The Progress of Science in India


IT is one hundred and three years since Macaulay wrote his famous minute on education in India, in which he stated that it was impossible, with the limited means available, to attempt to educate the body of the people. This century has seen an amazing development in all directions. Politically, self-government has been largely achieved and this has been rendered possible by the adoption, as advocated by Macaulay, of English as the medium of education. English has become the lingua franca of the Peninsula, and the mass of the discussions in the legislative councils is conducted in that language. But there has occurred another, if less dramatic, change. An educational ladder has been provided which has opened a clear road from the village primary school to the university. In the space of a century, India has passed from a social state with an aristocracy as strongly marked as in the Norman period, with a priestly hierarchy as dominant as in the palmy days of the monasteries and with the mass of the people in a state of serfdom equally reminiscent of those early English days, to a state with all the democratic institutions of modern England and with an industrial development of no mean proportion if, as yet, small when judged by the percentage of population so engaged.

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L., H. The Progress of Science in India. Nature 142, 369–371 (1938).

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