Between Westernization and Identity: the Western Civilization and the Colonial System through the Eyes of Bankim Chandra ChattopadhyayPalisheva Natalia
The nature of Western civilization has been interpreted in many ways in the majority of non-European societies, which faced it. This process was mostly pronounced in British India. The representatives of the new, colonialist-built elites had to reflect upon not only their own and European living principles, but also to discuss the topics concerning their submissive and fairly complicated position in that political system. The paper analyzes the personal views of a famous Bengali writer of the XIX century Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay. He was not only a famous writer, but also an extremely successful person in the Bengali society of those times. After getting a perfect education, he achieved the highest point of his career. Then he started sharing his opinions in public, which, considering his social status and Bengali social structure of that time, was fairly venturous. Entering a public epistolary intercourse with one prominent European figure, he began to protect the Hindu religion from the outside attacks and he even questioned the well-known idea of Europe’s intellectual supremacy. With the help of his satiric writers, e.g. «Kamalakanta», he actually poured ridicule not only on the colonial position of his country, but also on the Western system of International Law. Remaining a bearer of Western world view and values, he did not challenge the key achievements of the European world, Bankim Chandra tried to reveal its various problems. Thereby the writer proposed his own way of overcoming one of the most essential colonial state questions – the dilemma between westernization and the drive for their own identity.