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    Contemporary English Literature Studies Are Just A Colonial Hangover

    By

    June 3, 2016

    Indians : The prime connoisseurs of the tradition of aping the western culture and doing a real bad job at it. We have a habit of taking things a bit too far. Okay, let me rephrase that to “WAYYYY TOOOO FAAAR”. And history doesn’t lie, you know. America gave us Eminem, our response was Baba Sehgal. America made Avatar in the name of amazing CGI, our response was Ra.One. The list of examples is ridiculously long and disastrously bad so let’s stop right there and focus on the elephant in the room.

    Coming to how the education system is royally screwed up, here’s an example : the government somehow finds it okay to teach basic stuff in the English language through grammar and below average literature (been there, studied that) with no focus whatsoever on its essence and then conveniently slips in a Shakespearean play in the 10th grade CBSE syllabus out of nowhere and THAT TOO, which the teachers teach solely for getting marks with zero understanding of its theme, I am really not surprised why this country’s schools are breeding donkeys and not actual students.

    Ever since the beginning of a child’s education, English as a language is taught to the students as a medium to write letters and applications and fill their answer sheets with meaningless crap and not as a language meant to understand, feel, relate to its literature, create something of their own with it and then use it as a means of verbal communication.

    And the fact that English is treated so tactically in schools with an oddly obsessive behavior towards instilling a proper grammatical sense in children as if they’re cyborgs without making them understand practically, I am in no shock that a major portion of this generation of students turn into Grammar Nazis and keyboard heroes rather than confident adults outside the 4 walls of their rooms. They are so obsessed with correcting others in their written English even though they’re extremely under confident of their lingual skills.

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    Let’s go to college, now. Take up any English course in any given university in the country, not one of them teaches you how to speak or connect in English but does give you a buckload of knowledge of the Renaissance Era or the Victorian Era. We have amazing writers in our country such as Rabindranath Tagore, Arundhati Roy, Khushwant Singh (I am going to flip a chair across any given person’s face if he/she says Chetan Bhagat. Even if you’re thinking about him, DON’T. NO. He is not a good writer in any given universe and ESPECIALLY not good enough for an academic curriculum.), etc. but none of them are given that much importance in the collegiate syllabus whereas most of the time, focus is laid on American/British writers and poets and in turn, our aspiring graduates continue the tradition of just filling their answer sheets.

    Writers like Chetan Bhagat are selling books like hot cakes solely due to popularization of the “F word” and descriptive sex scenes in their books and we have E.L. James making a mockery out of the term “common sense” by even thinking of releasing the “Fifty Shades” trilogy. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH EROTIC NOVELS but it wouldn’t really hurt if they make even a shred of sense and had a coherent story. The youth loves it, they’re easily brainwashed into thinking that these are literature masterpieces and they have absolutely no regard for books which actually have some meaning to them. Are they literate? Sure. Educated? Not so sure.

    WHY DO I CALL IT A COLONIAL HANGOVER? Because we are still slaves (figuratively, if not literally) to the old, archaic and occasionally useless concepts of the Western and colonial rule. We reek of the smell of copycats and wannabes. We are so deeply influenced by the idea of a person being charming just because he is fluent in English. We barely look past the language and consider the ones fluent in Hindi as backward. Now, I’d be a hypocrite if I say that proficiency in vocal English is not attractive but hey, I don’t bring other people down by insulting or mocking them.

    Our education system is unwilling to accept any modernity and innovation and is still adamant on breeding donkeys instead of educated individuals who are confident enough of their own identity that they don’t have to pretend to be something they’re not in order to strive for acceptance. We have come so far down the wrong road that we almost fear change.

    And that’s why we are still in a hangover. Strangled by metaphorical chains and too drunk to let go of the illusion of what’s wrong with the system.

    On that note, “cheers”.


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    • Rishi Bryan

      Firstly, Avatar wasn’t made in the name of CGI. Maybe for narrow minded people like you. It has very clear anti-colonial, environment friendly, spiritual overtures. As for the rest of your article, didn’t bother to read all of it. Bro, I study English literature in a decent college in the country, it’s called St. Stephen’s, ranked the best. Forget that. Literature is to be studied for its analysis of the human condition. Not how to speak the language! Why don’t people take spoken English classes then? The course is called B.A Hons. English Literature, not B.A Hons. English. Please don’t talk about things you don’t know thereby bringing disrepute to the blog you write for. Please.