| Elphinstone's memorial in St Pauls Cathedral, London en.wikipedia.org|
Elphinstone College, Mumbai, established in 1856 en.wikipedia.org
The Hon. Mountstuart Elphinstone FRGS (October 6, 1779 - November 20, 1859), was a Scottish historian and statesman of great repute. Besides being a co-founder and Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, as a civil servant in India, he served as the Governor of Bombay from 1819 until 1827. Earlier, he was with the Maratha states as a British Resident and did his work with distinction. Further, he had developed close rapport with the Marathas and the Peshwas. He also had a stint in Afghanistan (1808 -1811) on Gov. Duke of wellington Sir Arthur Wellesely's orders to bring the ruler into the British fold as an alley in case of war against the French.
|M. Elphinstone, Governor of Bombay (1819 - 1827) en.wikipedia.org|
Elphinstone was responsible for the opening of several educational institutions accessible to the Indian population. His survey of the existing schools revealed lack of books, trained teachers and funds to impart western curriculum tailored to Indian culture. Obviously his concern was more focused on the welfare of the people. Being a keen administrator, he liked India very much and knew many languages. He wrote books on India and Afghanistan.
Elphinstone College, the oldest one is part of the University of Mumbai, was endowed in his honor. European residents erected a marble statue of him in recognition of his remarkable contribution to education in India
|Gov. Elphinstone www.pinterest.com|
Elphinstone was a highly respected man for his dedicated, honest work and his attitude towards Indians who are culturally different from the Europeans. James Mill's book on India was a totally a biased one, showing Indians in bad light and it was written with racial superiority and arrogance. Elphinstone wrote a book on the history of India with a view to refuting Mill's work. He said no culture has any monopoly over the other one and further remarked :,... "preposterous" to 'add to the intellectual treasures of a nation" by setting out to destroy its "indigenous literature
He had the first bungalow built in Malabar Hill before his retirement in 1827.
He initially settled in Albany, London. He remained a bachelor through out his life and admitted having friendships with Indian women while in India. But he never fathered any illegitimate children. He died in Surrey, England having taken a house there in 1847 on November 20, 1859 and was buried at Limpsfield.
Elphinstone, indeed, was a remarkable man who is still remembered today by the Indians, in particular, Maharastrians. The Elphinstone college and the university of Mumbai bear testimony to his pioneering contributions in education in India.