Offering a new approach to the study of religion and empire, this innovative book challenges a widespread myth of modernity—that Western rule has had a secularizing effect on the non-West. Sengupta reveals instead the paradox that the pursuit and adaptation of modern vernacular education, mainly imported to the colonies by Protestant missionaries, opened up new ways for Indians to reformulate ideas of community along religious lines. Debates over the mundane aspects of schooling, rather than debates between religious leaders, transformed the everyday definitions of what it meant to be a Christian, Hindu, or Muslim.
Thus instruction in science also became a means to instruct the Indian child about the primacy of reason and rationality over superstition. Modern education, Pedagogy for Religion argues, did not secularize religious traditions in India as much as it reformulated definitions of religion and religious community as a part of a larger global process.
This book will interest students of modern Indian history, Empire, education as well as gender studies.
Introduction: Pedagogical Frames and Colonial Difference
1. The Molding of Native Character
2. A Curriculum for Religion
3. An Object Lesson in Colonial Pedagogy
4. The Schoolteacher as Modern Father
5. Teaching Gender in the Colony
6. Mission Schools and Qur’an Schools
Conclusion: Pedagogy for Tolerance