The early education under the East India company and first oriental College Ft, William, Kolkata

In the pre -British period under the East India Company rule, the primary education in India was through age old traditional system -the Patasala or Gurukulam in the case of Hindus and Madrasa in the case of Muslims. Education was imparted to the Indian students  this way.  The British company was preoccupied with profit-making and land grabbing spree. The officials were particular about accumulating their personal wealth in a short period and return to England to lead a comfortable life. The ESI  did not pay any attention to the education of the natives. It was Lord Wellesley who understood the  value of western education and the need to introduce it. Ft. William College (named after King William III of England)  came up in Calcutta (Kolkata, West Bengal) in 1800. 

Ft William College, Calcutta (Kolkata).

Also known as the College of Fort William), it was an academy of oriental studies and a center of learning founded on 18 August 1800 by Lord Wellesley, then Governor-General of British India, Located within the Fort William complex in Calcutta. Wellesley started the College  primarily to train the European administrators to be trained in native Indian languages to run the country. It was also  intended to

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produce trained Indian men to man the rapidly expanding company operations in many places. Soon it became an important center of learning of oriental languages that opened up new fascinating ideas which the company failed to explore till that time.

On the personal level,  Sanskrit scholars like William Jones,   Henry Thomas Colebrook and Gov. General Warren Hastings  showed keen interest in spreading Oriental education among the natives along with some like-minded Indians. In the college  Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Bengali, Hindi, and Urdu books were  translated into English. Later the college was shifted to part of the Parade ground outside the fort. 

 Imperial Service College. The ''East India Co College.Hailey. ' 
Above image: The East India Company, upon nationalization closed the EIC, college, Hailey England in 1858; it became a closed  public school with continuing ties to the former college. The college buildings survive and are now occupied by the public school's successor, Haileybury and Imperial Service College, a private school. EIC spent 92000 pounds in 1806  to build the college buildings, etc. Charles Grant of EIC Board laid the foundation. The college was to train clerks (writers) for the company operating in the subcontinent.........

EIC was unable to finance the Ft. William College. To reduce the financial burden and to cut costs, the English Company  started in 1807 a separate College at Haileybury in England called The ''East India Company College'' to train writers (administrators) for the Honorable East India Company (HEIC). Young British candidates were nominated by the board directors for writer ship in the the administrative corridors in the English settlements. 

The Ft. William college was dissolved in 1854 and the college had a vast collection of books on oriental languages. The  books in the library collection listed for preservation were transferred to the newly formed Calcutta Public Library, now the National Library. Some books were transferred to the School of Oriental Languages in Paris and are now held at BULAC.

Severely shaken up by the violent first war of Independence in 1857
that began in Meerut Cantonment over the introduction of new rifles and animal fat mixed cartridges  Ft. William College  after 1857 faced closure. Later under the direct Crown administration, a new situation came up to consolidate the British interest and their grip on the land and the people  Administrator William Bentinck gave importance to the educational policy of public instruction in English in 1835, essential for the  administration and commerce. The English language took precedence over oriental languages under his care. Later the Dalhousie administration downed the shutters once and for all. Fort William college of Kolkata became  a forgotten legacy of first educational policy in India.