As I was scoffing down my lunch (I jest; I actually eat really healthy food) a thought came into my mind that a good book title would be “The Post-White World.”
Since 1492 (when Granada fell and Columbus set off) there has been an increasing consolidation of the West. It reached its apogee in the Victorian Era, where it was unabashed racial hegemony, and it took two World Wars to really shake it off. It’s interesting that Islam experienced so much “innovation” in the 19th century simply because the incursion of the West was finally being internalised.
Baha’i Faith’s origins can be best be described as Islam without the rough edges (depending on whether you believe Qom or not, its origins weren’t entirely incidental but deliberate, the greatest villain in Baha’i history Amir Kabir is a revered Iranian patriot).
It took another Cold War (Russia isn’t necessarily an “Eastern power” considering it was founded by Scandinavians, populated by Slavs and adhered to a Hellenistic strain of Christianity) for the world to really internalise the ideals of racial and gender equality (arguably with the elite liberal Westerners jumping the shark on identity politics).
An interest outcome of the Second World War was not only the general discrediting of racial doctrine (the Nazi philosophy) but that Empire was dismantled. Further to that the Empire actually followed the Europeans back to their homeland so it was almost a triple whammy to the Imperialists.
It’s conceivable that all the way back when the subject races didn’t necessarily amount to much (I had never heard of JC Bose & Marconi’s theft until MJ told me about him yesterday) so no one could fast forward 50 or 100 years except for Enoch Powell.
However with the onset of an Asian century and the receding memories of Western & white hegemony, it will make for interesting times. We aren’t yet in that period but in its twilight era (future historians will be able to better date the exact points, Trump could be another Julian the Apostate in trying to ressurect WASP America).
I would also argue that the last millennium was unique in the sense that the hegemony was not only industrialised but spanned the entire globe. Even the Romans or the Chinese at their greatest extent only managed certain parts of it.
Furthermore people and societies have a generalised, not a detailed view of history, so while the British may remember their Empire specifically for other Westerners it will be more of a civilization affinity. The co-opting (appropriation in modern parlance) of the Jewish, Greek and Roman legacy by the modern West is a good example of that. The average Frenchman, German or Briton will know that their ancestors were tribesman but will instead identify with Jesus, Julius and Jehovah. 300 is a good example of that; the Greeks are the West and the Persians are the East.
In many ways history is a lot like Quantum mechanics (I’m going to bungle up this analogy) and the act of observing and writing history changes it entirely.
As a final thought and since this is the Desisphere; for Macaulay’s children (if you are from Hindustan, read and understand this blog you are probably one of them); the period of White Dominance was extremely kind to us. As Razib alludes in his previous many of the liberal Indians are struggling with their dual identities. The entire quest for identity and rights exists mainly within a white-defined paradigm.
The irony is that Modi, who seems to be growing from strength to strength, may be philo-Western (he loves to hug Western leaders) but is the expression of a long suppressed and raw India that is waking up after a millennia, hangry as f*ck.
Imran Khan and Rahul Gandhi who are rather effete English speakers (and most likely think in English) are the ghosts of this lost white world. Even Imran’s conception of the Muslim religion is rooted in Western philosophy rather than in authentic Muslim thought (dividing up Mecca and Medina and trying to salvage the good bits of Islam; he wants his liberalism & Islam mixed well together so he never has to choose between the two).
Macaulay’s children were historically only the thinnest crust even as more and more Indians speak English and watch Game of Thrones; the Dalits and “aam admi” remained distinctly unaffected. It may be so that identity politics will transmit to India en masse but it’s a safer bet to see the rising middle classes instead find expression and modernity in some hybridised Hindu culture; it won’t be long before the Ramayana and Mahabharat is mined to create a Desi Game of Thrones.