Thursday, July 21, 2011

Top 10 Corruption Scams in India

by Viral Dholakia

This is the season of scams and the biggest ever corruption cases in India have been unearthed more recently. So, we decided to dig deep to see which scams were the biggest and most damaging to the country and its citizens alike.

In our daily life, most of us must have been a witness to or a victim of the corruption thriving in some or the other part of the country. It could be in the form of a taxi-driver manipulating the meter to jack-up the reading or a government officer taking bribery to promptly transfer your file to the next department or even yourself offering bribe to a traffic police on breaking a signal.

An average Indian citizen is hard working and diligent, but it is the people in charge of the system (The Babu’s) or with whom the power lays, that act as a cancer spreading the venom, slowing down progress and what all not. But, somewhere down the line, we ourselves are responsible for allowing and being taken for a ride by these people, aren’t we?

However, it is during a multi-thousand crore scam, that a tax-payer actually realizes the heartburn of being cheated from his valued contribution of funds towards the development and well-being of the nation. But, that’s what a scam, be it big or small, means – the act of swindling by some fraudulent scheme or action.

The Top Scams in India

1) 2G Spectrum Scam

We have had a number of scams in India; but none bigger than the scam involving the process of allocating unified access service licenses. At the heart of this Rs.1.76-lakh crore worth of scam is the former Telecom minister A Raja – who according to the CAG, has evaded norms at every level as he carried out the dubious 2G license awards in 2008 at a throw-away price which were pegged at 2001 prices.

2) Commonwealth Games Scam

Another feather in the cap of Indian scandal list is Commonwealth Games loot. Yes, literally a loot! Even before the long awaited sporting bonanza could see the day of light, the grand event was soaked in the allegations of corruption. It is estimated that out of Rs. 70000 crore spent on the Games, only half the said amount was spent on Indian sportspersons.

The Central Vigilance Commission, involved in probing the alleged corruption in various Commonwealth Games-related projects, has found discrepancies in tenders – like payment to non-existent parties, will-ful delays in execution of contracts, over-inflated price and bungling in purchase of equipment through tendering – and misappropriation of funds.

3) Telgi Scam

As they say, every scam must have something unique in it to make money out of it in an unscrupulous manner- and Telgi scam had all the suspense and drama that the scandal needed to thrive and be busted.

Abdul Karim Telgi had mastered the art of forgery in printing duplicate stamp papers and sold them to banks and other institutions. The tentacles of the fake stamp and stamp paper case had penetrated 12 states and was estimated at a whooping Rs. 20000 crore plus. The Telgi clearly had a lot of support from government departments that were responsible for the production and sale of high security stamps.

4) Satyam Scam

The scam at Satyam Computer Services is something that will shatter the peace and tranquillity of Indian investors and shareholder community beyond repair. Satyam is the biggest fraud in the corporate history to the tune of Rs. 14000 crore.

The company’s disgraced former chairman Ramalinga Raju kept everyone in the dark for a decade by fudging the books of accounts for several years and inflating revenues and profit figures of Satyam. Finally, the company was taken over by the Tech Mahindra which has done wonderfully well to revive the brand Satyam.

5) Bofors Scam

The Bofors scandal is known as the hallmark of Indian corruption. The Bofors scam was a major corruption scandal in India in the 1980s; when the then PM Rajiv Gandhi and several others including a powerful NRI family named the Hindujas, were accused of receiving kickbacks from Bofors AB for winning a bid to supply India’s 155 mm field howitzer.

The Swedish State Radio had broadcast a startling report about an undercover operation carried out by Bofors, Sweden’s biggest arms manufacturer, whereby $16 million were allegedly paid to members of PM Rajiv Gandhi’s Congress.

Most of all, the Bofors scam had a strong emotional appeal because it was a scam related to the defense services and India’s security interests.

6) The Fodder Scam

If you haven’t heard of Bihar’s fodder scam of 1996, you might still be able to recognize it by the name of “Chara Ghotala ,” as it is popularly known in the vernacular language.

In this corruption scandal worth Rs.900 crore, an unholy nexus was traced involved in fabrication of “vast herds of fictitious livestock” for which fodder, medicine and animal husbandry equipment was supposedly procured.

7) The Hawala Scandal

The Hawala case to the tune of $18 million bribery scandal, which came in the open in 1996, involved payments allegedly received by country’s leading politicians through hawala brokers. From the list of those accused also included Lal Krishna Advani who was then the Leader of Opposition.

Thus, for the first time in Indian politics, it gave a feeling of open loot all around the public, involving all the major political players being accused of having accepted bribes and also alleged connections about payments being channelled to Hizbul Mujahideen militants in Kashmir.

8) IPL Scam

Well, I am running out of time and space over here. The list of scandals in India is just not ending and becoming grave by every decade. Most of us are aware about the recent scam in IPL and embezzlement with respect to bidding for various franchisees. The scandal already claimed the portfolios of two big-wigs in the form of Shashi Tharoor and former IPL chief Lalit Modi.

9,10) Harshad Mehta & Ketan Parekh Stock Market Scam

Although not corruption scams, these have affected many people. There is no way that the investor community could forget the unfortunate Rs. 4000 crore Harshad Mehta scam and over Rs. 1000 crore Ketan Parekh scam which eroded the shareholders wealth in form of big market jolt.


If the 2GSpectrum Scam took you by surprise, what Chauthi Duniya is going to reveal, will sweep the ground under your feet; you are about to feel giddy as you keep reading. Chauthi Duniya is going to reveal the mother and father of all scams in the history of India. In the name of captive coal block allotment the country has been robbed of 26 lakh crores. And most stupendous fact is that it did not just happen under the Prime-ministership of Manmohan Singh, it happened in his very own ministry. This, ladies and gentlemen, is the Coal Scam. Coal is called black gold and black diamond but this natural national resource of India has been gifted away for free by this government to its favourite corporate houses and middlemen who are so dear to it. Let us see how the biggest ever loot of Indian history take place.

Indira Gandhi had in 1973 nationalized coal. This had ended the black marketeering of coal and coal had become available at government notified rates all over the country. But Manmohan Singh has opened the coal coffers to private players thus harming the cause espoused above.

It was a minister who did the 2G scam. The PM was not even aware of it. Adarsh and Commonwealth loot too were others’ mire. But who will now take the fall for the Mega Scam in Coal while he was the Coal Minister? The public would surely want to know this from him.

This scam is registered in government files themselves and the figures therein are shouting from the rooftops that the swindlers have had the biggest day yet. This is the tale of 2006-2007 when Shibu Soren was in jail and the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was holding the coal ministry. In this period Dasi Narayan and Santosh Bagdodiya were ministers of state for coal. It was under the Prime minister that the coal ministry gave out the maximum number of captive coal blocks free of cost. The most glaring and blatant fact is that the coal mines were given out free at the lower than nominal cost of Rs. 100 royalty per ton of coal that would be extracted. It was done at a time when the market price of coal was over Rs. 2000 per ton. When this issue was brought to the notice of the Parliament, the government ignominiously declared that it would not allocate coal blocks further without amending the Mines and Minerals Act, 1957, which would bring in the clauses pertaining to open bidding process. Also again when the Bill was moved in the Rajya Sabha it was agreed that no further allocation of coal blocks would be undertaken unless both the houses passed the Bill into an Act. Though it was passed in the Rajya Sabha, it was deliberately stalled in the Lok Sabha for four years, and it could become an Act only in 2010. In the meanwhile the government in the most sinister manner, breached its promise to the Parliament and the allocation of free coal blocks continued surreptitiously. Actually, there was a deep conspiracy behind this ploy to keep the Bill pending in the Lok Sabha. The amendment to the Bill unambiguously envisaged that from the date of its passage, allocation of mines or minerals would be brought under the umbrella ambit of a fair open bidding process. Thus, had the Bill not been kept hanging in a lurch, the government would not have been able to propitiate its favourite private companies. Thus, in this period coal blocks to the tune of proven reserves of 21.69 billion tons was given away free to private companies and also middlemen.

The Prime minister Manmohan Singh was the coal minister during this period and all this bungling and embezzlement happened under his very nose, maximum number of blocks were squandered under him only. Manmohan Singh gave away 63 blocks for free. But why did he do so? During these four years (2006-2010) almost 175 blocks were gifted to brokers and capitalists of different shades.

Actually apparently, the magnitude and the seriousness of the matter and scam do not catch the eye so Chauthi Duniya decided to estimate the monetary loss inflicted upon the exchequer because of this government largesse. What came out was numbing. Actually the act of giving captive coal blocks to private companies started in 1993. The pretext of this was that the private players, in search of profit, could be lured into investing in such blocks which for the government would prove both difficult and cost ineffective to mine. This would invariably take coal production to newer heights while fuelling the economy. From 1993 to 2010 208 blocks of coal were alloctaed for free. This tantamounts to coal reserves of 49.07 billion tons. Out of the 208 blocks 113 blocks were given to 184 private companies for free. This amounted to coal reserves equal to 21.69 billion tons. If the value of this coal is calculated at the market price of Rs. 2500 per ton, it comes out to 5,382,830.50 Crores. If out of this Rs. 2500, Rs. 1250 is deduced giving space for rRs. 850 as cost of production, transportation etc and Rs. 400 is deduced as profit, then also the country was inflicted a revenue loss of about 26 Lakh Crores. So this is the ‘Father and Mother of all Scams’. This is surely India’s biggest and scariest scam ever as also perhaps, the biggest ever in any country in the world.

During investigations Chauthi Duniya laid its hands upon a few documents that are astonishing. These documents reveal that even the CAG is aware of this scam. Question is why is the CAG silent till now?

The UPA government squandered the mineral resources of the nation to which all 120 Crore citizens have an equal right. The breath-bating sum of 26 Lakh Crores could have been used for the multitude of deprived and marginalized of this country.

The UPA government, since the day it has assumed power, has put out an all out specious policy faux pas. Apparently, it has been emphasizing that to propel India’s growth, it must be made self sufficient in energy resources. But the picture that has emerged is that the same government has gifted scarce natural reserves of the country to private companies and industrialists for free. This common national capital should have accrued to all the citizens but the government circumvented procedures and resorted to subterfuge in order to rob the Indian exchequer of 26 Lakh Crores. The Parliament was first kept in dark and when it did come to light the auspicious body was defrauded into believing that the government wanted to amend the relevant laws to include the process of open bidding. Actually the Parliament was taken for a ride for four years and in the intervening period the government, in sinister collusion with its crony industrialists settled all the dark deals. Looking at the amount robbed (26 Lakh Crores) it is pretty obvious how much money would have changed hands.

But the irregularities do not end here. Yet another startling fact has come to light. There are certain guidelines regulating the allocation of coal blocks which were again either circumvented or turned a blind eye to. There are certain conditions which cannot be violated in any case while allocating the coal blocks. A condition is that in case of underground mines production should mandatorily start within 36 months (a grace period of 6 months is allowed if the mine falls under forested area). If the mine is of the open cast type, this mandatory period of starting production is 48 months (and another 6 months is allowed if the mine falls under forested area). If production does not commence within this stipulated period, the license stands null and void. This clause has been added in order to keep out middlemen and brokers who themselves do not need coal but wait for the right industrialist to come and then sell the mine to the latter at exorbitant prices. But interestingly, the government has not cancelled any license under this clause even when the statistics of production are dismal. This is because the government had given away many a mine for this very purpose, that middlemen may make profit. If the government was and is not in collusion with the black marketers and middlemen, why at all, in the first place middlemen were allotted blocks and secondly, why at all no cancellation of licenses have occurred even when production period has been overshot? Latter is the job of Sri Prakash Jaiswal who made no amends whatsoever. Till 2003 40 blocks had been allocated. Out of this only 24 have started production. So why have the licenses of the rest of the 16 companies not cancelled? In 2004 4 blocks were allotted and none has started production. Similarly, in 2005 22 blcoks were allotted and only 2 have started production. In 2006 52, 2007 51, 2008 22, 2009 16 and in 2010 0ne block was allotted. But the report till 18th January says that none have started production. So first the government allots coal blocks to private interests. Then keep the Mines and Minerals Act pending in the Parliament, while the embezzlement keeps going on, then when mines allocated to middlemen does not start production (they were not meant to start production at all) then nobody cancels their licenses. Now none needs to be a rocket scientist to see behind the official maze and fathom what went on between the government and middlemen. Had there been no covert collusion and nexus, only 26 out of 208 mines would not be producing.

This UPA government has been ultimately specious in its dealings with the nation. First it gives the slogan of development and energy security and on the other hand squanders away one of the most important inputs of growth-coal. It gives it away for free, as gift, to its favourite capitalists and brokers. It is not so that the government did this under some unavoidable circumstances. It is indefensible. Mining Development Corporation of Maharashtra also got some free coal blocks from Coal India. These were Agarjhari, Varora, Marki, Jamni, Adakuli, and Gare palma etc. later the corporation sold these blocks to private companies thus earning a profit of 750 Crores for the state coffers. This too was a way in which the government could have gone about in the case of coal blocks but as it stands they were gifted free. It is not so that the presence of middlemen in this process is a matter of conjecture; actually a company in Maharashtra which has nothing to do with coal was allotted a free coal block which it sold for Rs. 500 Crores. Pure and simple profit without investing a penny. So the coal blocks were turned into Dalal Street wherein coal was bought and sold like shares with no accruing benefits to the people of India.

Pranab Mukjherjee declared that he was going to present a budget for the common man. But what came out of his red briefcase was a mockery of common man. Having a look at that demeaning budget it comes to light that social sector was given 1.6 lakh crores. Infrastructure got 2.14 lakh crores. Defence was given 1.64 lakh crores. The fiscal deficit of India stands at 4.12 lakh crores. Tax revenue of India is 9.32 lakh crores. The total expenditure for the year 2011-12 is 12 lakh 57 thousand and 729 crores. And this single scam is worth 26 lakh crores. It means that middlemen,blackmarketeers, industrialists and capitalists were given almost twice the amount that was allocated for whole of India for the year 2011-12. It means that three years’ tax on Indian peoples earnings was gulped up by this single scam. This means that Indian defence forces would have been supplied for by this amount for the next 25 years. This means that India’s infrastructure blues could have been fixed for ever in just a single year with the amount involved in this single scam. And India, in this period of slow recovery from global recession, could have paid off all its debts, domestic and international in just one go. Black money stashed in foreign banks has been a headache for the people of this country, but what about this money, who will bring this back in mainstream economy if India.


Friday, July 15, 2011

What is Sonia Gandhi Hiding ???

by Rajinder Puri: Dt. 16th June, 2011

Where is Sonia Gandhi for the last one week? Why is there secrecy?


*This is not the first time that the UPA chairperson has quietly gone abroad in a manner best described as being furtive. Why the secrecy? Why create the illusion in the public mind that she is in India when she is not, asks rajinder puri *

On Monday, Tamil Nadu chief minister Miss Jayalalithaa visited Delhi. She met her Delhi counterpart Mrs.Sheila Dikshit. India’s biggest TV channel blared: “Will Jaya also meet Sonia?” Was the channel unprofessionally ignorant or was it colluding with the exercise to hide the furtive movements of Mrs Sonia Gandhi? Earlier on the same day, there was a statement issued by Mrs Gandhi deploring the murder of a prominent journalist in Mumbai. Was all this being done to create the illusion in the public mind that Mrs.Gandhi was in India while she was not? This is not the first time that Mrs. Gandhi has silently gone abroad in a manner best described as being furtive. Why the secrecy? What is the purpose of Mrs Gandhi’s undisclosed visits abroad?

An RTI applicant, Mr Ramesh Verma, had sought from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) details of the foreign visits of the Chairperson of the National Advisory Council (NAC) and Congress president Mrs Sonia Gandhi. The Central Information Commission (CIC) forwarded the application to the PMO. “It seems the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry had informed that the Central government had incurred no expenditure on the foreign visits Sonia Gandhi during the last 10 years,” CIC commissioner Mr Satyananda Mishra has stated. The application to the PMO was received on 26 February, 2010, transferred to the external affairs ministry on 16 March, 2010 and then forwarded to the Parliamentary Affairs Ministry on 26 March, 2010. However, it was not known
by the Cabinet secretariat whether the RTI applicant had been provided with the information that was sought. The CIC commissioner criticised the PMO for its casual approach. The PMO did not obtain the information from the appropriate ministry after the query was specifically directed to it.

Congress leaders are frothing at the mouth demanding total transparency from members of civil society. Probes have been launched against some of them. Should not the government display equal transparency pertaining to India’s most powerful politician who is the chairperson of the ruling UPA coalition as well as the chairperson of the government’s NAC? They need to answer the following questions:

Did Mrs Gandhi travel abroad on an airline or by a private jet? If the latter, whose jet was it? What was the purpose of the foreign visit made by the Chairperson of the NAC and the UPA?
What is the itinerary of the NAC Chairperson? Which countries and cities did she, or will she, visit?

And while they are at it, our worthy Congress leaders may as well also address these ancient and perennial questions:

Why does not the government refute the allegation made by a former member of the Soviet government’s official KGB Commission, confirmed by the official spokesman of the Russian government addressing the media, that the KGB had been donating funds to Mrs. Sonia Gandhi’s family, including her mother,
since 1971? Why does the government not demand an apology from the author of the allegation and failing its receipt launch a defamation case against the author and the Russian government?

Why do the government and the Congress party not explain the purpose of the meeting between accused money launderer Hasan Ali and the political secretary of the Congress president, Mr Ahmed Patel, that was investigated and confirmed by Maharashtra police? The public awaits from Congress leaders Mr Pranab Mukherjee, Mr Digvijay Singh, Mr Kapil Sibal, Mr Chidambaram and the rest, answers to these questions. Transparency, like charity, should begin at home.

The writer is a veteran journalist and cartoonist

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Padmanabha Temple Treasure and British Loot

by senthil


1. As per media reports, the government has said, the wealth would remain with temple and go will not interfere.

2. Another article in IE, stressing that treasure should belong to lord.


The recent discovery of padmanabha temple treasure where the golds and other ornaments found in secret chambers underground, is estimated to be around 1 lakh crore. This temple belongs to the royal family of the travancore state, which is one of the small princely states of india.

How much would the Britishers had looted india?

As of independance, there were more than 500 princely states in india, and major kingdoms like mysore, jaipure etc. The jewels found in the padmanabha temple should have been hidden there by the royal family of travancore to hide from britishers. This to my estimate is after paying all the tributes to the britishers.

When such a small princely states had so much of wealth, how much would the british had looted from all the other princely states of india? Suppose, we assume that on an average, 1/10th of this treasure (10,000 crore) be possessed by 500 small princely states. It comes around 500 x 10,000 crore = 50,00,000 crore. and this is as per current market value. But the value of antiques is unlimited. The temple jewels fall under the category of antiques, and hence the values is far far higher.

The extent of loot, during 1857 war is not included here. During 1857, so many rajyams were destroyed by britishers, and the treasury taken over. The estimate of that loot is beyond my comprehension.

Some pertinent questions here:

  • The temple is under the control of Travancore Royal Family. So naturally, the treasure found in that temple belongs to them. If the government forcefully acquires these treasures, then what is the difference b/w british loot and the present government loot.
  • Who is that Sunderrajan, who filed a petition before supreme court? He has requested for a government take over, which itself is malicious. What are his backgrounds?
  • The petitioner had requested that the government should take over the temple the government themselves because the temple management is not proper. It is ridiculous and irony. Because, both the government and the judiciary is ridden with full of corruption. By Historical accounts, we had always found that native indian kings had governed their region more efficiently than any of the colonial indian government. Can we say, the government should handover the administration back to these erstwhile kings, because they are ridden with corruption?
  • This temple is a perfect example to judge who the rightful owner for a temple is. Sri Padmanabha swamy temple belongs to royal family, and it is they who has been maintaining this rajya temple for generations. It is they who has to decide whom to allow and whom NOT allow inside the temple. Temple is NOT a public property. The public can worship there, but cannot claim any rights over it. Temple is NOT like a church. While a church is a place of gathering for worship, a temple is a place where the god himself resides. So the sanctity of the temple has to be maintained. The government nor the court dont have any business to meddle in the affairs.
  • In eastern cultures, the king has been the protector of dharma. They had always governed our country, far far better than rest of the world. Unusual in western countries, the king is subservient to the presiding deity, as we find in the padmanaba temple case. The travancore king calls themselves as padmanaba daasa. When they commit wrong, the presiding deity will restore dharma. So they are not absolute monarch, NOR the dictators we usually find in the west. This is true for most indian kings. We can always find such rajya temples in all dhesams. The Hindu intellectuals should understand that there is no dharma, without a king.
  • Unlike the modern westernised urban ghettos (also called as cities, metros etc) the temple is centre of our bharatheeya nagaras, around which the nagara is designed and built. I dont know the old architecture of the city of tiruvananthapuram. If any one has details, please share in the comment section. The whole city is administered and regulated by the royal family before independance and tiruvananthapuram seemed to be a planned one. The present colonial indian government had taken over the control from them during independance, and left the city to degrade itself. This is how the our culture and our religion had declined, which the hindu intellectuals are refusing to understand.
  • The temple jewels should rightfully belong to the royal family, and they should be allowed to raise a security force to maintain it and use it as per dharma. The effort to take over temple by government has to be resisted strongly.

Already janatha party president Subramanya swamy and Jayalalitha o f ADMK had publicly accused Sonia Gandhi of stealing antiques in india. It seems, the present incident is a conspiracy to steal the assets of padmanaba perumal. The bagwan has to deliver the justice here.


Friday, July 1, 2011

The Destruction of the Indian System of Education

Kum. B. Nivedita

(Adapted from a speech given under the auspices of
Vivekananda Study Circle, IIT-Madras in Jan 1998.)


During the time of the East India Company and later, in the British rule, there seem to have been two motives working in the minds of the rulers: plundering the wealth of this land and the 'white man's burden ' of civilizing the natives (the term used by them to refer to all Indians). We shall see, how in order to achieve these ends, the British so cleverly played their cards that even after fifty years of independence we still continue to exist in a state of stupor, unable (and even unwilling!) to extricate ourselves from one of the greatest hypnoses woven over a whole nation.

Perhaps many of us do not know that India was the richest land till the British came here. Whereas Britain's share in world exports before was only 9% as against India's share of 19% today our share is only 0.5%. Most of the foreigners came to India in search of her fabulous wealth. Ernest Wood, in the book "A Foreigner defends Mother India" states, "In the middle of the eighteenth century, Phillimore wrote that 'the droppings of her soil fed distant regions'. No traveller found India poor until the nineteenth century, but foreign merchants and adventurers sought her shores for the almost fabulous wealth, which they could there obtain. 'To shake the pagoda tree' became a phrase, somewhat similar to our modern expression 'to strike oil'."

In India 35% to 50% of village lands were revenue free and that revenue was utilised for running schools, conducting temple festivals, producing medicines, feeding pilgrims, improving irrigation etc. The British in their greed brought down the revenue free lands down to 5%. When there was a protest they assured Indians that the government would create an irrigation department to take care of irrigation, an educational board to take care of education. etc. The initiative of the people was destroyed. But the rulers found to their chagrin, that though they had conquered this nation, it was still strongly rooted in its own culture. They found that as long as the nation was aware and even proud of its traditions, their 'white man's burden' remained as 'heavy and cumbersome as ever'! India had, at that time, a very well spread system of education and that system had to be made ineffective for their purposes. Now, most of us are taught to believe that the education was in the hands of the Brahmins and in Sanskrit medium and that the other castes had no education. But here are the facts about how the British destroyed the Indian educational system and made one of the most literate nations illiterate.

In the Round- table conference in 1931, Mahatma Gandhi in one of his speeches said, "The beautiful tree of education was cut down by you British. Therefore today India is far more illiterate than it was 100 years ago." Immediately, Philip Hartog, who was a parliamentarian stood up and said, "Mr.Gandhi, it is we who have educated the masses of India. And therefore you must take back your statement and apologise or prove it." Gandhiji said he would prove it. But the debate did not continue for lack of time. Later one of his followers, Shri Dharampal, went to the British museum and examined the reports and archives. He published a book "The Beautiful Tree" where this matter has been discussed in great detail. By 1820, the British had already destroyed the financial resources that supported our educational system- a destruction that they had been carrying out for nearly twenty years. But still the Indians persisted in continuing with their system of education. So, the British decided to find out the intricacies of this system. Therefore a survey was ordered in 1822 and was conducted by the British district collectors. In the survey it was found that the Bengal presidency had 1 lakh village schools, in Madras there was not a single village without a school, in Bombay, if the village population was near 100, the village had a school. Teachers as well as students of all castes were in these schools. The Brahmins accounted 7% to 48% of the teachers, and the rest of the teachers in any district, came from other castes. Further all children had their education in their mother tongue.

The equivalent of the present day primary education lasted 4 to 5 yrs. We all know that it is universal primary education that is important for taking the nation ahead, not just a few getting higher education. The British administrators admired the dedication and capacity of the Indian teachers. By the time the students came out of the schools they had acquired the capacity to be competitive, and to understand and have proper insight into their own culture. One Mr.Bell, a Christian missionary in Madras took the Indian system of education back to England, and introduced it there. Until then, only the children of the nobles were given education there and he started education for the masses in England. So, we gather that it is from India that the British adopted the system for educating the masses.

The Cause of Degradation: The Downward Filtration Method.

But what happened in India? Foreign Christian missionaries even resented the nominal amount of one lakh rupees kept aside for the education of Indians. The British cut down the financial resources and brought in several regulations one after the other- regulations like "there has to be a 'pucca' building etc. That was not the end. They invited T.B. Macaulay to decide how to divert the money, what should be the medium of instruction and the mode of educating the Indian. He made English the medium of instruction and diverted the money for English education. G.D.Trevelyan writes in "Life of Lord Macaulay"(vol 1 pg164) "A new India was born in 1835". What Alexander, Ashoka and the western missionaries had failed to do was accomplished by Macualay's educational minutes, decreeing that India was to receive through English education, the language of the West. "The very foundations of her ancient civilization began to rock and sway. Pillar after pillar in the edifice came crashing down." But Macaulay did a more harmful thing, which is not generally known. He adopted the "downward filtration method" for educating the Indians. What is this method? The problem facing Macaulay was that Indians were numerous and The British were a handful. How were they going to educate the Indians? How could this nation be weakened so that in self-forgetfulness it would support the British Raj?

The story goes that once when he was in Ooty, in his residence, he saw an Indian officer coming and touching the feet of a peon sitting outside his office (which was near his residence.) and was obviously surprised. Why was an officer touching the feet of a peon? He was told, "You don't know, this Indian society is a peculiar one. Here the Brahmins are respected and the peon belongs to that caste." The changes that Macaulay brought after this are well documented and authenticated in books. The downward filtration method was formulated according to which the forward caste (even this was much later) was given preference in schools. To put it in his own words," But it is impossible for us with our limited means to educate all in English. We must at present do our best to form a class of persons Indian in blood and colour but English in tastes, in opinion, in morals, and in intellect.' To gauge how much he succeeded in his mission, we only need to look into the history of the Indian educated classes since that time onwards. The fact is that we have not tackled the Macaulayian issue even after Independence, and graver still, few realise that the problem exists at all. The system of giving preference to Brahmins in the govt. and missionary run schools went on for nearly hundred yrs. In the meantime other castes practicing any trade had lost their business due to the flooding of Indian markets with British goods and also due to the deliberate strangulation of their business by the British. Due to the land policy of the British, born out of their greed, the farmers had become landless labourers in their own lands, and the landlords the cruel stooges of the British. The systematic destruction of the Indian system of education deprived certain castes of education. Thus over a hundred years these castes had become impoverished and ignorant and the Brahmins who were supposed to lead the society became distorted in their understanding of things, due to foreign education.

The Designs of Macaulay Frustrated

In Macaulay's letter dated 12th Oct., 1836, he wrote to his father:

"Our English schools are flourishing wonderfully; we find it difficult to provide instruction to all. The effect of this education on Hindus is prodigious. No Hindu who has received an English education ever remains sincerely attached to his religion. It is my firm belief that if our plans of education are followed up, there will not be a single idolater among the respected classes 30 years hence. And this will be effected without our efforts to proselytize; I heartily rejoice in the prospect'

That was the confidence with which they set out. But the missionaries, after years of toiling in vain realised that their efforts of proselytization had not been successful. So after some years there was a conference of missionaries in India in 1882. They sat together and discussed the effects of their education on the Brahmins. They found that though to an extent they were successful in taking away the Brahmins from their ideals, their conversion had not taken place. A decision to slowly target the other castes and tribals in their educational institutions, was taken. Till the British started ruling India most of the castes were educated and prosperous but the delicate policies of the British are responsible for their later condition. The Brahmins who were supposed to set the standards of behaviour in the society were targeted, and when they strayed away from their path they were blamed for the condition of the other castes. The point to note here is that they are responsible not because they kept all the education to themselves, as is generally believed, but because they allowed themselves to be intellectually corrupted by the British and because they entered into all the professions practiced by other castes. They also took on government jobs thus paving the way for competition and hatred among castes in the society. Today they stand discredited in general, and are no longer considered to be the examples to be followed. But although the Brahmins became corrupted, it is to the credit of all the other castes that though they too were targeted, they stood firm, and thus foiled the designs of the British.

But as the poison induced by Macaulay continues to weaken this nation, we hardly even care to know about "Indian thinking", Indian problems and Indian models and solutions to these problems. The best brains and the best energies are concentrated on evolving and applying western models and solutions. We seem to know less and less about our own nation. After all how does a nation die? One way is by physical destruction as the Europeans who settled in America destroyed whole civilizations there. Another is that people lose faith in their own way of life, their philosophies, their principles, their thought currents etc., and the nation is destroyed. Take for example, the Greek and Roman civilizations. What great civilizations they were! But there came a time when the intelligentsia lost faith in their own way of life, in their own wisdom. They adopted a totally different philosophy in their lives and where are these nations and their civilizations now? In a sense, in the museums and monuments!

Compare that with India! The land with the most ancient cultural continuity, the oldest living nation Greece did not physically die. People did not die. People now in Greece, Italy and Persia are the descendants of those who were the originators of those great civilizations. But today if we ask them what are the ideals that sustained their nation they would say," we do not know, it is in the books; it is in the museum; you may refer to it better there." That is how a nation is destroyed, rather mummified. Now these countries are nothing more than geographical or political entities trying to evolve a nation out of their statehood. How does a nation get weakened? A nation gets weakened when the ignorance of the people about their own roots increases, or when they become ashamed of themselves or of their forefathers. Actually that is where real regression of a nation starts. A nation which wants to forget about itself and imitate other nations cannot redeem itself but is on the path of self-destruction. The regression is there in our nation at present. And if we truly do not want to weaken ourselves as a nation, we need to extricate our educational system out of its Macaulayian traits, and obtain a fresh and untainted understanding of our ideals; for these have held us together as a nation for nearly ten thousand years. Then put them up for renewed enquiry before the younger generations so that if at all they are imbibed, they are expressed with feelings that become stronger, nobler and grander with time.

Source :

© Vivekananda Study Circle, IIT-Madras