By Mayank Jain:
You quote Neruda and you breathe Frost. You feel like reading ‘Gone with the Wind’ to cheer yourself up or have a go at ‘Jonathan Livingston Seagull’ to feel alright again in this unromantic, unimaginative real world. If you are any of the above, you should definitely consider studying English literature. For all those who love literature and the written word more than anything, we have compiled a list of the best places for you to study English Language and Literature. Each one of them has something that sets it apart, but you deserve the one where you can “…Live like it’s heaven on earth,” as William Purkey said.
1. Jadavpur University: A semi residential university in Calcutta, (Jadavpur University) is a popular destination for students interested in studying English literature for its legacy that has long resided in the 58 acres campus. The Faculty of Arts was ranked as the 2nd best in an India Today survey and the department of English has always received tonnes of applications.
Here’s what a student of JU had to tell us about studying English in the university, “Studying at JUDE is something a lot of students aspire for, around 3500 students give the test with 30 general seats available. It may be because of the staff (we have folks like Rimi B. Chatterjee, Ananda Lal, Supriya Chaudhuri, Amlan Dasgupta etc) or the syllabus (we not only have the usual literary periods but also graphic novels, music, art etc.) A lot of coursework is done through projects, audio-visual aids, visit to the JU publication house, thereby breaking the myth of arts just being about ‘mugging up’. That’s not possible, not in JU.”
2. Delhi University: DU has to be the usual suspect in the list for the sheer volume of well-known alumni it has produced from its department of English. The University was ranked as one of the top 100 places in the world to study English by QS World University Rankings as well. Delhi University’s Faculty of Arts stands in the middle of North Campus where all the action happens and the notion of the college ‘life’ we have dreamed of, comes to life. The department offers undergraduate, postgraduate as well as courses in research.
3. Hyderabad Central University: Also known as University of Hyderabad or HCU, the university has earned itself a reputation for imparting superior courses in English language and literature. The public university sprawls over a 2000 acres campus and focuses more on research and evaluative study of the language as it developed over time.
“It aims at providing instruction and carrying out research in both traditional and current areas of English Studies. In addition to core English Literature and American Literature components, it encourages work in New Literatures in English, Comparative Studies, Translation, Culture, Language Studies and Pedagogy,” the website reads.
4. Presidency University: The University was born as the Hindu College, it was later rechristened to Presidency college before it was finally upgraded to a University in 2010. Though new to the block as a University, Presidency has always been a premier institution of excellence, especially in Arts and Litertature. The university brings young people to Calcutta from all over the country and takes the approach to study development of English to a whole new level by not restricting it to classrooms.
Rahul Sen, who did his undergraduate degree in English from Presidency and is now pursuing his Masters in English from DU compared the two very well, “Presidency created the foundation for studying literature in me. It oriented and trained me to appreciate and understand literature. It has become a launch pad for my training at DU which is more or less, theoretical. Presidency has a livelier campus than DU. Education beyond the classroom. DU is more or less limited to classroom,” he explains.
5. Jawaharlal University: JNU’s Centre of English Studies has been ranked one of the best 100 English Departments of the world. The centre is well known for its research outlook and comparative studies of multiple themes not limited to just English which makes one’s stay at JNU worth every while. The university is easily one of the best in India and there’s no exaggeration in saying that it is a great place to get your degree in English.
We talked to Final Year Ph.D scholar Saptarshi Chaudhary who is pursuing English to understand JNU’s approach better and he told us that “JNU encourages learning English language and literature very differently from other universities in the country, and not exactly on British literature. Post-colonial English literature other than British is also on the focus. A professor introduced courses on Indian English Writing as well as theorized the idea of Indian English Writing. JNU lays emphasis on cultural turn, new theories, post modernism and encourages students to take courses in history, sociology, political studies and bring those ideas to study the literature.”
The list above is neither definitive nor exhaustive. Please suggest other universities which you think one should consider.
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