Effects of Colonization on Indian Thought

Whenever I roam I around Chennai streets I see some school uniforms, are “sari”s. which is very rare to see. I was wondering when and how did we migrate form some thing Indian to some thing which is not , sari to mini skirts. How come our schools look exact replica of an European school. Never thought..!!

Recently I got a mail from tarang telling about the colonizing Indian thoughts

I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such caliber, that


I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation”.-Lord McCauley in his speech of Feb 2, 1835, British Parliament.

Lord McCauley – A British writer, historian and Parliamentarian, responsible for making the choice of Modern English Education for Indians stated in his speech of 1835 at British Parliament. To sum up what I have said, I think it clear that we are not fettered by the Act of parliament of 1813; that we are not fettered by any pledge expressed or implied; that we are free to employ our funds as we choose; that we ought to employ them in teaching what is best worth knowing; that English is better worth knowing than Sanskrit or Arabic; that the natives are desirous to be taught English, and are not desirous to be taught Sanskrit or Arabic; that neither as the languages of law, nor as the languages of religion, have the Sanskrit and Arabic any peculiar claim to our engagement; that it is possible to make natives of this country thoroughly good English scholars, and that to this end our efforts ought to be directed. In one point I fully agree with the gentlemen to whose general views I am opposed. I feel with them, that it is impossible for us, with our limited means, to attempt to educate the body of the people.

We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colors, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country, to enrich those dialects with terms of science borrowed from the Western nomenclature, and to render them by degrees fit vehicles for conveying knowledge to the great mass of the population.”“The destinies of our Indian Empire are covered with thick darkness. It may be that the public mind of India may expand under our system till it has outgrown that system; that by good government we may educate our subjects into a capacity for better government; that having become instructed in European knowledge they may, in some future age, demand European institutions. Whether such a day will ever come, I know not. But never will I attempt to avert or retard it. Whenever, it comes, it will be the proudest day in English history.”

And some more resources gave extremely eye-opening and intereting articals ( I have shown selected parts of it) This paper was presented at a seminar on “Decolonization and its Cultural Problems” organized by N. V. Krishna Warrior Smaraka Trust at Tripunithura (Kerala) on 9-10 October 1999. As we must rule 150 millions of people by a handful (more or less small) of Englishmen, let us do it in the manner best calculated to leave them divided (as in religion and national feeling they already are) and to inspire them with the greatest possible awe of our power and with the least possible suspicion of our motives.

CameIndependence. If India did achieve political independence—at a terrible cost and by amputating a few limbs of her body—she hardly achieved independ- ence in the field of thought. Nor did she try : the country’s so-called elite, whose mind had been shaped and hypnotized by their colonial masters, always assumed that anything Western was so superior that in order to reach all-round fulfillment, India merely had to follow European thought, science, and political institutions.

Swami Vivekananda was the first to give this call : “O ye modern Hindus, de-hypnotize yourselves !”The SymptomsA hundred years later, at least, we can see how gratuitous those assumptions were. Yet the colonial imprint remains present at many levels. On a very basic one, it is almost amusing to note that Pune is sometimes called “the Oxford of the East,” while Ahmedabad is “the Manchester of India”—and since Coimbatore is often dubbed “the Manchester of South India,” we have at least out-Manchestered England herself ! The Nilgiris are flatteringly com- pared to Scotland (never mind that Kotagiri, where I live, is called “the second Switzerland”), and I understand that tourist guides refer to your own Alappuzha as “the Venice of the East.” Pondicherry, also to attract tourists, calls itself ” India’s Little France” or “the French Riviera of the East.” India’s map seems dotted with European places. And “east” of what, incidentally ? This is something like India’s learned “Oriental” institutes—what “orient” do they refer to ? Thailand or Japan, perhaps ? Things become more troublesome when Kalidasa is called “the Shake- speare of India,” when Bankim Chatterji needs to be compared to Walter Scott or Tagore to Shelley, and Kautilya becomes India’s very own Machiavelli. We begin to see how our compass is set due west. Would the British call Shakespeare “England’s Kalidasa,” let alone Manchester “the Coimbatore of Northwest England” ? But I think the most alarming signs of the colonization of the Indian mind are found in the field of education.

Take the English nursery rhymes taught to many of our little children, as if, before knowing anything about India, they needed to know about Humpty-Dumpty or the sheep that went to London to see the Queen. When they grow older, some of them will be learning Western psychology while remaining totally ignorant of the far deeper psychology offered by Yoga, or they will study medicine or physics or evolution without having the least idea of what ancient India achieved—and often anticipated—in those fields. Which teacher, for example, will tell his or her students that Darwinian evolution was always at the back of the Indian mind, as the sequence of the Dashavatar shows ? Or that the speed of light is clearly given, to an amazing degree of precision, in Sayana’s commentary on the Rig-Veda ? And can it be a coincidence if a day of Brahma, equal to 4,320,000,000 years, happens to be the age of the earth ?

Many such examples could be supplied in other fields, from mathematics and astronomy and quantum physics to linguistics and metallurgy and urbanization. If teachers were not so ignorant, as a rule, of their own culture, they would have no difficulty in showing their students that the much vaunted “scientific temper” is nothing new to India. Even in medicine, we know how Ayurveda and Siddha systems of medicine have been neglected under the illusion that modern medicine is the only way to provide “health for all.” Our educational policiessystematically discourage the teaching of Sanskrit, and one wonders again whether that is in deference to Macaulay, who found that great language (though he confessed he knew none of it !) to be “barren of useful knowledge.” In the same vein, the Indian epics, the Veda or the Upanishads stand no chance, and students will almost never hear about them at school. Even Indian languages are subtly or not so subtly given a lower status than English, with the result that many deep scholars or writers who chose to express themselves in their mother-tongues (I have of course N. V. Krishna Warrior in mind) remain totally unknown beyond their States, while textbooks are crowded with second-rate thinkers who happened to write in English. If you take a look at the teaching of history, the situation is even worse. Almost all Indian history taught today in our schools and universities has been written by Western scholars, or by “native historians who [have] taken over the views of the colonial masters,” in the words of Prof. Klostermaier of Canada’s University of Manitoba.

All of India’s historical tradition, all ancient records are simply brushed aside as so much fancy so as to satisfy the Western dictum that “Indians have no sense of history.” Indian tradition never said anything about mysterious Aryans invading the subcontinent from the Northwest, but since nineteenth-century European scholars decided so, our children still today have to learn by rote this invention now rejected by most archaeologists ; South Indian tradition said nothing about the Dravidians coming from the North, driven southward by the naughty Aryans, but again that shall be stuffed into young brains. No Indian scholar or grammar or tradition ever claimed that Sanskrit and Tamil languages were great rivals belong- ing to wholly separate families, but this shall be taught at school in deference to Western linguists or to our own “Dravidian” activists.

The real facts of the destruction wreaked in India by Muslim invaders and also by some Christian missionaries must be kept outside textbooks and curricula, since they contradict the “tolerant” and “liberating” image that Islam and Christianity have been projecting for themselves. Even the freedom movement is not spared : as the great historian R. C. Majumdar and others have shown, no serious, objective criticism of Mahatma Gandhi or the Indian National Congress is allowed, and the role of other important leaders is systematically belittled or erased.As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once put it,The mistake of the West is that it measures other civilizations by the degree to which they approximate to Western civilization. If they do not approximate it, they are hopeless, dumb, and reactionary.Educated Indians virtually admitted they were “hopeless, dumb, reactionary,” and could only stop being so by receiving salvation from Europe : they pinned their hopes on its democracy and secularism, ignoring all warnings that those European concepts would wreak havoc once mechanically transposed to India.

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