By Mahmood Mamdani
Define and Rule makes a speciality of the flip in past due nineteenth-century colonial statecraft whilst Britain deserted the try to get rid of distinction among conqueror and conquered and brought a brand new suggestion of governance, because the definition and administration of distinction. Mahmood Mamdani explores how traces have been drawn among settler and local as special political identities, and among natives in accordance with tribe. Out of that colonial adventure issued a contemporary language of pluralism and difference.
A mid-nineteenth-century drawback of empire attracted the eye of British intellectuals and resulted in a reconception of the colonial challenge, and to reforms in India, British Malaya, and the Dutch East Indies. the hot politics, encouraged via Sir Henry Maine, confirmed that natives have been sure by means of geography and customized, instead of historical past and legislation, and made this the foundation of administrative practice.
Maine’s theories have been later translated into “native management” within the African colonies. Mamdani takes the case of Sudan to illustrate how colonial legislation confirmed tribal identification because the foundation for opting for entry to land and political strength, and follows this law’s legacy to modern Darfur. He considers the highbrow and political dimensions of African hobbies towards decolonization via concentrating on key figures: the Nigerian historian Yusuf Bala Usman, who argued for an alternative choice to colonial historiography, and Tanzania’s first president, Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, who discovered that colonialism’s political common sense used to be felony and administrative, now not army, and will be dismantled via nonviolent reforms.
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Extra resources for Define and Rule: Native as Political Identity
67 Having characterized colonized societies as stationary, all efforts were invested in containing social change in these societies—and justifying it as protection of vulnerable minorities. By the end of the century, as Maine’s texts became required reading for the Indian Civil Service, his influence trickled down to all levels of the service. That influence was most highlighted in the work of administrators such as Alfred Lyall in India, Frank Swettenham in the Malay states, Lord Cromer, Lord Lugard, Theophilus Shepstone, and Harold MacMichael in the African colonies.
At the heart of native administration was an administrative distinction between native and non-Â�native tribes. Non-Â�natives were identified as such no matter how many generations they had lived in the area, for no amount of time Â�could erase the difference in origin. Every colony was divided into so many tribal homelands, each homeland identified with a tribe administratively tagged as native. Immigrants wanting access to land Â�could only do so as “strangers” who had to pay a specified tribute to chiefs in the native authority.
They were the first to advance and put into practice two propositions: one, that Â�every colonized group has an original and pure tradition, whether religious or ethnic; and two, that Â�every colonized group must be made to return to that original condition, and that the return must be enforced by law. Put together, these two propositions constitute the basic platform of Â�every political fundamentalism in the colonial and the postcolonial world. Fourth, by institutionalizing discrimination in colonial society—racial in civil law and tribal in customary law—civil and customary law reproduced a double division among the colonized.