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From Primitive Artisans to Modern Craftsmen: Colonialism, Culture, and Art Education in the Late Nineteenth-Century Punjab
Nadeem Omar Tarar
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Department of Communication and Cultural Studies, National College of Arts, Lahore, 4 The Mall, Lahore Available online: 04 Oct 2011

To cite this article: Nadeem Omar Tarar (2011): From Primitive Artisans to Modern Craftsmen: Colonialism, Culture, and Art Education in the Late Nineteenth-Century Punjab, South Asian Studies, 27:2, 199-219 To link to this article:

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South Asian Studies Vol. 27, No. 2, September 2011, 199219

From Primitive Artisans to Modern Craftsmen: Colonialism, Culture, and Art Education in the Late Nineteenth-Century Punjab
Nadeem Omar Tarar*
Department of Communication and Cultural Studies, National College of Arts, Lahore, 4 The Mall, Lahore By closely reading the debates on the art school curriculum within the Indian civil and educational bureaucracy in the last quarter of the nineteenth century, this article analyses the fundamental shift in the theoretical and methodological basis of art education in colonial art schools, which were founded for the revival of Oriental arts and craftsmanship through western ideas of visual literacy. A detailed analysis of the founding decades of the Mayo Schools of Art demonstrates the intersection of aesthetic discourses in art education with the Orientalist views of Indian society as a traditional, tribal caste-based society. The colonial sociology of occupational castes became the conduit to recruit and train artisan castes in the Mayo School of Art. While this colonial policy of caste-based education in Punjab favoured artisan castes in their occupational careers, it restricted the enterprising students of artisan families who wished to pursue their careers independently of their hereditary associations. Keywords: J. L. Kipling; Mayo School of Art; Richard Temple; Baden Powell; Denzil Ibbetson; H. H. Locke; Arts and Crafts Movement

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Scripting an archive: an introduction This paper is an articulation of an archival experience. It is, to borrow a phrase, the biography of an archive in a practical as well as theoretical sense.1 Teaching anthropology to art students at the National College of Arts (NCA) overlapped with the assignment of turning into an archive the vast corpus of unkempt records of the college administration since its inception as the Mayo School of Art (MSA) in 1875. Prior to that, no attempt had been made to gather, appraise, arrange, and describe the NCA official records. The process of identifying, s classifying, indexing, and arranging the contents of each set of papers in a chronological order, which went hand in hand with repairing and conserving the badly damaged papers, provided, inter alia, an early exposure to the taxonomic order of the colonial state in nineteenthcentury Punjab. There was an incipient promise here of applying the theoretical concepts drawn from literature to actual historical problems, furnished through the knowledge derived from the archives. This was a unique type of knowledge which, notwithstanding its conceptual ramifications, was dependent on the grossly physical exercises of emptying cotton sacks stuffed with paper records abandoned in storage areas, wrestling with huge scraps of moth-eaten office files, and making final appraisals of documents for retention or disposal and processing them for publication (Figures 12).
ISSN 0266-6030 print/ISSN 2153-2699 online 2011 The British Association for South Asian Studies

The one hundred and twenty-fifth anniversary of the NCA in 2000 generated the necessary administrative impetus for a retrospective glance at the history of the institution. Understandably, this found its primary articulation in the undiscovered and muted archive. The publication of a historical chronicle of its early decades marked the beginning of empirical research to reconstruct the history of the Mayo School of Art. A photograph search for its students and teachers, who have faded out of the folds of history, was initiated, and the oral reminiscences of living members of the old school were heard. Artefacts including lithographs, woodwork, paintings, and other items produced by the school were located, borrowed, and documented. The library of the school, which had been salvaged a year earlier, contained a large collection of South Kensington-authored and inspired literature on industrial art education, administrative reports on artisanal industries, state gazetteers, and other pedagogic material in the form of folios and photographic albums, which formed a part of the NCA Archive (NCAA). A retrospective exhibition on the Mayo School and a few publications on its founding principal, Lockwood Kipling, and his native student protg, Bhai Ram Singh, who rose to become the first Punjabi principal of the school, marked the beginning of the postcolonial project of writing the biography of a national archive (Figure 3).2


Nadeem Omar Tarar institution. Not only did these sources have extractive uses as prized sources of authentic information about and guarded treasures of the institutions corporate memory, but they also drew attention to its ethnographic features. Far from being a static collection of texts and an inert site of storage and conservation, the voluminous records of the Mayo School of Art ranging from international circulars of the Department of Science and Art, London, to correspondence with artisans in remote tehsil headquarters of colonial Punjab offered illustrations of diverse modes of objectification of colonial subjects and a structural transformation of fields of knowledge production. The experience of constructing an archive became an epistemological experiment which allowed me to see archives as both transparencies on which power relations were inscribed and intricate technologies of rule in themselves. 3 The process of archiving sanitizes the records and, in many respects, deprives them of their original menace. It is the hindsight of a scholar, who approaches records from the safety of a distance, in time as well as in space, which ultimately reveals the facts of history. A scholarly use of an archive for extracting information is distinct from its disciplinarian origin as one of the technologies of rule.4 The production and maintenance of the records of administration was one of the central determinants of the colonial regime of discipline and regulation. The records generated by the school were classified and categorized according to their functions.5 The active records of the school were kept away and secured in official premises, as if never to be revealed to those they were about. Power and control are rooted in the very etymology of the term archive. True to the etymological roots of the word in the Latin archivum (residence of the magistrate) and the Greek term arkhe (to command and govern), the colonial archive ordered colonial knowledge by setting up templates of knowledge, and following a criteria of evidence, proof, testimony, and witnessing to construct moral narrations.6 The collection of letters, circulars, memoranda, dispatches, and reports that make up the bulk of the archive pertain to communication within the school, as well as between the school and other state departments within India and with metropolitan institutions. An elaborate system of written accountability of the staff and the students, uninterrupted paper trails between the school and various departments of the provincial and imperial governments, private businesses, and educational institutions were the institutional forms which constituted the scaffolding of the colonial state. As cultural artifacts of fact production and taxonomies in the making, the archive was the technology on which the structure of colonial authority was built.7 The structure of administrative knowledge served as a reference guide to the administrative policies and

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1. The deteriorating condition of the administrative records of the Mayo School of Art in the storeroom at the National College of Arts in 1999. Authors photograph.

2. The improved condition of administrative records in the National College of Arts Archives in 2003. Authors photograph.

Over the years, a project for writing this biography of an archive began to unfold in a theoretical sense with the process of archiving the administrative records of the

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3. Research and Documentation Cell at National College of Arts Archives in 2006. Authors photograph.

practices of the Mayo School of Art. The genre of the official report was a vital component of colonial bureaucracy in India, which ordered the information system of the school administration. The historical contingencies of the genre derive from imperialist expansion into and conquest of remote parts of the world for geographical, military, and economic aggrandizement. The report as an historical genre of writing belonged to the category of managerial writing or writing for control, and was one of the techniques of acquiring effective control over greater distances through effective communication.8 The colonial state in Punjab was managed by officials professionally trained to rule by the pen and set standards of report writing which diffused throughout the administrative hierarchy.9 The reports were characterized by dominant managerial concerns aiming to increase the efficiency of the administration and develop more effective responses to exigencies. The colonial reports formed a representative field as well as textual evidence for formulating policies and procedures to direct and coordinate administrative thinking at the centre. It help[ed] tighten the centers control over what happened in the periphery

by constructing systematic, regularized ways of communicating activity.10 Lahores Mayo School of Art was Pakistans equivalent of the South Kensington School of Design in London (now the Royal College of Art). It was the last of the four colonial art schools established in key administrative and urban centres in colonial India, including Madras (1853), Calcutta (1854), and Bombay (1857). Despite being the only art school in Pakistan, the Mayo School of Art has not been as well researched and represented in the existing literature as its counterparts in India.11 Through a discursive reading of a variety of colonial texts, consisting of letters, circulars, memorandums, dispatches, and reports, this article tells the little told story of the Mayo School of Art in its founding decades, which brought the study of the decorative arts of Punjab to the forefront of the imperial struggle for mastery over Indias visual past. From the protracted discussions on the very purpose of the art school in Lahore to its development as the primary bureaucratic body responsible for art education in Punjab, I interrogate the ideologies of the British Arts and Crafts movement and the South Kensington agenda,


Nadeem Omar Tarar (chamars/mochis) and goldsmiths (sunars), metal burnishers (siqligars), and metal vessel makers (thathiars).17 Denzil Ibbetson, the first official ethnographer of the colonial Punjab, reported in 1882 that their unpleasant manners, rude customs, and unclean work caused an enormous social barrier between these artisan castes and the rest of society. In the first Punjab decennial census report, Ibbetson claimed that the better classes of the natives, who called themselves such generic names as Chuhra, Dum, or Nat . . . think it would degrade [them] to show any closer acquaintance with their habits.18 The insularity of the artisan castes, which formed the mainstay of agricultural labour as lower menials and which were solely responsible for artisanal production, turned them into a concealed social group. While the [artisanal] industries of the province are almost entirely in their hands, an immense deal of the hardest part of the [agricultural] field work is performed by them. At the same time, they are precisely the classes regarding which it is almost difficult to obtain reliable information.19 In Ibbetsons customary hierarchal caste order with the landowning, agricultural, the priestly, mercantile, and professional castes at the apex the artisan castes constituted the lowest strata of Punjabi society, along with vagrant, and criminal tribes, the gypsies, and the menials.20 Given their lower social and economic status, he considered them politically irrelevant, but ethnologically significant. For Ibbetson, they represented the great mass of such aboriginal elements as is still to be found in Punjab. The empirical and ethnological account of the artisan castes, including their customary practices and moral behaviour, was intended to offer a clue to the separation of the non-Aryan elements in the customs of the other tribes.21 Flouting a customary restraint on closer acquaintance with primitive artists, Ibbetson offered a penetrating account of their evolutionary growth. By dividing them up into eleven categories, he charted the evolutionary path of artisan castes, which he viewed as part of the historical liquidity and modes of livelihoods of human societies from vagrancy and scavenging at the bottom [to] weaving at the top. Vagrant, Hunting and Criminal tribes, which wandered from place to place and engaged in hunting, scavenging, prostituting, [and] stealing from village to village, are considered by Ibbetson to be the most primitive form of artisan caste.22 Ibbetsons representation of the village artisan as part of primitive culture became a standard description of traditional Indian artists in their evolutionary journey, which would appear not only in colonial administrative accounts but also in the disciplinary studies of twentieth-century South Asian anthropology and art history.23 The occupational theories of Indian castes contributed to the emergence of a colonial discourse that sought to locate the individual as part of a matrix of castes and

which hinged on anthropological theories of primitive and modern societies. The specific contention of this study is that the boundaries established between oral and literate are the folklorist prisms of the colonial discourse on art education through which the practices of indigenous communities and institutions of Indian art and artists were articulated.

The suitable boys: artisans at work and Ibbetsons anthropology In the official discourses of colonial India, traditional Indian artists made their appearance as village artisans catering to the customary demands of the village community for art wares and as urban craftsmen and artists engaged in private production or employed in karkhanas (workshops).12 Indian artists were celebrated in the imperial accounts of colonial exhibitions and world fairs, as well as in the chronicles of the Arts and Crafts movement, as the legendary industrial classes of India. A subsequent generation of South Kensington graduates in the Indian educational service shared and extended their admiration of the Indian decorative arts and the artisanal communities responsible for their production. These British advocates played a central role in collecting, documenting, assembling, and disseminating textual and visual evidence of authentic Indian artisanal skills and designs.13 For influential art bureaucrats like George Birdwood, artisans living in the village communities . . . the stronghold of traditionary [sic] arts of India were the primary sources of the art tradition that was being threatened by industrialization and commerce.14 The colonial construction of the artist as the hereditary artisan in late nineteenth-century India drew upon European theories of race. The notion of hereditary implied unbroken links to an ancient visual past as well as the biological transmission of artistic knowledge through the blood.15 Criminality was assumed to be hereditary, and so were artistic skills.16 The term hereditary artisan therefore referred to a skilled body of men who learned artistic skills and design knowledge, not through formal education in an institution, but through their family socialization within an artisan caste (Figure 4). In the caste discourses of the colonial state in Punjab, artisans were placed in the anthropological schematic of castes and tribes as part of the aboriginal stock of nonAryan castes. Land settlement reports, censuses, and surveys were the primary sites for the identification of the artisan castes as non-agricultural groups, responsible for the agricultural labour and artisanal industries of Punjab. Forming more than 20 per cent of the total population of nineteenth-century Punjab, artisan castes comprised blacksmiths (lohars), carpenters (tarkhans), weavers (julahas), potters (kumhars), leather workers

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4. Pencil and Ink Drawing of a Punjabi Wood Carver by John Lockwood Kipling. Source: Journal of Indian Art and Industry, October, 1887, No. 20. National College of Arts Archives.


Nadeem Omar Tarar The Mayo School of Art and new Orientalism in Punjab: discourse on orality and visual literacy in the Indian colonial educational bureaucracy The Mayo School of Art, as it came to be known, was called by various names in the official correspondence of the British Government in Punjab: Mayo Memorial School of Industrial Arts, Industrial School of Art and Design, Lahore School, and School of Arts. The fluctuating emphasis from industry to arts, implied in the various names for the school, marked divergent conceptions proposed for the art school in Lahore. At issue were questions over the type of art school it should be; its curriculum and methods of art instruction were required to match the governmental vision for the commercial and educational development of nineteenth-century colonial Punjab. One of the chief imports from late nineteenth-century colonial India to the Science and Art Department in London, under the administration of Henry Cole, was the role of drawing in industrial art schools. The suggestion to import these methods had the mutually conflicting objectives of improving manufacture and industry and informing public taste. 30 What continued to be debated well into the twentieth century was the question of whether training in design through the teaching drawing in art schools was part of general education, with the aim of cultivating minds and improving popular tastes, or part of technical education, with the aim of promoting design manufacture and industry. 31 Such questions in turn focused attention on the usefulness of various types of curricula and methods of instruction among the British colonial administrator-scholars and art teachers. Could a single curriculum be adopted in all art schools in India or was it better to leave it up to the individual art schools to devise their own? How much time needed to be spent in learning the principles of art and how much of it was to be devoted to their application in manufacture?32 The AnglicistOrientalist controversy over the question of the superior educational value given to the teaching of the English language, which had divided the colonial bureaucracy and British scholars in the first half of the nineteenth century, had its parallels in the official debates on art education. 33 The developmental concerns of colonial officials and art administrators about the application of human capital to industry reported in the official debates on the art schools in India were tainted by lurking Orientalist theories of Indian arts and culture as pre-literate, oral, and non-material, to cite a few of the descriptive indices of traditional societies developed by nineteenth-century European social theory.34 As B. R. Tomlinson points out, the colonial officials and others always stressed the written over the oral, the Western over the Eastern, in devising the educational systems for primary and secondary education, and propagated a syllabus and educational

tribes in order to tap into the hereditary potential of each caste in the service of the imperial economy.24 The Indian census generated vast hierarchies of castes, which were considered to be at multiple stages of evolutionary progress. The stability of British rule was perceived to be tied up with the natural development of progress within each caste and tribe, in which any mixing of the census categories of population posed a threat to the colonial racial and political order.25 The stress on customary practices and traditional institutions acquired a strategic dimension in Punjab due the non-regulatory status given to the province after its annexation in 1849. To reduce the infrastructural costs of developing administrative structures in a newly acquired province, the British East India Company favoured a system of indirect rule for the governance of extensive areas, inhabited by wild and martial people in Punjab with few elements of civilized administration.26 The colonial state in Punjab therefore attempted to replicate the native apparatus by creating an intermediate judicial and administrative structure from within the population, to be controlled by selected men from the British Indian bureaucracy. Out of administrative necessity elaborate systems were established to ascertain the nuances of local customs in all spheres of Indian culture including law, education, religion, and folklore.27 Being a part of the non-regulatory administration in Punjab, colonial education created a new social, economic, and political order that was carved out of indigenous social organization.28 The occupational theories of the Punjabi customary caste order provided a grid on which to structure the system of colonial education and employment in the province. Schools acted as training grounds for disciplined labour, so agricultural castes were highly preferred by the colonial administrators for admission to the veterinary schools because of their presumed familiarity with animals. At the same time, caste was constructed as a racial endowment of physical and psychological attributes. The art administrators in Punjab reserved purely artistic education for the exceptionally talented Indian and European only, while admitting the artisan pupils into arts and crafts schools on a preferential basis. The sons and near relatives of the artisan castes were preferentially admitted to the Mayo School of Art, Lahore, for more than half a century through generous scholarships and fee waivers. As late as the 1930s no fee was charged to students of the Mayo School of Art who could claim descent from an artisan caste. Eligibility for caste scholarships was assessed through references to census reports and district gazetteers. The social lives and professional careers of a large majority of students were guided by the markers of their census identity, notwithstanding the fact that most art schools in India failed to draw and retain much concerning the idealized industrial classes of India.29

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South Asian Studies structure that fit their Oriental concept of Indian society and culture.35 Tomlinson argues that British commitment to technical education in India was rather limited and was restricted to developing artisanal industries. He attributes this to the dominance of Orientalist concepts of Indian society as traditional and Britains own self-image as a modernsociety.36 Many early European travellers to India commented on the intuitive ability of local craftsmen to design and execute artwork from memory. They were surprised by the natives immaculate ability to copy from observation without drawing their subject on paper first. 37 However, this admiration for the oral transmission of Indian art was coupled with adverse aesthetic evaluations. An early nineteenth-century traveller, Captain Thomas Williamson, observed that Indian artists may display great ingenuity, consummate patience, and often, great delicacy, but noted that when it came to design, taste, composition, perspective, consistency, and harmony they will prove himself to be completely ignoramus. 38 The aesthetic judgments of the colonial officials and art administrators in Punjab the proverbial men on the spot entrusted with the task of preserving traditional Indian art differed little from the fleeting observations of European visitors. For colonial administrators like Baden Henry Powell and Richard Temple Sr, all Indian art was oral and instinctive and the oral transmission of manufacturing knowledge was the root cause of the decline of artisanal industries in India. Even sympathetic observers like John Lockwood Kipling mourned the absence of written laws to guide artisanal work, which supposedly led to the regressive darkness of customary practices which realized themselves in instinct rather than knowledge. 39 H. H. Locke, the principal of the Calcutta school, pointed out the hazy way in which witnesses in courts of justice speak of form, size and color, which posed serious obstacles in thrashing out legal evidence. While every other faculty is acknowledged to require training, the power of seeing should be thought to require none? he rhetorically asked. The habits of confused perceptions could only be corrected by teaching the natives as to how to see before they could be told as how to draw.40 The orality of Indian art, configured through an absence of drawing, copying methods, lack of perspective, and monstrous forms of representation in Indian paintings, was widely questioned in the colonial discourse on Indian art education. As objects from South Asian visual pasts were being hunted for display in international exhibitions and preservation in European museums, leading to scavenging in the hereditary centres of crafts production in India, Indian artisans were increasingly found to be lacking in mental training. British art administrators and colonial officials stressed the essential orality of the process of construction and transmission of visual knowledge and technical


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information, even as they admired the superior stylistic beauty and craftsmanship of the Indian arts, which were held up as a model for emulation in the craft curriculum of British art schools. Despite wide appreciation for the skills and craftsmanship of the artisan castes of India, it was clear to British bureaucrats and art teachers from the outset that traditional karkhanas could not be taken as a model for salvaging traditional Indian arts. The differences between modern art schools and traditional karkhanas covered much more than their divergent European and Indian origins. What came to be questioned were the customary processes and methods of visual knowledge production and transmission taught in the workshops or karkhanas through an apprenticeship system based on hereditary and oral transmission.41 It was by systematically opposing and displacing the socially embedded forms of knowledge, as embodied in indigenous institutions, that the official discourse of art education took shape in Punjab.

Reviving industry through art: Baden Powell and the officers of the Punjab administration As one of those fabled men on the spot officials of the Punjab Government, who by virtue of their bureaucratic routine had earned the status of an expert in matters of Indian art, Baden Powell, a civil servant in Punjab and the curator in charge of the Lahore Museum, was keen to share his knowledge of the arts and artisans of Punjab with the senate of Punjab University.42 Powell had closely followed its progress over several decades. His views on the proposed subject of art schools acquired a strategic credence in bureaucratic circles and can be read as one of the most eloquent statements of British Orientalist visual literacy in colonial Punjab.43 He built his pedagogic estimation of the Indian arts on the Orientalist decline theory of Indian civilization made popular by James Ferguson, which argued that Indian art had degenerated over the centuries and needed to be salvaged by expanded institutional supervision by the British art administration.44 Speculating on the specific cause of the presumed decline of Indian manufacture what has been called industrial arts Powell attributed the failure to the oral method of instruction and production as practiced in the workshops and karkhanas:
All manufacturing skill in India is wholly empirical; in consequence there has been no change, no improvement, in any one branch of it; rather manufactures have fallen off. Whatever change has taken place has done so by reason of models and copies furnished (e.g in the manufacture of koftgari, cutlery, furniture).45

In Powells formulations, the customary processes and methods of visual knowledge production and transmission


Nadeem Omar Tarar school signalled the unofficial closure of traditional karkhanas and an end to indigenous art and artists. The workshop practices at the proposed Mayo school were aimed at imparting lasting improvements to the traditional crafts imperfectly taught at karkhanas. Among others, the industrial arts of carpentry, pottery, metal work, and leather work were deemed most promising branches, to be taught by competent workmen . . . to artisan-pupil[s] at the school. Powell warned against the error of adopting wholesale, the models and designs most common in Europe and the indiscriminate introduction of Greek and classical, quasi-classical forms and ornamentation, as had occurred at the schools of art in Calcutta and Bombay.49

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were the root cause of decline. They were found to be inadequate for teaching in Indian art schools. Their inadequacy was attributed to oral methods of composition and transmission and reliance on oral traditions, which were reflected in their presumed failure to create critical reflections. In contrast with an empirical and oral mode of learning and transmission of visual knowledge and skills, which to him was a defining characteristic of primitive society in Punjab, Baden Powell advocated a rational and literate mode of knowledge as practiced in civilized Europe. In his opinion, the school of art at Lahore should not be a series of manufacturing workshops opened at once to improve existing manufacture, but ought to require a fundamental change in the mode of art instruction. This would involve not only additions to the empirical information available to the student in line with the stage of manufacturing knowledge in this country, but also improvements to his practice . . . [by] knowing why he works and . . . instructing his mind so as to make his knowledge expand and increase:46
It should be remembered that mere empirical teaching of certain improved processes never results in any lasting improvement: the pupils go away and practice just so much as they have managed to pick up. . . but they have nothing whatever in their minds as a basis, which enables them to reason about what they do, or to advance from one stage of comparative success to another.47 (Emphasis added).

Draw they must: the views of a Bombay bureaucrat and art school teachers On 24 October 1873, while the plans to establish the Mayo School of Art as a school of industrial art were afloat in Punjab, the secretary of state for India called for the opinion of leading British colonial officials and Indian art school teachers in Calcutta, Madras, and Bombay. He wished to discuss, among other things, the curriculum of the proposed school. The Indian art experts who were invited to give their opinion on the subject included Sir Richard Temple, governor of Bombay, John Lockwood Kipling, then professor of architectural sculpture at the J. J. School of Art, Bombay, H. H. Locke, principal of the Calcutta School of Art, Calcutta, and Dr F W A. de Fabeck, a maharajas . . surgeon who was asked to direct the school only a few years after it was founded. Although the views of Temple, as governor of Bombay and a leading patron of the arts, took precedence over those of junior officials of the educational service such as Locke, Fabeck, and Kipling, there was little agreement on what the nature of the curriculum for art schools in India ought to be. Underplaying the differences in the interpretations of the functions of art schools among the Indian art reformers, Temple tried to forge a bureaucratic consensus with an air of supreme authority in his note: It was formed before the receipt of these replies to my enquiries and that nothing in those replies has at all shaken, while much that Mr Locke has written has tendered to confirm, the views I entertained.50 The memoranda of these Indian art reformers concur with the administrator Baden Powell in terms of their evaluation of the demerits of traditional karkhanas practices, which European supervision alone could reform in their view, and of the importance of drawing in reforming the artisan-pupil. However, the Indian art schools teachers and patron would differ from Powell in recommending an art rather than a craft school for Punjab. Only Fabeck, the principal of the Jeypore School of Art

What was desired at the school was not mere improvement in techniques of craftsmanship or manufacturing knowledge, understood as a series of manual and technical operations, but the acquisition of a set of mental skills which would impart the ability to discriminate and classify complex constructions, abstract a pattern, and account for the observed regularities in visual forms. These new sets of skills involved the ability to use a syllogistic form of reasoning, associated with visual literacy acquired through drawing, as Powell stressed:
I therefore very strongly urge you not to recommend any school which does not embrace a sufficiency of theoretical instructions. . . I would remind you that the theoretical teaching is far from being unprofitable even as theoretical teaching; drawing for instance; if the pupil were to go no further than learning to draw (I mean without going on to any branch of design-manufacture) [this] is in itself a useful thing, improving the eye and the hand as well as the taste.48

As the central coordinate of visual literacy, learning to draw became fundamental to the making of colonial artists. Without visual literacy, therefore, improvements in technical skills of manufacture could not help promote the Indian industrial arts. In the context of British state patronage of art education, the advent of the modern art

South Asian Studies who was known for his enthusiasm for Rajasthani art, advocated a craft school. Kipling, unaware of his future role in developing the school of art in Lahore, selectively responded only to correspondence concerning the arranging of art school exhibitions. Locke drew on his experience of the art school in Calcutta to offer a detailed response, arguing for the placement of drawing at the heart of Indian elementary education and for a greater role for fine art in higher education in the arts. H. H. Locke cited the curriculum of the Calcutta School of Art, which he devised in 1865, as a model for the art school proper in India, which undertakes to train designers, the men who shall apply true principles of art to any or all of these handicrafts. A skill-based education in art school was strongly opposed for both theoretical and practical reasons by Locke. He considered it an error to teach the workshop practice of any handicraft in an art school; ironically, this was something which the Mayo School of Art under Kipling came to prize. To teach the natives of this country any branch of art is doing them no good whatsoever; it is in fact more harmful than imperfect teaching in Europe, where students exposure to exhibitions and galleries could supplement art school instruction. Locke argued that, for the benefit of the proper aims of the school of art in India, in the event of the introduction of artisan trades or industrial arts, they must be added to, and not substituted for, the sound and complete teaching of . . . drawing in all its branches.51 Locke therefore not only presented a comprehensive plan for using drawing in industrial art schools, but also recommended it as a compulsory subject in all schools in India. Marshalling evidence from the queens speeches to the British Parliament, the viceroys addresses to the Indian empire, pages of Ruskins Twelve Lamps, and Shakespeares Hamlet, Locke outlined his ambitious plans for developing drawing as an addition to the proverbial 3 Rs in elementary education. The general introduction of simple elementary drawing into every school imparting alphabet literacy would discipline the mind and instruct powers of observation. To Locke, a proficiency in simple drawing, exact and grammatical, could be acquired by a boy with much less irksome labour than was involved in attaining the power to write. The habit of confused perception must be rectified through the acknowledgement of the value of drawing as an educational instrument conducive to the mental discipline and its introduction as a recognized element in primary education throughout the British Indian empire.52 He strongly advocated the use of drawing and the history of the fine arts in university education, especially in subjects related to construction and engineering. Rather than being places of scanty instruction in individual crafts, art schools should be centres . . . radiat[ing] influences that were beneficial to the entire public instruction of the country.53


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Richard Temple responded favourably to H. H. Lockes recommendations, finding his paper able and earnest, and rephrased in his memorandum much of what Locke had said. Temple rejected Fabecks suggestions for a craft school. He considered him not eminently qualified to give a weighty opinion on the matters because of his out of way location in an industrial school [rather] than a school of art proper. Kiplings memorandum was approved as thoughtful and consistent, and Temple felt obliged to support it. Temple echoed Baden Powell in his estimation of traditional Indian art pedagogy, which was instinctive rather than rational. Traditional Indian art was the result of the natural instincts of a traditional artisan locked away in the regressive darkness of customary practice, a quality which most of the nineteenth-century scholars associated with primitive art; it was not a product of a reflective knowledge of the arts.
The art of the natives of this country was instinctive rather than systematic; that it was the result of sympathy with the surrounding forms and colours of nature and a desire to select and embody such forms and colours as gave the artist pleasure not of any reasoning process whereby the superiority of one combination of lines or juxtaposition of colours, could be demonstrated as superior to another.54

Positing a view of the artist as an organic subject whose instinctive feeling for love and beauty could only survive under sovereign rule, Temple feared dwindling prospects for the patronage of customary art practices: I suppose that the love of and aptitude for fine art, once abundant in India, is now only exceptionally met with among the people under our rule . . . Indeed, the inevitable tendency of our rule is to repress native genius and originality. While lamenting bureaucratic marginalization of the traditional artists, Temple recommended fully fledged institutional intervention for the education of indigenous artists through European methods. Casting colonial rule in pedagogic terms, he concluded: It behoves us, therefore, since the original instinct is lost, to mould the opinions and tastes of the natives on a rational system.55 For this purpose, Temple stressed the need for inviting trained art teachers from Europe while casting serious doubts on the abilities of Indian teachers to impart to others what they themselves understand, and know, and feel. He also suggested that picked men be sent through the Secretary of State to be Principals, Professors, and Assistant Masters in art schools, just as they were selected and deputed to other departments of the civil bureaucracy.56 To translate his view of Indian art into a coherent policy for art schools, Temple considered it fundamentally important to have a single curriculum to be strictly laid down and adhered to in all the art schools in the British Indian empire. He set out the guiding principles


Nadeem Omar Tarar of form in plastic media. A similar sequence of cumulative lessons were to be adopted for the teaching of painting, defined by Temple as the expression of colour and form combined, whereby painting from copies would lead on to copying models in colour and sketching from nature.60

of art instruction in the following words: To develop art and to produce a knowledge and love of truth and beauty: not to develop industry, or to produce marketable commodities.57 Rephrasing it in what he called the educational terminology of the day, Temple recommended that the curriculum be gymnastic and not technical, such that, following H. H. Locke, the completion of the curriculum in the school of art is the point of divergence. Comparing art education with classical education at public schools, he expected the art schools to do similar work: offer wellrounded education in drawing and aesthetics and leave room for professional advancement in the fields of the students choice:
So with the students in a true school of art; some perhaps become painters and sculptors, and in their case the training they have received is beneficial technically as well as gymnastically, inasmuch as their study becomes directly applied to their profession; but even if they become builders, or potters, or goldsmiths, still the benefits they have, or may have, received from their instruction in the broad rudiments of fine art proper is large, in so far as it has improved the tone of their perceptions and made them capable of recognizing what is beautiful in nature and right in art.58

Industrial art education and the making of the Mayo School of Art The secretary of state in India approved the views of the committee headed by Sir Richard Temple in his submission to the governor general of India in council on 24 September 1874. He used the following words: The object kept in view should be instruction in drawing and designing rather than in mechanical work, the latter being in fact treated as purely subordinate and supplementary to the former. The Punjab Government started looking for a suitable person endowed with enough potential and sagacity to nurture the ambitious scheme into material reality. J. L. Kipling, professor of architectural sculpture at the Bombay Art School since 1865, was appointed principal of the new school in February 1875 on a salary of Rs. 800 per month.61 From an appraisal of the art educational debates in the colonial bureaucracy and their final outcome in the form of imperial dictates for starting a drawing and designing school in Lahore, it appears as if the views of superior British officers like Richard Temple, then the governor of Bombay, prevailed over those of junior officials in Punjab like Baden Powell, regardless of the relative merits of their respective positions. In the recommendations of the governor general of India, in line with the views of Richard Temple, a pronounced stress was placed on developing arts rather than industry, the complete opposite of what Baden Powell had separately argued for in the senate of Punjab University. Temples views also directly contradicted the recommendation of the Mayo Memorial Committee and subsequent committees of the Punjab government to make the school emphatically an industrial one, which was also popular with the vast majority of colonial officials, Indian landed aristocrats, and rulers of the princely states of Punjab, who had donated substantial sums to the Mayo Memorial Fund. Kipling reluctantly accepted the official recommendations for a school of design where the industrial arts were to hold a secondary place. This was hardly the type of the school most desired by the promoters of the movement, he later recounted with an air of resignation in one of his travelogues.62 Lockwood Kipling arrived in Lahore from Bombay on 24 April 1875 and reported to Director of Public Instruction Major Holroyd. He submitted a proposed plan for the establishment of the Mayo School of Art on

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The benefits of a school of art were articulated in terms of a disciplinary control over the mind and body learned through the correct use of the hand and the eye. To imbue the natives of India with right ideas of form and colour Richard Temple recommended a curriculum, based on a rigorous set of physical and mental exercises to stretch their minds and bodies. He emphasized that aesthetics, the line of beauty, the law of preponderance, harmonies and contrasts of colour, and the rules of composition were not a matter of taste or of fancy but established principles. . . laws [which] can be learned, illustrated, and applied, and on them practical rules can be founded.59 For Temple, it was the natives inability to design through drawings that was the central challenge of British art education in India. In order to render the pupils eye capable of delineating as they see, Temple recommended a curriculum divided into stages of progress, each involving varying scales of mental and physical operations which required the coordination of the hand and the eye. The first lessons were to be directed towards correct delineations of form in black and white by means of lines on a plane surface. This would be achieved through the teaching of drawing on outlines and shading from flat copies and models first, graduating to drawing from nature. Principles of perspective were recommended to be taught at the preliminary stages through lectures and blackboard demonstrations. With the visual understanding of forms having been established, the second lesson would move to the reproduction

South Asian Studies 27 May.63 In stressing the need for a workshop at the Lahore school, he tried to negotiate with the official emphasis on making it a school of art and design. Though the principles laid down by the Secretary of State forbid making the workshop the central feature of the project, Kipling argued, no Indian school of art can afford to dispense with it altogether . . . it is only in the atelier that the real power of a student can be justly tested. More eloquently, he stated:
I can no more understand how a designer is to learn without a practical knowledge of the methods of its execution than how a man can learn to swim without venturing into the water; and if I should say that in India, design without technical issue is almost as dead as faith without works.64


His most immediate task, before the building of the school could begin, was to draw up a list of establishments and materials for elementary drawing and to find a suitable building to accommodate furniture and drawing tools temporarily. The school of carpentry, which was attached to the office of the Director of Public Instruction, made drawing boards, drawing desks, easels, and tables for the new school under Kiplings instructions. The books and casts were ordered from South Kensington Museum. The possibility of finding a local building large enough to accommodate the offices, classrooms, and workshops and capable of meeting the chief requirement of a school of art [that] is light was considered unlikely owing to the local architectural styles.65 Proximity to the Lahore Museum and the proposed site of the new school were overriding concerns for Kipling, who cited several different options to temporarily house the school. These included the building of the General Post Office, which, according to Colonel Young, was at an inconvenient distance from the railway station and was likely to be removed. Captain Nisbet suggested the site of the old hospital in Hira Mandi near Lahore Fort, which to Kiplings mind was notoriously unhealthy, and it would cost as much to make it suitable for school purposes as a good house in a convenient situation. Finally, after a long search for a suitable location, the school was temporarily housed in the building of Lahore Museum (later remodelled as Tollinton Market). No one knew at the time that the school would have to stay there for five long years, for the proposed construction of the permanent building did not finish until 1880.66 The site selected for the building of the Mayo School of Art was carved out of the ruins of a massive seventeenth-century Mughal garden built by Shaikh Ilm-ud-Din Ansari (Figure 6).67 The historic setting for the school inspired Kipling to conceive of rather ambitious plans for the construction of an imposing structure for the Mayo memorial school and a museum. It is of considerable importance that a building intended to be

used as a school of instruction in Oriental art and for the expositions of its best works should be conceived and designed in an Oriental spirit, wrote Kipling. He speculated that it is not probable that we could surpass the beautiful work on Wazir Khans Mosque, but we could certainly produce something of a distinctive and artistic character, which might result eventually in the resuscitation of a dying craft.68 To design the building he proposed to engage the services of Casper Purdon Clarke, of South Kensington fame, or Royal Engineer Major C. Mant, famous for the Indo-Saracenic style of the Mayo College of Rajputana (now Rajasthan). As befitted a true pre-Raphaelite, Kipling understood the role of the proposed architect as that of the master craftsman in a medieval guild, who would design the main structure of the building while leaving the ornamental and subsidiary details for instruction and practice to young draughtsmen, mistris, carpenters.69 To Kiplings dismay, his ambitious plans for the building of the school and museum were downsized because of sparse provincial revenues, and his much-cherished hopes for the new museum were indefinitely postponed. The official response read thus: The LieutenantGovernor regrets that he is quite unable to hold out any hopes of any early grant of the government money towards the construction of a new museum, so that the design of the School of Art must be treated independently and with reference to the requirements of the school alone.70 Not to be put off by the dismal government response, Kipling worked out the designs of the school building and museum together such that, although they were designed and built separately, both appear to be part of same architectural composition. The construction of the school building completed in 1880, and originally consisted of five rooms on the ground floor and a lecture room on the first floor. The building was also used to house the Punjab Exhibition of 1881, for which temporary additions were made, and by the next year the school had begun its operations in the building. Ten years later, in 1891, the temporary additions were replaced with four large ateliers for technical work at the school.71 Art education was part of technical education in colonial Punjab, which was administered by the Directorate of Public Instruction (DPI) in tandem with the Department of Agriculture and Industries. The Director of Public Instruction, although sometimes a military man, was usually a member of the Indian civil service. He supervised the industrial education of the province along with the principal of the Mayo School of Art.72 The principal of the Mayo School in turn inspected the industrial schools at the primary level in the province, besides serving as the curator of the Lahore Museum, adjacent and attached to the school. With the Mayo School of Art situated at the provincial headquarters of Punjab the distribution of industrial schools in various parts of the

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Nadeem Omar Tarar initiative. The annual reports of the Director of Public Instruction in Punjab contained progress reports from all the educational institutions in the province, including the Mayo School of Art. A detailed break-down of all schools in the province was given along with tabular comparisons of the performance and expenditure of each school. This genre of school reports encouraged strict record keeping, which aimed to monitor individuals and institutions in the province closely. As official documents the annual reports functioned as instruments of centralized educational administration and formed a part of a system of surveillance and control. At the school level, careful records of performance for each student and teacher were kept in daily aggregate registers, along with the records of financial assistance and expenses incurred on education and employment in the Mayo School of Art. In Benthams science of schooling, teachers were subject to examination and surveillance by school headmasters and inspectors. As members of the educational service, the private and public conduct

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province became a deliberate expression of the colonial administrative hierarchy, which spread from the centre to the periphery. The Mayo School was financed partly through provincial revenues and the Mayo Memorial Fund, while district boards and municipal committees sponsored students from their areas at the school while financing industrial schools at the primary and secondary levels.73 The Directorate of Public Instruction made a comprehensive plan for the organization of primary and secondary education in industrial arts for the whole of the province. State manuals like the Punjab Education Code comprehensively detailed the procedures for grant-inaid, fee, scholarship, and general rules for school administration in the province.74 It determined subjects, rules of admission and leave, teachers qualifications, teaching methods, text books, timetables, buildings, furniture, etc. The performance of the school was routinely reported to and inspected by provincial authorities and written sanctions were sought for the undertaking of any fresh

5. Photograph of Wazir Khans baradari, which became the site of the Lahore Museum and the Mayo School of Art, Lahore. National College of Arts Archives.

South Asian Studies of teachers was subjected to an exhaustive system of discipline and punishment.75 The division of time became central to school pedagogy and detailed instructions for the regulation of students and teachers were issued. Every hour of the day was marked out and divided into separate activities, the boundaries of which were established not in the unfolding of the activity but in the abstract dimensions of hours and minutes set in the schools timetable. The Mayo School prospectus laid down rules guiding the classroom behaviour of the teachers: teachers and clerks must be in their rooms All 10 minutes before the classes open each day to see that that their rooms are tidy, and also must stay 10 minutes after the boys have left.76 The craftsmen teachers employed in the school were to work the usual number of hours of their trade. From April to July the hours of attendance for the students ran for five hours, from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m., while from October to March they ran from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The young boys from the school of carpentry attached to the main school were taught for only two hours per day. The school was closed for two months of annual vacation in August and September. The timetable for the opening and closing of the school was not a matter of arbitrary control by the principal, but was regulated through a stringent application of industrial law.77


Colonial sociology of occupational castes and Kiplings ambivalence: the Lahore Model In his autobiography Rudyard Kipling celebrated his father J. L. Kipling who has mainly been remembered in history as the lively illustrator of his sons tales of India as a mine of knowledge, and help . . . a humorous, tolerant, and expert fellow craftsman. . . [and] a teacher of teachers.78 Lockwood Kipling (18371911), the muchvenerated first principal of the Mayo School of Art and the English curator of the Lahore Museum, was the first in a series of South Kensington graduates in India.79 Along with John Griffiths, Henry Hoover Locke, and, later, Ernest Binfield Havell, most of the British South Kensington graduates who came to India for employment were to become principals of the Indian art schools. They were strongly influenced by the ideas of John Ruskin and the Arts and Crafts movement, the reigning ideology of art education in the late nineteenth century (Figure 6). The curriculum of the school drawn up by Lockwood Kipling was adapted from the School of Design in South Kensington, but tailored to suit the needs of Indian students. It is as a strong advocate of the Arts and Crafts movement in India that he pursued the objectives of the school curriculum: to impart instruction that shall make both carpenter and colourist more intelligent and effective, each in his degree.80 Drawing on his teaching experiences in Bombay and London, Kipling grouped the

instruction broadly into elementary and advanced studies. In the elementary part of the work blackboard demonstrations of the first principles of drawing, elementary outlining from flat copies, and elementary geometry were taught in vernacular Urdu to young boys. The rudiments of perspective and outline from objects were also taught. Lessons in reading, writing, and arithmetic also took place. There was a high drop-out rate from the junior classes, attributed to the poverty of the students. With an elementary training from the school, the young boys could find quick employment in the workshops in the bazaar. At the advanced level, studies of Indian ornamental compositions from objects in the museum, folios, books, and drawings of foliage from nature were conducted to make students conversant in Indian design. Practical geometry, based on textbooks used at South Kensington, was also taught in the Hindi and Urdu languages; however, attempts were made to employ English terms instead of Arabic or Sanskrit ones. Modelling from clay and cast, studies in ornament colour, original design and still life, and drawing from living models were also taught. Advanced perspective, which was considered a new and perplexing subject for the Indian students, held special interest. Since the sons of artisans who demonstrated a strong aptitude for crafts were found to be deficient in drawing, the elements of drawing were taught in elementary classes from demonstrations on blackboards and flat examples. Practice in drawing objects was added later, in the senior classes, along with exercises in making original designs for craft objects, which were mainly chosen from a set of museum items, including collections from the adjoining Lahore Museum as well as from historical buildings.81 The disciplinary time of the school was divided into various stages of progress attained by students learning and practicing a designated craft. Each student, as Kipling had proposed, had to pass through the first three grades. In his scheme, instruction in woodcarving, lithography, and copper etching was necessary for all students during the first three grades. Once the students had acquired a facility with drawing in the fourth grade, they were then geared towards a course of practical instruction that was in line with their hereditary occupation. It was that hereditary occupation which provided the dominant indicator of the aptitude and will of a given student. As Kipling put it, after the foundational courses the instruction should begin to have special reference to the work by which the student proposes to earn his bread.82 For Kipling, one of the principal ways to achieve the object of the Lahore School (to revive crafts now half forgotten) was to attract the communities of hereditary artisan castes, the traditional bastions of the artisanal industries of Punjab. As an ardent supporter of the Arts

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Nadeem Omar Tarar Furthermore, the low social level of the majority of the boysdeterred those of higher standing from joining the school.87 Kipling wistfully concluded that it is hopeless, however, to expect that in Punjab at present, men of superior caste or intelligence will, as in Bombay, condescend to the potters trade even for the sake of the high profits that might so easily be made from it (Figure 7).88 Year after year, Kipling was to complain about the artisans poor educational background and their lack of receptiveness to the efforts of teachers at the Mayo School. For example, he wrote that it would scarcely perhaps be fair to bring a whole sale accusation of idleness against the natives of the Punjab, but there is no blinking the fact that they are averse to regularity and the orderly habits of industry.89 The disciplining of artisans through art school pedagogy did not yield the anticipated results, nor did artisan families step forward to send their children to the Mayo School. And we have some right to complain, Kipling lamented after eight years of service at the Mayo School, that efforts steadily made to bring Punjab work to notice, and to improve it, have not been seconded as they might have been by the artisans of the province.90 Kipling railed against the inherited artisanal work practices, in which the rule is rather languor than activity of mind and most would be quite content to sit day by day carrying out instruction with an obedience which is more slavish than satisfactory. He did, nevertheless, hope to reform the artisan students through the disciplinary techniques of the school, as he expected that this mental habit may be greatly modified by enlarged intelligence and the stimulus of competition.91 At the same time, Kipling also praised the performance of the leading artisan pupils who were responding to the instruction at the school. Ram Singh, the leader of carpentry youths, for instance, returned from his vacation at Amritsar, with a collection of paper casts from the old wood carvings there, and on another occasion with sketches from the marble inlay decorations of the Darbar. Similarly, another artisan student, Sahib Fazil Ahmad, under pressure, brought drawings of architectural details from actual buildings.92 Disappointment about the illiteracy and social habits of the students continued to be a significant feature of the official British discourse on colonial art education throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.93 However, regrets and refrains had the strategic effect of reinforcing the need to establish rigour in the training of students. To Kiplings mind, the prejudice against manual labour and the ambition to wear a white coat could only be to overcome by patience and practice.94 Unlike at other art schools in colonial India, such as the Calcutta School of Art, where the artisan castes were outnumbered by what Partha Mitter has called gentlemen artists from non-artisan castes, the Mayo School of

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and Crafts movement Kipling believed it critical for the revival of dying crafts to admit students from families in which traditional artisanal techniques were practiced, as these were considered most likely to obtain the utmost possible benefit from the institution. Kipling expected that, besides the intake from government schools, word of mouth would attract the men of various crafts to the Mayo School, bringing in men with a real liking for their work and patience enough to follow it up.83 In addition to the students from the artisan castes who were preferentially given free education at the Mayo School there were students from non-artisan castes who paid the full fee. In contrast to the artisan pupils in the school, the students from what Kipling called the naukripesha (salaried) classes the clerks and the better class of people were decidedly well educated and enjoyed higher standing in the native society. But they held a prejudice against manual labour, which to him was a silly prejudice not in keeping with modern progress:
On my suggesting to a student engaged on some architectural details that in order to properly understand the changes of form from a square to an octagon and then to a circle he should get a cube of wood and having cut it to these forms he should draw them in perspective and elevation, he replied with some hauteur But that is Carpenters work. Prejudices of this kind can only be overcome by patience of practice.84

The social distance between the industrial and salaried classes that shaped educational preferences and occupational choices was, to Kiplings mind, against the doctrine of dignity of labour, which he believed was poorly understood in caste-ridden societies. The students from the non-artisan and agricultural castes that consisted of the salaried classes were inferior to [artisans] in artistic and practical attainment according to Kipling, but excelled in their careers by their ability to write and speak English.85 As a direct result of the colonial preference for suitable boys drawn from the artisan castes, who by natural talent and hereditary occupation were found to be well-suited for art education in India, the Mayo School of Art began to be densely populated with students from these communities. Kiplings admiration for boys from artisan castes was qualified by a complaint: he noted their lack of education, especially their ignorance of the English language as their most serious drawback, which not only impeded their early learning at the art school, but also made them suffer in their occupational careers.86 Nonetheless, because of the preferential admission extended to the artisan castes the fee paying candidates from the middle classes did not enter the school in equal number. The colonial policy restricted the entry of students from the salaried and educated classes, the much desired better material, in the school.

South Asian Studies Art continued to attract large numbers of artisan pupils. The gentlemen artists were held back in the Mayo School by the colonial sociology of occupational caste groups which required modern education in the arts and sciences to be offered according to the customary caste privileges authorized by the ethnographic state in Punjab.95 As a result, colonial art administrators were concerned with applicants family background, which formed the basis for admission and scholarships at the Mayo School. A candidates aptitude for a particular crafts subject in the school was not a matter of his own volition, but always pre-judged in terms of his association with his hereditary occupation. Since boys from different age groups were admitted to the school in different classes depending on their hereditary experiences, the efforts to ascertain their stage of educational attainment began right after admission to the school. To quote the director of Punjab Instruction in the school report for the year 187677:
Mr Kipling points out that whilst insisting on the essential unity of the art of design, especially of Indian art, care has been taken to keep each student engaged, as far as possible, on studies within his own line. Thus three youths, who are draughtsmen by hereditary occupation,


and who have developed considerable aptitude for ornamental design, have been kept to such work as would [enable] them to excel as decorative designers of the various objects of Indian Industry . . . Two who are carpenters by trade have practiced, beside their own handicraft, the design of wood construction and ornamentation with great industry and commensurate improvement.96

6. Oil portrait of John Lockwood Kipling by Sher Muhammad. National College of Arts Archives, Lahore.

Kipling firmly believed that the training of artisan students in the principles of their own trade would make them more skilled than their fathers. The practice of assigning students to their hereditary trade his line was not a voluntary option, but a compulsory choice made for the students by their teachers. The training they received at the school was intended to make them proficient in their designated trade. In most cases the students had to live by the choices made for them by their school masters for the rest of their professional lives, as was the case with the most promising students of the Mayo School mentioned by Kipling in the schools annual report of 1876. These had begun to exhibit special technical aptitude in their very first year at the school. They were subjected to the course of instruction that best reflected their hereditary trade. Muhammad Din, the son of an engraver who had made some creditable pen drawings, was assigned to make an original design for a casket to be executed in chased steel. Ram Singh, the son of a carpenter, was instructed to design an ornamental drawing-room desk, and was deemed to have shown the promise of being a very capable draughtsman and designer in his own craft. One Edwin Holder, from the Hissar district, was considered too young for it to be decided in what particular line he is likely to excel.97 However, some exceptions were made, as in the case of Sher Muhammad, a Luhar (blacksmith) who, on the basis of two copies of encaustic panels of coloured decorations from Wazir Khan Mosque, was acknowledged as showing a taste for decorative painting. The Director of Public Instruction favourably cited Sher Muhammad in his annual school report. He is, the principal remarks, one of the very few natives he has seen with a strongly marked vocation for pictorial art and love of the work for its own sake.98 Most of the students who were identified on the basis of their aptitude continued to work in the particular craft that was chosen for them at the Mayo School (Figure 7). In this educational endeavour, the colonial sociology of occupational caste groups became a guiding theory for the recruitment and training of craftsmen from the artisan castes. The very prospects of admission and the career of students from artisan castes at the school were tied to the putative links with their hereditary occupation. From the fee waiver granted to sons or near relatives of artisans to the subjects offered at the school, an individuals inheritance extended or constrained his range of choices. Once the technical aptitude of a student was defined in

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7. Group photograph of the teachers and staff of the Mayo School of Art, 1880. Sitting: Bhai Ram Singh, John Lockwood Kipling, Sher Muhammad. Standing: Gravis P Pinto, Lala Lajpat. Source: National College of Arts Archives.

terms of a particular craft by the school authorities, he was obliged to follow it obediently in his studies at the school. There was little freedom to explore a certain medium or leave it at will, should a student find it unsuitable to his personal or occupational interests. It is evident from Kiplings refrains in the school reports that many students from artisan castes who perhaps did not like their hereditary occupation chose to drag their feet when it came to school work. They were castigated as lazy and sluggish, and for posing difficulties for his administration, issues which Kipling mentioned frequently throughout the decades in the school reports.

Conclusion By the early decades of the twentieth century the Mayo School of Arts had given up its initial objective the direct instruction of artisans and turned to the development of small industry in Punjab. Similarly, artisan castes were dropped from the categories included on censuses in the 1930s.99 However, as a concept the census term

artisan continued to reside at the very centre of administrative calculations when it came to art instruction in colonial Punjab. In light of renewed public concern for the development of small-scale modern industrial manufacture for expanding domestic as well as international markets, and the rising concern with fine arts at the Mayo School, the hereditary artisan did not disappear, but was reconfigured into the occupational categories of modern industry. The emerging professions of modern industry were regimented into the Ibbetson-inspired occupational order; the definition of practical artisan in the 1920s included an acquired profession or trade such as tailor, carpenter, mechanic, mistri, weaver, barber, electrical/mechanical engineer, businessmen, painter.100 Elsewhere in the colonial Indian educational spectrum the mixing of caste privileges and distinctions was singularly avoided. The art of drawing, even as a supplementary subject, became taboo at the Mayo School of Arts namesake Mayo College Ajmer, a school for the boys of Indian royal families established in 1875.101 In Mayo College the art of drawing was considered a

South Asian Studies function of lower caste occupations. It was regarded as fit only for female education, in which it turned out to be a popular subject, even though, as one of the drawing masters at Mayo College vainly argued in its defence, it was started as an experiment for the young Rajput princes for whom the feeling of art is entirely acquired and not in the least hereditary. The warrior princes showed great promise to develop into true artists. The colonial officials grudgingly allowed drawing to be taught for some years before the department was closed due to a presumed lack of interest among Rajput students.102 NOTES 1. See Nicholas B. Dirks, Colonial Histories and Native Informants: Biography of an Archive, in Orientalism and the Postcolonial Predicament: Perspectives on South Asia, ed. by Carol A. Breckenridge and Peter van der Veer (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania, 1993). The Official Chronicle of the Mayo School of Art: The Formative Years under John Lockwood Kipling, ed. by Samina Choonara and others (Lahore: National College of Arts, 2002); Pervaiz Vandal and Sajida Vandal, The Raj, Lahore, and Bhai Ram Singh (Lahore: National College of Arts, 2006). For an earlier work on Bhai Ram Singh and the Mayo School of Art, see Naazish Atta Ullah, Stylistic Hybridity and Colonial Art and Design Education: A Wooden Carved Screen by Ram Singh, in Colonialism and the Object: Empire, Material Culture and the Museum, ed. by Tim Berringer and Tom Flynn (London: Routledge, 1998). Also see Mahrukh Tarapor, Art and Empire: The Discovery of India in Art and Literature, 18501947 (unpublished doctoral thesis, Harvard University, 1977). Ann Laura Stoler, Colonial Archives and the Art of Governance, Archival Sciences (2002), pp. 87109. Ibid., p. 88. A random list of subjects under which the school bureaucracy archived and regulated the school includes admission, appointments, boarding house, books, budget, building, certificate, circular, conference, contingencies, establishment, examination, exhibition, fee, fine, prizes, holidays and vacation, leave rules, personal files, private orders, prospectus, reports and returns, scheme, scholarship, stationery and store. From an unpublished List of Holdings, NCAA, 2000. Stoler. Ibid., p. 91. Rebecca J. Sutcliffe, Feminizing the Professional: The Government Reports of Flora Annie Steel,



10. 11.






3. 4. 5.

16. 17.

18. 19. 20. 21. 22.

6. 7. 8.

Technical Communication Quarterly, 7 (1998), 153 73. Will you be governed by the Pen or by the Sword? Choose! was the motto of the Punjab School of Colonial Administration, carved under the statue of John Lawrence, the first Lieutenant Governor of Punjab. Sutcliffe, p. 159. See N. M. Kelkar, The Story of the Sir JJ School of Art: 18571957 (Bombay: Government of Maharashtra & Sir JJ School of Art, n.d.). See also Jogdesh Chandra Bagal, History of the Government College of Art and Craft, Centenary Volume (Calcutta: Government College of Art & Craft, 1966); Tapati Guha-Thakurta, The Making of a New Indian Art: Art, Aesthetics and Nationalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993); Mussarat Hassan, Painting in the Punjab Plains (Lahore: Ferozsons (Pvt.) Ltd, 1998); Akbar Naqvi, Image and Identity (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2000). Tirthankar Roy, Traditional Industry in the Economy of Colonial India (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999). Peter H. Hoffenberg, Promoting Traditional Indian Art at Home and Abroad: The Journal of Indian Art and Industry, 18841917, Victorian Periodicals Review, 37.2 (2004), 192213. See George Birdwood, The Arts of India (repr. Calcutta: Rupa, 1992), p. 137, on the ill-effects of Victorian industrialism on Indian arts. Deepali Dewan, Body at Work: Colonial Art Education and the Figure of the Native Craftsman, in Confronting the Body: The Politics of Physicality in Colonial and Post-Colonial India, ed. by James H. Mills and Satadru Sen (London: Anthem Press, 2004), pp. 11833. The Concept of Race in South Asia, ed. by Peter Robb (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1995). Harish Chandra Sharma, Artisans of the Punjab: A Study of Social Change in Historical Perspective 18491947 (New Delhi: Manohar, 1996). Denzil Ibbetson, Punjab Castes (Lahore: Sh. Mubarak Ali, 1974), p. 266. Ibid. Ibid., p. 206. Ibid. Chuhra or village menials evolved from the primitive state of wandering tribes when they settled in villages as servants of the village community, and cease[d] to hunt and eat vermin. Moreover, Chuhra who refuses to touch night soil becomes a Musali. According to the evolutionary theory of artisan castes in colonial Punjab, with changes in settlement patterns the dietary habits and work

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Nadeem Omar Tarar preferences of a type of primitive artisan, a Chamar or the tanner, evolved because desiring of rising . . . [he] took to tanning and working in leather. Paragraph based on ibid., p. 267. Adam Kuper, The Reinvention of Primitive Society (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007). See Bernard S. Cohn, The Census, Social Structure and Objectification in South Asia, in An Anthropologist Among the Historians and Other Essays, ed. by Bernard S. Cohn (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1987), ch. 10; Nicholas Dirks, Castes of Mind: Colonialism and the Making of Modern India (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001). The customary order of colonial ethnology, which defined the social status of various castes, including artisans, was not arbitrary, but regulated through a legal structure of apartheid control. The customary law of 1881 elaborated and enforced a social, political, and economic order, dominated by agricultural communities, which had full force of law in the colonial state in Punjab. Ian Talbot, The Punjab under Colonialism: Order and Transformation in British India, Journal of Punjab Studies, 14.1 (2007), 310. See also David Gilmartin, Scientific Empire and Imperial Science: Colonialism and Irrigation Technology in the Indus Basin, Journal of Asian Studies, 53.4 (1994), 112749. Michael H. Fisher, The Politics of the British Annexation of India, 17571857, in Themes in Indian History, ed. by Michael H. Fisher (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1993). Arindam Dutta, The Bureaucracy of Beauty: Design in the Age of Global Reproducibility (New York: Routledge, 2008). Located on the upper end of the Mall Road in Lahore, Punjab Chiefs College (presently Atchison College) for the lineal descendants of vassals to the British Empire in Punjab stood at the top of the social hierarchy produced through colonial education. On the lower end of the same road, the Mayo School of Art (presently National College of Arts) designated for artisan castes marked the lower end of the educational pyramid. Nadeem Omar Tarar, Ruled by the Pen: Literacy, Orientalism and Colonial Order in Punjab, in Shaping a Nation, An Examination of Education in Pakistan, ed. by Stephen Lyon and Iain R. Edgar (Karachi: Oxford University Press, 2010). Proceedings of the Art Conference Held in the Technical Institute at Lahore, on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th January 1894 (Calcutta: Govt. Central Printing Office, 1894). This was convened to review the progress of art schools in India. 30. Tapati Guha-Thakurta, The Making of a New Indian Art: Art, Aesthetics and Nationalism (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993). B. R. Tomlinson, Technical Education in Colonial India, 18801914: Searching for a Suitable Boy, in The Contested Terrain: Perspectives on Education in India, ed. by Sabyasachi Bhattacharya (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1998). See note 29. See Percival Spear, Bentinck and Education, in Modern India: An Interpretive Anthology, ed. by Thomas R. Metcalf, 2nd edn (New Delhi: Oxford University Press, 1990), p. 250, for a broader social historical perspective on the Anglicist-Orientalist controversy. See also Thomas R. Metcalf, Architecture and the Representation of Empire: India, 18601910, in Modern India: An Interpretive Anthology, ed. by Thomas R. Metcalf (London: The Macmillan Company, 1971), for a critical analysis of a similar contest among British architects and administrators over architectural styles concerning the official buildings of schools, government offices, railway stations, and other British Indian government establishments. See Christopher A. Bayly, Indian Society and the Making of British Empire (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1988), on Oriental construction of British India. Tomlinson, p. 76. P. R. Cola, How to Develop Productive Industry in India and the East (London: Virtue and Co., 1867), pp. 67, contained estimates and plans for mills and factories, with more than one hundred woodcut illustrations. P. R. Cola advocated the development of industrial appliances and industrial education as a panacea for the development of Indian society. His pedagogic ambitions for developing mechanized manufacture are laden with Orientalist presumptions about the historical inertia of Indian societies. Partha Mitter, Much Maligned Monsters: History of European Reactions to Indian Art (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1977). Thomas Williamson, The East India Vade-Mecum, Vol. I (London: Black, Perry, and Kingsbury, 1810), pp. 3031. John Lockwood Kipling, Indian Architecture of Today, Journal of Indian Art and Industry, 3 (1886). H. H. Locke, Memorandum on the Formation of Mayo School of Art, dated 26 July 1873. Reprinted in Choonara and others, p. 151. Percy Brown, Indian Painting Under the Mughals (New Delhi: Cosmo Publications, 1981). Percy Brown, the principal of the Mayo School of Art, offers an Orientalist-inspired version of the Indian apprenticeship system by emphasizing the hereditary


23. 24.

32. 33.


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35. 36.





39. 40.



South Asian Studies nature of the karkhanas: Painting was taught in the same way as woodcarving, sculpture, and metal work, and all the other Indian art Industries by a modified application of the apprenticeship system. The craftsman passed his knowledge of the art on to his sons, or, failing these, the sons of near relatives, but rarely to any one who was not a member, however distant, of his own family. Ibid., p. 180. As curator of Lahore Museum, Baden Powell undertook to re-organize and document the ephemeral display of the First Punjab Exhibition of Art and Industry in 1864. Published in two volumes in 1872 as Handbook of the Economic Products of the Punjab, Powell articulated an evolutionary theory of progress according to progressivist taxonomies based on hierarchical stages of production, culminating in the triumph of European industrialism and fine art. From B. H. Baden Powell to the Officiating Registrar, Punjab University College, Proceedings of the Government of Punjab, Home Department, May 31, 1872. Reprinted in Choonara and others, pp. 13438. See James Fergusson, History of Indian and Eastern Architecture (repr. Delhi: Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, 1998). From B. H. Baden Powell to the Officiating Registrar, Punjab University College, Proceedings of the Government of Punjab, Home Department, May 31, 1872. Reprinted in Choonara and others, p. 136. Ibid., p. 137. Ibid., p. 136. Ibid., p. 137. Ibid., p. 138. From Her Majestys Secretary of State in India to his Excellency the Governor-General of India in Council, Proceedings of the Government of Punjab, Home Department, India Office, London, September 24, 1874. Reprinted in Choonara and others, pp. 14057. Ibid., p. 149. Ibid., p. 151. Ibid. Ibid., p. 143. Ibid. Ibid. Ibid., p. 141. Ibid., pp. 14142. With a scientific outlook and use of reason, the instruction in art school should point out to the native students whatever is best in their own national art, both ancient and modern: should explain to them the exact reason why those particular works of art are good and are especially worthy of imitations. Ibid., p. 143.






46. 47. 48. 49. 50.

51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 58. 59.

60. Ibid., p. 142. 61. Ibid., p. 139. 62. T. H. Thornton and J. L. Kipling, A Brief Account of the History and Antiquities of Lahore (Lahore: [n. pub.], 1876), p. 58. Referring to a mounting critique on Indian art schools from British art connoisseurs and advocates of the Arts and Crafts movement, Kipling questioned the need for supplant[ing] indigenous art by the introduction of European ideas. He considered the art schools proper function [to be] rather the reverse, so far as style is concerned; and it is the object of the Lahore School to revive crafts now half forgotten, and to discourage as much as possible the crude attempts at reproduction of the worst features of Birmingham and Manchester work now so common among natives. 63. From J. L. Kipling, Principal, Lahore School of Art, to the Secretary, Government of Punjab, Proceedings of the Government of Punjab, Home Department, May 27, 1875, Proposed Plan for the Organization of Mayo School of Art. Reprinted in Choonara and others, pp. 15862. 64. Ibid., p. 158. 65. Ibid., p. 158. 66. Ibid., p. 158. On the basis of archival evidence, Abbass Chughtai, Deputy Director, Punjab Archives, Lahore claimed that Mayo School was housed in a rented bungalow, at Rs. 150 per month at Kachehri Road for a year on July 1875. See Abbass Chughtai, Mayo School of Art: A New Light, Lahore Museum Bulletin, XIII (2000), 99104. 67. Popularly known for his majestic Wazir Khan mosque, Shaikh Ansari was a physician from Chiniot who rose to become the governor of Lahore under Shah Jahan. 68. Proposed Plan for the Organization of Mayo School of Art (see note 63), p. 162. 69. Ibid., p. 162. 70. From Officiating Secretary, Government of Punjab, to the Officiating Secretary, Public Works Department, Proceedings of the Government of Punjab, Home Department, October 27, 1876. 71. General Information Regarding the Mayo School of Art, Lahore, 193649, NCAA, Box File: 70/D. 72. See G. W Leitner, History of Indigenous Education . in the Punjab since Annexation and in 1882 (repr. Lahore: Republican Books, 1991), for a detailed description and critical evaluation of the indigenous education system as part of the colonial census of education in late nineteenth-century Punjab. 73. Timothy Mitchell, Colonizing Egypt (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988), p. 77, describes the structure of educational administration in colonial Egypt, which was modelled, like in Punjab, on the hierarchical order of the colonial

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Nadeem Omar Tarar state: The schools were precisely distributed by size and rank, as expressions of the correct ordering of the separate elements the individuals, villages, towns, and provincial and national capitals in terms of which a nation-state could be conceived as an integrated and bounded reality. Punjab Education Code (Lahore: Government Printing Press, 1910). They were debarred from running any private trade, buying property, criticizing the government, communicating to the press, and political meetings. See The Government Servants Conduct Rules, 1904, NCAA, Box File: 19/D. Prospectus, Mayo School of Art, Lahore, 1882, NCAA. Ibid. See also S. R. Samant, Industrial Jurisprudence: A Treatise on the Theory and Practice of Industrial Law with Special Reference to India (Bombay: N. M. Tripathi, 1961). Rudyard Kipling, Something of Myself for My Friends Known and Unknown, cited in Tarapor, p. 53. John Lockwood Kipling was born in 1837 in England to a Methodist Minister, Rev. Joseph Kipling, and educated at Woodhouse Grove, London. He began his practical life as a designer and modeller at the Stratfordshire pottery. In 1865 Kipling came to India from South Kensington in the capacity of a teacher in decorative sculpture at J. J. School of Art, Bombay. Here he busied himself as an academic, and, in addition to that, as a designer of various buildings, planned and constructed in a style peculiar to colonial architecture. In 1875 he joined the Mayo School of Art, Lahore, as first principal. Apart from various duties that he performed in that capacity, he founded the Journal of Indian Art and Industry in 1884. He also authored Men and Beast in India in 1891. He sought retirement from the Indian Education Service in 1893 because of ill health and bade farewell to India for good. He breathed his last in early January 1911. See Kipling Archives, Special Collections, University of Sussex, Box File: 3/11. See also Arthur R. Rankers, The Pater: John Lockwood Kipling, His Life and Times, 18371911 (Kent: Pond View Books, 1988). Proposed Plan for the Organization of Mayo School of Art (see note 63), p. 162. Ibid., p. 159. Ibid., p. 159. Ibid., p. 160. J. L. Kipling, Report on the Mayo School of Art for 18761877. Reprinted in Choonara and others, p. 38. The prejudice in favour of the comparative respectability and gentility of mere draughtsmanship by which mechanical drawings with compasses is usually understood over practical works, acts a minor hindrance especially with regard to clay and plaster. Modelling is considered to be potters work. Ibid., p. 38. J. L. Kipling, Report on the Mayo School of Art for 18861887. Reprinted in Choonara and others, p. 73. J. L. Kipling, Report on the Mayo School of Art for 18821883. Reprinted in Choonara and others, p. 45. J. L. Kipling, Report on the Mayo School of Art for 18841885. Reprinted in Choonara and others. J. L. Kipling, Report on the Mayo School of Art for 18821883. Reprinted in Choonara and others, p. 49. J. L. Kipling, Report on the Mayo School of Art for 18831884. Reprinted in Choonara and others, p. 52. Ibid., p. 49. J. L. Kipling, Report on the Mayo School of Art for 18761877. Reprinted in Choonara and others, p. 38. The principal of the Calcutta School of Art, H. H. Locke, also made a similar remark when he mentioned that the habit of treating artists and artisans alike, which is so strong in this country, is likely to give way ere long. See also Jogdesh Chandra Bagal, History of the Government College of Art and Craft (Calcutta: [n. pub.], [n.d.]), p. 18. Similarly, S. N. Gupta, a scion of the Bengal School and the principal of the Mayo School of Art between 1929 and 1941, complained about the policy of the school towards artisan castes which gave the school a bad name. See Report on Artisan Students at the Mayo School of Art, 192728, NCAA, Box File: 15/C. J. L. Kipling, Report on the Mayo School of Art for 18791880. Reprinted in Choonara and others. Although the figure of the artisan had been the mainstay of British educational and administrative discourse regarding the suitable boys of Indian art education, artisans appear at the margins of modern Indian art historical scholarship as the other compared to the gentleman artists of the art schools. Based on his selective reading of Indian history, Partha Mitter prematurely announced the eclipse of the figure of the traditional artisan as a sign of the industrialization and modernization of the Indian economy. As he emphatically stated, the government failed to see the profound shifts in the class composition of artists in India; the new western-educated gentlemen artists spelt the end of artisans in the art schools. Partha Mitter, Art and Nationalism in Colonial India, 18501922, Occidental Orientation (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994), p. 30. J. L. Kipling, Report on the Mayo School of Art for 18761877. Reprinted in Choonara and others, p. 37.

86. 87. 88. 89. 90. 91. 92.

74. 75.

76. 77.

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78. 79.


94. 95.

80. 81. 82. 83. 84.



South Asian Studies 97. J. L. Kipling, Report on the Mayo School of Art for 18751876. Reprinted in Choonara and others, pp. 3334. 98. J. L. Kipling, Report on the Mayo School of Art for 18791880. Reprinted in Choonara and others, p. 40. 99. The last Indian census to enumerate caste was conducted in 1931. See Ram B. Bhagat, Census and Caste Enumeration: British Legacy and Contemporary Practice in India, GENUS, LXII.2 (n.d.), 11934. 100. Student Employment in Business and Industry, 19201930, NCAA, Box File: 17/D. 101. J. A. Mangan, Eton in India: The Imperial Diffusion of a Victorian Educational Ethic, History of Education, 7.2 (1978), 10518. The


coat of arms of the Mayo College was designed by J. L. Kipling. 102. See Richard Carline, Draw They Must: A History of the Teaching and Examining of Art (London: Edward Arnold, 1968), pp. 12022. While providing an overview of art education in the British empire, Carline downplays the colonial intent of creating a regimented social order through castebased education by attributing the failure of colonial policy to the static Indian caste system: The teaching of drawing in the Mayo College Ajmer must be seen against the curious and peculiarly Indian background of caste and privilege, prevailing in an institution that sought to graft the traditions of the British public school upon a country that inherited an entirely different social system.

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