Miss Madhuri V. Brahmane


Why language evolved can easily be fathomed but the when and the how still remain debatable and mysterious. Kathryn Thornton opines, “Language leaves behind no fossils and could not be recorded until the advent of writing, some 5,000 years ago. However, it seems reasonable to assume that language evolved along with early modern humans at least 100,000 years ago”[1]. Concerning literature Raymond Williams is of the opinion that it is of comparatively recent origin which refers to “any written, printed matter on any subject”[2]. One is not entering into a serious discussion on the aptness and inaptness, adequacy or inadequacy of what Williams hold. However, one is bound to engage into its demarcation for under its umbrella fall “plays, essays, novels, poetry, and short stories”[3]. In this essay, the concern is not the origin and development of language and literature as such but to consider how it has shaped the human history. Secondly, English did not originate in India; it came with the British. For the moment, therefore, one’s concern is not its arrival in India which is a subject of discussion in itself but rather women’s contribution towards it in Indian English literature. Again, one is not interested to find out how women figure in it but rather how they involve themselves in it. Initially, it looked as though men had the foothold over language and literature but history bears witness to the fact that women do not lag too behind. Women may not have contributed as much as men have contributed not necessarily because of being ‘inferior’ but because of the lack of opportunity availed to them. Now that there is attitudinal change practically in every sphere, one observes women’s contribution in every field. 

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