Colonialism refers to the policy of a country seeking to extend or retain its authority over people or territories, generally with the aim of economic dominance. Most developing countries were once colonies or otherwise dominated. And institutions created during the colonial period often had adverse effects on development that in many cases have perished to the present day. Both domestically and internationally, developing countries have more often lacked institutions and formal organizations of the type that have benefited the developed world: domestically on average, property rights have been less secure and a smaller segment of society has been able to gain access to and take advantage of economic opportunities. Thus, the effect of colonial-era still lingers, not only economically but socially as well. And unfortunately for us- as individuals, and as citizens of this country, or to be more specific, the children of this nation- the shadow of colonialism proudly escorts the youth in the form of western influence, embezzling the veritable light of one’s own bona fide culture, the brilliant rich culture, that is more often than not looked down on by our own people.
The British colonized India in the 17th-18th centuries and tended toward a decentralized and verified type of colonial administration and faced a strong rival, the Indian National Congress that tried to bridge the gap that dissected the country. But it was a deep cut. And the aperture remains wide open, unguarded and untouched, lurking in every nook and corner of the country as the shadow of colonialism.
The colonial era eventually came to its decline after the second world war but somewhere, in the hearts, minds, and dreams of people, the shadows still prevail, which is evident in the scarcity of neatly divided nation-states throughout the world and the unmistakable rivalry between the great powers.
Even after 75 years of independence, we are still coping with the impact of colonialism. How often is it that we see sheer respect and love in the eyes of an Indian towards his country? The colonial mindset is still alive in people. The conflicts of division, fragmentation, and stratification have been so deeply inscribed in our minds, that every day, it is a battle against the world and our own selves. We still race towards superiority based on color and caste. And we still haven’t accepted ourselves for who we are. Are you sure, this is the freedom that you longed for? With every step in the direction of left, our own reality is fading from within. And now, our way of life speaks of colonialism.
The patriotic spirit lacks in today’s youth, how many of us are aware of our history and culture? How many of us are proud of it? How many of us dream to be in our country and contribute towards its development instead of wanting to go settle in some foreign land? How many of us know our mother tongue better than the second language? The list of questions could go on and the answer would be the same. And this is merely the social impact of colonialism.
When one country subjugates another that’s called colonialism, now it’s a definition we’ve been reading since elementary school. What colonialism means in the broader sense consists of 3 things– Settle, Exploit, Dominate and Renovate. While the west, especially the continent of Europe, sees colonialism as a God burdened responsibility and to quote “The White Man’s burden”, the colonies have been totally against it since the beginning of the modern era. Colonizers have been historically witnessed to portray subjugation as a noble cause, thereby, exhibiting themselves as Caesar in the face of death.
“Shadows of Colonialism” can be interpreted in different ways– the evil that lurks underneath it or the after-effects that are imprinted upon the colonies. Both of which, unfortunately for the human race, are on the negative side of the equation.
Nations of power share their knowledge and governance with underdeveloped lands of the world in the name of colonialism. But history speaks otherwise, or rather it seems, power corrupts intentions. Throughout history and throughout all the nations colonized, one thing is prominent– Exploitation.
On the other hand, after the so-called “burdened” men retreat from the lands they colonised they bloat with the stuff they ransacked from the colony. Again, taking our own country at the witness box, a nation that shared 25% of the world GDP pre-colonization, was made to linger on the sleek margin of a mere 2% post-colonisation. Maybe it is the cost of the transformation from “barbaric” to “civilized”, and we were apparently charged a premium for a lifetime. Our controllers looted us of everything including our heritage and culture, and by the way, didn’t leave the word loot too, they took it in too along with a couple of other words into their dictionary. In exchange for what- The irremovable influence of their culture. Yes, I’m writing this in English too but, isn’t that what I’m supposed to do if this language is one of the two official languages constitutionally?
The grasping shadow of colonialism leaves its impact on not only our psychology, but also on our psychology. The words of Lupita Nyong’o support this statement when she said-
“What colonialism does is cause an identity crisis about one’s own culture.”