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Mohan Bhagwat, chief of Rashtriya Swaysevak Sangh (RSS) in India, has blamed the British for destroying the country's education system. The Hindu nationalist made the accusations on Sunday (3 January) amid increasing educational ties between the two countries.
Bhagwat accused British rulers in India of destroying the education system in an attempt to "emasculate" Indians mentally, and of designing the system to undermine the confidence of the Indian people. It remains unclear exactly how Bhagwat believes the British did this during the time of British rule in India.
Bhagwat said: "The British destroyed the traditional education system of India. But they took it to Britain with them and replicated it in the form of county education system there."
The RSS chief claimed that during British rule in India as much as 70% of Indians were literate, as opposed to only 17% of people in Britain. He claimed that after the British replicated the Indian education system, the tables were turned and Indians fell behind because of the system forced on them by British rulers.
The comments come amid increasing attempts from Britain to encourage Indian youth to choose the UK as their preferred destination for higher education. Sajid Javid, Britain's Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, alongside Jo Johnson, Minister of State for Universities and Science, were due to visit India to showcase the UK's education and research facilities.
Javid said: "I want to see India's future leaders in all fields taking advantage of what the UK has to offer. Prime Minister Modi's visit to the UK electrified the UK-India relationship, setting new, more ambitious goals for our shared future. This includes the UK helping India meet its ever-growing need for skills, education and research, for which the UK is perfectly placed."