Write a note on:
(a) What was meant by the ‘civilising mission’ of the colonisers
(b) Huynh Phu So
(a) The “civilising mission” of the colonisers was an imperial disguise for controlling colonies. European powers assumed that their civilisation was the most advanced, and that it was their humanitarian concern to spread it around the world, even if this was done by force. Europeans became the self-professed carriers of light to the colonies, rejecting the latter’s inherent traditions, religions and cultures as outdated. Also, education was viewed as a “civilising” tool, but fearing retaliation, the colonisers—the French in Vietnam, the British in India, did not want to give full access to the colonised people to Western education. They were aware that Western education might instill democratic ideals and a desire for independence. Hence, the “civilising mission” was marred by double standards and sheer hypocrisy.
(b) Huynh Phu So was a revolutionary leader who started an anti-French movement known as the Hoa Hoa. He was declared the “Mad Bonze” and put in a mental asylum by the French. He performed miracles and helped the poor; condemning unnecessary expenses, gambling, intoxication and the sale of child brides. Interestingly, he was declared sane in 1941, but was exiled to Laos after the doctor treating him also became his follower.