This volume explores issues of memory, remembering and language in late colonial India. It is the first systematic historical sociolinguistic study of English private and public citizens who lived in and/or worked for India and the Indian cause from the 1920s to the 1940s. While some of the English have lived as common citizens and were committed to India, their voices and contributions have remained on the margins of Indian collective memory. This book offers microhistorical readings of extended language forms generally underexplored in sociolinguistics (such as letters, telegrams, missives, and oral histories) to reorient facets of individual memories, lives, and endeavours against larger officialised understandings of the past.

Using previously unpublished corpus of archival material and interviews with English private citizens from that period, this volume on historical sociolinguistics will be of interest to scholars and researchers of language and linguistics, South Asian studies, post-colonial literary studies, culture studies, and modern history.

chapter |5 pages


Memory, remembering, and genres: reconstructing ‘historicity’

chapter 1|9 pages

Reconstructing Social Contexts from Unusual Linguistic Texts

Microhistory and historicity

chapter 2|27 pages

Epistles and Telegrams

Locating English public citizens

chapter 3|15 pages

Oral Histories and Photographs

Locating English private citizens

chapter 4|20 pages

Experimenting with Metafiction

The case of Charles Andrews and the reconstruction of a time and person

chapter 5|5 pages

Reconstructing ‘Historicity’

Lessons for the historical sociolinguist