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Title: "The home and the world" : representations of English and bhashas in contemporary Indian culture
Author: Cowaloosur, Vedita
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2013
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Although they have cohabited in India for centuries, critical analyses of contemporary Indian literature and culture often seem to draw a distinction between the "world" of the English language and that of the bhashas (or Indian regional languages) — as though the two are sealed off from each other with no conceivable overlaps. Even sixty-six years after independence, the debate over the contested linguistic terrains of "home" and "world" - and whether these seeming dichotomies are mappable as "Indian"/"non-Indian” or "provincial"/"cosmopolitan" — continue. Through a study of contemporary and modern Indian literary and cultural discourses, I analyse the historical and ideological roles played by English language — the ways in which it has interacted with bhashas, and the importance of the literary representation of English and bhashas in the politics of Indian cultural and linguistic nationalism(s). Along with canonical Indian English writing (such as the works of Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh and Salman Rushdie) I analyse bhasha literature (especially Hindi, Bengali and Urdu) as well as Indian literature in translation as my primary texts. My study includes fiction, as well as political documents and life writing (notably those by M. K. Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru). The analysis of Hindi cinema, ranging from films like Mughal-e-Azam (1960) to Ra.One (2011) remains a running thread throughout, for this popular medium encapsulates the Indian linguistic debates in a way that is sometimes complementary and at other times a foil to the literary cultural discourse. In each of my chapters I analyse the mobilisation of language(s) in relation to one of the categories that, in India’s charged socio-political setting, become associated with the question of one’s communal, cultural and/or territorial “identity” — namely nation, religion, and caste and class. Though this is a thesis about language and its cultural representation in postcolonial India, I often flit to events in pre-1947 India in the course of my discussions. This is because some of the cultural moments from the colonial past are either historical precedents to, or prove to be momentous departures from, the events that I focus on in contemporary India. Their significance can therefore not be ignored in any comprehensible analysis of the roles that language has played in India after independence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PM Hyperborean, Indian, and Artificial languages