Thomas Babington Macaulay’s comprehensive vandalism of the unbroken educational heritage of India wouldn’t have been so phenomenally successful but for the unstinted official support he got from William Bentinck, then the Governor General of British-occupied India. By any standard, Bentinck remains a gold-standard robber baron of an epic scale. Bentinck’s cruel disruption of the centuries’ old education system of India is a devastation that we will perhaps never recover from.
Indeed, by the time he was just thirty, the tree of evil had grown monstrously within Bentinck. As a young Governor of the Madras Presidency, Bentinck wrote to Lord Castlereagh in 1804 that, “we have rode the country too hard, and the consequence is that it is in the most lamentable poverty.” It was not remorse but a realization that the bleeding of India at the “point of the bayonet” was not good for the East India Company in the long term. More effective and calculated measures were required.