Indian Literature in English - Lecture Notes - Indian Literature - Prof. DR. C. Reinfandt, Study notes for Indian Literature. Jnana Bharathi Campus of BU

Indian Literature

Description: English literature produced in India by British writers in the days of colonialism) and Indo-English literature on the other, written in English by Indians, before and after Independence. The emerging historical trajectory of colonial and postcolonial writing will then be pitted against standard accounts of English literary history.
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LECTURE 1 PAGE 1

Indian Literature in English: An Introduction

Picking up a long-standing tradition inaugurated in Tübingen by Prof. Gerhard Stilz, this course of lectures will introduce students to literature written in English in India. This body of work (‘Indian-English Literature’) can be usefully subdivided into Anglo- Indian literature on the one hand (i.e., English literature produced in India by British writers in the days of colonialism) and Indo-English literature on the other, written in English by Indians, before and after Independence. The emerging historical trajectory of colonial and postcolonial writing will then be pitted against standard accounts of English literary history.

Lecture 1: Introduction

1) Starting Points 2) Time Frames 3) The Status of the English Language in India 4) Course Overview

1) Starting Points

- the “Stilz-tradition” - the Frankfurt Book Fair 2006 - the Pune-connection

India (Encyclopedia Britannica 2002):

- Official name: Bharat (Hindi); Republic of India (English). - Form of government: multiparty federal republic with two legislative houses

(Council of States, House of the People). - Chief of state: President. - Head of government: Prime Minister. - Capital: New Delhi. - Official religion: none. - Monetary unit: 1 Indian rupee (Re, plural Rs) = 100 paise.

INDIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: AN INTRODUCTION PROF. DR. C. REINFANDT SS 2008 UNIVERSITÄT TÜBINGEN

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Statistics:

- Birth rate per 1,000 population (1998): 26.4 (world avg. 22.1). - Death rate per 1,000 population (1998): 9.0 (world avg. 8.9). - Natural increase rate per 1,000 population (1998): 17.4 (world avg. 13.2). - Total fertility rate (avg. births per childbearing woman; 1999): 3.2. - Marital status of male (female) population age 6 and over (1992–93): single

48.3% (37.1%); married 47.5% (55.2%); widowed 3.6% (7.2%); divorced or sepa- rated 0.6% (0.5%).

- Life expectancy at birth (1999): male 61.5 years; female 62.7 years. - Major causes of death per 100,000 population (1987):

diseases of the circulatory system 227; infectious and parasitic diseases 215; di- seases of the respiratory system 108; certain conditions originating in the perina- tal period 108; accidents, homicide, and other violence 102; diseases of the di- gestive system 48; diseases of the nervous system 43; malignant neoplasms (cancers) 41; endocrine, metabolic, and nutritional disorders 30; diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs 25; ill-defined conditions 129.

- Population (2000): 1,014,004,000. - Density (2000): persons per sq mi 829.6, persons per sq km 320.3. - Urban-rural (1999): urban 28.1%; rural 71.9%. - Sex distribution (1995): male 51.66%; female 48.34%. - Age breakdown (1995): under 15, 35.4%; 15–29, 27.0%; 30–44, 19.2%; 45–59,

11.2%; 60–74, 5.9%; 75 and over, 1.3%. - Population projection: (2010) 1,168,000,000; (2020) 1,312,000,000. - Doubling time: 40 years.

- Households (1991): Total households 151,032,898. Average household size 5.6; 1–2 persons 12.1%, 3–5 persons 44.4%, 6–8 persons 30.5%, 9 or more per- sons 13.0%.

- Average number of rooms per household 2.2; 1 room 40.5%, 2 rooms 30.6%, 3 rooms 13.8%, 4 rooms 7.1%, 5 rooms 3.2%, 6 or more rooms 3.9%, unspeci- fied number of rooms 0.9%.

- Average number of persons per room 2.6.

- Religious affiliation (1995): Hindu 81.3%, Muslim 12.0%, of which Sunni 9.0%, Shi'i 3.0%, Christian 2.3%, of which Protestant 1.1%, Roman Catholic 1.0%, Sikh 1.9%, Buddhist 0.8%, Jain 0.4%, Zoroastrian 0.01%, Other 1.3%.

INDIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: AN INTRODUCTION PROF. DR. C. REINFANDT SS 2008 UNIVERSITÄT TÜBINGEN

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- Major cities 1991 (urban agglomerations 1995): - Greater Mumbai (Greater Bombay) 9,925,891 (15,093,000) - Delhi 7,206,704 (9,882,000) - Kolkata (Calcutta) 4,399,819 (11,673,000) - Chennai (Madras) 3,841,396 (5,906,000) - Bangalore 3,302,296 (4,749,000) - Hyderabad 3,145,939 (5,343,000) - Ahmadabad 2,954,526 (3,688,000) - Kanpur 1,879,420 (2,356,000) - Nagpur 1,624,752 (1,847,000) - Lucknow 1,619,115 (2,029,000) - Pune 1,566,651 (2,940,000) - New Delhi (within Delhi) 301,297.

2) Time Frames

India in World History (Sethia 1996):

• one of the oldest strands in the fabric of world civilization e.g. Buddhism, the dis- covery of zero and numerals (‘Arabic’ numerals), raw materials, market, value- added goods and services

• longevity (3500 years) and diversity: a perplexingly multicultural, multiethnic, multi- lingual, and multireligious though officially secular state

• images of India in the West (“Orientalism”): maharajas and snake charmers, the sacred cow the land of fabulous wealth vs. the land of abject poverty spitituality, metaphysical reality, mystical happenings memories of Gandhi and the Raj

INDIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: AN INTRODUCTION PROF. DR. C. REINFANDT SS 2008 UNIVERSITÄT TÜBINGEN

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Pre-Colonial History (?):

3300-1700 BCE Indus Valley Civilization (Bronze Age)

1500-500 BCE Vedic Period (Indo-Aryan culture, Bronze Age→ Iron Age)

321-185 BCE Maurya Empire (united subcontinent) fragmentation

...

4th to 6th C CE the “Golden Age of India” with a united northern part of the continent (Gupta Empire) and a flowering south

7th to 13th C CE the “classical age”

8th C CE arrival of Islam

1206-1526 CE Delhi Sultanate in the North

1526-1858 CE Mughal Empire in the North plus independent kingdoms in the West and South

Colonial History/Modern History:

1498 Vasco da Gama discovers sea route to India → arrival of the Portuguese (Goa, Daman, Diu, Bombay) as well as the Dutch (Travancore), the French (Pondicherry, Chandernagore) and the British

from 1617 increasing influence of East India Company

1757 Battle of Plassey, Robert Clive Governor of Bengal Battle of Buxar, Company acquires civil rights of administration in Bengal → beginning of the formal rule of the East India Company in India, gaining control over most of the Indian subcontinent by the 1850s

1857 First War of Indian Independence (‘Indian Mutiny’)

1858 British Rule

1947 Independence/Partition

INDIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: AN INTRODUCTION PROF. DR. C. REINFANDT SS 2008 UNIVERSITÄT TÜBINGEN

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3) The Status of English in India

Linguistic composition (1991): Hindi 27.58% (including associated languages and dialects, 39.85%); Bengali 8.22%; Telugu 7.80%; Marathi 7.38%; Tamil 6.26%; Urdu 5.13%; Gujarati 4.81%; Kannada 3.87%; Malayalam 3.59%; Oriya 3.32%; Punjabi 2.76%; Assamese 1.55%; Bhi- li/Bhilodi 0.66%; Santhali 0.62%; Kashmiri 0.47%; Gondi 0.25%; Sindhi 0.25%; Nepa- li 0.25%; Konkani 0.21%; Tulu 0.18%; Kurukh 0.17%; Manipuri 0.15%; Bodo 0.14%; Khandeshi 0.12%; other 3.26% (415 languages in all)

Literacy rate: 44% (1981) → 61,6 % (2005).

Hindi (66.00%) and English (19.00%) are also spoken as lingua francas (second lan- guages/national languages).

English and Urdu without a regional base (naturalised sub-continental languages re- sulting from British Empire and earlier Muslim conquerors)

Native speakers (L1) of English (decreasing): 178.000 but: L2 English: 8%, L3 English 3,5% < 100 million speakers (second largest anglophone population after U.S.A.)

“One man’s ghetto of privilege is another’s road to freedom.” (Rushdie/West 1997, x)

INDIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: AN INTRODUCTION PROF. DR. C. REINFANDT SS 2008 UNIVERSITÄT TÜBINGEN

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[T]he prose writing – both fiction and non-fiction – created in this period [1947-1997] by Indian writers working in English, is proving to be a stronger and more important body of work than most of what has been produced in the 16 ‘official languages’ of India, the so-called ‘vernacular languages’, during the same time; and, indeed, this new, and still burgeoning, ‘Indo-Anglian’ literature represents perhaps the most valu- able contribution India has yet made to the world of books.

(Rushdie/West, viii)

We are, apparently, in the midst of some sort of resurgence in Indian writing (in English) […] The continuing marketability of India should come as no surprise […] The first global superstar or celebrity in literature was not an Englishman or an Ame- rican, but an Indian, Rabrindranath Tagore […] The only way India enters history is, evidently, via colonialism […] Most unsettling of all for the Western reader […] is perhaps not the oft-cited problem of untranslatability, but the problematic questions raised by concordance and kinship; the unsettling fact that native colonial and post- colonial literatures in India are not ‘different’, but that they, in many ways, share many of Western culture’s own concerns and problems, and that the differences from Wes- tern culture are subtle and challenging rather than obvious; that there is a shared history and even narrative idion in common, the idiom of modernity.

(Amit Chaudhuri, “Modernity and the Vernacular”, TLS 1997, repr. in Chaudhuri 2004, xvii-xxii)

Die Geschichte der englischen Literatur Indiens beginnt in bisherigen Darstellungen nicht vor 1800. Das Gründungsdatum der Ostindischen Handelsgesellschaft (1600), das den Beginn des britischen Engangements in Südasien markiert, kann ebenso- wenig als literaturgeschichtlicher Ansatzpunkt dienen wie die Kanonade von Plassey (1757), durch die Robert Clive die britische Vorherrschaft in Bengalen sicherte. Zwar spielte Indien schon während dieser Zeit eine beachtenswerte Rolle in der englischen Literatur als exotischer Topos, in dem sich das Phantastische mit der Wirklichkeit und das Märchen mit dem Alltag verband. Doch in der Kolonie selbst konnte eine engli- sche Literatur erst entstehen, als sich dort im frühen 19. Jahrhundert eine englisch- sprechende Gesellschaft etablierte, deren Selbstverständnis und Unterhaltungsge- wohnheiten vom orientalisierten Habitus der frühen Nabobs deutlich abwich.

(Stilz 1981, 9)

This volume, which covers almost two hundred years of the literature written largely by Indians in English, has for its starting point the year 1800. The date has no literary significance but is chosen for its rough and ready usefulness: by 1800 there was no real challenge left to the British domination of India from either the other European powers in the region […] nor, except for the Marathas, from the native states. British domination eventually covered all aspects of Indian life – political, economic, social, cultural. The introduction of English into the complex, hierarchical language system of India has proved the most enduring aspect of this domination.

(Mehrotra 2003, 1)

INDIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: AN INTRODUCTION PROF. DR. C. REINFANDT SS 2008 UNIVERSITÄT TÜBINGEN

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4) Course Overview

Introduction

17th April Lecture 1 Introduction

24th April Lecture 2 Problems of Literary History

[1st May: Maifeiertag + Himmelfahrt]

8th May Lecture 3 Anglo-Indian Literature

Kipling, Kim (1901) Forster, A Passage to India (1924)

[15th May: Pfingsten]

[22nd May: Fronleichnam]

Before Independence

29th May Lecture 4 Indo-English Literature: Genres and Conditions

5th June Lecture 5 Gerhard Stilz: Indian-English Poetry

12th June Lecture 6 The Emergence of the Novel

Chatterjee, Rajmohan’s Wife (1864) Anand, Untouchable (1935), Coolie (1936),

Two Leaves and a Butt (1937) Rao, Kanthapura (1938) Narayan, The English Teacher (1945)

INDIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: AN INTRODUCTION PROF. DR. C. REINFANDT SS 2008 UNIVERSITÄT TÜBINGEN

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After Independence

19th June Lecture 7 Self-Conscious Narration

Desani, All About H. Hatter (1948) Rushdie, Midnight’s Children (1981) Tharoor, The Great Indian Novel (1989) Jha, Fireproof (2006)

26th June Lecture 8 Visions of Bombay

Tyrewala, No God In Sight (2006) Chandra, Sacred Games (2006) Mehta, Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found (2004)

3rd July Lecture 9 Globalising India (1): Terror

Rushdie, Shalimar the Clown (2005) Nagarkar, God’s Little Soldier (2006)

10th July Lecture 10 Globalising India (2): The Postcolonial Exotic

Roy, The God of Small Things (1997) K. Desai, The Inheritance of Loss (2006) Dasgupta, Tokyo Cancelled (2005)

17th July Lecture 11 written exam (only B.A./M.A. candidates, not Staats- examen/Magister; also Landeskunde/Cultural Studies)

INDIAN LITERATURE IN ENGLISH: AN INTRODUCTION PROF. DR. C. REINFANDT SS 2008 UNIVERSITÄT TÜBINGEN

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Bibliography Lecture 1:

Anthologies: Chaudhuri, Amit, ed., The Picador/Vintage Book of Modern Indian Literature. London:

Picador, 2001/New York: Vintage, 2004. Rushdie, Salman and Elizabeth West, eds., Mirrorwork: 50 Years of Indian Writing

1947-1997/The Vintage Book of Indian Writing 1947-1997. New York: Henry Holt, 1997/ London: Vintage, 1997.

Stilz, Gerhard, ed., Indian Literature in English: An Anthology. Ms Tübingen 1987/88, 1998, 2004.

Stilz, Gerhard, Hrsg., Grundlagen zur Literatur in englischer Sprache: Indien. Mün- chen: Fink, 1982.

Introductions and Literary Histories: Dengel-Janic, Ellen, “South Asia.” In: Lars Eckstein, ed., English Literatures Across

the Globe: A Companion. Paderborn: Fink/UTB, 2007: 133-157. Döring, Tobias, Postcolonial Literatures in English. Stuttgart: Klett, 2008: 119-134. Fludernik, Monika, ed., Hybridity and Postcolonialism: Twentieth-Century Indian Lite-

rature. Tübingen: Stauffenburg, 1998. Glasenapp, Helmuth von, Die Literaturen Indiens. Von ihren Anfängen bis zur Ge-

genwart. Stuttgart: Kröner, 1961. Iyengar, K.R. Srinivasa, Indian Writing in English [1962]. 4th ed. Delhi: Sterling,

1984. Kreutzer, Eberhard, “Indian Literature.” In: Christa Jahnson, ed., Companion to the

New Literatures in English. Berlin: Erich Schmidt, 2002: 83-109. Mehrotra, Arvind Krishna, ed., A[n Illustrated] History of Indian Literature in English.

New Delhi: Permanent Black/London: Hurst, 2003. Naik, M.K., A History of Indian English Literature. Delhi: Sahitya Akademi, 1982. Sen, Amartya, The Argumentative Indian: Writings on Indian History, Culture and

Identity. New York: Picador, 2005. Stilz, Gerhard, “Indien.” In: Jürgen Schäfer, ed., Commonwealth Literature. Düssel-

dorf: Bagel/Francke, 1981: 174-194. Varma: Pavan K., Being Indian: Inside the Real India. London: Heinemann, 2005. Verma, K.D., The Indian Imagination: Critical Essays on Indian Writing in English.

Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000.

History: Basham, A.L., ed., A Cultural History of India [1975]. Delhi: Oxford UP India, 1998. Kulke, Hermann and Dieter Rothermund, A History of India. London: Routledge,

1998. Sethia, Tara, “Teaching India in a World History Survey – Perspectives” (1996):

http://www.historians.org/perspectives/issues/1996/9603/9603TEC.CFM (7th April, 2008).

Stein, Burton, A History of India. Oxford: Blackwell, 1998. Wolpert, Stanley, A New History of India. New York: Oxford UP, 2000.

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