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Books > History > Dharampal Collected Writings (Set of 5 Volumes)
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Dharampal Collected Writings (Set of 5 Volumes)
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Description

This set consists of the following 5 Books:
India Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century
Civil Disobedience in Indian Tradition
The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century
Panchayat Raj and India's Polity
Essays on Tradition, Recovery and Freedom

 

Vol-1

 

About the Author

Did you know that the art of plastic surgery was first tried out and perfected in India? That in the eighteenth century, samples of Indian steel manufactured by Indian ironsmith and imported into England were found to be superior in quality to steel from Sheffield? That small-pox inoculation was practised in certain regions of the country much before Edward Jenner introduced vaccination? That India used the drill plough centuries before it was introduced into Europe?

Dharampal's Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century is the first real modern classic to bring to light the science and technology traditions prevailing in India prior to the arrival of her destructive colonisers. The Book is based on fascinating accounts of various technical processes and practices written by Englishmen and other Europeans in the period when they came to India to learn and before they opted to rule. Besides plastic surgery and inoculation techniques, the book also has accounts on the manufacture of ice and paper; irrigation and agriculture; and some aspects of science including algebra, geometry and astronomy, the last reflected in the establishment of impressive observatories.

The effect of ht book has been to compel historians to radically revise their opinion of the technical capabilities and scientific output of Indian society.

Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century is the first in the series of five volumes of the Collected Writings of Dharampal brought out in a special edition by Other India Press and SIDH.

 

Preface

My encounter with the amazing historical work of Dharampal came about in 1976 in a most unexpected place: a library in Holland. I was at that time investigating material for a Ph.D dissertation part of which dealt with the history of Indian and Chinese science and technology.

While there was certainly no dearth of historical material and scholarly books as far as Chinese science and technology were concerned-largely due to the work of Dr Joseph Needham, reflected in his multi-volumed Science and Clvilisation in China-in contrast scholarly work on Indian science and technology seemed to be almost non-existent. What was available seemed rudimentary poor unimaginative wooden more filled with philosophy and legend than fact.

Desperate and depressed. I wandered through the portals of every possible library in Holland trying to lay my hands on anything I could find. The irony of looking for material on Indian science and technology in Holland should not be missed. How- ever. I was doing a Ph.D. there and had very little choice.

Then one morning, I walked into the South East Asia Institute on an Amsterdam street and found a book called Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century on the shelf. I took it down curious. It was by a person named Dharampal whom I had not heard of before as a person or scholar active in that area of research. I took the book home and devoured it the same day. It altered my perception of India forever.

Now more than twenty years later. I know that the book appears to have had a similarly electrifying effect on thousands of others who were fortunate to get a copy of it. It spawned a generation of Indians which was happy to see India thereafter quite differently from the images with which it had been brought up in school particularly English medium school.

The book also provided a firm anchor for the section of my dissertation dealing with Indian science and technology. The dis-sertation was eventually published in 1979 with the rather academic title: Homo Faber: Technology and Culture in India., China and the West: 1500 to the Present Day.

The same year (1976), a friend of mine from Orissa dropped in at our flat in Amsterdam. I mentioned Dharampal to him. Astonishing to relate he turned out to be a friend of Dharampal and even told me where he lived. Next door he said in London. He also had Dharampal's telephone number. The following week, we took a flight to London and I met Dharampal for the first time in my life. His family was with him at the time his wife. Phyllis his two daughters. Gita and Roswita, and his son, David.

The meeting initiated a relationship that has persisted till the present moment. Today I am happy to head a publishing house that is bringing out his Collected Writings.

I myself returned to India in 1977. Stranger events followed thereafter.

In 1980, I was called to Chennai to join a civil liberties team probing the killing of political activists in fake police encounters in North Arcot district in Tamilnadu. Predictably our team was beaten up by a mob set up by the police. On our return to Chennai. where we decided to hold a press conference, we were put up at the MLA hostel. While passing by one of the rooms. whom should I see sitting there but Dharampal himself! I had to rush to the press meeting thereafter.

Before the press could arrive however two or three young strangers arrived to meet me. They said they were from the Patriotic and People-Oriented Science and Technology (PPST) group which had members and sympathisers in both Kanpur and Madras IITs. They wanted to sit with me and discuss my book. Homo Faber (the Indian edition had just been brought out by Allied Publishers then). They also wanted more Information about Dharampal, whose work they were coming across for the first time in Homo Faber. Why do you want to talk to me. I asked them when you can very well meet Dharampal himself! They were astonished. Dharampal? Here in Madras? When I told them where I had found him, they made a bee-line for the MIA hostel.

That encounter initiated a long, fruitful and creative association between Dharampal and the PPST which has also persisted, with some ups and downs, to the present day. For a few years, the PPST brought out a journal called the PPST Bulletin. In it, Dharampal and his work occupied pride of place. During this period, in fact, members of the PPST Group produced some of the finest articles ever written and published on the subjects of Indian science, culture, technology, and the relevance of Western science and technology to Indian society. Some members of the PPST later spent a considerable amount of time and energy working on the Chengalpattu data which often recurs in Dharampal's writings.

Today, Dharampal's work is quite extensively known, far beyond the PPST Group, not just among intellectuals and university professors, but also among religious leaders including swamis and Jain monks, politicians and activists. One of the most impressive off-shoots of his research has been the organisation of the bi-annual Congress on Traditional Sciences and Technologies. Three such Congresses, organised by the PPST and institutions like the IITs, have so far been held, generating an impressive wealth of primary material. Dharampal himself has been invited to deliver lectures at several institutions within India and abroad. (Some of these lectures can be found in Volume V of the Collected Writings.)

The general effect of Dharampal's work among the public at large has been intensely liberating. However, conventional Indian historians, particularly the class that has passed out of Oxbridge, have seen his work as a clear threat to doctrines blindly and mechanically propagated and taught by them for decades. Dharampal never trained to be a historian. If he had, he would have, like them, missed the wood for the trees. Despite having worked in the area now for more than four decades, he remains the quintessential layman, always tentative about his findings, rarely writing with any flourish. Certainly, he does not manifest the kind of certainty that is readily available to individuals who have drunk unquestioningly at the feet of English historians, gulping down not only their 'facts' but their assumptions as well. But to him goes the formidable achievement of asking well entrenched historians probing questions they are hard put to answer, like how come they arrived so readily, with so little evidence at the conclusion that Indians were technologically primitive or more generally how were they unable to discover the historical documents that he without similar training had stumbled on so easily.

 

Vol-2

 

About the Book

Mahatma Gandhi is so closely identified with satyagraha (civil disobedience) that most people think he was the originator of this unique strategy of resisting political and social injustice.

Dharampal's book on Civil Disobedience in Indian Tradition places satyagraha in its historical context. Gandhiji was solidly rooted in Indian tradition and the practice of civil disobedience was a vital method of social protest which he inherited from the same tradition. Gandhiji acknowledged this profound debt when he wrote: 'In India, the nation at large has generally used passive resistance in all departments of life. We cease to cooperate with our rulers when they displease us.'

Civil Disobedience in Indian Tradition is the story of a major satyagraha against a new series of taxes including a house tax proposed by the British in the city of Benaras and other areas under British colonial rule around 1810. The book comprises the almost day by day account of the day account of the popular resistance to the tax, and its eventual withdrawal by the British, revealed through the letters of anguished district magistrates and imperious officials. The accounts are preceded by an introduction written by Dharamapal in which he sheds light on several other available indigenous forms of political protest including dharna and traga and discusses incidents of resistance, similar to those at Benaras that erupted in other areas of the country as well.

Civil Disobedience in Indian Tradition is the second in the series of five volumes of the collected writings of Dharampal brought out in a special edition by Other India Press and SIDH.

 

Foreword

The ancients held that the highest form of knowledge is self-knowledge and that he who achieves that knowledge achieves all. It seems to me that the value of self-knowledge holds good for nations as well. No matter how one defines a nation-and it has not been found easy to do so-its essence seems to lie not in its outward attributes but in the mental world of those who comprise it. Of the ingredients of this inner world the most important is self-image that is the image that the people comprising a nation have of themselves and their forefathers.

During the British period the needs of imperialist rule dictated that Indians be pictured as an inferior people in respect to material moral and intellectual accomplishments. This deliberate denigration of the Indian nation was furthered by the incapacity of the foreigner to understand properly a civilisation so different from his own. So in course of time as our political subjugation became complete, we happened to accept as real the distorted image of ourselves that we saw reflected in the mirror the British held to us.

Not a small part of the psychological impetus that our freedom movement received was from the few expressions of appreciation that happened to fall from the pens or lips of Western scholars about Sanskrit literature. Indian philosophy art or science. Sometimes these foreign opinions about past Indian achievements were seized upon and inflated out of all proportions so as to feed the slowly emerging national ethos.

After the first few years of euphoria since Independence a period of self-denigration set in during which educated Indians particularly those educated in the West took the lead. Whether in the name of modernisation, science or ideology they ran down most if not all things Indian. We are not yet out of this period. I am not suggesting that what is wrong and evil in Indian society or history should be glossed over. But breast-beating and self-flagellation are not conducive to the development of those psychological drives that are so essential for nation-building nor so is slavish imitation of others.

One of the reasons for this state of affairs is lack of sufficient knowledge about our history, particularly of the people's social, political and economic life. One of the faults of our fore-fathers was their lack of sense of history and their proneness to present even historical fact in the guise of mythology. As a result even after long years of modem historical research, in India and abroad our knowledge happens to be limited-particularly in the field of social history. Also there are long gaps or periods of darkness about which not much of anything is known. One such period was that between the decline of the Mughal power and the arrival of the European trading companies and the ultimate consolidation of British power. That period was undoubtedly one of political disintegration Yet the material re-searched by Shri Dharampal and published herein reveals the survival of amazing powers of resistance to the state in the common people-'the Lohars the Mistrees, the-Jolahirs, the Hujams, the Durzees, the Kahars, the Bearers, every class of workmen' to quote the Acting Magistrate of Benares In 1810-when in their opinion it became oppressive or transgressed the limits of its authority.

The behaviour of the five hundred and odd princes towards their people during British rule had created the general impression that the king in Hindu polity was a tyrant and there was no limit to his power as far as it related to his subjects, who were supposed to be traditionally docile and submissive. Foreign and Indian studies of Hindu polity, no doubt, had revealed quite a different type of relationship. which allowed even for the de-position of an unworthy king by his people. But that was considered to be a mere idealistic formulation true more in theory than in practice. The fact that texts on Hindu polity were agreed that the king was never conceived to possess absolute power and that he was in practice limited by dharma that is. the system of duties responsibilities and privileges that had evolved through the ages and come to be accepted by all concerned was also not taken seriously. Instances of autocratic monarchs who defied the established dharma and got away with it were looked upon not as exceptions but as the rule.

The material brought together by Shri Dharampal in this volume throws quite a different light on the subject. The following pages describe, in the words of the then British officers, the mass movements of civil disobedience at Benares, Patna, Sarun, Moorshedabad and Bhaugulpore against the imposition of new taxes on houses and shops. Shri Dharampal is quite right when he declares: 'If the dates, (1810-12) were just advanced by some 110 to 120 years the name of the tax altered and a few other verbal changes made, this narrative could be taken as a fair recital of most events in the still remembered civil disobedience campaigns of the 1920s and 1930s.' That the events described in the correspondence published here were not exceptions, is borne out by other instances given by Shri Dharampal of similar actions that were either contemporary or of earlier times in other parts of the country.

It would appear from a perusal of the papers reproduced here that there had developed in the course of Indian history an understanding between the ruled and the ruler as to their respective rights and responsibilities. Whenever this traditional pattern of relationship was disturbed by an autocratic ruler, the people were entitled to offer resistance in the customary manner, that is, by peaceful non-cooperation and civil disobedience. It also appears that in the event of such action, the response of the ruling authority was not to treat it as unlawful defiance, rebel-lion or disloyalty that had to be put down at any cost before the issue in dispute could be taken up, but as rightful action that called for speedy negotiated settlement.

Such powers and apparently well-practised methods, of popular resistance as described herein could not have sprung up suddenly from nowhere. They must have come down from the past as part of a well-established socio-political tradition. The fact these powers should have survived until the beginning of the nineteenth century even in areas that had long been under autocratic Muslim rule bears testimony to both the validity and vitality of the ancient tradition.

 

Vol-3

 

About the Book

In 1931, Mahatma Gandhi generated a controversy among the British by observing that literacy in India had actually declined during the preceding century and that the colonial rulers were squarely responsible for this state of affairs. 'Instead of taking a hold of things as they were, 'he said, 'they began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root and left the root like that, and the beautiful tree perished.'

England's intellectual elite protested Gandhiji's observations. But Dharampal's research into Indian and British archives proves beyond doubt that not only did India have a functioning indigenous educational system at the end of the eighteenth century but that it actually compared more than favourably with the system obtaining in England at the time in respect of the number of schools and colleges proportionate to the population, the number of students in school and college, the diligence as well as the intelligence of the students, the quality of teachers and the financial support provided from public and private source . Contrary to received opinion, those attending school and college included an impressive percentage of lower caste students, Muslims and girls.

The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century is the third in the series of five volumes of the Collected Writings of Dharampal brought out in special edition by Other India Press and SIDH.

Preface A great deal of scholarly work has been published on the history of education in India, especially during the 1930s, and 1940s. In fact, writings on the subject, initially by British officials-cum- scholars started to appear as early as the mid-nineteenth century. Most of these histories, however, relate to the ancient period, sometimes going as far back as the tenth or twelfth century A.D. Others deal with the history of education during British rule and thereafter. Besides detailed scholarly works on specific ancient educational institutions (such as those at Nalanda or Taxila), there are more general works like that of A.S. Altekar on the ancient period. For the later period, there have been several publications: besides the two volumes of Selections from Educational Records, published and recently reprinted by the Government of India itself,2 the work of S. Nurullah and J.P. Naik may be mentioned here.3 The latter work is interestingly described by the two authors (thus indicating its time and mood) as an attempt at a 'well-documented and comprehensive account of Indian educational history during the last one hundred and sixty years and to interpret it from the Indian point of view.4 Reaching a far wider audience is the voluminous, though perhaps less academic, work of Pandit Sundarlal, first published in 1939.5 The 36th chapter of this celebrated work entitled, 'The Destruction of Indian Indigenous Education', runs into 40 pages, and quotes extensively from various British authorities. These span almost a century: from the Dispatch from England of 3rd June 1814 to the Governor General in India, to the observations of Max Mueller; and the 1910 remarks of the British labour leader, Keir Hardie. However, given the period in which the book was written and the inaccessibility of the detailed manuscript records, it was inevitable that the author had to base his work entirely on existing printed sources. Nevertheless, as an introduction this chapter of Bharat mein Angreji Raj is a landmark on the subject of indigenous Indian education in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Very little, however has been written on the history or state of education during this period starting with the thirteenth century and up until the early nineteenth century. Undoubtedly there are a few works like that of S.M. Jaffar6 pertaining to Muslim education here are a chapter or two, or some cursory references in most educational histories pertaining to the period of British rule and to the decayed state of indigenous Indian education in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Nurullah's and Naik's book7 devotes the first 43 pages (out of 643 pages) to discussing the state of indigenous education in the early nineteenth century. and in challenging certain later British views about the nature and extent of it.

Introduction

Indian historical knowledge by and large has been derived at least until recent decades from the writings and accounts left by foreigners. This applies equally to our knowledge about the status of Indian education over the past five centuries. The universities of Taxila and Nalanda and a few others until recently have been better known and written about primarily because they had been described centuries ago by some Greek or Chinese traveler, who happened to keep a journal which had survived or had communicated such information to his compatriots who passed it down to our times.

Travellers and adventurers of a new kind began to wander around parts of India from about 1500 A.D. and more so from about the close of the 16th century. Since for centuries the areas they came from had had no direct links with India, and as they had come from wholly different climates and societies to them most aspects of India-its manners, religions, philosophies, ancient and contemporary architecture, wealth. Learning, and even its educational methods-were something quite different from their own backgrounds, assumptions and experience.

Prior to 1770, (by which time they had become actual rulers of large areas) the British, on whose writings and reports this book is primarily based;1 had rather a different set of interests. These interests, as in the subsequent period too were largely mercantile technological or were concerned with comprehending and evaluating Indian statecraft; and, thereby. extending their influence and dominion in India. Indian religions, philosophies scholarship and the extent of education-notwithstanding what a few of them may have written on the Parsis, or the Banias of Surat-had scarcely interested them until then.

Such a lack of interest was due partly to their different expectations from India. The main reason for this, however, lay in the fact that the British society of this period-from the mid-sixteenth to about the later part of the eighteenth century-had few such interests. In matters like religion. Philosophy, learning and education the British were introverted by nature. It is not that Britain had no tradition of education or scholarship or philosophy during the 16th, 17th or early 18th centuries. This period produced figures like Francis Bacon. Shakespeare. Milton, Newton. etc. It had the Universities of Oxford. Cambridge and Edinburgh which had their beginnings in the 13th and 14th centuries A.D. By the later part of the 18th century. Britain also had around 500 Grammar Schools. However, this considerable learning and scholarship' were limited to a very select elite. This became especially marked after the mid-sixteenth century, when the Protestant revolution led to the closing of most of the monasteries; while the state sequestered their incomes and properties.

Before the Protestant revolution according to A.E. Dobbs 'the University of Oxford might be described as the "chief Charity School of the poor and the chief Grammar School in England, as well as the great place of education for students of theology of law and medicine'2"; and 'where instruction was not gratuitous throughout the school, some arrangement was made by means of a graduated scale of admission fees and quarterages and a system of maintenance to bring the benefits of the institution within the reach of the poorest." Further. while a very early statute of England specified: 'No one shall put their child apprentice within any city or borough. unless they have land or rent of 20 shillings per annum: but they shall be put to such labour as their fathers or mothers use, or as their estates require;' it none-theless also stated that 'any person may send their children to school to learn literature.4

From about the mid-16th century, however a contrary trend set in. It even led to the enactment of a law 'that the English Bible should not be read in churches. The right of private reading was granted to nobles, gentry and merchants that were householders. It was expressly denied to artificers' prentices to journeymen and serving men "of the degree of yeomen or under" to husbandmen and labourers' so as 'to allay certain symptoms of disorder occasioned by a free use of the Scriptures." According to this new trend, it was 'meet for the ploughman's son to go to the plough, and the artificer's son to apply the trade of his parent's vocation: and the gentlemen's children are meet to have the knowledge of Government and rule in the commonwealth. For we have as much need of ploughmen as any other State: and all sorts of men may not go to school. '6

A century and a half later (that is, from about the end of the 17th century), there is a slow reversal of the above trend, leading to the setting up of some Charity Schools for the common people. These schools are mainly conceived to provide 'some leverage in the way of general education to raise the labouring class to the level of religious instruction'; and, more so in Wales, 'with the object of preparing the poor by reading and Bible study for the Sunday worship and catechetical instruction. '7

Vol-4

 

About the Book

The Village, as a unit of community, has long since disappeared in the industrialised West. The living countryside in Europe has been bulldozed to adapt nature and human beings to the requirements of the agribusiness machine. In India, in contrast, despite the tremendous disruption of the past two centuries, and despite the tyranny of development, the village community still remains the primary framework of production, interaction and governance for the bulk of the population.

When the country gained freedom, it was natural to assume that this village community – and not Western individualism- would be the basis of India's new democratic system. The country's founding fathers, however, were upset to discover that the architects of the new constitution had borrowed features from the political experience of every country in the world except our own. The verbatim debate in the Constituent Assembly on this issue – printed in full in this volume- painfully reflects this debilitating contradiction at the inception of India's independence.

Gandhiji described parliamentary democracy as the tyranny of the majority and instead laid stress on gram raj as the basis of swaraj. Dharampal's pioneering work on the panchayat system shows how in most parts of India, the perfunctory attention paid to panchayat raj has led to the continued disintegration of the sense of primary community. His work assumes fresh significance and relevance in view of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act on panchayat raj.

Panchayat Raj and India's Polity is the fourth in the series of five volumes of the Collected Writings of Dharampal brought out in a special edition by Other India Press and SIDH.

 

Preface

After its publication at the end of 1957 much excitement and expectation was aroused from the report of the Committee on Plan Projects more popularly known as the report of the Balwantray Mehta Committee. The Committee urged that the state rural development programmes be managed by statutorily elected bodies at various levels: the village the community development block and the district; and termed the arrangement 'panchayat raj', Within months these bodies began to be created through laws enacted in each state of India. The administration of development under the management of these bodies started with Rajasthan in early 1959.

Within a year or two of this beginning interested groups began to explore what was happening under this arrangement. Many studies of this new programme got undertaken by 1960 or 1961. The Association of Voluntary Agencies for Rural Development (AVARD). Delhi was also seriously interested in what was happening and took up on-the-spot studies of the programme. first in Rajasthan and next in Andhra Pradesh. From this AVARD moved on to a study of the proceedings of India's Constituent Assembly during 1947-49 on the subject of the place of panchayats in India's polity. The full debate on the subject was put together by AVARD in early 1962 published under the title Panchayat Raj as the Basis o Indian Polity: An Exploration into the Proceedings of the Constituent Assembly. The publication opened up a somewhat forgotten chapter on the subject and aroused much discussion and interest. The idea of this exploration was initially suggested by my friend. L.C. Jain.

The earlier AVARD studies and Panchayat Raj as the Basis of Indian Polity led to the suggestion that post-1958 panchayat raj programmes should be studied in greater depth. This view was also shared by the then central Ministry of Community Development and Panchayati Raj as well as by the National Institute of Community Development. It was also then felt that the most appropriate body to undertake this study would be the All India Panchayat Parishad (AlPP). After various consultations it was decided by the end of 1963 that the first such study should be of the panchayat system in Madras state i.e in Tamilnadu. The Rural Development and Local Administration (RDLA) Department of Tamilnadu welcomed the idea of the study and extended all possible cooperation and support to it. The Additional Development Commissioner of Tamilnadu. Sri G. Venkatachellapaty took personal interest in the study and arranged matters in a way that the AIPP study team had access to most of the records of the RDLA Department up to 1964. The study also had the advice and guidance of Sri K. Raja Ram. President of the Tamilnadu Panchayat Union and of Prof R. Bhaskaran, Head of the Political Science Department of Madras University. Sri S.R. Subramaniam of the Tamilnadu Sarvodaya Mandal, a prominent public figure of Madras was also of great help. The study also had the continued support of the National Institute of Community Development and of its Director and scholars.

The study got underway in early 1964 and ended in December 1965. The Madras Panchayat System was written during the latter half of the year 1965 and some final touches were given to it in January 1966. The material on late 18th and early 19th century India and the policies adopted by the British at that time, referred to in Chapter V: The Problem, was also examined during 1964-1965 in the Tamilnadu State Archives. As the present author had occasion to be in London during August-October 1965, he also had an opportunity to peruse some additional circa 1800 material at the India Office Library and the British Library, London.

This study, done during 1964-1965 would appear dated to-day. The post-1958 panchayat institutions constituted on the recommendations of the Balwantrai Mehta Committee Report, assumed a low profile after 1965. Ultimately they began to decay-more or less in the same manner as these institutions had done several times after they began to be established by the British in the 1880s. However during the last decade or so new panchayat institutions are being created with much larger claimed participation of women and members from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and with far larger resources even in terms of proportion of state government budgets, than those allotted to them in the 1920s. Despite all the claimed changes, it is possible that the new institutions have not acquired any more initiative, or control over their resources, or over what they do-than their predecessors after about 1925.

Regarding the late 18th and early 19th century background (briefly referred to in Chapter V), there is a vast amount of material relating to this in the British records .of the period for most parts of India. Some indications of how Indian society actually functioned before it came under British dominance, and how it began to get impoverished and its institutions fell into decay because of British policies, are provided, amongst others, in some of the work I have been able to do after this study on the Madras Panchayat System. A detailed study based on circa 1770 palm-leaf records in Tamil, now held in the Tamil University, Thanjavur, (partial versions of them are in the Tamilnadu State Archives) relating to the complex institutional structure, details of agricultural productivity, the caste-wise and occupational composition of each and every locality, and other details of over 2000 villages and towns of the then Chengalpattu district is at present going on at the Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai. These studies, when completed, should enable us to gain more knowledge about our society and its self-governing institutions and system before the era of British domination.

 

Vol-5

 

About the Book

In this set of five landmark essays- made available for the first time in one single volume – Dharampal provides the background of his lifelong quest to rediscover the indigenous social, political, educational and economic systems which served the people of this country till these were suppressed and supplanted by the imported institutions associated with the bourgeois civil society of England.

Though these imported structures may today serve India's rulling elite well, they are designed to exclude the participation – which contains to remain loyal to the older, civilization worldview and tradition profoundly described in the essay, Bhartiya Chitta Manas and Kala. The result is a working at cross purpose and a political system forever preempted from tapping the creative energies and involvement of its people.

We always gain by studying our past, writes Dharampal. We lose when we denigrate it, without study. After several decades of English education, we appear to be firmly convinced that real knowledge and wisdom can come only from the West. No one can conceivably assist a society grounded in such fatal assumptions.

Essays on Tradition, Recovery and Freedom is the fifth in the series of five volumes of the Collected Writings of Dharampal brought out in a special edition by Other India Press and SIDH.

 

Contents

 

Vol-1

 

  An Introduction to the Collected Writings of Dharampal 1
  Acknowledgements xxi
  Introduction 1
  Part I: SCIENCE 37
I. Bramin's Observatory at Benares (AD 1777) 39
II. Remarks on the Astronomy of the Brahmins (AD 1970) 48
III. Hints Concerning the Observatory at Benares (cir 1783) 94
IV. On the Sixth Satellite of Saturn (AD 1783) 107
v. A Proof that the Hindoos had the Binomial Theorem (1790) 113
VI. Hindu Algebra (AD 1817) 121
  Part II: TECHNOLOGY 147
VII. Operation of Inoculation of the Smallpox as Performed in Bengal (AD 1731) 149
VIII. An Account of the Manner of Inoculating for the Smallpox in the East Indies (AD 1767) 151
IX. The Method of Making the Best Mortar at Madrass in East India (AD 1732) 167
X. The Process of Making Ice in the East Indies (AD 1775) 171
XI. Uses of the Son and Manufacturing of the Hindostan Paper (AD 1774) 175
XII. Indian Agriculture 180
XIII. On the Drill Husbandry of Southern India (AD 1795) 203
XIV. Iron Works at Ramanakapettah (AD 1795) 209
XV. The Mode of Manufacturing Iron in Central India (cir 1829) 213
XVI. Manufacture of Bar Iron in Southern India (AD 1842) 241
XVII. Aspects of Technology in Western India (AD 1790-1801) 252
  Appendices  
  (i) Sources 260
  (ii) Biographical Notes on Authors 263
  List of illustrations:  
  Figures I-III on pages 42. 45 & 46 respectively relate to Chapter I  
  Diagram I on page 176 relates to Chapter XI  
  Figures I & II on pages 206 and 207 respectively relate to Chapter XIII  
  Diagrams I-VII on pages 222. 223. 225. 227. 229. 230 & 232 respectively relate to Chapter XV  
     

 

Vol-2

 

  Foreword by Jayaprakash Narayan 1
  Author's note 6
  Introduction 9
I OFFICIAL NARRATIVE OF EVENTS 57
A Events at Benaras 57
B Events at Patna 101
C Events at Sarun 103
D Events at Moorshedabad 105
E Events at Bhaugulpore 108
II MANNER OF RETRACTION IN POLICY 143
III CORRESPONDENCE WITH DIRECTING AUTHORITIES IN ENGLAND 152
  Source of Documents 173
  Glossary 175

 

Vol-3

 

  Preface 1
  Introduction 7
  Documents:  
A Survey of Indigenous Education in the Madras Presidency 1822-26 89
B Fra Paolino Da Bartolomeo on Education of Children in India, 1796 256
C Alexander Walker on Indian Education, Literature, etc. circa, 1820 262
D Extracts from W. Adam's State of Education in Bengal: 1835-38 270
E Extracts from G. W. Leitner's History of Education in the Punjab since Annexation and in 1882 343
F Correspondence between Sir Philip Hartog and Mahatma Gandhi on the Question of Indigenous Indian Education in the Early British Period and other papers 348
G List of Tanjore Temples Receiving Revenue Assignments 386
  List of Individual in Tanjore receiving Revenue Assignments 413
  Index 421

 

Vol-4

 

  Foreword by Shri Jayaprakash Narayan 9
  Introduction 14
I From the Discussion on the Resolution on Aims and Objects 20
II Appointment of the Draft Constitution Scrutiny Committee 24
III From the General Debate on the Second Reading of the Draft Constitution 25
IV Incorporation of Article 40 in the Constitution 48
V From the General Debate on the Third Reading of the Constitution 61
VI A Note by the Constitutional Adviser on the place of Panchayats in the Constitution 88
VII Resolution on Aims and Objects of Free India's Constitution 91

 

Vol-5

 

  Some Aspects of Earlier Indian Society and Polity and Their Relevance 1
  Indigenous Indian Technological Talent and the Need for its Mobilisation 50
  The Self- Awakening of India: The Context of the Past, the Present, and the Future 69
  India's Polity, its Characterstics and Current Problems 109
  Bharatiya Chitta Manas and Kala 145
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Dharampal Collected Writings (Set of 5 Volumes)

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NAL033
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2007
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Aditya Prakashan
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8185569509
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1445 (14 B/W Illustrations)
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Dharampal Collected Writings (Set of 5 Volumes)

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This set consists of the following 5 Books:
India Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century
Civil Disobedience in Indian Tradition
The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century
Panchayat Raj and India's Polity
Essays on Tradition, Recovery and Freedom

 

Vol-1

 

About the Author

Did you know that the art of plastic surgery was first tried out and perfected in India? That in the eighteenth century, samples of Indian steel manufactured by Indian ironsmith and imported into England were found to be superior in quality to steel from Sheffield? That small-pox inoculation was practised in certain regions of the country much before Edward Jenner introduced vaccination? That India used the drill plough centuries before it was introduced into Europe?

Dharampal's Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century is the first real modern classic to bring to light the science and technology traditions prevailing in India prior to the arrival of her destructive colonisers. The Book is based on fascinating accounts of various technical processes and practices written by Englishmen and other Europeans in the period when they came to India to learn and before they opted to rule. Besides plastic surgery and inoculation techniques, the book also has accounts on the manufacture of ice and paper; irrigation and agriculture; and some aspects of science including algebra, geometry and astronomy, the last reflected in the establishment of impressive observatories.

The effect of ht book has been to compel historians to radically revise their opinion of the technical capabilities and scientific output of Indian society.

Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century is the first in the series of five volumes of the Collected Writings of Dharampal brought out in a special edition by Other India Press and SIDH.

 

Preface

My encounter with the amazing historical work of Dharampal came about in 1976 in a most unexpected place: a library in Holland. I was at that time investigating material for a Ph.D dissertation part of which dealt with the history of Indian and Chinese science and technology.

While there was certainly no dearth of historical material and scholarly books as far as Chinese science and technology were concerned-largely due to the work of Dr Joseph Needham, reflected in his multi-volumed Science and Clvilisation in China-in contrast scholarly work on Indian science and technology seemed to be almost non-existent. What was available seemed rudimentary poor unimaginative wooden more filled with philosophy and legend than fact.

Desperate and depressed. I wandered through the portals of every possible library in Holland trying to lay my hands on anything I could find. The irony of looking for material on Indian science and technology in Holland should not be missed. How- ever. I was doing a Ph.D. there and had very little choice.

Then one morning, I walked into the South East Asia Institute on an Amsterdam street and found a book called Indian Science and Technology in the Eighteenth Century on the shelf. I took it down curious. It was by a person named Dharampal whom I had not heard of before as a person or scholar active in that area of research. I took the book home and devoured it the same day. It altered my perception of India forever.

Now more than twenty years later. I know that the book appears to have had a similarly electrifying effect on thousands of others who were fortunate to get a copy of it. It spawned a generation of Indians which was happy to see India thereafter quite differently from the images with which it had been brought up in school particularly English medium school.

The book also provided a firm anchor for the section of my dissertation dealing with Indian science and technology. The dis-sertation was eventually published in 1979 with the rather academic title: Homo Faber: Technology and Culture in India., China and the West: 1500 to the Present Day.

The same year (1976), a friend of mine from Orissa dropped in at our flat in Amsterdam. I mentioned Dharampal to him. Astonishing to relate he turned out to be a friend of Dharampal and even told me where he lived. Next door he said in London. He also had Dharampal's telephone number. The following week, we took a flight to London and I met Dharampal for the first time in my life. His family was with him at the time his wife. Phyllis his two daughters. Gita and Roswita, and his son, David.

The meeting initiated a relationship that has persisted till the present moment. Today I am happy to head a publishing house that is bringing out his Collected Writings.

I myself returned to India in 1977. Stranger events followed thereafter.

In 1980, I was called to Chennai to join a civil liberties team probing the killing of political activists in fake police encounters in North Arcot district in Tamilnadu. Predictably our team was beaten up by a mob set up by the police. On our return to Chennai. where we decided to hold a press conference, we were put up at the MLA hostel. While passing by one of the rooms. whom should I see sitting there but Dharampal himself! I had to rush to the press meeting thereafter.

Before the press could arrive however two or three young strangers arrived to meet me. They said they were from the Patriotic and People-Oriented Science and Technology (PPST) group which had members and sympathisers in both Kanpur and Madras IITs. They wanted to sit with me and discuss my book. Homo Faber (the Indian edition had just been brought out by Allied Publishers then). They also wanted more Information about Dharampal, whose work they were coming across for the first time in Homo Faber. Why do you want to talk to me. I asked them when you can very well meet Dharampal himself! They were astonished. Dharampal? Here in Madras? When I told them where I had found him, they made a bee-line for the MIA hostel.

That encounter initiated a long, fruitful and creative association between Dharampal and the PPST which has also persisted, with some ups and downs, to the present day. For a few years, the PPST brought out a journal called the PPST Bulletin. In it, Dharampal and his work occupied pride of place. During this period, in fact, members of the PPST Group produced some of the finest articles ever written and published on the subjects of Indian science, culture, technology, and the relevance of Western science and technology to Indian society. Some members of the PPST later spent a considerable amount of time and energy working on the Chengalpattu data which often recurs in Dharampal's writings.

Today, Dharampal's work is quite extensively known, far beyond the PPST Group, not just among intellectuals and university professors, but also among religious leaders including swamis and Jain monks, politicians and activists. One of the most impressive off-shoots of his research has been the organisation of the bi-annual Congress on Traditional Sciences and Technologies. Three such Congresses, organised by the PPST and institutions like the IITs, have so far been held, generating an impressive wealth of primary material. Dharampal himself has been invited to deliver lectures at several institutions within India and abroad. (Some of these lectures can be found in Volume V of the Collected Writings.)

The general effect of Dharampal's work among the public at large has been intensely liberating. However, conventional Indian historians, particularly the class that has passed out of Oxbridge, have seen his work as a clear threat to doctrines blindly and mechanically propagated and taught by them for decades. Dharampal never trained to be a historian. If he had, he would have, like them, missed the wood for the trees. Despite having worked in the area now for more than four decades, he remains the quintessential layman, always tentative about his findings, rarely writing with any flourish. Certainly, he does not manifest the kind of certainty that is readily available to individuals who have drunk unquestioningly at the feet of English historians, gulping down not only their 'facts' but their assumptions as well. But to him goes the formidable achievement of asking well entrenched historians probing questions they are hard put to answer, like how come they arrived so readily, with so little evidence at the conclusion that Indians were technologically primitive or more generally how were they unable to discover the historical documents that he without similar training had stumbled on so easily.

 

Vol-2

 

About the Book

Mahatma Gandhi is so closely identified with satyagraha (civil disobedience) that most people think he was the originator of this unique strategy of resisting political and social injustice.

Dharampal's book on Civil Disobedience in Indian Tradition places satyagraha in its historical context. Gandhiji was solidly rooted in Indian tradition and the practice of civil disobedience was a vital method of social protest which he inherited from the same tradition. Gandhiji acknowledged this profound debt when he wrote: 'In India, the nation at large has generally used passive resistance in all departments of life. We cease to cooperate with our rulers when they displease us.'

Civil Disobedience in Indian Tradition is the story of a major satyagraha against a new series of taxes including a house tax proposed by the British in the city of Benaras and other areas under British colonial rule around 1810. The book comprises the almost day by day account of the day account of the popular resistance to the tax, and its eventual withdrawal by the British, revealed through the letters of anguished district magistrates and imperious officials. The accounts are preceded by an introduction written by Dharamapal in which he sheds light on several other available indigenous forms of political protest including dharna and traga and discusses incidents of resistance, similar to those at Benaras that erupted in other areas of the country as well.

Civil Disobedience in Indian Tradition is the second in the series of five volumes of the collected writings of Dharampal brought out in a special edition by Other India Press and SIDH.

 

Foreword

The ancients held that the highest form of knowledge is self-knowledge and that he who achieves that knowledge achieves all. It seems to me that the value of self-knowledge holds good for nations as well. No matter how one defines a nation-and it has not been found easy to do so-its essence seems to lie not in its outward attributes but in the mental world of those who comprise it. Of the ingredients of this inner world the most important is self-image that is the image that the people comprising a nation have of themselves and their forefathers.

During the British period the needs of imperialist rule dictated that Indians be pictured as an inferior people in respect to material moral and intellectual accomplishments. This deliberate denigration of the Indian nation was furthered by the incapacity of the foreigner to understand properly a civilisation so different from his own. So in course of time as our political subjugation became complete, we happened to accept as real the distorted image of ourselves that we saw reflected in the mirror the British held to us.

Not a small part of the psychological impetus that our freedom movement received was from the few expressions of appreciation that happened to fall from the pens or lips of Western scholars about Sanskrit literature. Indian philosophy art or science. Sometimes these foreign opinions about past Indian achievements were seized upon and inflated out of all proportions so as to feed the slowly emerging national ethos.

After the first few years of euphoria since Independence a period of self-denigration set in during which educated Indians particularly those educated in the West took the lead. Whether in the name of modernisation, science or ideology they ran down most if not all things Indian. We are not yet out of this period. I am not suggesting that what is wrong and evil in Indian society or history should be glossed over. But breast-beating and self-flagellation are not conducive to the development of those psychological drives that are so essential for nation-building nor so is slavish imitation of others.

One of the reasons for this state of affairs is lack of sufficient knowledge about our history, particularly of the people's social, political and economic life. One of the faults of our fore-fathers was their lack of sense of history and their proneness to present even historical fact in the guise of mythology. As a result even after long years of modem historical research, in India and abroad our knowledge happens to be limited-particularly in the field of social history. Also there are long gaps or periods of darkness about which not much of anything is known. One such period was that between the decline of the Mughal power and the arrival of the European trading companies and the ultimate consolidation of British power. That period was undoubtedly one of political disintegration Yet the material re-searched by Shri Dharampal and published herein reveals the survival of amazing powers of resistance to the state in the common people-'the Lohars the Mistrees, the-Jolahirs, the Hujams, the Durzees, the Kahars, the Bearers, every class of workmen' to quote the Acting Magistrate of Benares In 1810-when in their opinion it became oppressive or transgressed the limits of its authority.

The behaviour of the five hundred and odd princes towards their people during British rule had created the general impression that the king in Hindu polity was a tyrant and there was no limit to his power as far as it related to his subjects, who were supposed to be traditionally docile and submissive. Foreign and Indian studies of Hindu polity, no doubt, had revealed quite a different type of relationship. which allowed even for the de-position of an unworthy king by his people. But that was considered to be a mere idealistic formulation true more in theory than in practice. The fact that texts on Hindu polity were agreed that the king was never conceived to possess absolute power and that he was in practice limited by dharma that is. the system of duties responsibilities and privileges that had evolved through the ages and come to be accepted by all concerned was also not taken seriously. Instances of autocratic monarchs who defied the established dharma and got away with it were looked upon not as exceptions but as the rule.

The material brought together by Shri Dharampal in this volume throws quite a different light on the subject. The following pages describe, in the words of the then British officers, the mass movements of civil disobedience at Benares, Patna, Sarun, Moorshedabad and Bhaugulpore against the imposition of new taxes on houses and shops. Shri Dharampal is quite right when he declares: 'If the dates, (1810-12) were just advanced by some 110 to 120 years the name of the tax altered and a few other verbal changes made, this narrative could be taken as a fair recital of most events in the still remembered civil disobedience campaigns of the 1920s and 1930s.' That the events described in the correspondence published here were not exceptions, is borne out by other instances given by Shri Dharampal of similar actions that were either contemporary or of earlier times in other parts of the country.

It would appear from a perusal of the papers reproduced here that there had developed in the course of Indian history an understanding between the ruled and the ruler as to their respective rights and responsibilities. Whenever this traditional pattern of relationship was disturbed by an autocratic ruler, the people were entitled to offer resistance in the customary manner, that is, by peaceful non-cooperation and civil disobedience. It also appears that in the event of such action, the response of the ruling authority was not to treat it as unlawful defiance, rebel-lion or disloyalty that had to be put down at any cost before the issue in dispute could be taken up, but as rightful action that called for speedy negotiated settlement.

Such powers and apparently well-practised methods, of popular resistance as described herein could not have sprung up suddenly from nowhere. They must have come down from the past as part of a well-established socio-political tradition. The fact these powers should have survived until the beginning of the nineteenth century even in areas that had long been under autocratic Muslim rule bears testimony to both the validity and vitality of the ancient tradition.

 

Vol-3

 

About the Book

In 1931, Mahatma Gandhi generated a controversy among the British by observing that literacy in India had actually declined during the preceding century and that the colonial rulers were squarely responsible for this state of affairs. 'Instead of taking a hold of things as they were, 'he said, 'they began to root them out. They scratched the soil and began to look at the root and left the root like that, and the beautiful tree perished.'

England's intellectual elite protested Gandhiji's observations. But Dharampal's research into Indian and British archives proves beyond doubt that not only did India have a functioning indigenous educational system at the end of the eighteenth century but that it actually compared more than favourably with the system obtaining in England at the time in respect of the number of schools and colleges proportionate to the population, the number of students in school and college, the diligence as well as the intelligence of the students, the quality of teachers and the financial support provided from public and private source . Contrary to received opinion, those attending school and college included an impressive percentage of lower caste students, Muslims and girls.

The Beautiful Tree: Indigenous Indian Education in the Eighteenth Century is the third in the series of five volumes of the Collected Writings of Dharampal brought out in special edition by Other India Press and SIDH.

Preface A great deal of scholarly work has been published on the history of education in India, especially during the 1930s, and 1940s. In fact, writings on the subject, initially by British officials-cum- scholars started to appear as early as the mid-nineteenth century. Most of these histories, however, relate to the ancient period, sometimes going as far back as the tenth or twelfth century A.D. Others deal with the history of education during British rule and thereafter. Besides detailed scholarly works on specific ancient educational institutions (such as those at Nalanda or Taxila), there are more general works like that of A.S. Altekar on the ancient period. For the later period, there have been several publications: besides the two volumes of Selections from Educational Records, published and recently reprinted by the Government of India itself,2 the work of S. Nurullah and J.P. Naik may be mentioned here.3 The latter work is interestingly described by the two authors (thus indicating its time and mood) as an attempt at a 'well-documented and comprehensive account of Indian educational history during the last one hundred and sixty years and to interpret it from the Indian point of view.4 Reaching a far wider audience is the voluminous, though perhaps less academic, work of Pandit Sundarlal, first published in 1939.5 The 36th chapter of this celebrated work entitled, 'The Destruction of Indian Indigenous Education', runs into 40 pages, and quotes extensively from various British authorities. These span almost a century: from the Dispatch from England of 3rd June 1814 to the Governor General in India, to the observations of Max Mueller; and the 1910 remarks of the British labour leader, Keir Hardie. However, given the period in which the book was written and the inaccessibility of the detailed manuscript records, it was inevitable that the author had to base his work entirely on existing printed sources. Nevertheless, as an introduction this chapter of Bharat mein Angreji Raj is a landmark on the subject of indigenous Indian education in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Very little, however has been written on the history or state of education during this period starting with the thirteenth century and up until the early nineteenth century. Undoubtedly there are a few works like that of S.M. Jaffar6 pertaining to Muslim education here are a chapter or two, or some cursory references in most educational histories pertaining to the period of British rule and to the decayed state of indigenous Indian education in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Nurullah's and Naik's book7 devotes the first 43 pages (out of 643 pages) to discussing the state of indigenous education in the early nineteenth century. and in challenging certain later British views about the nature and extent of it.

Introduction

Indian historical knowledge by and large has been derived at least until recent decades from the writings and accounts left by foreigners. This applies equally to our knowledge about the status of Indian education over the past five centuries. The universities of Taxila and Nalanda and a few others until recently have been better known and written about primarily because they had been described centuries ago by some Greek or Chinese traveler, who happened to keep a journal which had survived or had communicated such information to his compatriots who passed it down to our times.

Travellers and adventurers of a new kind began to wander around parts of India from about 1500 A.D. and more so from about the close of the 16th century. Since for centuries the areas they came from had had no direct links with India, and as they had come from wholly different climates and societies to them most aspects of India-its manners, religions, philosophies, ancient and contemporary architecture, wealth. Learning, and even its educational methods-were something quite different from their own backgrounds, assumptions and experience.

Prior to 1770, (by which time they had become actual rulers of large areas) the British, on whose writings and reports this book is primarily based;1 had rather a different set of interests. These interests, as in the subsequent period too were largely mercantile technological or were concerned with comprehending and evaluating Indian statecraft; and, thereby. extending their influence and dominion in India. Indian religions, philosophies scholarship and the extent of education-notwithstanding what a few of them may have written on the Parsis, or the Banias of Surat-had scarcely interested them until then.

Such a lack of interest was due partly to their different expectations from India. The main reason for this, however, lay in the fact that the British society of this period-from the mid-sixteenth to about the later part of the eighteenth century-had few such interests. In matters like religion. Philosophy, learning and education the British were introverted by nature. It is not that Britain had no tradition of education or scholarship or philosophy during the 16th, 17th or early 18th centuries. This period produced figures like Francis Bacon. Shakespeare. Milton, Newton. etc. It had the Universities of Oxford. Cambridge and Edinburgh which had their beginnings in the 13th and 14th centuries A.D. By the later part of the 18th century. Britain also had around 500 Grammar Schools. However, this considerable learning and scholarship' were limited to a very select elite. This became especially marked after the mid-sixteenth century, when the Protestant revolution led to the closing of most of the monasteries; while the state sequestered their incomes and properties.

Before the Protestant revolution according to A.E. Dobbs 'the University of Oxford might be described as the "chief Charity School of the poor and the chief Grammar School in England, as well as the great place of education for students of theology of law and medicine'2"; and 'where instruction was not gratuitous throughout the school, some arrangement was made by means of a graduated scale of admission fees and quarterages and a system of maintenance to bring the benefits of the institution within the reach of the poorest." Further. while a very early statute of England specified: 'No one shall put their child apprentice within any city or borough. unless they have land or rent of 20 shillings per annum: but they shall be put to such labour as their fathers or mothers use, or as their estates require;' it none-theless also stated that 'any person may send their children to school to learn literature.4

From about the mid-16th century, however a contrary trend set in. It even led to the enactment of a law 'that the English Bible should not be read in churches. The right of private reading was granted to nobles, gentry and merchants that were householders. It was expressly denied to artificers' prentices to journeymen and serving men "of the degree of yeomen or under" to husbandmen and labourers' so as 'to allay certain symptoms of disorder occasioned by a free use of the Scriptures." According to this new trend, it was 'meet for the ploughman's son to go to the plough, and the artificer's son to apply the trade of his parent's vocation: and the gentlemen's children are meet to have the knowledge of Government and rule in the commonwealth. For we have as much need of ploughmen as any other State: and all sorts of men may not go to school. '6

A century and a half later (that is, from about the end of the 17th century), there is a slow reversal of the above trend, leading to the setting up of some Charity Schools for the common people. These schools are mainly conceived to provide 'some leverage in the way of general education to raise the labouring class to the level of religious instruction'; and, more so in Wales, 'with the object of preparing the poor by reading and Bible study for the Sunday worship and catechetical instruction. '7

Vol-4

 

About the Book

The Village, as a unit of community, has long since disappeared in the industrialised West. The living countryside in Europe has been bulldozed to adapt nature and human beings to the requirements of the agribusiness machine. In India, in contrast, despite the tremendous disruption of the past two centuries, and despite the tyranny of development, the village community still remains the primary framework of production, interaction and governance for the bulk of the population.

When the country gained freedom, it was natural to assume that this village community – and not Western individualism- would be the basis of India's new democratic system. The country's founding fathers, however, were upset to discover that the architects of the new constitution had borrowed features from the political experience of every country in the world except our own. The verbatim debate in the Constituent Assembly on this issue – printed in full in this volume- painfully reflects this debilitating contradiction at the inception of India's independence.

Gandhiji described parliamentary democracy as the tyranny of the majority and instead laid stress on gram raj as the basis of swaraj. Dharampal's pioneering work on the panchayat system shows how in most parts of India, the perfunctory attention paid to panchayat raj has led to the continued disintegration of the sense of primary community. His work assumes fresh significance and relevance in view of the Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act on panchayat raj.

Panchayat Raj and India's Polity is the fourth in the series of five volumes of the Collected Writings of Dharampal brought out in a special edition by Other India Press and SIDH.

 

Preface

After its publication at the end of 1957 much excitement and expectation was aroused from the report of the Committee on Plan Projects more popularly known as the report of the Balwantray Mehta Committee. The Committee urged that the state rural development programmes be managed by statutorily elected bodies at various levels: the village the community development block and the district; and termed the arrangement 'panchayat raj', Within months these bodies began to be created through laws enacted in each state of India. The administration of development under the management of these bodies started with Rajasthan in early 1959.

Within a year or two of this beginning interested groups began to explore what was happening under this arrangement. Many studies of this new programme got undertaken by 1960 or 1961. The Association of Voluntary Agencies for Rural Development (AVARD). Delhi was also seriously interested in what was happening and took up on-the-spot studies of the programme. first in Rajasthan and next in Andhra Pradesh. From this AVARD moved on to a study of the proceedings of India's Constituent Assembly during 1947-49 on the subject of the place of panchayats in India's polity. The full debate on the subject was put together by AVARD in early 1962 published under the title Panchayat Raj as the Basis o Indian Polity: An Exploration into the Proceedings of the Constituent Assembly. The publication opened up a somewhat forgotten chapter on the subject and aroused much discussion and interest. The idea of this exploration was initially suggested by my friend. L.C. Jain.

The earlier AVARD studies and Panchayat Raj as the Basis of Indian Polity led to the suggestion that post-1958 panchayat raj programmes should be studied in greater depth. This view was also shared by the then central Ministry of Community Development and Panchayati Raj as well as by the National Institute of Community Development. It was also then felt that the most appropriate body to undertake this study would be the All India Panchayat Parishad (AlPP). After various consultations it was decided by the end of 1963 that the first such study should be of the panchayat system in Madras state i.e in Tamilnadu. The Rural Development and Local Administration (RDLA) Department of Tamilnadu welcomed the idea of the study and extended all possible cooperation and support to it. The Additional Development Commissioner of Tamilnadu. Sri G. Venkatachellapaty took personal interest in the study and arranged matters in a way that the AIPP study team had access to most of the records of the RDLA Department up to 1964. The study also had the advice and guidance of Sri K. Raja Ram. President of the Tamilnadu Panchayat Union and of Prof R. Bhaskaran, Head of the Political Science Department of Madras University. Sri S.R. Subramaniam of the Tamilnadu Sarvodaya Mandal, a prominent public figure of Madras was also of great help. The study also had the continued support of the National Institute of Community Development and of its Director and scholars.

The study got underway in early 1964 and ended in December 1965. The Madras Panchayat System was written during the latter half of the year 1965 and some final touches were given to it in January 1966. The material on late 18th and early 19th century India and the policies adopted by the British at that time, referred to in Chapter V: The Problem, was also examined during 1964-1965 in the Tamilnadu State Archives. As the present author had occasion to be in London during August-October 1965, he also had an opportunity to peruse some additional circa 1800 material at the India Office Library and the British Library, London.

This study, done during 1964-1965 would appear dated to-day. The post-1958 panchayat institutions constituted on the recommendations of the Balwantrai Mehta Committee Report, assumed a low profile after 1965. Ultimately they began to decay-more or less in the same manner as these institutions had done several times after they began to be established by the British in the 1880s. However during the last decade or so new panchayat institutions are being created with much larger claimed participation of women and members from the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and with far larger resources even in terms of proportion of state government budgets, than those allotted to them in the 1920s. Despite all the claimed changes, it is possible that the new institutions have not acquired any more initiative, or control over their resources, or over what they do-than their predecessors after about 1925.

Regarding the late 18th and early 19th century background (briefly referred to in Chapter V), there is a vast amount of material relating to this in the British records .of the period for most parts of India. Some indications of how Indian society actually functioned before it came under British dominance, and how it began to get impoverished and its institutions fell into decay because of British policies, are provided, amongst others, in some of the work I have been able to do after this study on the Madras Panchayat System. A detailed study based on circa 1770 palm-leaf records in Tamil, now held in the Tamil University, Thanjavur, (partial versions of them are in the Tamilnadu State Archives) relating to the complex institutional structure, details of agricultural productivity, the caste-wise and occupational composition of each and every locality, and other details of over 2000 villages and towns of the then Chengalpattu district is at present going on at the Centre for Policy Studies, Chennai. These studies, when completed, should enable us to gain more knowledge about our society and its self-governing institutions and system before the era of British domination.

 

Vol-5

 

About the Book

In this set of five landmark essays- made available for the first time in one single volume – Dharampal provides the background of his lifelong quest to rediscover the indigenous social, political, educational and economic systems which served the people of this country till these were suppressed and supplanted by the imported institutions associated with the bourgeois civil society of England.

Though these imported structures may today serve India's rulling elite well, they are designed to exclude the participation – which contains to remain loyal to the older, civilization worldview and tradition profoundly described in the essay, Bhartiya Chitta Manas and Kala. The result is a working at cross purpose and a political system forever preempted from tapping the creative energies and involvement of its people.

We always gain by studying our past, writes Dharampal. We lose when we denigrate it, without study. After several decades of English education, we appear to be firmly convinced that real knowledge and wisdom can come only from the West. No one can conceivably assist a society grounded in such fatal assumptions.

Essays on Tradition, Recovery and Freedom is the fifth in the series of five volumes of the Collected Writings of Dharampal brought out in a special edition by Other India Press and SIDH.

 

Contents

 

Vol-1

 

  An Introduction to the Collected Writings of Dharampal 1
  Acknowledgements xxi
  Introduction 1
  Part I: SCIENCE 37
I. Bramin's Observatory at Benares (AD 1777) 39
II. Remarks on the Astronomy of the Brahmins (AD 1970) 48
III. Hints Concerning the Observatory at Benares (cir 1783) 94
IV. On the Sixth Satellite of Saturn (AD 1783) 107
v. A Proof that the Hindoos had the Binomial Theorem (1790) 113
VI. Hindu Algebra (AD 1817) 121
  Part II: TECHNOLOGY 147
VII. Operation of Inoculation of the Smallpox as Performed in Bengal (AD 1731) 149
VIII. An Account of the Manner of Inoculating for the Smallpox in the East Indies (AD 1767) 151
IX. The Method of Making the Best Mortar at Madrass in East India (AD 1732) 167
X. The Process of Making Ice in the East Indies (AD 1775) 171
XI. Uses of the Son and Manufacturing of the Hindostan Paper (AD 1774) 175
XII. Indian Agriculture 180
XIII. On the Drill Husbandry of Southern India (AD 1795) 203
XIV. Iron Works at Ramanakapettah (AD 1795) 209
XV. The Mode of Manufacturing Iron in Central India (cir 1829) 213
XVI. Manufacture of Bar Iron in Southern India (AD 1842) 241
XVII. Aspects of Technology in Western India (AD 1790-1801) 252
  Appendices  
  (i) Sources 260
  (ii) Biographical Notes on Authors 263
  List of illustrations:  
  Figures I-III on pages 42. 45 & 46 respectively relate to Chapter I  
  Diagram I on page 176 relates to Chapter XI  
  Figures I & II on pages 206 and 207 respectively relate to Chapter XIII  
  Diagrams I-VII on pages 222. 223. 225. 227. 229. 230 & 232 respectively relate to Chapter XV  
     

 

Vol-2

 

  Foreword by Jayaprakash Narayan 1
  Author's note 6
  Introduction 9
I OFFICIAL NARRATIVE OF EVENTS 57
A Events at Benaras 57
B Events at Patna 101
C Events at Sarun 103
D Events at Moorshedabad 105
E Events at Bhaugulpore 108
II MANNER OF RETRACTION IN POLICY 143
III CORRESPONDENCE WITH DIRECTING AUTHORITIES IN ENGLAND 152
  Source of Documents 173
  Glossary 175

 

Vol-3

 

  Preface 1
  Introduction 7
  Documents:  
A Survey of Indigenous Education in the Madras Presidency 1822-26 89
B Fra Paolino Da Bartolomeo on Education of Children in India, 1796 256
C Alexander Walker on Indian Education, Literature, etc. circa, 1820 262
D Extracts from W. Adam's State of Education in Bengal: 1835-38 270
E Extracts from G. W. Leitner's History of Education in the Punjab since Annexation and in 1882 343
F Correspondence between Sir Philip Hartog and Mahatma Gandhi on the Question of Indigenous Indian Education in the Early British Period and other papers 348
G List of Tanjore Temples Receiving Revenue Assignments 386
  List of Individual in Tanjore receiving Revenue Assignments 413
  Index 421

 

Vol-4

 

  Foreword by Shri Jayaprakash Narayan 9
  Introduction 14
I From the Discussion on the Resolution on Aims and Objects 20
II Appointment of the Draft Constitution Scrutiny Committee 24
III From the General Debate on the Second Reading of the Draft Constitution 25
IV Incorporation of Article 40 in the Constitution 48
V From the General Debate on the Third Reading of the Constitution 61
VI A Note by the Constitutional Adviser on the place of Panchayats in the Constitution 88
VII Resolution on Aims and Objects of Free India's Constitution 91

 

Vol-5

 

  Some Aspects of Earlier Indian Society and Polity and Their Relevance 1
  Indigenous Indian Technological Talent and the Need for its Mobilisation 50
  The Self- Awakening of India: The Context of the Past, the Present, and the Future 69
  India's Polity, its Characterstics and Current Problems 109
  Bharatiya Chitta Manas and Kala 145
Sample Pages

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