Reckon I would not be very wrong to say that we owe it to the English in general and men like Macauley in particular to have civilized our morals and our manners. What were we then? Mired knee deep in superstition, burning alive widows, indulging in child-marriages and a thousand other abnormalities if not aberrations was the order of the day. It was the English who put paid to all that.
Macauley is one person whom every Indian simply loves to hate; I do not know why. It goes without saying he was an ardent Empirist. But he was the man who gave us the Penal code and regularized our laws. He was strict in his morals, judicious in his opinions and phenomenal in his erudition. What is patriotism can only be properly understood by reading
his essays and his History of England. He may be guilty of hyperbole but he was not squeamish, nor did he believe in ‘puffing’. There was no gloss and tinsel in his writings.
For those of us who love the English language, Macualey is a must read. In his ‘ Minute of 2nd February 1835 on Indian Education’ he says ‘Whoever knows that language [English] has ready access to all the vast intellectual wealth, which all the wisest nations of the Earth have created and hoarded in the course of ninety generations’. Nowhere was he derogatory toward the Indians. Surely Macauley was more sinned at than sinning.