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Barbour Scholarship: An initiative to liberate Orient Women dates back to 1914

"The idea of the Oriental girls' scholarships is to bring girls from Orient, give them an Occidental education and let them take back whatever they find good and assimilate the blessings among the peoples from which they come"

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Barbour Scholars, 1932-33. Image source: bentley.umich.edu
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  • The idea behind the Barbour Scholarship was to liberate Orient women
  • And to prevent international future conflicts
  • The Scholarship was first awarded to two Japanese women who came out in 1914

A letter to the late President of the University of Michigan, Ruthven Hutchins explained the principle behind the scholarship program that was created to aid the educational advancement of women from the East Asian countries. In the letter Regent Levi L. Barbour wrote , “The idea of the Oriental girls’ scholarships is to bring girls from Orient, give them an Occidental education and let them take back whatever they find good and assimilate the blessings among the peoples from which they come”( Rufus 15).

While traveling to China and Japan, Barbour met three East Asian women who had studied medicine at the University of Michigan in the 1980s. The kind of work these women were doing inspired Barbour to create a scholarship so that other women from Orient can participate in same work. As explained below, a Western education was perceived as a key to liberating these women and making them independent:

Only one Scholar came directly from the Indian purdah. She was accompanied from her seclusion to the secretary’s office by an uncle; during the first interview, in spite of many attempts to hear her voice, the secretary could distinguish only a faint response, and she looked up but once. Not long afterward, she was a free individual able to say that her soul was not her own (Rufus 25)

The idea behind the Scholarship was not only to liberate such women but also to prevent future conflicts. In 1917, Barbour wrote a letter to Helen Hatch, he said, “If a thousand Japanese girls could be educated in the United States to be physicians and teachers and returned to Japan to ply their work, we certainly never would have any war with Japan…and I think the same is true of other Oriental countries” (Rufus 39).

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The Scholarship was first awarded to two Japanese women who came out in 1914 before the scholarship was officially announced. They were trained for several months Barbour to improve their English and prepare for their exams at University. Although, the résumés of Barbour scholars improved tremendously as more individual participated in this scholarship program. For instance, in 1928-1929, 75% applied for the scholarship. One of the applicants was “a young woman from a high-class Kashmiri Brahmin family, holding degrees in B.A., M.A., and L.L.B from the University of Allahabad and was also the principal of a high school.” However, when judging committee saw the photograph of Miss Shakeshwari Agha, the decision was concordant. Later, Agha spent two years at Michigan where she trained in education and gained a second M.A. before she became the head of the Teacher Training Department of Crosthwaite College for Women, Allahabad. Then, she acquired the position of a secretary for the All- India Women’s conference for Education and Social Reform, mentioned the saada.org article.

For instance, in 1928-1929, 75% applied for the scholarship. One of the applicants was “a young woman from a high-class Kashmiri Brahmin family, holding degrees in B.A., M.A., and L.L.B from the University of Allahabad and was also the principal of a high school.” However, when judging committee saw the photograph of Miss Shakeshwari Agha, the decision was concordant. Later, Agha spent two years at Michigan where she trained in education and gained a second M.A. before she became the head of the Teacher Training Department of Crosthwaite College for Women, Allahabad. Then, she acquired the position of a secretary for the All- India Women’s conference for Education and Social Reform.

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Yearly statistics have shown that more than a few Barbour Scholars have actively participated in different activities with the communities around them and also with other international students in the US. A Barbour Scholar Newsletter, written in 1931 reports that M.A. student Kapila Khandvala was a representative at a conference of students in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. Experiences of Barbour Scholars as International Students were not without hurdles and they were planning to participate in Orient Students’ Conference in Chicago. In the year 1946, Leela Desai took the chair and became the head of the Hindustan Times Association in Ann Arbor, later she went on a lecture tour organized by National Board of the YMCA where she explored Midwestern Universities.

Barbour Scholars had to face many challenges as they have to adapt strict rules and regulation, particularly who had held authority positions. According to Carl Rufus’s ” 25 Years of the Barbour Scholarship,” there were two women who strived to adjust to their new lives at the University.

A Barbour Scholar with her own ideas about student life and outside political activity was warned by the Dean of women several times. at a final showdown, she could not understand why she could not be allowed to continue, reminding the dean that she was not obeying the Christian injunction to forgive seventy times seven (23).

Another Barbour Scholar found it difficult to become adjusted to American food and to dormitory life. The first fall she wished to cook her own food and to live her own way. When thwarted, she became hysterical and even threatened suicide. The frightened dormitory head took it to the dean’s wife and together they came to a called meeting of the committee. The chairman and the perplexed deans listened to the story, the crux of which was that the girl decided to go to New York during the vacation… She went, spent a pleasant vacation with friends, returned safely, and the incident was closed, as she became better adjusted and more co-operative (23-24).

saada.org Website mentioned, there’s no proof that these Barbour Scholars averted the International Conflicts as Barbour had expected. Moreover, some of the women found themselves caught in the midst of World War II and its fallout. Dr. E.K. Janaki who was also caught in the thick of war, reported in 1941 in Barbour scholar newsletter,”I am still alive in London and getting along with my work as well as one could. I have just come back from Edinburgh where I went for a rest after months of broken sleep. This part of London has had a lot of bombing (11).”

File:Rackham School of Graduate Studies at UM Ann Arbor 2015.jpg
Rackham School of Graduate Studies. Image source: Wikimedia Commons

In the University of Rackham Graduate School, Barbour Scholarship still continues to be administrated.

-prepared by Akanksha Sharma, an intern at NewsGram

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  • Aparna Gupta

    The scholarship is amazing and unique as no scholarship provides Occidental education.

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10 Must Know Facts About Subhas Chandra Bose

Subhas Chandra Bose was a true legend in every essence and one of the most decorated freedom fighters who ever fought for incredible India.

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Subhas Chandra Bose views on attaining freedom were very much different from other Congress leaders. Wikimedia Commons
Subhas Chandra Bose views on attaining freedom were very much different from other Congress leaders. Wikimedia Commons
  • Subhas Chandra Bose was a true patriot and a man of principle who left no stone unturned to bring independence to India
  • Subhas graduated with Bachelors of Arts from the University of Calcutta
  • Subhas Chandra Bose never complied with the thoughts of Gandhi

NEW DELHI: A true Indian can never forget the very famous slogan of Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose, “You give me blood, and I’ll give you Freedom”. His words immediately sparked the zeal of patriotism in the hearts of many Indians during the independence struggle. Even today these words are as inspiring as they were at that time. Subhas Chandra Bose was a true patriot and a man of principle who left no stone unturned to bring independence to India.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897, in Orissa, Bengal division. He is considered as one of the most esteemed freedom fighters of India who was the mastermind behind raising the Azad Hind Fauj. This force was created to fight the British people and was the first Indian armed force. Subhas Chandra Bose was a true legend in every essence and one of the most decorated freedom fighters who ever fought for incredible India.

Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897, in Orissa, Bengal division. Wikimedia Commons
Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose was born on January 23, 1897, in Orissa, Bengal division. Wikimedia Commons

He was the ninth member of a family of 14. In January 1902, Subhas Chandra Bose joined Protestant European school. Due to his extreme brilliance and skills, Subhas Chandra Bose was admired by his principal. Subhas graduated with Bachelors of Arts from the University of Calcutta. After that, he left India in 1919 and promised his father that he will be taking Indian Civil services examination.

Also Read: 10 Facts You Need To Know About Homi Bhabha

On 19 November 1919, he matriculated from Cambridge and stood fourth overall but he didn’t pursue his job over there as he didn’t want to work under the British. Thereafter, in 1921, he gave up his dream of civil services and returned to India. Two years down the lane, Subhas Chandra Bose was elected as the president of all India youth congress and under the leadership of Chittaranjan Das. During that time only, he was also selected as the CEO of Calcutta Municipal Corporation.

He staged many campaigns against the atrocities of British rule in India and got arrested in a roundup of nationalists. After he got released from the prison, he came in contact with Jawaharlal Nehru and started working for the independence struggle. He even wrote a book named, ‘The Indian Struggle’ which was published in 1935. His book was based on the facts that he witnessed personally and the painful experiences of his fellow freedom fighters.

Related imageAfter he got released from the prison, he came in contact with Jawaharlal Nehru and started working for the independence struggle. Wikimedia Commons
After he got released from the prison, he came in contact with Jawaharlal Nehru and started working for the independence struggle. Wikimedia Commons

He was also elected as the mayor of Calcutta in 1930. He later on accepted for the Nomination of the president of India.

 

Take a look at some of the astonishing facts related to Subhas Chandra Bose.
1. Earlier in his career, Subhas Chandra Bose was the leader of the radical wing of the Indian National Congress in the late 1920s and 1930s. After taking a note of his efforts, he was elected as the Congress President in 1938 and 1939. But due to some differences with Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi and the Congress high command, he has been expelled from Congress leadership positions in the very same year. Subhas Chandra Bose openly criticized Congress’ foreign and internal policies.

Also Read: 15 Facts To Know About Arnab Goswami and Republic TV

2. Being a hardcore freedom fighter, Subhas Chandra Bose came under direct threat of British government. Between 1921and 1941, he was imprisoned eleven times for his fight for complete independence.
3. Subhas Chandra Bose never complied with the thoughts of Gandhi. He believed that the tactics of non-violence would never be sufficient to secure independence and rather advocated violent resistance to secure the nation.

4. To fuel the spirit of independence, Subhas Chandra Bose visited many countries Soviet Union, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. He requested all the country leaders to allow their alliance for securing India’s independence. It initiated his move at the outset of the Second World War and during that time, most of the nations were building their military might. Finally, with the assistance from Imperial Japan, Subhas Chandra Bose raised Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army (INA). Japan offered monetary, political, diplomatic and military assistance to the force. Later, the Azad Hind Fauj was stationed at Andaman and Nicobar Islands and then travelled all the way to Manipur in India.

5. On August 23, 2007, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe personally visited the Subhas Chandra Bose memorial hall in Kolkata and later met his family members also. Prime Minister Abe quoted, “, “The Japanese are deeply moved by Bose’s strong will to have led the Indian independence movement from British rule.”

Subhas Chandra Bose was elected as the president of all India youth congress and under the leadership of Chittaranjan Das. Wikimedia Commons
Subhas Chandra Bose was elected as the president of all India youth congress and under the leadership of Chittaranjan Das. Wikimedia Commons

6. Subhas Chandra Bose was successful in establishing the Azad Hind Radio station in Germany and thus stoked up the Indian nationalist movement in East Asia.

Also Read: 10 must-know facts about Anand Mahindra

7. Subhas Chandra Bose was very much inspired by Bhagavad Gita and drew a lot of inspiration from it. He was also very much moved by Swami Vivekananda and his teaching on universal brotherhood, his nationalist thoughts and his emphasis on social service and much other reform.

8. Subhas Chandra Bose views on attaining freedom were very much different from other leaders. Congress wanted to gain independence through phases of a dominion status, whereas he stressed upon complete freedom. For his will to fight for his country, he was considered as a true patriot even by some of his rivals. He just wanted freedom for his nation and he didn’t mind going to anyone for assistance.

9. After successfully clearing his Indian Civil Services examination, Subhash Chandra Bose refused to obey the custom of carrying his umbrella while meeting the Governor General at his office. He never tolerated any misbehaviour in his life.

10. Subhash Chandra Bose travelled to Germany while attempting with a daring escape from his house arrest in India. He travelled from Kolkata to Gomo by a car and from there to Peshawar by train. He then went to Kabul and proceeded directly to Germany to seek help from Adolf Hitler for India’s independence. After many attempts, he was able to speak with Hitler.

Subhash Chandra Bose travelled to Germany to seek Adolf Hitler's help. Wikimedia Commons
Subhash Chandra Bose travelled to Germany to seek Adolf Hitler’s help. Wikimedia Commons

Subhas Chandra Bose death still remains a mystery at large. As per the government report, he died in a plane crash on 18 August 1945. But this theory is refuted by many historians and scholars. In the book, “Bose: The Indian Samurai – Netaji and the INA Military Assessment”, Maj Gen G D Bakshi (retd), has pointed out that the above report was made by Japanese intelligence agencies to help Subhas Chandra Bose to make his way to the Soviet Union.

In 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi met the family members of Subhas Chandra Bose and announced the declassification of files related to his life. Later on, 100 secret files were made public by the central government.