‘Colonial Discourse and India’

Abstract : This paper argues that discourse is an essential part of the colonizing process. Bart Moore-Gilbert reminds readers that: « Colonial discourse itself acknowledges that imperial power was mediated in both the cultural and the material spheres. For example, a story like Kipling’s ‘On the City Wall’ (1888) bears ample testimony to the fact that behind the literature, the schools and the cricket pitches imported to India as part of the ‘pastoral’ regime intended to ‘re-form’ the Indian subject, lie the police – and behind them, the barracks. » (Moore-Gilbert p. 165). Nevertheless it is unlikely that India could have been held only at gunpoint. The link between discourse and power is subtler than the presence of army barracks, but imperial power relied as heavily on ‘pastoral power’ as on violence. Colonial discourse in India was useful to the colonizer (in this case Great Britain) on two counts: firstly to exonerate and justify the colonialist in his/her own eyes, and secondly to discredit the colonized country’s culture, thus allowing the colonizing country to substitute its own, and in the process invalidate that of the colonized subject. This paper explores the construction of colonial discourse in the Indian context, and then looks at some of the repercussions.
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http://hal.univ-grenoble-alpes.fr/hal-02008637
Contributor : Madhu Benoit <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 5:53:07 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, February 14, 2019 - 2:12:02 PM

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Madhu Benoit. ‘Colonial Discourse and India’. Madhu Benoit, Suzanne Berthier, Linda Carter. ‘Sites de résistance – stratégies textuelles’, Le Manuscrit, 2006, 2-7481-7474-7. ⟨hal-02008637⟩

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