The Jervis Brothers: George Risto Jervis & Thomas Best Jervis (Founders and Guardians of The Asiatic Society of Mumbai)
The prime object of this monograph is to review the Indian career of the two Jervis brothers—George Risto and Thomas Best—with a view to highlighting their pioneering contributions to the cause of rational education and to the dissemination of scientific knowledge which marked the beginning of the process of Modernization in the post 1818 Western India. The Jervis Brothers were closely associated what was then known as Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (BBRAS). In fact, George Jervis was the Honorary Secretary of the Society from 1827 to 1830.
Following the educational policy of Mountstuart Elphinstone, the first Governor of the newly constituted Bombay Presidency (1819), the Jervis brothers worked hard to educate Indians in useful scientific studies in their own mother tongue. George set up Ganeet Shilpa Vidyalaya (the Engineer Institution) with Marathi as the medium of instruction, and also wrote and translated standard books in Mathematics and other allied subjects into local languages. His younger brother Thomas achieved just fame for the Konkan Education Society formed in the Southern Konkan in 1824. Thomas Jervis also did some pioneering study of the physical geography of the Konkan—its climate, configuration, land-water distribution, soil, natural resources, fauna and flora, and other features—and he also pioneered the Postal Money Order system in India.
Unfortunately, their conception of scientific education for the moral and material advancement of the Indians was ignored or perhaps deliberately discarded by the imperial authorities by adopting Macaulay-style literary education set up in 1835. Nevertheless, the Jervis brothers, on any computation, were genuine 'Friends of India', and deserve to be so remembered.
J. V. Naik taught history first at the Elphinstone College, then at the Govt. of Maharashtra I.Y. College and before his retirement he was Professor and Head, Department of History, University of Mumbai. He was awarded a fellowship of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute for research in Canada. He has lectured at some Universities in Canada and participated in international conferences in India and abroad. He was the general president of the Indian History Congress, and he has delivered several prestigious endowment lectures. He was UGC visiting fellow at the M.S. University at Baroda and at the Shivaji University, Kolhapur. He has authored several books and booklets, including one on national integration for the Central Board for Workers' Education, sponsored by the Ministry of Labour, Govt. of India. Through his numerous research papers, which are widely cited, he has made a seminal contribution to a better understanding of the nature of 19th century Maharashtrian renaissance and the history of the quest for social justice in India. He has been a member of the Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. He is presently a trustee of Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, and of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai.
Prabha Ravi Shankar is Associate Professor in the Department of History, S.N.D.T. Women's University, Mumbai. She is the Recipient of Pandit Setu Madhav Rao Pagdi Fellowship (2003), the ICHR Senior Research Fellowship (2008), and IIAS Simla Associateship (2014). She has authored British Committee of the Indian National Congress, 1889-1921(New Delhi, 2011). Her articles are published in reputed journals of History on topics such as the Indian National Movement, Mahatma Gandhi and the social history of Modern India.
The prime object of this modest monograph is to review the Indian career of the two Jervis brothers—George Risto Jervis and Thomas Best Jervis—with a view to highlighting their pioneering contribution to the cause of rational education and to the dissemination of scientific knowledge which marked the beginning of the process of modernization generally termed as 'Renaissance' in the post 1818 western India, covered by the newly constituted Bombay Presidency with Bombay (now Mumbai) as its capital and also the epicenter of the new forces that were at work with the advent of British rule.
Justly regarded as 'Friends of India' the Jervis brothers spent the best part of their life in the Bombay Presidency. Both of them were closely associated with the Asiatic Society of Mumbai which was then known as Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society (BBRAS) which, in fact, was originated as Literary Society of Bombay founded by Sir James Mackintosh, on Monday, 26 November 1804. And it is significant to note that George Risto Jervis was the Honorary Secretary of the Society from 1827 to 1830, when under the guidance and advice of Sir John Malcolm, the Literary Society changed its name in favor of Bombay Branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland, established in London in 1825. And thus, in the words of Professor R.Scott, "Ibis maiden at once received the honors of maternity and was hailed as the parent society, the mother of the older branches.’
It is also noteworthy that a century later, in 1905, W.P. Jervis, erudite son of Thomas Best Jervis, who wrote the memoirs of his father under the title Thomas Best Jervis as Christian Soldier, Geographer and Friend of India (London, 1899) dutifully presented his father's precious Manuscripts Studies on the State of the Maratha People and their History, to the BBRAS. Based on these Manuscript Studies, R.P. Karkaria, a distinguished member of the Society, prepared a paper and presented it at a meeting of the Society held on 27 September 1905 which was later published in the Journal of the BBRAS (Vol. XXII, 1908, pp.42-60) which we have profitably used in the preparation of this monograph.
We are extremely grateful to the authorities of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, especially Dr. Aroon Tikekar, Hon'ble former President of the Society, for entrusting us with this pleasant albeit arduous task of writing this monograph on the Jervis brothers, and providing us with all the possible help to complete it to the best of our ability.
With gratitude we acknowledge our debt to the ever helpful Director, Maharashtra State Archives, and Librarians of Asiatic Society of Mumbai, Mumbai University Library, the S.N.D.T. Women's University Library, Mumbai Marathi Grantha Sangrahalaya and the Bharat Itihas Sanshodak Mandal, Pune. We would like to convey our thanks to Professor David Taylor, Director of the Aga Khan University Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations, London, for sending us some valuable archival material. We are necessarily indebted to the authors of the books and articles that we have listed in our bibliography, and also to many a scholar in the field who shared his/her knowledge on the subject with us. We alone, however, are responsible for the lapses, if any, in our narrative.
|A Notes from the General Editor||vii|
|Part I: George Risto Jervis (1794-1851)|
|II.||Promotion of Education and Dissemination of Scientific Knowledge through the Mother Tongue||6|
|III.||The Ganeet Shilpa Vidyalaya: The Engineer Institution||15|
|Part II: Thomas Best Jervis (1796-1857)|
|V.||Contribution to Education Through Vernacular Languages||33|
|VI.||Contributions to Historical, Geographical and Scientific Fields||39|
Item Code: NAO679 Author: J. V. Naik & Prabha Ravi Shankar Cover: Paperback Edition: 2014 Publisher: Indus Source Books ISBN: 9788188569694 Language: English Size: 9.0 inch X 6.0 inch Pages: 94 Other Details: Weight of the Book: 130 gms