Opinion

Yaka vs. Loyalists vs. Uncle Thom’s

Summary

Caliban said to Prospero: “You taught me language…my profit: I only know how to curse!’ Yaka knows Caliban well!

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Sexy hype galore emblazoned pulp, decibel, byte and pixel hurrahing the “Knowledge Economy” (KE). The World Bank called KE a game-changing steroid to modernize Yakos!

KE turned out to be only about buying phones and computers – not making them. Does clicking on a GE lightbulb with a GE switch along GE wires make us expert at producing power-plants and electricity?

The World Bank is deliciously vague about what type of knowledge KE promotes. Nor how it may propel us out of underdevelopment. Capitalists decide how knowledge is applied. This ‘connectivity’ hasn’t changed our ruling class. Like North America’s ‘Indian Reservations,’ our most ‘knowledgeable’ capitalists invest in casinos, hotels, and importing others’ machineries.

The World Bank’s real name is International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD. Its mission is more ‘destruction and diversion,’ continually reorienting us to imperialist advantage. Just as UN priorities mimic the US State Department, major World Bank and IMF reports are first whetted and rewritten by the US Treasury Department before publication! 

The IBRD/US Treasury’s KE panacea increases dependency on expensive imports of hi-tech manufactures. How we pay for or liberate restricted ‘knowledge banks’ is not discussed. Their main focus is deregulation: allowing foreign corporations, such as telecom manufacturers and universities, to sell here.

Why rush KE? – Workers in ‘services’ exceeded agriculture and manufacturing in the world after 2006. The US/IBRD warns us to embrace services, especially KE!

The decline of economies worldwide is due to this deindustrialization, but the IBRD won’t tell us!

Domination by services, the rule of merchants is our most glaring colonial disease: Anglo-Dutch multinational Unilever garners gross profits selling the impoverished tea by the gotta, and shampoo by the sachet, via 100,000 kadays!

The IBRD proudly advertises: the ‘Services’ sector by 2004 already dominated 56% of Lanka’s GDP (with telecom sales leading), ‘industry’ 26% and agriculture only 18% (despite 1/3rd working in agriculture). How this literate World Bank calculates such numbers, or defines ‘industry,’ is another matter.

Monkey Pedagogy – English rule restricted modern education very early. In 1799, with England waging genocidal war on our interior, military-chaplain James Cordiner proposed “a training school for the sons of Mudaliyars and other chiefs” to “supply English-speaking officers” to government departments, setting up a Wolfendahl seminary to train interpreters as trusted informers.

Overall education was “to be of a non-utilitarian nature, useless for wider vocational purposes,” as colonies had to act as primary producers, and as markets for English manufactures. They indoctrinated a class of local officials as England’s army grew, with people forced to build roads and railways, imposing a civil service to establish a colonial plantation economy based on unfree labor!

In 1835, the English East India Company debated compulsory teaching of English (yes, it’s an old war cry!). TB Macaulay called for local officials, “brown in colour, English in taste,” to administer us as markets for English-made goods, and a base for wars further east.

With England claiming ‘abolition’ of African slavery after 1833, slave trader John Gladstone (father of future English PM) lied in 1836 about Guyana’s happy slaves, promoting the new trade in enslaved Indian labor: promising “schools on each estate for the education of children,” and parents taught “knowledge of their religious duties.”
 
In the 1840s, English women from the Society for Promoting Female Education staffed 5 ‘superior girls schools.’ Reformer Charles Lorenz noted they spent “too much time…on the ornamental rather than the useful.”

In 1847, the Ceylon Colonial School Commission promoted English education to enable “complete renovation of the native mind,” keeping “vernacular schools…essentially subordinate to the English schools,” while imposing the plantation system and its alien system of enslaved labor. 

After England savagely suppressed Lanka’s 2nd war of independence, St Thomas’ College was set up in 1849 by England’s Society for the Propagation of the Gospel, to promote ‘brown Englishmen.’ The 1815 promise to protect Buddhist institutions was then formally ended.

In 1859, Queen’s College (affiliated to Calcutta University) was attached to the Colombo Academy (later Royal College). In 1870, Queen’s was abolished, after missionary St. Thomas’ opposed higher education, preventing locals from competing with whites for civil-service jobs.  Only 50 years later was a fledgling university set up in Colombo.

Dayananda Andradi’s Sri Lankan Subordinates of the British says Queen’s College’s closure severed the one avenue for would-be Lankan engineering students.

Lorenz’s Examiner bitterly complained: Lanka’s advance alongside India’s technical training was cut off, while India had several engineering colleges by 1850. In 1871, Cooper’s Hill Engineering College was set up in England to provide engineers for Asia!

Professional technical training developed late in class-ridden England itself. The greatest inventions in its agricultural and industrial revolution came from ‘rude’ peasants and workers, even priests, with patents later stolen by bankers!

The London Institution (1806) made scientific education widely available, including “Dissenters” barred from Oxford or Cambridge University. England moved to control overall public education only after strong self-conscious working-class institutions arose with trade unions developing intellectual traditions.

While science education was retarded in Lanka, it spread in white-settler colonies, in spurts. Only after the Communist USSR shot sputnik into space in 1957, was science education hurriedly promoted to North-American workers, stealing brains from Asia and Africa. Such is the World Bank’s sexy political economy of knowledge!
 
The crippling failure of missionary-led educational system became apparent long ago. Andradi recounts, the colonial Legislative Council’s Education Committee pressed in 1867 for more science teaching, wondering if Ceylon’s schools taught “more words than ideas,” calling for knowledge of “physical facts and physical sciences.”  

In 1876, State Councillor ‘Sir’ Muthu Coomaraswamy, father of Ananda, called for education in Science, with Arts defined not as ‘fine’ arts but, “technology” or “industrial arts.” He observed: “We wrote perfect grammars, profound dictionaries…poetry and speculated in metaphysics of a transcendental character. We…remained long under the spell of fascinating but comparatively fruitless learning…”

Caliban said to Prospero: “You taught me language…my profit: I only know how to curse!’ Yaka knows Caliban well!

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