Alexander Duff: The real culprit who ruined our education system


It was not just Lord Macauley who did so

We have heard countless times how this Lord Macauley has ruined our education system, but do you know about more dangerous Alexander Duff? Literally, this Christian missionary was solely responsible for degradation of education system in the parts of Bengal & Bihar.

Born in April 1806 in Scotland, he reached the shores of Calcutta in 1830 as the first missionary from Church of Scotland.

The first thing he did was to target upper caste Hindus & Muslims for conversion using English education as bait.
Until then, missionaries had eyes on lower class and never touched the Bengali language while teaching at their schools. They still instructed in the native language until Duff started to promote educating certain sections of society in English, and English only.

Duff devised the policy of an using western system of education to slowly convert Hindus and Muslims to Christianity.

The success of his work had these effects:

1) Of altering the policy of the government of India in matters of education.

2) Of securing the recognition of education as a missionary agency by Christian churches at home.

3) Of securing entrance for Christian ideas into the minds of high-caste Hindus.

Alexander Duff proposed a theory which he called the “downward filtration theory” in which he believed that by catering to the middle and upper social classes, the knowledge of Christianity would eventually filter down the social ladder. On 7th Match 1935, a resolution was passed that in higher education, the objective of the British government in India should be the promotion of European science and literature among the natives of India, and that all funds appropriated for purposes of education would be best employed on English education alone.

Duff went back to England in 1834. In 1840 he came back to Bharat with enormous funds from Church of England & Church of Scotland toopen new institutions meant exclusively for Biblical studies & Conversion.In 1843, after he parted ways with the Church of Scotland, Duff established the Free Church to continue his unabashed conversion. In 1857 he established Calcutta University.

In 1844, he had secured the blessings of Governor General Viscount Harding that whoever studied in his institutions were eligible for government jobs.

The most infamous Bengalis who turned to Christianity

Under him, many influential Bengalis converted to Christianity, such as Reverend Lal Bihari Dey and Krishna Mohan Bannerjee

Lal Bihari Dey

In 1849, Duff went back to England. He later travelled to US, but returned back to India in 1856.

The onset of the 1st War of Indian Independence in 1857 made Duff stay at Calcutta University. Ultimately, worsening
health conditions made Duff leave India in 1863 permanently.

Alexander Duff died on 12th February 1878 at Devon.

Alexander Duff’s work outside of Bengal

Once well established in Calcutta, Duff travelled up to Ceylon turning numerous education convents into Christian conversion convents.

In 1832, Scotland Church sent another missionary John Wilson to Bombay who copied Duff’s methods of conversion.

For Bengalis who say Raja Ram Mohan Roy was a proud Hindu, let me tell you this. Raja Ram Mohan Roy approved Duff’s method to remove what he deemed “Hindu Ignorance”. How does substituting the teaching of one religion for another constitute removing ignorance? Christians do not believe in science, contrary to what they tell you and others.

No, it is apparent that Duff’s aims were to make docile, obedient Christian soldiers to assist in British rule throughout India.



Alexander Duff: The real culprit who ruined our education system