More from RELS 348: Empire, Colonialism, and Religion

A response to Samir’s story “Impact of Western Colonialism and Imperialism in Asia and Africa”,, 2012

History has shown how the East has been considered as a land to be conquered by the West through the processes of colonialism and imperialism. Till today, there is an ongoing debate as whether colonization has brought prosperity or has led to the detriment in the different spheres of the states in which it has taken pace. As depicted in the article mentioned, colonization has impacted in the daily lives of the population of these countries, leaving its imprint in the cultural, economic and religious sectors. For instance, according to the author, colonization has contributed to the economic development to India in terms of industrialization, infrastructure and the implementation of law and governance. On the other hand, the author stresses how exploitation of raw materials of the country by the authoritative external powers has enhanced the level of poverty in the country.

The after effect of colonialism has been more consequential in terms of religious issues. For instance, if we look at India from the author’s point of view, colonization has seen the implementation of Christianity in India through missionaries coming from the West. The after effect pertaining to religious and social segregation can still be felt with the partitioning of India.

In his book entitled “For Lust of Knowing The Orientalists and their Ennemies”, Robert Irwin depicts The East envisioned as “a place of wonders, where treasures, marvels and strange tribes and beasts abounded”. This reinforces the derogatory label the people of the East were attributed: “strange”. Yet, in the process of colonization, the people from the West have not hesitated to take over and take the lives of these “strange” people.

However, although the debate of whether colonialism has had a beneficial or detrimental in the countries concerned, we must keep in mind that whatever has been said or done are bygones now. What remains as economic and cultural legacies need be used for the betterment of these countries. The latter must strive to come out of this aftermath centuries after the era of colonialism. States must undergo a smooth transition for their own religious, social and economic welfare. Even if this endeavour may take time, it will also be a way to help these countries get rid of their attributed stigmas.



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