Education policy as it came to be elucidated over the 19th century was driven by colonial imperatives. The early 19th century was a time of experimentation, it was a period of acquaintance and also of open ideological debate. Barely a few decades later, however, and especially following the revolt of 1857, as the Raj asserted itself, and imperialism gained in zeal, some of this early experimentation was lost in the drive for more Anglicisation of education. The setting up of the universities in the three presidency towns reflected the growing assertiveness in colonial ideology. This article, however, looks at two experiments in education, located in the vernacular medium, that had their origins in the earlier period of new understanding, but were decisively affected by the events of 1857 and reactions to it.