The Power Of English Explored In The First Three Novels Of Mulk Raj Anand

4308 words - 17 pages

Historically, there has always been a powerful connection between a country’s military expansion and the spread of its language.Infact, English has no intrinsic linguistic quality which other languages lack. All human languages have the same basic intrinsic linguistic competence to generate grammatically acceptable utterances. Therefore, if English is considered as the power language then linguistic imperialism is surely at work. Robert Phillipson (1992) has clarified that ‘the dominance of English is asserted and maintained by the establishment and continuous reconstitution of structural and cultural inequalities between English and other languages
Mulk Raj Anand(1905-2004) pays close attention to linguistic imperialism in his first three novels which were published between 1935-37.Marked as ‘Epic of Misery’ by the noted literary critic Saros Cowasjee(1977),these three novels are Untouchable(1935),Coolie(1937) and Two leaves and a Bud(1937) which deal with both sides of linguistic imperialism-the linguistic hegemony as it is planned by the colonial rulers and also the ‘linguistic suicide’ committed by the colonized through their slavish admiration for the angrezi tongue. This two-way traffic consolidated and reaffirmed the pre-eminence of English in the colonized country.
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Human beings are given due credit for their ingenious creation and development of various languages. Languages have been used for communication between people and they are also potent tools of direct control over the dominated people. English as the colonizer’s language does not merely facilitate communication between its speakers. As an instrument of power, English language has a glorified history in the chronology of human languages.
English language does not possess any superior intrinsic linguistic quality but its superiority over other languages is due to its stronger socio-cultural base. All human beings have the same basic intrinsic linguistic competence to generate grammatically acceptable utterances which implies that all languages should be essentially similar at some deep level. Thus, the power and the ever-increasing importance of English language lie elsewhere. Braj B.Kachru(1989) has this to say behind the emergence of English as the global language in these terms:

“…competence in English and the use of this language signify a transmutation: an added potential for material and social gain and advantage…knowing English is like possessing the fabled Aladdin’s lamp which permits one to open, as it were, the linguistic gates to international business,technology,science,and travel. In short, English provides linguistic power.”1
How English language comes to be the sole medium of ‘useful’ and ‘profitable’ instruction is an interesting episode in the infamous history of linguistic imperialism. The history of...

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