I recently received an email with the subject “how our back was broken. lets repair it now” and embedded in the email was the following excerpt:
I have been receiving the same text for quite a few years under different subject lines. I had tried researching it couple of years ago. It is attributed to Lord Macaulay’s Minute on Indian Education Speech that he made to British Parliament on Feb 2, 1835.
I have read the text of speech and there is nothing like above quote in his speech. Though he uses derisory terms for eastern culture some of which I reproduce below but he never made those claims that are attributed to him.
Digging a bit deeper, it transpired that the above quote is a false propaganda by Hindu supremacists. I communicated with a journalist who had reproduced the quote in one of his columns, he said that the British government might have struck out the part when releasing the text of the speech. I could only say that though its not impossible but highly implausible.
The thing is though Lord Macaulay does talk about uselessness of Arabic and Sanskrit languages in modern times in his speech, the offending paragraph does not fit in the context.
Anyway, I will leave you with some of the quotes from his speech. One should read it in full to realize how our masters thought and in case of Pakistan still think.
1. All parties seem to be agreed on one point, that the dialects commonly spoken among the natives of this part of India contain neither literary nor scientific information, and are moreover so poor and rude that, until they are enriched from some other quarter, it will not be easy to translate any valuable work into them.
2. I have never found one among them who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia.
3. But when we pass from works of imagination to works in which facts are recorded and general principles investigated, the superiority of the Europeans becomes absolutely immeasurable. It is, I believe, no exaggeration to say that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanscrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the most paltry abridgments used at preparatory schools in England.
You can find the whole speech here.