Talk:Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1st Baron Macaulay

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  • I have travelled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in the country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that I do not think we would conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self esteem, their native culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation."


This link DOES NOT point to the Speech of 1835 (The article doesn't even mention Macaulay). In fact, Macaulay made no speech to the British Parliament in 1835, since he was in India at the time. Instead, this probably refers to Macaulay's Minute on Indian Education, which can be found at http://www.columbia.edu/itc/mealac/pritchett/00generallinks/macaulay/txt_minute_education_1835.html . However, this quotation is NOT in it. According to this Google Answers inquiry (http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=296771), this is not a direct quotation at all, but a paraphrase by another source.

  • We might still want to include it on the page under ==Misattributed==, if there are any incorrect assertions of his authorship in print. BD2412 T 08:30, 17 December 2008 (UTC)
  • That might not be a bad idea, seeing as the quote is so commonly misattributed, even once, apparently, by the President of India. There is also a large debate concerning this quotation on Macaulay's Wikipedia talk page. It is especially problematic because, upon simply glancing at Macaulay's Minute, the offensive tone of this "paraphrase" is totally unfounded. I would like to see the misattribution noted, with a link to this article (http://koenraadelst.bharatvani.org/articles/hinduism/macaulay.html), if that's allowed, so that readers can get an idea of what a gross error this quotation is. Macaulay seems to have not been a great guy, but this quote has put him down in history as a monster. This is my first time involved in editing, so I'm not comfortable making a decision.

That alleged speech[edit]

Could I make a plea that people sign their contributions with the usual ~~~~ signature? Otherwise it's quite difficult to follow who said what.

The point about that speech is

  1. We have the "Minute", which it seems is certainly genuine and accurately quoted.
  2. The "I have travelled" paragraph is apparently not supported by documentary evidence. It cannot, as has been said, have been a speech to parliament in 1835. If it is presented as a summary or paraphrase, it is grossly inaccurate as such. In fact the sentiments expressed are diametrically opposed to those in the Minute. It could not have been written by the same man, given that we are talking about two statements, both public, and both of the same claimed date. Thus, as I see it, it must be a tendentious forgery. SamuelTheGhost 18:39, 21 April 2009 (UTC)


The actual words from Macaulay in 1835:
"I accept catholic beyond the across and across of India and I accept not apparent one getting who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such abundance I accept apparent in this country, such top moral values, humans of such caliber, that I do not anticipate we would anytime beat this country, unless we breach the actual courage of this nation, which is her airy and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I adduce that we alter her old and age-old apprenticeship system, her culture, for if the Indians anticipate that all that is adopted and English is acceptable and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their built-in self-culture and they will become what we ambition them, a absolutely bedeviled nation."
Available in the archives to genuine researchers. Not for followers of the "If it cannot be Googled it did not happen" doctrine.—The preceding unsigned comment was added by 122.161.98.35 (talk) 23:03, 9 January 2013


The actual words from Macaulay in 1835 (and NOT from his Minute on India Education):

"I accept catholic beyond the across and across of India and I accept not apparent one getting who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such abundance I accept apparent in this country, such top moral values, humans of such caliber, that I do not anticipate we would anytime beat this country, unless we breach the actual courage of this nation, which is her airy and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I adduce that we alter her old and age-old apprenticeship system, her culture, for if the Indians anticipate that all that is adopted and English is acceptable and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their built-in self-culture and they will become what we ambition them, a absolutely bedeviled nation."

It is obvious that

1. The words "I have travelled" do not find mention.
2. The language used is in accordance with those times.
3. These words of Macaulay reflect his actual actions on the ground.
a. A complete decimation of the Gurukul System (Apprenticeship)
b. Introduction of English in the curriculum.
c. Promotion of English as superior to vernacular languages.
etc.

Available in the archives to genuine researchers. Not for followers of the "If it cannot be Googled it did not happen" doctrine —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 122.161.164.116 (talk) 23:32, 11 January 2013


This alleged variant bears very little resemblance to the grammar and usage of 19th century British English. It is not even remotely credible that someone as articulate as Baron Macaulay would address Parliament in the manner of a person who is struggling to grasp how the language works. ~ Ningauble (talk) 15:06, 12 January 2013 (UTC)


These words are also in close synchronicity with those that he used in a letter to his sister around the same period and available in archives :

There never, perhaps, existed a people so thoroughly fitted by nature and by habit for a foreign yoke.

However, there does exist a supercilious xenophobic group on the internet which continues to idolise Macaulay and is trying to prove that he could not have uttered words similar to above. Any books and citations by Indian authors or of Indian origin are dismissed in limine and discredited by this xenophobic mindset clearly forgetting that the British Imperialists had strict controls over the Local Press in India. They insist on documentary evidence, where none has been allowed to exist..and continue to propagate the belief that Macaulay never could have uttered these words. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 122.161.164.116 (talk) 03:36, 13 January 2013


Agreed with Ningauble. Since the person appears to be a 'genuine researcher' they should be genuine enough to tell us the source so we can access it physically as well, not off Google. I could come up with a thousand quotes and attribute them all to 'archives' with the contemptuous and ridiculous signature of a 'genuine researcher.' -- Wikigirl91 12:14, 20 June 2013 (UTC)
It is not credible that Macaulay could have uttered the words ascribed to him above. He may well have had a noxious effect upon education in the subcontinent (though reference to the Minute shows that, however misguidedly, he intended the opposite), but he was a renowned stylist in the English language and cannot possibly have come out with the confused nonsense offered above running "I accept catholic beyond the across and across of India and I accept not apparent one getting who is a beggar ... they will become what we ambition them, a absolutely bedeviled nation." If this is truly being asserted to be a transcription from 'the archives', we need to see the reference. It is perverse to assert that this jumble of broken words and phrases is 'in the archives' and then to complain that people are demanding documentary evidence in an unreasonable way. I have no brief whatever for Macaulay, nor have I the least interest in defending British educational policy in India, but we must not stretch the reader's credence to destruction by entertaining this proposed speech without hard evidence ~~ Fergus Wilde, 14:00, 21 October 2013
Greetings, SamuelTheGhost, Fergus Wilde, Wikigirl91, and 122.161.164.116. I would appreciate if each of you would take a moment to explain how each of you came to find this discussion, which contains your only contributions to this project. It is unusual for this number of new editors to show up in a discussion like this unless it has been promoted somewhere else on the Internet. In light of this discrepancy, I am inclined to delete the whole thing, absent a good explanation to the contrary. Cheers! BD2412 T 15:01, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
My visit is prompted by the fact that there are numerous pages referencing this quotation, and the debate surrounding it caused me to examine the various assertions and reach a conclusion. To that extent, it is prompted by somewhere else on the internet, but it's the response of a single individual. I notice that the three comments are spread across most of this current year - is this considered an abnormal amount of comment? ~~Fergus Wilde, 16:09, 21 October 2013
As Wikiquote talk pages go, yes, it is pretty unusual - particularly where participants in the discussion have contributed nothing else to Wikiquote. BD2412 T 15:33, 21 October 2013 (UTC)
I don't know about anyone else, but I am of course w:User:SamuelTheGhost, so this may be my "only contributions to this project", that is, wikiquote, but I'm pretty active in wikipedia. I certainly came here after following some link there, but after all this time (it's over four years ago) I can't remember the details. SamuelTheGhost (talk) 15:45, 21 October 2013 (UTC)