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In a paper at the Regional Conference of the Association of Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies Held at India International Centre, New Delhi on February23-6,1975, R.Parthasarathy, while exposing the position of Indian writers in English referred to the comments of American poets Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snycler and Peter Orlovsky: “If we were gangster poets we would shoot you”(1), his threat was direct against the Indian writers’ failure to take a risk with the English language.
To provide the rationale for this R.Parthasarathy states that there are at least two obstacles that hinder Indian writers from taking this risk. First is the type of experience that he wants to share in English.
English For a Medium Indian Writer Skills
Indian users of the English language feel to an extent disenchanted.This is a superficial development and that’s the reason why people blame the ‘Indian writers in English'(IWE) for being writers that portray India from a foreign perspective. Their writings don’t provide any deep analysis of the Indian real-world or Indian characters.
Many writers from the region (many of them Jnapitha Award winners) affirm that they write on English for the first time in India is a huge disadvantage because it makes their writing export-oriented. Hindi author Rajendra Yadav puts it as: “The IWE take a tourist look at India, like Pankaj Mishra’s The Romantics, where he is simply a tourist who does not know the inner psyche of people or a more clever device Vikram Seth uses in A Suitable Boy, the pretext of looking for a bride-groom, which takes him to different locales and professions. It is a creatively written travelers’ guide. They travel into our culture, describe a bit of our geography; their total approach is a westerner’s a third rate ‘serpent-rope trick'”
Many people believe that IWE is governed by the only thing westerners can be able to appreciate: either exotica. Both these elements can be seen when reading Ruth Prawar’s Heat and Dust.There is descriptions of shrines, Sadhus Nawabs, Princesses, and their castles as well as gay and themed parties and Hijraas. Jhabvala’s depiction of princely India is very unrealistic as well as pseudo-romantic and quixotic. Similar can be said about the plot with the work of Arundhati Roy, The God of Small Things.B.Jaya Mohan, in an interview with Out Look magazine (February 25 February 2002) stated :”Writers such as Roy are slick as well as exotic. When Roy uses English to communicate the Malayalam expression, it may seem exotic to westerners however for Indians it’s not particularly thrilling .”
There writers in English who get a bit of appreciation is paid, and it is even from an English writer.In one of the articles of R.K.Narayan published in Time magazine, V.S.Naipul writes:”His people could eat leaves lying on the floor in the slum tenement, hang their clothing on a coat stand, and do all this in proper English and there’s no snarkiness, no false comedy , and no distance” However, local writers believe that ; ” …but any Tamil writer would have put more life into his novels than R.K. did”.
The struggle that is the first kind of issue will lead us to the second one, and that is the quality of language used by the writer’ .R .Parthasarathy says that ” there is obviously a time lag between the living, creative idiom and the English used in India. And this time lag is not likely to diminish”.
This is due to the historical circumstances to be blamed. Besides, there is no specific English dialect, or even. English in India is not as lively and idiosyncratic that you find within African as well as West Indian writing, perhaps due to the long-standing history of literature of Indian languages.
The explanation is given by Kannada D Oyen ” writers of the Indian languages have a rich background — centuries-old literature, fairy tales, and stories all around them the IWE only have a frontyard”.That’s the reason why Rushdie draws inspiration from the philosophy and Hindi of Mumbai, while writers like Narayan draws inspiration from Tamil or Raja Rao from Kannada. But the language they employ is not lively, as “it’s impossible to translate into English the traditional cultural practices and associations with language”.This is why it’s not surprising that the writers of English tend to emphasize their Indian roots.This is the reason Michael Madhusudan Dutt after publishing his thesis, The Innocent Lady(1849) written in English changed in Bengali in order to be the first modern Indian poet .
Although a regional writer is able to write in a direct, concentrated manner the IWE is faced with the challenge of a complicated one. —‘ he must be able to go through the long expository of the terms that he utilizes in his work, leaving very little room for creativity.
Maybe Narayan is the sole writer who was interested in these reasons. Naipul wrote (Time,June 4 , 2001) :
“There is or used to be a kind of Indian writer who used many italics and for the excitement, had a glossary of perfectly simple local words at the back of his book. Narayan never did that. He explains little or nothing;he talks everything about his people and his little town for granted”.
It is not feasible for everyone IWE writer who wishes to try out imaginative English writing, as .R.Parthasarathy describes the situation in terms of his personal role being an English poet who speaks Tamil being his primary language.“English is an integral part of my mental rational makeup Tamil my emotional and psychological make-up”Hence it is his belief that each IWE believes that he is carrying an obligation that is not necessary to carry out explaining the terms he uses, and My Tongue in English Chain is a theoretical explanation of this issue.
Russian researcher E.J.Kalinikova within Problems of Modern Indian Literature (1975) is also a reference to the issue in G.Byol’s words:
“National coloring is like naivete’, if you realize you have it, then you have already lost it […] Conception of the Indian through Indian eyes is natural, and this only determines the scope of the literary subject” Where you as an English writer of India is trying to provide. The elements of the language of another country make the entire experience of the element is alien and the final product that happens is in the words of Kamala Das:
“It is half-English and half Indian
Perhaps funny It’s funny, but it’s honest” [An IntroductionThen, the rest of the story
To offer an acceptable alternative M.R.Anand is writing in his article”Pigeon-Indian: Some Notes” on Indian English Writing “The real tests are different The first test is in the sincerity of the writer in any language .The second test may be in the degree of sensitiveness or individual talent”.
And where does this talent is it? Anita provides the answer:
“I think I have learned how to live with the English language, how to deal with the problems it creates -mainly by ignoring them”
This opinion is backed up in the words of Henery James -“One’s personal language is one’s mother tongue, but the language one uses in the course of a profession, or for an academic, is one’s wife. […] she’ll expect to be a sexy woman. On these terms, she will maintain your home in a good way”
Maybe that’s the reason IWE as well as Raja Rao have justified their own position by saying :
“We can write only as Indians […] Time will alone justify it”
[Introduction to Kantapura]
Every writer (especially poets) as many people believe, sooner or later, suffers from ‘Aphasia or loss in poetic language’. His poetry ought to from the beginning, strive toward silence silence. This is like Rene’ Wellek’s idea of Endgame from Samuel Beckett :
“Samuel Beckett in Endgame has been looking for the voice of his silence”
However, Wellek’s perspective applies to the present force that continues to move in the Indian English writers” pen on paper.
“The artist,s dissatisfaction with language can only be expressed by language. Pause may be a device to express the inexpressible, but the pause can not be prolonged indefinitely”.
In spite of the issues that arise from dictionaries and language that are used, writers should keep trying to make the most of their creativity on an base of experiments, as they may eventually day bring us to the point we’re now attempting to.