Saturday, January 02, 2016

Fwd: In Pre-British India Temples Were Premier Educational Institutes

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From: S G Naravane

Ancient Indian temples are some of the greatest artistic achievements of mankind, celebrated the world over, but not enough has been done to understand their history.
Searching through the uncertainty and confusion of the present, knowledge of the past provides illumination, which is why history is important. We not only need the history of kings but also of education, and of art and architecture.
In recent years, textbooks have created a false picture of how education worked before the arrival of the British, and it was accepted that Indians had been largely illiterate. This changed when Dharampal (1922-2006) wrote The Beautiful Tree, which, using British documents from the early 1800s, showed that pre-British education was fairly universal, indeed more so than what Europe had in that period.
Dharampal explains that the temple and the mosque of each village had a school attached to it and the children of all communities attended these schools. In addition, rich temples had academies where more advanced subjects were taught.
The archaeologist, R. Nagaswamy, has provided evidence of advanced higher education during an even earlier period. He has written on 10th century inscriptions on the walls of the Sundaravarada Temple at Uttiramerur in Kanchipuram district that describe the administration of the local assembly and governance of school and college. This temple was built around 750 CE in the Pallava rule, with subsequent renovations by Rajendra Chola in 1013 CE, and the Vijayanagar Emperor, Krishnadevaraya, in 1520 CE.
The description of the Vedic college's administration includes the qualifications one needed to become a teacher. For the sake of better governance, and presumably to eliminate nepotism, it was stipulated that the teacher could not be a native of the village.
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