Us Versus Them
Whosoever is responsible for coining this misnomer term has fulfilled his own objective of dividing culture of many nations into Colonial and Post Colonial eras, in terms of a historical event that would ever remind the oppressed of their humiliating past. For political and economic purposes it could have been tolerable, but for art and literature it is sheer absurd. The word was easily picked up by West who have unlimited craving for establishing their superiority over the rest of the world.
No such distinction has been made
for Second World War. It was a major event that
divided history in two parts. So far as literature is concerned, it was termed "Postmodern Literature" that was
based on narrative techniques and style. And not on any historical or political
The cover page of Edward Said's book 'Orientalism' shows naked butt of a teenage boy who is a snake charmer. It is funny that how the westerners are so overwhelmed by snake charmers of India. Due to humid subtropical climate of India and dense forest snakes were part of the vast biodiversity of India. Being an environmentalist since ancient time Indians did not kill snakes, rather they worshipped them. It was found that
snakes dance to the tune of
special musical instrument called Been and can be captured easily once they are
hypnotized by snake charmers. So whenever snakes encroached in human
territories of urban area, they were caught and deported back to their natural
habitat. So what's the big deal about it?
Black Skin White Mask (1952) written by Franz Fanon is a good attempt to understand the black people specially who move upward in the white dominated society and start wearing a white mask even when they go to sleep. One day they forget their original face and become a distorted version of Homo Sapiens. Any person would behave strangely when subjected to all together different
culture, and when whole race undergoes certain
similar experiences it may lead to form a Collective Unconsciousness. The
psychoanalysis can only play a small important role in determining and
understanding the behavioral pattern of such race.
Bharati Mukherjee, RK Narayan, Mahashweta Devi, Anita Desai, Arundhati Roy and Jhumpa Lahiri are some of the Indian writers who are labeled as post colonial writers.
Some defects in the dogma of Post Colonial Literature are mentioned here.
1. Loss of Identity
: One of the popular belief is that 'native' suffered from loss
of identity once they were decolonized. The literature created in languages
other than English is not dominated by this subject. Very few writers wrote in
English but either they did not live in colony or did not have firsthand
experience of colonial and postcolonial
2. Cultural Erosion: We can also call it cultural enrichment. This has happened in East as well as West. The history of English literature in Britain from Anglo-Latin to late modernism and twenty first century literature shows their enrichment.
3. Value-Shift: Shifting of values is a constant phenomenon in any society. There could be
difference of opinion on the issue whether values went up or down during
certain time period. If we go by thumb rule that change is always good, the
shift in values was imminent weather it was colony or not. The same shift
happened in many other countries who were not colony at that time.
4. Us Versus Them: It is alleged that
colonizer countries discarded everything
that pertained to the culture of Colony and imposed their superiority. It is
also said that despite the fact that many decolonized countries continued to be dominated by their
colonizers politically, economically and culturally. It needs to be analyzed
with open mind and paradigm shift. The superpowers of the world have always
dominated rest of the world. Out of 192 counties of the World how many
countries have economic, political and cultural sovereignty. Since World is Conical there is always tug of war between
Us and Them.
5. Inferiority Complex: Eurocentric Universalism takes for granted the superiority of
West and inferiority of East. This argument
is also not tenable. Many Europeans like Max Muller, Schopenhauer, Sir John
Woodruffs were highly impressed by Easter Culture. Many are still of the view
that India would be World Guru in 21 Century and would lead the World from
"Darkness to the Light".
© Vipin Behari Goyal