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Science and the RajA Study of British India$
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Deepak Kumar

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195687149

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195687149.001.0001

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(p.263) Chapter 8 Conclusions
Science and the Raj

Deepak Kumar

Oxford University Press

Britain exploited science as an instrument of colonization and control in India, a concept that they closely tied to the needs of the empire. In order to legitimize their own rule, however, the colonizers first had to delegitimize several pre-colonial structures and texts. Thus, they considered it necessary to condemn the immediate past: Indians were declared unscientific, superstitious and resistant to change. A paternalistic Raj that was caring yet dismissive gradually emerged. It laid claims to both superior musketry as well as superior knowledge based on the discourse of rationality and progress. This sense of superiority led the British to denounce whatever scientific knowledge the Indians possessed. Unlike Canada and Australia, Victorian India received what was clearly a low form of science education, administered under ‘controlled’ conditions. The colonizers discouraged fundamental research work. This has had long term consequences: technology has overtaken contemporary India, its educational institutions have been on a decline, and research for cutting-edge knowledge remains wanting.

Keywords:   Colonial science, Indian science, colonization, research, knowledge, science education, technology, progress

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