An article by Amrit Dhillon in the Telegraph (which, it suddenly occurs to me, is an odd name for a 21st-century newspaper) brings to my attention (thanks for the link, Marja-Leena!) a new book called Entry from Backside Only: Hazaar Fundas of Indian-English:

Its title, Entry From Backside Only, refers to a phrase commonly used on signposts to indicate the rear entrance of a building. Binoo John, the author, said young Indians had embraced the variant of the language as a charming offspring of the mingling of English and Hindi, rather than an embarrassing mongrel.
“Economic prosperity has changed attitudes towards Indian English,” said Mr John. “Having jobs and incomes, and being noticed by the rest of the world, have made Indians confident – and the same confidence has attached itself to their English.”…
The columnist Anjali Puri said pride in Indian English also stemmed from the success of writers such as Arundhati Roy, Vikram Seth and Salman Rushdie: “These writers have used English to portray Indian reality and it has given people the confidence to try out new words and play around with the language without being scared about whether they are correct.”

This is an excellent development, and it sounds like a fun book; you can read piquant examples of local usage in the review. And by googling the title I got to this post, which tells me that Dick & Garlick (“Notes on Indian English, Hinglish, slang & pop culture”) is back in business after nine months’ hiatus, which is superb news indeed—welcome back, R Devraj!


  1. I’ll try to use the following in everyday speech. It’s a most useful word:
    “Timepass – a trivial activity that passes the time.”

  2. Timepass?
    Me, I like timesink. Beautifully adapted from the term of art heatsink.

  3. The authors mentioned by Anjali Puri are only read by people who frown down upon Hinglish in all it’s forms. English is very important for economic success in India. There are people who speak to their children only in English, irrespective of the fact that they themselves are not very comfortable with the language. In their conversations and in the conversations of their children, it is inevitable that a lot of the local lingo slips in. This is what Hinglish is all about.

  4. Jonathon Ermen says
  5. “Telegraph’ is not such a strange name for a twentieth century newspaper once you realise that the nineteenth century century telegraph used morse with twentyfirst century digital signals.
    Helps us remember with humility that so many of our present day technologies were discovered a long time ago.

  6. Indeed, until the invention of algorism ~ algorithm by Indians (who passed it to Arabs, who passed it to Westerners), all computing was done on digital computers: first actual digits, then abacuses. Nobody computed with Roman numerals, for example: they were used only to record the results of computation.

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