The Irony of Independence (RELS 348)

Manjari Miller’s story, “The Trauma of ColonialismThe New York Times, 14 August 2013  explores the history of India and China and their independence days. By definition colonialism is the practice and policies instituted of acquiring either a full or partial political control over another country, occupying it with settlers, which later causes the economic exploitation of such country. Miller explores this fact when first stating India’s past of being under 200 years of British rule that finally came to the end on August 15th, 1947. Many locals who whole heartily believe that British divide and rule policy not only created an impoverished country by robbing the land of all their natural resources but also started a fight between Hindus against Muslims which resulted in millions of people killed. The article also goes into China’s colonialist history with Japan’s rule. Miller’s provides the information that on September 18, 1931 the Japanese framed the Chinese with the explosion of a section of railroad in China close to Shenyang. With this framing, the Japanese declared war with China, which led to the institution of Japanese colonial occupation until in 1949, Chairman Mao Zedong declared “The Chinese people have stood up,” where he meant that the Chinese have finally been able to get rid of the Japanese occupation therefore the policies that instituted colonialism. This time frame is coined as the ‘century of humiliation.’

The author makes many similar connections between these two countries that were colonialized. First off the both of these countries had very flexible ideas about sovereignty prior to being colonized. Second, prior to colonization, both of these countries had open borders but after colonization the borders has a stiffer stance. Finally the world “humiliation” is a common term used for both of these countries due to both parties wanting to have a strong image against being bullied or pushed into decisions by foreign pressures or interferences.

With all points being made by the author, I can see the negative aspects of colonialism but there are also positive aspects that come along with it. The author raises the point that when a country is being exploited economically, it puts the local residents in a bind. They continue to be worked to the bone for their own natural resources while making the other country stronger and able to exert their power in other nations as well. But on a positive note once the nation in power is finally forced out, they leave behind their technology and innovations that will leave the now independent nation. In the case of India, a railroad was left behind even with some negative connotation. In the case of colonization it is easy to see that there is more than just negativity but rather a chance for a nation to be catapulted into the future, but only after independence.

#rels348 #uwreligions

-Mr. A


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