Sunday, October 17, 2010

How far has Edward Said succeeded in stripping the mask from the ugly face of Imperialism? Elaborate with special reference to his Introduction to Culture and Imperialism. (P.U. 2006)

Before discussing Said's views on culture and imperialism, it is better to have a brief view on those events, reasons and trends of English Society which caused extending or expanding their culture and imperialism to the other territories of the world. I would like to talk historically at first as the history of English society shows Though the trend of industrialisation had been initiated or started in the 17th century yet it took its speed or rapidity in 18th century.
Under the influence of this trend of industrialisation, the landlords, farmers and peasants of rural class of English society were converting their farms, lands and daires into industrial units. As the industries or industrial units were becoming more under the influence of the trend of industrialism in European countries, hence their demands for raw material as iron, silver, chemical, oil, stone etc. were also increased. To fulfill their basic needs arid demands of running the industrial units for modernization, European as well as other super powers extended their immense power to the other territories of the other weeker or underdeveloped countries which were loaded with natural sources and raw material. To capture the natural sources of other territories of the countries, the imperial countries dominated over metropolitan centres of other countries and then started ruling over distant territories.
It is very worthy to note here that these imperial countries outwardly gave an expression to the rest of the world that they had intervened or came into these territories in order to civilize the ignorant, uncivilized and uncultured natives but as a matter of fact is concerned, they intruded in their countries in order to loot or capture their natural resources of raw materials. That's why, Said says rightly that this immese power which concentrated in Britan and France as a result of industrialization, was more formidable than the power of Rome. Spain, Baghdad or Constantinople in the past. Gradually, other Western countries especially US also joined with Britain and France in this practice. So, we can say that 19th century showed a climax of ascendancy of the west.
Here, Said also points out a very important fact that Western countries extended their domination of acquisition of foreign territory by the rate of 247000 square miles a year. These Western countries did so under the influence of their expanding economics which were "hungry for overseas markets, rawmaterials, cheap labour and fertile land”.
This practice increased more after the mergance of the North American territory. Now these allied countries captured distant lands of Philippines, the Caribbean Central America, Barbary coastal parts of Europe and the Middle East, Vietnam and Korea. Said rightly says in the regard:
"The US was forward as an empire ...... that would expand its population and territory and increase in power". Subcontinent was also dominated and ruled by Englishmen. As the history of subcontinent itself shows that Englishmen invaded over sub-continent through trade and business and ultimately occupied the whole territory. As this territory was enriched or loaded with minaral and natural sources, it fulfilled the demands and needs of raw material for the industrial units of the Western Countries for a long time.
There was a time when Romans also exploited or looted the territories of other countries but the exploitation of the rights of the natives of dominated territories by the imperialism of French and the British was different in its nature. In other words, it means to say that they went out with The aim of improving those backward regions. It was their outward feigned declaration which, history had itself shown the falsity of that flattering notion. They were more interested in exploiting and looting their rights as well as raw materials than civilizing them.
To prove this fact, Said gives reference of Conrad's Heart of Darkness in which Conrad has openly and ruthlessly exposed the violation, exploitation and cruelty of the natives of Congo in Africa by the Englishmen. Another writer named as Franz Fanon also openly says in this regard in the following words:
"Colonialism and imperialism have not paid their dues when they withdrew their flags and their police forces from our territories. For centuries the foreign colonists have behaved in the under developed world like nothing more than criminals".
The literature of this time only exhibits the vice of imperialism because whatever the writers and critics felt in that period, portrayed through their literary compositions and works. Edward Said rightly says in this connection:
"Imperialism means the practice, the theory and the attitudes of a dominating metropolitan centre that rules a distant territory".
Throwing light on the term "colonialism" Said utters:
"Colonialism which is almost always a consequence of imperalism, is the implanting of settlements on distant territory".
There is no doubt in saying that some European writers of that time wrote on the problem of nostalgia; faced by dislocated natives and immigrants who were colonialized in the foreign territories; it was nothing but a yearning for-the supremacy which they enjoyed.
After the second world war, imperialism did not come to an end even after the post-war decolonization. The cultural effects of western countries can even be observed or seen in the countries like India and Algeria which are still linked in a legacy of connections to France and Britain.
The ending of the second world war heralded the message of freedom and liberty from the foreign imperial rulers and as a result many colonized territories were decolonized, yet the influence of the cultural rites and customs was very much dominant on the ways of life of subjogated people of dominated and occupied territories by western rulers. Though direct colonialism like the British in India' and French in Algeria has almost vanished yet it does not end from its roots absolutely. Now it is present in its other forms. It is rather reflected in the changed outlook or mentality of the two nations.
It is very worthy to note here that some of the European writers defined imperialism as:
"... ideas that certain people and certain territories require and beseech domination".
Some European writers and critics of the second half of the 19th century illustrated this above mentioned idea by favouring it as that India was created only in order to be ruled by England. Said quoted Kipling's novel Kim to support in this connection.
Said further says in his lecturers on "Culture and Imperialism" that after the end of the cold war, the super powers of the world devised a new world order. In this respect or regard, US is at the top of the list. In other simple words, it is a new brand of imperialism.
Willy Brandt presented a so-called report on North South problem in 1980. This report also demanded a sudden solution of the problem because the newly diagnosis of the North South problem was being applied to all the underdeveloped countries in the world. This-new world order is itself a doctrine of US's responsibility to set things right all over the world.
Now in the present age, we see that USA is the guardian of setting all the things right in all the countries of the world. The 'doctrine of "world responsibility" is taken as justification for US's involvement in any affair of other countries under the sun. Once again Said absolutely says right in this connection:
"The goal of US foreign policy is to bring about a world increasingly subject to the rule of law. But it is the United States which organizes the peace and defines the law".
Said has rightly said that these terms as "world responsibility", "new world order" symbolise a new brand of imperialism. It is also an open and causeless exploitation and loot of the rights as well as the raw materials of the third world countries. In this present age, we see that under the guise of world's responsibility to set things right, the guardian of the world is making its involvement in affairs of the third world in order to fulfill their economic interests by capturing the natural sources and raw materials of these countries rather than having any genuine concern for the people of the world.
In this connection Chomsky rightly condemns this so called western ideology in the following words:
"It is an absolute requirement for the western system of ideology that a vast gulf be established between the civilized west, with its traditional commitment to human dignity, liberty and self-determination, and the barbaric brutality of those who, for some reason, perhaps defective genes, fail to appriciate the depth of this historical commitment".
It is also very rightly observed that USA advocates its self-appointed writ which runs in the entire world of today. Americans think that whatever their country thinks or regards, it is just as the rest of the people of the world want.
Said is of the view that if the counter forces to imperialism such as migrant workers, refugees and decolonized people, blackimmigrants, urban, squatters, students and popular insurrectionists are united on two points—one is of security of personal freedom and second is of environmental concerns, these millions of dislocated people can rise a formidable revolt. Moreover, these dislocated humanbeings are free from ethnic and national prejudices because their dislocation has made them free from these rational, national and ethnic prejudices. They also know that if they induldge in such kind of petty prejudices, it will help imperialists. They make it easy for them to divide and rule. Actually they are the instruments of the so called and vicious system enforced by imperialism.
To conclude this above mentioned discussion, we can say openly and forcefully that whatever Said has delivered in his lecturer on culture and imperialism, absolutely shows the clear picture of the so called imperialism, exploitation and lootings of the basic rights of natives of the subjugated territories of the world. The hunger of the western economies for fulfilling the needs, necessities and demands of raw materials for industrialization, led the western countries to extend their domination on the distant territories of the other countries in order to capture their natural sources of raw materials. This imperialism even did not come to end after the post war decolonization but it shaped in newly devised world order by the US which was no more than a worst kind of reproduction of the old imperial order under the feigned guise of setting the things right in all the other countries.

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