Colonial English Literature

3 March 2018

COLONIALISM, POST-COLONIALISM & POST-COLONIAL INDIAN ENGLISH LITERATURE ABSTRACT Colonialism is the building and maintaining of colonies in one territory by people from another territory. Colonialism normally refers to a period of history from the 15th to the 20th century when people from Europe established colonies on other continents. Collins English Dictionary defines colonialism as “the policy of acquiring and maintaining colonies, especially for exploitation. The Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy “uses the term colonialism to describe the process of European settlement and political control over the rest of the world, including Americas, Australia, and parts of Africa and Asia. ” Post-colonialism Post-colonialism refers to a set of theories in philosophy and literature that grapple with the legacy of colonial rule. In this sense, postcolonial literature may be considered a branch of postmodern literature concerned with the political and cultural independence of peoples formerly subjugated in colonial empires.

Edward Said, a founding figure in post-colonialism, was known best for his book Orientalism (1978).

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The book has been highly influential in postcolonial studies and presented his influential ideas on Orientalism, the Western study of Eastern cultures. Post-colonial literature sometimes called “New English literature is a body of literary writings that reacts to the discourse of colonization. Post-colonial literature often involves writings that deal with issues of de-colonization or the political and cultural independence of people formerly subjugated to colonial rule.

The term post-colonial literature has taken on many meanings. The three subjects include: 1. Social and cultural change or erosion 2. Misuse of power and exploitation 3. Colonial abandonment and alienation Post-colonial Indian English literature brings to light the erstwhile subjugated Indian pain and ethos through masterpiece works. The beginning of Indian literature in English, with relation to colonialism can be traced to the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th.

It is a body of literary writings that thoroughly `opposes` to the preaching of colonisation. Post-colonial English literature in India works through the process of “writing back”, “re-writing” and “re-reading”. Salman Rushdie`s novel Midnight`s Children can be viewed as the quintessential fictional novel for illustrating the near overwhelming and implausible difficulties, innate in creating a national identity amongst a hugely heterogeneous post-colonial society.

Bapsi Sidhwa echoes this very same theme in her novel – the post-colonial Indian English literature and its unseen maturation – Cracking India. Elite class of novelists and writers, that started to emerge, who forever had chalked out a plan to alter the map of post-colonial Indian English literature are Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh, Shashi Tharoor who set the literature world on fire.

The latest Indian writer who lifted up the world by a storm was Arundhati Roy, Rohinton Mistry, Firdaus Kanga, Kiran Desai, Sudhir, Ardeshir Vakil, and Jhumpa Lahiri are some other renowned writers of Indian origin, penning for post-colonial Indian English literature. The objective of this paper is to define the meaning of colonialism, post-colonialism and to highlight the prominent work of post-modern Indian English literature of eminent writers. | .

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