Universities teaching the Western humanities were founded in the three main Indian colonial cities, Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai, in 1857, the same year as the ‘Indian mutiny’. Of the two events the first was arguably the more significant, since Indian nationalism developed largely among the graduates of those universities. During the next 30 years nearly 50,000 Indians passed the entrance examinations, which themselves required literacy in English — hence the advent of a curious qualification — ‘failed BA’. Nevertheless 5000 did achieve the Bachelor of Arts degree.
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