Duff, Rev. Alexander

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Duff, Rev. Alexander (1806-1878) Scottish Presbyterian missionary. Alexander Duff had great influence on the educational and social policies of the colonial government. He was the first missionary to Bengal sent by the evangelical organisation - Committee of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland on Foreign Missions.

Alexander Duff came to Calcutta in 1830 and immediately after his arrival he joined the current debate on education policy. He supported those civilians who wanted public instructions to be imparted in English language. The group that supported teaching oriental civilization in oriental languages lost the ground to the Anglicists. In 1835, government resolved to impart education in English language and promote European science and literature. Duff played crucial role in shifting the mood of the administration from oriental to Western education.

Duff lived in Bengal from 1830 to 1863 with occasional breaks. During the period he extensively toured Bengal in promoting the cause of missions and established numerous mission schools and charitable organisations. He vehemently criticized the brutal measures that government took against the mutineers in 1857 and after and opposed the oppressions of the indigo planters. He was extremely active in establishing the university of calcutta in 1857 and charting its syllabi and system of examinations. Duff was the president of the bethune society until 1863. His book India and Indian Missions indicates his evangelical zeal and organisational ability. He was the editor of the famous Calcutta Review from 1845 to 1849. Duff died on 12 February 1878. [Sirajul Islam]