Entangled Histories of Reforms: Scottish Radicalism of Joseph and Allen Octavian Hume and Indian Education

Parimala V Rao


Thus wrote a retired officer about his opposition to the British elitist policies. This was no anomaly. Hume, like most of the Scottish officers in India, defended Indian interests before the colonial administration since his arrival in 1849. In 1854, as a young officer of Etawah district in North India, Hume countered the Orientalist idea that the people of Etawah were uncivilised. He established schools and interacted with Indians very closely. Unable to tolerate his reformist endeavours, he was transferred out of the district, and his schools were destroyed. His father, Joseph Hume, too had defended Indians on more than one occasion in the House of Commons and attempted to empower them by giving direct representation. This paper looks at the Scottish radicalism carried forward by the father and son duo, which dispels the conventional historical narratives that place all colonial officials as instruments of imperialist oppression. 


Scottish Radicals; Hume; Indian education; British colonialism

Full Text:



Anderson, R.D. (1995). Education and the Scottish People 1750-1918. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Bandyopadhyay, S. (2008). Eighteen Fifty-Seven and Its Many Histories. In 1857, Essays from Economic and Political Weekly. Hyderabad: Orient BlackSwan.

Edwards, Th. (1884). Henry Derozio: The Eurasian Poet, Teacher, and Journalist, Calcutta: W. Newman.

Evans, E.J. (2008). Britain Before Reform Act: Politics and Society 1815-1832. London and New York: Routledge.

Gardner, P. (2004). Literacy, Learning and Education. In Williams, Ch., A Companion to Nineteenth- Century Britain. Oxford: Blackwell.

Huch, Ronald K. (1983). Francis Place and the Chartists: Promise and Disillusion. The Historian, 45(4), 497-512.

Huch R.K., & Ziegler, PR. (1985). Joseph Hume: The People’s M.P. Philidelphia: American Philosophical Society.

Humphreys, C., & Benjamin, E. (1979). (Eds). The Mahatma’s Letters. Adyar: Theosophical Publications.

Mehrotra SR., & Moulton, EC. (2004). Selected Writings of Allen Octavian Hume, Vol I 1829-1867. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Moulton, E.C. (1997). The Beginnings of the Theosophical Movement in India, 1879-1885. In Oddie, Geoffrey A. (Ed.), Religious Conversion Movements in South Asia. Surrey Curzon.

Nanda, BR. Gokhale: The Indian Moderates and the British Raj. Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Pentland, G. (2008). Betrayed by Infamous Spies? The Commemoration of Scotland’s Radical War of 1820. Past & Present, 201, 141-173.

Rao, PV. (2009). New Insights into the Debates on Rural Indebtedness in 19th Century Deccan. Economic and Political Weekly, 44(04), 55-61.

Rao, PV. (2011). Foundations of Tilak’s Nationalism, Discrimination, Education and Hindutva. Hyderabad: Orient Blackswan.

Rao, P.V. (2016). Class, Identity and Empire: Scotsmen and Indian Education in the Nineteenth Century. Social Scientist, 520-21, 55-70.

Rao, P.V. (2019). Colonial State as New Manu: Explorations in Educational Policies in Relation to Dalit and Low Caste Education in the Nineteenth Century India. Contemporary Education Dialogue, 16(1), 84-107.

Taylor, M. (2007). Joseph Hume and the Reformation of India, 1819-1833. In Burges, G., & Festenstein, M. (Eds.), English Radicalism: 1550-1850. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Wedderburn, W. (1913). Allan Octavian Hume: Father of the Indian National Congress. London: T Fisher Unwin.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.14516/ete.434


  • There are currently no refbacks.

Copyright (c) 2022 Espacio, Tiempo y Educación

ISSN: 2340-7263

DOI prefix: 10.14516/ete

URL: www.espaciotiempoyeducacion.com

FahrenHouse: Salamanca, Spain

Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)