Orientalist Mirrors
by Pradip Kumar Bose , , pp.,
September 2006, volume 30, No 9

From about the middle of the nineteenth century in Bengal arose fierce debates about our country, our sciences, our arts, indeed our manners, customs and ceremonies. British racism had hardened during this period; to the colonizers it was evident that Indian civilization had nothing to offer, not science, not arts, indeed nothing at all. As Macaulay perhaps typifying this attitude said in his notorious Minute on education, all the learning of the East was not worth one shelf in any library in Europe. The reaction among the colonized was a sense of deep shame and anguish, filled too with nationalistic incomprehension, anger and pride. Along with the Orientalists, some of them harked back to the glory of ancient “Hindu” sciences, to the arts, and indeed to their “Aryan” past, a civilization that was said to have been at its pinnacle of achievements in diverse fields.

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