ENGLISH STUDIES IN INDIA: THE CRITICAL MOMENTS
The investigation of the scope of English Studies within the matrix of a larger crisis that of higher education and the question- How English studies in India understands itself in such a situation is posed by the author Rekha Pappu. She also asks 2 other questions: What relevance can English studies claim for its practices and more importantly: What mandate for English studies is most effective for our time?
Therefore the main objective of her article was to sketch a history of English studies in India in the post independence period. She suggests that the definite trends of English studies for the last 50 years can be understood as moments. The nationalist moment, the theoretical moments, the moment of identity politics and the moment of cultural studies. And each moment is sealed within a time frame. Thus we can understand the response of English studies in India at different points in time.
THE NATIONALIST MOMENT
The nationalist moment has been the most popular and a dominant from the 1950’s through the 1980’s. It is the longest period and continues to underwrite a number of agendas and initiatives in our own time. The nationalist phase elaborates the theory of Indianess through the critical appreciation of Indian writing in English.
Indianess is associated with the customs, practices and values of the upper castes. R.K Narayan, Raja Rao and Mulk Raj Annand were popular writers during that phase. Their works were read for the representation of a way of life that could be immediately recognised as Indian.
The most difficult aspect in this moment was the effort to establish that Indian writing in English was distinctive and also universal. Efforts were made to establish Indian writing in English as part of Commonwealth literature. It was formed to improve the trade relations between UK and its former colonies.
Another notable feature of the national moment was that translation of the...