Online IAS preparation

Is colonial mentality hindering India’s success?

Author: Dhanashree (148/250 in CSE 2013, 150/250 in CSE 2015)

Question attempted: Is Colonial mentality hindering India’s Success?

Format and Arguments Used

Introduction:

– Defined what colonial mentality is, with examples:

Colonial mindset refers to the inferiority complex that was harbored in the minds of Indian thinkers and policymakers due to long colonial rule in India.
Examples include the adoption of western system of education, western medicine, western ideals of democracy, principles of liberty and equality etc.

– Wrote what I would argue in the paper:

Colonial mentality is hindering India’s success to a certain extent as it limits the ways by which we organize our society and plan our development. It may not always suit our cultural, geographical and historical needs
However, colonial mentality has helped India as well in terms of education, medicine, space science etc. as it pushes us to compete and strive for better standards.
Body of the essay:

– Generally divided the body in two parts:
1. arguments supporting the stance that colonial mentality is hindering India’s success
2. arguments showing how it has helped India

– Part 1 arguments: Divided in social, political and economic heads

Social:
Blind following of Western models of medicine and education without exploring the strength and utility of Indian alternatives.
Talked about Gandhiji’s ideals, older education system and India’s glorious past. Argued that this may be the reason that India is not doing well in research and innovation field.
Social ills such as standards of beauty which are very western. Craze for fairness and problems arising out of it: low self esteem among young women, marriage alliances etc.
Less tolerance towards alternative lifestyles such as homosexuality. Indian society was tolerant and open but Victorian standards of morality have made us less tolerant.

Political:
Institutions of governance, polity etc .borrowed from British model and the West in general. Maybe there lies a better Indian alternative.
Examples of village systems that worked harmoniously. Again used Gandhiji’s arguments. Said that maybe they are too idealistic, but there is an alternative.
Why India tries to get involved in western race of becoming superpower? Is it really worth it to allocate resources towards that end when millions are deprived of basic necessities?

Economic:
Again, we have borrowed western model of economy. Talked about Bhutan’s initiative of calculating GNH. Can we also adopt something different that suits our societal aspirations better?
Capitalism and its problems. Again a western gift.
The essay topic talks about India’s success, but again our definition of success is also shaped by this colonial mindset. Maybe we need to explore a different path

– Part 2 arguments: Had less arguments, just wrote examples that had positive impact.

Started from R M Roy who was influenced by Western ideals of freedom and equality and attempted to bring reform in India on those lines. Same with some other thinkers during freedom movement: Ambedkar, Phule etc.
How western medicine has helped tackle diseases, reduce mortality rates etc.
Western science and scientific nature of enquiry has helped us grow out of dark ages of sorts that existed before colonial rule
Ideals of equality that we have adopted due to Western pressure
Maybe this inferiority complex pushes us to do well
Conclusion: Summarized what I had argued in the essay. There are both positive and negative sides to the colonial mindset so it is not hindering our progress entirely.

It is not possible to get rid of the mindset that has taken roots in our society for over 200 years now. The best way is to use it positively.
All we can do is to recognize that this mindset exists and understand our strengths. Use it so that it will help us become a better society instead of hindering our progress. (Giving positive spin as usual 🙂 )
General things I keep in mind while writing essay:

Have a clear structure so that it is easier for the reader to follow your arguments.
Make your central argument right in the beginning and tell the reader what you are going to write without revealing the entire content. So the reader knows what they are going to get but there is a suspense as well.
Think about counter arguments while you make your points. Tell how the counter arguments are less important, invalid, not applicable to your context etc.
Don’t lose the flow of your arguments and make them seem connected
Conclude on a positive note and don’t bring new points/information in the conclusion. My conclusions are generally future-oriented.
Try and connect to wide array of examples, disciplines

June 5, 2017

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