Saturday, February 09, 2013

A History of the Dept. of English, University of Calcutta

Worth a read.

For those writing a modern history of English in India, the following is noteworthy regarding college/university English (primary/secondary school English is a different story):
The Department went through a period of slump starting from the 1940s and ending in the 1960s.  Three major historical factors contributed towards it – reactionary attitude towards English language  and literature at the wake of nationalism and political independence, and the resultant growth in interest in the vernacular languages; a temporary shift in significance from English towards Political Science and  Economics in the 1950s within the humanities; and the flourishing and coming into beings of other  universities within West Bengal and in other parts of India.

By the end of the 1960s, interest in English was again growing. Two reasons contributed towards its  resurgence – first, the acceptance of English as one of the best linguistic means of communication  throughout the length and breadth of India; and second, the growing importance of the United States  and other English-speaking nations in terms of the control of global economics and politics.