Why did James Mill and Thomas Macaulay think that European education was essential in India?
James Mill and Thomas Macaulay were critical of the Orientalist vision of learning. They believed that the knowledge of the East was full of errors and unscientific thought; that Eastern literature was non-serious and light-hearted; that no branch of Eastern knowledge could be compared to what had been produced in Europe, and especially in England; that the British government was wasting both effort and public money in promoting Oriental learning as it was of no practical use. They saw India as an uncivilised country that needed to be civilised. For them the aim of education was to teach what was useful and practical. European education was thus essential in India; English language education was essential in India. Indians needed to be made familiar with the scientific, technical and philosophical advances that the West had made; they needed to be exposed to the great poets and writers of the West; their tastes, values and culture needed to be changed. This, according to them, was the right way forward.