Overcoming colonial mindset in India

The recent recommendation by the Supreme Court’s Centre for Research and Planning to discontinue the use of terms like ‘jamadar’ for posts in subordinate courts is a welcome step towards shedding the colonial mindset that still plagues our society.

| Updated: 25 December, 2023 11:23 am IST

The recent recommendation by the Supreme Court’s Centre for Research and Planning to discontinue the use of terms like ‘jamadar’ for posts in subordinate courts is a welcome step towards shedding the colonial mindset that still plagues our society. The report rightly points out that such terms are relics of the imperial era and do not reflect the dignity and respect that the district court staff deserve. The report also calls for a more inclusive and holistic identity for the staff, who play a vital role in the justice delivery mechanism.

The colonial mindset is not just limited to the nomenclature of the court staff. It is a pervasive phenomenon that affects various aspects of our social, political, economic, and cultural life. It’s a mindset favouring foreign over indigenous, blindly adopting Western models in development, governance, education, and medicine, disregarding their suitability. This mindset discriminates based on factors like skin colour, accent, caste, and religion, undermining self-confidence, self-respect, and self-reliance.

The colonial mindset is a legacy of the long and oppressive colonial rule that subjugated and exploited our country for centuries. It stems from the systematic destruction of our indigenous institutions, knowledge, values, and culture by colonial rulers, resulting from internalizing colonial propaganda that labeled us as backward and inferior, a consequence of enduring psychological trauma and humiliation under colonial rule.

The colonial mindset is hindering our progress and potential as a nation. It is preventing us from tapping into our rich and diverse heritage, which can offer valuable insights and solutions to our contemporary challenges. It is limiting our creativity and innovation, which can make us global leaders in various fields. It is creating divisions and conflicts among our people, which can weaken our unity and harmony. It is eroding our moral and ethical values, which can guide us towards a more humane and sustainable society.

The need to shed the colonial mindset is urgent and imperative. Reclaiming our pride and identity as Indians requires embracing our rich history, vibrant culture, dynamic society, and promising future. Celebrating our diversity, respecting our environment, and collaborating with other nations are crucial steps towards progress and global partnership.

Shedding the colonial mindset does not mean rejecting or ignoring the Western or modern influences that have enriched our civilization. It does not mean isolating or insulating ourselves from the global trends and challenges that affect our destiny. It does not mean regressing or romanticizing our past that had its flaws and limitations. This involves acknowledging and addressing the adverse effects of colonialism on our self-image and perspective. It requires rediscovering and revitalizing our neglected indigenous wisdom and potential. Furthermore, it entails asserting and affirming our restored sovereignty and dignity achieved by our freedom fighters.

The recommendation to change the nomenclature of the court staff is a small but significant step in this direction. It is a symbolic gesture that can have a profound impact on the psyche and morale of the staff and the public. It is a reminder that we are no longer subjects of a foreign power, but citizens of a free and democratic nation. It is a message that we are no longer victims of a colonial mindset, but agents of a national mindset.

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