English language may be foreign in its origin, but it has gained immense popularity over the years and is also the most preferred language of communication amongst people of various regions in India. The advent of Indian literature in English can be traced to the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century when English education was established in the cities of Madras, Bombay and Calcutta in the erstwhile British India. Raja Ram Mohan Roy, a social reformist from Bengal, was the pioneer of Indian writing in English. He insisted that English should be the medium of education in India if it wanted to be included among world’s nations. Although he started writing in English, he returned to his native language Bengali later in life. One of the most notable literary figures during that era was Rabindranath Tagore, whom we all know for his extremely popular work Gitanjali. Sarojini Naidu, Mulk Raj Anand and R.K.Narayan were a few prolific figures in Indian literature whose contribution cannot be undermined. During that time, several freedom fighters had also taken assistance of the English language to voice their sentiments against the oppression of Britishers. One of the most noteworthy writers in the post-independence era is Salman Rushdie, whom we best know for his book Midnight’s children. Vikram Seth is another important Indian writer who has left an indelible mark on the global literary scene. Arundhati Roy, Jhumpa Lahiri and Rohinton Mistry are some other renowned writers of Indian origin.The mid-twentieth century saw the advent of poets such as Nissim Ezekiel, Kamala Das, Arun Kolatkar among others. Their writings were influenced literary movements that took place in the West such as Symbolism, Surrealism, Existentialism, and Confessional Poetry. These authors have often used Indian words and phrases in their writings along with English in order to depict a blend of Indian and Western cultures.
Professor Anjali Ramnani