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Colonial and Post Colonial Literature

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Colonization in India was not just a political phenomenon but it had adverse effects on economic and cultural being of the country. It can be described as an exercise of power and control over the Country by outsiders. India had a rich cultural heritage, but in the seventeenth and eighteenth century that India was colonized. As a result of the developments of trade between Europe and India, it was noted that majority of European trading companies became deeply involved in the country’s political movements. Because of this far reaching influence Britain establish itself as the colonizers and they went ahead to collect information about the people of India.

Hajratwala in his novel Leaving India shows how the culture of the Indian society was influenced by post colonization. It also shows the influence of Gujarati inhabits different parts of the world (Hajratwala 16). Post-colonization according to Hajratwala makes her to discover how her family and culture came to be spread across five continents in a span of a century (20). Throughout the novel Hajratwala tries to put into consideration the cultural sentiment, but in real sense she gives the readers a broad view of the India’s culturally diverse environment (Hajratwala 30). 

Colonization in India brought the issue of competing cultural perspectives. Forster says that the trade route between Europe and India was economical in terms of time and money (10). Colonization brought out everything including the diplomatic and financial arrangements that held several projects together during the era. Forster also says that as a result of colonization there was the structured organization integral to all commerce, religion, and empire in India (10). 

Forster in his novel indicated that considering the effects of colonization to India, it is important to note that there were some fundamental decencies to which Forster subscribes which include good will combined with culture and intelligence (Forster 12). Culturally it is important to note that the ultimate human virtue and the southern exit lead India to be one of the strangest and indeed the most grotesque of all. Forster continues to say that colonization in India has been shown to share a universalizing impulse congruent with the material or philosophic interests of the nineteenth century expansionism (12).

People inherited cultural stereotype that was part from Kipling east of Suez, besides adopting material and moral chaos reign supreme. Forster says that this was a wonderful change from the stagnant tranquility that was being associated with England (12). The impact on culture was crippling of the national imagination due to the power to disturb and cause changes. It was however noted that colonization had a sense of quiet self satisfaction for the colonizers such that in doing so they reaffirmed the primacy of personal relations over motives such as empire building and trade that animated most people (Forster 12).

India had moments of value that seemed an elementary rather than a fundamental way of looking at the world. According to Forster colonization in India served to remind the citizens the need for independence because Britain’s response to the Second World War seemed a meaningless economy drive. It is important to note that India’s commitments to tribe, caste and religion was a reflection of its cultural background. There were also a reflection of many cultural accommodations and space of the Indians to colonial and post colonial understanding s of the country which were rooted in pre-colonial beliefs and steadfastness. In this context, Samarasan says that the future, present and past shown some competing for supremacy among the cultures of the Indian society (42).

During the post-colonial time in the years 1950-1959, marriage was considered as part of the plans of the society. Samarasan says that marriage was itself purposeful and specific as the nation’s own (44). Samarasan further says that “in the post-colonial era, culture stipulated that marriage, children, two cars, servants, a job with prospects, hard earned fame by forty were considered as the major accoutrements of climbing to real power and earning a generous piece of the national pie in the oven” (44). 

Forster says that culture offered guides to the Anglo-Indian ladies and intermarriage. This gives a clear indication that there was bareness of artistic imagination. Forster however says that post colonial culture did not insulate the people from the realities of everyday life in India (22). In support of this argument, Forster says that “for a brief period before the trail, Adela became the rallying point of British sympathies and similarly for a brief period after the trial, Mr. Moore became the rallying point of the Indian sympathies.

Justifying ones cultural identity is one concept that Hajratwala found out in America during the post-colonial years he lived in the US. In his quotation Hajratwala says that “There is so much we do not know about ourselves, so many ifs and perhaps thatguide us toward becoming ourselves” (49).  For Hajratwala, such moments came during an improbable stumble upon at a San Francisco.  As a result, Hajratwala writes, “I might list all the other places I have lived, from New Zealand to suburban Michigan to Silicon Valley—but none of these would give a clue as to either ethnicity or character. I find myself resisting the expected answer: India ... Within India, too, we have a deeper history than a simple region or village name. We are, if legend is to be believed, from royalty, from mud and from fire” (51). The implication was that post colonization had impact on the current cultural believes in India.        

The concept of cultural hegemony in India was associated with colonization. This was eminent from dominant classes within the society. In this context, the dominant group during that time was the British India’s general elite together with subsidiary groups and the elites of Surat. This characterized the culture of India in the colonial and post-colonial eras. Samarasan supports this when he says that Tata knew that he had to change his dreams in twenty years, through being told to study hard. Samarasan says that the indication was to study hard so that the world so that he could be a rich man, with bungalow and servants (17).

There is a sense in which the text represents the paradigms that colonial discourse. Forster in this context the representation of India produced not just by an Englishman but by one who is self-avowedly concerned to use India to meet his need for creative expression and to compensate for the inadequacies located in the India’s culture (23). Forster attributes his dependence on Hindu art largely to its ability to apparently cater to his own requirements (23).

The impulse to colonize the Orient (India) over again is seen as a fiction by making this country serve the needs of a Western Imagination and culture. Forster also indicates that the definition of Orientalism as a culture that sought to serve the European interest economically and even produce India politically, socially and imaginatively (24). Economically there was also the charge that such representations of the colonizers unfailingly show it as the imaginary alter ego of the West-mysterious where the West is rational and at the same time exotic.

Economically colonization in India is seen as a muddle or a mystery and the fidgeting over a dysfunctional social round and can also be seen as dramatizations of an India that would simply lapse into chaos if it were not for the providential dispensation of British rule. Forster says that “India itself in the post colonial era functioned as a dislocated metaphor for an entity that is notoriously remiss in arriving at the appointed place at the correct time” (25). Throughout the novel A Passage to India the reader needs to continually intervene to correct the political and cultural imbalance of the text.    

According to Hajratwala the novel “Leaving India” inflames relentless introspection about personality identity, culture and economically because as a simple point along the spectrum that is representative of our families’ histories. The novel compels readers to reassess their own problems in relation to their culture and economical backgrounds in light of one’s parents’ narrations. Moreover, Forster says that postcolonial criticism bears witness to the unequal and uneven forces of cultural representation involved in the contest for political and social authority within the modern world order (26). Colonization was not only fundamental in just the power of transforming India’s economic vision but also the need to be alert as to its precise nature (Hajratwala 45).

Colonization also brought about competing truths of facing facts about the culture of the society. Forster in support of this says in the Bridge party, at first Indian women seemed cowed by the presence of the men, and by their own oppressive social conditioning based on their culture. On the other the culture brought by English women compels them to be victims of another kind of culture. In this context it is observed that they had no way to share in the lives of their husbands or in lives of their Indian guests (Forster 27). From the above observations, it is evident that the civilizing mission of post colonialism cannot become as limited as the civilizing mission of Empire that it sets out to criticize.  

Post colonialism brought out the halting stumbling paths taken by the different impulses to the country’s economy. Forster also indicated that this was the temporary shamble to communal harmony, but it was observed that before colonization, the imaginative center of the national culture was missing. Loss of cultural values of the country was not the only worst effect of colonization in India. Economic inequality brought about physical suffering hence causing poverty that is eminent in third world countries. A major impact off colonization was not only the physical pain of been colonized, but bearing in mind the extinction of the countries rooted culture which resulted from economic inequality.  

Samarasan says that the cultural hub of British Malaya had by then begun to split their thin colonial skin and hence a new town peered out from under it (25). The effect of colonization in India is evident in the way Tata was untroubled by visions of his profligate son’s future. This demonstrates the notion and image of how a dominant people used colonial rule to impose their thinking upon all members of the society through calculated moves to introduce new cultures in the country. The British rule thus deprived the Indians their role of shaping their own cultural values (Samarasan 25). Besides that it is important to articulate that they transformed the society’s position of economic subordination.

According to Samarasan “in a shed hastily erected in the garden, he spread mail order instructions out on a workbench and built and varnished strange pieces of furniture he had previously only read about in books” (25). This demonstrates the influence of colonial culture in the lifestyle of Tata one of the India’s most prominent business man during the colonial era. Samarasan says that “he also ordered a chandelier from France and when it arrived he spent six days sitting in front of the opened crate earning each part around and around in his hands” (25). This shows the impact of British colonial rule and the positive impacts of post colonialism in India. Putting this into consideration, it can be noted that colonialism served in the economic interest of the elite groups in the Indian society (Samarasan 25).   

The colonial rule in India believed that the society could not culturally develop their values and allegiances. The British colonial government placed India in a backward stage of economic evolution to such a time when the English society had been controlled by its nobility. This meant that India economically stuck in that stage. It was evident that the access by merchants and other trades to the India’s economy enabled the country to manufacture large volumes of textiles for both home and overseas consumption.

According to Forster it is hard to reconcile how the colonial reality affected the culture of the Indian society. This is because the influence of colonial rule had ill-formed longing for the kind of solace and creative inspiration that was associated with the British colonial rulers (Forster, 14). From Forster’s trip to India we realize that it is possible to speculate on the two consequences of his trip. This is because according to the novel Forster came to know the “Maharaja of Dewa’s, who was certainly a genius and possibly a saint and had to be a king” (17). According to Forster “this means that if the company of Masood had woken Forster out of his suburban life for good and all, the company of the Maharaja suggested to him even if only vicariously the transforming quality of the Indian culture” (17).  

Forster also believed that “the cultural changes impinged on the Maharaja’s daily life as well but experienced it most dramatically during the Janmashtami festival at court” (18). As a result of post-colonization the economy of India moved from its earlier dependence on personal relationships to a level and phase that it had outgrown. Forster says that “it seemed an elementary rather than a fundamental way of looking at the influence of colonialism to the country’s economy” (18). However, Forster says that colonization brought moments of value that could be recorded but not explored through fiction.

Cultural changes during the post-colonial era are again evident in Forster’s novel of post colonial literature in the context of Aziz’s organization of the picnic. According to Forster it can be noted that the Turtons brought about elephant rides in India. As a result, Aziz goes to great effort to organize a similarly exotic painted pachyderm to salute the dawn (Forster 20). Another aspect of the British culture is seen when Forster says “warned that the English never stop eating he arranges for eggs, sweets, and fruit in quick succession along with a whisky and soda for those who might want one before breakfast” (20).   

In conclusion, Britain’s response to the war seemed to a meaningless economy drive as a result of colonization. Forster says that during the time he made his third and final trip to India, he had little conviction that given the demand for independence from colonization. He further says that literature could speak a lot to India’s cultural crisis. Forster also indicates that “as an invitee to the PEN conference at Jaipur, he listened to debates on the languages and literatures of India hence recognizing that India’s response to colonization was highly associated with cultural and economic effects to the country” (18).

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