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Ravinder Gargesh

Dept. of Linguistics
Univ. of Delhi, Delhi
1.0 Background:
The use of English for poetic purposes is not a recent phenomenon. In fact in the 19th and early 20th
centuries it was the dominant form, though it had echoes of the British Romantic and Victorian traditions.
It is only after the 1950s, i.e., after independence that it began to acquire a distinct Indian voice through
greater innovations and creativity. The innovations it must be acknowledged have been present in fiction
from the 1930s. The choice of English, an associate official language, or at best a second language,
as a medium for creative purposes has disturbed many. B. Rajan (1992: 79) feels that English is a
language imposed upon India rather than nourished by its soil while there are at least 15 major native
Indian languages nourished by the soil. In fact, Buddhadeva Bose was the first to emphatically state that
in post-independence India there is no place for creative writing in English. What disturbs Bose the most
is that while Indian poets composing in English in 19th century tried to become English poets in every
sense of the term, the contemporary Poets insist that they are Indians writing in English (1963: 4). He
finds this preposterous for English is not an Indian but a foreign language which is unsuitable for poetic
expression. David McCutchion too holds a similar view and perceives the use of English as a barrier
against real insights into the Indian mind and circumstances (1973: 15). Another accusation is that
Indian writers in English write to suit a foreign audience. An ideological twist is also given by some who
are apprehensive of the position of power of the English language, or some who consider it solely as a
language for intellectual discourse. Anyhow, in order to refute Buddhadeb Bose, P. Lal had sent a
questionnaire to hundreds of practising poets in India writing in English. The large number of responses
received has been published by Lal in his Modern Indian Poetry in English: An Anthology and a Credo.
The responses proved at least that substantial creative work was going on in English in India. However,
most creative writers in English emphasize that English is at home in India and India at home with
English, that their poetry is Indian English.
Raja Rao (1963: vii) in the famous foreword to his first novel Kanthapura (1938) wrote one has to
convey in a language not ones own the spirit that is ones own ? English is not really an alien language
to us. It is the language of our intellectual make up ? like Sanskrit and Persian were before, but not of
our emotional make up. We cannot write like the English, we should not. We can write only as Indians.
The parallel with Persian is apt. We Indians have been quite good at adapting the language of our
intellectual make up for expressive purposes as well, but in the process the language gets nativized. In
the case of Persian in India, the Iranians termed the Indianised variety as Sabke-Hindi. It is for this
reason that Kachru (1983:3) views Indianization of English as a repetition of The linguistic history of the
sub-continent. It is, perhaps, in this sense that R.K. Narayan, another significant writer of fiction, notes
that IE is a legitimate development and needs no apology, and that the language is now undergoing a
process of Indianization (1965: 123). Elsewhere he considers it an absolutely swadeshi language
(1974: 57) for it has flexibility enough to adopt the complexion of our life and assimilate its idiom. In
present day bilingual India there are many who write only in English and hence Pritish Nandy (1973: 8),
in his Indian Poetry in English Today declares that English is a language of our own, yes, an Indian
language, in which we can feel deeply, create and convey experiences and responses typically Indian.
A poet like Kamla Das in her Introduction to The Old Playhouse and other Poems (1973) is conscious
of Indian bilingualism, for she says:

I speak three languages, write in


Two, dream in one.
She answers another objection:

Dont write in English, they said


English is not your mother tongue,
The language I speak
Becomes mine, its distortions, its queerness
All mine, mine alone, it is half-English, half-Indian, funny perhaps, but it is honest.
It is human as I am human
It voices my joys, my longing my hopes.
(Kamala Das: Introduction)

In fact the situation is quite paradoxical, that IE poetry did not seriously begin to exist till after the
withdrawal of the British from India. It is only after independence that Indians began to take greater
freedom with the language and began shaping it into an effective instrument to give expression to their
native experience. Also, another fact that needs to be kept in mind is that before independence the IE
was not considered as part of the main-stream languages, but in the post-independence period its
existence for creative purposes has begun to be recognized, for organizations such as the Sahitya
Akademi present their annual awards to Indian writers in English as well. In pre-independent India the
hostility to English arose from its colonial associations and from the fear that it could supplant other
Indian languages. Today IE is only one of the many languages forming the Indian linguistic prism.

2.0 Nativization:
Coming to the linguistics of the situation Braj Kachru was amongst the first to identify and delineate the
boundaries of the nativised variety of English which he terms IE (Indian English) or in a more larger
canvas SAE (South Asian English). Kachru (1986: xiii) not only perceives SAE as an additional
linguistic arm in the culture of creativity, but also that the South Asian creative writers showed a need
for nativization of English and emphatically related the process of nativization to questions of identity
and local contexts (1986: 17). He believes that Nativization must be seen as the result of those
productive linguistic innovations which are determined by the localized function of a second language
variety, the culture of conversation and communicative strategies in new situations, and the transfer
from local languages (1986: 21). The resultant variety of English is considered as an interference
variety, since, in the second language variety used, there is a clear linguistic and cultural interference
from the first language and culture of the users (ibid.: 19). The contextual innovations can be identified
at both descriptive and pragmatic levels. While at the level of descriptive analysis phonetic,
phonological, lexical, collocational and grammatical features can be identified, at the pragmatic level
occur historical and functional styles. Since the user of the non-native variety is a bilingual, creativity is
manifested in different kinds of mixing, switching, alteration and transcreation of codes. The
nativized variety reveals the use of native similes, metaphors, transforming of personalized rhetorical
devices, transcreation of idiomatic expressions, use of culturally dependent speech styles and peculiar
syntactic devices. What is happening is that the cultural semiotics of English as developing in India is
gradually moving away from the cultural semiotics of the standard British English. According to Kachru
literariness as a result of bilingual creativity resides in a blend of two or more linguistic textures and
literary traditions. Such contact literatures manifest a range of discourse devices and cultural
assumptions distinct from the ones associated with the native varieties of English (1986: 161). This is
similar to Thumboos (1976: ix) assertion that language is remade, where necessary, by adjusting the
interior landscape of words in order to explore and mediate the permutations of another culture and
environment.

3.0 Nativization in IE Poetry:


It is believed that Indian poets composing in English in Post-independence India have tried to establish

the Indianness of English through their attempts to portray Indian realities. This involves a
demonstration of their control and dexterity in using the language and in the process foregrounding
English. The foregrounded language reveals the innovation and creativity of the poets. The remaining
part of this paper attempts to focus on the creative elements in Indian English poetry of the post
independence period.
It needs to be pointed out in the beginning that languages are part and parcel of the cultural semiotic
whose signification provide a distinct identity to a speech community. Their use of the language is
intimately tied up with their socio-cultural beliefs and aspirations. R. Parthasarthy, like all other Indian
English poets is also acutely conscious of this and aptly states in his poetic idiom :

That language is a tree


loses its color
under another sky
(R. Parthasarthy : Exile)

In the process of nativization/ Indianisation, the English language can be seen to have not only lost color
but taken on other localized colors. These can be perceived to have occurred at both linguistic and
pragmatic-symbolic levels. While the linguistic level involves a formal look at phonological, lexical and
syntactic forms, the pragmatic-symbolic level consists of culturally dependent expressions as can be
seen in the use of similes, metaphors etc. and in the transcreation of local idiomatic expressions leading
to the creation of unique cultural images.

4.0 The Linguistic Level:


A language such as English under Indian influence manifests convergence at all levels of language
organization. It appears that most Indian poets incorporate their native regional tongues into English.
The Standard English forms show a shift when they become bearers of the cultural semiotics. Let us
briefly look at some changes at the phonological, lexical and syntactic levels of linguistic structure.

4.1 The Phonological Level:


In all the linguistico- critical work done in the area of IE poetry phonology has been the most neglected
area. Post independence poetry reveals a new voice making itself heard as it tries to cast off traditional
techniques of Standard English poetry. Poetry up to the 1950s was largely marked by the use of
traditional strong metre, regular rhyme and formal stanza forms borrowed from traditional English poetry.
The only thing Indian about it was that the Daffodils was substituted by Champa and the Thames by
The Ganges which in post independent India became the Ganga. The earlier Post-independent poets
also followed by and large the conventions set by the native English poets. We can take The Unfinished
Man (1959) by Nissim Ezekiel as an example. There are ten poems under this section and they are all
fully rhymed, written in regular stanza forms and are in iambic metre. What is missing in the poems is a
sufficient variety of sound patterns resulting in somewhat rhythmic rigidity. Look at the regular iambic
tetrameter and the abab rhyme scheme in the final stanza of the poem Commitment:

The fo@g is thi@ck and me@n are lo@st


Who wa@nted o@nly qui@et li@ves
And fai@led to cou@nt the gro@wing co@st

Of cu@shy jo@bs or u@nloved wi@ves.

Over a period of time the post independence poets broke away from the hold of traditional rhythmic
forms. For example, the later Ezekiel, in poems like In Retrospect, abandons the regular metre and
begins to write in free verse. Consider the lines below:

No, it is not the fault


Of the cafe@, it is not,
Believe me, the time or place
But the haphazard destines
Yours and mine
That close us in

Ezekiel manages to break away from traditional verse in his Very Indian Poems in Indian English. In the
dramatic monologues representing language use at a point somewhere below the central point in the
cline in bilingualism, perhaps the rhythm is generated by the accentual ? syllabic structure of the verse
as in the opening lines of The Patriot :

I am standing for peace and non-violence


Why world is fighting fighting
Why all people of world
Are not following Mahatma Gandhi
I am simply not understanding.

The rhythm in such lines can only be appreciated if it is read in syllable-timed free verse. Further,
contemporary IE poetry in free verse comes close to the mainstream modern poetry in most Indian
languages, such as the nayi kavita of Hindi or puthuk Kavitai of Tamil or Vachana Kavitam of Telugu
which too utilize free verse and prose rhythms.

4.2 The Lexical Level:


The lexicon plays an extremely important role in the process of nativization, and it does so in a number
of ways. First, the lexicon can be borrowed from the mother tongue; secondly, the meanings of the
English lexicon may be modified to include the Indian shades of meaning; thirdly compound formations
borrowed from Sanskrit prosody, reduplicative forms, hybrid forms and fused forms may be created.
The function of these Indianized forms is to evoke a typical Indian flavor. Some examples of the above
categories are listed below:

4.2.1 Borrowed items:


These items serve to evoke the matrix of India on varied planes such as political, social, religious,
mythological etc.
E.gs: ashram, burkha, maya, paan, lassi, chapati, (Nissim Ezekiel), dhobi, zamindari (Keki Daruwala),
purdah, methi (Imtiaz Dharkar), koel (Kamla Das), Ganga, Sarala, Tarala, Prof. Sheth, Pushpa,
Indirabehn, Mahatama Gandhi, Bulsar, Surat, Bombay (N.Ezekiel), Puri, Dhauli, Kalinga, Daya, Meru,

Dhananjaya, Treta (J. Mahapatra), Ghanshyam (Kamla Das), Bharatmata (Arvind Mehrotra), Yaksha,
Kartikeya (K. Daruwala), Hindoo, Gita, Madurai (A.K. Ramanujam) etc.

4.2.2 English words with modified Indian meanings:


These make the IE poems distinct from the ones in standard English and bring them closer to the poetry
of protest in Indian languages. E.gs:
Beggars, porters, rickshaw-pullers, hawkers, fortune-tellers, (R. Parthasarthy), pavement sleepers,
hutment dwellers, slums (N. Ezekiel), bullock-cart, cattle-fair, drought year (K.N. Daruwala), dungwashed floor, funeral ?pyre (Jayant Mahapatra).
These items focus on the increasing struggle of existence in a hostile urban environment.

4.2.3 Compounding:
IE had to invent these compounds to capture the unique Indian experiences both political and sociocultural. E.gs:
Floor-crossing, bullock-cart, cattle-fair, drought year (K.N. Daruwalla), marriage procession (P. Lal),
prayer-lamp (Kamla Das), funeral-pyre (J. Mahapatra).

4.2.4 Reduplication:
Reduplication is a usual feature of Indian languages to indicate whenever intensity is needed to be
imparted to experience. E.gs:

Another another another world


Yonder yonder yonder
(Sri Sri: Forward March)
Alright OK. Alright OK;
(N.Ezekiel: Soap)
My wife is always asking for more money,
Money, money, where to get money?
(N. Ezekiel: The Railway Clerk)
Are not following Mahatma Gandhi
I am simply not understanding.

The reduplication in the last example expresses the speakers concern for money.

4.2.5 Fusion of words:


In Sanskrit verse fusion of words in the written script is a normal fact. But this element has been
exploited here for the semiotic purpose of creating a sense of urgency and continuous movement. E.gs:

Leapleapleaping
Whirlwhirlwhirling
Boomgloomblooming
(Sri Sri: Forward March)
marksroublesdollarspoundsyenslirasfrancs
(A.Mehrotra: Bharatmata A Prayer)

The former example iconises the youth marching forward to destroy an old world and create a new one.
Their impatience and their zeal is aptly captured by the fused forms. The latter example is indicative of
all kinds of money pouring in.
Indian English poetry is also marked by some interesting collocations. Some of them appear to be
spurred by local expressions. Examples: defective version (of soap), sound habits, How is your health
keeping? vulgar thing, make mischiefs, a common glass (i.e. the same glass), progress progressing
(N. Ezekiel), pious pretence, fiery violence, (J. Mahapatra).
The collocations appear to be somewhat arbitrary, at times indicating the lower middle class status of
the speaker/character.

4.3 The Syntactic Level:


Nativization of English can also be perceived at times at the syntactic level when poets attempt to
express Indian sensibilities and Indian realities. For this sometimes they experiment and exploit the
syntactic structures of the language. In this context it is Nissim Ezekiel who has tried to give an honest
expression to an Indian ethos which falls somewhere below the midpoint in the cline of bilingualism.
The idiom that he creates in his Very Indian Poems is used by the lower middle class clerks in offices,
common graduates and small time businessman. The syntactic structures created not only reveal the
idiom used by a section of the Indian population but also function to delineate characters realistically.
The use of this peculiar variety of IE is satirical, e.g. in Goodbye Party for Pushpa TS He takes a crack
at Indians who are ever eager to go to a foreign country to improve their prospects or the patriot who
does not approve of the new generations craze for fashion and foreign thing. Some scholars who are of
the opinion that there is no other variety of English in India but the one used for intellectual purposes ,
must note the functional use of such language in everyday social interactions. I may mention here a
minor experiment conducted in a class of undergraduates at Satyawati College, University of Delhi. The
students were given some peculiar expressions from N. Ezekiels poetry, and most of them took them to
be quite normal and acceptable. Anyway, it appears that the earlier poets in IE consciously shied away
from using the Indian idiom in their poetry with an eye on the audience abroad. In contrast N. Ezekiel
with his consciousness of alienation has asserted his commitment to India by doing just the opposite
through his ironical verse. Syntactically a number of peculiarities can be observed. Some of these with
their examples are being mentioned as follows.

4.3.1 Complex noun phrases:


The complex noun phrases reflect the mother tongue influence in the speakers use of English. But they
become an authentic translation of his feelings of frustration and loneliness. A poet like N. Ezekiel
creates noun-phrases not found in British or American English. Egs:
Opposite houses backside (The Professor), student unrest fellow (The Patriot), ordinary washing
myself purposes (Soap), defective version of well-known brand of soap (soap), wedding portraits,
world-famous specialists, (The Professor).

4.3.2 Use of the Present Progressive tense:


The most recurrent feature in Ezekiels Very Indian Poems is the use of the present progressive -ingforms which are used for all contexts and for all tenses. The Patriot says:

I am standing for peace and non-violence


Why world is fighting fighting
Why all people of world
Are not following Mahatma Gandhi
I am simply not understanding.
(N. Ezekiel: The Patriot)

This captures the most pervasive element of Indian English, which has an almost pan-Indian sweep.
While speakers of Standard British English may find it a bit funny but it is not so to most speakers of IE.

4.3.3 Interrogatives:
The interrogative forms not beginning with an auxiliary are often heard in IE. Egs.

You want one glass lassi? (The Patriot)


Remember me? (The Professor)
You are blind or what? (Soap)
You are calling me blind or what? (Soap)

This is because of the influence of the mother tongue where question formation does not depend on the
movement of the auxiliary.

4.3.4 Non-use/use of articles:


In most varieties of English either articles are not used, and if used they are used rather arbitrarily. Egs:

Other day in reading in newspaper (The Patriot)


This is price of old age (The Professor)
This is good joke (The Professor)
Nor that I am tasting the wine (The Patriot)
I am the teetotaler (The Patriot)
Wine is for the drunkards (The Patriot)

In fact articles and prepositions are a grey area in this variety of IE usage.

4.3.5 Avoidance of indirect forms of narration:

The non-standard variety lacks the appropriate forms of the reporting verb as well as the appropriate
tense forms of the pronouns. It is also marked by the non use of declaratives in the indirect narration.
Egs.:

The shopman is saying


What is wrong with soap?
Now he is shouting
YOU ARE CALLING ME BLIND OR WHAT? (Soap)

There are some other peculiarities of this variety of IE as well which are exploited by Ezekiel, e.g. the
use of no as tag question:

All men are brothers, no? (The Patriot)


The use of only
Whenever I asked her to do anything,
She was saying, Just now only
I will do it.
(N. Ezekiel: Goodbye Party for Miss Pushpa TS)

In fact, just now only has become a common expression representing immediacy in IE.
There are also a few instances of code switching as in----

Everywhere temples
Splash in the morning the hymn
Of Shankara fluting to their ears:
bhaj govindam bhaj govindam
(R. Parthasarthy : Speaking of places).

Code switching occurs because the poet introduces an Indian expression, which is almost not
translatable, for to translate bhaj govindam (an invocation for God) would be almost sacrilegious. An
instance of code-mixing can be seen in the lines below:

.The bull calf


Staggers in Balidan
And a river runs like placid amrita
From feet--(K.D. Katrak: Durga on hill top

Amrita refers to nectar but with all its mythological associations it packs far more meaning into the simile

than simply the word nectar would.

5.0 The Pragmatic-Symbolic Level:


The IE poet uses two strategies in the process of nativization. First, he uses metaphors and symbols,
which are unique to Indian experience ? from Indian mythology, of the flora and fauna, of the social
customs, of the localized attitudes and behaviours etc. It is a kind of hybridisation, which by
foregrounding focuses on the Indian ethos. Secondly, he uses the strategy of subversion and gives to
English symbols and metaphors wholly new connotations so that they reflect Indian life. The Indian
themes, which the poets deal with, are quite varied and reflect the social reality of the times and he
authenticates his reactions in a diction, which has Indian connotations. Let us look at a few contrasting
situations.
In IE poetry Kamala Dass Hot Noon in Malabar is not a pleasant symbol of contentment and beauty as
in Shakespeares Shall I compare thee to a summers day? In Kamala Das summer is a symbol of
discontentment. The mountain in Sri Sri is the holy abode of God controlling and changing the destiny of
human beings and is not like Wordsworths mountain representing mystery and beauty. The sea in
Mahapatra is a symbol of despair because it refuses to satiate the fishermans hunger. It does not have
the mystery and the awesomeness of Tennysons the deep moans round with many voices. The Ganga
which occurs in very many poems in IE is not a rechristening of the Thames of Spenser and T.S. Eliot,
for it is the very source of holy life and its pollution is a despair for the poet because it means defilement
of life itself. In IE poetry, in this way we find a subversion of the earlier norms. The resulting nativizatioin
is visible in the larger symbols and images formed which touch upon a variety of culture based Indian
experiences. We can take a few representative examples.

An excellent example expressing the rural sensibilities occurs in N. Ezekiels poem Night of the
Scorpion. The superstition and folk belief which exist in Indian society, turns out to be a favourite theme.
Nisim Ezekiel handles this theme with superbs irony and subdued mockery in this poem. In the poem
the mother is stung, the nationalist and sceptical father tries every curse and blessing/powder, mixture,
herb and hybrid as the peasants swarm around to console her, offering advice of ritualistic and faith
healing kind. The mothers reaction to her own suffering, Thank God, the scorpion picked on me/ and
spared my children is typically an Indian concern for the children. . Ironically she rejects both the
responses that of her husband and that of the villagers. The poem creates an authentic rural ambience.

Another example of the English language being moulded into the form of a prayer, though ironically,
occurs in Bharatmata ? A prayer by Arvind Mehrotra. The first five lines are interesting:
O BHARATMATA
O SOCIALIST MOTHER INDIA
O BRIGHT STAR
O LAND OF THE PEACOCK & THE LION
LAND OF THE BHRAMPUTRA & THE HIMALAYA
OF THE BRAVE JAWAHAR
OF THE MIGHTY GANDHI
HOMAGE TO THEE.
The glowing invocation is followed by a series of repulsive images that represent the squalor and the
warped thinking of some Indians. Though the poem is titled Bharatmata (i.e. Mother India), it in fact
turns out to be a poem of protest by undercutting the technical acquisitions by individuals and the

country. Also to be noted in the contrast is the fact that while the invocation is in capital letters the
remaining poem is in the lower case. This highlights the contrast between the conventional invocation
and the actual realistic situations, and this adds to poignancy of the poem.

Shiv K. Kumar satirizes the present day politicians who are unprincipled and time?servers. In Epitaph
on an Indian Politician, he gives a very daring portrayal of the politician:

Vasectomized of all genital urges


For love and beauty
He often crossed floors
as his wife leaped across beds.

This reflects the writers total disillusionment with the political class and this is a recurring theme of all
Indian poetry in all languages.

Rain is another factor integrated into an all India cultural profile. Most of the IE poets have touched
upon rain. However, no other IE poet has written so many poems on rain as Mahapatra has done. Rain
in his poem becomes a very important metaphor. Some of his well-known rain poems are In a night of
Rain, A day of Rain, Rain Falling etc. These are in addition to a number of poems, which indirectly
deal with this theme. The rain in Mahapatra becomes a symbol of the desire in man and woman for a
physical reunion. This is common in traditional Indian literature. Mahapatra depicts one such scene in a
night of rain when love is consummated in a hut.
Apart from rain symbolizing desire, it also is a symbol of hope for a better tomorrow; and rightly so is a
country where monsoon are the lifeline of an entire society. It would be unthinkable to associate
gloominess and depression of the conventional English symbol of rain in the Indian context.

Kamala Das is another poet who presents her conflict between passivity and rebellion against the maleoriented universe. She refuses to fit in in the traditional mould of a woman. She looks for the sensuous
completeness of sexual love, this skin-communicated thing (In Love). She too mythologies her search
for true love by identifying in Radha Krishna and Vrindavan with Radha or with Mira Bai who
relinquished the ties of marriage in search of Lord Krishna, the true eternal lover, who is also the
epitome of the fullest consciousness that a human being can contemplate. Then she can say:

Vrindavan lives on in every womans mind,


and the flute, luring her
From home and her husband
who later asks her of the long scratch on the brown
Aureola of her breast, and she shyly replies,
hiding flushed cheeks,
It was dark outside I tripped and fell over

the brambles in the wood.


(Kamala Das : Vrindavan)

Mythological symbols abound in Indian poetry and the love of Radha and Krishna is an eternal symbol
of love in all Indian poetry. The IE poet would not like to abandon such a rich legend.
The poetic figures like similes and metaphors also function to express the unique Indian sensibilities and
help to create vivid images of the varied Indian life. These not only reflect the density of experience,
uniquely Indian but also make the IE poetry distinct. This also reflects the process of nativization of the
English language in India in order to aptly express the Indian experience. Some examples are being
given below:

(1) Patiently they sat


Like empty pitchers
On the mouth of the village well
Pleating hope in each braid
Of their Mississippi- long hair
Looking deep into the waters mirror
For the moisture in their eyes
(Shiv K. Kumar: Indian Women)

In this example the simile in the first three lines attempts to create an image of the passive Indian village
women, while the metaphor in the remaining lines is expressive of their hope and despair.

(2) ......and
take seven steps with him that will make
him my ally.
(Gauri Deshpande, cited in Chindade 2001:10)

The seven steps in the example are a transcreation of the seven times going around the holy fire that
make a Hindu man and woman, husband and wife.

(3) But living


Among relations
Binds the feet
(A. K. Ramanujan: Relations)

The expression binds the feet is also a transcreation of a typical Indian expression that expresses
inability to complete an action due to some reasons.

6.0 Conclusion:

It might seem astounding to say that IE poetry is the only pan-Indian poetry in an otherwise sea of
fiercely regional and linguistic loyalties. Bengali poetry is Bengali more than it is Indian, which applies to
other Indian languages as well. But a poet writing in English in India reaches out to the entire country.
Parthasarthy, Kolatkar and Mahapatra are prolific writers in their own languages, namely, Tamil, Marathi
and Oriya yet they have gone beyond their regional audiences because they compose poems in
English. Fortunately, in spite of the regional and linguistic differences Indian culture has broad and a
homogeneous texture, which allows these poets to transcend the boundaries of their regions and
express a pan-Indian sensibility.
The IE poet does this by using the resources of English, but nativizing them in the process so that the
connotations and semiotics that existed in the original language are supplanted by their new Indian
avatars. It may be noted that fiction and drama can reach out to a pan-Indian audience through
translations in different Indian languages, but poetry resists any translation. In such an environment it is
IE poetry alone that reaches out to the entire Indian society. There is indeed something unique about
this experiment. This English is second language of both the writers and the readers in India and
generally we tend to look down upon any literature in second language. But if Beckett and Conrad can
assimilate the cultural semiotics of their adopted language, it is far more easier for Indian writers, who
work in an environment where English is fast becoming the lingua franca of the whole country. This is an
experiment, which is being repeated in Africa and in the West Indies too. Perhaps Walcotts dilemma
about the use of English is a dilemma of all post-colonial writers everywhere as they nativize this
adopted language and give it the care of a foster child, and as a result English will be as much a
language of literary creativity in India as it is in Australia or Canada or America or anywhere else.
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