A quote by Lord Macaulay is doing rounds on social media, saying that it’s from his speech when he addressed the British Parliament on 2 February 1835.
“I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation, ” he is quoted to be saying.
NewsMobile fact-checked the post and found the quote attributed to Lord Macaulay is false.
Thomas Babington Macaulay is the man who brought the English language and British education to India. While he argued that Western learning was superior, and could only be taught through the medium of English, the above viral quote is not his.
In the viral picture, it claims that the speech was made in the British parliament on 2 February 1835. However, it is not true as Lord Macaulay was in Calcatta on that day.
According to an article by The Wire, ‘Macaulay left England in 1834 to take up his new assignment as an advisor to the British Governor-General and did not return till 1838’.
Lord Macaulay presented the ‘Minute (on Indian education)‘ which is dated 2 February 1835. It ultimately led to the passing of the English Education Act 1835.
We read the entire speech, the above statements are not present. However, he did argue that people cannot be “educated by means of their mother-tongue. We must teach them some foreign language.”
Taking about the native language, he said, ” What then shall that language be? One-half of the committee maintain that it should be the English. The other half strongly recommend the Arabic and Sanskrit. The whole question seems to me to be– which language is the best worth knowing?
I have no knowledge of either Sanskrit 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 have conversed, both here and at home, with men distinguished by their proficiency in the Eastern tongues. 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 by those members of the committee who support the oriental plan of education.”
The above information proves that Lord Macaulay was misquoted in the viral post and hence it is FALSE.
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