Science and Knowledge as a Tool of Subjugation: Perspectives of European Colonialism in India

P.A, Sabareesh ; Sony.A.L, Dr. Reeta


The development of science as an integral part of society is evolutionary and goes hand in hand with the prosperity of the human intellect, resources available and the freedom accorded the society to think and prosper. India’s scientific heritage had reached its pinnacle in its own perspectives that are difficult to compare with western philosophy and thinking. The underpinning of India-centric eastern philosophies that knowledge i.e. truth can be approached by diverse means had epistemologically led to the evolutionof wide array of methodologies and inculcation of multidisciplinary learning processes in India’s indigenous education system. Hence science has historically been an inevitable aspect of India’s education curriculum since the ancient and medieval periods. Though the Islamic invasions and European colonisation of the Indian sub-continent during the medieval period were resisted, they had caused tantrums in the regular and active functioning of society and had therefore disrupted societal components such as education, economy and trade, culture, polity, agriculture, taxation system, etc. as there had been various external factors and tools such as colonisation, imperialism, mercantilism, exploitation, monopolistic trade, loot, slavery, inquisitions, violence, genocide, etc. that influenced the internal affairs thereby causing subjugation of the Indian minds. The pursuit of science and technology as a tool with an unethical intention to subjugate the Indian sub-continent and its polity has been explored in this paper. The introduction of the telegraph, railways and steam ships as a means of faster communication and transportation for militaristic, political and trade purposes proves that scientific superiority wasalso a means of subjugation by the European colonial powers, particularly the British. The paper also explores how the distortion of history, unethical misappropriation of India’s knowledge systems and dismantling of indigenous education concepts and structures such as gurukulas and patshalas by cutting off rural financial mechanisms through the adverse taxation system and the introductionof urban-based western education system had ultimately led to the subjugation of India’s national conscience.


Indigenous Knowledge Systems; Gurukulas; Philosophy; Mahatma Gandhi; Rabindranath Tagore; Dharampal; European Colonialism; Renaissance

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