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Monday, June 27, 2022

Historian Vikram Sampath calls for decolonizing Bharatiya mind

Historian Vikram Sampath speaking at ThinkEdu has said that there is a need to decolonize not just the political-economic aspects but also the cultural subjugation that has been making the citizens believe that their language, epistemology, history, and traditional education and belief system are inferior to the colonizers.

As per The New Indian Express report on Wednesday, March 9:

“How long this will last depends on political and historical factors but reclaiming our identity and decolonisation of the Indian mind is a work in progress. Decoloniality is not a discourse against someone but of looking within your own systems and getting back to your roots,” he said, speaking on the topic ‘An Epic Idea: Decolonising the Indian Mind’ along with Rajeev Gowda, spokesperson of the Indian National Congress.

Colonisers make you feel as if they have a natural right to rule over you and history is used by colonisers as an important tool — historically, only a ‘laundry list’ of lost battles are shown, he added. “Even some sections of educated Indians are subliminally made to believe India is an artificial product stitched together by the British. Even today, without any malice or political prejudices, a section of Indians believe that it was the British who gave us a sense of a nation and before them, we were just fighting with each other,” he said.

The historian had earlier highlighted how history taught in the country is extremely Delhi-centric. The need to decolonize Bharat’s history had been raised by historian Vikram Sampath at the India Today Enclave as well where Sampath pointed out how Bharat’s history is taught from a third person’s perspective and continues to suffer from a colonial hangover.

 “The historian also highlighted how we are being faithful adherents of Macaulay and this is very much apparent in Bharat’s academia and historiography. The first brush that a student has with history is the school textbooks that are told from the perspective of a third person rather than making the student feel one is reading about one’s own country. History in our textbooks is written from the invader’s point of view thereby presenting Bharat as a nation of losers. However, the fact that the Bharatiya civilization has survived for so long despite its long history of invasions indicates that there has been resistance from Bharatiyas which is never spoken of in the textbooks”, the historian had said back then.

It is after seven decades of Bharat’s independence that the UGC has taken the first steps towards decolonizing Bharat’s history. The UGC’s BA History syllabus now focuses on indigenous history. While the UGC has taken a laudable step, the history textbooks of schools and colleges need to be similarly updated to make space for Bharat’s actual history.

(Featured Image Source: India Today)

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