Nowadays, the issues of cultural differences became more apparent, as people pay more attention to racial, ethnic, and other culture-related problems. These problems were discussed in detail in the papers by Chakrabarty (1992) and Nalbntoglu and Thai (1997), who analysed their influence on culture, society, and individuals. In this critical writing, I would like to express my views concerning the issues discussed by the researchers.
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It is possible to suggest that today’s political imagination is based on the idea of uniting people and eliminating discrimination. Chakrabarty (1992) mentions that the aspects of freedom and equality are significant for the image of India. As an example of these moods, he wrote about an equality movement that took place in Bengal and was focused on women’s education. Nalbantoglu and Thai (1997) claimed that history and heritage also play an important role in shaping political imagination. I can agree with both opinions, as many of today’s social movements are aimed at reviving the historical values and principles of freedom.
Another important issue that was emphasised in both readings is the dominance of certain cultures and population groups. According to Chakrabarty (1992), dominance and hegemony in Indian culture are associated with Europe. He sees the terms “Europe” and “India” as opposites in a domination structure. He states that European dominance is binary by nature, with both poststructuralist waves of nationalism and the idea of the alliance; Nalbantoglu and Thai (1997) confirm the hegemonic cultural tendencies. They claim that the dominance of one nation over another and of a powerful group of society over weak shaped the modern image of India, which is demonstrated in its social structure, culture, and other spheres. However, they also talk about the ambiguous outcomes of dominance. Even though cultures may become divided by discrimination, ethnic cleansing, and other factors, “the dominant carries the greatest weight and holds most pieces securely in place” (p. 52). In my opinion, the dominant party can, indeed, be a source of power and unity.
At the same time, nowadays, the difference is mostly considered a negative notion. For example, Nalbantoglu and Thai (1997) state that the Indian power and strategic measures were a response to the growing external threat. In conclusion, I can say that differences and domination have an ambiguous influence on culture. They may serve as a uniting force; however, they also create crucial problems connected with hegemony and cultural misunderstandings.
- Chakrabarty, D. (1992) ‘Postcoloniality and the artifice of history: who speaks for “Indian” pasts?’, Representations, 37, pp. 1-26.
- Nalbantoglu, G.B. and Thai, W.C. (eds) (1997) Postcolonial space(s). New York, NY: Princeton Architectural Press.