United by a ‘Foreign’ Language: The Evolution of English in Multilingual India

  • Partha Sarathi Nandi


Partha Sarathi Nandi’s paper deals with the introduction of the English language in India. Most postcolonial critics tend to perceive English language as a ‘notorious’ implement of India’s colonial legacy that is still perpetuating colonialism in this era. And this suspicion towards the language persists among many Indians even today. But in doing so, they often discard the cultural interactions that occurred in this process. While some immersed themselves in the imported culture to become ‘more English than the English’, others rejected this alien language, clinging on to their orthodox ideas. However, some accommodated both these trends, leading to the development of a hybrid culture which was an energetic mix of vernacular and English. Though it is undeniable that the ‘centre’ introduced us to the English language, institutionalised it and valourised it among the elite intellectuals in colonial India, it is equally true that over time, the language has been absorbed, appropriated, modified and naturalised by the natives in such a way that it has now become a lingua franca for the people of multilingual nations like India. The paper discusses how English has travelled through time and space to become a common language of interaction, uniting the multilingual population of India and the world.


Lokbhasha Rajbhasha Orientalists Anglicists Postcolonial Bengal renaissance 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Partha Sarathi Nandi
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EnglishBanaras Hindu UniversityVaranasiIndia

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