S:     Please don’t start that again.

A:     But it’s where it all began, Sadiq! Our identity problems, our crisis of governance, our inferiority complexes, our outdated laws. Just think about it. They’re all rooted in our colonisation.

S:     Oh. You don’t think all our problems have anything to do with the fact that we’re chronically lazy and dishonest? With the fact that we haven’t made enough dams? Enough schools? Enough hospitals? If I go off on a stealing spree, my English masters of half a century ago are responsible for that too?

A:     Yes, yes and yes! I’m not absolving us of responsibility but...

S:     That’s exactly what you’re doing, and you don’t even realise it, which is what bothers me the most.

A:     No. I’m not. I’m saying everything has roots. I’m saying we continue to be divided, to be suspicious of each other, to be “chronically lazy” because everything was systematically fed to us through the social constructions, psychological oppression and laws of the coloniser. It hasn’t been that long since they left, you know.

S:     Oh yes of course, since we were on our way to the moon, right? And then the British arrived and wrecked it all for us. Have you heard about the great Mughal University back in the day? Oh, you haven’t? You know why? Because it was never built, Ameen! Instead, our local masters preferred extravagant tombs and jewellery. 67 years is long enough to realise we’re no longer a British colony, if you ask me.

A:     It’s not that simple. The physical absence of the coloniser doesn’t remove them from our subconscious or political structures. We don’t realise how deeply embedded colonisation is. So deep that it feels natural. Like our elite culture. Our notions of beauty. Our land laws. Our...

S:     Please, save it. Nobody forces our hand. Nobody’s stopping us from free thinking now. Nobody’s placing a ceiling on our cultural evolution. It’s amazing how everyone is responsible for our failures, but us.

A:     Are you claiming colonisation has absolutely nothing to do with our current predicament? Completely irrelevant, is it?

S:     Okay, explain this to me. Why is India doing so much better than us?

A:     Are they? Throw them a whitening cream across the border. They’re just as obsessed.