English Invasion of Indian Culture

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According to Merriam Webster, culture can be defined as the customary beliefs, social forms, and material traits of a racial, religious, or social group. In a sense culture can be defined as all the ways of life that are shared by people from one generation to the next. It includes a plethora of things from mannerism, clothing, language to even religion, behavior, and systems of beliefs. The Indian culture is one of a kind because of its outstanding diversity that has withstood the test of time for many years. In fact, it is so unique that one cannot define Indian culture because it is made up of various cultures from all the different regions within it. The North, South, East, and West all have their own distinct cultures alongside the states who also have their personal nook of culture reserved for themselves. Despite the diversity however, the country remains unified as one due to its shared history of colonization from the British. The invasion of the English language in education and media has prompted a significant alteration and influence in the linguistic as well as the cultural patterns of India. As a result, English is responsible for shifts in the language/culture, education, and media/communication in India.

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Although India was subject to invasions from numerous imperialistic nations, the British invasion left behind the most significant effect on Indian culture and language. The English language has a vital role in the identify and cultural life of the people of India. In a novel titled The Alchemy of English author Braj B. Kachru states, in many societies language has traditionally been viewed as possessing intrinsically a mystic or superhuman power (Kachru, 2). English is seen to possess this power that Kachru mentions because it was able to influence India nationwide during its reign prior to Indian Independence in 1947. Although many still do not consider Indian entirely independent to this day, one thing that they can agree is the fact that the British Raj ruled all aspects of life from 1858 to 1947. The Raj was referred to as the linguistic rule of the English language in India. As a result English became the language of the law, advanced education, and economics. The reason behind this change is because the indigenous languages lacked the necessary resources to take on the roles that English so easily did. In his novel Kachru also mentions that, a language obtains power based on the domains it dominates. In relation to India, which is quite a big domain, English dominates it on a wide variety of aspects. The language is a necessity when it comes to acquiring knowledge, communicating with individuals across nations, and obtaining elite social status in the country. Prior to the raj, India did not even fathom the idea of Christianity as a possible religion in the country, however the introduction of English brought forth the Christian missionaries that introduced a new idea on religion in the country. English has embedded thorns into the cultural and social aspects of Indian citizens, and it does not plan to remove them any time soon.

Moreover, the cultural invasion of the English language not only seeps into the languages and culture of India, but it also leaks into the education of the country. As early as 1823 a linguist, scholar, and educator by the name of Raja Ram Mohun Roy wrote a letter to the British governor Lord Amherst declaring that, Western knowledge [English] could be applied to India’s mixed Hindu and Islamic culture (Oxford University Press). This goes to show that although people are still hesitant to allow the English language to invade India, they are still willing to adopt it into the education system because of the benefits it has to offer.

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English Invasion of Indian Culture. (2019, Dec 10). Retrieved August 13, 2022 , from
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