What are the various facets of English Literary studies in India?

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lprono | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator

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With the rise of postcolonial theory, Indian scholars began to question the ideology behind the study of English literature in India. Gauri Viswanathan, for example, argues that "the humanistic functions traditionally associated with the study of literature," such as the development of the aesthetic sense or ethical thinking, are also "essential to the process of sociopolitical control". Following this line of enquiry, Indian scholars are trying to "decolonise" English literary studies. As Nilanshu Agarwal puts it

One of the major issues discussed is that in the interpretation of English literary texts, we should come out of colonial mindset. In the dissection of the text readers, teachers, students and researchers should not employ Western critical tools like catharsis, fancy, imagination, Impressionism, Expressionism, new criticism, formalism, structuralism, neo-historicism, post-structuralism, deconstruction and reader response theory etc. Rather Indian critical theories like Rasa, Alamkara, Dhwani and Vakrokti should be employed for the close analysis of the English texts.

Agarwal also asks interesting questions as to the relevance that certain Britsh authors bear to the Indian context and whether it would be more productive to remove them from an Indian curriculum and replace them with regional Indian writers translated into English. 


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