Diary, Me

Macaulay & me – Pt 1

Macaulayism is the conscious policy of liquidating indigenous culture through the planned substitution of the alien culture of a colonizing power via the education system.

That’s the definition from Wikipedia. The whole planet knows there are numerous countries and cultures suffering the effects of this process. A derogatory derivative of the name of the process caught my attention lately – the term Macuulay’s Children. It refers to that population that is a victim of the process which is practically living in a no-mans land inside their head. And this post is not about all those cultures and people. This post is about the mess this has created inside my head. My personal hell, my personal limbo.

My actual education started in a convent school in a town. However, the small town school had great standards and managed to churnout pretty intelligent girls , well versed in english and poetry and the famous “Moral Sciences”. They had a vast library and actively encouraged reading. Large desks, high chairs and focused lighting – that was the atmosphere in the library. A lot of my weekends were spent on one of those really high chairs in the library – they were too tall for a 7 year old. I would pile my books and go to the librarian who would then lift me and put on one of them. A few hours would then pass in the arms of Shakespeare in prose  or  Abridged Charles Dickens or Children’s version of Vernes. I would be lost in the simple story lines of these works. I never really understood their grandeur or their social commentary or fantasy until I graduated with a degree in English literature. But then I sure understood rosy love & lofty ideals.

I then moved on to lesser classics like Enid Blyton and the likes and grew to think more and more like those that live those worlds. Dreams were made of carefree afternoons running around meadows like lovers in a hindi movie production, probably having a picnic with a basket overflowing with buns and sandwiches and scones. Or being in a club for children doing something applique art. And when I graduated to Reader’s digest and all the others magazines I used to buy, I quietly took in the idea of polish, of decorum, of stoic resilience, art. And a lot more influence than I can specifically put a finger on.

Along with a taste for everything “polished”, I see that I have cultivated a distaste for everything native. I liked eating with forks and spoons. I still do. I hate wetting my hands. I eat Pav Bhaji with a knife and spoon. I don’t associate much locals. I look down upon those that cannot speak English well or speak it with an accent. I need to look and dress a certain way. Flowers in the hair are not my thing. I cannot use community transport. I think a lot of traditions are meaningless. I also disassociate myself from religion. It may sound out of context here, but i think it is because my convent education confused my religious compass. I hate idlies. If I go to my native town, I am starkly out of place, and hate it too. I think I am superior because I can speak English, and I can speak it well. I subscribe to a whole host of “western” ideas as opposed to Indian philosophies. I would like to gel more into the european community than into the Indian. And I always worked at fitting in.

“I have traveled across the length and breadth of India and I have not seen one person who is a beggar, who is a thief. Such wealth I have seen in this country, such high moral values, people of such calibre, that I do not think we would ever conquer this country, unless we break the very backbone of this nation, which is her spiritual and cultural heritage, and, therefore, I propose that we replace her old and ancient education system, her culture, for if the Indians think that all that is foreign and English is good and greater than their own, they will lose their self-esteem, their native self-culture and they will become what we want them, a truly dominated nation.”

“We must at present do our best to form a class who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in morals, and in intellect.”

These are quotes from Macaulay’s speeches apparently. The sources for these are very questionable.

My introspection on this topic will follow soon. It simply needs a more coherant composition.And a lot more reasearch.

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