Saturday, August 14, 2010

Bangladeshis writing in English

English is no more the patrimony of the Anglo Saxons. It is now a universal public property. By the British colonial train, it travelled almost the entire world, came in touch with myriad people and their languages, and enriched itself as the world's number one language. Not only as a comfortable means of communication between the peoples of the opposite poles and hemispheres, but also as a medium of creative writing has English been deliberately taken up by writers of the formerly colonized countries. The number is multiplying with the rise of Postcolonial / Diaspora consciousness. The situation is as if the colonizer Prospero (The Tempest) is being written back by the colonized Caliban in the same language the latter was taught by the former. The process of colonization has proved a double edged weapon whose other edge has now been sharper than the one used earlier by the colonizers.

How can we identify this tidal wave of English writing? Can we call it English literature? Would traditional academia accept it? In the name of English literature they are teaching the work of the central (British/ American or a few First World English-speaking country) authors. Anthony Burgess, however, tries to resolve the situation. To quote him: "It (English literature) is not merely the literature of the British Isles, but a vast and growing body of writings made up of the work of authors who use the English language as a natural medium of communication.” But, of course, the peripheral authors do not bother their heads about whether they are being able to get into the same line with the central ones. They choose the language to reach a wider reading public, to let the world share their very own feelings. With this end in view, has come into existence African writing in English or Latin American writing in English or South-Asian writing in English. In South-Asian English writing, Indian or Pakistani writings in English have by now proved their own existence. But Bangladesh is lagging much behind. Nevertheless, Bangladesh is not giving a walk-over.

Full report here Daily Star

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