History of Indian English Literature MEG-07
English Literature

History of Indian English Literature MEG-07

History of Indian English Literature MEG-07:

The contact with Indo-British have profoundly impacted in the development of Indian English literature. English was initially taught to Indians for the sake of business and trade. The earliest works published were explanatory prose, writing letters, and lectures. Dean Mahomed, the first Indian author to write in English, released “The Travels of Dean Mahomet” in 1794. Renowned Indian orators include Swami Vivekananda, Lokmanya Tilak, and Srinivasa Sastri. In addition to scientific monographs in many domains of study, Indians have produced biographies, memoirs, travelogues, and amusing sketches. Many modern writers and poets have produced excellent writing. However, the success of poetry and fiction has diverted attention away from nonfiction prose publications.

He was born in May 1759 to a Bengali Muslim family in Patna, then part of the Bengal Presidency in British India. Dean claimed that his family has a long history of serving in the Mughal Empire’s administrative service. Dean Mahomed joined the East India Company’s Bengal Army as a camp follower after his father passed away when he was only 11 years old and was assigned to an Ensign Godfrey Evan Baker. They travelled through the Gangetic plain, from Delhi to Dhaka, during the span of fifteen years. Dean Mahomed climbed through the ranks to become a market master and then a subaltern officer, while his Anglo-Irish patron advanced through the ranks to become the unit’s captain. Dean Mohamed sailed with Baker in and accompany him to Ireland he made his home there and wedded an Anglo-Irish woman. He published his book The Travels of Dean Mahomet, A Native of Patna in Bengal, Through Several Parts of India, While in the Service of the Honorable The East India Company in 1794.The most popular method of publishing books at the time was via subscription, in which the author would earn money through book readers to cover the expense of publishing. Dean Mahomed used the epistolary format, with the book consisting of 38 letters. “Travels of Dean Mahomed” is perhaps the sole Indian account of life with the East India Company. The narrative comes to a close with his arrival in the United Kingdom. The Travels of Dean Mahomed, the very first book written and published in English by an Indian, is a reminiscence, a famous genre in non-fictional literature. It’s written in a format of 38 letters. The expository form is only a convention; many parts of the first person narrative, or “letters,” begin with “Dear Sir.” His birth and childhood are detailed in the first letter. He claims to be a descendant of the Murshidabad Nawabs. The cities and villages they went through are described in detail in subsequent chapters, as are the people’s clothing and professions, as well as the activities of the various classes of soldiers in the Bengal Army. When he describes his life or incidents from the army camp, his language is vivid and free of stale diction. But when it comes to nature descriptions, it’s a different story. Dean Mahomed employs cliches gleaned from his study of English nature narratives. This is unsurprising, given that early authors in settler colonies such as Canada, Australia, and New Zealand had the same issue of a linguistic gap between them and the places they wrote about.

History of Indian English Literature MEG-07

The book was published and over two hundred years ago, during a time when the Mughal Empire was crumbling and the British were gaining control. Dean Mahomed recounts many facets of Indian life, constantly emphasising the country’s beauty and the dignity of its people. He talks about the caste structure, the practice of giving betel leaves, and items made in various regions of the nation, such as Dhaka’s excellent fabric. The tone, however, has always been that of a neutral spectator. The author frequently adopts the European’s values as well as his terminology.

The origins of Indian English writing aren’t completely known. Cavelley Vertkata Bariah’s “Account of the Jains,” published in a periodical in 1809, has long been regarded as the earliest published text in English by an Indian. Because The Travels of Dean Mahomed had been forgotten,   Michael H. Fisher, a historian, was the first to bring this work to light in 1996. Dean Mahomed (1795-1851) in India, Ireland, and England, his scholarly work, has documented the life of this unknown Indian, mapping his later years as the first Indian entrepreneur in England and the contribution of his wife Jane played in strengthening his business of running a coffee shop and then a therapeutic bath. However, putting Dean Mahomed’s work in the context of Indian English literature is challenging. He is the first chronologically, however we don’t know if succeeding writers, such as Raja Rammohun Roy, were acquainted of his contributions.

The essay “A Defence of Hindu Theism” (1817) by Raja Rammohun Roy is the earliest original explanatory prose publication in the annals of Indian literature in English. Raja Rammohun Roy (1772-1833) was also the period’s most important social, religious, and cultural reformer. He was the son of a wealthy landowner, he studied Arabic and Persian in Patna and Hindu religion and philosophy in Benares. He also had read the Bible in Greek, Hebrew, and Latin and understood several European languages. He was a person who has a very broad and thorough knowledge base, he wrote in Bengali his native language, Persian, and Sanskrit in addition to English. He started the Brahmo Samaj, a Hindu reform organisation, in 1828. He campaigned for women’s rights and led an anti-sati movement. His essays on the “practice of burning widows alive,” as well as his “Address to Lord William Bentinck” (1830), were instrumental in enacting laws prohibiting this barbaric practice. He wanted to modernise India, and he understood that learning English was essential. He was one of the founders of the Hindu College in Calcutta, which was established in 1817. In 1823, he wrote a “Letter on English Education” to Governor-General Lord Amherst, which is a good example of his writing style. His writing demonstrates logical reasoning and straightforward thinking. He was an English prose master, the first in a long series of notable Indians who utilised English writing to advocate sociopolitical reform.

Bengalis made a significant contribution to the development of early prose writing. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-94), the founder of the Bengali novel, and author of Rajmohan’s Wife (1864), which is widely regarded as the first Indian novel in English, he alos authored a number of English-language essays. As English education became more widely available, an increasing number of Indians began to publish academic works. Romesh Chunder Dutt (1848-1909), an Indian Civil Service officer, is well known for his poetic translations of the Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Bengali, he authored books, two of which he translated into English, The Slave Girl of Agra and The Lake of Palms (1909).

His nonfiction literary writings are similarly notable, with the two-volume Economic History of India being his most well-known (1902 and 1904). In 1872, he was also among the first Indians to publish a travelogue named “Three Years in Europe 1869-1871”. He was also the first to publish a literary history, The Literature of Bengal. His contemporary and colleague, Surendranath Banerjee (1848-1925), a leading member of the Indian National Congress, was a brilliant orator, and his addresses were published as early as 1890.

Three renowned Bengalis were geniuses of writing and established themselves in the spheres of religion, poetry, and national awakening. Swami Vivekananda’s parents called him Narendranath Datta when he was born in 1863. He chose the name Viveknanda after becoming a follower of the eminent spiritual Ramakrishna Paramahamsa at the age of eighteen. Vivekananda created the Ramakrishna Mission, a monastic organisation dedicated to social reform, after Sri Ramakrishna’s death in 1885. His lecture before the Parliament of Religions in Chicago in 1893 made him famous across the world. The first book of his the “Complete Works”, published in 1907, is largely comprised of speeches and lectures. He talked of India’s spiritual distinctiveness and the glory of Hinduism, but he spoke much more passionately about the country’s current decline, its reasons, and how to reverse it. Vivekananda’s language has an astounding modernity to it; the vocabulary is so current that it’s hard to imagine he had spoken a century ago. His speaking is clear and concise and his vision was inspired by everyday life rather than art or literature.

In the horizon of Bengali literature and culture, Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941) is the brightest star. In 1913, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his work as a poet, dramatist, and novelist. He wrote hundreds of songs and was a talented painter. My Boyhood Days and Reminiscences are two of his early Bengali autobiographical writings. Although his letter to Mahatma Gandhi, “The Great Sentinel,” is a remarkable piece, supporting the principles of humanism in the face of political turbulence, Tagore’s literary compositions in English were largely in the form of lectures. Nationalism (1917) is perhaps the most current of his numerous lecture collections. Tagore distinguishes between society, which is man’s natural self-expression as a social being, and nation, which is a political and economic union of people. He cautioned Japan and India from following in the footsteps of the West. Tagore condemns the economic imperialism of western nations, which has devastated India’s social fabric, in fluid writing with almost lyrical intensity. Tagore assimilated the finest of Indian philosophy and spirituality from the past. He was deeply worried about modern India, yet he was not a fan of limited patriotism. Contemplation presented in clear language characterises his prose.

IGNOU MA English IGNOU MEG Solved Assignment English Literature

Sri Aurobindo (1872-1950) was a renowned scholar, and spiritual teacher who influenced people all over the world. He is most recognised for his work as a poet, but he also wrote numerous volumes of prose on philosophical, theological, social, and cultural topics. Because of the breadth and creativity of his work, he has been dubbed “the founder of modern Indian critique.” At the age of seven, Aurobindo Ghose’s Anglophile father sent him to England for his schooling. He earned a First class First rank in classical languages at Cambridge University. He passed the Greek and Latin exams with flying colours, qualifying him for the Indian Civil Service. In addition, he studied French, German, Italian, and Spanish. In 1893, he returned to India and began teaching English at Maharaja’s College in Baroda. When the British partitioned Bengal in 1905, he left his post and became involved in the nationalist movement. In 1908, he was arrested as a terrorist. He gave up politics after a spiritual experience at Alipore Jail in 1909, which he termed “Narayana Darshan.” He settled in Pondicherry, a French colony, and began his yogic journey. He was joined by Mirra Richard, afterwards known as the “Mother” in the Aurobindo Ashram, a French woman who recognised him as the teacher she was looking for. He had a profound spiritual experience in 1926, which included the descending of a new awareness. He went into solitude but continued to write poetry, notably the epic “Savitri,” as well as several poetic dramas and more than fifty volumes of prose, which included essays, speeches, correspondence, and Sanskrit translations. The essays of Sri Aurobindo can be classified into three categories:

  • Religion
  • Concerns about social issues and
  • Criticism of literature

The Life Divine (1939-40), The Synthesis of Yoga (1948), and Heraclitus are his most notable writings in the realm of religion and spirituality (a comparative study of Greek philosophy and Vedantic thought). Vast majority of his social articles were initially published in Arya, a magazine that he started in 1914. The Renaissance in India (1920) and The Foundations of Indian Culture are two books on social and cultural problems. In addition to letters, he publishes literary criticism in The Future Poetry. His analytical approach combines the finest of western and Sanskrit aesthetic traditions.

Indians used English extremely well in public addresses in the early decades of the twentieth century. Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale, and Mahadev Govind Ranade, among other nationalist leaders, were outstanding orators. V.S Srinivasa Sastri, a leader of the Moderates, was perhaps the best orator of the day. He was renowned as “the Empire’s silver-tongued orator.” He also penned a number of biographies. In her lectures, Sarojini Naidu, who is more renowned for her poetry, demonstrated her command of language. Another figure from Gandhi’s period. C Rajagopalachari was a gifted orator. His concise prose translations of the Ramayana and Mahabharata demonstrate his command of the English language. However, Mahatma Gandhi, after whom this period is titled, was the most significant leader and thinker of the century. Jawaharlal Nehru was the finest writer of this period in terms of literary value, and most critics believe that his autobiography is indeed the finest work in the category.

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