English Babu

This study guide will help you analyse the short story “English Babu” by Vijay Medtia. You can also find a summary of the text, as well as ideas for interpreting it and putting it into perspective.

Presentation of the text

Title: “English Babu” (2009)
Author: Vijay Medtia
Published in: Migration Stories 
Genre: Short story

Vijay Medtia is a young British-Indian writer who lives in Manchester. His first novel, The House of Subadar, was published in 2007.

Extract

Here is an extract from our study guide:

Title

The title of the story, “English Babu”, is comprised of an English word and a Hindu word which translates into ‘sir’, but also into ‘lord’ or ‘king’. In India, this word is typically used to show respect for men.

The title refers to the narrator, an Indian man who moves to England in the 1960s with the intention of staying there temporarily, but who ends up living in England for 40 years.

The phrase “English Babu” appears in the story when the narrator Ramesh recalls his father calling him this name because of his critical attitude to India:

‘No cleanliness and why is there no road traffic sense? And by God it’s so hot here.’
Father had laughed and looked out across the wide green fields, saying, ‘Our Ramesh has become an English babu.’
‘I haven’t become English,’ I replied, irritated. (ll. 48-52)

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English Babu

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