ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

ColonialismSubscribe to Colonialism

Mapping the Enemy

The images of Islam which inform the RSS and its carefully nurtured and directed hatred are not limited to the Hindu right alone but are found in popular and academic discourses both in India and the west. They bear little relation to the reality of Islam as lived by Muslims in India and around the world where faithful adherence to the tradition coexists with tolerance of other faiths. But this reality exists outside the Orientalist grids which inform our understanding of Islam.

Liberating Jyotiba Phule

Selected Writings of Jotiba Phule edited by G P Deshpande; Left Word, New Delhi, 2002; pp 247, Rs 450.

Scheduled Castes in Sikh Community

An understanding of the distinctive caste hierarchy in Sikhism and the new pattern of competing hierarchies, parallel to that of the Hindus, calls for insights into the dynamics of political power and economic relations both at the local and regional levels. This paper aims at exploring the trade-off between the doctrinal principles of Sikh religion and the ruling social and political interests in the context of changes in the society and economy of Punjab.

Modernity, Terrorism and the Masquerade of Conflict

America's wars on Afghanistan and Iraq have raised many questions on terrorism, modern war, the role of Islamic fundamentalism in opposition to the west's appropriation of modernity and the continuing relevance of imperialist military and economic aggression in contemporary north-south debates. Terrorism is a form of identitarian conflict which has a history rooted in the colonial past of many third world countries. Afghanistan is a good example illustrating the consolidation of so-called modern and traditional identities in modern history. Time and again western imperialist powers have portrayed Afghanistan as the battle frontier of western civilisation. This essay offers a deconstruction of this western mythology and points out that a holistic critique of the western appropriation of real and symbolic modernity is necessary to comprehend the problem of religious terrorism and thereby wrest the anti-American initiative from the terrorist.

Cultural Encounters

Of Umbrellas, Goddesses and Dreams: Essays on Goan Culture and Society by Robert Newman; Other India Press, Mapusa, Goa, 2001; pp 290, Rs 225.

Dishonoured by History, Branded by Law

Dishonoured by History: ‘Criminal Tribes’ and British Colonial Policy by Meena Radhakrishna; Orient Longman, Hyderabad, 2001; pp xiv+192, Rs 435. Branded by Law: Looking at India’s Denotified Tribes by Dilip D’Souza; Penguin Books, New Delhi, 2001; pp xxiv + 200, Rs 200.

Torture in Colonial India

The impact of colonialism also evidenced itself in the attempts to establish a codified system of criminal law that differentiated and separated itself from the 'native' law that preceded it. Despite such attempts, native practices had their own uses in enforcing discipline as seen in the incidents that unfold in the 'Nassick Torture Case' and elaborated further in this paper. The paper also probes issues related to fear and suffering while also enunciating the social scientists' dilemma of needing to represent and reproduce violence without fetishising or merely re-enacting it.

Confused Selves: Broken Identities

Effeminism: The Economy of Colonial Desire by Revathi Krishnaswamy; The University of Michigan Press, 1998; pp 191, $37.50 (hardcover).

Translation, Colonialism and Rise of English

The introduction of English has been seen as "an embattled response to historical and political pressures: to tensions between the English parliament and the East India Company, between parliament and the missionaries, between the East India Company and the native elite classes". Extending this argument, the author suggests that the specific resolution of these tensions through the introduction of English education is enabled discursively by the colonial practice of translation. European translations of Indian texts prepared for a western audience provided to the 'educated' Indian a whole range of Orientalist images. Even when the anglicised Indian spoke a language other than English, he would have preferred, because of the symbolic power attached to English, to gain access to his own past through the translations and histories circulated through colonial discourse. English education also familiarised the Indian with ways of seeing, techniques of translation, or modes of representation that came to be accepted as 'natural'.

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