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During the British colonial era, which lasted from the late 18th century to 1947, English was first introduced to India. English was employed by the British for administration and education, and the Indian elite began to speak it often. 

English was kept as an official language after India attained independence in 1947 and is now extensively used in commerce, government, and education. Many Indians who do not speak English as their native language frequently use it as a second language. One of the largest English-speaking populations in the world today is found in India.

Officially English has a status of assistant language, but in fact it's the most important language of India. After Hindi it's the most generally spoken language in India and presumably the most read and written language in India. Indians who know English will always try to show that they know English. 

English symbolizes in Indians minds, better education, better culture and advanced intellect. Indians who know English frequently mingle it with rather than to Indian languages. Some missionary institutions tutored English to Indians. 

 The East India Company took the responsibility of the educations of the Indians. The Indians were also realizing the significance of the English language. By the 1830s the Indian middle classes were getting veritably demanding. 

They realized that English was the language needed for a secure future in a government job, so why was English not tutored in the secondary academy? Private seminaries offering this service were formerly doing good business, particularly in Calcutta. 

The state was set for the first ‘ big moment ’ in the Homeric history of English language tutoring. Meanwhile some movements were started by Raja Ram Mohan Roy to introduce western scientific education through English. 

He wanted to replace traditional Sanskrit and Persian tutoring. To take a decision on the issue, a commission was formed. Lord Macaulay was the president of this commission. He supported English as the medium of instruction in the place of Sanskrit and Persian. Lord Macaulay wanted to make the people Indian in blood and color but English in taste and opinion. 

He allowed the members of this class would spread their knowledge through English. Macaulay’s purposes were i) to produce the dominance of British culture over the Indians and to have the control over the minds of the Indian people through English. ii) to train Indians and make them fit for the employment. 

The British Government gave preference in jobs to the Indians who had the knowledge of English. A number of Indian scholars set up poetry, drama and other jottings delicate to get their degrees. Meanwhile numerous new sodalities and universities were formed. The system of English education innovated on English literature continued till the independence.

The English language which is one of the most important languages of communication in our present day Indian society , was first introduced in India by the British . 

It is well known to us that the British had come to India for the purpose of trade and they had introduced the English language to India so that it would help them to carry out their business transaction with the people of India . 

Therefore , we can say that the history of English language and literature in our country began with the advent of the East India Company of British in India .

The introduction of English language in India can be divided into three phases as follow .

  • First phase : Initiation by the Missionary
  • Second phase : Local demand
  • Third phase : The Government Policy

First phase Initiation the Missionary :
This is the first phase of initiation of English language in India . The Christian missionary when they came to India in around 1614 took an active part in introducing the English language in India . Their main reason behind this act was to propagate the Christian religion among the common masses of India .

Second phase Local demand : The second phase can be referred to as the phase of local demand . It was opined by some of the scholars that English language came into a widespread use in India because many Indians wanted to learn the language . 

The two most prominent spokes person in this regard were Raja Rammohan Roy (1772 to 1883 ) and Rajnath Hari Navalkar (1770) . According to them through the English language , the local people of India would be able to gain knowledge of the scientific development in the west . 

This was on of the main reasons for them to support the spread of English language in India . Raja Rammohan Roy had written a letter to lord Amherst (1773 to 1853) in the year 1823 in which he had requested Lord Amhearst to appoint qualified British persons to educate the native Indian people in various scientific subjects such as Mathematics , Chemistry , Anatomy etc. . 

This letter by Raja Rammohan Roy is often taken as an evidence of local demand for English in India and held to be responsible for beginnings of English in India .

Third phase Government policy : The third phase which can be referred to as the phase of Government policy began in 1765 . At that time the authority of East India Company was established in India . The East India Company had started to use English as the medium of instruction and administration . 

The knowledge of English language became necessary for the Indian people to gain employment . In this way the English language became a common medium of communication among the general people of India .

What are the four English language periods?

There are four major eras in the evolution of the English language:

  • Old English (450–1100): The Anglo-Saxon kingdoms were eventually established during this time, which started with the arrival of Germanic tribes in Britain. Old English, the language that was used during this time, is distinguished by a strong Germanic influence.
  • The Norman Conquest, which occurred between the years of 1100 and 1500, had a significant influence on the development of Middle English. During this time, the Normans conquered England. Old English and Norman French vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation are blended to create Middle English.
  • The creation of Early Modern English, a standardized variety of English that was influenced by the Renaissance and the Reformation, took place between the years of 1500 and 1700. The syntax and vocabulary of early modern English were simpler and more pliable.
  • The period known as Modern English (1700–present) began in the late 17th century and is still in use today. Modern English is distinguished by its ability to be spoken around the world, its extensive vocabulary, and its use of technology in communication.

When was the first time English was used in India?

During the British East India Company's dominance in the late 16th century, English was first introduced to India. English became the language of business and government in these places after the British East India Company, a trading company, founded towns along India's eastern coast. 

The British eventually conquered most of India, and under their colonial authority, which lasted from the late 18th century until India's independence in 1947, English was still used as a language of instruction and communication.

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