Decolonisation of India

Even after 70 years of independence of the Indian republic, the shadow of colonialism looms large. Governments through the years still tend to blame every ill affecting Indians squarely on the British which in turn has made them interiorize it. Without doubt till a decade or two after freedom when India was reorganising, the colonisers were culpable, but the need to move on and build on the great legacy that Indians have inherited is the need of the hour. This course identifies the impact of colonial policy masterminded by British, the direction it has moved along after independence and the measures Indians need to incorporate to rid themselves of this hangover.

Instructor: Koenraad Elst

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Suggested Time

2 weeks







Unit 1: Introduction

Nehruvian Legacy & 1857 Revolt 18 min

Even though the vote was 50-50 for Hindi and Sanskrit to fully replace english by 1965, the Nehruvian elite who were British loyalists & took control once they left, ensured that English stayed as the dominant language in government, administration and education. The  Revolt of 1857 led to temporary cooperation between Hindus and Muslims since they had a common enemy. The revolt also caused the formation of Sikhism as a separate religion as the.Sikhs sided with the British due to their common enemy, the Mughals.
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Partition and the British 24 min

The partition of India has often been blamed on the British though in reality, the muslims started it in 1930s and continued it in the 1940s through the Muslim League. British were against the partition but by 1947 Mountbatten agreed due to the violence of the Muslim league. Still talked about  for all the problems in Indian society, the British blaming still continues hiding the inadequacies of those in power after independence. Famines were created by the British due to their economic interests, but there were also natural ones owing to India's population. The business class profited from WWII against Gandhi's wishes, India compared to European countries didn't have as much destruction.
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Unit 2: Nationalism & Pluralism

Hindu Rashtra Nationalism 43 min

The Hindu nationalist movement looks at non-hindus as guests or foreigners. The RSS was formed along the lines of different european nationalist groups and used the Hindu identity in defining themselves. Injustice has been metted out to hindusim because of its tolerant nature, it is too diverse to be associated with the nationalist movement which tries to homogenize by giving the same education. Identification of Hindus with just India does not work anymore due to the diaspora or the huge number of converts that are coming into its fold. Hence the nationalist paradigm does not stand true to Hindu history as the model is borrowed from Europe.
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India's Pluralism 14 min

India should remain pluralistic and not be like Islamic nations, it is they who should change. In Europe and America the commonwealth of Hinduism has spread throughout, hence guidelines should not be the nationalistic ideal but the Hindu ideal. Islam and Christianity are not minorities in India, they are part of a small chapter of very well funded international movement whereas there is very little Hindu money flowing around. Hence Hindus should interiorize it and learn so that they can also compete. No doubt any anti hindu agenda should be fought, therefore challenge them on facts, know them so that you are in a position to defend
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Unit 3: Hindu Timeline

Chronology & Aryan Invasion Theory 15 min

The British did systematize some of India's history unlike the notion of complete distortion which is thrust upon them. Rama lived a million years ago according to the yuga theory and Hare Krishna movement believes that he has existed forever. Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT) was genuinely believed before it was imported into India. Indo-european languages were first thought to have originated in India though later they were deemed to have a common ancestor outside of India. The British found AIT useful, especially the Missionaries who said that the Vedic religion had been racist towards the natives and that Christianity would be better.    
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Time Period & Looking Forward 26 min

During the medieval age, Islamic invaders choose to feel like foreginers in India by speaking only Persian not Hindi or Sankrit. The British though had to learn Hindustani before coming over, they adapted to Indian culture more. Most muslims had lost their homeland and used India's resources to gain it back. The British have left but people still talk as if they are still in the colonial period, Indians should learn their lessons from history and set their house in order. Most Indians alive haven't had to live through the colonial period so it is not their fault that the decolonization hasn't happened. There are so many great contributions from India, it is demeaning for India to still stick with english despite their rich literary tradition.      
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