Bengali Schooldays Dorothea Sibella Butley



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38 pages


Bengali Schooldays  by  Dorothea Sibella Butley

Bengali Schooldays by Dorothea Sibella Butley
| Kindle Edition | PDF, EPUB, FB2, DjVu, AUDIO, mp3, ZIP | 38 pages | ISBN: | 8.30 Mb

This volume by a Christian missionary was published in 1922.From the books Preface:The surroundings and conditions of life of a Bengalischoolboy differ very much from those of anEnglish boy of the same age. All English boys aresupposed to go to school, but among the Hindus, onlyupper-class boys receive any education.These high-caste boys, as they are called, mustnot be supposed to spend their lives in what we vaguelycall Oriental splendour. Many of them live in thatchedmud cottages, which an English working man woulddespise.

The windows are unglazed and uncurtained,the floors uncarpeted, the walls unpapered. If thereare any pictures they are crude representations ofscenes from Hindu mythology. The furniture ismeagre — no chairs, tables or beds — as a rule, only awicker stool or two, and some wooden boxes. Thehandsomest things in the house are the brass plates,dishes, cups and other vessels, which the women ofthe family take pride in keeping well polished.The Bengali schoolboy sleeps on a mat - in thewinter time he wraps himself from top to toe in acoloured shawl or brown blanket.

He tubs in a tankor pond, going into the water with his clothes, or cloth, on, and changing it for a dry garment when hegets home. He eats off a large brass plate if he is rich,or a plantain leaf if he is poor, using the fingers of hisright hand in place of knife and fork. His foodconsists of rice, with a little fish or vegetable curry,and he drinks water, also from a brass vessel.

Ofcourse, the wealthier members of the communityhave brick houses, and among them one sometimesfinds chairs and tables, and other Western luxuries.But the Bengali as a whole cultivates the simple life.His plain living is certainly conducive to highthinking, for Bengalis are a studious race, bornphilosophers and poets, and fonder of books than ofsport.The subjects of a schoolboys study differ littlefrom those of an English student.

As a child of fiveor six he is generally sent, with his slate under his arm,to a little vernacular school, called a reading-room,where he is introduced to the elements of his ownbeautiful but difficult language, but a year or twolater he is transferred to what is known asa middleEnglish school. Here, and later on at college, helearns history, literature, geography, philosophy, etc.,through the medium of the English language.

Thus,all educated Indians know English, often better thanthey know their own language.There is something peculiar about the pronunciationand construction of the English spoken and written bythe average schoolboy, but considering that he hardlyever has the opportunity of learning it from an Englishperson, it is wonderfully good. It is through Englishthat the Bengalis have come into touch with the thoughtof the West - and the reactions of that thought areseen in India to-day, not always in happy forms. Itis well that the desire to learn English, as in the caseof Shanti, is also sometimes a first introduction toa missionary and so to Christianity.

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