By Madhavananda Das
Statement of Mr Macaulay
The Baron Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800 -1859), is infamous as one of the leaders of a British endeavor to minimize Vedic culture and promote Western Christian culture as being superior. Amongst other things, he is accredited as being one of the founders of English education in India, which replaced Sanskrit as the current medium of instruction in higher education.
For several years a statement from Mr McCauley has been widely quoted on Hindu websites. Some ISKCON devotees have also picked it up and have been citing it in their preaching. On the 2nd of February 1835 in a speech before the British Parliament, Mr McCauley is quoted as saying:
“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation”.
A very nice statement glorifying India and revealing the ulterior motives of early 19th century British colonialism!
Only one problem: It seems it was never spoken by Mr McCauley.
If one does a little Googling on the topic you will find that it was likely manufactured by some enthusiastic Hindu with the agenda of making the British look bad.
I would humbly suggest that the devotees not cite this in public and especially not in scholarly forums. It could make ISKCON look a little foolish. The “quote” has a bad reputation amongst scholars of Indology who generally ridicule it and consider it to be false.
One person pointed out:
“It is a general misconception that this is a part of Lord McCauley’s speech to British Parliament because Lord McCauley arrived in India on 10th June 1834 and returned to England in early 1838. If in 1835 he
was in India then how could he have delivered a speech in the British Parliament? Let me also add that he arrived in India by a 3 month long journey by ship so there is no chance that the Lord made a quick visit to England (British Airways did not exist at that time) for delivering this speech.”
For more about this “quote” see the following URL:
Vaishnava kripa prarthi, Madhavananda Das