Sunday, 4 October 2009

Indglish & English literature

Indglish literature
Indian fiction in English
To understand Indglish writing, we first need to look at why English literature, from its inception as national project, should so concern itself with exotic locales
England is believed to be the first 'modern' country in the sense of permitting the hegemony of a literate middle class whose vehicle to class power- following the Black Death and the ensuing crisis of Serfdom- was the championing of a deontic legalistic civil society that could protect a mode of production based on the hiring of factors of production and their combination according to rational calculation and scientific choice of technique. In order to legitimate their hegemony, the English middle class was determined to display infinite plasticity & porosity as characteristic of their vernacular- making a spatial rather than temporal claim of universality on its behalf- by seeking to adorn it with all the ornaments of prestigious ancient and modern languages anywhere. Thus, the English language reacts to meeting with any foreign culture or language -which has any sort claim to privilige- by not an agon but mimesis- i.e. an attempt to show that the exotic bloom can be made natal to the genius of their own country or Empire. Indeed, on encountering India & Persia, English very rapidly developed a lush 'oriental' literature- think Tom Moore, Southey etc- which 'Native' Anglophone Indians would later appear to be imitating- but this with the naive charm of the 'Native'- for authenticity read backwardness- permitting the metropolitan audience to once again indulge in a discredited, obsolete, genre on the grounds that since the 'Native' is speaking (and since 'Natives' are never listened to, they only ever speak 'for the first time') it aint the old infantile mush being recycled but something at once exotic and 'universal'. By this analysis the ultimate Indglish author is Indrani Aikath Gyaltsen who simply plagiarised some second rate rural chick lit English author from the 50's and presented it as a picture of a life in an Indian village! American critics- not all in obeisance to 'aesthetic affirmative action'- were quick to coo over Indrani's 'Crane's Morning' but Indrani, forgetting that old adage- kiya sharam to foota karam- for shame if you blush, the miracle turns to mush- dear dotty Indrani has gone and went and committed suicide rather than proudly claiming her place at the apex of the Indglish pantheon, but then- what to do?- she actually lived in India- never a good idea for an Indglish author- where plagiarism is attributed to a poverty of ideas- rather than post modern hi jinks- and thus still considered shameful.
Anyway getting back to the story of why English literature is so interested in exotic locales- an analysis we must complete in order to arrive at a proper taxonomy of Indglish literature- the second major motivating force has to do with the search for Utopia- i.e. the location of a society which has, in some respect, superior mores from some point of view. Here the locus classicus would be 'The Empire of the Nairs- an Eutopian romance' by James Lawrence which focused on the freedom and high position of women within the aristocratic Nair community of Malabar. Shelley was greatly influenced by this book.
As far as Indglish novels go- I think responsible writers do wish to present some of the virtues of Indian family and social life- not to mention religion and spirituality- in a form which could be helpful or inspiring to other people and communities. However, this effort has been entirely in vain because of the low character and tamsic mindset of publishers, reviewers and academics. Furthermore, since democratic India offers so many diverse avenues for individual and social metanoia- i.e. self- expression and social action- worthwhile people simply aren't going to waste time trying to turn back the tide in this respect. This is a pity because Indian literature is didactic and excels in the depiction of ideal characters. However, Indglish authors are entirely ignorant of the correct mimamsa of Shruti, Smriti & Kavya. Actually, vernacular language authors, too, are pretty crap in this respect- but that is forgivable because like maybe they're proto-Marxists or marsupial Feminists or something. Anyway, this type of Indglish fiction may exist but it aint going to get published or if it is published it aint going to get reviewed or if it is reviewed its gonna get panned or if it isnt panned it will probably turn out not be Indglish at all but like fucking French or something.
The third reason for English to cover exotic locales has to do with making money, gaining power- and accumulating, organising, and deploying information towards that end. Because of the scandal of English's lack of, or strategic turning its back on, a home grown Mimamsa- which turned its practice of poetry into a reverse poiesis- a reverse kenosis- thus endowing its foundational character as a hypertrophying cancer of expression rather than an evolving organ of ever more subtle intuition- oracular only in prescribing the ubuquity of the faking of a sensibility rather than truly metanoiac in harmonising with dike's dhvani- the inter-sujective's historic system of echoes and reverberations- and thus destructive of public paideia for being constructed as a nexus of pleonexia; creative only of a Theophrastian chrematistics not an Aristotelian economy of tradition- but, what am I complaining about anyway?- afterall, this is the really exciting 'merging of horizons' that Indglish offers us 'breath blinded mirrors' of Rishis and Pirs. It is here that the question 'can the subaltern speak?' is answered by everybody 'shitting higher than their arsehole' as Wittgenstien so charmingly put it. This is where we can all make a contribution- this is the reason vernacular poets and novelists ultimately come to covet the English language; for here- indeed- is renewed the ancient Jatra of the gadarene swine- & not exotic at all, Indglish literature turns out to be the very veil of the Weltgeist whose Apocalypse is the Overload of the Information Age.
Anyway that's why my novels are crap. What's your excuse?

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