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Landscapes of Writing

Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa


Bapsi Sidhwa

Edited By Teresa Russo

This book is a collection of essays by international writer Bapsi Sidhwa gathered for the first time in one edition by Teresa Russo, with a foreword written by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Deepa Mehta. Landscapes of Writing: Collected Essays of Bapsi Sidhwa provides a writer’s perspective on issues of South Asian literature, linguistics, poetry, and views of political events and globalization. In the first part of the book, Bapsi Sidhwa discusses her childhood, family life, and how she became a writer. There is also a revised essay detailing how her book Cracking India became a film by Deepa Mehta. The second part of the book focuses on her thoughts concerning war, terrorism, and how to achieve peace. This collection includes two letters, demonstrating her local and nationalistic perspectives to a larger view of an interconnected world.

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Chapter 2. Linguistics: New English Creative Writing (A Pakistani Writer’s Perspective)


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June 18, 2015

“A way of life was imposed upon Tanya and Billy by the locality in which they lived, by their independent bungalow, and by their possessions. They made friends with modern couples equally determined to break with tradition…. They were not of the masses, this young crowd. If their wealth did not set them apart, their ability to converse in English certainly did” (Sidhwa, 1980: 245). If nothing else, this passage from The Crow Eaters (set in the 1930s) suggests the elitist status of English in India. Although the Raj has since been banished, and the Empire repossessed, the status of English remains largely unaltered. It is a phenomenon, and the single most important factor contributing to the phenomena is the emergence of English as a World Language.

Even if we have little cause to thank the British, thanking the Almighty for small mercies, I, for one, am content to be landed (if landed we must be) with English, rather than Arabic, Italian or Portuguese, all of them fine languages, with the dazzle of genius in their written tradition to rest and build upon. But, and it is an important, English, besides having its own tradition of genius, is useful by today’s standards in terms of commerce, communication and technology. And this useful language, rich also in literature, is no longer ← 15 | 16 → the monopoly of...

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