Modern English Poetry

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Modern Indian English-language poetry is one of the many ‘new literatures’ which began to emerge at the end of the Second World War after the end of colonialism. Unlike the creative writing of Africa and the Caribbean, modern Indian poetry in English has been neglected by most critics, foreign readers and intellectuals for it has no obvious direct relationship to the cultural movement which led to national independence; by 1947 the situation had changed and with it the concern of the new poets became their relationship to and alienation from the realities of their society. In particular, they faced a challenge from older nationalist intellectuals and from regionalists who demanded a renaissance of the culture of the pre-colonial languages of India.

The only answer to those who claimed that Indians could not write authentic poetry in the English in which they had been educated was to write poetry as good as that of British, American and Irish poets, but to write it about Indians lives and conditions. This in itself became the basis of a still continuing conflict as cultural conservatives, nationalists and political radicals wanted a literature about traditional culture or the poor and the rural Hindu masses, whereas the poets were likely to be well educated, middle class and part of or aware of the modern westernized culture of the cities, universities and professional classes. They often had been raised in families where English was one of the languages spoken, attended

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