India has a sizable number of populations that have English as either primary or secondary language of communication. This is precisely because India had been a colony of the then British Empire for close to 200 years. Its association with British and hence English is even older. Emperor Jahangir granted William Hawkins permission to trade in India in the year 1608 and that was when English put its first step.
In the due course of history, British concluded their conquest of India
and spread English language along with the empire. English replaced
Persian as the court language in early 19th century and understanding
English became a matter of survival for the urban class rather that a
matter of pride. As a new block of population started to emerge from the
grassroots, English spread its wings.
Most of the early exponents of English Literature in India were British
though. The likes of George Orwell, Rudyard Kipling and Jim Corbett gave
the initial push that was later carried on by several British authors.
Rabindra Nath Tagore and Sarojini Naidu who contributed a lot to the
English literature initially represented the natives but it was only in
mid seventies that a new breed of boarding-school educated, elite brand
of English authors started to appear on the radar. These writers gave a
much-needed oxygen to English literature with their crisp,
tongue-in-cheek and realistic fictions that were read all over the
The present condition of Indian English literature is heartening. New
crops of English language writers are replacing the old breed and are
representing India through their unique writings. Some of them have even
won prestigious Booker Award. This has led to a sudden surge in the
number of books published in English every year. New breed of English
writers are trying to break glass ceiling. They are venturing in to
newer genres by refusing to follow dotted lines. With English language
becoming part of curriculum, the number of people knowing English
language is increasing rapidly in every consecutive census. This is
opening newer windows for the Indian English writers to experiment. In
present context, with its all pros and cons, the future of English
Literature in India looks nothing but bright.
History Of English Literature in India
History of English language and literature in India starts with the advent of East India Company in India. It all started in the summers of 1608 when Emperor Jahangir, in the courts of Mughals, welcomed Captain William Hawkins, Commander of British Naval Expedition Hector. It was India's first tryst with an Englishman and English. Jahangir later allowed Britain to open a permanent port and factory on the special request of King James IV that was conveyed by his ambassador Sir Thomas Roe.
Indian Authors English
There is no dearth of Indian authors who write in English language, as of today. But it was not same a century ago. English literature and writing was still in its nascent phase in India and most of the Indian writers were either used to be Indian born British or Britain educated Indians.