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66696540 Indian English Novel

66696540 Indian English Novel

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The Indian English novel evolved as a subaltern consciousness; as a reaction to break away from the colonial literature.

Hence the post colonial literature in India witnessed a revolution against the idiom which the colonial writers followed. Gradually the Indian English authors began employing the techniques of hybrid language, magic realism peppered with native themes. Thus from a post colonial era Indian literature ushered into the modern and then the post-modern era. The saga of the Indian English novel therefore stands as the tale of Changing tradition, the story of a changing India. The stories were there already in India steeped in folklores, myths, written in umpteen languages as India is always the land of stories. However, the concept of Indian English novel or rather the concept of Indians writing in English came much later and it is with the coming of Raja Rao, R.K. Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand, the journey of Indian English Novel began. The early Indian novels which were merely patriotic gained a rather contemporary touch with the coming of Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao and R.K.Narayan. The social disparity of India which was aptly described by Mulk Raj Anand in his "Coolie", the imaginary village life with its entire unedited realities in R.K. Narayan`s "Malgudi Days" and last but not the least the aura of Gandhism depicted by Raja Rao in his remarkable novel "Kanthapura" portrayed a whole new India. The need of the `foreigners` depicting India amidst their write ups was not needed as Indians wanted to portray India through their Indian English. That was the beginning of the voyage and with time it gained maturity. Not just the daily lives, not just the social issues, Indian English novel slowly unveiled the grotesque mythical realities of India while opening the window to a plethora of writers. Salman Rushdie, fascinated the Indian intelligentsias with his remarkable understanding of Indian History, as well as unification of Indian history with language. This further paved the way to portray India with her sheer grandeur, tradition, realities, myths, heritage in the most eloquent way. Perhaps this supported Amitava Ghosh to dabble the post colonial Indian realities while helped Vikram Seth to picturise a rather new India laced with an air of Victorian aristocracy. The cobweb of romance, the strange mind of the women and the very ideal that women needs something more than just food and shelter are ideally portrayed by the women writers while making Indian English novel to take that final step towards maturity. The fast changing pace of the new India is thus ideally painted by the female writers. The history of Indian English novel, a journey which began long back has witnessed a lot of alteration to gain today`s chick contour. More On Indian English Novels (Last Updated on : 9/11/2009) The Indian literary scenario, beginning in the Vedic Ages, times even prior to historical preservation, have been endowed with the best and prime literary geniuses, be it in the oral or the written tradition. During the Vedic Period, as is however acknowledged from Indian ancient history, Hinduism was in its most elevated and supreme state, with the caste system just coming into vogue, with the Brahmans, Kshtriyas, Vaishyas and Shudras. As such, the Brahmins had taken, rather seized centre-stage, with every sphere of daily life speaking out from the higher caste society. And educational and literary pursuits, writing or getting oneself educated in the ashrama system or in the gurukuls, were solely preserved for the higher caste and somewhat upper echelons in tandem. The medium of imparting education or penning down any version of one`s thoughts or a fictional or legendary discourse, all were strictly done in the Sanskrit lingo. As such, the first traces of writings in Indian literature were done in the Sanskrit language, with Sanskritic body of literature tracing out its prestigious path down the ages. It was indeed in this

highly mysterious Sanskrit literary wonders that one gets to discover the very first traces of Indian novels and novel writing in the Indian context. Authors and legendary sages have been recognised to have devoted volumes of paper, pen and ink in priceless poetry or drama, dedicating each meticulous thought to penning down immortal creations that still arrests attention. However, it was only in the Later Vedic Age that one gets to witness the foremost and original and initial stages of Indian novel writing under the masters like sages Valmiki or Vyasa. Indian novels began to be first written in Sanskrit only, with the said literary body being divided into - Vedic Sanskrit, Epic Sanskrit and Classical Sanskrit literatures. Setting apart the first two ages with their distinctive genres, it was precisely in the Classical Sanskrit age that the plan and notion of `novels` began to be first shelled out in India, lending a solid shape to the still-now floating criterion. The Classical age in Sanskrit literature was the time when fables and fictional novels were begun to be given a distinct shape for the common mass. As such, beginning from that period and still going on in the current scenario, Indian novels have time and again impressed upon the reading public as well as fetching esteemed and honoured accolades both the country and overseas. Indian novels have been unbeaten enough to exhaustively reflect the history, society, political domain, economic status and tradition of Indian subcontinent, traversing ages. Indeed, the history of Indian novels has much to speak and state about such an all-encompassing genre, which can of course not be free from any controversies or its debatable arena. And the most distinguishing factor that surfaces to the tip of the iceberg is the role of Indian novelists and their novels in daringly reverberating the trying and testing times of India under the British Raj. The India back in those 200 years of slavery and cruelty under the merciless British Empire, had called to enlightenment enough reasons for which every Indian had taken up the pen, instead of a sword, to cry out injustice and unlawfulness against the hapless natives. Beginning from dramatisation or penning down thoughts in the poetical format, it was in fact the `enslaved Indian novels` that had soared in every Indian morning, the outcry coming form every Indian language modernistic, chic, or inert in the tribal format. And overwhelming it was! The Indian Independence Movement was the most prolific and opportune a time, when Bengali and Hindi novelistic tradition was at its helm. The British supremacy upon India however also had much to impress the socially `shrewd and opportunistic` so-called `intellectual class` which had paved way for the upcoming `Indian novels in English`, a phrase, which has attained much different a context in contemporary times. The plethora of stellar Indian literary personalities have penned down successive historical events in their novels, sometimes depicting the societal structure, answerable as they are to the reading as well the pan-Indian non-reading populace, with what they have created. It was also noticed at times that such Indian novelists and their unforgettable wonders have instilled life into the contrived fictional novels and aired their stunning aura of creativity. Indian novels have been presented seamlessly and eternally in diverse languages, themes and other particulars. The prominent novelists like R. K Narayan have authored distinguished novels in English, portraying the colloquial Indian lifestyle and traditions. Gradually, the Indian English novel has been witnessed to have evolved as a subaltern consciousness, as a reaction to break away from the colonial literary overshadowing. The series of Malgudi Days, marked a special format and era of Indian novels. Satyajit Ray, the patron of Bengali creativity, reaching out undisturbed to every kind of reading generations in every possible language on earth, besides of course, Bengali, with his adventurous and exhilarating Feluda and Professor Shonku. It was Satyajit Ray who had brought about international adventure to the genre of children`s thriller novels, loved by all age

groups, a prime factor that still portrays no signs of fading away. Most of Ray`s novels have victoriously been made into world famous films. Indian novels have a high-flying fame in the diaspora of international novels, owing to their rather uncanny dissimilar shades, varied dialects and traditional flavour. Lately, a new pattern of Indian novels is into the markets, identified as `graphic novels` (a type of comic book, mostly with a lengthy and complex storyline similar to those of novels; the term also embraces comic short story anthologies, and in some instances bound compendiums of previously published comic book series). These novels are imbibed with life through both speech and images. Some of the popular graphic novels created in India comprise - The Believers, Corridor, Kashmir Pending and The Barn Owl`s Wondrous Capers by various novelists, likening themselves to the range of comic book popularisation. The contemporaneous Indian novels are widely sold and flying off the racks in overseas countries, besides just the native land itself. Novelists like Rohinton Mistry, Sarojini Sahoo, Jhumpa Lahiri, Shobha De, Anita Desai, Altaf Fatima, Shashi Tharoor and others have earned international acclamation for their works. Indian novelists are the creative masterminds behind such impeccable story plots and continuous meshes in language. Indian novels have reached a notable status not only in Indian book market, but also globally. Indian women novelists have given a new dimension to the Indian literature. In the past, people used to enjoy the `desi` versions of English magazines like `Playboy` with a sense of shame and guiltiness. But, today the case is different. The Indian literature has gifted several talented women novelists who present the Indian version of such books and that too within the limits of dignity and decency. They are popularly known as the goddesses of Eros! They have brought a stylized pattern in the whole context of Indian writing. Nowadays, people enjoy reading the anglicized novels presented by the new age women writers. The list of Indian women novelists comprises Anita Desai, Shobha De, Nergis Dalal, Krishna Sobti, Dina Mehta, Indira Goswami, Malati Chendur, Gauri Deshpande, Bharati Mukherjee, Namita Gokhale, Ruth Jhabvala, Nayantara Sahgal, Kamala Das and many more popular names. It is believed that the desi version of the foreign varieties is comparatively more deadly and this fact is proved by the novels of these authors. The novels of authors like Namita Gokhale or Shobha De are really out-spoken. Most of these female novelists are known for their bold views that are reflected in their novels. Basically, these are the novels of protest and an outburst of reservations and contaminations. Unlike the past, where the works of women novelists were given less priority and were actually undervalued, classification of feministic or male writings hardly makes any sense today. The last two decades have witnessed phenomenal success in feminist writings of Indian English literature. Today is the generation of those women writers who have money and are mostly western educated. Their novels consist of the latest burning issues related with women as well as those issues that exist in the society since long. These books are thoroughly enjoyed by the masses and the publishers make easy money out of them. The publishers feel that the literature actually survives because of these types of bold topics and commercials used by the women novelists. Their novels encourage the women freedom to flirt. They describe the whole world of women with simply stunning frankness. Their write-ups give a glimpse of the unexplored female psyche, which has no accessibility.

Feminism in Indian Literature The present age women have realized that she is not helpless and is not dependent. They feel that a woman is an equal competent just like a man. Today, a woman has also become a direct money earner and she is not only confined to household works. The women of modern era think on different lines and that is what is depicted in the novels of the Indian women authors. These facts are incorporated by the women writers. Indian women writers explores the feminine subjectivity and applies the theme that ranges from childhood to complete womanhood. Through their novels they spread the message of what actually feminism is, which actually is very broad. These women writers say that feminism means putting an end to all the sufferings of a woman in silence. Authors like Kamala Markandaya, Shashi Deshpande and Anita Desai have chosen the problems and issues faced by the women in today`s male dominated world as the main theme of their books. For instance, some of the novels of Anita Desai like ` Voices in the City` and `Where Shall We Go This Summer?` she has portrayed the complexities between a man and woman relationship. She has tried to explore the psychological aspects of the lead protagonists. The women novelists try to create awareness that this is the time to proclaim with definite precision. In India, the women writers are doing very well and their contribution is immense. Majority of the Indian readers comprising both male and female read the novels of the Indian women authors with certain expectations. They look for some "Indian-ness` in the write-ups. Only the women novelists of India are capable of conveying the messages of feminism in an Indian way. Modern Indian Literature The development of modern Indian literature has been marked by certain characteristics, some of which it shares with modern literatures over the world. There has always been in all countries and ages a conflict between the orthodox and the unorthodox, but in India, because the new impulse was identified with an alien culture and foreign domination, the clash of loyalties has been sharper. The very impact of Western thought, with its emphasis on democracy and selfexpression, stimulated a nationalist consciousness which resented the foreign imposition and searched for the roots of self-respect and pride in its own heritage. For instance, Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Gora is a masterly interpretation of this built-in conflict in the very nature of Indian renaissance, a conflict which still persists and has coloured not only our literature but almost every aspect of human life. The first outstanding Bengali poet of the nineteenth century (and the last in the old tradition), Iswar Chandra Gupta (1812-59), whose remarkable journal, Sambad Prabhakar, was the training-ground of many distinguished writers. The new era of modern Indian literatures may be said to begin in 1800, when Fort William College was established in Kolkata and The Baptist Mission Press in Serampore, near Kolkata. The college was founded by the East India Company to provide instruction to British civil servants in the laws, customs, religions, languages, and literatures of India in order to cope with the increasing demands of fast-growing administrative machinery. Reading material, during this time, was translated from the Sanskrit classics as well as from foreign literature, and dictionaries and grammars were compiled. William Carey, who was also one of the founders of the Baptist Mission Press, himself wrote a Bengali grammar and compiled an English-Bengali dictionary as well as two selections of dialogues and stories. Later in the second half of the sixteenth century, books in Tamil and other Dravidian languages

began to be printed. Many foreign missionaries learnt the languages of the people. They not only translated the Bible and wrote Christian Puranas but also rendered considerable service to the languages by compiling the first modern grammars and dictionaries. Although the printing-press came to south India much earlier and the foreign missionary enterprise functioned much longer and more zealously than in Bengal, the impact of Western learning as such was comparatively slow and the resurgence of literary activity bore fruit in its modern form much later than in Bengal. The establishment of Hindu College in 1817 and the replacing of Persian by English as the language of the law and the increasing use of Bengali were other landmarks which encouraged the introduction of modern education and the development of the language of the people. It was, Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833) who laid the real foundation of modern Bengali prose. The form which he gave to Bengali prose revealed its rich potentiality in the hands of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820-1891) and Akshay Kumar Datta (1820-1886), both of whom were primarily social reformers and educationists. Because they were men of serious purpose who had much to say, they had little use for the flamboyance and rhetoric natural to a language derived from Sanskrit, and they chiselled a prose that was both chaste and vigorous. Pathfinders rather than creative artists, they standardized the medium which their younger contemporary, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-94), turned with superb gusto and skill into a creative tool for his novels and stories. He is known as the father of the modern novel in India and his influence on his contemporaries and successors, in Bengal and other parts of India, was profound and extensive. Novels, both historical and social, the two forms in which he excelled, had been written before him in Bengali by Bhudev Mukherji and Peary Chand Mitra. Mitra’s ‘Alaler Gharer Dulalh’ was the first specimen of original fiction of social realism with free use of the colloquial idiom, and anticipated, however crudely, the later development of the novel. But it was Bankim Chandra who established the novel as a major literary form in India. He had his limitations, he was too romantic, effusive, and didactic, and was in no sense a peer of his Great Russian contemporaries, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. There have been better novelists in India since his day, but they all stand on his shoulders. Though the first harvest was reaped in Bengali prose, it was in the soil of poetry that this crossfertilization with the West bore its richest fruit. With the emotional temperament and lyrical genius, the Bengali language is supple and musical, as though fashioned for poetry. Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824-1873) was the pioneer who, turning his back on the native tradition, made the first conscious and successful experiment to naturalize the European forms into Bengali poetry by his epic in blank verse, ‘Meghnadbadh Kabya’, based on a Ramayana episode unorthodoxly interpreted, as well as by a number of sonnets. He led the way but could not establish a vital tradition, for his own success was a tour de force of a rare genius. It was Rabindranath Tagore who naturalized the Western spirit into Indian literature and thereby made it truly modern in an adult sense. He did this not by any conscious or forced adaptation of foreign models but by his creative response to the impulse of the age, with the result that the Upanishads and Kalidasa, Vaishnava lyricism, and the rustic vigour of the folk idiom, are so well blended with Western influences in his poetry that generations of critics will continue to wrangle over his specific debt to each of them. In him modern Indian literature came of age, not only in poetry but in prose as well. Novel, short story, drama, essay, and literary criticism, they all attained maturity in his hands. Though Indian literature in its latest phase has outgrown his influence, as indeed it should, Tagore was the most vital creative force in the cultural renaissance of India and represents its finest achievement.

Kolkata being the first cosmopolitan city in India to grow under the new regime, it was natural that it should witness the birth of the modern drama. It has still a lively stage tradition. Curiously enough, the first stage-play in Bengali produced in Kolkata was by a Russian adventurer-cumIndologist, Lebedev, in 1795. It was an adaptation of a little-known English comedy, “The Disguise”, by Richard Paul Jodrell. Many years passed before a serious attempt was made to build an authentic stage, mainly under private patronage. The first original play in Bengali was Kulin Kulasarvasva, a social satire against the practice of polygamy among Kulin brahmans, written by Pandit Ramnarayana. Ramnarayana’s second play, Ratnavali, based on a Sanskrit classic, provoked Madhusudan Dutt to try his hand at this medium. His impetuous genius turned out a number of plays in quick succession, some based on old legends and some social satires. He may thus be said to have laid the foundation of modern Indian drama, as he did of poetry, although his achievement in this form did not equal his performance in poetry and he soon retired from the field. His place was taken by Dinabandhu Mitra (1829-74), a born dramatist whose very first play, ‘Nil Darpan’ (published in 1860), exposing the atrocities of the British indigo planters, created a sensation, both literary and political. Dinabandhu wrote many more plays and was followed by a succession of playwrights among whom were Rabindranath Tagore’s elder brother Jyotirindranath Tagore, Manomohan Basu, and, later, the more famous Girish Chandra Ghosh and Dwijendralal Roy. Girish Chandra was actor, producer, and playwright, and it is to his indefatigable zeal that the public theatre in Kolkata is largely indebted. But though both he and Dwijendralal achieved phenomenal popularity in their day, their popular appeal was due more to the patriotic and melodramatic elements in their plays than to any abiding literary merit. On the other hand, Rabindranath Tagore’s plays, though they had considerable literary merit and were marked by originality and depth of thought, were too symbolic or ethereal to catch the popular imagination. Of the numerous languages of India perhaps Marathi was, after Bengali, the most vigorous in its response to the spirit of the new age. This is because of its robust intellectual tradition, reinforced by memories of the erstwhile glory of the Maratha Empire, and partly because Mumbai, like Kolkata, provided a cosmopolitan modern environment. Among the stalwarts who laid the foundation of its modern literature may be mentioned the poet Keshavsut, the novelist Hari Narayan Apte, and Agarkar, Tilak, and Chiplunkar as the builders of prose. Apte’s novels stimulated the development of the novel in some other languages too, particularly in the neighbouring Kannada. Narmad’s poetry blazed the trail in Gujarati. Flourishing under court patronage, Urdu had made phenomenal progress and was the most important Indian language to prosper in the eighteenth century. But it luxuriated in its own affluence and remained aloof from the vital currents that were sweeping the country forward in the nineteenth century. The development of modern Assamese and Oriya, the two eastern neighbours of Bengali, was also late in coming and was preceded by valuable spade-work done by the Christian missions. Orissa too had recovered its homogeneous integrity and the intelligentsia in the regions was educated in Kolkata and carried back with them the impact of the literary resurgence in Bengal. Lakshmikanta Bezbarua and Padmanath Gohain Barua in Assamese, and Fakirmohan Senapati and Radhanath Ray in Oriya were the early pioneers in their respective fields. Kashmiri, Punjabi, and Sindhi had an even more retarded development, partly on account of the political conditions

and partly because of the cultural glamour of Urdu in regions predominantly Muslim. All the more credit to the pioneers who held aloft the banner of their mother tongue are Mahjur and Master Zinda Kaul in Kashmiri, Sardar Puran Singh and Bhal Vir Singh in Punjabi, and Mirza Kalich Beg and Dewan Kauromal in Sindhi. What is surprising is the rather late and tardy resurgence in the four Dravidian languages, which had had a longer and a richer literary past than the northern languages. The past has weighed more heavily on the south than on the north in India and nowhere more heavily than on Tamil Nadu. However, in course of time the creative spirit in these languages too responded to the impulse of the age, in as rich a flowering as in the other languages of India, led by Puttanna, ‘Sri’, and Kailasham in Kannada, by Kerala Varma and Chandu Menon in Malayalam, by Bharati and Kalki in Tamil, and Viresalingam and Guruzada Appa Rao in Telugu. It is worth observing that the youngest of the Dravidian languages, Malayalam, has responded to the new age more dynamically than the oldest, Tamil, which even now looks too wistfully to the past. All the great events which have influenced European thought within the last one hundred years have also told, however feeble their effect may be, on the formation of the intellect of modern Bengal. The independence of America, the French Revolution, the war of Italian independence, the teachings of history, the vigour and freedom of English literature and English thought, the great effort of the French intellect in the eighteenth century, the results of German labour in the field of philosophy and ancient history; Positivism, Utilitarianism, Darwinism, all these have influenced and shaped the intellect of modern Bengal. From the beginning of the twentieth century Indian literature was increasingly coloured by political aspirations, passionately voiced in the songs and poems of the Tamil poet Bharati and the Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. The spiritual note of Indian poetry had attained a poignant and rapturous pitch in the medieval Vaishnava outpourings. Tagore’s Gitanjali is the swan song of this great tradition. The devotional content of poetry was henceforth increasingly replaced by the political, the ethical bias by the ideological, the plaintive tone by that of challenge and mockery, until the dominant note of Indian literature today is that of protest. Tagore’s main impact was, however, indirect, inasmuch as it gave confidence to Indian writers that they could achieve in their mother tongue what had been achieved in Sanskrit or European languages. But Tagore’s influence in literature was soon overshadowed by the impact of Gandhi, Marx, and Freud, a strange trinity. Though none of these three was a man of letters proper, they released intellectual and moral passions and introduced new techniques of thought and behaviour which had a profound effect on young writers all over India. The influence of the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo Ghose is also noticeable among some writers, like the Kannada poets, Bendre and Puttappa, and the Gujarati poets, Sundaram and Jayant Parekh, but beyond imparting a certain mystic glow to their verse and confirming their faith in the reality of the Indian spiritual experience, it has not given any new trend or horizon to Indian literature in general. On the whole, the impact on Indian writing of the mixed interaction has given a much-needed jolt to the smugness of the traditional attitude, with its age-old tendency to sentimental piety and glorification of the past. The revolt began in Bengal, yielded a rich harvest, in both poetry and prose, in the work of Jivanananda Das, Premendra Mitra, Buddhadeva Bose, Manek Bandyopadhyay, Subhas Mukhopadhyay et al. In Bengal both these forms attained an early maturity in the hands of Tagore and have since made phenomenal progress under his younger contemporaries and successors namely Sarat Chandra Chatterjee achieved a popularity, both in Bengal and outside, which equalled, if not surpassed, that of Tagore.

Moreover, English language had a great impact on the Indians and apart from its utilitarian value as a language of higher education in the sciences and as a ‘link language’, a fair number of Indian writers, including such eminent thinkers steeped in Indian thought as Vivekananda, Ranade, Gokhale, Aurobindo Ghose and Radhakrishnan, have voluntarily adopted it as their literary medium. There has been, from Derozio in the 1820s to R. K. Narayan today, an unbroken tradition of some gifted Indians choosing to write in English. Many of them, like the Dutt sisters, Toru and Aru, their versatile uncle Romesh Chunder, Manomohan Ghosh, Sarojini Naidu, and, among contemporaries, Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao, Bhabani Bhattacharya, and many others, have achieved distinction. Some early pioneers in the Indian languages were also tempted at the threshold of their career to adopt English for their creative writing, partly because they owed their inspiration to English literature and partly because they hoped thereby to reach a wider audience. Madhusudan Dutt’s first narrative poem, “The Captive Ladie”, and Bankim Chandra’s early novel “Rajmohan’s Wife”, are classic examples. Wisely they discovered in time that they could create best in their own language. Some English novels of R. K. Narayan, a born story-teller with any eye for observation and the gift of gentle irony, are superior in intrinsic literary merit to a great deal of mediocre stuff that passes for literature in some Indian languages. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that, as far as creative writing is concerned, no Indian writer in English has reached anywhere near the heights attained by some of the great writers in the Indian languages. What modern Indian literature sadly lacks is a well-proportioned and many-sided development. The modern Indian literature is the representation of each aspect of modern life. Happily, despite this clamour of sophistry, patriotic piety, and political bias, good literature continues to be written and, as it justifies itself, it helps to sharpen the reader’s sensibility. Since the time of Tagore a growing minority of intelligent critics well versed in the literary traditions of their own country and of the West have bravely maintained a more wholesome approach that is neither overwhelmed by the burden of the past nor overawed by the glamour of the latest fashion. This healthy trend of the modern Indian literature should gain in strength with a growing realization that, in the republic of letters as in that of men, a sensitive and well-trained critical apparatus and its judicious and fearless exercise are a prerequisite of happy results. (Last Updated on : 21/08/2009) English Literature in India Indian English Literature, also admiringly referred to as IEL in short, pertains to that body of work by writers from India, who pen strictly in the English language and whose native or conative language could be one of the numerous regional and indigenous languages of India. English literature in India is also intimately linked with the works of associates of the Indian diaspora, especially with people like Salman Rushdie who was born in Indian but presently resides elsewhere; as such, Indian English literature is also at times recurrently referred to as `Indo-Anglian literature`. As a categorised concept, this yielding of literature in India in English, comes under the broader territory of postcolonial literature - the yield from previously colonised countries, just as India once was. Indian English literature is an honest enterprise to demonstrate the ever rare gems of Indian writing in English. From being a singular and exceptional, rather gradual native flare-up of geniuses, Indian English has turned out to be a new form of Indian culture and voice in which India converses regularly. While Indian authors - poets, novelists, essayists, dramatists - have

been making momentous and considerable contributions to world literature since the preIndependence era, the past few years have witnessed a gigantic prospering and thriving of Indian English writing in the global market. Not only are the works of Indian authors writing in English surging on the best-seller list, they are also incurring and earning an immense amount of critical acclamation. Commencing from Mulk Raj Anand, R. K. Narayan, Anita Desai, Toru Dutt to Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Allan Sealy, Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Arundhati Roy,Vikram Chandra - the panache of fine Indian writers is long and much augmented. Indeed, if one begins to explore the highly curious and arresting history of Indian English literature and also experience its various facets, as expressed in Indian English literature plays and movies and other media, he is sure to be lost amidst such profundity, in the abstract sense. Indian English literature (IEL) precisely conforming to its gradual evolution had all begun in the summers of 1608 when Emperor Jahangir, in the court of the Mughals, had welcomed Captain William Hawkins, Commander of British Naval Expedition Hector, in a gallant manner. It was indeed India`s first tryst with any Englishman and English. Jahangir had later also allowed Britain to open a permanent port and factory on the special request of King James IV that was communicated by his ambassador Sir Thomas Roe, which led to the consequent sizeable English arrival and people thus had begun to stay back in India. Though India was under the British rule, still, English was adopted by the Indians as a language of understanding and awareness, education and literary expression with an important means of communication amongst various people of dissimilar religions. Indian English literature, quite understandably spurs attention from every quarter of the country, making the genre admired in its own right. Creative writing in English is looked at as an integral part of the literary traditions in the Indian perspective of fine arts. Indeed, it has also been a rather lucky happening and news that the harshness of critics has also accepted that Indian literature in English is one guiding factor of present identification, which had begun several decades ago and is still in a continuous process of metamorphosis. There appears to be an acceptance of Indian English literature as, Indian writing represents a new form of Indian cultural ethos. This literary body has become thoroughly absorbed and is presently a dynamic element of the quintessential Indian way of life. Beginning in the early times of British rule, much prior to the advent of the novelistic writing, it was indeed the Indian English dramas and Indian English poetry, that had tremendously arrested attention of the native masses. Times back then were much severe, as can be known from British Indian history. Indeed, the present generation must always consider themselves fortunate that the British incitement and oppression was reason enough for Indian English literature to flourish despite horrible intimidation. Heart-rending and grievous issues were time and again brought up in these dramatisations and poetical expressions by stellar and legendary poets and playwrights. Every possible regional author was dedicated in their intelligence to deliver in the `British mother tongue`, highly erudite and learned as they were even in such periods. The man that comes to surface more than once in all the genres of Indian English literature, is Rabindranath Tagore, who possibly was an unending ocean of knowledge and intellect, still researched as an institution in himself. And in this British context of an overwhelming English arrival, generally always comes to surface the factor of any Indian writing in a foreign and alien lingo, much deviated from their original roots. It can be said to be a challenge for the Indian English writer to pen about his experiences in a language which has developed in a very different cultural setting - in a "foreign"

language. Indeed, there was also witnessed times in pre-Independent India, when people conceived Indian English literature to create a very different sense of reality and intensity in Indian life in the medium of English language, far more differentiated than any regional Indian language. The truthfulness and honesty of the writers writing in English is often made a theme of suspect in their own country and in other English-speaking countries they are indeed addressed as `marginal` to the mainstream of English literature. Indian English literature writers are sometimes incriminated of forsaking the national or regional language and penning in a western, "alien" language; their dedication to the nation is considered in much suspicion, a rather unfortunate sensibility for such intelligent and cultured wonders. Indian literature in English dates back to the 1830s, to Kashiprasad Ghosh, who is considered the first Indian poet writing in English. Sochee Chunder Dutt was the first writer of fiction, thus bringing in the tremendous attraction and brilliancy of admiration of Indian English novels. In the beginning, however, political writing in the novel or essay format was dominant, as can be seen in Raja Rammohan Roy and his extraordinary output. He had written and dedicated pages about social reform and religion in India, solely in the medium of English. `Stylistic influence` from the local languages appears to be an exceptional feature of much of the Indian literature in English - the local language construction and system is very much reflected in the illustrations, as is mirrored in the literal translation of local idioms. Yet one more breathtaking and praiseworthy feature of these English Indian writers is that they have not only `nativised` the `British mother tongue` in terms of stylistic features, but, they have also acculturated English in terms of the `Indianised context`. A broad view that the mother tongue is the primary means of literary creativity, is still generally held across cultural diversity. Creativeness in another tongue is often measured as a deviation from this strict norm. The native language is considered `pure`, it is addressed as a standard model of comparison. This however have caused difficulties for non-native writers of Indian English literature and it is more than infrequently that they have to guard themselves writing again, in English. Besides the legendary and hugely venerated Indian English literary personalities of Rabindranath Tagore or R K Narayan, later novelists like Kamala Markandaya (Nectar in a Sieve, Some Inner Fury, A Silence of Desire, Two Virgins), Manohar Malgaonkar (Distant Drum, Combat of Shadows, The Princes, A Bend in the Ganges and The Devil`s Wind), Anita Desai (Clear Light of Day, The Accompanist, Fire on the Mountain, Games at Twilight) and Nayantara Sehgal, have ceaselessly captured the spirit of an independent India struggling to break away from the British and traditional Indian cultures and establish a distinct identity. Such was the already established solid ground of Indian English literature, an aspect that has acquired much more momentous adjectives. During the 1980`s and 90`s, India had emerged as a major literary nation. Salman Rushdie`s `Midnight`s Children` had become a rage around the world, even winning the Booker Prize. The worldwide success of Vikram Seth`s `The Golden Gate` made him the first writer of the Indian Diaspora to enter the sphere of elite international writers and leave an indelible mark on the global literary scene. Other Indian English literature novelists of repute of the contemporary times include - V.S. Naipaul, Shobha De (Selective Memory), G.V. Desani, M Ananthanarayanan, Bhadani Bhattacharya, Arun Joshi, Khushwant Singh, O.V. Vijayan, Allan Sealy (The Trotternama), Sashi Tharoor (Show Business, The Great Indian Novel), Amitav Ghosh (Circle of Reason, Shadow Lines), Upamanyu Chatterjee (English August, The Mammaries of the Welfare State), Raj Kamal Jha (The Blue Bedspread), Amit Chaudhary (A New World), Pankaj Mishra (Butter Chicken in Ludhiana, The Romantics), Vikram Seth

(Mappings) and Vikram Chandra (Red Earth and Pouring Rain, Love and Longing in Bombay). The writer in the genre of Indian English literature, who took the world with a storm, was Arundhati Roy, whose `The God of Small Things` won the 1997 Booker Prize and became an international best-seller overnight. Rohinton Mistry, Firdaus Kanga, Kiran Desai (Strange Happenings in the Guava Orchard), Sudhir Kakar (The Ascetic of Desire), Ardeshir Vakil (Beach Boy) and Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies) are some other renowned writers of Indian origin. Former Prime Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao`s The Insider; Satish Gujral`s A Brush with Life; R.K. Laxman`s The Tunnel of Time, Prof. Bipin Chandra`s India After Independence, Sunil Khilnani`s The Idea of India, J.N. Dixit`s Fifty Years of India`s Foreign Policy, Yogesh Chadha`s Rediscovering Gandhi and Pavan K.Varma`s The Great Indian Middle Class, are also outstanding works of the recent times. The mid-20th century Indian literature in English had witnessed the emergence of poets such as Nissim Ezekiel (The Unfurnished Man), P Lal, A K Ramanujan (The Striders, Relations, Second Sight, Selected Poems), Dom Moraes (A Beginning), Keki Daruwalla, Geive Patel, Eunice de profoundly were influenced by literary movements taking place in the West, like Symbolism, Surrealism, Existentialism, Absurdism and Confessional Poetry. These authors heavily had made use of Indian phrases alongside English words and had tried to reproduce a blend of the Indian and the Western cultures. (Last Updated on : 7/08/2009) Themes In Indian Literature The category branded as Indian literature virtually encompasses the whole of India and its every single aspect, both symbolically as well as realistically. And this certainly is not an overstatement or hyperbole, as writers beginning from the prehistoric age have tried to mirror their society, their times at large, a work to which they have also been successful. Indeed, the thought themes in Indian literature broadly hold within itself a magnificent yet clandestine vision, if viewed in an open angle. To state more precisely, it is generally seen that writers are of the habit to leave their piece of work with an open ending, i.e. , leaving his/her readers to judge the conclusion according to their own wish and understanding. And this where lies that much hidden `success` of the writer, who is forever bound under societal norms when he/she is writing for the present generation. Before beginning with a novel, poetry, short story or play, a writer always has to bear in mind the previous happening in his community and consequences that might occur after the work is published. Hence, the writer never as such can move out from his society and publish an out-of-this-world creation; if such phenomenon ever comes into being, the writer, most likely is to be branded a `social outcaste` or made `incommunicado`. Thus, themes in Indian literature always have to be created keeping in mind the ongoing Indian society or the people associated with it. Now, when elaborated further on this very subject, i.e., Indian literature and its predominating themes, it can be found that a writer, be it of any capability cannot move out form the longestablished themes of humanity, like romance, society, tragedy, comedy, adventure, war, or the ancient ones like mythological or epical. Since the ancient Indus Valley Civilization, it has been documented in historical annals that man had favoured to express themselves by speech or letter in the basic overriding conscious emotions stated just above. As such, the ancient Hindu society in India had always favoured and liked to base their writing on mythology and umpteen other legends and folklore, which perhaps was taken to a likeness by ladies and gentlemen both from the mass and the class. As such, mythological themes in Indian literature was the first to capture and enchant Indian readers, dealing with kings, queens, palaces, demons, gorgons, vision of

heaven or hell, the Almighty, battles and ultimate winning, also including themes like `never never land` and every sort of non-living thing being animated into a living being. Indeed, these mythological stories had so very appealed and captivated Indian minds, that none of the succeeding generations has ever been able to come out of this everlasting `hypnotic` effect. Another vital modified version of mythological theme in Indian literature was the rather sophisticated development of epics in Sanskrit literature that was ushered in the Vedic Age. Epic themes in Indian literature began its journey with the two legendary magnum creations Ramayana and Mahabharata, influences and citations of which are still employed by contemporary Indian writers. Thinking in terms of such colossal dimensions called for expert Hindu Sanskrit scholars like sages Valmiki and Vyasa, who were the venerated writers of Ramayana and Mahabharata respectively. In societies that were yet to see modern light of day, these luminaries were capable to take India and Indians towards that modernistic section, that present critics refer to as much ahead of times. Indeed, maximum of later Sanskrit classical literature was based on these two epics, taking themes in Indian literature towards a genre by itself. Romantic themes in Indian literature was soon to follow the ancient Hindu society, jumping from staunch Hinduism and its priests and borrowing to some extent from west, precisely from its European counterpart. Romance as is known in strict terms in present Indian scenario was far from what was see in those times. Romance necessarily entailed virtually every aspect of life dealing with war, battles, crusades, chivalry, gallantry, relationships with heroic adventure and its knights wooing the princess etc and not only a love affair between a male and a female. Writers were successful to represent every kind of backdrop and link it with romanticism, which just as usual, is espoused by modern Indian regional or English writings. Indeed, contemporary Indian literature has derived out a sophisticated version of romantic theme in Indian literature, dealing again with convoluted versions of social backgrounds and yet falling in place with a perfect balance. In all these variety of literary genres, it can be witnessed that authorship is mysteriously and productively in line with societal norms, permanently portraying one or the other type of societal variation that has changed with age. Themes in Indian literature during Vedic Age, themes in Indian literature during Classical Age, themes in Indian literature during Medieval Age differs grossly with themes in Indian literature for the contemporary age. As such, social themes in Indian literature, be it in any kind of literal category, wholly falls in place with the structure organisation that humanity dwells in. (Last Updated on : 8/08/2009) History of Indian English Novel The history of Indian English novel can be very much aligned to the advent and supreme reign of the British Raj upon India, resting for a good 200 years. Such a prolonged and momentous Raj establishment by an `alien` Empire, did have its both adverse and beneficial factors. Leaving out the ruthless colonisation, Britishers did leave their share of wondrous virtues in the literary, architectural and political sides. However, the literary and artistic sides perhaps had overshadowed all the other routined existence, with Indian literature and English education never remaining the same again. English as a basic and fundamental language was very much introduced in the dozens, with the class and then the mass joining in to be amalgamated with the erudite and good-hearted British populace. It was also precisely during this time that the illustrious Indian litterateurs, in a zealous attempt to show their vengeance against such English oppression, had penned out series of English works of art, only to be accepted forever by the

global literary scenario, in the years to come. With many regional geniuses joining hands in such an endeavour, the history of English novel in India, presents itself as a solemn enterprise, surpassing all other literary genres. The history of the Indian English novel can thus honestly be dubbed as the story of a `metamorphosing India`. There did exist a time when education was an infrequent opportunity and speaking English was really not necessary by natives out crying against British. The stories however were already in the location, hidden - in the myths, in the folklore and the umpteen languages and cultures that chaffered, conversed, laughed and cried all over the subcontinent. India has, since time immemorial, always served as a land of stories, the strict segregation between ritual and reality being quite a thin line. The history of the Indian English novel had though begun to emerge from these benevolent English gentlemen themselves, precisely in the fiery talks of Henry Louis Vivian Derozio. This very timeless strand was held strongly soon after by the spiritual prose of Rabindranath Tagore and the anti-violence declarations preached by Mahatma Gandhi. With the bursting in of `colonialism` genre in Indian literature, novel writing never did remain the same. Under men like Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao and R.K. Narayan, the historical journey of the Indian English novel had begun to take its gigantic strides into the world of post-colonialism and a concept of the daring Indian novelists had emerged. In "Coolie" by Mulk Raj Anand, the social discrepancy and gross inequality in India is very much laid down stripped from any social constraints. In R.K. Narayan`s much-admired visionary village Malgudi, the invisible men and women of the country`s ever-multiplying population, come to life and in a heart-rending manner, re-enact life with all its contrarinesses and arbitrarinesses. In `Kanthapura` by Raja Rao, Gandhism truly comes alive in a quaint laid-back village down south. The Indian ness of novel writing in English, which was once viewed as a taboo and things of scorn due to English stronghold, was no longer needed to be depicted by outsiders; par excellence writers had come to light and with what consequences! People like Tagore or R.K. Narayan have proved this in shining glory time and again. The perspectives from within ensured more clarity and served a social documentative purpose as well. The early history of English novels in India was not just patriotic depictions of Indian ness, but also a rather fanatical and the cynical attempts at being unequalled. Niradh C. Chaudhuri, one of the most stellar instances belonging to this genre, had viewed India without the Crown in a dubious and incredulous manner. He had in fact tossed away the `fiery patriotism` and spiritualism that were `Brand India` and grieved the absence of colonial rule. As Indian Independence drew near and the country grew out from her obsession with freedom and reexamined her own vein of imperialism during the Emergency, the Indian language of expression began to alter in a rapid manner. Presently, however with the Indian diaspora being a much depending force in the publishing world, history of Indian English novel speaks a different global tongue, unrestrained to any particular culture or heritage - the perfect language of the `displaced intellectual`. This displaced intellectual class, explicated as the `Indian Diaspora` had become victorious enough to raise the curtain on the unlikely mythical realities that were integral part of domestic conversations in the villages. The history of the Indian English novel was once more standing at the crossroads in the line of post-colonialism, with literature in India awaiting its second best metamorphosis. Men like Salman Rushdie have enamoured critics with his mottled amalgamation of history and language as well. He had indeed served as that mouthpiece, who had opened the doors to an overabundance of writers. Amitav Ghosh plays brilliantly in

postcolonial realities and Vikram Seth coalesces poetry and prose with an aura of Victorian magnificence. While Rohinton Mistry tries to painstakingly decode the Parsi world, Pico Iyer fluently and naturally charts the map in his writings. Women novelists have loved to explore the world of the much trodden lore again and again, condemning exploitation and trying to make sense of the rapidly changing pace of the `new India`. History of Indian English novels however, does not only end here, with Kamala Das scouting women`s quandary in India and the world and others like Shashi Deshpande portraying characters who blame their self-satisfaction for their pitiable state of affairs. Arundhati Roy begins her story without actually a beginning and does not really end it also, whereas Jhumpa Lahiri`s well-crafted tales trudge at a perfect pace. Indian English novel and its eventful historical journey had begun with a bang when Rabindranath Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and by the time V.S. Naipaul had earned the same, the Indian English novel owned a far flung reach. Now more than ever, English novels in India are triggering off debates concerning colossal advances, plagiarisation and film rights. `Hinglish masala` (a lingo of Hindi and English in the current Indian scenario) and a dash of spiritual pragmatism are only the tip of the iceberg. (Last Updated on : 28/04/2009) Modern Indian Literature The development of modern Indian literature has been marked by certain characteristics, some of which it shares with modern literatures over the world. There has always been in all countries and ages a conflict between the orthodox and the unorthodox, but in India, because the new impulse was identified with an alien culture and foreign domination, the clash of loyalties has been sharper. The very impact of Western thought, with its emphasis on democracy and selfexpression, stimulated a nationalist consciousness which resented the foreign imposition and searched for the roots of self-respect and pride in its own heritage. For instance, Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Gora is a masterly interpretation of this built-in conflict in the very nature of Indian renaissance, a conflict which still persists and has coloured not only our literature but almost every aspect of human life. The first outstanding Bengali poet of the nineteenth century (and the last in the old tradition), Iswar Chandra Gupta (1812-59), whose remarkable journal, Sambad Prabhakar, was the training-ground of many distinguished writers. The new era of modern Indian literatures may be said to begin in 1800, when Fort William College was established in Kolkata and The Baptist Mission Press in Serampore, near Kolkata. The college was founded by the East India Company to provide instruction to British civil servants in the laws, customs, religions, languages, and literatures of India in order to cope with the increasing demands of fast-growing administrative machinery. Reading material, during this time, was translated from the Sanskrit classics as well as from foreign literature, and dictionaries and grammars were compiled. William Carey, who was also one of the founders of the Baptist Mission Press, himself wrote a Bengali grammar and compiled an English-Bengali dictionary as well as two selections of dialogues and stories. Later in the second half of the sixteenth century, books in Tamil and other Dravidian languages began to be printed. Many foreign missionaries learnt the languages of the people. They not only translated the Bible and wrote Christian Puranas but also rendered considerable service to the languages by compiling the first modern grammars and dictionaries. Although the printing-press came to south India much earlier and the foreign missionary enterprise functioned much longer and more zealously than in Bengal, the impact of Western learning as such was comparatively

slow and the resurgence of literary activity bore fruit in its modern form much later than in Bengal. The establishment of Hindu College in 1817 and the replacing of Persian by English as the language of the law and the increasing use of Bengali were other landmarks which encouraged the introduction of modern education and the development of the language of the people. It was, Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833) who laid the real foundation of modern Bengali prose. The form which he gave to Bengali prose revealed its rich potentiality in the hands of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar (1820-1891) and Akshay Kumar Datta (1820-1886), both of whom were primarily social reformers and educationists. Because they were men of serious purpose who had much to say, they had little use for the flamboyance and rhetoric natural to a language derived from Sanskrit, and they chiselled a prose that was both chaste and vigorous. Pathfinders rather than creative artists, they standardized the medium which their younger contemporary, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-94), turned with superb gusto and skill into a creative tool for his novels and stories. He is known as the father of the modern novel in India and his influence on his contemporaries and successors, in Bengal and other parts of India, was profound and extensive. Novels, both historical and social, the two forms in which he excelled, had been written before him in Bengali by Bhudev Mukherji and Peary Chand Mitra. Mitra’s ‘Alaler Gharer Dulalh’ was the first specimen of original fiction of social realism with free use of the colloquial idiom, and anticipated, however crudely, the later development of the novel. But it was Bankim Chandra who established the novel as a major literary form in India. He had his limitations, he was too romantic, effusive, and didactic, and was in no sense a peer of his Great Russian contemporaries, Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. There have been better novelists in India since his day, but they all stand on his shoulders. Though the first harvest was reaped in Bengali prose, it was in the soil of poetry that this crossfertilization with the West bore its richest fruit. With the emotional temperament and lyrical genius, the Bengali language is supple and musical, as though fashioned for poetry. Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824-1873) was the pioneer who, turning his back on the native tradition, made the first conscious and successful experiment to naturalize the European forms into Bengali poetry by his epic in blank verse, ‘Meghnadbadh Kabya’, based on a Ramayana episode unorthodoxly interpreted, as well as by a number of sonnets. He led the way but could not establish a vital tradition, for his own success was a tour de force of a rare genius. It was Rabindranath Tagore who naturalized the Western spirit into Indian literature and thereby made it truly modern in an adult sense. He did this not by any conscious or forced adaptation of foreign models but by his creative response to the impulse of the age, with the result that the Upanishads and Kalidasa, Vaishnava lyricism, and the rustic vigour of the folk idiom, are so well blended with Western influences in his poetry that generations of critics will continue to wrangle over his specific debt to each of them. In him modern Indian literature came of age, not only in poetry but in prose as well. Novel, short story, drama, essay, and literary criticism, they all attained maturity in his hands. Though Indian literature in its latest phase has outgrown his influence, as indeed it should, Tagore was the most vital creative force in the cultural renaissance of India and represents its finest achievement. Kolkata being the first cosmopolitan city in India to grow under the new regime, it was natural that it should witness the birth of the modern drama. It has still a lively stage tradition. Curiously enough, the first stage-play in Bengali produced in Kolkata was by a Russian adventurer-cumIndologist, Lebedev, in 1795. It was an adaptation of a little-known English comedy, “The

Disguise”, by Richard Paul Jodrell. Many years passed before a serious attempt was made to build an authentic stage, mainly under private patronage. The first original play in Bengali was Kulin Kulasarvasva, a social satire against the practice of polygamy among Kulin brahmans, written by Pandit Ramnarayana. Ramnarayana’s second play, Ratnavali, based on a Sanskrit classic, provoked Madhusudan Dutt to try his hand at this medium. His impetuous genius turned out a number of plays in quick succession, some based on old legends and some social satires. He may thus be said to have laid the foundation of modern Indian drama, as he did of poetry, although his achievement in this form did not equal his performance in poetry and he soon retired from the field. His place was taken by Dinabandhu Mitra (1829-74), a born dramatist whose very first play, ‘Nil Darpan’ (published in 1860), exposing the atrocities of the British indigo planters, created a sensation, both literary and political. Dinabandhu wrote many more plays and was followed by a succession of playwrights among whom were Rabindranath Tagore’s elder brother Jyotirindranath Tagore, Manomohan Basu, and, later, the more famous Girish Chandra Ghosh and Dwijendralal Roy. Girish Chandra was actor, producer, and playwright, and it is to his indefatigable zeal that the public theatre in Kolkata is largely indebted. But though both he and Dwijendralal achieved phenomenal popularity in their day, their popular appeal was due more to the patriotic and melodramatic elements in their plays than to any abiding literary merit. On the other hand, Rabindranath Tagore’s plays, though they had considerable literary merit and were marked by originality and depth of thought, were too symbolic or ethereal to catch the popular imagination. Of the numerous languages of India perhaps Marathi was, after Bengali, the most vigorous in its response to the spirit of the new age. This is because of its robust intellectual tradition, reinforced by memories of the erstwhile glory of the Maratha Empire, and partly because Mumbai, like Kolkata, provided a cosmopolitan modern environment. Among the stalwarts who laid the foundation of its modern literature may be mentioned the poet Keshavsut, the novelist Hari Narayan Apte, and Agarkar, Tilak, and Chiplunkar as the builders of prose. Apte’s novels stimulated the development of the novel in some other languages too, particularly in the neighbouring Kannada. Narmad’s poetry blazed the trail in Gujarati. Flourishing under court patronage, Urdu had made phenomenal progress and was the most important Indian language to prosper in the eighteenth century. But it luxuriated in its own affluence and remained aloof from the vital currents that were sweeping the country forward in the nineteenth century. The development of modern Assamese and Oriya, the two eastern neighbours of Bengali, was also late in coming and was preceded by valuable spade-work done by the Christian missions. Orissa too had recovered its homogeneous integrity and the intelligentsia in the regions was educated in Kolkata and carried back with them the impact of the literary resurgence in Bengal. Lakshmikanta Bezbarua and Padmanath Gohain Barua in Assamese, and Fakirmohan Senapati and Radhanath Ray in Oriya were the early pioneers in their respective fields. Kashmiri, Punjabi, and Sindhi had an even more retarded development, partly on account of the political conditions and partly because of the cultural glamour of Urdu in regions predominantly Muslim. All the more credit to the pioneers who held aloft the banner of their mother tongue are Mahjur and Master Zinda Kaul in Kashmiri, Sardar Puran Singh and Bhal Vir Singh in Punjabi, and Mirza Kalich Beg and Dewan Kauromal in Sindhi.

What is surprising is the rather late and tardy resurgence in the four Dravidian languages, which had had a longer and a richer literary past than the northern languages. The past has weighed more heavily on the south than on the north in India and nowhere more heavily than on Tamil Nadu. However, in course of time the creative spirit in these languages too responded to the impulse of the age, in as rich a flowering as in the other languages of India, led by Puttanna, ‘Sri’, and Kailasham in Kannada, by Kerala Varma and Chandu Menon in Malayalam, by Bharati and Kalki in Tamil, and Viresalingam and Guruzada Appa Rao in Telugu. It is worth observing that the youngest of the Dravidian languages, Malayalam, has responded to the new age more dynamically than the oldest, Tamil, which even now looks too wistfully to the past. All the great events which have influenced European thought within the last one hundred years have also told, however feeble their effect may be, on the formation of the intellect of modern Bengal. The independence of America, the French Revolution, the war of Italian independence, the teachings of history, the vigour and freedom of English literature and English thought, the great effort of the French intellect in the eighteenth century, the results of German labour in the field of philosophy and ancient history; Positivism, Utilitarianism, Darwinism, all these have influenced and shaped the intellect of modern Bengal. From the beginning of the twentieth century Indian literature was increasingly coloured by political aspirations, passionately voiced in the songs and poems of the Tamil poet Bharati and the Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. The spiritual note of Indian poetry had attained a poignant and rapturous pitch in the medieval Vaishnava outpourings. Tagore’s Gitanjali is the swan song of this great tradition. The devotional content of poetry was henceforth increasingly replaced by the political, the ethical bias by the ideological, the plaintive tone by that of challenge and mockery, until the dominant note of Indian literature today is that of protest. Tagore’s main impact was, however, indirect, inasmuch as it gave confidence to Indian writers that they could achieve in their mother tongue what had been achieved in Sanskrit or European languages. But Tagore’s influence in literature was soon overshadowed by the impact of Gandhi, Marx, and Freud, a strange trinity. Though none of these three was a man of letters proper, they released intellectual and moral passions and introduced new techniques of thought and behaviour which had a profound effect on young writers all over India. The influence of the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo Ghose is also noticeable among some writers, like the Kannada poets, Bendre and Puttappa, and the Gujarati poets, Sundaram and Jayant Parekh, but beyond imparting a certain mystic glow to their verse and confirming their faith in the reality of the Indian spiritual experience, it has not given any new trend or horizon to Indian literature in general. On the whole, the impact on Indian writing of the mixed interaction has given a much-needed jolt to the smugness of the traditional attitude, with its age-old tendency to sentimental piety and glorification of the past. The revolt began in Bengal, yielded a rich harvest, in both poetry and prose, in the work of Jivanananda Das, Premendra Mitra, Buddhadeva Bose, Manek Bandyopadhyay, Subhas Mukhopadhyay et al. In Bengal both these forms attained an early maturity in the hands of Tagore and have since made phenomenal progress under his younger contemporaries and successors namely Sarat Chandra Chatterjee achieved a popularity, both in Bengal and outside, which equalled, if not surpassed, that of Tagore. Moreover, English language had a great impact on the Indians and apart from its utilitarian value as a language of higher education in the sciences and as a ‘link language’, a fair number of Indian writers, including such eminent thinkers steeped in Indian thought as Vivekananda, Ranade, Gokhale, Aurobindo Ghose and Radhakrishnan, have voluntarily adopted it as their

literary medium. There has been, from Derozio in the 1820s to R. K. Narayan today, an unbroken tradition of some gifted Indians choosing to write in English. Many of them, like the Dutt sisters, Toru and Aru, their versatile uncle Romesh Chunder, Manomohan Ghosh, Sarojini Naidu, and, among contemporaries, Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao, Bhabani Bhattacharya, and many others, have achieved distinction. Some early pioneers in the Indian languages were also tempted at the threshold of their career to adopt English for their creative writing, partly because they owed their inspiration to English literature and partly because they hoped thereby to reach a wider audience. Madhusudan Dutt’s first narrative poem, “The Captive Ladie”, and Bankim Chandra’s early novel “Rajmohan’s Wife”, are classic examples. Wisely they discovered in time that they could create best in their own language. Some English novels of R. K. Narayan, a born story-teller with any eye for observation and the gift of gentle irony, are superior in intrinsic literary merit to a great deal of mediocre stuff that passes for literature in some Indian languages. On the other hand, it cannot be denied that, as far as creative writing is concerned, no Indian writer in English has reached anywhere near the heights attained by some of the great writers in the Indian languages. What modern Indian literature sadly lacks is a well-proportioned and many-sided development. The modern Indian literature is the representation of each aspect of modern life. Happily, despite this clamour of sophistry, patriotic piety, and political bias, good literature continues to be written and, as it justifies itself, it helps to sharpen the reader’s sensibility. Since the time of Tagore a growing minority of intelligent critics well versed in the literary traditions of their own country and of the West have bravely maintained a more wholesome approach that is neither overwhelmed by the burden of the past nor overawed by the glamour of the latest fashion. This healthy trend of the modern Indian literature should gain in strength with a growing realization that, in the republic of letters as in that of men, a sensitive and well-trained critical apparatus and its judicious and fearless exercise are a prerequisite of happy results. (Last Updated on : 21/08/2009)

Indian Authors and the Evolution of the Indian English Novel
chillibreeze writer — Neelima Kumar The story of the Indian English novel is really the story of a changing India. There was a time when education was a rare opportunity and speaking English was unnecessary. The stories were already there- in the myths, in the folklore and the umpteen languages and cultures that gossiped, conversed, laughed and cried all over the subcontinent. India has always been a land of stories, the demarcation between ritual and reality being very narrow. The Indian English novel erupted in the fiery talks of Henry Derozio, the spiritual prose of Tagore and the pacifist dictums preached by Gandhi. With the coming of Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao and R.K.Narayan, the Indian English novel had begun its journey. In “Coolie” by Mulk Raj Anand, the social disparity in India is laid bare. In R.K.Narayan’s imaginary village Malgudi, the invisible men and women of our teeming population come to life and act out life with all its

perversities and whimsicalities. In ‘Kanthapura’ by Raja Rao, Gandhism awakes in a sleepy village down south. India no longer needed to be depicted by outsiders. The perspectives from within ensured more clarity and served a social documentative purpose as well. The early novels in India were not just patriotic depictions of Indianness. There were the cynics. Niradh C Chaudhuri viewed India without the crown skeptically. He discarded the fiery patriotism and spiritualism that were ‘Brand India’ and mourned the absence of colonial rule. As India grew out of her obsession with freedom and viewed her own streak of imperialism during the Emergency, the Indian idiom began to change. Now with the Indian Diaspora being a reckoning force in the publishing world, Indian English speaks a global tongue, unconfined to any particular culture or heritage- the language of the displaced intellectual. This brings us to a problem with contemporary Indian English writing. When you ponder on the subject very few Indian English writers in India have made it with their English writing. They inevitably have the odd degree from Oxford and Cambridge and their foundations are laid abroad. It seems to be a prerequisite to have a global perspective if one is to be successful in writing in English. The real need in India is more publishing houses that are willing to give aspiring writers in India a chance. Writers in India need more avenues to make themselves heard and as readers the Indian audience should not get too mesmerized by foreign publications. The Indian Diaspora raised the curtain on the fantastic mythical realities that were part of domestic conversations in the villages. Salman Rushdie fascinates critics with his ‘chutnification’ of history and language as well. He opened the doors to a plethora of writers. Amitav Ghosh dabbles in postcolonial realities and Vikram Seth fuses poetry and prose with an air of Victorian grandeur. While Rohinton Mistry tries to decipher the Parsi world, Pico Iyer effortlessly walks the map in his writings. Women writers explore old wives’ tales, condemn exploitation and try to make sense of the fast changing pace of the new world. Kamala Das explores women’s plight in India and the world and others like Shashi Deshpande paint characters who blame their own complacence for their sorry condition. Arundhathi Roy begins her story without a beginning and does not really end it while Jhumpa Lahiri’s well-crafted tales move at a perfect pace. Indian English began with a bang when Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature and by the time V.S.Naipal bagged the same, the Indian English novel had a far flung reach. Now Indian English novels are sparking off debates about huge advances, plagiarism and film rights. Hinglish masala and a dose of spiritual realism are only the tip of the iceberg. The Indian audience and the rest of the world have a lot to look forward to when they get an Indian English novel in their hands.

Indian English literature
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History of modern literature Indian English Literature (IEL) refers to the body of work by writers in India who write in the English language and whose native or conative language could be one of the numerous languages of India. It is also associated with the works of members of the Indian diaspora, such as writer Salman Rushdie, who was born in India. The early modern period It is frequently referred to as Indo-Anglian literature. (Indo-Anglian is 16th century in a specific term in the sole context of writing that should not be confused literature | 17th century with the term Anglo-Indian). As a category, this production comes in literature under the broader realm of postcolonial literature- the production from European literature in previously colonised countries such as India. the 18th century 1700s | 1710s | 1720s | IEL has a relatively recent history, it is only one and a half centuries 1730s | 1740s | 1750s | old. The first book written by an Indian in English was by Sake Dean 1760s | 1770s | 1780s | Mahomet, titled Travels of Dean Mahomet; Mahomet's travel narrative 1790s | 1800s was published in 1793 in England. In its early stages it was influenced by the Western art form of the novel. Early Indian writers used English Modern Literature, 19th century unadulterated by Indian words to convey an experience which was 1800s | 1810s | 1820s | essentially Indian. Raja Rao's Kanthapura is Indian in terms of its 1830s | 1840s | 1850s | storytelling qualities. Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali and 1860s | 1870s | 1880s | English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into 1890s | 1900s English. Dhan Gopal Mukerji was the first Indian author to win a literary award in the United States. Nirad C. Chaudhuri, a writer of non- Modern Literature, fiction, is best known for his The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian 20th century Modernism | where he relates his life experiences and influences. P. Lal, a poet, Structuralism | translator, publisher and essayist, founded a press in the 1950s for Deconstruction | Indian English writing, Writers Workshop. Poststructuralism | Postmodernism | Postcolonialism | Hypertext fiction 1900s | 1910s | 1920s | 1930s | 1940s | 1950s | 1960s | 1970s | 1980s | 1990s | 2000s Modern Literature in Europe European literature Modern Literature in the Americas American literature | Argentine literature | Brazilian literature | Canadian literature | Colombian literature | Tagore, photographed in Hampstead, England in 1912 by John Cuban literature | Rothenstein. Jamaican literature | Mexican literature | Peruvian literature Australasian Literature Australian literature | New Zealand literature

R.K. Narayan is a writer who contributed over many decades and who continued to write till his death recently. He was discovered by Graham Greene in the sense that the latter helped him find a publisher in England. Graham Greene and Narayan remained close friends till the end. Similar to Thomas Hardy's Wessex, Narayan created the fictitious town of Malgudi where he set his novels. Some criticise Narayan for the parochial, detached and closed world that he created in the face of the changing conditions in India at the times in which the stories are set. Others, such as Graham Greene, however, feel that through Malgudi they could vividly understand the Indian experience. Narayan's evocation of small town life and its experiences through the eyes of the endearing child protagonist Swaminathan in Swami and Friends is a good sample of his writing style. Simultaneous with Narayan's pastoral idylls, a very different writer, Mulk Raj Anand, was similarly gaining recognition for his writing set in rural India; but his stories were harsher, and engaged, sometimes brutally, with divisions of caste, class and religion.

Contents
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1 Later history 2 Debates 3 Poetry 4 Alternative Writing 5 Indo-Nostalgic writing 6 References 7 See also 8 External links

[edit] Later history
Among the later writers, the most notable is Salman Rushdie, born in India, now living in the United Kingdom. Rushdie with his famous work Midnight's Children (Booker Prize 1981, Booker of Bookers 1992, and Best of the Bookers 2008) ushered in a new trend of writing. He used a hybrid language – English generously peppered with Indian terms – to convey a theme that could be seen as representing the vast canvas of India. He is usually categorised under the magic realism mode of writing most famously associated with Gabriel García Márquez.

Salman Rushdie Bharati Mukherjee, author of Jasmine (1989), has spent much of her career exploring issues involving immigration and identity with a particular focus upon the United States and Canada. Vikram Seth, author of A Suitable Boy (1994) is a writer who uses a purer English and more realistic themes. Being a self-confessed fan of Jane Austen, his attention is on the story, its details and its twists and turns. Shashi Tharoor, in his The Great Indian Novel (1989), follows a story-telling (though in a satirical) mode as in the Mahabharata drawing his ideas by going back and forth in time. His work as UN official living outside India has given him a vantage point that helps construct an objective Indianness. Mysore N. Prakash, author of The Courtesan and the Sadhu (2008) is a Texas based writer who uses historical themes to address spiritual concepts. Other authors include Manoj Das Vikram Chandra, Anita Desai, Kiran Desai, Arundhati Roy, Gita Mehta, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Raj Kamal Jha, Jhumpa Lahiri, Bharti Kirchner, Khushwant Singh, Vijay Singh, Tarun Tejpal, Amit Chaudhuri, Amitav Ghosh, Vikas Swarup, Rohinton Mistry, Suketu Mehta, Kiran Nagarkar, Dr Birbal Jha ,and C R Krishnan.

Khushwant Singh

[edit] Debates
It would be useful at this point to bring in the recent debates on Indian Writing in English ("IWE"). One of the key issues raised in this context is the superiority/inferiority of IWE as opposed to the literary production in the various languages of India. Key polar concepts bandied in this context are superficial/authentic, imitative/creative, shallow/deep, critical/uncritical, elitist/parochial and so on. The views of Rushdie and Amit Chaudhuri expressed through their books The Vintage Book of Indian Writing and The Picador Book of Modern Indian Literature respectively essentialise this battle. Rushdie's statement in his book – "the ironic proposition that India's best writing since independence may have been done in the language of the departed imperialists is simply too much for some folks to bear" – created a lot of resentment among many writers, including writers in English. In his book, Amit Chaudhuri questions – "Can it be true that Indian writing, that endlessly rich, complex and problematic entity, is to be represented by a handful of writers who write in English, who live in England or America and whom one might have met at a party?" Chaudhuri feels that after Rushdie, IWE started employing magical realism, bagginess, nonlinear narrative and hybrid language to sustain themes seen as microcosms of India and supposedly reflecting Indian conditions. He contrasts this with the works of earlier writers such as Narayan where the use of English is pure, but the deciphering of meaning needs cultural familiarity. He also feels that Indianness is a theme constructed only in IWE and does not articulate itself in the vernacular literatures. He further adds "the post-colonial novel, becomes a trope for an ideal hybridity by which the West celebrates not so much Indianness, whatever that infinitely complex thing is, but its own historical quest, its reinterpretation of itself". Some of these arguments form an integral part of what is called postcolonial theory. The very categorisation of IWE – as IWE or under post-colonial literature – is seen by some as limiting. Amitav Ghosh made his views on this very clear by refusing to accept the Eurasian Commonwealth Writers Prize for his book The Glass Palace in 2001 and withdrawing it from the subsequent stage. The renowned writer V. S. Naipaul, a third generation Indian from Trinidad and Tobago and a Nobel prize laureate, is a person who belongs to the world and usually not classified under IWE. Naipaul evokes ideas of homeland, rootlessness and his own personal feelings towards India in many of his books. Jhumpa Lahiri, a Pulitzer prize winner from the U.S., is a writer uncomfortable under the label of IWE. Recent writers in India such as Arundhati Roy and David Davidar show a direction towards contextuality and rootedness in their works. Arundhati Roy, a trained architect and the 1997 Booker prize winner for her The God of Small Things, calls herself a "home grown" writer. Her award winning book is set in the immensely physical landscape of Kerala. Davidar sets his The

House of Blue Mangoes in Southern Tamil Nadu. In both the books, geography and politics are integral to the narrative. In his novel Lament of Mohini [1] (2000), Shreekumar Varma [2] touches upon the unique matriarchal system and the sammandham system of marriage as he writes about the Namboodiris and the aristocrats of Kerala.

[edit] Poetry
A much over-looked category of Indian writing in English is poetry. As stated above, Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali and English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into English. Other early notable poets in English include Derozio, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Joseph Furtado, Armando Menezes, Toru Dutt, Romesh Chandra Dutt, Sri Aurobindo, Sarojini Naidu, and her brother Harendranath Chattopadhyaya. In modern times, Indian poetry in English was typified by two very different poets. Dom Moraes, winner of the Hawthornden Prize at the precocious age of 19 for his first book of poems "A Beginning" went on to occupy a pre-eminent position among Indian poets writing in English. Nissim Ezekiel, who came from India's tiny Bene Israel Jewish community, created a voice and place for Indian poets writing in English and championed their work. Their contemporaries in English poetry in India were Jayanta Mahapatra, Gieve Patel, A. K. Ramanujan, Rajagopal Parthasarathy, Keki Daruwala, Adil Jussawala, Arun Kolatkar, Dilip Chitre, Eunice De Souza, Kersi Katrak, P. Lal and Kamala Das among several others. A generation of exiles also sprang from the Indian diaspora. Among these are names like Agha Shahid Ali, Sujata Bhatt, Melanie Silgardo and Vikram Seth.

[edit] Alternative Writing
Not only mainstream, India has also been the global epicenter of parallel experimental and avant garde counter culture with the ongoing Prakalpana Movement for over the last four decades. Prakalpana Movement found its place in the world of literary movements by projecting its newly created forms and concepts of Prakalpana fiction and Sarbangin Poetry in its bilingual EnglishBangla organs Kobisena and Prakalpana Sahitya/ Prakalpana Literature. The movement has been enriched with the works of today’s renowned avant garde and experimental writers and mail artists such as Richard Kostelanetz, John M. Bennett, Don Webb, Carla Bertola, Sheila Murphy and many others worldwide, with their Indian Counterparts like Dilip Gupta, Nikhil Bhaumik, Syamoli Mukherjee Bhattacharjee, Ramratan Mukhopadhyay, Bibhu Padhi, Boudhayan Mukhopadhyay, Utpal etc. as well as Vattacharja Chandan, who has been the artificer and architect of the movement.[1] A glimpse of the unique Prakalpana fiction form which is the fusion of prose-poetry-picture-play-essay all-in-one, is observable from (a chapter of the on-going bilingual Bangla-English Atiprithibi / Cosmosphere) e book By Vattacharja Chandan : Aurora On The River Gour.

[edit] Indo-Nostalgic writing
Indo-Nostalgic writing is a somewhat loosely defined term encompassing writings, in the English language, wherein nostalgia regarding the Indian subcontinent, typically regarding India, represent a dominant theme or strong undercurrent. The writings may be memoirs, or quasifictionalized memoirs, travelogues, or inspired in part by real-life experiences and in part by the

writer's imagination. This would include both mass-distributed "Indo-Anglian" literature put out by major publishing houses and also much shorter articles (e.g. feature pieces in mainstream or literary magazines) or poetry, including material published initially or solely in webzines. Certainly, Indo-Nostalgic writings have much overlap with post-colonial literature but are generally not about 'heavy' topics such as cultural identity, conflicted identities, multilingualism or rootlessness. The writings are often less self-conscious and more light-hearted, perhaps dealing with impressionistic memories of places, people, cuisines, Only-in-India situations, or simply vignettes of "the way things were". Of late, a few Indo-nostalgic writers are beginning to show signs of "long-distance nationalism", concomitant with the rise of nationalism within India against the backdrop of a booming economy. Typically, the authors are either Western-based writers of Indian origin (e.g. Salman Rushdie, Rohinton Mistry, Vijay Singh, Suketu Mehta), or Western writers who have spent long periods of time in the subcontinent, possibly having been born or raised in India, perhaps as the children of British Raj-era European expatriates or missionaries (e.g. Jim Corbett, Stephen Alter). Or, they may even be Anglo-Indians who have emigrated from the subcontinent to the West. Third Culture Kids (TCKs) often grow up to produce Indo-Nostalgic writings that exhibit palpably deep (and perhaps somewhat romanticized) feelings for their childhoods in the subcontinent. Accordingly, another common theme in Indo-Nostalgic writing is "rediscovery" or its cousin, "reconnection". Of course, for mass-distributed authors, Indo-Nostalgic writings may not necessarily represent all of their literary output, but certainly would represent a high percentage; it is their sweet spot, after all. Finally, it is worth noting that the markets for such writers are almost entirely in the West; despite the rapid growth in the incomes of urban Indians, the sales of English-language literature within India (other than books required for educational degrees or professional purposes) are minuscule compared to sales in the West, even if one includes pirated copies.

[edit] References
• •

Haq, Kaiser (ed.). Contemporary Indian Poetry. Columbus: Ohio State University Press, 1990. Hoskote, Ranjit (ed.). Reasons for Belonging: Fourteen Contemporar

The Beginnings

The East IndiaCompany was formed in 1599 at a meeting attended by leading London merchants
and after more than 150years the company had the key to the domination of Bengaland Indiagenerally. The battle of Plassey was fought in 1757 but Clive declined theresponsibility of Diwani or revenue administration and it was in 1722 that theEast India Company took it over and still later in 1790, the responsibility foradministering criminal justice. The Company was, however, interested in politicaldomination only to the extent such domination increased its own dividends. Itwas directly interested neither in Empire nor in the Kingdom of Christ– and certainly not in the suppression or advancement of indigenous culture. Butthere were exceptions as well. Warren Hastings established the CalcuttaMadrasah in 1781, Sir William Jones established the Royal Asiatic Society ofBengal in 1784 and Sir Thomas Munro too was much impressed by the Indianculture. These men came to be called

‘Brahmanised Britons’ because they admiredIndian culture and deprecated the idea of introducing Western civilization orChristianity into India. By the beginning of the 19thcentury, Britain– or East India Company – was more or less the master of the situation in India. In 1813the commercial monopoly of the Company was ended, and the British in India assumed,beside police functions, educating and civilizing mission as well. A tokengrant of Rupees one lakh per year was made for education and the idea was topromote only Oriental education. Printing presses in different parts of thecountry and books in the vernacular as well as in English were coming out sincethe beginning of the 18th century. Along with grammars, dictionariesand translations, the printing presses also gave rise to the first evernewspaper – Hicky’s Bengal Gazette (1780), and others followed in due course.Last came the private schools that imparted English education – such schoolshave been started as early as 1717 at Cuddalore near Chennai. 1718 at Mumbai(by Richard Cobbe, a chaplain), and 1720 at Kolkata, endowed by theThomlinsons, culminating in the established of Hindu Collegein 1817. Started by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and his friends – David Hare and SirEdward Hyde East, it became the Presidency College in 1855, stillrecognized as one off the premier educational institutes. Western education wasspreading fast in different parts of India and was doing much betterthan the institutions imparting oriental education. The Orientalists and theAnglicists continued to wrangle but it was quite evident that the former weresteadily losing ground, and Macaulay’scelebrated Minute settled the issue at last. He declared that it was bothnecessary and possible to “make the natives of this country good Englishscholars and that to this end our efforts ought to be directed.” On 7thMarch, 1835, Lord William Bentinck resolved that “the great object of theBritish Government ought to be the promotion of European Literature and scienceamong the natives of India, and all funds appropriated for the purpose ofeducation would be best employed on English education alone.” From 1835 was theAnglicizing period. During the 20 years between 1835 to1855 thenumber of those educated in English had been rapidly increasing. It is saidthat even in 1834-5, 32,000 English books sold in India, as against 13,000 in nativeIndian languages. The vogue for English books increased, and the demand camemore from English educated Indians than from the Englishmen in India. Westernways – in manners and customs- became current in bigger towns and cities. In1853 the first railway was established in India, in 1854 the first telegraphline and a modern postal system were inaugurated. Distance was being abridgedand a common medium of communication was being established. Modern Europeanscientific techniques (including medicine and surgery) were slowly beingintroduced in India.It was thus thought that Indiawas eventually progressing from its static and secure medievalism to a dynamicmodernism. Indians started with reading, speaking andcomprehending English, and they soon started writing also. Once this started,Indian writing in English had to range from the most utilitarian prose to themost ambitious verse-epics, for example. On the other hand, Indian writing inEnglish was but only one of the manifestations of the new creative urge in India – what is often referred to as theliterary Renaissance in India.The study of English literature stimulated literary creation in Bengali,Marathi, Telegu, Gujrati and other Indian languages. And Indo-Anglianliterature had the same origin as the other modern literature in India,though here the foreign element seemed more pronounced. The filiations betweenthe modern Indian literatures (including Indian English Literature) and Englishliterature have been close. Ram Mohan Roy

The renaissance in modern Indian literature begins with Raja Ram Mohan Roy. Roy was born in Radhanagar village in west Bengal's Hooghly district on May 22, 1772, to conservative Bengali Brahmin parents. His father Ramakanta Roy's family belonged to the Vaisnava (who worship Lord Vishnu - the Preserver; followers of Sri Caitanya Maha Prabhu) a liberal sect that flourished in Bengal and South India. His mother Tarini Devi's orthodox priestly family (Bhattacharyas of Chatra) on the other hand belonged to the Shakta sect (worshippers of Godess Kali - the Shakti - the Mother Energy of the universe). Roy did his elementary education in the village school in Bengali, his mother tongue. At the age of 12, Roy went to a seat of Muslim studies in Patna where he mastered Persian and Arabic. His knowledge of Arabic enabled him to read the Koran in the original, as well as the works of Sufi saints. He also devoured Arabic translations of the works of Aristotle and Plato. When he was 16, Royclashed with his orthodox father on the issue of idol worship and left home. Toacquaint himself with the Buddhist religion, he travelled across northern India and Tibet for the next three years. Hisquestioning mind objected to the deification of the Buddha and this did not godown well with some of the lamas. He then visited Varanasi where he learnt Sanskrit and studiedancient Hindu scriptures. In 1803, he secured a job with the East India Company and in 1809, he wasposted to Rangpur. In Rangpur, he learnt about Jainism and studied the Jaintexts. Roy wasdrawn to certain aspects of Christianity that led some of the followers of thereligion to suggest that he convert; but he politely declined. Roy'sunderstanding of the different religions of the world helped him to comparethem with Vedantic philosophy and garner the best from each religion. Sufimysticism had a great influence on Roy.He loved to repeat three of their maxims: "Man is the slave ofbenefits"; "The enjoyment of the worlds rests on these two points -kindness to friends and civility to enemies"; and "The way of servingGod is to do good to man". To pursue his interests, Roy resigned from theEast India Company a few years later and came to Calcutta in 1814. Dissatisfied with thesystem of education and the rote method of teaching English, he formed anassociation of English and Hindu scholars. He also invested his own money inthe starting of a school where he introduced subjects like science,mathematics, political science and English. Roy felt that an understanding of these"modern" subjects would give Indians a better standing in the worldof the day. Though initially antagonistic towards British rule in India, Roylater began to feel that the country would benefit in terms of education and byexposure to the good points of Christianity. For this he was called a stooge ofthe British. Along with a group of like-minded people, Royfounded the Atmiya Sabha in 1814. The group held weekly meetings at his house;texts from the Vedas were recited and theistic hymns were sung. Roy was drawn to the Unitarian form of Christianity thatresulted in him supporting a Unitarian Mission to be set up in Calcutta in 1824. Toru DuttRead Toru Dutt's Poems Toru Dutt (born on 4th March, 1865)compels attention as a poet, however her life – a combination of beauty andtragedy – equally fascinates and depresses us.

Her poetry is reality, no doubt,but the poet too induces interest. She had a rich and respectable ancestry. TheDutts were one of the eminent families in Kolkata. Her father Govin ChunderDutt, was well-to-do, a good linguist, and a cultured man with literaryleanings and generous impulse. In 1862, when she was just six, the Dutt family embracedChristianity. Initially, this strained the relations between her parents but itturned out to be a temporary phase. Her mother soon reconciled, became a devoutChristian, and translated The Blood of Jesus into Bengali, giving ampleproof of her linguistic abilities and ease in handling the two languages. Toruwas the youngest in the family, having a brother Abju and a sister Aru. Of hisson Govi wrote: Most loving is my eldest, and I love him most; Almost a man in seeming, yet a child… And thus of Aru: My next, the beauty of our home, is meek; Not so deep-loving haply, but less wild Than her dear brother;-brow and blushing cheek Her nature shows serene, and pure, and mild As evening’s early star; And thus to Toru: Punyand elf-like, with disheveled tresses, Self-willedand shy ne’er heeding that I call, Intentto pay her tenderest addresses Tobird or cat, - but most intelligent… The children had a private tutor but Govin took personalcare in educating them properly. Toru, was conscious of the influence herfather had exercised in shaping her mental calibre. She recalled gratefully,"without Papa I should never have known good poetry from bad, but he usedto take such pains with us … When we were quite little ones… I wonder what Ishould have been without my father, nothing very enviable or desirable, Iknow". The first calamity came in 1865 when Abju died. The sisters clungto each other and read Paradise Lost repeatedly, and lost themselves in literary studies. In 1869, the family left for Europewhere the girls could glean rich treasures of knowledge and become versatile.Their first stay was in Nice, in the South-east of France. Here they attended schooland learnt French - a language in which they attained proficiency to use it forcreativity. The stay at Nice was short and was followed by a visit to Italy and then to England. In London, the lessons in music aroused thegirls’ finer sensitivities and opened new vistas of the world of emotions. Atwo-year period at Cambridgehelped in the blossoming of their personalities further. Toru came into contactwith Mary Martin at Cambridgeand the two fostered a life-long bond of friendship and affection. Thecorrespondence with Mary Martin is a valuable source to know the mental make-upof the young poetess. The letters reveal the young writer’s childlike joy inlife with her intellectual maturity. They speak of flowers and birds and ofartistic vision, scholarly pursuits and morbid illness.

Toru DuttRead Toru Dutt's Poems Soon after their arrival in their London came out The Dutt Family Album (1870), containing about 200 pieces, Govin’s contribution being mainly of a didactic nature. His brothers and a nephew called Omesh Chunder were the other contributors to the volume. Of no major literary importance, the volume throws light on the literary exertion and creative atmosphere of the Dutt family house. The family moved back to Kolkata in September 1873 and soon after that, in 1874 July, Aru succumbed to consumption. Toru’s first publication A sheaf Gleaned in French Fields (1876) consisting of translations of seventy French poets (including Hugo, Gautier, Baudelaire, Leconte de Lisle, Nerval, SainteBeauve), brought her to the attention of Edmund Gosse. Most of the poems were translated by Toru and her translations are also the more striking: Ha! There’s the seagull. See it springs, Pearls scattering from its tawny wings, Then plunges in the gulfs once more, ‘Tis lost in caverns of the main! No! No! It upward soars again, As souls from trials upward soar. (‘Lines:Victor Hugo’) The most interesting part of the collection was the Notes appended at the end of volume, consisting of critical comments on the French poetry translated in the volume. They were largely written by Toru. Gosse found them ‘curious’ and ‘bewildering’ as ‘nothing could be more naïve than the writer’s ignorance at some points, or more startling than her learning at others. Thompson admired the ‘independence and masculinity’ of her criticism. Shortly after her return to Kolkata, Toru published her first essays, including one on Derozio in the Bengal Magazine (December 1874). She worked hard at learning Sanskrit and writings poems on Hindu mythology. Toru was considering translating Clarisse Bader’s La Femme dans l’Inde Antique when she died at the age of only twenty one years and six months. It was 30th August 1877. A selection of English translation of the sonnets of Comte de Grammont, a sketch for an unfinished romance Bianca, or The Young Spanish Maiden, a complete French novel – Le Journal de Mademoiselle d’Arvers, and a collection of poems Ancient Ballads were left behind by Toru. Bianca was published in Bengal Magazine (1878), while the French novel appeared in 1879 to much critical acclaim. The poems collected in Ancient Ballads were better than anything written up till then by an Indian in the English language. ‘Baugmaree’ which takes its name from the place where the Dutt country house was situated, is a celebration of trees. In its imagery and description – an affinity might be found between Toru and her contemporary Emily Dickinson. The bulk of the poems in Ancient Ballads is based on Indian mythology. Toru Dutt’s poetry transcends the recognisable school of nineteenth century poetry and evolves a separate identity. The difference lies in the manner in which her language addresses her experience, her vision radiating beyond the boundaries within which most of the nineteenth century poetry in English was confined. Her awareness of her own Indianness is not restricted to Indian historical themes and the reworking of Indian legends. The mythological content of her

poems does not exist extrinsically, but is integrated with her consciousness, her memory. In her poetry, we meet for the first time a language that is crafted out of the vicissitudes of an individual life and a sensibility that belongs to modern India.

The Top Ten Indian Writers in English
Salman Rushdie
The 1980s and 90s saw a renaissance of Indian writing in English making the task of choosing the top ten authors of this genre especially challenging. The renaissance was spearheaded by Salman Rushdie with his path breaking novel Midnight’s Children in 1980. Ever since his success, there has been a glut of Indian authors writing in English. These contemporary writers are not confined to people living in India, but like Rushdie, a large number of them are part of the Indian diaspora. Earlier writers like Nirad C. Choudhuri, R.K. Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand or Raja Rao used English in its classical form. However, Rushdie, with his Pidgin English, signaled a new trend in writing as well as giving voice to multicultural concerns. Although his Midnight’s Children, Shame, The Moor’s Last Sigh, Fury, and Shalimar the Clown received critical acclaim for their themes as well as his use of magic realism, the book that generated the most controversy was The Satanic Verses. He was accused of blasphemy by many Muslims because of certain allegedly irreverent references to Islam’s Prophet Mohammad. A fatwa was issued by Iran’s Ayotollah Khomeini in 1989 calling for the execution of the author. Many countries banned the book including India. Rushdie had to go into hiding in U.K. Till date, Rushdie remains a hunted man with a price on his head.

Vikram Seth
Next on the list should be Vikram Seth who produced some magnificent works like The Golden Gate, A Suitable Boy, An Equal Music, and Two Lives. His first book is written in verse form and chronicles the lives of young professionals in San Francisco. But the work that propelled him into the limelight was his second book, A Suitable Boy, which was based in a post-independent India.

Arundhati Roy
If Rushdie’s work liberated Indian writing from the colonial straitjacket, Arundhati’s Roy’s book, The God of Small Things, radically changed perceptions about Indian authors with her commercial success. She won the Booker prize and remained on the top of the New York Times bestseller list for a long time. With her also started the trend of large advances, hitherto unheard of among Indian writers.

Rohinton Mistry
The other authors who should be included in the list are: Rohinton Mistry, V.S. Naipaul, Amitav Ghosh, Jhumpa Lahiri, Shashi Tharoor, and Upamanyu Chatterjee. Mistry’s books shed light on the issues affecting the Parsi community in India. Although the novels are long and at times

depressing, the beauty of the books lies in their lyrical prose. Some of his better known works include Such a Long Journey, Family Matters, and A Fine Balance.

V.S Naipaul
One of the most enduring figures in the field and a nobel laureate, V.S. Naipaul, is of Indian origin although he was born in Trinidad. His prolific writing career includes works such as A House for Mr. Biswas, India: A Wounded Civilization, An Area of Darkness, India: A Million Mutinies Now, and A Bend in the River. Naipaul is another writer who has courted controversy for a long time. His often scathing commentaries on developing countries like India or the Caribbean and his critical assessment of Muslim fundamentalism on non-Arab countries have been subjected to harsh criticism.

Amitav Ghosh
Another respected name that should feature on a list of the top ten contemporary Indian writers is Amitav Ghosh, who has won many accolades including the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Prix Medicis Etrangere of France. Although less prone to controversy, he is responsible for producing some of the most lyrical and insightful works on the effect of colonialism on the native people. His books include The Circle of Reason, The Glass Palace, The Calcutta Chromosome, and The Hungry Tide.

Jhumpa Lahiri
Jhumpa Lahiri, a recent entrant into the world of Indian writers, tackles the much-debated topic of cultural identity of Indians in a far off land. Lahiri took the literary world by storm when her debut book, The Interpreter of Maladies, won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in 2000. The Namesake, her first novel, is an ambitious attempt to chart the lives of a family of immigrants through the eyes of a young boy. Both her books have received brickbats as well as accolades but she deserves a mention for tackling a subject long ignored by other Indian writers.

Shashi Tharoor
The list would be incomplete without a mention of Shashi Tharoor’s satirical works like The Great Indian Novel and Show Business. His latest book, India: From Midnight to Millennium, is a non-fiction chronicle of India’s past and its projected future.

Upamanyu Chatterjee
Lastly, Upamanyu Chatterjee deserves a mention as he was one of the first Indian authors who found success outside of India with his 1988 debut novel, English, August. His wry sense of humor and realistic portrayal of India has given us the witty and amusing, The Mammaries of the Welfare State. However, he hasn’t been able to replicate the success of his debut novel with his later works, especially in the West.

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