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Stereotypes

Prejudices are often grounded in stereotypes, fixed and inflexible characterisations of a group of people. Stereotypes are often applied to ethnic and racial groups and to women.

In a country such as India which was colonised for a long time many of these stereotypes are partly colonial creations. Some communities were characterised as martial races some others as effeminate or cowardly yet others as untrustworthy.

In both English and Indian fictional writings we often encounter an entire group of people classified as lazy or cunning. It may indeed be true that some individuals are sometimes lazy or cunning, brave or cowardly. But such a general statement is true of individuals in every group. Stereotypes fix whole groups into single, homogenous categories; they refuse to recognise the variation across individuals and across contexts or across time. They treat an entire community as though it were a single person with a single all-encompassing trait or characteristic.