BiographyI got hooked to the reality of the changing attitude towards the English language in India since my postgraduate days in the late nineties of the twentieth century but decided to do research work on this area almost a decade later. I belonged to a generation when middle class and lower middle class parents were quite convinced regarding the indispensability of the English language for their succeeding generation but the state government in West Bengal (and in many other states in India) did not wake up to the changing demands and attitudes of the commoners. Hence English medium schools were cropping up in diverse nook and corners of Kolkata and it was becoming more and more difficult for parents to get their children admitted to reputed English medium schools of the town. Actually the secret of the imperturbability of the government both in the central and the state levels lay partly in a general ignorance towards the history of the English language in the colonial period and its connection with the rise of Indian nationalism and partly to the compulsion to be politically correct. I realize now that the two reasons were two sides of the same coin because to speak in or write or promote the English language was not being Indian. After independence the nation became somehow more and more distanced from the legacy of the use of the English language by Indians in the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century and its relation with the emergence of nationalism in India.
With the boom of the Indian English novel in the market and the growing confidence with which Indian English was being used in the nineties of the last century a soul-search for the Indian English dialect was necessary. But unfortunately, the same ignorance which prevented political leaders to overcome the colonial hangover also prevailed among researchers and the contribution of the nineteenth century Indian English prose, fictional and non-fictional, towards indigenizing the English language was overlooked. The Indian English dialect was thought to be a phenomenon of the twentieth century popularized by novels written since the 1930s.
It is not only unfortunate but also dangerous to forget history as without proper knowledge of history we cannot understand the present and most likely to step into the future blindly. I have reasserted the history of the English language in the colonial period in a few articles but my final and complete work in this area is the book ‘In Search of Indian English: History, Politics, Indigenization’ published by Routledge in November, 2019. I hope this book will be of some help to the readers in understanding the role of the English language in Indian political history and the emergence of Indian English as a dialect of the English language.
I teach in Heramba Chandra College in the Department of English and live in Hatiara in Kolkata with my wife Pallabi, two daughters Sansthita and Nilashrita and my mother Mrs Swapna Auddy.
Areas of Research / Professional Expertise
English Literature, Post Colonial Studies