Thursday, June 21, 2018

Indian English literature | Pre-Independence | UGC NET

Indian English literature: Pre – Independence

Indian English literature began as a product of the Indo-British encounter. It simply started after British’s occupied the India and start colonizing through their policies. When Indians first started learning English for the reason of trade and commerce. Prose writing, letters, and speeches were the first to be published and the first Indian author in English is Dean Mahomet. He published his memoirs “The Travels of Dean Mahomet” in 1794. There have been other outstanding Indian orators also like Vivekananda, Tilak and Srinivasa Sastri. Indians at that time was publishing biographies, autobiographies, travelogues, and humorous sketches, monographs in various fields of knowledge. Many of the contemporary novelists and poets have written prose and  the achievements in poetry and fiction have drawn attention away from nonfiction prose writings. So the very idea of writing Indian English literature is come from the British society and their culture

Indian English literature : First Indian English Writer :  Dean Mahomet

In the Indian English literature The Travels of Dean Mahomet is the first book ever written and published by an Indian in English, popular genre in non-fictional prose. It contains thirty-eight : letters. The epistolary form is just a convention; kind of different portions of the first person narrative, the various "letters", begin with "Dear Sir". The first chapter of his Travels for Indian English literature begins with his birth and childhood. he claims that he was sloped from the Nawabs of Murshidabad. Later chapters clearly describe the towns and villages from where they passed through, the dresses and occupations of the people, and the activities of the different classes of men.  His language is graphic and without stale diction when he is describing events in his life. Or scenes from the army camp. But when it comes to descriptions of nature. Dean Mahomad turns to settles he has picked up from his reading of English nature descriptions. This is not surprising, as early writers in the settler colonies like Canada, Australia and New Zealand experienced the same problem of the dichotomy between the language (though It was their mother tongue) and the place they were writing about.

The Travels of Dean Mahomet

The Travels of Dean Mahomet is the book which was written more than two centuries ago, just when the Mughal Empire was fading away and the British was covering the whole parts of India, they occupied Mughals, Then Peshvas, and Then Mysore etc.
Dean Mahomet Describes various aspects of life in India, always laying stress on the beauty of the country and the nobility of its people. He describes "the Mohammedan ceremony of marriage". The caste system, the custom of offering betel leaves, and the goods manufactured in different parts of the country;, such as the fine cloth of Dhaka. But the tone is always that of a neutral observer. One often finds the author taking over the European's values along with his vocabulary: the Indians who attack the Bengal Army's convoy, are described as "a savage clan" and "unfeeling barbarians". The tribals armed with bows and arrows are no match for the British guns and they are punished brutality: "some being whipped in a public manner, others suspended on a kind of gibbets, ignominiously exposed along the mountain's conspicuous brow.

Indian English literature, pre-independence, Dean Mahomet, Rabindranath Tagore, Raja Rammohun Roy, British Indian Literature, UGC NET, M.A English Literature, my exam solution,

Early Life of Dean Mahomet

Indian English literature  staring by Dean Mahomed (1759- 1851), he  was born in 1759 into a family claiming traditions of service to the Mughal Empire. After the death of his father, when he was at the age of 11, he joined the East India Company's Bengal Army as a camp follower, and attached himself to an Ensign Godfrey Evan Baker. Over the next fifteen years, they travelled all over the Gangetic plain, from Delhi to Dhaka. Dean Mahomed became a market master and then a subaltern officer, as his Anglo-Irish patron rose to become the captain of his unit. When Baker sailed home to Cork in 1784, Dean Mohamed went to Ireland with him. He settled down there, and married an Anglo-Irish girl. He read widely, and it is possible that Addison's and Smollett's accounts of their travels in Europe encouraged him to write. In 1794, with the help of public subscription, he published his book, The Travels of Dean Mahomet, of Native of Patna in Bengal, Through Several Parts of India, While in the Service of the Honorable The East India company. (In the East India Company's administration, most of Bihar, including ' Patna were part of the province of Bengal). For Indian English literature At that time, the most common way of publishing a book was by subscription -- the author would collect money from the book-reading public to pay for the cost of publication. Dean Mahomet (to use the spelling he favored) adopted the epistolary form; the book is in the form of thirty eight letters. The Travels of Dean Mahomet is probably the only account by an Indian of life with the East India Company. The book ends with his arrival in Britain.

The beginnings of Indian English literature 

The beginnings of Indian English literature are not fully documented. For long, Cavelley Venkata Boriah's "Account of the Jains" published in 1809 in a journal has been considered the first published work by an Indian in English. M.K.Naik and K.R.Srinivasa lyengar in his Indian Writing in English (1962) supported this view because The Travels of Dean Mahomet had been forgotten. It is only in 1996 that a historian, Michael H. Fisher, brought this work to light, His scholarly work, The First Indian Author in English: Dean Mahomed (1795-1851) in India, Ireland and England has chronicled the life of this unknown Indian, tracing his later life as the first Indian entrepreneur in England.. and the role his wife Jane played in furthering his business of running a coffee house and later a medicinal bath. But it is difficult to correctly place Dean Mahomet’s work in the tradition of Indian English writing, He is chronologically the first. but we do not know whether later writers like Raja Rammohun Roy were aware of his work.
Rabindranath Tagore whose time is from 1861 to 1941 is the brightest star in the field of Indian English literature and firmament of Bengali literature and culture. He was a poet, playwright and novelist who won the Nobel Prize in Indian English literature in 1913. He composed hundreds of songs and was also a painter. His autobiographical works in Bengali, My Boyhood Days and Reminiscences are among his early works. Tagore's prose writings in English were primarily in the form of lectures, though his letter to Mahatma Gandhi, “The Great Sentinel”, is an outstanding composition, upholding the values of humanism in the midst of political turmoil. Sadhana (1913), his first prose work for Indian English literature, is based on lectures he gave on the Indian philosophy at Harvard University. In his many collections of lectures in Indian English literature, Nationalism (1917) is the most relevant today also. Tagore makes a difference between society (the self-expression of man as a social being) and nation. He warns Japan and India against imitating the west. In fluent prose which has an almost poetic power, Tagore condemns the economic imperialism of western nations, which has destroyed the social fabric of India. He absorbed the best of ancient Indian thought and spirituality. He was passionately concerned with modem India, but he did not believe in narrow patriotism. His prose is characterized by deep thought expressed in lucid language.  Tagore was the greatest writer as his participation in Indian English literature pre-independence, got the world wide praise.

Raja Rammohun Roy's essay, "A Defense of Hindu Theism" is the first original publication Indian English literature in expository prose in the history of Indian writing in English. Raja Rammohun Roy (1772-1833) was the greatest social: religious and cultural reformer of the period. The son of a rich landlord, he studied Arabic and Persian at Patna, and Hindu theology md philosophy at Benares. He knew many European languages, and had read the Bible in Cheek, Hebrew and Latin. He was a polymath. Who wrote in Bengali, Persian, and Sanskrit in addition to English.
In 1828, he founded the Brahmo Samaj, a reformist Hindu movement. He fought for women's rights, and lead a movement against sati. His articles for the Indian English literature also for as the social reformer is  the "practice of burning widows alive", and his "Address to Lord William Bentinck" played a big role in framing legislation to ban this cruel custom. He wanted to modernize India, and realized the importance of knowing English. He was one of the founders of the Hindu College
Sri Aurobindo's essays for Indian English literature, can be divided into three broad categories: (1) Religion, (2) Social issues and (3) Literary criticism. His most famous works in the field of religion and spirituality are The Life Divine (1939-40), The Synthesis of Yoga (1948) and Heraclitus. Many of his essays on social issues first appeared in Arya, a monthly he founded in 1914 Books on social and cultural issues include The Renaissance in India (1920) and the Foundations of Indian Culture (1953).

Sri Aurobindo’s literary criticism for Indian English literature appears in The Future Poetry and in letters. His critical approach is a synthesis of the best in western and Sanskrit traditions of aesthetics. He is quite original in his assessment of individual poets; he recognized the achievement of Walt Whitman, calling him "the most Homeric voice since Homer" long before the English academic establishment accepted by him for Indian English literature.

The Growth of Indian English literature

If we talks about Indian English literature growth so the early decades of the twentieth century witnessed Indians using English very effectively in public speeches. Nationalist leaders like Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Krishna Gokhale and Mahadev Govind Ranade were great orators. Perhaps the greatest orator of the period was V.S. Srinivasa Sastri, a leader of the Moderates. He was known as "the silver-tongued orator of the Empire". He also wrote a number of biographies, including Life and Times of Sir Pherozeshah Mehta (1945) and My Master Gokhale (1946). Sarojini Naidu, known for her poetry. Showed her mastery of prose in her speeches. On other leader of the Gandhian era is C Rajagopalachari was an eloquent speaker. His simple prose versions of the Ramayana and the Mahabharata also reveal his mastery of English. But the most important leader and thinker of the era was Mahatma Gandhi, after whom this period has been named. In terms of literary merit, Jawaharlal Nehru was the greatest writer of this period, and most critics agree that his autobiography is the best work in the genre.

This is the about the pre-independence, Indian English literature, if you have any doubts so let’s us through comments.

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