Different grades of anti colonialism

by Nalin de Silva

There are different grades of anti colonialism. What is meant by colonialism here is modern western colonialism, which commenced in the last decades of the fifteenth century. This colonialism is different from the former colonialisms such as Chola, Pandya and Chera, which we have had to face in the history. Cholas and others ruled over parts of the country and they were more political in that respect. However, with modern western colonialism there were three components of colonialism, which can be identified as political, economic and cultural. In the ancient world Greeks had come to areas what is now known as India but their impact had been minimal. There had been cultural interaction in the ancient world, not necessarily through colonialism. Buddhism had been spread in Asia without colonialism and Vedic religions had been confined to certain areas after the initial spread that could be identified with wars as described in Ramayana and Maha Bharatha. After the creation of Hinduism following Sankaracharya there had been no intentional wars to spread the faith.

In the latter part of the fifteenth century a new phenomenon sprang in Italy around Pirentzi, which is called Renaissance by the western intellectuals. This was nothing but what we call a Chinthana Viplavaya and it challenged the dominating Catholic Chinthanaya in western Europe. The Pope without realizing what he was doing helped the new Chinthanaya when he divided the world between the Spaniards and the Portuguese. Though they were Catholics by religion the latter in a sense were the pall bearers of the Catholic Chinthanaya.

The first western colonialists were the Spaniards and the Portuguese and we in Sri Lanka experienced western colonialism very early in the fifteenth century. The Portuguese did not come only for trade but to spread their culture and religion as well. The historians, sociologists, political scientists in general conceal this cultural component concentrating on the economical aspects. However, the Pope had to be challenged in order for the new chinthanaya, which we call the Greek Judaic Christian (GJC) Chinthanaya, to gain the upper hand, and Martin Luther in 1517 officially came out with his new interpretations of religion claiming that he was going back to the Bible. In a sense he could be identified as a fundamentalist, but it could be said that he added the Christian ingredient to the new Chinthanaya. The rest is history and western science, rationalism, capitalism, enlightenment, empiricism, liberalism, modernity etc., are all products of the GJC Chinthanaya. Parliamentary democracy and executive presidency have been created in the new chinthanaya, and the failed soviets in USSR were products of Catholic Chinthanaya based on Marxism which itself was created in Catholic Chinthanaya. Fascism was another political concept that was created within Catholic Chinthanaya but both Marxist socialism and Fascism failed as the GJC chinthanaya had defeated Catholic chinthanaya at least by the time of Henry VIII.

The colonialism introduced by the GJC chinthanaya has evolved over the years and it is clear that it is the cultural component that is mainly responsible for the suppression of other cultures by western Christian colonialism. Lenin has said imperialism is the highest stage of capitalism but Marxism that expected to defeat imperialism and establish socialism and then communism has failed miserably as Marxism had been formulated within a defeated Chinthanaya.

Most of the anti-colonialists base themselves either on Marxism or Liberalism but they tend to ignore the cultural component of western Christian colonialism. Liberalism is a product of GJC chinthanaya and is not capable of defeating western Christian colonialism, which itself is a creation of the same chinthanaya. It can offer only a lukewarm resistance to western colonialism coming out with indifferent solutions that finally reinforce western Christian colonialism. The Liberals have no theoretical framework of their own and have to make use of the conceptual scaffold of the GJC chinthanaya.

The Liberal and Marxist anti-colonialists finally group with western colonialists as the Liberals have no alternative but to use the theories and concepts of western Christian colonialism, and the Marxists base themselves on a defeated chinthanaya. They would not struggle against the cultural component of western Christian colonialism as it is not in their conceptual kitbag. However, it is the knowledge created in the west during the last five hundred years or so, which is being used to suppress the others living in Asia, Africa and South America. The western knowledge is part of cultural colonialism, and unless one is extra careful one would end up by supporting western Christian colonialism in the name of fighting against it.

This is what has happened to some Marxists both of the old left as the new left that is also more than sixty years old if one were to consider the JVP as part of the new left. Only those Marxists who rely on their intuition, without confining themselves to what Philip Gunawardhane called moth eaten books can finally choose the path of anti colonialism. The intuition of the Sinhala people whether they are Buddhists, Catholics or Christians is nurtured by Sinhala Buddhist culture, and those Sinhala people who are not restricted by book knowledge of the western Christian colonialism created within GJC chinthanaya would find themselves on the side of anti colonialism. The same applies to those who are not confined to the knowledge created within Catholic Chinthanaya under the label of Marxism.

However, the anti colonialism of most of them is restricted to political and economic components of western Christian colonialism, and when it comes to the cultural component the education they receive at schools and the universities takes precedence over their intuition. There is a body of knowledge created within Sinhala Buddhist culture on cultural colonialism but they ignore it in the name of a so called scientific method. This scientific method is nothing but a fiction created by western philosophers and western philosophers of science to demean systems of knowledge outside western knowledge.

The schools and the universities in Sri Lanka have failed to overcome the intuition of the Sinhala people in general when it comes to politics and economics but ironically the educational system has been successful in establishing the cultural component of western Christian colonialism, and in knowledge which is part of culture, as most of the Sinhala people have been mesmerized by western science. The young Sinhala "educated" people cannot be fooled in general in politics but in culture they can be, and they would not believe in extra (five) sensory perceptible knowledge including kamma, punabbhava etc. However, this is not a new phenomenon as even those octogenarians in the nationalistic movement as far as politics is concerned, with some knowledge of science would question punabbhava in the sphere of culture.

This is a dangerous trend that has grown up recently, and what is observed is that the majority of the present generation of young people among the Sinhalas who live in cyberspace tend to lose their intuition even in politics. The political component has become secondary to the cultural component with the "advancement" of western technology. The majority of young people in cyberspace are slaves of western technology that goes hand in hand with western science and unless the anti colonialists who have not been enthralled by western science come out with a solution to this problem we would end up as a slave nation.

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