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

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Politics of Colonial Education

Bengal Muslims and Colonial Education, 1854–1947: A Study of Curriculum, Educational Institutions, and Communal Politics
by Nilanjana Paul, Abingdon: Routledge, 2022; pp xii+ 103, `695 (paperback).

In recent years, several new studies have enriched our understanding of the history of education in modern South Asia. These studies have shown how the questions of gender, caste, and community were deeply implicated in the debates on the history of Western education. Though these works have broadened our understanding, the scholarship on how religious minorities engaged with Western education has remained neglected. In this respect, the book under review is a welcome addition to the scholarship on the history of education.

Nilanjana Pauls book, Bengal Muslims and Colonial Education, 18541947: A Study of Curriculum, Educational Institutions, and Communal Politics, is a broad survey of the history of the education of Muslims in colonial Bengal. The key argument of the book is that the history of Western education was shaped by the politics of the HinduMuslim divide. For various reasons, in contrast to Hindus, Muslim representation in educational institutions remained poor. For instance, in 1912, the entire province of Bengal had 13,484 students in various colleges, out of which only 1,048 students were Muslims (p 59). By the 1910s, out of the 800 students admitted in medical colleges, only ten were Muslims (p 31). As a result, Muslims were also poorly represented in government employment. The British attempts to provide special assistance to Muslims to enable them to attend schools and colleges were perceived as a threat by the Hindu leaders.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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