Friday, 6 September 2013

On Indian morals, when Britishers came to India

CHARLES GRANT, 1746-1823 

Hindoostan, a race of men lamentably degenerate and base,  retaining but a feeble sense of moral obligation . . . governed by  their malevolent and licentious passions . . . and sunk in misery by  their vices.'

Grant's estimate of the morals of the Indians of his  day is no more trustworthy than Miss Mayo's distorted view of  modern India, 1 and he certainly was not justified in making such  a sweeping condemnation of the moral tone of a whole people.   In his defence, however, certain allowances must be made: in  the first place, there is ample testimony that, following on the  break-up of the Mogul empire, India went through a period of  lawlessness and anarchy which was marked by a moral and social  degradation unparalleled in her long history; secondly, Grant was  influenced by the evangelical and humanitarian movements of  his time, and his object was to arouse the sympathies of generous-  minded Englishmen and to induce Parliament and the Directors  to improve and uplift an ignorant and unfortunate people; he was  actuated by the highest and most philanthropic motives, and wrote  'not to excite detestation, but to engage compassion, and make it  apparent that, what speculation may have ascribed to physical and  unchangeable causes, springs from moral sources capable of  correction'.

The causes of the demoralization which he has described may be attributed to the prevalence  of degraded forms of religion and the influence of unscrupulous  priests. It is the last chapter, however, which forms the most  important section of this remarkable pamphlet. Herein Grant  anticipates with uncanny foresight many of the great educational  and not a few of the political reforms which have since been  introduced. In the course of less than 40 pages he points out the  remedies which should be adopted to relieve the deplorable social  and moral conditions which hamper the progress and prosperity  of a people whose best interests he has at heart. The conclusion  at which he eventually arrives may be stated in a few words: evils which are due to ignorance and superstition can most easily  be eradicated by the promotion of knowledge by the establishment  of a sound system of education; to quote his own words, 'the  true cure of darkness is the introduction of light'.

Sadly I find some of it is still true today. Britishers never tried to correct this because of their selfish interests. They have seldom appointed civil servants of Indian origin in their administration. they put up very tough eligibility criteria for getting in. Even when they got selected they were mostly mistreated, rather given inferior status and were not allowed in important decision makings.

During these years of plunder by Britishers most govt. officers who were Indians were doing their job not as their duty but just to earn money. Slowly and slowly they become insensitive, cold-hearted unsympathetic mercenaries devoid of any moral values they had. They were already corrupt by now and the next generation of officers followed the same. It was never checked by the govt.

Even after Independence, policies were never formed to reinstate the moral obligations of individuals but were assumed to be an inherent quality of newly ignited independent Indians. This has once again led to a system of corruption our country faces today, which has also been the root cause of British Raj in India.

If we fail to correct and streamline our conscience of morality in time, as we know it already, they [foreign visitors] came as traders and merchants, now we can suspect them to come as big investment firms which are running the world policies today.

Solution: Morality principle should be defined and put in place in this defining book of governance. Policy matters should be discussed subjectively rather just working around it.


  1. well, this is false that Britishers never appointed single civil servant of Indian origin in their administration.

  2. This is awesome article.I get many useful point through this post. I would like to thanks for providing these information. Thank you for sharing it.