Is the Post Colonial Question Still Relevant?

Topics: Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Postcolonialism Pages: 6 (1771 words) Published: November 17, 2011
Postcolonial theory arose from the dissatisfaction arising out of the imperial accounts of the natives by the colonial people. It re-examines history and attempts to incorporate the perspectives of the colonized. But what is the consequence of the discontent resulting from the accounts of the natives by fellow countrymen ? My paper seeks to examine how relevant is the question of postcolonialism in those locations whose inhabitants find themselves being ‘othered’ in their own country by their fellow countrymen. Many critics hold the opinion that the question of postcolonialism is still relevant as the process of decolonisation is far from complete. And as Leela Gandhi has pointed out nationalism has been an important feature of decolonisation struggles in the third world. But what character does the project of decolonisation assume in those locations where there is little or no identification with the nation-state ? In the face of total alienation from the nation-state do terms like decolonisation and postcolonialism become redundant in such locations ? The Northeast India , known as much for the multiple insurgent groups that infests it as for its natural beauty, refers to the easternmost region of India, which is ethnically distinct from the other states of India. Indeed, not less than 98 per cent of its land borders are with other nations. A bare two per cent is India’s share . Therefore, it is not surprising that the people and communities there feel alienated and very distant, not just from political centre, Delhi, but also from the rest of the country. The feeble connection between the mainland political centre and the Northeast further accentuates this alienation and leads to the construction of binaries-the Mainland and the Northeast. The various separatist groups, which are products of such binaries are fighting in the region to carve out separate, autonomous spaces without any alignment with the Indian state. Such separatists appeals for nationhood draws our attention to the fact that concern over culling out different identities as distinct from the Indian identity is more pressing than the need to emphasize “ their differences from the assumptions of the imperial centre” in the region.(Ashcroft). In my paper I attempt to examine the relevance of the postcolonial question in the Northeast India by examining the contemporary literature of the region. It is often noticed that someone from the Northeast is perceived through a stereotypical lens and is viewed as the ‘ other ’ in mainland India. In fact, the whole idea of the Northeast is a constructive identity . Recently, a friend of mine from the Northeast with distinct ethnic features was teased as ‘ Chinese ’ in an upmarket locality in Delhi. Such incidents underscores the ease with which a Northeastern is constructed as the other by the inhabitants of mainland India. As Sanjoy Hazarika, an author from the region, has pointed out that it is these differing perceptions that lie at root of most conflicts in the region, between India and its perceived Northeast as well within the Northeast itself. In an interview in the Jaipur Literature Festival this year, Mamang Dai, another prominent author from the region drew attention to the number of stereotypes a Northeastern has to run into in the course of a day. This flawed perceptual framework impels many to take it upon themselves to assert their different identity with a vengeance and...
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