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The central task of this dissertation will be to conduct analysis of the implications of colonialism in the Indian English literature. In this way, it will be possible to understand how the policies of Englishness have impacted the development of mixed self-identity of Indian writers which reflected in their writing and worldview and contributed to hybridisation of the national culture at large. The researcher will attempt to trace this effect through the analysis of creative works of the Indian-English poets, Sri Aurobindo and Sarojini Naidu, and a novelist Raja Rao as distinct representatives of this literary movement in the early twentieth century.

The proposed title of the dissertation will be “Colonialism in India and Its Effect on the Early Twentieth Century Literature”. Although these figures and their creative heritage were studied by scholars previously, there is no specific exploration that would have been devoted to an in-depth comparative analysis of how colonialist worldview has impacted different genres, such as poetry and prose. Moreover, this influence is continuing due to the significance of these authors in contemporary time. As a result, the researcher will fill in this gap in academic literature.

Thus, the research questions to be clarified in the scope of this study will be as follows:

  • How colonialist thinking was reflected in the works of the authors chosen for the exploration?
  • What impact have they made on Anglication of Indian literature and culture at large?
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Chapter 1. Overview of the Early Twenty First Century India: Education vs. Literature vs. Culture

This chapter will examine the determinants and conditions of development of India of the identified time frame. In order to explore the background carefully, the works of several theorists in the field will be examined, such as studies by Knippling and Anderson 2011, to list a few. Specifically, the researcher will clarify why locals of that time became “people of mixed European and Indian ancestry” “seen by the British as ‘other’ than European, but treated ‘other’ than Indian”. As a result, the researcher will find out the factors that made this impact possible and these determinants will be useful incentives for further analysis.

Chapter 2. Sri Aurobindo One of the Initial Indian-Anglican Poets

To start with, Sri Aurobindo is considered one of the initial Indian-Anglican poets and literary theorists who revealed the notes of colonialism in his lyric and philosophy. He has managed to promote English not only with his lyrical words but also in his personal philosophy, which was more Western than Indian as well. The researcher will evaluate his poetry in the light of the colonialist factors identified in the previous chapter. In this way, the researcher hopes to clarify which side of English-Anglian personality of the author prevailed in his works and ideas. The researcher will consider Sri Aurobindo's Savitri as an illustrative material for dissertation. This work is a twelve-book epic poem of the English-Anglian writer which is a great piece for the analysis not only from the perspective of its size but also its rich content. With this discussion, the researcher hopes to understand the role of this figure in formation of English-Anglian literature and culture within the scope of colonialism. Following the views of the previous explorers of his creative heritage, such as Balakrishnan and Heehs among others, this poem has embodied the mystery and yogic implications of Indian culture written in English. In contrast, Agarwal has noted that “his poetry remains neglected for wants of a proper readership” and that he seemingly wrote for the future, “wishing a response only from a transformed humanity of the future”. Thus, the researcher will try to discuss the work accurately and define if the author was a promoter of Englishness in the light of Indian traditions or his purpose was different with respect to the poem considered.

Chapter 3. Sarojini Naidu – A Poet-Universalist

Sarojini Naidu is frequently referred to as “the foremost English language poet of her time” and “activist for Indian independence”. At the same time, the critics often judge this author because of an emphasis made on a universal history and her lyrics was characterised as “sentimentalist” and “mere imitator of Victorian ways”. Moreover, her lyrics is rarely considered as worthy, for some reason. Thus, the researcher will try to clarify the essence and relevance of this inconsistencies and define the role of this poetess in the Indian literature and culture precisely. The work of this author chosen for the analysis is her third poetry book, The Broken Wing: Songs of Love, Death and Destiny. The researcher will focus the discussion on this collection due to several reasons. Foremost, this is due to a variety of themes covered by Naidu here. They range from personal feelings of joy and sorrow to those on the nationwide level. In addition, the scholars who studied her creative heritage earlier have asserted that “these poems in many ways reflected the existing new possibilities of the time”, including “unity between two different parties, the Muslim League and the Indian National Progress”. In this way, the above statement shows certain controversy in perception of the poems of this author. While Saxena has underlined her being a “mere imitator of Victorian ways”, as it was noted earlier, Kumar has emphasised her nationalistic and political connectedness to Indian origins and the fight for the independence of her people. Therefore, through the lens of the analysis of this poetry collection, the researcher will attempt to clearly distinguish which perspective, either that of coloniser of the colonised, Naidu supported. Also, this clarification will allow to understand how this approach has impacted the development of Indian-Anglian literature and culture in the scope of the outlined research questions.

Chapter 4. Raja Rao and His Attempts to Indianise English

The novels of Raja Rao were written in English as well. Nonetheless, the creative spirit of this author has found an interesting implementation to his colonised writing. Drawing upon Knippling, “many Indo-Anglican writers and literary critics see theirisely use of English as itself participating in a nationalistic effort to Indianise English”. Indeed, the writer has used English as a tool for Indianess, as he believed to. Therefore, the author’s approach to the literature written in the colonist conditions seems very original and interesting for examination and the researcher will try to evaluate it carefully. At the same time, it will be possible to understand if Rao's originality is a way to Indianise English or to ensure a complete assimilation of the former with the colonist culture. The researcher will review Rao’s Kanthapura in the context of this exploration. This novel will be a vivid example for analysis owing to the fact that it is considered the first Indian novel in English. However, this issue is not the only specific characteristic of this work. For instance, the author has “adopted an individual style, which almost becomes a personal idiolect”. Despite this originality and a theorised background of this attempt to Indianise English which was developed by this author, the book is of little recognition in the literature of this period. As a result, the researcher will study the novel explicitly in order to understand its role and significance for Indian culture of that time. Moreover, this exploration will enable one to clarify how colonialism was reflected in the book. To be more precise, the researcher will identify whether Rao made attempts to assimilate Indian culture with that of British Empire or his original approach to English-Anglican writing was a manifestation of some other goals and objectives pursued by the writer.

Chapter 5. Comparison of the Authors’ Contribution to Englishness of Indian Literature and Culture

This chapter will be the core and the most significant part of the dissertation. In particular, in this section, the researcher will compare and contrast the findings from the previous sections in order to find the answers to the outlined research questions with an opportunity to generalise these results to the larger, Indian nationwide context. To be more precise, the researcher will synthesise the findings and provide their explicit review showing which targets were initial determinants of the writings considered in the context of the dissertation. In contrast to the assumptions of the predecessors in the field, the researcher will try to clarify whether the three authors whose works will be analysed wished to assimilate Indian and English traditions as the British Empire wished to or they pursued the goals ensuring the survival of the former under colonialism. The theoretical analysis will be backed up with the evidence collected in the earlier works and the researcher's own observation and critical review of the literary works of these authors. As a result, it will be possible to clearly distinguish their role in the enhancement of the Indian culture as a whole.

Additional Information

Whereas the study will be focused on the analysis of the available academic literature on topic and creative works of the identified authors, this determines the main ethical concerns that may derive in the process of analysis. These will be ensuring that all works are accurately cited in order to avoid any misunderstandings in terms of academic dishonesty and plagiarism.

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