Question :

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(a) What was meant by the ‘civilizing mission’ of the colonisers?
(b) Huynh Phu So.


Social Science


Class 10



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Answer / Solution

(a) Unlike other colonisers, the French colonisers did not aim only for economic exploitation of their colonies. The French colonising mission was also driven by the idea of a ‘civilising mission’. Just as the British had done in India, the French claimed that they would introduce modern, civilised life to the Vietnamese.

The French believed that like all other Europeans it was their duty to civilise the colonies even if this meant destruction to local cultures, religion and traditions.

Kipling called it white man’s burden. It was thought that it might be possible only if the advanced countries established their colonies over the backward and uncivilised people.

(b) Huynh Phu So :

After the occupation of Vietnam, the French tried to reshape the social and cultural life of the people. Vietnam’s religious beliefs were a mixture of Buddhism, Confucianism, and local practices. Christianity was intolerant of this easy-going attitude of the Vietnamese and viewed the Vietnamese tendency to revere the supernatural as something to be corrected.

However, the religious beliefs among the peasantry were shaped by a variety of syncretic traditions i.e., aiming to bring together different beliefs and practices seeing their essential unity rather than difference.

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