The essays in this book look at the interaction between English and other Indian languages and focus on the pressure of languages on writers and on each other. Divided into two parts, the first part of the book deals with the pressure that English language has exerted, and continues to exert, in India and our ideas of connectedness as a nation in the ways in which we deal with this pressure. The essays emphasise on the emergence of the hybrid language in the Tamil cultural world because of the presence of English (and Hindi); on the politics of ‘anthologisation’; and how Karnad’s Tughlaq deals with the idea of the nation, looking at its historical location. The second part of the book focuses on Indian English literature and deals with how it interacts with the idea of representing the Indian nation, sometimes obsessively, seen both in poetry and novels. The book argues that the writer’s location is crucial to the world of imagination, whether in the novel, poetry or drama. The world is inflected by the location of the author, and the struggle between the language dominant in that location and English is part of the creative tension that provides energy and uniqueness to writing.
G. J. V. Prasad is Professor of English at the Centre for English Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.