‘Hybridity is part of Indian culture’

The Kerala Sahithya Akademi, in collaboration with the Institute of English of the University of Kerala, organised a symposium on ‘Kamala Das and the Tradition of Bilingual Creativity.’

Poet and critic K. Satchidanandan, who is also a convener of the English Advisory Board of the Akademi, inaugurated the symposium.

In his address, he said that India never had a concept of multi-lingual as we did not have a concept of monolingual right from the early ages of civilisation.

“The term multilingual belongs to the orientalists and colonialists. Diversity of languages was a natural extension of the diversity of the places. Poets in early times were expected to travel and know many languages. Our history cites many litterateurs who wrote in different languages such as 12th century poet Kshmendra, Amir Khusrau, Meera Bai, Premchand, Jayanta Mahapatra, Mulkraj Anand, U.R. Ananthamurthy and Girish Karnad, to name a few. Hybridity has been part of the Indian culture and Kamala Das was mostly bilingual because of her upbringing,” he said.

“The interesting aspect of her bilingual usage was that she chose to write poetry exclusively in English, short stories in Malayalam, and autobiographical writings in both languages,” he said.

“Perhaps her lack of formal education in both languages must have impacted her writing and helped her create her own language of communication that was beyond the norms of formal language usage. I think she was more inter-lingual than bilingual,” said Mr. Satchidanandan.

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Printable version | Mar 5, 2021 5:35:34 AM |

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