Do a lion is better than thousand years

Do you know what
colonialism and imperialism has taken from us? It has taken away the conscience
of the nation and given the legacy of mental slavery as a return gift. This is
what history is trying to tell us. Tipu Sultan has rightly said that; A
day’s life of a lion is better than thousand years of jackal. Getting
conquered is a part of history, so it’s very hard to determine where the good
part of being conquered ends and the bad part begins. At its creation in 1947,
Pakistan looked back on two legacies. One was the more than 100 years of
British colonial rule. The other inheritance, the Muslim conquest and dominance
from the thirteenth century to the nineteenth century, provided the Islamic
factor. Yet nation tends to forget it’s marvelous past and remember the era of
being slaved. That’s why from political to social sector, heritage of being
ruled is obvious. Fighting other’s wars, economic dependency, rising extremism
in country, attraction for western culture, inferiority complex about our own
culture and knowledge manifests the depth of colonial mentality in our nation.
We may have gotten independence from British raj, But are we really independent
in our thoughts, culture, education or administration? It is a question of

The term colonial
legacy is used as a synonym of colonialism. It is the
policy and practice of a power in extending control over weaker peoples or
areas, for example, British ruled the subcontinent for a long time. When
Pakistan got independence from the British rule, it inherited its colonial
masters’ influence. Therefore, the country was deeply influenced by the British
legacy in political and economic spheres of life.  Such legacy has more negative effects over a
nation than positive ones like enslavement and mass exploitation, inequality
among masses and resources drain etc.

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Seventy years after
independence, Pakistan remains very much a third-world country. These days the
youth of the country sometimes express the belief that we would have been
better off under British colonial rule for our undeveloped status clearly shows
that we are unable to manage our own affairs. This is a dangerous trend of
thought promoted by Western propaganda. 
It is true that colonial rule did promote the development of the
subcontinent, yet often rule by an alien power proved a hindrance to
development. In the eighteenth century, at the eve of the British takeover,
India was more disorganized and helpless than it had been for centuries. The
rulers were weak and the nation was ripe for takeover. The seeming ease with
which the British managed to do this was partly due to the fact that no one
viewed them as serious contenders for the Indian throne, so ridiculous was the
notion of feringhi rulers. People assumed that East India Company only
wanted India’s vast riches. If the British had not taken over, perhaps the
Mughals might have reformed themselves or perhaps yet another conqueror from
the neighboring states might have become India’s ruler. The tragedy lies in the
difference between conquerors and colonialists. Conquerors develop the
territory as part of their country, and colonialists only exploit according to
their own interests.

In his book Discovery
of India (1961), Jawaharlal Nehru comments with his characteristic sarcasm that
“We are often reminded, lest we forget, that the British rescued India from
chaos and anarchy”. They did indeed restore orderly government after the period
that the Marathas have called the ‘time of terror’. But much of the disorder
was caused, in the first place, by the East India’s own strategies. ”

Perhaps the bitterest
legacy of colonial rule is the scar left on the people’s psyche. Indians had
been used to regard rightly themselves as a highly evolved and intellectual
people. British officials treated Indians with undisguised contempt. This
treatment was especially offensive to Muslims who for centuries past had been
used to receiving special honor and privileges. Racialism was of such an
extreme quality that any European regarded himself as superior to the
‘natives’. As Nehru (1961) reveals, there existed exclusively English clubs who
did not allow any Indian (even if he was a prince) except in the capacity of a

We were not exactly
barbarians. Long subjection of a people and the denial of freedom bring many
evils and, perhaps the greatest of these lies in the spiritual sphere –
demoralization and the sapping of spirit of the people. (Nehru, 1961, p. 302).

The racist ideology of
Herrenvolk implied that the English master race had the god-given right to rule
the incapable Indians who had to obey. Racial memories are long and this
psychological scar has remained. What is most shameful that we submitted to
this degradation for so long.

Many Pakistanis cannot
believe that they can use their own considerable talents to progress to the
level of the developed nations and so they continue to hanker after the Western
style of living. What they do not realize is that American or European
passports are not going to procure for them anything but third-class citizen

After the end of
British rule, two countries emerged – India and Pakistan. Pakistan was created
to protect cultural, religious and political interests of Muslims of the
subcontinent. Despite the freedom from the British, Pakistan remained in the
grip of their influence. In the political sphere, Pakistan since its inception,
made no serious efforts to make its Constitution; rather Pakistan adopted
Indian Act of 1935 with certain amendments as an interim Constitution. However,
Pakistan took nine years to adopt its first Constitution in 1956, whereas,
India did so soon after independence.
The 1956 Constitution was abrogated by Iskander Mirza in 1958; then President
Ayub Khan gave the 1962 Constitution which could not survive beyond 1969.
However, in 1973, Bhutto gave a unanimous Constitution to the country. Zia ul Haq
held the Constitution in abeyance from 1977 to 1985 and then Pervez Musharraf
led the country in his own manner from 1999 to 2008. These Generals inherited
the British legacy of usurping power by the use of force.
The attitude of bureaucracy and the civil servants remains indifferent. The
British colonialists introduced the civil service in the Indian subcontinent to
recruit the civil servants and to use them for suppressing any rebellion
arising against the colonialists. This tradition is still in practice in
bureaucracy. Bureaucrats rather than being the civil servants and serving the
people, are involved in malpractices disregarding their responsibilities.

The humanitarian
disaster that is engulfing Pakistan is partly due to the nature of the
unavoidable natural disaster but it is partly also due to the baneful effects
of colonial slavery in the economically backward region. Economic Growth in
Pakistan expected 5.5% for the fiscal year 2016-17 failed to achieve instead
Pakistan Economic Survey few days back showed just 4.5% for this year. The
share of investment to GDP remains minimal at 15.21%, about half of the South
Asian average at 30% and one of the lowest in the world. Low domestic savings,
below 10% of GDP for the past five years, do not support higher investment
levels.  But what is the real reason for
the intensified suffering of the Pakistani people? In a word: colonialism. The
latest dictator, General Pervez Musharraf, was a complete tool of American
imperialism, allowing his country to be used in the misconceived “war on
terror.” All the successive dictatorships have a material base, the same
material base that explains the infrastructural nightmare that underlies the
crises.  When all is said and done, it is
clear that Pakistan still retains the colonial economic structure minus the
foreign soldiers. The structure of the Pakistani economy has changed from a
mainly agricultural base to a strong service base. 

In 200 years colonial
rule impacted society so greatly that it came apart at its very seams. India
had been ruled by foreign invaders before but they all accepted the basic
structure of Indian society and blended their cultures with it. The British
always stayed aloof, in a superior world of their own and thus created two
worlds in India. The following quote illustrates the utter confusion the Indian
people were plunged into when two completely alien cultures met:

We must form a class
who may be interpreters between us and the millions whom we govern; a class of
persons, Indian in blood and colour, but English in taste, in opinions, in
morals, in intellect. –( Thomas Macaulay, seen as the father of Western
education in the subcontinent.)

Macauley’s aim was to
create a nation of clerks, half westernized, half native, who could
economically man the offices of the British Raj. Much of the weakness of the
education system still stems from Macaulay’s attempts at reform. (Hussain,
1997, p: 321) At first, the Muslims refused to get western education. In the
time it took Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to convince them otherwise, Hindus had
progressed far ahead and Muslims consequently had few economic opportunities.

All this contributed to
a distortion of the Indian class structure. By getting western education, the
Hindu middle classes emerged much sooner than the Muslim. Also, there were two
kinds of Muslim middle classes when they belatedly emerged: those who studied
English and those who did not. The result was that education could not spread
to the masses for a linguistic and cultural gulf was created. In the past it
had not been so hard to get education. One already knew the main language. All
one had to do was refine it and directly gain knowledge. The British made the
knowledge of Arabic, Persian and Urdu seem redundant. Thus education today
remains a monopoly of the middle and upper classes in the urban areas. The
roots of the growth of Islamic fundamentalism are found in the introduction of
English education and customs. The efforts of Christian missionaries to convert
people also exacerbated this.

Pakistani society
suffers a major identity crisis today. It used to see itself as a bastion of
Islam in the Indian peninsula. However, that image suffered a major setback
after the creation of Bangladesh.

Even so, Muslim
identity continues to play a major role. Today, this identity is once again
under threat with the rise of Islamic extremism, which too constructs an
Islamic identity. The religious minorities in the country have suffered deeply
owing to the close links between religion and national identity. So have the
smaller provinces such as Sindh and Baluchistan (small in terms of its numbers)
that, parallel to a Pakistani/Muslim identity, also adhere to their regional
identity. It is only Punjab that has completely adapted this Pakistani identity
by shedding away its regional identity, which is seen diluted because of its
association with the non-Muslim past.

It is because of our obsession
with defining our history in terms of Muslim-Hindu relations that we have not
been able to understand the ramifications of colonialism and how it affects our
daily lives. It is for this reason that British officials such as Montgomery
and Lawrence, who undoubtedly played a pivotal role in the modernisation of
Punjab, are still idolised, while our folk heroes who challenged this hegemony
are unacknowledged. Everybody in Punjab today knows about Montgomery, Nicholson
and Lawrence, but not many have heard of Ahmad Shah Kharal, who laid a popular
revolt against the British in 1857, inspired by the events in Meerut. He was
killed on September 21, in a region that was later to be called Montgomery

The effects of
colonialism do not end when the last troops depart. They linger like a disease,
festering in the body politic and in the minds of the formerly oppressed. Some
of the supposedly beneficial legacies of British rule are said to be their
constitution and their administrative institutions. Yes, they were indeed
excellent in their own right but are they really adequate for our nation’s

As far as the
bureaucracy is concerned, Indians were left out from all high offices both in
civil administration and army during British Raj which meant that they had no
experience of holding the highest positions of responsibility. In 1947,
suddenly the nation became a democracy from a colony. It is impossible to get
used to such a drastic change overnight and Pakistanis are still struggling.

Under the British, we
learnt the principles of democracy and equality under law in theory but not in
practice. The British are said to have brought the concepts of liberty,
equality, freedom and democracy. It says a lot for Western propaganda that the
latter principles can actually be attributed to an imperialist power! Of
course, the British did not encourage the development of true democracy because
it would have rebounded on them.

WE tend to forget that
our lifestyle and mindset have largely been influenced by our colonial past.
The British influence has changed the way we look at ourselves and has stripped
us of a confidence that comes naturally to a people belonging to an ancient and
great civilization.

Furthermore, we
inherited cultural influence and the English language. Despite having been
enshrined in the 1973 Constitution that “steps will be taken to make Urdu as an
official language within ten years” and the Supreme Court’s recent direction to
the Federal government to fulfill this Constitutional obligation, we are still
running after English medium schools for our kids are feel apologetic in using
our national or regional language and traits.

The British judicial
system has had a most lasting impact on Pakistani law. Our constitution is
based on the British blueprint and especially the 1935 Act of India. The
original Muslim law has become completely distorted and the confusion is such
that there are two legal systems existing simultaneously: the British one and
the Shariat court. In an effort to adapt the constitution to current needs of
Pakistani Muslims, Zia rather misguidedly chose a Middle-East style legal
system which is again not fitting for local needs. This action has also
exacerbated sectarian tension. About the question of the extent of British law
to apply to India, Warren Hastings was in favour of keeping to more local law.
Muslim law of the 18th century was more tolerant and humane than English law.
The English are horrified at the Muslim rule of amputating a thief’s hand, but
in England at the time there were 150 offences punishable by death.

Mughal system of
mansabdari was based on non-hereditary transferable land. Land belonged to king
and mansabdar was a mere revenue collector for state. It was during the
colonial era that petty chiefs of post Mughal era were given permanent lands.
In this way a new privileged class of landlords emerged whose purpose was to
serve the interests of colonizers by collecting revenue and offering loyalty to
British masters. It was irony of the history that Europe made industrial
advancement by abolishing feudal system but in sub-continent they strengthened
the feudal system to serve colonial interests. With emergence of new state in
1947 this privileged class had become so strong that it was almost impossible
to abolish feudalism in Pakistan.. According to writer M.Masud,

 “The hari and the zamindar represent two
extremes of mankind; one lives in the height of depravity and misery, the other
in the height of luxury and extravagance”

It was in the interest
of this feudal class to maintain and perpetuate status-quo and resultantly
Pakistan could not become an industrial state. Feudals have become so powerful
that they are considered as “state within state”. These feudals have their own
system of law and justice based on narrow minded traditions. Often these laws
are in conflict with state laws. The evil practices of Karo Kari(honour
killing), Watta Satta( exchange marriage) Vanni, Swara and Haq bakshi(marriage
with Quran) are rampant among this feudal setup. Education system is completely
under control of these feudals. It is in their class interest to maintain
illiteracy and ignorance among poor villagers. Infrastructure, health
conditions, living standard and all other indicators of social prosperity are
in dilapidated condition.

A large part of
political parties of Pakistan consists of these feudal lords. With a large vote
bank of their peasants and poor villagers only these feudals get elected in
elections. Various famous feudal families have such a strong hold in their
areas that they have been unbeatable for decades. In this whole setup it
becomes so difficult for a lower class or middle class contender to win
elections. Democracy can survive only through new people with new ideas. With
same feudals and same faces in assemblies year after year, country gets same
policies and agendas which serve the interest of this feudal class.

Feudal have become such
a strong privileged class that when they are elected to assemblies they make
laws of their own class interests. Laws like exemption of income tax on
agriculture income reminds the old privileged system of 18th century France.
Accountability laws like plea bargain and voluntary return after making
corruption also provide them escape door. In short feudal system has shaped the
society in such way that only rich can enjoy the fruits and poor has to suffer.

One irksome but
enduring legacies of British colonial rule in the Indian subcontinent is the
clerical mindset they had left people with. After the creation of Pakistan, The
new state inherited a legacy of a handful of feudal lords and bureaucrats — the
alleged ‘desi babus’ who had been trained by the English to rule the masses.
These feudal lords carried on where the British had left off. Pakistan was
formed for the sole purpose of letting the Muslims pursue their religious and
cultural practices freely under a secular government, but what resulted was a
state run by either a series of military dictators or a pseudo-democratic
government consisting of feudal dynasties. These desi babus are causes of less
development, poor law and order situation and lingering system of justice. From
income tax to legal obligations are decided by their consent. This shows the
curses of colonial mentality that we are backward not just physically but
mentally also.

In the current
scenario, the education system of Pakistan entails both public and private
sector institutions along with other non-profit NGO-run institutions. According
to the Islamabad Policy Research Institute report of 2015:

The education system of
Pakistan comprises 260,903 institutions and is facilitating 41,018,384 students
with the help of 1,535,461 teachers. The system includes 180,846 public
institutions and 80,057 private institutions. Hence, 31% educational
institutions are run by the private sector while 69% are public institutions.

These institutions are
producing more critically aware and less marks oriented students. That is why,
it is the need of hour to revamp educational institutions and introduction of
more student-centered curriculum. Instead of blindly running after foreign
education, we should take a pause and first teach the Muslim culture, achievements
and knowledge to our students as basis for modern education.

A strong fort can be
built only on strong base

Time has come to say
good bye to feudal traditions and norms. It’s time for youth to take strings in
their hand and prove their capability. Confidence building measures taken by
parents, teachers, institutes and society can enable our youth to show their
talents and abilities. Once, feudal system is gone from our politics and youth
is ready to take over, then no one will be yelling that Mujhy Kiyun Nikala!

Social awareness
through media campaigns is necessary to take nation out of inferiority complex.
These campaigns should be based on the glorious past of Muslims and should make
them believe that colonialism is not their past only, yet it is the part of
their past; a dark part. It is the dire need of the time to learn from past
mistakes not just to regret them.

Furthermore, young
policy makers, economists, business managers must be allowed to participate in
policy making decision. As, fixed proportions of elements and specific
conditions are necessary to form a compound, same principle is applied to run a
country successfully. A government of hoaries with experience and youth with
enthusiasm and modern knowledge can take our country to highest levels of
progress and prosperity. In doing so, we can best serve our country by
following Hafiz Shirazi’s advice for “Kindness to friends”, “courtesy to
enemies” with equal faith in Allama Iqbal’s message of “self-pride,
self-confidence and self-dignity”.

“What would India be
today without the British?” is a common question. The idea is that, without
British rule, the country would not be united or educated or modern. But this
ignores the fact that 200 years have passed since the British entry into India –
in that time, India’s rulers would surely have enacted policies of their own,
perhaps worse than the British, but perhaps much better. Who knows otherwise
India might still be united. Even if partition could have been organized with
sincere care, all the bloodshed of the wars over Kashmir may have been avoided.
Today, military expenditure has bled dry the economies of both Pakistan and
India. 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


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