Is Colonial mentality impeding Pakistan’s Progress?


Iqra Liaqat;
Pakistan got its freedom from British Empire in 1947, but according to Jinnah it was a “mutilated and moth-eaten Pakistan” Imperialism had done much damage to the economy, culture and politics of sub-continent. In this background it was a Herculean task for Pakistan to become a developed modern state. In this entire scenario, legacy of colonialism has always been haunting the different strata of Pakistani society. British colonialists during their reign in sub-continent propagated the idea that natives were un-cultured and uncivilized people. According to them the main cause of the under-development of India was that they were devoid of scientist and rational thinking and Indian people were more inclined to dogma and blind faith. According to colonialists, it was they who brought the light of modernity and progress to these isolated and static regions. Post-colonialist research has completely denied the colonialist thinking and researchers believe that when Britishers came to India for trade at that time Mughal Empire was one of the richest empires of the world, dominating the 50% of the world trade with a huge network of textile industry. It has also been established now that the immense wealth, which had been exploited form Indian was the main reason behind the development of Europe. This narrative of colonizers haunted the country even after independence. On one hand Neo-colonialist mentality of west has been plundering the wealth of Pakistan even after her independence. On other hand political leadership of Pakistan, who accepted the colonial doctrine of superior west and sought refuge in western dependency,has added to the injuries of under-developed nation. Macaulay’s education system has damaged the cultural and intellectual identity resulting in feeling of inferiority towards local wisdom. Roots of feudalism, another colonial legacy, have become stronger with the passage of time. Privileged feudals have shaped the society in such way that feudal norms have resultantly damaged the culture, politics and economy of Pakistan. Colonialism in one or other way hindered the growth of Pakistan. This colonial policy of dependency has been expanding from economic assistance to military assistance. United States has provided nearly $67 to Pakistan between 1951 and 2011. A large amount of military aid has been provided during authoritarian rules in Pakistan. U.S has been encouraging these dictators through military aid to achieve her own national interests. Foreign military aid has badly affected not only the balance of power in Pakistan but also the foreign policy. It is pressing need for Pakistan to cut foreign military assistance for future development. One of the important legacies of colonialism is Western education introduced by Lord Macaulay to produce an educated Indian class which would serve the imperial interests of colonials. Western knowledge contained scientific, philosophical, technological information along with a great variety of other fields of information but it was not Macaulay’s purpose to produce scientists and philosophers among native people which can work for their own development. Same colonial legacies have been followed in education system of Pakistan. Knowledge is acquired to seek career and serve interests of a particular class. Pakistan’s education system is unable to produce scholars, philosophers and scientists and poor country heavily depends on borrowed knowledge. Similarly, Macaulay’s education project rejected the earlier project of Sir Earnest Jones. Sir Earnest Jones worked tirelessly to translate eastern literature and native wisdom. Macaulay gave the impression that wisdom only belonged to English speaking people. A person who did not know English was treated as philistine and incompetent. Same mentality of Macaulay is still haunting Pakistani society. One is required to learn English to prove his mettle. All this has added to the inferiority complex of people who possess folk wisdom and great potential for advancement. Native history is rich with creative literature, produced through folk wisdom, but race for learning foreign language has only added to cultural and literary decline. It is also due to the colonial psychology that a great deal of skilled Pakistanis prefers to work abroad in Western countries. Brain drain has a huge impact not only on economy of Pakistan’s culture is also affected by this psyche. Primary purpose to settle in west might be to get better living facilities but underling motives are to become part of “superior” western culture. This rejection of indigenous culture has resulted in inferiority complex among citizens of Pakistan. Only because of this mentality our local talent gets appreciation only after getting reward from West. In absence of democratic set up, during the colonial era there emerged a powerful military and civil bureaucratic class which devised the political and economic policies accordingly. After independence Pakistan also faced this imbalanced power structure. Democracy could not thrive for almost three decades as the powerful civil-military bureaucracy derailed the political process of democracy. Long civil-military bureaucratic set up, led Pakistan to civil war and division of the country in 1971 and its continuation poses a serious threat to the security of remaining parts of Pakistan. It is necessary for democracy and development that Pakistan should to reshape and do away with colonial power structure. To conclude, Pakistan, since independence, has been struggling to become a modern social welfare state .But Pakistan’s past legacy and its ills have unfortunately been dragging Pakistan towards disaster and destruction. Pakistan got rid of colonialism but trapped into post-colonial policies of powerful imperialists. Post colonialism exploitation led the country towards economic, military and political dependency in turn country faced several challenges of circular debts, weak industrial base, terrorism and sectarianism. Education policy of British era could not help produce a scientific and rational class who could contribute towards progress. Rather English education brought cultural and intellectual decline along with Inferiority complex. Feudalism, legacy of British Raj, added fuel to the fire by championing status quo. Uneven power set up, gift of colonialism, damaged the democratic process of the country. Architectures of the future have to get rid of ill mentality of past. For those who cannot change their mind cannot change anything.