The English-Educated Indian and the Cycle of Imperialism

Being colonized by a language has larger implications for one’s consciousness as assuming a language is equated to the assumption of a culture.  Speaking English means that one accepts, or is coerced into accepting, the collective consciousness of the English, which comes with ideology that profiles and disengages the darker ethnicities, such as the Indian “psychology of crime” (Passage 187), or that “darker races are physically attracted to the fairer but not vice versa” (243).

With this in mind, the place of the educated Indian in the novel and within in the sociohistorical context of British India becomes one of interest.  Language has the potential of being an equalizing force or a subversive tool for the educated Indian.  It is what separates the “useful” Indians from the ones that could cause problems for the British Raj, as is noted during the Bridge Party.  However, as seen in the case of Aziz, it appears that the mastery of the colonizer’s language is something that elevates the subaltern in his own eyes to the level of the colonizer.  He makes the figure of the non-English educated Indian the new subaltern figure, relegated to the role of the comic gull who can be mocked (Mahmoud Ali) .

The derision towards the new subaltern supplies the power for the educated Indian, who fails to utilize the subversive potential of language to break the cycle of Imperialism.  Instead, as he fuels the colonial machine further by using the language of the colonizer as a marker for the colonial subject; by allowing the colonial power/colonial subject  divide to exist, albeit (from their point of view) with fewer on the latter side.

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