ENGLISH IN BIHAR | 12447 Hits

Indian Writing in English has always been attracting the readers of english Literature written by Indians.It has been an interesting endeavour.But when it comes to the writers of Bihar writing in English we find it diffcult to find out none in particular with wide range of popularity.But the fact is that many a Bihari writer has been contributing to Indian English Literature with their writings which , very unfortunatley , failed to catch the illuminating eyes.

At the very outset I dare to declare with honesty that it is a hurculean task to find single out the writers with outstanding works and highlighting their writings in English in Bihar is even more a complicated job. However I have tried to bring to the notice of the people the valuable gems of English writings which are hidden form their eyes.

It is remarkable that Dean Mahomed, a Bihari , was claimed to be the first writer in English. His Travels (completed on January 15, 1794) was the first book in English by an Indian. Dean Mahomed was by no means the only Bihari to have left his mark on Indian English literature. How can one forget 19th century writers like Avadh Behari Lall, as well as the fact that so many leading Indian English writers and critics today have had something to do with Bihar: Vikram Seth, Meenakshi Mukherjee, Shyamala Narayan. There are, of course, also a few contemporary or recent writers from Bihar who remain quite visible in the English-reading world: Amitava Kumar, Sidhartha Chowdhury, Indrani Aikath-Gyaltsen, and others. That all this is so often forgotten has much to do with the fact that there has been a lack of political will in Bihar to highlight its own literatures and arts, and in particular the contributions of Biharis in English.

Some days back I happened to read a good article published in The Hindu (Tuesday, Feb 12, 2008) bringing to our notice the annual status report on education. According to this report, school children in Bihar have been found doing better in English and Mathematics than students in other parts of the country. It is to be noted that the report was released by Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia in New Delhi.In order to dispel the inferiority complex from the mind of the people living in Bihar it deserves to be mentioned here that the first book in English by an Indian was written by a Bihari. This writer was none other than Dean Mahomed who was born in Patna in 1759. His "Travels" (completed on January 15, 1794) was the first book in English by an Indian.

But Dean Mahomed was not the only Bihari to have left his mark on Indian English literature. Bihar is the land which is proud to have produced one of the most remarkable English writers in the form of George Orwell whose celebrated book "Animals Farm" needs no introduction . There are, of course, also a few contemporary or recent writers from Bihar who remain quite visible in the English-reading world. Among such Bihari writers writing in English Upamanyu Chatterjee, Amitava Kumar, Tabish Khair, Siddhartha Chowdhury, Indrani Aikath-Gyaltsen are the most remarkable literary figures who have greatly contributed to the Indian English Literature with their literary output and won the laurel as such.

Some of the prominent teachers who taught me and did a lot for arousing in me literary and linguistic taste in English language and literature when I was doing MA in English in Lalit Narayan Mithila University, Darbhanga, are now teaching in most renowned universities and institutes of the country and abroad as well. Dr. Pashupati Jha is teaching in IIT Roorkee, and so is Dr. Binod Mishra. Another teacher Dr. Mukesh Ranjan Verma is the Head of Department of English in Gurukul Kangari University. Some, though they have retired, are earning name and fame abroad by teaching English. This is all about English teachers whom I know. Like them, there are definitely a large number of other vacheron constantin replica watches competent and efficient teachers, unknown to me, who are fetching Bihar a great name and fame. I will write more about English writing in Bihar when I have a lot of information in terms of significant develeopment in recognized English writings .

BHASKARANAND JHA
BASANT, KHARKA, JALLEY DARBHANGA, BIHAR

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