Colonialism is not about economic exploitation and exertion of political power alone, it involves a tremendous “transformation’ in social and cultural sphere through the process of generating literature on the colonized and then pumping that “knowledge” into the consciousness of the colonized through the establishment of institutions and universities. If one surveys across the world the literature on the colonized, one finds that misrepresentation and demonization of the colonized by the colonizer was the master note. This served two ends: 1. Justification of the colonial rule so that the bureaucratic machinery believed in its “civilizing mission.” 2. Consent of the colonized for seamless and exploitative governance.
Consequently, the colonial British have left an intellectual legacy through literature, universities and institutions which has not been sufficiently examined critically by mainstream academia—either in India or abroad. The insidious and nefarious colonial discourse on India and Hinduism continues even today, albeit in politically correct ways, and gets replicated at various levels in mainstream academia across the world. This talk will specifically focus on the colonial legacy in American schoolbooks, making explicit the reasons why the Indian American community has been clamouring for change.