Comparative Literature in the Indian Context: Our present concern….

Some of the eminent scholars of West have already prepared themselves to attend the grand funeral of Comparative Literature. This discipline, which was first unleashed in the West to combat the rising tide of imperialism, began to lose its luster when the concept of ‘multiculturalism’ started gaining popularity. The final blow, which this discipline received, was when Cultural Studies was brought to currency. So, considering the present condition of the discipline of Comparative Literature in the West and the ‘psychological restriction’ on us for being citizens of a ‘Third World’ country; i.e; the tendency to follow our ex-ruler’s approaches and theories as infallible gospel, do we also quietly kill Comparative Literature and then adorn ourselves for the final mourning? In fact, we cannot afford to do that! The two issues qualify this act as illegal are; firstly, Comparative Literature is essential when it comes to study Indian Literatures, as India is dominated by multilingual and multi-literal practices.(As besides our ‘mother tongue’ we also grow up interacting with ‘other tongues’ as well.) Secondly, Comparative Literature will aid us in keeping our ‘psychological restrictions’ in check. Let us retrace back to our first issue. The idea that Indian Literature is single though written in many languages is quite a faulty one. Each and every literature in India has evolved by interacting with one or more literatures, emerging from the oeuvre of different languages. So naturally the comparison of the ‘literary –map’ of India with that of Europe can never bear a fruitful result. The extent of inter-literary relationships between different literatures of India is not same as that of the West. Indian Literatures, despite of lingual distances, have always been exposed to a same

A question of grave importance can be posited here. Not only did we get introduction to a new language and literature but also we started ‘living happily ever after’ on being influenced by our colonizer. The interaction between these various languages have not only stayed confined within the geographical boundaries of India but have also extended beyond it. which came into effect through Sufi contact. Likewise it does not ignore the plurality which partly defines the different literatures of India. Now. India Literature in English. We just cannot . Perhaps the reason is that the geographical proximity helped them to achieve a common denominator quite naturally. one of the instances being the impact of Perso-Arabic on different literary traditions. the ‘Third World’ situation also enhanced a few problems. Besides interacting with each other different languages have also given rise to new language and literature. The preponderance of multilingualism can also be found in various texts where two or more than two languages form the logic of composition. the impact of which further created a new literature in India.e. for example Urdu. The colonial experience provided India with an introduction to the ruler’s language and literature. In its attempt to find homogeneity it overlooks the heterogeneous aspects underlying these literatures. like Kalidasa’s Abhijnanamshakuntalam. i. that is the issue of ‘Third World’.historical process.. The methodology of Comparative Literature not only looks at the different levels of unity among various literatures but also inquires about the diversity between them. that why are we emphasizing on approaching Indian Literatures with the help of Comparative Literature methodology and not through the tools of National Literature? The prime goal of National Literature is to seek unity among the various literatures of a Nation. let us more on to our next issue. However.

reverberating in West. ‘reception’ and ‘survival’ so that it can suit our situation. so we need to validate and reconstruct the categories of ‘influence’. and as it is a dire necessity when it come to study Indian Literatures one just cannot disregard its pertinence in the Indian context. it is not just about the ‘influence’ of one text upon another rather it is the influence of one literary tradition on another. “Comparative Indian Literature” Dr. For us. ‘imitation’. Indian Institute of Advanced . The Western Comparative theories are hardly adequate for our situation. will also in future is more like a tool or a methodology to study literature and less like a discipline. Comparative literature: theory and practice Authors Amiya Dev. Amiya Dev. 2003. unlike West. Thus one cannot prepare to respond to death knell of discipline of Comparative Literature. in the India till date. Sisir Kumar Das. Our present concern and task is not only to employ the methodology of Comparative Literature in our multi-literary scenario but also requires us not to indulge in a blind mimesis of Western paradigms. Reference:Death of a discipline Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak Columbia University Press.afford to follow theories of our colonizer as infallible gospels. as the way Comparative Literature has transpired.

Indian Institute of Advanced Contributor Amiya Dev Publisher Indian Institute of Advanced Study in association with Allied Publishers. New Delhi.Editors Study Amiya Dev. 1989 . Sisir Kumar Das.

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