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Dharampal (1922–2006) was a great Gandhian thinker, historian and political philosopher from India. Convinced about the urgent need for an objective understanding about India’s past, before the onslaught of colonial rule, he decided to embark on an exploration of British-Indian archival material, based on documents emanating from commissioned surveys of the East India Comp Dharampal (1922–2006) was a great Gandhian thinker, historian and political philosopher from India. Convinced about the urgent need for an objective understanding about India’s past, before the onslaught of colonial rule, he decided to embark on an exploration of British-Indian archival material, based on documents emanating from commissioned surveys of the East India Company, lodged in various depositories spread over the British Isles. His pioneering historical research, conducted intensively over a decade, led to the publication of works that have since become classics in the field of Indian studies. This major work entitled "The Beautiful Tree" provides evidence from extensive early British administrators’ reports of the widespread prevalence of educational institutions in the Bengal and Madras Presidencies as well as in the Punjab, teaching a sophisticated curriculum, with daily school attendance by about 30% of children aged 6–15, where those belonging to communities who were classed as Shudras or even lower constituted a good number of students, and in some areas, for instance in Kerala, where Muslim girls were quite well represented.


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Dharampal (1922–2006) was a great Gandhian thinker, historian and political philosopher from India. Convinced about the urgent need for an objective understanding about India’s past, before the onslaught of colonial rule, he decided to embark on an exploration of British-Indian archival material, based on documents emanating from commissioned surveys of the East India Comp Dharampal (1922–2006) was a great Gandhian thinker, historian and political philosopher from India. Convinced about the urgent need for an objective understanding about India’s past, before the onslaught of colonial rule, he decided to embark on an exploration of British-Indian archival material, based on documents emanating from commissioned surveys of the East India Company, lodged in various depositories spread over the British Isles. His pioneering historical research, conducted intensively over a decade, led to the publication of works that have since become classics in the field of Indian studies. This major work entitled "The Beautiful Tree" provides evidence from extensive early British administrators’ reports of the widespread prevalence of educational institutions in the Bengal and Madras Presidencies as well as in the Punjab, teaching a sophisticated curriculum, with daily school attendance by about 30% of children aged 6–15, where those belonging to communities who were classed as Shudras or even lower constituted a good number of students, and in some areas, for instance in Kerala, where Muslim girls were quite well represented.

30 review for The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sankara

    "India's Indegenous education system was like a beautiful tree, which was uprooted ruthlessly by the British" - Struck by this remark of Gandhi, Dharampal started his intensive research on material reg. the state of education in India during British arrival here. He studied volumes of British archives about this (details like number of schools in India at that time, district wise, number of students in each school, their gender and social profile, subjects taught etc.)- all collected and documen "India's Indegenous education system was like a beautiful tree, which was uprooted ruthlessly by the British" - Struck by this remark of Gandhi, Dharampal started his intensive research on material reg. the state of education in India during British arrival here. He studied volumes of British archives about this (details like number of schools in India at that time, district wise, number of students in each school, their gender and social profile, subjects taught etc.)- all collected and documented by British administrators themselves. He presented his findings in this book, which, in a way vindicates the words of Gandhi. The introduction is well written and comprehensive. The later part of the book presents extensive evidences, as they were found in the documents.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Arpit Joshi

    Brilliant analysis of what kind of education system existed in India before the British intentionally or unintentionally destroyed it. He shows, using data collected during 18th and 19th centuries, how inclusive the education system was, how was it funded and what subjects were taught. He also highlights how the funding dried-up as the East India Company started spreading its roots and eventually left it in a dismal state.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ajay

    Beautiful book on Indigenous Indian Education. Book show lot of facts and you will realized how British systematically destroyed our Indian education system and start replacing it with their own education system. This is why we should not be surprised why India was so illiterate after Independence. It is high time for us to come with our kind of education system.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Annu

    After reading this you'll know that you open your eyes and stare into nothingness and lies while the truth is standing right beside you desperate for attention.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ashish Naredi

    If you want to know India - You've got to read this. If you want to know how gold is covered in coal dust to hide its glitter - Read this book. I am still disturbed as to why this book is not more widely read, commented upon and distributed. If you ask me I'd make it a must read for all - if not the book at least its brief summary. This book fills me with a question as to why the "Intellectuals of India" give a picture totally contrary to the one presented in this book. Do read it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Saranga

    This book is a revelation especially for the generations of Indians like me who have studied in a western education system. It is a brilliant and very well referenced essay on the state of Indian education before the British and how they slowly but surely let it die. Native schools in India before the British were surely not perfect but they ensured a sensible and practical education for the majority of people. Women were homeschooled as per the social mores of that time. What surprised me was h This book is a revelation especially for the generations of Indians like me who have studied in a western education system. It is a brilliant and very well referenced essay on the state of Indian education before the British and how they slowly but surely let it die. Native schools in India before the British were surely not perfect but they ensured a sensible and practical education for the majority of people. Women were homeschooled as per the social mores of that time. What surprised me was how well the system functioned and was well supported by the community. Also according to British officers most people be it in Punjab, madras or West Bengal wanted their kids to be educated and went to great lengths to make it happen. Such dedication towards gaining an education speaks a lot about the society that was in India before and during Britain’s rule. For me the best part of this book was its references. The various surveys and studies done by British during 18th and 19th centuries give a good picture on the state of education. In fact, some sympathetic officers even request the British govt to grant money for the promotion of education in India but as we know no such encouragement was given.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ishaan

    There is a lot of talk around the traditional Indian education system and how the British destroyed it strategically. This book has all the factual analysis of the education system that was prevalent on the Indian subcontinent before the arrival of the British. Although a but factual rather than narrative-styled, this book is a must read if you want to know about the history of traditional Indian education system.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bill Chiplet

    This book is very important for every Indian who have been badly brainwashed by the British regarding their education system and the indigenous life of the Indian students. This book is very much eye opening for all of us Indians as it tells us how much advanced was our education system in comparison to today's modern education system presented by the British

  9. 5 out of 5

    John

    India before Independence - The book is volume 3 in a series of five books titled “Dharampal.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Victor Dubey

    just want to read this book

  11. 4 out of 5

    Mona Sharma

  12. 4 out of 5

    Satish Kumar

  13. 5 out of 5

    Yavdhesh Sanchihar

  14. 5 out of 5

    अभिषेक चौहान

  15. 4 out of 5

    Pranab Mukherjee

  16. 5 out of 5

    Anand V

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sourav Kumar

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jagdish Bhatt

  19. 5 out of 5

    Varun

  20. 4 out of 5

    Shivam Kumar

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sunil

  22. 5 out of 5

    Durai Murugan

  23. 4 out of 5

    Arihant Pawariya

  24. 4 out of 5

    RAHUL YADAV

  25. 5 out of 5

    เนติวิทย์ โชติภัทร์ไพศาล

  26. 4 out of 5

    Arun

  27. 5 out of 5

    सौरभ मिश्रा

  28. 4 out of 5

    Rohit Walavalkar

  29. 4 out of 5

    Bhuvan Anireddy

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shaun Tan

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