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.