English in India: Its Present and Future by V. K. Gokak. Asia Publishing House, Bombay. Pages 180. Price Rs. 12.50


The place of English in Independent India is one of the most controversial of the issues facing the nation, on which opinion is sharply divided and passions have been roused. The debate–between those who advocate the status quo, the continuance, without any considerable change in the near future, of the privileged and dominant position held by, English during the British period, and those who insist upon an immediate replacement of it by the chosen national languages, Hindi–has been lively and protracted and remains still unfinished. Much heat has been generated and motives and vested interests have been attributed by the parties to each other. The question has been discussed and a temporary solution agreeable to all, arrived at, but a final settlement has been postponed. Here, in this book, for the first time, the subject is lifted from the arena of political controversy to the academic plane, and all the different aspects of it, relating to the official language, the medium of instruction in the institutions for higher education, and the medium of examination in the competitive examinations for recruitment to the All-India Public Services, are all presented with the remarkable objectivity and detachment of a scholar and educationist with a nationalist outlook.


As a result of the great expansion in education that has come in the wake of Independence and the change over from English to the regional language in the medium of instruction at the Secondary School stage, all over the country, the teaching of English in our schools and colleges is in a chaotic state today, Even the students, specialising in English language and literature in our colleges, are unable to express the simplest ideas in correct, idiomatic, English. As a teacher of English, with an experience extending over three decades, and as Director of the Central Institute of English at Hyderabad, since 1959, Professer Gokak is deeply concerned with this problem. In this book he formulates with clarity and comprehensiveness, the aims and objectives that should sustain the study of English in India, in the present stage of transition through which the nation is passing. He probes with remarkable thoroughness into most of the problems involved in the teaching of English as a second language, and indicates the lines along which the courses of study and methods of instruction could be suitably oriented, in order that the new aims and objectives might be effectively realised. It is here, in this part of the book, that the rich and varied experience of the author as a teacher, and his wide knowledge of educational effort in the other parts of the Commonwealth and elsewhere, in the teaching of English as a second language, are all reflected and brought to bear on the diagnosis, as well as solution, of the various problems discussed.


Professor Gokak is not only a teacher of English but a scholar and a man of letters, with several distinctions and honours to his credit in the field of literature as well as education. His views on the influence of English language and literature on the development of the regional languages in India, and the literatures in them, in the past, and the benefit yet to be derived from them, for enriching the literature of knowledge in our languages, are all very interesting and instructive. He has some valuable suggestions to make on the organisation of post-graduate courses and research work in English in our Universities. In particular, the emphasis he lays on the importance of rendering the best in the classical and modern literatures in our Indian languages into English is commendable and worthy of the attention of all advanced students of English literature in India and practitioners of the literary art in English.


In this slender volume of less than 200 pages, a remarkably vast and varied material is presented, of interest and value to teacher of English, the educationist and the general public of cultivated tastes and concern for national interests and welfare.

–M. S. K.



Rasgangadharamu (First anana): by Sri Dharanikota Venkata Subbayya, published by the Andhra Pradesh Sahitya Academy, Tilak Road, Hyderabad. Pages 517. Price Rs. 6.


This is a Telugu translation of Jagannadha Pandita’s Rasagangadhara, a classic in Rhetorics or Alankara Sastra. There is already a Telugu translation by Sri J. Madhavarama Sarma in the field, but this translation has its own merits and special features, and hence its place also is assured in Telugu literature.


This translation is more lucid, explanatory, and elaborate. The translation of technical definitions of Kavya, Guna and Bhavatva etc., are very explanatory and anaiytical, so much so, even a student of ordinary intelligence and equipment can comprehend the subject with comfort and ease. Secondly, while explaining the definitions and divisions of Vira and Hasya rasas, Bhakti, Rasabhasa, Soka, and the nature of Rasa, the present translator quotes profusely from other works like Rasachandrika, Kavyanusasana, Bhagavadbhakti Chandrika, Sahitya sura and Sahitya Darpana etc., either to exemplify the definitions and divisions given in the text, or to compare the views of Jagannadha with those of others. The most valuable contribution of the translator in this work is the section of about 20 pages on Rasasutra, wherein he deviates from the original text, takes up the Rasasutra of Bharata, and expatiates upon it, quoting extensively from Natya sastra, Abhinava Bharati and other works. Herein he explains the nature of a Sahridaya, obstacles that stand in the way of realisation of Rasa, the nature of Vyabhichari, Sthayi and Sattvika bhavas and their distinction from one another, in a clear way. At the end of the section dealing with the different interpretations of Rasasutra, the translator shows how Abhinava’s interpretation is flawless and far superior to the interpretations of others. In the section on Doshas again, the translator refers in detail to the views of Sriman Tiruvengalacharya the author of Andhra Dhvanyaloka, wherein he establishes that mentioning by name of Rasas and Bhavas is not at all a fault in the suggestion of Rasas and Bhavas. With these salient features this translation, being exhaustive, self-contained, comparative and explanatory, has also its special place in modern Telugu literature; and is indispensable to a student of literature in general and Alamkara Sastrai in particular. The Sahitya Academy of Andhra Pradesh also richly deserves our compliments for publishing this work.


We may, however, offer a few suggestions calculated to improve the usefulness of the work. (1 The translator should have given examples for the five kinds of Vipralambha also to make the work self-contained. (2) Passages from other texts quoted by the translator, and printed now by the editors in the body of the original text proper, ought to have been printed separately as foot notes. (3) An index of the subjects dealt with in the work is wanting. Lastly, the authorities of the Academy will do well to get the second part of this work also, which is more difficult to understand and which is also indispensable to students of Alamkara Sastra, translated on the same lines as this by a competent authority on the subject, together with a biographical sketch of Jagannadha, and publish it at an early date, so that the Telugu public can have a complete translation of the work in their hands, and appreciate in full the genius and scholarship of Jagannadha Pandita, the foremost of the rhetoricians and critics that the Andhra country has produced.


Advaita Prabha: by Sri Kavuri Kameswara Rao, B. A., B. L., Gudivada. Copies can be had from the author. Pages 364. Price: Rs. 5.


This is an exhaustive digest in Telugu of all the main tenets of Advaita Philosophy of different schools of thought, expounded in various books by different thinkers. This book is divided into two parts and 33 Chapters arranged in a cohesive and logical sequence. Important topics like the nature of the world, the five Khyatis, Ajnana, Mulavidya, the world, Jiva and Isvara, and Pramanas are dealt with in detail in the first part of the book. A learned lawyer as he is, the author presents the subject matter in an analytical way. Various issues are raised and problems posed at every step and they are answered and solved satisfactorily.


The second part is devoted to the practical aspect of the Advaita Philosophy. Herein the author explains at length the means of realisation of the Supreme Brahman, viz., Dhyana, Ashtangayogo, analytical knowledge of the five Kosas, Adhyaropa, Apavada and Jivanmukti.


The book is packed with serious subject matter and almost all the authorities are found referred to. One wishes however that the author had dilated upon the philosophy of Yogavasishtha and Tripura Rahasya also, and used less of technical terminology, though the naure of the subject precludes complete elimination of the same, and explained, in the glossary at the end, some more technical terms also making the book thereby more easily intelligible even to a layman. An inquisitive student of philosophy, who has the patience to wade through these pages, and even a student that has once studied the philosophical texts but could not present to himself a clear picture of the main tenets of Advaita Philosophy, will be richly rewarded by way of enlightenment on the subject. We compliment the author on his successful presentation of a terse subject in an analytical way, and we sincerely recommend this book to all students of philosophy, and to all libraries.



Kathalu Vraayadam Elaa? (How to write stories) Symposium edited by ‘Sarvari’. Published by Sri publications, Kodambakkam, Madras-24. Pages 205. Price Rs. 3.


In Telugu, as in other Indian languages, the short story has come to be the most popular art form in literature, for the writer as well as the reader. Maybe it is partly due to the pressure on time, when a long novel has little chance, unless it becomes a modern classic for some inexplicable reason. Hundreds of stories come out every week and month through the illustrated weeklies and literary periodicals. It was indeed a happy thought, on the part of the editor of this volume, himself a fiction-writer of some experience, to invite ten other practitioners in this fertile field, to contribute to a symposium on “How to write a story”, perhaps the first of its kind in Telugu. The result is quite an interesting and representative cross-section of views and hints, from the horse’s mouth as it were. ‘Chalam’, the veteran in this line, who is no more the intellectual epicentre of social earthquakes, seems to take a rather pessimistic view of contemporary short story writers. They are too much preoccupied with hunger and money-making, he complains. Not enough of imagination, intellectual integrity, or moral courage, he adds. He is rather disillusioned. ‘Butchibabu’ describes at some length his own credo and technique, which is revealing. But somehow, he chooses to go to a lot a trouble in refuting the charge that many of the Telugu writers are modelling themselves on English and American masters. He tries to refer the critics back to Ramayana and the classics, which may well be needless, when it is admitted that in the context of modern life, the short story writer of today has a closer artistic affinity with Maugham, Bates, Hemingway and Saroyan than Valmiki and Vyasa. Sarvari’s accent on the need for a wide reading is well placed in view of the tendency in some quarters to ring the changes with little of capital in the shape of ideas and perspective. It is some times cynically remarked that Indian writers read their own works. They seldom read one another or writers from afar. There are many intellectual gaps to be filled before one could claim to be sui generis.