Unveiling the silent oppressor: The menace of the colonisation of the mind

Photo by Usman Yousaf on Unsplash

The topic of colonisation of the mind may seem unfamiliar to many within Nepali society, as it is rarely brought up for discussion. If you are wondering what it is, firstly, you need to understand the meaning of colonisation of the mind.

It is simple, colonisation of the mind means the state of imposing a foreign language and culture into other nations pervasively.

No doubt language is for communication and can be used as a tool to find a job. It is indeed a vehicle to discover your destination in this life, which also provides a platform to deliver your voice globally. Moreover, in the context of language, Nepal is blessed with a diversity of languages and cultures. However, there are several factors that Nepal is prone to the colonisation of the mind.

Use of language for the colonisation of the mind

Despite Nepal’s rich diversity, it is evident that the Hindi language has been imposed and accepted by many Nepali people, whether knowingly or unknowingly. Hindi has become a prevalent language in their lives, even though it is not formally taught in schools or commonly spoken with friends and family. From the early years of kindergarten, English is introduced as a foreign language, and the learning continues throughout higher education.

In contrast, the majority of Nepali can easily understand Hindi and feel more comfortable communicating in Hindi than in English. The Hindi language has been ingrained in such a way that people might find their life boring and colourless without it.

There are people who sing Hindi songs better than Nepali songs. Hindi movie stars hold a legendary status among many Nepalis, who are devoted fans.

People use numerous Hindi dialogues to emphasise certain points during conversations. It is not surprising for foreigners to assume that Nepalis are similar to Indians, given the widespread influence of Hindi in every corner of Nepal, irrespective of the community.

The extensive influence of Hindi in Nepali society is unique and uncommon compared to other Indian states. Are Nepali people inadequate in resources and minds to explore the globe other than Hindi?

If not, what is the reason for being enthralled by Indian culture beyond limits? The issue lies in the mindset and behaviour of Nepali people. While they incorporate Hindi into their lives, they often deny the reality of Hindi’s dominance or supremacy.

Nepali people consistently raise their voices in unison against India, which benefits certain political groups but not the nation as a whole. This situation, where one nation asserts dominance over the language and culture of another, is often referred to as the colonisation of the mind.

In Nepal, people have been subject to the colonisation of the mind for decades. The thoughts of Nepali people are constrained by the Hindi language and media, limiting their perception of things beyond their borders. This reality is unfortunate and detrimental to the nation. Some may argue that Nepal has been colonized by Hindi, and there is certainly truth in that claim. However, it is curious to ponder why Hindi is not as widely used in other states of India.

Questions need to be asked

psychology of watching TV

Why do Hindi movies, TV serials and cartoons have to be dubbed in the Indian local state language in India but not required in Nepal? Why does Nepal being a different sovereign nation have to consider Hindi?

This sheds light on the mystery of Nepal’s domination by India in various aspects, indicating an Indian hegemony over Nepal.

When a society or nation largely depends on imported sources of inspiration, it will more likely operate in dependency mode and have to suffer from dependency syndrome. Once this syndrome is widely spread in the lives of people then it will become habitual and accepted without hesitation.

One may not think that they have been in a state of slavery in their mind accepting foreign languages and cultures. The current developments in Nepali society indicate that cognitive dominance is not only pervasive but has also been internalised.

As a result, mind-colonised people are not even aware of the degree of the colonisation of the mind. Understanding the Hindi language is not an issue but inoculating to limit your minds and thoughts is intimidating. One should know that if a country remains under the siege of mind colonisation for a long time, the reference points are external.

For example, while Kalidas is referred to as Shakespeare of India, Shakespeare is not referred to as Kalidas of England. Indians were in the same condition, even worse than one could imagine. Acquainted and apprehended with this fact, Nepal is being used with the same theory. Because of the colonisation of the mind, such metaphors have been so internalised that it is nearly impossible to invert them.

Importance of hindsight

In India, mind colonisation started in the early days of the British Raj while formulating education policy. They wanted a tiny group of Indians to help them act as intermediaries.

This legacy has continued in one form or the other in their life and when India became free in 1947, its ‘mental subservience’ increased as a result of mind colonisation originating from influences of education policy.

Fortunately, English became a globally accepted language; benefiting from a better life of privileges and helping Indians to seek global opportunities. In contrast, Hindi has ruled our minds.

Undoubtedly, when Nepali students venture abroad in search of employment opportunities, many of them find themselves working in businesses owned by Indians, whether by choice or circumstance. The situation might be different if Nepali people had embraced foreign languages other than Hindi to a similar extent. The status quo will persist until there is a realization among Nepali people about the long-standing colonisation of their minds.

Moreover, there are altogether six international languages in use as official languages recognised by the United Nations. They are Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, and Spanish. Why do not you adopt them as an alternative language to compete in global opportunities?

Better late than never, the only solution for decolonising of mind is to realise how you are being colonised by the mind with the Hindi language in the name of ‘Roti Beti’ and ‘Special relationship’ and allowing the limitless market and access in your mind.

The government has to play a vital role in implementing proper policy in place to regulate. At least the control can be started with the forcible rule on Hindi movies and TV programmes to be dubbed in the Nepali language.

This is an accepted practice and is implemented everywhere around the world. So, why not in Nepal?

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Shrestha is an IT Consultant.

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