English Literature Inside A 14-Year Old Indian

  • SumoMe

English has always been regarded as one of the greatest creations of the mankind or rather the white mankind, extensively in use in almost all the corners of the world from times unknown.

The British Raj besides showering upon us several invaluable gifts that are in use till date (read bureaucracy, bribery, religious divide etc.), acquainted us with a force much powerful than anything else, the force namely, the English language.

Being born in India and studying in an English medium school is kind of paradoxical and though much consideration has never been given to this issue, it has nonetheless remained an uncomfortable experience for most of us. English literature is a supreme kind of joy that we all, as students were privileged to experience, however one could never question its capability to leave our minds perplexed and our senses bewildered.

Having grown up amidst the naked almost lifeless trees of autumn it was definitely a bit difficult to adjust to the idea of beautiful red and orange leaf-covered boughs. And while we may boast of having TajMahal, it was nonetheless hard to make out how a Roman cathedral or an Egyptian obelisk may look like, the gardens of Babylon and queen Victoria were quite the strangers in our world of Mughal gardens and Indira Gandhi.

So while Keats and Wordsworth talked about so many beautiful things,about a highland lass and exotic flowers in the middle of nowhere, we incessantly and in vain thought of the almond eyed beauties of our land and of the monsoons and the moist earth.It may have been very cold and snowing when the poets framed their verses but for most of us, there stood just a burning sun and though we read about the Spanish chieftains, the lochs and the moors somehow, it was hard capturing the mood.

About the classics, Gone with the Wind talks about the nigger slaves, the Yankees and the southeners, it talks about civil war and all things important, Leo Tolstoy in War and Peace talks of the counts and lords, of the Russians and the English society, the war and Napoleon Bonaparte but how much can we possibly grasp without may be a cultural dictionary or Google as an aid. Sometimes even Jane Austen’s heroines seem to live in times unknown

Indians, divided by diverse cultures and languages, students belonging to the same class with multitudes of mother tongues, well versed in Hindi or Bengali are united in one common cause, that of striving to understand this, one language or rather its pioneers. Almost all of us have encountered, more than once some grammatical mistake(the lesser crime) or ill usage of the English vocabulary in one or the other popular dailies or magazines, the fault is hardly ours, as the language is truly insurmountable in its complete comprehension.

 

The fact remains that probably, its not the language rather the method of its execution that should bear the brunt of our criticisms.May be when we know of the water transportation in Paris and Venice, of pigs as pets and wigs as fashionable, of kukluxklan and red coats, we may be better equipped to cope with what is known as one of the greatest creations of the mankind.

Kanika Agrawal

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