Impact of British Raj on the Education System in India: The Process of Modernization in the Princely States of India – The case of Mohindra College, Patiala
Keywords:Education Reforms, British Raj, East India Company, Christian Missionaries, Princely States, Patiala
British rule is said to have been responsible for the modernization witnessed in the Indian civilization. The impact of this process was quiet evident from the changes adopted by the Indians in their life style, thinking processes, attires, food and education. Besides the advancements made in the spheres of roads, transports, postal services etc, their rule acted as a significant period of transition from the indigenous style of education to western education. The foundations were laid by the East India Company and the Christian Missionaries to employ Indians for administrative tasks as well as to serve their political, economical and colonial interests. Originally the access to education was limited to the royal families, as the British were of the opinion that Indians could become aware of their rights and positions and protest against their Raj posing a threat to the British establishment in India. Lord Curzon’s efforts in the 20th century gave way to spread of higher education within the masses and channelized Indian education system. However the rulers of the Princely States in of India who were granted autonomy by the British to manage their own kingdoms acted as major agents to undertake the social and educational reforms within their territories. With the spread of education from elementary to higher levels, many new schools, universities and other institutions were developed during this period which are symbols of educational advancement as well as hold high architectural merit. Patiala, aprime princely state is a well known academic centre also important for its rich culture since the British Raj. Education in Patiala originated under the Maharajas with the opening of the school of languages in 1860A.D. With the introduction of Mahindra College (the first Degree College in a city) in 1870, became came an important educational centre. It was the only college between Delhi and Lahore for a long time that promoted contemporary higher learning in Northern India. The historic college building represents an aesthetic mix of regional interpretation of Indo-Saracenic style of architecture. Later on many educational institutes catering to medical facilities, sports education etc. was set up in this princely state. This paper is thus an attempt to explore the education reforms during the British Raj, the changes that happened and their triggers. It also brings out reforms initiated in Princely States specifically Patiala as a seat of learning and a detailed study of the Mohindra College, Patiala, that represents an excellent example of educational institutions developed during the 19th century. The present study was done as a part of an academic project undertaken during Masters of Architecture under the able guidance of Prof Kiran Joshi..
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