• ISBN: 094525752X
  • ISBN13: 978-0945257523
  • Copyright 1993
  • 92 pp.
  • Form: Paperback
  • Price: $6.95

The Blinded Eye

500 Years of Christopher Columbus

By Claude Alvares, Ziauddin Sardar, Ashis Nandy and Merryl Wyn Davies


The authors draw out a firm thread connecting Columbus' attitude to the 'natives' he discovered with the attitudes of 'developers' today who continue to believe that ordinary people and villagers are inferior, ignorant, inefficient, undeveloped and superstitious. From Manas: Five hundred years have elapsed since Christopher Columbus landed at the island of Gunahani in the Caribbean, an event more popularly rendered as his 'discovery' of America, and these years have not been pretty. In a work that is described as the "world's first post-Columbian manifesto", four distinguished writers, thinkers, and cultural critics, whose voices among others constitute the social conscience of our generation, state in plain language that the consequences of the voyages undertaken by Columbus, and subsequently by numerous other navigators, pirates, conquistadores, and colonizers, have been calamitous not only for the colonized but for the entire world. These voyages, write the authors of The Blinded Eye, "led to the imposition of a world-view and the installation of a global order through which millions of people, and thousands of other living species, simply lost their rights to exist" (p. 2). This argument is, in itself, not novel, which is scarcely to say that it does not stand quite far apart from the dominant view which locates 1492 as the beginning of the 'modern' era and all that which is thus 'good' in life, and even from the somewhat more sensitive view which admits to the horrors perpetrated -- knowingly or otherwise -- by Europeans but is blinded from recognizing that Europe itself became brutalized in the course of its domination over the world. As Ashis Nandy has often reminded us, victory can be more hazardous than defeat, a more onerous burden to bear; in the words of Romain Rolland, "Victory is always more catastrophic for the vanquishers than for the vanquished."