The British instillation of progressive secondary education in India opened the eyes of some Indians (mostly high-caste Hindus) to Enlightenment ideas of equality, freedom, and other human rights. Having been exposed to these ideas through their English education, many Indians could no longer accept the racial discrimination against them because it “…flagrantly contradicted those cherished concepts of human rights and equality. Moreover, it was based on dictatorship, no matter how benign.” (page 870 McKay) This caused many high-caste Hindus to question the legitimacy of British control in India and come together with other Indians to form the Indian National Congress, which fought discrimination and later sought autonomy and independence from the British Empire.
This made me start to think about the power of education. When people understand the possibilities that exist, they can see what change needs to be made in their own lives. Knowledge can help people make a difference. It also makes me think that maybe this is why knowledge is limited in countries with oppressive governments. This leads me to pose two questions: First, do you think that India would have achieved its independence as soon as it did, or even at all, without the educated Elite Hindus? Second, more broadly speaking, how do you think the power of education and knowledge affects a citizen’s ability to make a difference in their country? Do we see the opposite effect when knowledge and information are censored by oppressive governments?
An example of the effect of censorship by an oppressive government is North Korea. See the article below for more information: