Friday, September 5, 2008


Our national language is Hindi, but we speak many languages in India. Some of them are Bengali, Telugu, Marathi, Urdu, Gujarati, Malayalam, Sindhi, Punjabi, Manipuri, Kashmiri, Sanskrit etc. every region has its own language, but if we see in a general way, then everybody wants to speak in English. It become a symbol of education and literacy, after all I m also writing this article in English.
When English was first introduced in India, it was considered as a foreign language and many of them boycotted it because of it British nature. But, this English language has given us a many things; firstly, it broke the intellectual isolation among Indians, secondly, it unite us to speak one language, before it was difficult to unite Indian as they were speaking their own local language, thirdly, it helps to understand the writings of foreigners which gave us a broad sense of thinking etc.
The English language has contributed a vast majority of things but here I am not going to discuss these things, I m just here to ask,... Is English language really a foreign language for Indians after many years of its birth? Before independence to the present day, India has produced many English writers, who are not only famous in India, but also in world they have their own identity.
Though foreign in its origin, English has been adopted in India as a language of education and literacy expression besides being an important medium of communication on a vast scale.
Its history in India commences with Raja Ram Mohan Roy’s (1774-1833) campaign for introduction of scientific education in India through the English medium.
He could use the English language effectively, though he learnt it only after he was 16 years of age. But when Vivekananda spoke and wrote in English, Americans described him as a ‘perfect master of the English language’
Among those whose writings in prose are considered as a literature, the names of Jawaharlal Nehru (1889-1964) stands out. He particularly remembered for his ‘glimpses of world history’, ‘discovery of India’, and ‘an autobiography’ (1936). Gandhiji is reported to have cultivated English carefully, his precision, economy and clarity in the use of English is unequalled and strong instrument in his hands.
Nirad chaudhary, (1897-1999) is an internationally accepted writer of English. His ‘autobiography of an unknown India’ (1951) is particularly well known.
We have extraordinary girl Toru dutt (1855-76) who died at 21 leaving some fine poems, and then we have Sarojini naidu (1879-1949), where whose romanticism charmed readers in India and Europe. Aurobindo (1872-1950) who had his education in Cambridge mastered English, Greek and Latin but also French and Italian (savitiri, life divine- 2vols). Tagore’s Geetanjali won the Nobel Prize 1913; the lyrical quality of Geetanjali is universally accepted.
In the field of Indian English novel, the three senior writers who began to write in the early thirties are Mulk raj anand, R.k.narayana, and Raja rao. Anand’s major novels coolie (1933), untouchable (1935), the woman and the cow (1960) reveal his concern for the underprivileged in India.
R.k.narayana has projected ‘malgudi’ as the locale for most of his stories ‘swami and his friends (1935), bachelor of arts (1937), financial expert (1952), the guide (1959) and waiting for the mahatma (1955) are his popular novels.
Raja Rao’s kanathapura (1938), the serpent and the rope (1960), and the cat and Shakespeare (1965) are significant achievements.
The first Indian novelist to make significant impact on the English literary world was G.v.desani. His ‘all about H. Hatter’ created quite a stir in London’s literary circles and as a result back home as well.
Some other big names in Indo Anglian writing includes M.Ananthanarayana bhabani Bhattacharya (who died in the US in 1988), Manohar malgoankar, Arun joshi, Kamala markandaya, Bharati mukherjee, Khushwant singh, Anita desai, Nayantara sehgal, Salman rushdie (midnight’s children), Ruskin bond (the room on the roof), Vikram seth (a suitable boy), Shashi tharoor (show business, the great Indian novel), Vikram chandra (red earth and pouring rain), Shobaa de and Ginu kamani etc.
Indian writing has thrown up names of the caliber of Manjule padmanabhan (The harvest), booker winner Arundhati roy (the god of small things), Manju kapur (difficult daughter), Raj kamal jha (the blue bed spread), Anurag mathur (the inscrutable americans), Pulizer prizewinner Jhumpa lahiri (the interpretation of Maldives, the namesake), Kiran desai (hullabaloo, in a guava orchard, inheritance of loss), Sashi tharoor (riot:A novel), Kavita daswani (everything happens for a reason) and Tabish khair’s (Filming:a lovestory) etc.
I have given many writer’s name who are worldly famous and admired and there are plenty of other writers present in India and writing a world-class novel. So now we cannot say that English is a foreign language for us, infact, English is a language which has given us a distinct style of writing and its importance in present times as well as in future also.
So, my friends, my idea of this article is to aware you of the importance of this foreign language which is now became natïve language for all of us.

Mohammed Farhan Khan

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