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  • Category: Miscellaneous

    "How is the East?" Asked the Portuguese.

    "How did you like the east?"
    Asked an eager Portugese
    To the legendary Vasco de gama
    The sailor of the seven seas
    "East can be best described as
    a bowl of sea shells".
    Said De gama with an ease.
    "What does that mean? "
    Asked the puzzled Portugese.
    "Sea shells are rarely of same size and shape. East too teems with a diverse populace. The air smells like their spices. Their skin as yellow as noon Sun. The people of different races and mother tongue.
    East is too far. East to is too hard.
    But east is a temptress seducing us all.
    Such is the east."
    Said De Gama.
    In the awe,
    gazed the Portugese
  • #629315
    Orientalism. That is what this answer given by this Portuguese explorer, Vasco de Gama, reminds me of.

    Orientalism means the perception of the East by the West. It is not like the East is as such as represented by the Portuguese. It shows that how he perceives the East.

    It is interesting that at least this Portuguese explorer recognizes the diverse races present in the East and their mother tongues. There have been many representations of the East where it is obvious that the West didn't see the mother tongues of the people belonging to the East as languages, but noises. Novels such as 'Heart of Darkness' (1899) by Joseph Conrad illustrate this point.

    The depiction of the East as a "temptress" is significant, which 'seduces' the West. It is because it is by such representations that the people belonging to the West, the colonizers, justified their colonization of countries like India, Africa, and other nations belonging to the East. Representation of the East as a "temptress" seems to justify the process of colonization by putting all the blame on the East and its riches and its wealth which has seduced them. And it is like they had no choice but colonizing the East. Who can resist temptation, after all.
    Also, it is a Portuguese man asking this Portuguese explorer that how he liked the East. It reminds me of the fact that colonizers didn't only have to justify their colonization of other countries to other colonizing countries, like England and France, but also to the people belonging to their own country. Because not all the people belonging to these colonizing countries could approve of colonization which meant exploitation of the Eastern countries. These people too needed justification and such explorers and travellers, by giving their own subjective expressions and prejudices of the East, gave that justification.

  • #629325
    The narration of the author was fresh to read as for the first time the reaction of Vasco de gama on his discovery of East mentioned as bowl of seven sea shells. What I understand from his statement that he came for a sight seeing and might have baffled with so many countries on his enroute and thus made that ironic statement.
    K Mohan
    'Idhuvum Kadandhu Pogum "
    Even this challenging situation would ease

  • #629405
    A nice prose describing how the western world looked at the 'East'. The lure of the East has always drawn many invaders and conquerors like a moth to a fire. Some admired, some enriched but most indulged in loot and pillage of the glorious East for their own benefits. We still bear the scars of the many conquests that literally changed the history of our country and others in the East.

  • #629412
    The author nicely explained the treatment east is getting from the western parts of the world. Many people from western world came here and ruled us and spoiled the monuments available in these places. Our country suffered a lot at the hands of the British people and we have to fight out for getting freedom. The author narrated the story well and the comparison with seven see shells is very unique
    always confident

  • #629443
    Portuguese, though colonized our country, hardly looted or ruled. They couldn't even achieve monopoly over trade. The Portuguese were excellent navigators . They rediscovered the sea routes that once were the lap of spice and silk trades.
    But they were dull inefficient rulers.
    Portugese were friendly with Indian kings and merchants .

    And thank you Jagriti Sharma for bringing forth some history behind the words from the poem. Art is interpretation. Orientalism. True,but not for Indians. We don't look like other Asians thanks to demographical diversity and intermixing races.
    We always held a separate identity in the eyes of the world.

    The stronger a light shines the darker are the shadows around it.

  • #629445
    Mr. Aditya Mohan: Your statement ''Portuguese, though colonized our country, hardly looted or ruled'' is not factually correct. Haven't you heard about Goa Inquisition or Portuguese pirates of Bengal? I have earlier raised a thread which indirectly talks about Portuguese rulers of southern parts of India. Please read it:-
    You heard about Vasco-da-Gama: Have you heard about Rani Abbakka Chowta?

    Beware! I question everything and everybody.

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