Influencing the ‘Plastic Mind’ Catechetics of Imperialism in Instituting English Literary Studies in British Punjab
This paper pivots on catechetics of imperialism which were identified in an archival study of question papers of MA English examinations which were conducted by Punjab University, Lahore, between 1882 and 1918. This catechetical strategy, the study reveals, was needed due to pedagogically imperial needs of the discipline and rested on the double-helical foundation of imperial literature and history. The double-helical foundation, the paper argues, was necessitated because of the exclusive and imperial conception of the discipline which was resistant to any initiatives which might disturb this arrangement. A couple of aberrations in this formulation, a book of translated poems from local literature which was made part of the poetry curriculum in 1884, and the subject of Comparative Grammar were thus quickly dispensed with. The exclusive focus on English writers, culture, literature, and history created a metanarrative of English cultural prowess and enabled the creation of pliant subjectivities suitable for the fulfillment of colonial operations. The study relies on a tranche of question papers for the masters in English degree. The paper is thus an attempt to reveal clandestine, grand narratives of cultural imperialism that lurk beneath the innocuous texts that are stockpiled in a curriculum which are disseminated through a catechetical strategy.