INDIAN WRITING IN ENGLISH

Indians have been writing verse in English at least since the 1825 and it goes under many ludicrous names- Indo-English, India-English, Indian English, Indo-Anglian and even Anglo Indian and Indo-Anglian. Indian writing in English emerged during colonial rule and was shaped by Indians’ desire and the necessity to describe their own social realities and destinies in the face of British political dominance and purported cultural superiority. English was a language that came to speak about the political and cultural issues that defined the colonial experience and was linked with new ideas and paradigms that were part and parcel of emergent Indian modernities. From the beginning, there were certain ways of thinking and being that could only be expressed in English; conversely, there were entire realms of history, experience and affect that were more difficult or even impossible to be expressed in English. The language has been marginal to the Indian experience in many respects, yet essential in others, both politically and creatively. Most centrally, it has been the language of the educated elite and hence linked to elite concerns, attitudes, and imaginations. For most Indian writers of English, one or more of the other 400 or so Indian languages have played some part of their expression in English, in ways how they innovate in English itself or view the social world they are depicting. Today this linguistic diversity is represented by twenty-two languages in the Indian constitution, including Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, Telugu, Tamil, Urdu, Gujarati, Kannada, Oriya and Malayalam. The English language came to India with the advent of the East India Company in the early 1600s. The East India Company established trading ports in a number of cities. By 1765, the company had established control over most of the parts of India. This is taken as the start of the British Raj in India which lasted for almost two hundred years (1947). Initially, the English language was only taught to the local population by the Christian missionaries and there were no attempts to force the language on each and every individual. English was established as the language of the administration by the 1700s. Citizens, mostly the educated citizens demanded English to be taught in the schools and colleges as a sign of social advancement. Universities had opened in Madras, Calcutta, and Bombay by 1857 and English was finally being accepted as the language of government, of the social elite, and the national press.

Bibliography

1. Interventions (Worldview Edition)

2. Writing In English – Rashmi Sadana (Article)

3. Introduction: Ideas of India – Ed: Priyamvada Gopal

4. Macaulay’s Minute: On Education For India

5. Introduction- AK Mehrotra

6. Commonwealth Literature Does Not Exist- Salman Rushdie

7. Divided by a Common Language- Meenakshi Mukherjee

8. Foreword of Kanthapura- Raja Rao

9. Introduction- R Parthsarthy

10. Writing India, Writing English- by GJV Prasad

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