New Perspectives in the History of Indian Education brings together essays on the milestones in the development of modern education in India since the mid-nineteenth century. It offers readings on a wide range of interconnected themes and the debates which have shaped the contours of the educational policy of contemporary India.
The essays critique the existing anti-imperialist, postmodern and nationalist historiographies of Indian education, and bring forth the shortcomings of these approaches. Basing themselves on archival sources, they overturn the existing myths created by these historiographies and shed new light on the role of the colonial state, missionaries and Indian nationalist leaders.
The empirically rich essays focus on the initiatives to promote education among the socially and educationally backward Dalit communities and the status of Dalit institutions. The authors argue forcefully about the centrality of education in fostering social mobility and change. The essays on women’s education discuss how intensely controversial it was to educate girls, and how women struggled to establish their identity and make their voices heard in a traditional society undergoing a transition to modernity. The essays also critically examine the colonial state policy and the attitude of nationalist leaders towards the introduction of mass and compulsory education.