THE advent of British rule found a literature and a system of Indigenous
instruction existing among both Hindus and Muhammadans, systems-
in each case closely connected with their religious institutions. tion.
To give and to receive instruction is enjoined by the sacred The Hindu
books of the Brahmans, and their ancient sages produced a system.
literature which is deep and subtle and often of great beauty.
Schools of learning (lots) were formed in centres containing a
considerable high-caste population, and pandits gave instruction
in Sanskrit grammar, logic, philosophy, and law. The students
were called the chelds or children of their gurus or teachers,
lived with them in a semi-filial relationship, and owed them
obedience and respect. The chelds were lodged and fed by
their gurns, and the latter were maintained by gifts and grants
of land from the rulers of the country or from private bene-
factors. Teaching was mainly by word of mouth, and the
memory of the pupils was trained to enable them to repeat by
heart long passages of the sacred texts. 'The student respect-
fully held the hand of his teacher, and fixed his mind on the
teacher, and said, " Venerable sir, recite," and the sdvitri (the
well-known gdyatri verse of the Rig-veda) was recited and
learnt as the introduction to the learning of the Vedas. And
thus from day to day new lessons were recited and learnt, the
student dividing his day's work between minding his lessons
and minding the household work of his teacher '.'
This advanced instruction was strictly confined to youths of
the higher castes. For the lower castes village schools were
scattered over the countryside, in which a rudimentary educa-
tion was given to the children of the trading classes, the petty
landholders, and the well-to-do cultivators. In many villages
in Bengal and other parts of India these schools may still be
seen working much as they must have worked in remote cen-
Civilization in Ancient India, by R. C. Dutt. The s.'vitri may be thus
translated: ' Let us meditate on that excellent glory of the divine vivifier,
May he enlighten our understandings,'