Bharat’s independence on the midnight of 15th August 1947 hastened the demise of colonialism across continents. The world saw the end of the colonial era, and the birth of a world of ‘equal’ nations.
The end of colonialism did not, however signals, the end of its consequences. The popular and much celebrated belief in Bharat was that with the Tricolour replacing the Union jack, a new phase of history had entirely, and definitively, replaced the old. This was, of course the case politically; but in the field of culture and ideas, history does not unfold in watertight compartments.
There is a spill-over, a legacy that remains to be interrogated and dismantled. It is the unfinished buisness of the aftermath of Empire. This is especially so because the empires of the past were not only about the physical subjugation of peoples. Their real strength lays in the colonization of minds. Beyond the deserved euphoria of political liberation, there is a need, therefore, for a clear analysis of the effects of Empire on the culture and creative processes of newly, or relatively newly, independent nations.
However, this is a very neglected area of study. Colonialism in independent India is studied in its universities that have become citadels of communism, for its political impact only, not even an unbiased investigation is done on its economic impact, leave aside the rare investigation of its cultural and ideological consequences that continue to hold subject people in thrall.
The legacies of the past have an incredibly powerful momentum, they persist in a hundred myriad ways, affecting our language, beliefs, behaviour, self-esteem, creative expression, politics and everyday interactions. It is not often recognized how culturally disruptive the colonial experience is. The authentic re-appropriation of one’s cultural space is thus one of the most criticial unfinished agendas of our time.
The great cultural civilizations cannot become derivative, or reduce themselves to caricature or mimicry, measuring their progress solely by economic statistics. It must be remembered that man doesn’t survives only on bread alone, this life is meant to be more then this. History when separated from fictional lies propagated through textbooks written by eminent historians tells us that in the past we were an example of civilizational excellence and we must endevaour to be the same again, capable of original and independent thinking.
But this will require, first and foremost, an understanding of what the intervening period of colonialism did to us in the realms of language, culture and creativity. Only if the impact of that past is understood can we grapple with the breaking India forces and forces of co-option at work today, and re-appropriate our culture authentically and with dignity, without which it is absurd to talk of development and global leadership.
One of the great myths spawned by the cabal of left liberals, the self proclaimed secular forces, the harbingers of change is, that we are all becoming mirror images of each other in this era of globalization and now who cares of culture . Of course, there is now much greater give and take between nations and societies but it must be remembered that cultures, retain their indelible differences,amd that diversity must be respected. Cultures are products of a specific space and millieu, they are not interchangeable, and while they do evolve, they cannot be co-opted mindlessly as part of some global, cosmopolitan generality. The need for vigilance against such a possibility is all the greater because – again contrary to the popular myth about modern globalized world, cultural interactions don’t have a level playing field.
Culture and identity will be the dominant agenda of the 21st century. And as people of Bharat will begin to dismantle the colonial impositions of the past, or atleast one hopes they will begin to question the silent co-option inherent in globalization, they will challenge many of the easy asssumptions of the present general order.
Let’s hope and work for the awakening of the inheritors of Lord Ram and Krishna to arise and raise their voice in support of the culture that’s lying dormant in the heart’s of millions of hindus in moribund stage and against that colonial mental slavery which is de-alienating them from their own roots and creating an antipathy in their minds regarding their glorious past, their brave forefathers and their precious treasure of immense knowledge and culture which is unparallel in the whole universe. Let those age old ancient embers lying dormant in the hearts of millions of hindus be fanned and joined in this pious yajna. Bharat will have to fight and win it’s war to be Bharat. Bharat will have to arise in defiance of the white mens burden. It’s time for “Poorn Swarajya”.
Arise O Arjuna! Arise!