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Friday, October 22, 2010

Lord Macaulay's India


We all feel strongly about the British Raj in India and India's struggle for independence. We were done wrong by the British(so were various other countries). Now in the modern day, all countries have learnt to live in mutual harmony, respecting each other's independence.

Recently there was a video circulating on Facebook that showed Lord Macaulay's statement given to the British parliament on Feb2, 1835. It described how he had traveled across the length and breadth of India and saw great richness both in terms of wealth and morals. He said that India had a strong backbone of Spiritual and Cultural Heritage(which i believe, to this date, implies).
He proposed to replace the ancient education system & culture with the British system. He said, "If Indians think that all that is foreign is good & greater than their own, they will become a truly dominated nation."
Basically the video meant to send out the news that some rich guy in India, Mr Sanjiv Mehta, had had his sweet revenge by buying the East India Company.

And we thought we had got over the feeling of revenge and learnt to live in harmony. See what a great thing Mr Mehta did, instead of using his millions of bucks in improving India's infrastructure or helping the ailing, he went and bought a company. 

India was a mess in the pre-colonial 19th century with lots of kingdoms forming and falling successively. Sure we had great resources, but none was put to proper use. Resources were wasted in battles and establishment of the new king's lush kingdom. We were inviting people to come and exploit us. 

The British rule also did good for us. It united us. The Hindus and the Muslims were fighting together instead of fighting with each other. The problem has always been our lack of unity, with our low self confidence, our fake pride and our simplicity to take any liar's words as the truth. The British also helped get rid of practices like Sati and the Purdah system. And if it wasn't for the British rule, half the population of India would still be illiterate, including at least 95% of the female population. 

But i truly believe that all who were a part of scheming and implementing this strategy that Macaulay suggested, if came to life today, would be extremely happy.

We don't know anything about our ancient education system and we still believe that Foreign is Good(what brand of clothes, perfumes etc do you prefer to wear? aren't you paying just anything to have nike, levi's etc? do you ever wear one of those Indian fragrances?), and Khadi industry today produces expensive stuff aimed at the foreign consumers, the tourists. 

Some of us don't even respect our culture anymore. We prefer to wear a one-piece dress in a family function, we want to have a wedding in a gown and we all want to learn hip-hop. (Mind you, arts & apparel  and culture are very much intertwined.)

We all know that the caste system existed way before the British rule, but maybe most of us don't know that it was not wholly prohibitive and repressive until the British rule, when the British started to enumerate castes during the 10 year census and codified the system under their rule; though this was not wholly deliberate on the part of the British. And today our politicians keep the system alive, making it one of the strongest reasons(along with religion) of hatred, feuds, violence and disarray. For those who don't know what the government gets out of separating castes(& religions) based on census and reservations, the simple answer is vote. Census gives the number of possible voters and reservation gives votes. And believe me, it is easy to get an Indian do what you want by fooling them, whether he be illiterate & backward or highly educated & modern. We are guided by anger and not by conscience.

To take revenge with the British, we don't have to buy their companies, we just have to love each other and be united. We need to show them that Divide and Rule might have worked then, but it sure has no effect now. To hell with politics and democracy, we don't need politicians telling us what to do, we can show them that we respect each other and everybody in the entire world without being asked by them. 

We need to be guided by our conscience to use our intelligence.

2 comments:

  1. Hw does one's way of dressing tel us his way of thinking....its only the impression we make in our mind....it might nt be true!!

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  2. i don't mean to judge any1, just feel that we should love & respect our traditional wear and should give them a chance at least on family occasions and festivals(since otherwise mostly we wear western clothes). :)

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