Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Our Colonial Mind-Set?

Kiran Nagarkar questions our notions of post-colonialism:
[. . .] let us not forget that promotional events worked extremely well for Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh and others. But I think the crux of the matter is that while we have developed a fair degree of confidence in matters like IT and other areas (I will not enter into a discussion about how uncritically the West and us Indians have bought into the myth of India booming , India shining, India poised), we have consistently shown a total lack of introspection and self-esteem in the field of literature. And with good reason.

Why should we? The empire might have departed 60 years ago but we do not wish to part with it. We are still entirely under the colonial mind-set. Despite all the dubious talk of post-colonialism, we are happy to be a colony of the US and the UK. The sun still rises and sets for us in the West. We take all our cues from our notion of the West. We know our maths. We know that a book is good only when Western publishers buy it. We also know that a book that gets 500,000 dollars is only half as good as one that gets one million dollars. Why then should we attempt to cultivate our own critical faculties and rigorous standards?

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