Facing the Colonizer
What is this colonized-colonizer relationship all about?
CONCEPT BY TANVEER HABIB
“Together we shall sit at table
-Not on the floor- and eat
Not with fingers, but with knives
And forks, and breakable plates
Like civilized beings…! (Wole Soyinka)
A colonizer vis-à-vis colonized interaction, if it be called so, has often been one of rage and enmity- an enraged colonizer and an envious colonized. The common universe that we humans share despite having different ideologies, sporting different colours, practicing different religions and speaking different languages, has consequently never been homogenous at all in issues of moral values, human rights and social obligations etc. Thus few may take a lead in creating their and the other’s history as per their own taste. This Superman adventurism on their part creates a divide in the ‘equals’ of this universe and gives rise to conflicts in which one gets to be known as the colonizer and the other as colonized. And their interactions continue with one wielding its power and the other showing its resistant face.
In conflict areas there has always been resistance on part of the indigenous against the invader, if the conflict is because of land grab or is oppressive in nature in any way. This resistance aims to put an end to the continued subjugation of the indigenous people of the land by the outside master. As theorists have already shown how a resistance takes shape, gains momentum and how it achieves its cherished freedom, there is, perhaps, no need to deliberate upon that here. As per the theory of resistance, a primary resistance is when a colonized people fight the outside master and this is followed by secondary resistance where the people under colonial rule cleanse their own society by not letting the elites replicate the old master. All this does not demand a debate here. However, what is important is that sometimes the secondary resistance- fighting the inside master- may precede the primary resistance which is something not desirable and helpful. This, however, is not theirs to control but is, rather let to germinate in a systematic way by the colonizer. The colonizer wants the oppressed to do whatever may delay its own exodus from the colony. It is in these circumstances that secondary resistance precedes the primary one which amounts to no resistance at all against the colonizer but simply offers a fair good time to the colonizer to devise a newer strategy if the one they were following faces setbacks. There are a multitude of treacherous tricks that a colonizer plays to make its stay in the colony long-lasting and successful. For example, in Algeria the French army would indulge in organised raids against the villagers destroying their crops, raping the women and torturing men and children. On many other occasions, the military would organise ‘goodwill’ programmes to lure the natives into traps made to snatch their every free moment. Militarisation is one of the most important and primary act that any colonizer undertakes to subjugate a people. This gives it an edge over a people who are mostly unarmed and non-violent. This is, perhaps, the reason why in the contemporary world we see many conflict areas like Kashmir, Palestine etc. profusely militarised. “Colonialism imposes its control of the social production of wealth through military conquest and subsequent political dictatorship”, reflects Ngugi wa Thiong’o. Thus an unjust political system does nothing but is a sequel to the military dictatorship that holds the colony as captive at first. This kind of politics may thus be seen as a form of militarisation too. However, history is witness to the fact that militarisation has not kept a people far from their cherished goal of freedom. It may help in lengthening the subjugation of a people but does not help in taking their freedom away from them. Militarisation of colonies is, so often, a counterproductive act for the colonizer. The more militarised a colony is, more vehement is the struggle for freedom in that colony. The natives shall be more conscious about their occupied status than if they are in such a colony which is scarcely militarised. This is because the colonized people get to see the colonizer face to face which makes them burn with enmity since the latter destroys their (colonized) everything; harvest, peace of mind and above all life. For example, in Turkey the natives never saw their colonizers face to face and thus they never got a chance to throw them away from themselves. What left a deep scar on the psyche of the Turks was a sense of inferiority that made them emulate the West, that too in a failed adventure.
A long colonization period ultimately ends and the scars left in the spirit of a nation are not too hard to fade away. Indelible are the scars left due to the loss of an indigenous culture, art and language. It is a colonial practice to downgrade a native culture, tradition and language by making the native think of it as inferior, savage, barbaric and half-baked. In the guise of ‘modernity’, the colonizer does not lend the people something which puts them in a situation of stability but simply coerces them to breathe in a chaotic culture where they know neither their own roots nor do they understand the notion of real modernity. Here the oppressed people have a task at hand which if they don’t partake in immediately, they will do themselves a great dishonour. There is a need to register a resistance against this onslaught of fake ‘modernity’. The natives should not lack the confidence necessary to create a resistant culture, in all its manifestations, rich in its own slogans, symbols and rituals. Colonization is bound to see its downfall, what is required is a resolution to be your own self and not the ‘copy’ of the colonizer which demands even more determination than is required to throw away the colonizer.
(Tanveer Habib is Research Scholar (Ph.D), Department of Linguistics, Kashmir University, Srinagar)
Lastupdate on : Fri, 15 Jul 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 15 Jul 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 16 Jul 2011 00:00:00 IST
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