Agonies over Macaulay's 2 Ls
THE WEEK India|August 27, 2023
Thomas Babington Macaulay was endowed with an encyclopaedic memory—could recite Paradise Lost and Pilgrim’s Progress eyes closed; recalled 40 years later the entire lines of two poems penned by a country versifier that he had read at the age of 13 in a weekly paper on way to school. As a child he was precocious, and had a hunger for books and words. Once a servant spilled hot coffee on his legs; when the hostess asked him a while later how he was feeling, the four-year-old replied, “Thank you, madam; the agony is abated.”
R. PRASANNAN
Agonies over Macaulay's 2 Ls

Everyone would agree that the longest-lasting legacies of British rule in India, good, bad or ugly, have been two Ls—the law and the language. Both were legated by this man who had an elephantine memory, a liberal mind (he, father Zachary, and uncle Colin, who had played a key role in defeating Tipu and was resident in Travancore, were all passionate campaigners against slavery in the colonies), but a mulish contempt for oriental scholarship as his infamous Minute on Indian Education would show. Ironically, a social media post doing the rounds in India portray him as a grudging Indophile! That much of our WhatsApp scholars.

Everyone would also agree that one of his 2 Ls has become obsolete. Now Amit Shah has come with three sets of laws that seek to replace Macaulay’s Penal Code, as also the obsolete Criminal Code and the Evidence Act. The new laws, assures Shah, should abate our legal agonies.

This story is from the August 27, 2023 edition of THE WEEK India.

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This story is from the August 27, 2023 edition of THE WEEK India.

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