Monday, 25 January 2016

David Hare, Scottish getleman of Kolkata - synthesis of east and west


A statue of David Hare, Hare School (1775–1842), founder, Presidency college, etc.en.wikipedia.org
Ground Floor Corridor - Hare School - Kolkata.commons.wikimedia.org
David Har school,(1775–1842) Kolkata.www.wbsed.gov.in

During the British rule in India there were  a vast number of English people, who followed their own path, not tried before,  maintained  their conviction of character and strong individuality and  persued their goals with passion.  Such people sincerly worked for the welfare of the Indian natives  with the money they saved in India. They never had  any partisan attitude when it came to serving the humanity with equal justice and fairness. David Hare, a Scottish gentleman dedicated his entire life to the cause of  education for  Indians to lift them from ignorance.

Dr. Johnson says that '' History may be framed from permanent monuments and records, but lives can only be written from personal knowledge  which is growing every day less,  and in a short time is lost for ever.''

David Hare (1775–1842), a Scottish watch maker and philanthropist in Bengal, British India  was responsible for the starting  of  many  educational institutions  of  repute in  Calcutta  (now Kolkata). The Hindu School, Hare School and Presidency College owe their origin to his early efforts.


Presidency college, Kolkata, India. www.kampuzz.com.
As a  trained watch maker, he came to India in 1800 at the age of 25 to try his luck in watch making. With dedication and hard work, no doubt, success knocked on his doors and he prospered well in his chosen field of work.  Further, there was no competition for his line of work. Unlike many British, who wanted to get back to England with the bundle saved in India to lead a care free easy and luxurious life, Hare thought otherwise. His  long  association  in India and the way natives worked diligently despite the oppressive British rule he made up his mind to settle down in India. Though  not religious, overcome by true Christian spirit, he  devoted his life to the cause of welfare of the Indian people and their education.

.David Hare Training (IASE) College Kolkata (DHTCK), Kolkatawww.collegeadmission.in
Since  English  education  was gaining  prominence, the need of the hour was proper English education. In regard to the educational needs of the natives, he  sought the opinion of  his  watch customers.  This way he befriended Rajaram Mohan Roy, one of his customers and through him he got to know people like Babu Buddi Nath Mukherjee  and members of a local society  and discussed this matter with the chief justice of  the Supreme Court, Kolkata  Sir Hyde East. The outcome of their concerted collective efforts was the founding of the Hindu College, later came to be known as the Presidency College,Kolkata  on 20th January, 1817. In addition to it, he was responsible for establishing the School Book Society on 6th May, 1817 and  later on 1 September 1818,  the Calcutta School  Society. Through these institutions,  the English and Bengali languages were taught with proper curriculum. In all his efforts he was ably supported by Radhakanta Deb.

One fascinating character of this selfless British gentleman was he had a sort of obsession for his institutions and no day passed without his personal visits to these seats of learning. Not only did he enjoy it very much,  but also met every student on campus to understand  problems. This  way  he developed  a  close  rapport  with the  teachers, his collaborators and students. He also took keen interest in native ladies education  as well and made contributions by way of subscription.

He sold his business to his friend  one Grey and called it quits. He  built a house and led a quiet life in his later years. Unfortunately he fell ill due to cholera ; though doctors tried their best  to save him,  he died on 1 June 1842 at the age of 67.

Since he happened to be a non-believer,  the Christian missionaries  refused  to give him one cubic inch of ground for a decent burial in the Church graveyard.  At last, he was given a proper  burial worthy of him by his Christian and Hindu friends in  what was then the compound of Hare School - Presidency College that he had donated. He was loved by every one in the city. No doubt,  a pale of gloom descended on Kolkata when his body was taken out of his friend Grey's home to the burial site followed by thousands of mourners on foot, in vehicles, etc - a poignant scene the capital  of British India never witnessed before. 
 

A life-size statue  was built with public donations and placed within the precincts of  college compound of Hare School. A road where he resided was named Hare street in his honor. No doubt, this remarkable English gentleman left an indelible and enduring  mark on the Indians and his name will remain etched for ever in the history of Indian education.
 

Ref:
"A biographical sketch of David Hare" by Peary Chand Mittra.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hare_%28philanthropist%29