in the inverse ratio to their popular character. Two or three native papers published in English, and representing the upper and educated classes, have considerable position and influence. But not more than two or three vernacular papers of a higher description seem to have any great success ; while the minor papers, which might be supposed to be addressed to the people, have a very small circulation. Such a thing as a really popular paper is, in fact, unknown; and we should be greatly mistaken if we suppose that anything is likely to be brought home to the people at large by the spontaneous action of the press, or that their feelings are represented by the press.
On other hand, it may be a consolation to know that the hostile criticism of the actions of Government and excessive self-assertion so prominent in many of the native papers really mean very little; and so far as they do represent real feelings, they are the feelings of a very limited class, educated by ourselves to believe that the Hindoos invented and practised everything that is great and noble, while the northern Europeans were barbarians, and consequently that the Hindoos are a very superior race only depressed by temporary circumstances. The question, however, has arisen whether some things which are published with little serious meaning can safely be allowed to be translated and republished and read by people in other parts of India, who may attach to them a more serious import. Some passages in native journals have been noticed which seem to call for interference if such things are repeated.
Setting aside the exuberance of the educated youth, and accepting the most influential part of the Press as the exponent of the views and interests of a limited class of landholders and others, it may be said that on the whole the spirit of the Bengalee Press is not really bad. If education and independence spread among the people, as they have begun to spread, it is not unlikely that we may have in time a really popular Press.
It was formerly the custom to limit the annual reports
to the history of the official year,
Conclusion. ,-i i "-i «j
though necessarily a considerable time elapsed before the reports were compiled and published. In the last two reports the practice has been so far altered, that while the exact returns are those for the official year, the general history of the province is carried down, as far as possible, to the time of the publication of the report. The last report for 1871-72 covered in this way some twenty months, from early in 1871 to October 1872. The present report carries on the history from that date to the present time, the end of December 1873. Thus, these two volumes may be said to give the history of nearly three years of the Administration of Bengal. The failure of the crops has now led to the absorbing occupation of the Government and its Officers in measures to alleviate the scarcity, and it is not likely that, these operations apart, much more that is new can be initiated or executed by the present LieutenantGovernor. The two volumes then may be taken as together comprising a nearly complete account of three years of administration in which much has been attempted and something performed.
Before closing the report, the Lieutenant-Governor would express his great obligations to the Secretaries to the Government of Bengal, by whose aid all that has been done has been devised and carried out. Mr. Bernard has been in the past year, as he has been all along, an aid to the Lieutenant-Governor of the most sterling value, and to him the Lieutenant-Governor has been most especially indebted. Sir George Campbell is sure that he will be an ornament to any post which he may fill, however arduous and important. Mr. Dampier was absent for a time on other duties, but both before his departure and since his return, the LieutenantGovernor has greatly relied on his thorough knowledge of Bengal, and most complete and earnest devotion to the public service. To him, as the Senior Secretary, much has been trusted with the full confidence of the Lieutenant-Governor. Mr. Mackenzie, who, as Junior Secretary, was entrusted with many duties, has also acted for a considerable period as Secretary, and no more useful and able assistant could be found. To him also the Lieutenant-Governor is very greatly indebted. Mr. Cotton's services in the preparation of this report have been already acknowledged.
These last lines are penned on 31st December 1873.