Nacido a la manera de la India o de cómo el inglés cuenta sus historias


  • K. Narayana Chandran


Writing from outside the Anglo-American world is appreciated largely for the social life of English in worlds elsewhere, the linguistic oddities of its non-native cast of characters that spot poor translations. While English is easily granted inordinate powers of cultural assimilation, the languages of erstwhile colonies, the bhashas of India for example, from which this ‘translation’ presumably takes place, are seen to be rather weak and ill-equipped to meet the challenging demands of western narrative gambits. This essay offers three concrete examples of English fiction where its Indian writers afford us glimpses of a phenomenon critics have barely begun to notice. The passages examined here show how the bhashas sound differently when cast in English, or how English begins to breathe an unmistakable Indian ethos and idiom. When the Indian bhashas and English so happen together, there is no discrete language from which or into which translation occurs. It is evident that the writers here are no ‘Indianizers’ of a language whose fortunes now are global in reach and affect. For readers in India, English is still a bhasha-in -the-making, which is neither set in a ‘colonial’ far away and long ago, nor yet within current precincts of some ‘postcolonial’ felicity. If the efforts of these writers at resisting translation win, it is because they have asserted their right to imagine a language as a form of global life toward which English has taken them.