Post-Colonialism

1. Definition
1.1 Colonialism

To define Post-Colonialism it’s important to know about and to define colonialism. Colonialism is the expansion of a nation’s sovereignty over foreign territories through forcible occupation. European colonialism began in the fifteenth century and reached its culmination point in the late 19th century. At the height of European colonialism, more than three quarters of the earth belonged to European nations (Britain, France, the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Italy, and Germany). These colonial powers were interested in increasing their own political power and in exploiting the colonies’ resources. Most of the indigenous peoples of colonial territory were oppressed and enslaved by the occupying power. Sometimes they were even deported from fertile land or murdered to make room for new settlements. At the same time, they were forced to give up their cultural heritage and to assimilate to the colonizers’ culture. This strategy, which is also known as culture colonization, was supposed to manipulate the colonized peoples’ minds. The colonial powers believed that a colonized nation which adopted and admired Western culture would no longer resist the colonizers’ occupation. In British colonies, for example, the colonized population had to convert to the Christian religion and learn the English language and read English literature in school. As a result, they adopted Western values, and the colonizers were eventually able to rule by consent and not by violence. However, this assimilation could never be complete. Indigenous people who were “brainwashed” and wanted to be regarded as members of the “high culture” never got a chance to achieve their aim because of their ethnic background. They were always regarded as inferior. Colonial powers always argued that third world countries were inferior and needed the West’s help and assistance in order to gain moral integrity and economic wealth. Indigenous people were presented as uncivilized “barbarians”, who have to be subdued, or as childlike and naïve savages, who have to be “domesticated” and educated. These racist stereotypes of colonial discourse can still be found in science, historical writing, literature, and mass media.

1.2 Post-Colonialism
The list of former colonies of European powers is a long one. They are divided into settler (eg. Australia, Canada) and non-settler countries (eg. India, Jamaica, Nigeria, Senegal, Sri Lanka). Countries such as South Africa and Zimbabwe which were partially settled by colonial populations complicate even this simpledivision between settler and non-settler. In strictly definitional terms, for instance, the United States might also be described as a postcolonial country, but it is not perceived as such because of its position of power in world politics in the present, its displacement of native American populations, and its annexation of other parts of the world in what may be seen as a form of colonization. For that matter, other settler countries such as Canada and Australia are sometimes omitted from the category "post-colonial" because of their relatively shorter struggle for independence, their loyalist tendencies toward the mother country which colonized them, and the absence of problems of racism or of the imposition of a foreign language. The post-colonial direction was created as colonial countries became independent. Nowadays, aspects of post-colonialism can be found not only in history, literature and politics, but also in approach to culture and identity of both the countries that were colonised and the former colonial powers. Post-colonialism can take the colonial time as well as the time after colonialism into

Besides. Example: Post-Colonialism in India 2. As these people are torn between two cultures. called the “Muslim League”.consideration. the Congress developed into the main body of opposition against British colonial rule. the dilemmas of developing a national identity after colonial rule. the impact of the colonial power cannot simply be undone. The second college edition of The American Heritage Dictionary defines it as "of. the Netherlands and France ruled different regions in India before the “British East India Company” was founded in 1756. While most parts of the Indian population remained loyal to the British colonial power during the First World War. It demanded that the Indians should have their proper legitimate share in the government. relating to. they examine the ways in which stereotypes are constructed. In 1885. As a result of nowadays global migration and multiculturalism. the first big rebellion took place in the north of India. called “First war of Indian Independence”. The rebellion failed and the British colonialists continued their rule. From then on. "post-colonial" is that which has been preceded by colonization. the culture of their ancestors and the culture of their former occupiers. The British colonialists managed to control most parts of India while ruling the key cities Calcutta. However. In many Western societies. Nowadays it also plays a remarkable role at European Universities. This was the first time Indians rebelled in massive numbers against the presence and the rule of the British in South Asia. this interest lead to an integration of discussions about post-colonialism in various study courses at American Universities. the “National Indian Congress” was founded. Even today.In a literal sense. Immigrants who try to integrate into the culture of their adopted country are faced with the same problem. In 1857. immigrant minorities are still regarded as less civilized and as less capable than the white native population. The national and cultural identity of a former colony will never be able to fully recover from the views and values that were imposed on its people. more .1 Short Overview: Colonialism in India In the 16th century. a Muslim anti-colonial organisation was founded in 1906. In literature written by white oppressors. Postcolonialism has increasingly become an object of scientific examination since 1950 when Western intellectuals began to get interested in the “Third World countries”. They look at literature produced by authors from both sides. In the 1970s. there are a lot of questions to answer concerning the effects of colonialism: Scientists today want to know how colonial powers were able to gain control over so large a portion of the nonWestern world? What traces have been left by colonial education. there are many interactions between people from different ethnic backgrounds. It deals with the cultural identity matters of colonised societies. Post-colonial critics have highlighted that Western representations of third world countries are no “objective” descriptions but constructions that serve the colonizers’ interests. there still remained a few independent regions (Kashmir among others) whose lords were loyal to the British Empire. And the old stereotypes still exist. they often have a double or hybrid identity. For even if a colony gains its political independence. they analyse the ways in which these people negotiate their identities in the context of colonial domination and afterwards. European powers began to occupy small parts along the Indian coast. “Sepoy Rebellion” or “Indian Mutiny”. The practice of regarding Western culture as more valuable than other cultures is called eurocentrism. Madras and Bombay as the main British bases. or being the time following the establishment of independence in a colony". and class function in colonial and postcolonial discourse? Are new forms of imperialism replacing colonization and how? 2. Portugal. race. science and technology in postcolonial societies? How do these traces affect decisions about development and modernization in postcolonies? Has decolonization been possible? Should decolonization proceed through an aggressive return to the pre-colonial past? How do gender. In literature written by the colonized.

At the same time. The Partition is often described as an Indian trauma. Edward Said’s book “Orientalism”. While around 10 million Hindus und Sikhs were expelled from Pakistan.nus.3 Post-colonialism in Indian literature Concerning post-colonial literature. India has managed to become an independent state with its own political system and is still working to find its own identity. overpopulation. one can say that the British influence is still omnipresent in the Asian subcontinent. Many Indians are conversant with the English language. there have been tensions between India and Pakistan which lead to different wars particularly in the Kashmir region. Eye-witnesses from both sides of the Indian-Pakistani conflict wrote about their feelings and experience during genocide.2 Short overview: Post-colonialism India The Partition of India lead to huge movements and an enormous ethnic conflict across the IndianPakistani border. In this book the author analyses how European states initiated colonialism as a result of what they called their own racial superiority. Today. the Congress Party ruled for decades the country which had become a republic with its own constitution in 1950. The longer the process of decolonisation lasts. . finally lead to independence in 1947. Concerning the integration of Western values in the Indian population and culture. This was regarded as the basic fundament for further education.html) The religious-ethnic conflicts between different groups of people play an important role in the early years of post-colonialism. about 7 million Muslims crossed the border to Pakistan.sg/landow/post/poldiscourse/pol11. is regarded as the beginning of post-colonial studies. Hundreds of thousands of people died in this conflict which least until today. and of course still not without tensions between these two nations that refer to the time of colonialism which from our retro perspective is not at all so far away. the huge British colony was split into two nations: The secular Indian Union and the smaller Muslim state of Pakistan.scholars. because the British colonialists intended to export their values and culture by teaching the Indian population their language. while both Pakistan and Indian are threatening each other with their arsenals of atomic weapons. In India.edu. In 1984. In 1977 the opposition gained the majority of votes. The Muslim League had demanded for an independent Muslim state with a majority of Muslims. conflicts with the cultural minority of the Sikhs lead to the assassination of the Indian prime minister Indira Ghandi. India is still facing its old problems: Poverty. the Kashmir conflict has not come to an end yet. after the Congress Party had regained the majority. (For more information and a short introduction see for example: www. The reason for this can be also found in the persistence of the English language. Additionally. Ever since these incidents. What about the relationship between India and the United Kingdom today? It is a special one. being confronted to blind and irrational violence and hatred. 2. 2. the more we get the impression that only a middle course between the acceptance of British legacies and the creation of a new unique Indian self-confidence will be the right way to go for India.and more Muslim people joined the Indian independence movement since they were angry about the division of the Ottoman Empire by the British. environmental pollution as well as ethnic and religious conflicts between Hindus and Muslims. The non-violent resistance against British colonial rule. mainly initiated and organised by Mahatma Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru. India became a member of the British Commonwealth after 1947. published in 1978. apart from the significant economic progress.

Moreover. […] I have never found one Orientalist who could deny that a single shelf of a good European library was worth the whole native literature of India and Arabia. I have conversed both here and at home with men who are distinguished by their proficiency in the Eastern tongues. that the department of literature in which the Eastern writers stand highest is poetry. but studied in England and started writing books about India and the British in the early eighties. But I have done what I could to form a correct estimate of their value. featuring young Europeans on a “hippie trail” who claim they have left behind Western civilisation and are trying to some spiritual home among Indian gurus. Today. was born in India. Furthermore. His funny. One particularly interesting phenomenon is that authors from both sides try to write from different angles and perspectives and in that way to show empathy with their cultural counterpart. it will not be easy to translate any valuable work* into them. And I certainly never met with any Orientalist who ventured to maintain that the . Pakistan. there are a lot of questions to answer for the authors: Should the writer use a colonial language to reach a wider audience or return to a native language more relevant to groups in the post-colony? Which writers should be included in the post-colonial canon? How can texts in translation from non-colonial languages enrich our understanding of post-colonial issues? a. that the intellectual improvement of the people can at present be effected only by means of some language not vernacular* amongst them. metaphoric and sometimes even ironical way of writing offers a multi-perspective approach to the post-colonial complex. the other one set in the 1970s. Salman Rushdie was also repeatedly threatened by Irani fundamentalists because of his critical writing about Muslim extremism in the Middle East. Concerning postcolonial literature. It will hardly be disputed.One example for a post-colonial scriptwriter who wrote about this conflict is Saddat Hasan Manto (1912 – 1955). until they are enriched from some other quarter. who won the booker prize among various others. “Bollywood” has become a notorious synonym for the uprising Indian film industry in recent years. It seems to be admitted on all sides. brave. Probeklausur „Post-Colonialism“ Thomas Babington Macaulay: Minute* on Indian Education (1835) […] All parties seem to agree on one point. I have read translations of the most celebrated Arabic and Sanscrit works. which language is the best worth knowing? I have no knowledge of either Sanscrit or Arabic. there are many different approaches to the topic of intercultural exchange between the British and the Indian population. Essays and novels deal with the ambiguous relationship between these two nations. He published a collection of stories and sketches (“Mottled Dawn”) that deal with this dark era of Indian history and its immense social consequences and uncountable tragedies. they are so poor and rude that. This can be also seen in his book “Midnight’s Children”. He was forced to leave Bombay and to settle in Lahore. I suppose. Young Indian scriptwriters have discovered post-colonial issues as themes for their movies and as a way of dealing with the changeful past of their country. that the dialects commonly spoken among the natives of India. In the past. Rushdie. Another famous post-colonial novel is “Heat and Dust” (published in 1975) by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala that contains two plot set in different times: One about a British lady starting an affair with a local Indian prince in the 1920s. The other half strongly recommends the Arabic and Sanscrit. Today’s most famous novelist who wrote about these social and cultural exchanges is Salman Rushdie. The whole question seems to me to be. What then shall that language be? One half of the Committee maintains that it should be the English. contain neither literary nor scientific information.

that it is impossible for us to attempt to educate the body of the people. riskieren. and general principles investigated. then. we shall see the strongest reason to think that.).) work (n. Umgangssprache. in opinions. It is likely to become the language of commerce throughout the seas of the East. Übersicht hervorragend wesentlich. and in intellect.) to venture sth. It is the language of two great European communities which are rising. immeasurable paltry abridgement preeminent intrinsic interpreter hier: Notiz. Indian in blood and colour. in morals. immanent. that all the historical information which has been collected from all the books written in the Sanscrit language is less valuable than what may be found in the paltriest abridgements used at preparatory schools in England. and more closely connected with our Indian empire. mundartlich (adj. dürftig Kurzfassung. the other in Australasia. does it stand with the case? We have to educate a people who cannot at present be educated by means of their mother-tongue. wagen. the English tongue is that which would be the most useful to our native subjects. the relative position of the two nations is nearly the same. of all foreign tongues.Arabic and Sanscrit poetry could be compared to that of the great European nations. But when we pass from works of imagination to works in which facts are recorded. unternehmen unermesslich armselig. Dolmetscher Study Questions 1. It is. Protokoll umgangssprachlich.) hier: (literarisches) Werk etw. How. What does Thomas Babington Macaulay say about the status of English literature and the English language? . or at the particular situation of this country. In every branch of physical or moral philosophy. Mundart (n. no exaggeration to say. the one in the south of Africa. a class of persons. intrinsisch Übersetzer. It is spoken by the higher class of natives at the seats of Government. the superiority of the Europeans becomes absolutely immeasurable*. […] which had recently been ignorant and barbarous. I believe. It stands preeminent even among the languages of the west. We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters* between us and the millions whom we govern. In India. To that class we may leave it to refine the vernacular dialects of the country. I feel with them. Vocabulary minute vernacular (adj. erbärmlich. but English in taste. […] There are in modern times […] memorable instances of a great impulse given to the mind of a whole society. Whether we look at the intrinsic* value of our literature. vernacular (n. […] Nor is this all. […] In one point I fully agree with the gentlemen to whose general views I am opposed. innewohnend.). It is hardly necessary to recapitulate the claims of our own language. communities which are every year becoming more important. We must teach them some foreign language. […] We are not without experience to guide us. English is the language spoken by the ruling class.

their culture and their language represented? 3. he became a colonial administrator and began a four-year period of service on the Supreme Council of India. What are probably the impacts of Britain’s colonial policy? Some information about the author: Thomas Babington Macaulay (1800-1859) was a well-known English essayist. How are the native people of India.2. historian. and politician. In 1834. What is the aim of Macaulay’s speech? How is it structured? Retrace Macaulay’s line of argumentation. 4. poet. .

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