Writing as an act of Colonization

Written from within a liberal ethos, in the style of ironic discourse, A Passage to India seems to acknowledge that what is defined as India by Colonial rule is an amorphous mass of land, people, culture, lumped together on the basis of its foreignness–it’s exoticity, a word in itself that suggests a relationship akin to that of spectator and spectacle, while pointedly demarcating perceived civilization from barbarity.

This creation (India) is acknowledged as “India — a hundred Indias– “, an original network of cultures and identities that reflect a legitimate system of knowledge that allows for an alternative world view. The structure of the novel, triadic in form, reflects the diversity of the assumed homogenous India and effectively undermines the politically constructed concept of India as understood under the British Raj. It is a straight refusal to see India as a “frieze” of glamour and spectacle.


Fig:  The Madras Club– highly popular with the Anglo-Indian population at the time, and also one of the many clubs in Colonial India with the “No Indians, No Dogs” signs outside.

One thought on “Writing as an act of Colonization

  1. Actually, what I *really* wanted to post in terms of visual aid was a picture of a Colonial club in my home town, over which I [apparently] have ancestral claim. My great great grandfather was President back in the 30s. This Club was even more exclusive that the all-white variety, having members with progressive, almost Froster-esque ideals, which became a la mode in the 30s. This is all according to my great grandmother–who sadly believes (with the strongest conviction) that India was much more glorious under British rule.

    Apparently, the reason why this club in particular was so progressive in thought was because it was founded by a Lady Gertrude Bristow (yes, a woman!) because she was denied entry into British Clubs just because she was born in India!
    Anyway, I hope this little segue is still considered academic! It’s just a digression spawned from my reading this text, which like others in the genre, speaks to my Indian-ness almost directly.