“Every single empire in its official discourse has said that it is not like all the others, that its circumstances are special, that it has a mission to enlighten, civilize, bring order and democracy, and that it uses force only as a last resort. And, sadder still, there always is a chorus of willing intellectuals to say calming words about benign or altruistic empires, as if one shouldn’t trust the evidence of one’s eyes watching the destruction and the misery and death brought by the latest mission civilizatrice.”

–Edward Said

Edward Said born on November 1, 1935, in the city of Jerusalem in the words of Noam Chomsky was one of the most important thinkers of the past century. Said was a Palestinian American academic, political activist and above all a literary critic. He was one of the first few scholars and thinkers who dissected the western literary canon and found that the Western literary works were complacent to the Western imperialistic project of the 19th and 20th centuries. In his famous book “Orientalism” Said maintains that the assumptions that the West made about the Orient were not only deeply flawed but also served the purpose of perpetuating the colonial project.

Besides a literary critic and intellectual of the highest order, Said was champion of the Palestinian cause. His aversion to Israeli aggressions and settlement project made him a pariah in the eyes of many. Had he been alive today, he would have opposed India’s annexation of Kashmir with the same vigour with which he opposed the Israeli occupation.