General Non-fiction

The Jervis Brothers

Author: J V Naik&Prabha Ravi Shankar

  • ISBN: 978-81-88569-69-4
  • Paperback
  • Size: 5.50 X 8.50 inch
  • Pages: 126
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The prime object of this monograph is to review the Indian career of the two Jervis brothers—George Risto and Thomas Best—with a view to highlighting their pioneering contributions to the cause of rational education and to the dissemination of scientific knowledge which marked the beginning of the process of Modernization in the post 1818 Western India. The Jervis Brothers were closely associated what was then known as Bombay branch of the Royal Asiatic Society of (BBRAS). In fact, George Jervis was the Honorary Secretary of the Society from 1827 to 1830.

Following the educational policy of Mountstuart Elphinstone, the first Governor of Bombay, the Jervis brothers worked hard to educate Indians in useful scientific studies in their own mother tongue. George set up Ganeet Shilpa Vidyalaya (the Engineer Institution) with Marathi as the medium of instruction, and also wrote and translated standard books in Mathematics and other allied subjects into local languages. His younger brother Thomas achieved just fame for the Konkan Education Society formed in the Southern Konkan in 1824. Thomas Jervis also did some pioneering study of the physical geography of the Konkan—its climate, configuration, land-water distribution, soil, natural resources, fauna and flora, and other features—and he also pioneered the Postal Money Order system in India. 

Unfortunately, their conception of scientific education for the moral and material advancement of the Indians was ignored or perhaps deliberately discarded by the imperial authorities by adopting Macaulay-style literary education set up in 1835. Nevertheless, the Jervis brothers, on any computation, were genuine ‘Friends of India’, and deserve to be so remembered.


  • J V Naik

    J. V. Naik taught history first at the Elphinstone College, then at the Govt. of Maharashtra I.Y. College and before his retirement he was professor and head, department of history, University of Mumbai. He was awarded a fellowship of the Shastri Indo-Canadian Institute for research in Canada. He has lectured at some Universities in Canada and participated in international conferences in India and abroad. He was the general president of the Indian History Congress, and he has delivered several prestigious endowment lectures. He was UGC visiting fellow at the M.S. University at Baroda and at the Shivaji University, Kolhapur. He has authored several books and booklets, including one on national integration for the Central Board for Workers’ Education, sponsored by the Ministry of Labour, Govt. of India. Through his numerous research papers, which are widely cited, he has made a seminal contribution to a better understanding of the nature of 19th century Maharashtrian renaissance and the history of the quest for social justice in India. He has been a member of the Raja Rammohun Roy Library Foundation, Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India. He is presently a trustee of Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, and of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai.

  • Prabha Ravi Shankar

    Dr. Prabha Ravi Shankar is Associate Professor in the Department of History, S.N.D.T. Women’s University, Mumbai. 

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