Criticism of the British Rule

Criticism of the British Rule:

Though Phule preferred British rule to the regime of the Brahmins, he was aware of the shortcomings of the former and he never hesitated to point them out openly. Since his mission was to bring about an egalitarian society where all men and women would enjoy liberty, Phule criticized the contemporary rulers if he felt that their policies went against this idea. He was mainly interested in
destroying forever the supremacy of Brahmins in social, economic and political fields. Therefore, he used to attack the British government whenever its policies favoured the Brahmins even indirectly.
  It was the educational policy of the British government which came under severe attack from Phule. He complained that the government was providing more funds and greater facilities to higher education and neglecting that of the masses. He bro&ht it to the notice of the government that the greater portion of the revenue of the Government was derived from the labour of masses. The higher and rich classes contribute very little to State's exchequer. The government, therefore, should spend a large portion of its income on the education of the masses and not of the higher classes. Due to the educational policy favouring the upper classes, the higher offices were virtually monopolized by them, If the government wished the welfare of the lower castes, i t was its duty to reduce the proportion of high castes in the administration and increase that of the lower castes. Phule's object in writing a book on slavery was to open the eyes of the government to the pernicious system of high class education. This system, Phule said, was keeping the masses in ignorance and poverty. The government used to collect a special cess for educational purposes but the funds so derived were not spent for education of the masses. He criticized the primary schools run by the government by saying
that the education imparted in these schools was not satisfactory. It did not prove practical or useful in the future career of the students. He also criticized on similar lines the higher secondary schools, colleges and system of scholarships. The scholarship system, he observed was unduly favorable to literary castes while there was a need to encourage the lower castes children. Moderate nationalists had always held high the liberal principles on which the, British government was founded and criticized the colonial bureaucracy for departure from them. Phule agreed with them on this point. However, he made a distinction between British officers and the Brahmin officers and preferred the i former. But he observed that the British officers were concerned about their own comfort and salaries. They did not find sufficient time to know about the real conditions of the peasants. They did not understand the language of the  peasants. The Brahmin officers thereby used to get an opportunity to mislead the British officers and exploit the poor and illiterate peasants. Phule probably did not realize that the colonial rule depended  upon the elites of the colony tomaintain its dominance and therefore recruited them to the bureaucracy.
His biographers tell us that when he was a member of the Poona Municipality he showed rare courage in opposing a move to spend one thousand rupees on I Viceroy's visit. In 1888 a dinner was organised in honour of the Duke of Conngught at Poona. Phule went there in the typical dress of a poor peasant and delivered a moving speech after the dinner. He told the audience that the people of the country were to be found in the villages. He had intentionally come in that dress so that the British guests would come to know how a common peasant lived: He also told them that it was the duty of the government to formulate policies for the welfare of these.peasants. In his writings also we come across a criticism of government's policies which went against the peasants. We will take
note of it while discussing his views on economic issues.

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