English in India - Servitude in Freedom or Freedom in Servitude?

K. Narayana Chandran


Of all the legacies of British colonial rule, India has not yet come to reasonable political and intellectual terms with English. Its legacy is at once priced and discounted, strongly desired and vehemently decried, by the very Indians who recognize English to be their sole medium and message for determining where they stand in such crucial matters as trade and business, education and culture, national and international relations. This essay argues that English in a multilingual, multicultural India ought to be different from its colonial name and address, an argument buttressed by a brief discussion in its final section of a parabolic allusion to The Tempest, courtesy of Bill Ashcroft, that tells us that the freedom to make the lesson theirs in a language refashioned by them is a prerogative of learners. That English alone among the languages of India makes its users aware of this prerogative accounts for its unique status and continuing influence among the Indians.

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University of Sunderland

ISSN 2057-2042 (Print)
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