Traditional Sanskrit education in North India (1600-1800): Curriculum, teachers and methods of learning

Rajesh Kochhar
Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Mohali 140306, Punjab, India
[email protected]

Lecture delivered at London School of Economics ( Department of Economic History, URKEW),
11 November 2011

Most of the sacred literature in Sanskrit was composed much before any script was introduced into India. Even when Sanskrit started being written down, the writing material was, apart from stone and metal, perishable, mostly palm-leaf. Paper was introduced into India about eleventh century but was generally not used for Sanskrit. Sanskrit texts were in fact not committed to paper till the British period. Traditional writing material came from plants and was perishable. This meant that the manuscripts had to be copied afresh after a period. The fact that the vast ancient sacred and classical Sanskrit literature has been handed down to us through a living tradition depending on word of mouth and re-writing implies the existence of institutionalized Sanskrit teaching. Learned Brahmins considered it a part of their duty to train the next generation. Similarly, support for Sanskrit education constituted an act of merit for the wealthy and leading members of the society. There was probably a quid pro quo in the landlords’ support to Sanskrit learning. A learned Brahmin materially supported by a landlord would be inclined to interpret the ritual to the benefit of the latter.

Source material

It is ironical that for describing even a time-honoured institution like Sanskrit teaching we muse depend on colonial documentation No ancient account of the Sanskrit schools written by a student, teacher or anybody else seems to be extant. There are stray references to education in the Puranas which provide some useful information. But the type of questions we are interested in today can largely be answered only by information gathered during the British period. The two earliest efforts in this direction were by an administrator and by a missionary. In 1807 the East India Company Court of Directors asked Dr Francis Buchanan to carry out a thorough well-defined district-wise survey in the Company’s Eastern India territories. Buchanan was additionally asked to collect intelligence about neighbouring areas as well without quitting British India, no doubt for future reference. The survey lasted seven years, but the publication of the results came much later. Buchanan published his account of Dinajpur district in 1833 ,but the survey at large was finally published in 1838 in three volumes by Robert Montgomery Martin .
The Baptist missionary William Ward of the famed Serampore trio carried out a multi-faceted survey from his own point of view. In 1811 he published from Serampore a four-volume Account of the Writings, Religion, and Manners of the Hindoos. This work was very well received in colonial circles. Next, a “carefully abridged, and greatly improved” two-volume second edition was prepared under a new title A View of the History, Literature, and Religion of the Hindoos, which was retained for all later editions. Volume 2 was published first, in 1815, while Volume 1 came out in 1818. The reversed publication order may have been due to demands from London, because the 1815 volume was reprinted from there in 1817. For later work, Ward reverted to the 1811 original. A greatly improved four-volume edition was brought out in 1820 from London. It was followed by a three-volume “New Edition” , which was “arranged according to the order of the original work printed at Serampore”. It would be instructive to compare the various editions to see how they evolved. It is important to keep track of the publication history of Ward’s works, because they are still cited. It would seem from published sources that Ward’s survey of Sanskrit academies was carried out in 1817. Both Buchanan and Ward did not know Sanskrit and had to depend on native intermediaries for information which they presented in their own frame of reference which they presumed to be culturally superior. Buchanan classifies Vedanta as a lower science and brackets it with magic. Commenting on the “miserable huts” that served as “college sleeping rooms, and the college hall”, Ward could not help interjecting : “the Hindoos have yet to learn that splendid edifices and large endowments are essential to learning”. We must however presume that the descriptions recorded are fairly accurate.

The colonial government was very keen to learn about “Indigenous Schools of Learning” because it wanted to be seen as its new patron. In 1829 the General Committee on Public Instruction deputed Horace Hayman Wilson to report on the tols in Nadiya ( also spelt Nadia, Nuddea, etc ; see below). Since Wilson was himself a great Sanskrit scholar, his report, though limited in extent, is very reliable . The surveys of Buchanan, Ward and Wilson were extensively used by William Adam in his officially commissioned three-volume general Report on the State of Education in Bengal which was published during 1835-1838 . In the meantime, British India opened Sanskrit Colleges at Benares (1791), Poona (1821) and Calcutta (1824), which were consciously modelled after traditional Sanskrit pathshalas. Their rules thus tell us something about the traditional institutions they sought to imitate. There was a renewed interest in these schools later in the century by which time Europe had taken to Sanskrit with great enthusiasm. In 1864, E. B. Cowell, Principal of Calcutta Sanskrit College accompanied by Indian colleagues, surveyed the Sanskrit schools in Nuddea, and published the report in 1867.

Developments in Government Sanskrit Colleges were duly noted by the pandits some of whom incorporated the new elements into their scheme here and there ( like the system of formal written examinations). But by and large the Sanskrit academies of the mid-nineteenth century retained their traditional character. A pandit from yesteryears visiting them would probably have felt at home. But the fact remains that the colonial and missionary surveys and reports were meant to serve contemporaneous needs. We are trying to extract from them information about an earlier era. The inherent limitations of the available source material should be borne in mind. Some interesting information on Benares and Sanskrit schools in general comes from a relatively recent Hindi book, first published in 1983, and from other works.

General

There were a number of Sanskrit schools in the eastern parts of North India, corresponding to Eastern Uttar Pradesh ( especially Benares), Mithila ( North Bihar), South Bihar, and Bengal ( especially Nadiya). These schools were not distributed uniformly but clustered in some districts. Though they ranged in quality from excellent to indifferent, they had certain common features. A number of subjects were offered: grammar and vocabulary; literature; Nyaya (philosophy); Smrti (law); Puranas; and astronomy. Vedic recitation constituted a separate discipline. For some reason, Vedic studies proper were the forte of Telugu country and South India in general. Here, I shall be mostly concerned with North India.

The education system was teacher-centric. A teacher offered to teach either a single subject or a combination of subjects depending on his own expertise. Students could enroll with a teacher depending on his reputation and their own interest. If a student felt that he had learnt whatever he could from a particular teacher, he could politely shift to another. A typical course of study lasted 10-12 years, and attracted students of all ages including even old men.
The students were either local or came from other villages. A famed teacher would draw students from afar also. If the teacher could, he provided modest accommodation and even food to external students. If he could not, the students fended for themselves. If number of students was small, the teacher held the class in the veranda of his own house. The teacher’s wife considered the students to be part of her extended family and especially treated the brighter ones with indulgence. The pandits and their schools were supported by the society in direct and indirect ways. In a very few cases, the teachers had farming income of their own or were supported by their family members. Many times donations were given expressly to meet the school expenditure. Interestingly, the teachers as well as students in South Bihar came from relatively well-off families; majority of them being supported by family funds. Here gift of uncooked food was given to the teacher “expressly for the benefit of the students”. Everywhere, the pandit and his pupils received frequent gifts of money and clothes on special occasions like funeral feasts, weddings, entry into new house, child birth, dedications, etc. School would be closed on days of religious festivals so that the teacher and his pupils could be present at a rich donor’s house. “In certain seasons of the year the more indigent students travelled about as religious mendicants, the small sums thus obtained being employed to defray those expenses which their relations or teachers do not enable them to meet”.
Celebrated pandits received land grants from the Rajas and the big zamindars. A pandit’s heirs continued to enjoy the high title of pandit and their share of the estate even when they changed their profession. Very often a son of the family continued the learned tradition, but his share of the inherited land would cease to be sufficient to sustain him leave aside his school. For example, a teacher in Murshidabad in the early nineteenth century held an endowment of ten bighas of land which yielded a paltry income of one rupee per bigha per annum. This endowment was the remnant of the 100-bigha grant earlier made to his grandfather, which at the time would have been enough to sustain the pandit’s family and professional activities. A measure of a pandit’s celebrity status was his winning a shastrartha, that is defeating the opponent in a public disputation. It may be noted in passing that many a pandit would not mind composing an impromptu verse and passing it off as an ancient one, with a view to momentarily silencing his opponent in a public debate. This was considered clever and not unethical.

Benares

The most famous Sanskrit centre in North India was Benares whose educational importance was a corollary of its sanctity as a holy city. A Benares-based Tailang Brahmin Jagannath was given the title Panditraj by Emperor Shah Jahan. Jagannath as well as another pandit Ramanandpati Tripathi taught Sanskrit to the Emperor’s son Dara Shikoh (d. 1658). Benares was destination of choice for learned Brahmins from all over India who brought in their own specialization to the city and attracted interested students from far and near. Kings and rich zamindars from all over supported religious activity here. Temples routinely provided free food and shelter to poor Brahmins which category included aspiring students as well. Benares offered teaching in all departments, but it was recognized as the most important centre for Paninian grammar. The 1817 data for Benares is shown in Table 1. As many as 48 schools were devoted to the Veda where 873 students received instruction. The next in popularity was Paninian grammar with 17 schools and 218 students. There were in addition schools offering one or two subjects. A student could thus decide whether he wished to study law alone or combine it with grammar, poetry or Nyaya.

Table 1. Subject-wise break up of Benares Sanskrit schools in 1817

Subject(s) Number of schools Number of students Average number of students per school
Veda 48 873 18
Paninian grammar 13 218 17
All Shastras 3 56 19
Nyaya 4 45 11
Astronomy 2 35 18
Grammar+ Nyaya 2 35 18
Vedanta +Mimansa 2 24 12
Grammar+ law 1 15 15
Grammar+ astronomy 1 15 15
Law 1 15 15
Poetry + law 1 10 10
Nyaya+ law 1 10 10

Based on data from Ward 1820, pp. 490-493

Nadiya

The next in educational importance to Benares was Navadvipa or Nadiya ( variously spelt as Nuddea, Nadia, etc.) on River Bhagirathi in Western Bengal which owed its position not to any religious sanctity but to the patronage extended by its Brahmin kings. In the sixteenth century it emerged as a great centre of Nyaya studies by supplanting Mithila which claimed to be the original home of Gautama’s Nyayasutras. In an earlier era students from all parts of India flocked to Mithila for studying the Nyaya philosophy. To protect its turf, Mithila forbade copying of the manuscripts or even taking of classroom notes. This unwritten rule was brilliantly subverted by Basudev Sarvabhauma (c. 1450 – c. 1525) who came from Nadiya when about 25 years of age to become a student of Pakshadhara Mishra, the most celebrated authority on Nyaya of his time. His real name was Jayadeva. He came to be called Pakshadhara because he once prevailed in a debate which lasted a fortnight or paksha.

After the completion of his studies, Basudeb was subjected to a rigorous Shalaka-pariksa , “the probe examination”. In it, the leaves of a book were pierced by a sharp pin. The leaf reached by the tip of the pin became the subject matter for the student’s examination. One by one Basudev explained 100 leaves winning from his teacher the title of Sarvabhauma. Basudeb memorized the whole of Gangesh Upadhyaya’s Tattvachintamani and the metrical part of Udayana’s Nyayakusumanjali. Afraid that his life might be in danger on the way back home, he secretly went to Benares where he transcribed the memorized texts and additionally learnt Vedanta. On return he initiated Nyaya studies in Nadiya. Of his students two stand out for different reasons. One was Chaitanya; the other Raghunatha Shiromani (c. 1477-c. 1547). Raghunatha outshone his teacher and “demonstrated the worthlessness of the latter’s commentary on Logic”. Raghunatha now went to Mithila in the guise of a new student and enrolled with Pakshadhara who was still alive. Raghunatha is said to have defeated Pakshadhara in a debate and won his admiration. Duly recognized in Mithila, Raghunatha returned to Nadiya (c. 1514 CE) to found his famed Navya Nyaya school with his brilliant and influential commentary on Ganges’s work, calling it Tattvachintamandidhiti.

There were many a Sanskrit pathshala (tol in Bengali) in Nadiya devoted to various subjects. While the rest held a local appeal, the Nyaya tols attracted students from all over India including the South whose own focus was on the Vedic studies. In a village called Moongonda on River Godavari in South India five combinations were offered to the students, namely, Veda and all the Shastras; Veda, Nyaya and Mimansa; Veda and grammar; Veda, Nyaya and grammar; and Veda, Nyaya, grammar and Mimansa. The last one was offered by two teachers, the others by one each.
In Nadiya in 1817, there were 17 tols exclusively for Nyaya with 434 students, with the number of students varying from five to 125. Next stood Smrti with 12 tols and 193 students. A solitary astronomy tol attracted no less than 50 students. We do not know how accurate these numbers are, but they are certainly indicative. It is said that there was no Vedanta pandit in the whole of Bengal till Maharaja Nubkissen, “who had acquired a large fortune in the service of Lord Clive”, brought some learned men from Benares. Cowell noted in 1864 that in Nadiya , “an ascetic recluse” from Puri, Kashi Nath Shastri, taught Vedanta to students of other tols.

Table 2. Break-up of Nadiya Sanskrit schools in 1817

Subject(s) Number of schools Number of students Average number of students per school
Nyaya 17 432 23
Smrti 12 193 16
Poetry 1 50 50
Astronomy 1 50 50
Grammar 1 5 5

Based on data from Ward 1820, pp. 494-495

In addition to Nadiya, there were other centres of learning : Kumarhatta, Shantipur, Krishnagar and Bhatpara. Of particular note was Triveni where Jagannatha Tarkapanchanana presided over a large school in the nineteenth century. Next in celebrity status to Nadiya stood Vikrampur in Dacca. In 1838, in Vikrampur and other parts of Dacca there were 125 tols out of which as many as 33 (about 25%) were devoted to Nyaya. These Nyaya schools had in all 227 students, that is seven per tol.

Curriculum

Buchanan was able to build a good rapport with a learned pandit, the purohit of the leading family in Dinajpur. This pandit along with some others “most liberally and patiently informed” Buchanan, enabling him to prepare a detailed note on the traditional education system. The same system prevailed in neighbouring districts such as Purnea. Dinajpur was certainly not an outstanding centre of learning. Yet, its system can be taken to be generally representative. The Dinajpur purohit knew Vyakarana (grammar) which he taught himself in a school. His two brothers taught Smrti (law). He also settled sufficient income on two learned men to teach Nyaya and astronomy.

A Sanskrit academy (chauvari or chaupari) in Dinajpur was a small set up, with three to six students in the charge of the teacher (adhyapak). Skanda Purana makes a distinction between acharya, Upadhyaya and a guru or adhyapak. One who taught the Veda was called an acharya while one who taught only a part of it was termed upadhyaya . A guru or adhyapaka performed the samskaras like Nisheka etc., according to the prescribed rules. He also procured food for the student. There were two foundation courses compulsory for all students irrespective of their future plans: grammar and vocabulary. A number of text and help books were available for the former. A teacher could use Kramadeshvara’s Sankshiptasar along with a commentary written by “Goyichondro”. Another teacher might opt for Kalapa or Katantra composed by Sarva Varman, a contemporary of King Shalivahana. Both these grammars were far inferior to the user-friendly Mugdhabodha written by Vopadeva ( or Bopadeva) and extremely popular in Bengal. Mithila’s preference was for Bhattoji Dikshita’s simplification of Panini. Two commentaries were available on it; by Vopadeva himself and by Rama Tarkavagish. While the first two grammars could take 8-10 years to master, students required only 3-5 years to study Vopadeva. Another simple grammar was Sarasvat written by Anubhut Acharya. Two commentaries were available for it: Padachandrika by Govinda and Padmakumari by Ramakrishna. We thus see that famous texts all had commentaries written on them, which served as helpbooks to the students.

After grammar came the vocabulary, which kept the student busy for a year. The solitary text here was Amarsimha’s celebrated Amarakosha, which could be learnt with the help of commentaries, by a physician named Bharat Malik and by “Ray Mukut”. Grammar, vocabulary and literature though begun successively were generally studied simultaneously. The same was true of Smrti and Nyaya.

Some teachers now took their students straight to Smrti (“law”) while others believed a short course in poetry would be beneficial. In the latter case, the students spent a year on Bhattikavya. Some pandits considered it to be “so excellent and sublime, that after it every other poem appears flat, and is unnecessary”. Other teachers however were not so overwhelmed. They went on to discuss Kalidas’ Raghuvamsha and Kumarsambhava.

Smrti was an important part of chauvari instruction because the regulation of the ritual would determine the earnings of the pandits and the extent of their hold on their yajamans (clients). The standard authority on Smrti was the celebrated Nadiya pandit, Raghunandan Smarta Bhattacharya, who wrote 28 tracts (tattva) on rites and customs out of which eight were prescribed reading at Dinajpur requiring “five years of constant application”. They deal with conduct, rites and ceremonies associated with lunar dates, intercalary month, atonement for sin, homage to the deceased ancestors, purity, marriage, and prayer. Tithitattva described ceremonies at new moon, full moon and eclipses, while restrictions applicable during the adhika or mala masa ( intercalary month) were discussed in Malamasatattva. Prayaschittatattva focused on the ritual for remission of sin, while the ceremony for homage to the deceased ancestors was taken up in Shraddhatattva. For food restrictions on certain days especially those of mourning, one turned to Shuddhitattva , while “Udwahotattva” served as the manual on ritual for marriage. Prayer was the subject of ahniktattva . From a legal point of view the most important part of Raghunandan’s work was Dayatattva which discussed inheritance of property, in manner different from the Mitakshara.

For some students Smrti education was complete with the Bengal school as represented by Raghunandana ; they could now take up the Bhagavata Purana. But there were teachers, at least in Dinajpur and Purnea, who felt that the students should learn about the pre-Nadiya Mithila school as well. The textbooks used were the Prayaschittaviveka by Shulapani of Jessore (incidentally a Bengali rather than a Maithili), and Vivadachintamani by the celebrated Maithili scholar Vachaspati Mishra.

Astronomy

In Dinajpur there was a single pandit who instructed pupils in astronomy/astrology. He taught his pupils Siddhanta Rahasya and the “Vasoti” and also constructed almanacs, but those commonly in use among the astrologers were brought from “Mauliya” near Murshidabad, and “Keola near Dacca”. In 1799, the Nadiya pandits prepared “a properly authenticated” traditional almanac for use by the British administrators. Going by the text booksc said to be used, North and South Bihar had a more rigorous astronomy teaching than Bengal.

Successful candidates were not issued any diplomas but were given titles .A titles was a compound word , formed by combining Tarka (“confutation”) , Nyaya or Vidya with Alankar or Bhushana (both “ornamentation”), Chudamani ( “crest jewel”) , Panchanana (“five headed”), Ratna (“jewel”), Shiromani (crown jewel”), Vachaspati (lord of speech”) or Vagish (“lord of words”). Additionally Vidya could be prefixed to Nivas (“residence”), Nidhi (“treasure”), Sagar, Arnav ( both “ocean”). It is not clear if and how these titles were arranged hierarchically. Interestingly a student with a learned family background invariably chose a title which none of his ancestors had enjoyed.

A titled student could now return home and set up his own tol. A pandit who came from a learned background commanded greater respect than a first-generation learner. Gadadhara Bhattacharya ( mid 17th cent.) born in Lakshmipasa in the Bogra district of East Bengal came to Nadiya and became the pupil of the famous teacher Harirama Tarkavagish. On his teacher’s death Gadhadhara became the head of the tol. “But the students in Nadia did not at first accept him as their teacher as he was a man of Eastern Bengal and did not belong to a family of hereditary Pandits”. Gadhadhara left the tol and started living on a public street in a garden house. Whenever a student came to collect flowers, Gadhadhara started his discourse on Nyaya nominally addressing not the student but the tree. “ Charmed with his exposition of the knotty points of logic, young men came and secretly enrolled themselves as his pupils.” Gadhadhara composed a gloss ( prakashika) on Raghunatha’s Didhiti which established his reputation.
In the traditional economy, running a well established tol was the cherished dream of a learned pandit. Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar’s (1821-1891) father hoped that his son after his education in the Government Sanskrit College Calcutta would open his own tol in his village. The early years of the British rule in Bengal saw increase in interest in learning Sanskrit by Brahmins because of the newly created employment opportunities. In 1816 there were 31 schools with 380 students in Nadiya. In 1818 while the number of schools came down to 31, the number of students went up to 747. In 1829, by Wilson’s count there were 25 schools containing between 500-600 students. This however was a transient phenomenon. Very soon the administration became English-centric and the craze for English education in Bengal and elsewhere resulted in a decline in traditional Sanskrit learning.

North and South Bihar

The Sanskrit culture of Tirhoot in North Bihar (corresponding to ancient Mithila and including Darbhanga) and South Bihar was more broad-based and widely directed than that of Bengal and was akin to that of Benares. The three pillars of Bengal Sanskrit scholarship were Bopadeva (grammar), Raghunatha Shiromani (Navya Nyaya) and Raghunandana (Smrti). In Bengal, grammar was a tool rather than an academic disciple in its own right. Following Raghunandana was strictly a Bengal phenomenon which did not impress the neighbouring Bihar. Navya Nyaya did enjoy all-India reputation, but Mithila retained its loyalty to its own tradition. Unlike Bengal, Bihar taught grammar for its own sake, not from Panini directly, but through influential commentaries thereon by Patanjali and Bhattji Dikshit and other, tertiary, works. In law, Mitakshara rather than Daya was taught. A teacher in South Bihar, Chakrapani Pandit, was reported in 1838 to have written a 300-page tract opposed to the school of Raghunandana and aggressively titled Durjanamukhachapetika ( a slap on the face of the villains). The work is admittedly late but the anti-Raghunandan tradition must be older. In South Bihar astronomy teaching meant familiarity with manuals facilitating almanac-making, without going into the basics. The prescribed books included Muhurta Chintamani, Muhurta Markanda, and Muhurta Kalpadruma. Interestingly, Bhaskara’s Lilavati was taught. Tirhoot on the other hand focused on Siddhantic texts ( like Siddhanta Shiromani and Surya Siddhanta). It is not clear whether all the named books were actually used in the classroom or were simply enumerated to make an impression on the European recordist.

Discussion
The whole system was centred on the teacher. No teacher ever charged a tuition fee. Not only that, he would even provide accommodation, food and some times even clothing to his pupils. No paper certificates were issued. On successful completion of the strenuous course that could last 10-12 years, the teacher conferred an honorific title on the pupil which was universally recognized and respected.

What were the caste restrictions on Sanskrit learning? In 1843, Horace Hayman Wilson drew attention to a significant aspect of traditional Sanskrit teaching. “There is nothing in the laws or institutes of the Hindus which authorizes a monopoly of a knowledge of the Sanskrit language by any one caste or order of the people. The only monopoly insisted upon by the Brahmans was that of tuition. They allowed no other caste to teach—they enjoined the military and agricultural castes to learn, even the holy books, the Vedas. They prohibited the Sudra or servile caste from hearing the sacred books, but they permitted even the mixed castes to read and hear the great historical and mythological poems, and consequently never thought of excluding them from a knowledge of the language in which those books are composed.” According to the Skanda Purana, a Brahmin “even in distress” was forbidden to teach a Sudra; he would be expelled from the Brahmin village if he did so. Expulsion meant he would have to merge with a degraded caste.

Since career as a teacher or priest was out of bounds for non-Brahmins, undergoing a 10-year regimen would not be worth the effort for them even if it were permitted. Upper-caste non-Brahmins desirous of learning Sanskrit for the sake of literature may have been taught the language, but their number would necessarily be small. There was resistance from Brahmins to admitting non-Brahmins into the Sanskrit club. In the mid nineteenth century when Isvarchandra Vidyasagar as principal of the Calcutta Sanskrit College proposed the admission of non-Brahmins, he was opposed by the faculty. He silenced his opponents by pointing out that they had willingly taught the Shastras to a Sudra like Raja Radhakanta Deb and the mlechchha Europeans. Vidyasagar met with partial success, and the full opening up of Sanskrit teaching under government auspices was a long-drawn affair. Similarly, when the government opened admission into its Poona Sanskrit College to all castes, the originally appointed faculty refused to take classes. This suggests that Brahmins by and large had always considered Sanskrit teaching and learning to be their caste’s or even sub-caste’s privilege.
Many Indian writers in the early part of the nineteenth century very self-consciously transported present-day Western education terminology into an earlier era. Thus a 1920 publication, otherwise very rigorous, talks of the establishment of Nadiya University, institution of a special chair in Logic, authorization by Mithila University for issuing diplomas, etc. Such terminology is anachronistic. Terms like university imply an authoritative structure and educational management. In the traditional Sanskrit teaching, a teacher collected students, taught them, evaluated them, and bestowed titles. The system worked because the titles were universally respected. Interestingly, the title could be used by the sons also even if they were not scholars.

Summary
Sanskrit was essentially an all-Brahmin affair. In rare instances, a non-Brahmin could take tuition in grammar and literature but was forbidden to enter the sacred territory. Teaching in any case was exclusively a Brahmin preserve. Both the teachers and students generally lived in relative poverty. Both were supported by the community in direct or indirect ways.
Teaching was teacher-centric rather than curriculum driven. There was however a broad consensus on what constituted Sanskrit education. But students were free to choose what they wished to learn and from whom. There was great emphasis on mastering the existing knowledge, Most students were no doubt content with trodding the beaten path. But there was scope for brighter students to chalk out their own course, challenge the existing texts and make original contribution towards interpretation.

References
Adam, William (1835) Report on the State of Education in Bengal (Calcutta: Bengal Military Orphan Press).
Adam, William (1838) Third Report on the State of Education in Bengal; including Some Account of the State of Education in Behar (Calcutta: Bengal Military Orphan Press).
Cowell, E. B. (1867)”Report on the Sanskrit Toles of Nuddea”. Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, June, pp. 86-102.
Iyer, N. P. Subramania (1917) Kalaprakiska: Standard Book on the Election (Mohoortha) System (Reprint, New Delhi: Asian Educational Services, 2006).
Kane, P. V. (1975) History of Dharmasastra, Vol. 1 (Poona: Bhandarkar Oriental Research Institute).
Martin, Robert Montgomery (1838) The History, Antiquities, Topography, and Statistics of Eastern India. 3 Vols. ( London: W. H. Allen).
Mirashi, V.V. (1933-34) Epigraphia Indica, Vol. 22, pp. 159-165.
Upadhyaya, Baldev (1994) Kashi ki Panditya Parampara. 2nd ed. (Varanasi: Vishvavidyalaya Prakashan).
Ward, William (1820) A View of the History, Literature, and Mythology of the Hindoos. 3rd ed., Vol. 4 (London: Black, Kingsbury).

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