30 November 2017

How Framing is Used to Delude Indians

What looks reasonable or ridiculous depends on the context, on how it is framed in terms of what has preceded it and the language that is used to present it. Establishing the framework (setting the context) within which issues will be viewed is a critical strategy for exercising power and influence. The frame of an issue is often constructed through the questions that are asked. Once the frame is constructed, most people will find it impossible to ignore the frame and see the actual picture or the real issue. Just as the frame for a picture constrains our vision and affects our thinking about the picture, framing puts boundaries on our thinking horizon and prevents us from seeing things as they are. Framing as a strategy to delude Indians was started by the Britishers and is now spearheaded by many Western Indologists.

Britishers used two key strategies to enslave Indians and colonize their minds for ever -- educational system and census. The new educational system permanently destroyed the identity and self-worth of Indians, and the census strategy made them keep fighting with each other for ever. Benedict Anderson's (2006) "Imagined Communities" describes how Britishers used three institutions of power (census, map and museum) to profoundly shape the nature of the human beings they ruled, the geography of their domain, and the legitimacy of ancestry.

Britishers introduced a new educational system in India in 1835. The most significant aspect of the new system that replaced India's old educational system was that India's spiritual and cultural heritage were excluded from the system. New history text books were written with a political objective of making "the native subjects of British India more sensible of the immense advantages accruing to them" because of British occupation of India ("The history and culture of the Indian people" Vol 1: Page 9).

The census, started in 1872, defined and shaped the caste system (birth-based social categorization called casteism) in India. The British infused caste identity among Indians by the simple task of conducting a census. Several caste advocacy groups were formed and these groups wrote petitions to the British, requesting a higher rank in the hierarchy to be drawn up by the census authorities. It was a divisive game played by the British to divide and rule and reduce Indian society into many fractions.

India obtaining political freedom in 1947 did not affect the frame already created. Effectiveness of framing as a strategy is indicated by the enduring effects of the frame that is created. Colonization of the minds of Indians continues without any significant break.

Most Indians have no sense of their identity (distinguishing feature or uniqueness). They have not been introduced to spirituality or higher knowledge (inquiry into the self or subject), which is the core, distinguishing feature of India. Both the formal educational system and indirect education through movies and other media continue to strengthen the frame created by Britishers. History textbooks continue to glorify the invaders and belittle the wonder that was India for 90% of her life before she was enslaved. Even today, Indians continue to be taught about the successive foreign invasions of the country, but little about how Indians resisted them, and less about their victories. They are taught to decry the Indian social system, but they are not taught how its vitality enabled the national culture to adjust its central ideas to new conditions and remain the oldest surviving civilization in the world ("The history and culture of the Indian people" Vol 1: Page 9).

The latest census in India recorded caste as an entry, following the British practice, but after a gap of 80 years. During the early census, people often exaggerated their caste status, while people try to downgrade it now, but both of them strengthen the frame of birth-based categorization. Even though it is totally irrational to assume that son of a weaver is a weaver even if he does not do weaving, and daughter of a lawyer is a lawyer by mere birth, census does precisely that. Birth-based social categorization may be relevant in the West since social categorization is based on material wealth there (son of a billionaire is a billionaire, to begin with at least), but it is irrelevant for India where social categorization is based on Guna and Karma.