India’s Aspiring Medical Students

India is a country with teeming millions living in villages. There are many doctors in India who work in the villages for a meager salary. These doctors have been chosen by Missionary Medical colleges after rigorously checking them on their service mentality. Sad to say all this has been upturned by the Modi government who has introduced the National Eligibility Test NEET which tests the students only on their academic aptitude. I am sad to say that the NEET exam is very rote oriented. To be a doctor in India means to make money and that’s the attitude. Many doctors who have passed out from cream institutes have left for shores abroad to earn a lot of money. I know a student who after finishing her 12th grade worked with lepers and served in a hospital doing voluntary work. She qualified the NEET exam but her grades were much below so that she could not join medical colleges which charged a nominal sum. Private Medical Colleges in India charge exorbitant fees even for those who have passed the NEET exam. The Govt. of India has done nothing to correct this anomaly. Academic brilliance is not the only criteria for becoming a doctor. Dedication for the Medical profession is an important factor. Many students who would have loved to work in the villages of India and serve the people will lose their precious chance as they have to pass an exam which is rote oriented and not based on the quality and quantity that befits a medical student.

The Lepers at Shanti Gramam

I was so fortunate to visit a leprosy rehabilitation center. The center housed people who were lepers and who were discarded by their families, free of cost. It was night time and many had eaten their food. Some were blind and had no fingers. I have never seen people who were so contented. I found real human happiness in them. I hugged a blind woman and she started crying and sang a song for me. The doctor in charge said the small quarters in which they were staying was donated by my grandfather late T. P. Chandy in loving memory of my late grandmother Alemya Chandy. I have spent my childhood with him and flood of emotions surged in me. I feel so proud of him and his philanthropic zeal. I found in those people a ‘happiness which was a peace that passeth all understanding.’

Her Story

I met her recently. She was a psychologist and thus she told her story. Her husband went to Liberia as a missionary doctor to treat people afflicted with Ebola virus. While treating them he caught the disease and subsequently died. His body was buried there since Ebola victims were not allowed to be brought back to India. She was emotional, but not bitter and said in her grief she takes the support of God Christ to make her strong. A tear broke in me and I had no words to comfort her.

Reflections

Went to a book shop today ….bought Che Guevara’s Motorcycle diaries; started reading it in the bus. Was stunned and thrilled by his profound revelations. I elevated him to the status of a seer; his dazzling prose is poetic and sublime. I admire his quest to be human in one sense moved with the pathos for human life and its suffering. While coming back, I came across a bunch of red comrades in a bus opposite to me, singing profane songs. They had been to an inauguration. I thought of Che’s book now lying beside me in my hand and them. A feeling of disgust enveloped in me. A silence enveloped me and I became quiet and contemplative.

Reflections on Homi Baba’s Post Colonial Criticism

Homi Baba is one of the foremost thinkers of Post Colonial Criticism and belongs to the school of Post Structuralism. Homi Baba has made intrusions into the Philosophy of Language where texts become constructs for post colonial criticism. For Baba Colonialism has not been a straight forward clique between the oppressed and the oppressors but an evolving semantic machine marked by psychological anxiety and tension between the oppressor and the oppressor.

Here in this article I would like to articulate some ideas of Homi Baba on Post Colonial Criticism. They are hybridization, mimicry, uncanny, doubling, difference, ambivalence and anxiety. For Baba, a nation is always in the process of evolution and a nation is not a fixed entity.

Hybridization is a process through which cultures interact, mix and develop new cultural and evolutionary tendencies. A common example can be taken is that of the Language English. For example Black English has evolved by fusing many dialects of the native black with the colonizer’s English. Indian English has absorbed native English words and has also adopted words borrowed from Indian Language. British English consists of many Gaelic and Latin and French words and therefore if we look at English, it is always going through a process of hybridization. Hybrid English is a transnational language and is always adopting new vocabularies into its lexicon. Another common example would be that of Dance and Music. Dance and Music have fused various elements of the Orient and the Occident.

Mimicry refers to the process through which the colonized mimics the language and culture of the Colonialist. Mimicry is a powerful tool, a coping mechanism of the colonized to resist the rule of the colonizer. The white other becomes the subject of my gaze and I adumbrate his or her cultural moorings into my possessive outlook. For the white, the discourse of the Orient has been a fragmented one, a one of bitter misunderstanding. According to Edward Said, the discourse of the orient has been a philosophical and intellectual construct drawn out from occidental narcissism and fantasy.

A lexical meaning of the word uncanny would be something strange, mysterious in an unsettling way. For the white, oriental culture and religion has been marked by the strange or the uncanny. Baba also discusses the problem of migrant cultures. Migrant cultures to the Occident bring into it uncanny elements. Uncanny also represents a misunderstanding of the mass psyche of the colonized. For example let’s take the Blues. Blues a form of Black Music emerged as an uncanny one, a one to show solidarity and protest against the whites. Mahatma Gandhi’s behavior as a political protestor of the English rule was an uncanny one. The British simply could not understand and tolerate the half naked fakir. The occult aspects of the Australian aborigines were ostracized and many were made converts into Christianity.

Doubling as used by Homi Baba refers to the process in which duplicates of the Colonized were created. The colonized were trained in the language and culture of the Colonizer, mainly to suit them for administrative purposes. For example India as a British colony needed a large army of clerks to run their administrative regime. Doubling became a headache for the Colonizer as these doubles soon realized their self worth and started protesting against colonial rule.

Difference is a term taken from Derrida’s Deconstruction. The term incorporates the understanding of semantic binary divide by differing and deferring. Colonialism has marginalized the brown and the black by privileging of the white. This marginalization has been violent and autocratic. There is a conflict between the racially superior self and the racially inferior other. The White self’s Christianity is a racially superior religion than the religion of the Red Indians, Africans and Aborigines. Language has bifurcated texts into binary divides of the self and racial other. For me Colonialism is still an ongoing process. For example let’s look at Native Speakers of English being imported into South East Asian Countries to teach English. A native speaker of English is privileged over whites and browns who are adept in English.

Anxiety as a term used in postcolonial criticism refers to the tension of the Colonizer when he is dealing with the Colonized. We can use the example of Non Violent struggle against British rule espoused by Mahatma Gandhi. The British simply could not understand what Ahimsa or non violence was and used ruthless force to subjugate the peace movement. To their Ambivalence, the struggle even became stronger. Colonial domination was not a straight forward one, but one marked by anxiety and ambivalence.