The Indians adopted the English language as their main form of communication and national language. The missionaries who went to India during the early colonial days introduced this language. In addition, most of the educated Indians preferred to communicate in English. This was to portray their civilization level and also help them catch up with the English ways, which they all pursued passionately.2 For example, we are told that some of them like Lola’s daughter, Pixie, have a British accent, which sanitized elegance and, therefore, worked for the BBC. Her mother tells her never to look back at India and live in Britain for good. Some Indians undermine their native language in order to attain material wealth in form of employment. This is a demonstration of how some of the Indians failed to appreciate their origin and customs. They chose to speak their colonizer’s language and discard and even undermine their original language. This can be seen as a form of modernization.
The use of English language continued for a long time and caused many traditional Indian language dialects to be abandoned and even forgotten. This is still prevalent even today. Indians still use English language as their national and official language.
Effects on Identity
The British colonizers initiated the loss of the Indian identity. This emerged from the way the undermined Indians’ culture, practices and beliefs. They overlooked them and put their own English ways into practice. This caused the Indian ways to fade, and the result was that many Indians preferred to identify themselves with the English ways.2
There is a total loss of identity among many people, who prefer to follow the English way of life, while those who practiced the previous Indian ways were despised. This is seen, in characters, like the judge in several instances. For example, when the judge had gone to study abroad, we are told he became obsessed with bathing off his Indian smell. He wanted to separate and alienate himself from his original Indian ways. When he returned to India from studying, he totally despises his Indian wife whom he perceives to be regressive. We also see this from the house he lives in at Kalimpong. We are told that many other houses at Kalimpong were built in an English design. They preferred not to live in houses which were built in traditional Indian design. This demonstrated the desire to have a British identity.
Loss of identity is also seen in American Indians who moved to the US to establish themselves there. They prefer not to associate themselves with anything Indian. For example, when Biju was working as a delivery guy in a restaurant, in America, he met educated Indian ladies. He overhears them saying that they would never marry a decent Indian boy. Instead, they preferred educated non Indians. This demonstrates their desire to alienate themselves from their Indian origin.2 It is essential to point out that formal education was introduced to the Indian society by the British colonizers who wanted to modernize the Indian society. However, these resulted in the educated Indians like the judge who preferred to identify themselves with the ways of the British and undermined their traditional Indian ways, hence, loss of their own identity. Because of this, we are told that these Indians are filled with much hatred of their own ways and practices. They are bitter because of the pain and discrimination they went through under the English country. Despite this, they prefer to maintain the new English ways and abandon all their Indian ways and identity in the name of modernization.
Through the character of Lola, we see her desire to identify herself with the English ways by her wardrobe choice. We are told she owns a collection of Marks and Spencer outfit. She also thinks that Naipal is strange and regressive. This is because he is still stuck in the Indian ways. According to her, following the Indian ways is the lack of freedom and progression. She prides in her daughter who works with BBC, an English reporting company.
Even after, India attained independence, they still fought among themselves. This was all in an effort to do away with any oppression that they felt. For instance, the Gorkha tribe continually fought for land and freedom. This was just a way express themselves after the oppression that they had received for a long time being a British colony.3 The British introduced many things in India during their time there. This ranged from development to oppression of the Indians. The English missionaries introduced formal education, where the Indians were taught how to write, speak and read English language. There was also construction of roads and rails. This improved transportation in India, which enhanced trade. They also introduced improved agricultural practices in India. This increased agricultural output hence food availability and further expansion of agricultural trade. They also introduced improved technology and science that enhanced globalization in India. This led to growth of India’s economy and expansion of trade. These developments are still felt up to date, and, they have been used as a basis for further development. However, despite all these positive impacts, the Indians still felt oppressed as they were not allowed to rule in their own country. Instead, they were ruled by foreigners.
After independence, the Gorkhas become violent to other Indian tribes that are a minority. This was because of the oppression that they suffered at the mercy of the British colonizers. They do this to relieve the tension and stress that they have suffered under the rule of the British Empire.2 This results to a political turmoil in India that scares the Indian citizens like the cook. When the cook talks to his son Biju, we see that the whole community thinks Biju can save them, because he is in America. They believe that being there gives one power. This gives Biju a burden for his father and his society and he thinks about going back home.
However, despite many desires people had to be civilized by following the ways of the British, we see firsthand experience in Biju’s life about the negative effects this might have. After living and working in America for some time, Biju realizes the emptiness that he felt on the inside. He realized that the new ways were more enslaving than he thought before. He is filled with betrayal for his family and guilt because of his actions. He preferred to go back home. He missed the old days of his childhood in India and realized that this was the life he wanted for himself and his children. He, therefore, decides to go back to India where his father lives. On the other hand, people like the judge, still believe that India is such a backward country and it would be better not to live there. He was rejected by his family for not being an Indian man.1
In conclusion, we can see that the effects of the British colonial rule were continually felt in India for quite some time even after the colonizers left. This is observed from the way the Indians behave, their practices and beliefs. Most of them abandon their traditional way of life and struggle to copy the English ways as a way of civilization. This raises conflicts among themselves and tribal clashes arise. All these happen, because the Indians had no idea what their real identity was and strived to achieve it. The only way they thought to be worth to appropriate was through violence. This triggers a series of events as they strive to be independent.