Shackles of Slavery

By: Aniza Batool

It startled me and made me ponder on my perspective.  As one day when I asked a question from my professor and he replied that "ap ke question se gulami tapak rahi hy" (that your question has an effect of colonization). It perplexed me that how it is even possible for me to have colonial thinking as I am born in an independent country and sixty-nine years have been passed to get freedom from British colonizer. Many questions arise in my mind, for instance, are we got real freedom? Is the British culture still had hegemony after their departure? These questions perturbed me and forced me to write this article.

 Will Durant said that, “A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within”. The action of British colonizer is the real depiction of this quotation as they destroy the great Indian civilization by alienating its people from their custom, tradition and culture.  They not only looted the wealth but also drained the spirituality and individuality of the people of subcontinent. They achieved this through developing an English and Christianized education system which help them to inculcate their philosophy and values in the mind of the people. As Lord Macaulay (who is seen as the father of Western education in the subcontinent) said "We must form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and color, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, in intellect". Macaulay's aim was to create  “A nation of clerks, half westernized, half native”, who will remain loyal to colonizer and will remain psychologically enslave and he succeeded in it.

However, it is pitiful that even after all this time we still not doing anything to change the situation. We are still imparting and inculcating those colonial perspectives in our children. For instance, our children now before knowing anything about our culture know about the Humpty-Dumpty and black sheep. They grow older by having such a great influence, and the situation becomes worse when they study medicine or physics or evolution without having the least idea of what ancient Muslims achieved, for example, teacher should tell his students that Imam Ghazali was also in the favor of Darwinian evolution but they never familiarized the student with this type of indigenous knowledge. One reason of it most of the teachers are ignorant of their native culture and the knowledge they impart to the students produce a breed which is fully inspired by Western culture and doesn’t have any knowledge of their ancient Muslim and geographical history . Swami Vivekananda describe this dilemma as, “The child is taken to school, and the first thing he learns is that his father is a fool, the second thing that his grandfather is a lunatic, the third thing that all his teachers are hypocrites, the fourth, that all the sacred books are lies! By the time he is sixteen he is a mass of negation, lifeless and boneless. And the result is that fifty years of such education has not produced one original man in the three presidencies…. We have learnt only weakness”.

It is not only limited to the students but even intelligentsia have this trend that they will only quote some western philosophers and while they remained crassly ignorant of far deeper thinkers next door. Not only intellectual but our media also promoted these values Even if the American chooses the Donald Trump as their President it will show it as exemplary. Pakistani languages are directly or indirectly given a lower status than English, as a result that many deep scholars or writers who choose to express themselves in their mother-tongues remain totally unknown in their lifetime. The list is endless, in every field of life we find western hegemony, it seemed like we have ceased to exist or will do so after one or two more generations of this senseless de-Indigenizing.

In a nutshell, there is a need of effective “decolonization” to take place in which we should first take a hard look at the effects of this colonization, that what traces it has left on the people mind and psyche, and how deep they are. The decolonization doesn’t mean that replacing one barbaric system with another barbaric system.  In a very real sense, we need to overthrow these shackles which mentally enslave us. As Memmi said “Only in that way can we transcend the half millennium of culture shock brought about by the confrontation with Western civilization. When we leave the culture shock behind we will be masters of our own fate again and be able to determine for ourselves what kind of lives we will lead.”


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