ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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History of Education

New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education edited by Parimala V Rao, Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan, 2014; pp 650, Rs 875.

New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education edited by Parimala Rao offers an interesting addition to the existing debate on the aspirations and role of education during the late colonial era. Her fundamental ambition is to provide a history of education which is based on “factually accurate, chronologically documented historical events” (p 30) rather than a pre-existing ideological or political viewpoint. Rao selects examples of these different perspectives and demonstrates not only their ideological flaws, particularly as resting on a flawed binary understanding of East and West, but also the way historical evidence was manipulated to justify a particular viewpoint.

The imperialist view represented by Martin Carnoy in his Education as Cultural Imperialism is effectively critiqued demonstrating the extent of Indian participation in and funding of the expansion of education in India. The postmodernist school, epitomised in Masks of Conquest: Literary Study and British Rule in India by Gauri Viswanathan also failed to engage with the extent to which Indians wanted to interact with British literature and culture as part of a tradition of absorbing new ideas and expanding their scholarly knowledge.

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