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.
These women writers say that feminism means putting an end to all the sufferings of a woman in silence. The women of modern era think on different lines and that is what is depicted in the novels of the Indian women authors. Majority of the Indian readers comprising both male and female read the novels of the Indian women authors with certain expectations. when Fort William College was established in Kolkata and The Baptist Mission Press in Serampore. Through their novels they spread the message of what actually feminism is. Reading material. which actually is very broad. They feel that a woman is an equal competent just like a man. with its emphasis on democracy and selfexpression. 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. Later in the second half of the sixteenth century. books in Tamil and other Dravidian languages
. Indian women writers explores the feminine subjectivity and applies the theme that ranges from childhood to complete womanhood. some of which it shares with modern literatures over the world. She has tried to explore the psychological aspects of the lead protagonists. The very impact of Western thought. Only the women novelists of India are capable of conveying the messages of feminism in an Indian way. near Kolkata. languages. They look for some "Indian-ness` in the write-ups. and literatures of India in order to cope with the increasing demands of fast-growing administrative machinery. but in India. religions. the women writers are doing very well and their contribution is immense. There has always been in all countries and ages a conflict between the orthodox and the unorthodox. was the training-ground of many distinguished writers. a conflict which still persists and has coloured not only our literature but almost every aspect of human life. The new era of modern Indian literatures may be said to begin in 1800. Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Gora is a masterly interpretation of this built-in conflict in the very nature of Indian renaissance. was translated from the Sanskrit classics as well as from foreign literature. The college was founded by the East India Company to provide instruction to British civil servants in the laws. because the new impulse was identified with an alien culture and foreign domination. Authors like Kamala Markandaya. stimulated a nationalist consciousness which resented the foreign imposition and searched for the roots of self-respect and pride in its own heritage. Sambad Prabhakar. and dictionaries and grammars were compiled. For instance. Today. 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. customs. himself wrote a Bengali grammar and compiled an English-Bengali dictionary as well as two selections of dialogues and stories. For instance. a woman has also become a direct money earner and she is not only confined to household works. whose remarkable journal. William Carey. during this time. Modern Indian Literature The development of modern Indian literature has been marked by certain characteristics. who was also one of the founders of the Baptist Mission Press. Iswar Chandra Gupta (1812-59).Feminism in Indian Literature The present age women have realized that she is not helpless and is not dependent. The women novelists try to create awareness that this is the time to proclaim with definite precision. In India. the clash of loyalties has been sharper. The first outstanding Bengali poet of the nineteenth century (and the last in the old tradition). These facts are incorporated by the women writers.
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. based on a Ramayana episode unorthodoxly interpreted. in Bengal and other parts of India. had been written before him in Bengali by Bhudev Mukherji and Peary Chand Mitra. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-94). ‘Meghnadbadh Kabya’. they all attained maturity in his hands. it was in the soil of poetry that this crossfertilization with the West bore its richest fruit. Pathfinders rather than creative artists. He had his limitations. they standardized the medium which their younger contemporary. as indeed it should. Novels. and the rustic vigour of the folk idiom. the two forms in which he excelled. for his own success was a tour de force of a rare genius. he was too romantic. 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. turning his back on the native tradition. as well as by a number of sonnets. 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. It was. and anticipated. He led the way but could not establish a vital tradition. Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824-1873) was the pioneer who. turned with superb gusto and skill into a creative tool for his novels and stories. but they all stand on his shoulders. Vaishnava lyricism. Tagore was the most vital creative force in the cultural renaissance of India and represents its finest achievement. Though the first harvest was reaped in Bengali prose. With the emotional temperament and lyrical genius. Mitra’s ‘Alaler Gharer Dulalh’ was the first specimen of original fiction of social realism with free use of the colloquial idiom. was profound and extensive. It was Rabindranath Tagore who naturalized the Western spirit into Indian literature and thereby made it truly modern in an adult sense. 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). He did this not by any conscious or forced adaptation of foreign models but by his creative response to the impulse of the age. both of whom were primarily social reformers and educationists. they had little use for the flamboyance and rhetoric natural to a language derived from Sanskrit. Many foreign missionaries learnt the languages of the people. however crudely. as though fashioned for poetry. not only in poetry but in prose as well. and didactic. and was in no sense a peer of his Great Russian contemporaries. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. In him modern Indian literature came of age. Novel. 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. Because they were men of serious purpose who had much to say. Although the printing-press came to south India much earlier and the foreign missionary enterprise functioned much longer and more zealously than in Bengal. Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833) who laid the real foundation of modern Bengali prose. and they chiselled a prose that was both chaste and vigorous. essay. Though Indian literature in its latest phase has outgrown his influence.began to be printed. both historical and social. drama. made the first conscious and successful experiment to naturalize the European forms into Bengali poetry by his epic in blank verse.
. He is known as the father of the modern novel in India and his influence on his contemporaries and successors. and literary criticism. But it was Bankim Chandra who established the novel as a major literary form in India. There have been better novelists in India since his day. short story. the Bengali language is supple and musical. effusive. with the result that the Upanishads and Kalidasa. the later development of the novel.
provoked Madhusudan Dutt to try his hand at this medium. a social satire against the practice of polygamy among Kulin brahmans. Kashmiri. Apte’s novels stimulated the development of the novel in some other languages too. a born dramatist whose very first play. The first original play in Bengali was Kulin Kulasarvasva. particularly in the neighbouring Kannada. exposing the atrocities of the British indigo planters. though they had considerable literary merit and were marked by originality and depth of thought. although his achievement in this form did not equal his performance in poetry and he soon retired from the field. Urdu had made phenomenal progress and was the most important Indian language to prosper in the eighteenth century. the first stage-play in Bengali produced in Kolkata was by a Russian adventurer-cumIndologist. were too symbolic or ethereal to catch the popular imagination. On the other hand. Ratnavali. and Chiplunkar as the builders of prose. Curiously enough. their popular appeal was due more to the patriotic and melodramatic elements in their plays than to any abiding literary merit. This is because of its robust intellectual tradition. â€œThe Disguiseâ€. it was natural that it should witness the birth of the modern drama. It has still a lively stage tradition. Lebedev. was also late in coming and was preceded by valuable spade-work done by the Christian missions. Among the stalwarts who laid the foundation of its modern literature may be mentioned the poet Keshavsut. Dinabandhu wrote many more plays and was followed by a succession of playwrights among whom were Rabindranath Tagore’s elder brother Jyotirindranath Tagore. Ramnarayana’s second play.Kolkata being the first cosmopolitan city in India to grow under the new regime. the most vigorous in its response to the spirit of the new age. The development of modern Assamese and Oriya. But though both he and Dwijendralal achieved phenomenal popularity in their day. Tilak. the two eastern neighbours of Bengali. some based on old legends and some social satires. Rabindranath Tagore’s plays. ‘Nil Darpan’ (published in 1860). Manomohan Basu. the more famous Girish Chandra Ghosh and Dwijendralal Roy. Lakshmikanta Bezbarua and Padmanath Gohain Barua in Assamese. by Richard Paul Jodrell. and Agarkar. 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. and Sindhi had an even more retarded development. written by Pandit Ramnarayana. But it luxuriated in its own affluence and remained aloof from the vital currents that were sweeping the country forward in the nineteenth century. and partly because Mumbai. and. It was an adaptation of a little-known English comedy. in 1795. His place was taken by Dinabandhu Mitra (1829-74). His impetuous genius turned out a number of plays in quick succession. created a sensation. provided a cosmopolitan modern environment. and it is to his indefatigable zeal that the public theatre in Kolkata is largely indebted. Girish Chandra was actor. based on a Sanskrit classic. the novelist Hari Narayan Apte. mainly under private patronage. Flourishing under court patronage. and playwright. partly on account of the political conditions
. as he did of poetry. Of the numerous languages of India perhaps Marathi was. Many years passed before a serious attempt was made to build an authentic stage. reinforced by memories of the erstwhile glory of the Maratha Empire. and Fakirmohan Senapati and Radhanath Ray in Oriya were the early pioneers in their respective fields. after Bengali. Narmad’s poetry blazed the trail in Gujarati. He may thus be said to have laid the foundation of modern Indian drama. both literary and political. Punjabi. producer. later. like Kolkata.
The devotional content of poetry was henceforth increasingly replaced by the political. which had had a longer and a richer literary past than the northern languages. both in Bengal and outside. All the more credit to the pioneers who held aloft the banner of their mother tongue are Mahjur and Master Zinda Kaul in Kashmiri. indirect. by Kerala Varma and Chandu Menon in Malayalam. by Bharati and Kalki in Tamil. which even now looks too wistfully to the past. in course of time the creative spirit in these languages too responded to the impulse of the age. yielded a rich harvest. Though none of these three was a man of letters proper. Malayalam. with its age-old tendency to sentimental piety and glorification of the past. the teachings of history. the vigour and freedom of English literature and English thought. 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. The spiritual note of Indian poetry had attained a poignant and rapturous pitch in the medieval Vaishnava outpourings. the plaintive tone by that of challenge and mockery. Buddhadeva Bose. Sardar Puran Singh and Bhal Vir Singh in Punjabi. Sundaram and Jayant Parekh.
. What is surprising is the rather late and tardy resurgence in the four Dravidian languages. Marx. that of Tagore. the French Revolution. the war of Italian independence. 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. it has not given any new trend or horizon to Indian literature in general. The independence of America. if not surpassed. but beyond imparting a certain mystic glow to their verse and confirming their faith in the reality of the Indian spiritual experience. all these have influenced and shaped the intellect of modern Bengal. Utilitarianism. the results of German labour in the field of philosophy and ancient history. The influence of the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo Ghose is also noticeable among some writers. It is worth observing that the youngest of the Dravidian languages. Tagore’s Gitanjali is the swan song of this great tradition. which equalled. and Freud. Tamil. However. like the Kannada poets. a strange trinity. Bendre and Puttappa. in as rich a flowering as in the other languages of India. From the beginning of the twentieth century Indian literature was increasingly coloured by political aspirations. But Tagore’s influence in literature was soon overshadowed by the impact of Gandhi. On the whole. Manek Bandyopadhyay. the great effort of the French intellect in the eighteenth century. led by Puttanna. and Kailasham in Kannada. in both poetry and prose. in the work of Jivanananda Das. the ethical bias by the ideological. however feeble their effect may be. The revolt began in Bengal. ‘Sri’. Tagore’s main impact was. Premendra Mitra. passionately voiced in the songs and poems of the Tamil poet Bharati and the Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. and the Gujarati poets. has responded to the new age more dynamically than the oldest. Positivism. and Viresalingam and Guruzada Appa Rao in Telugu. until the dominant note of Indian literature today is that of protest. on the formation of the intellect of modern Bengal.and partly because of the cultural glamour of Urdu in regions predominantly Muslim. the impact on Indian writing of the mixed interaction has given a much-needed jolt to the smugness of the traditional attitude. The past has weighed more heavily on the south than on the north in India and nowhere more heavily than on Tamil Nadu. however. All the great events which have influenced European thought within the last one hundred years have also told. and Mirza Kalich Beg and Dewan Kauromal in Sindhi. Darwinism. Subhas Mukhopadhyay et al. 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.
Indian English has turned out to be a new form of Indian culture and voice in which India converses regularly. Ranade. Gokhale. it cannot be denied that. despite this clamour of sophistry. Some English novels of R. On the other hand.the yield from previously colonised countries. From being a singular and exceptional. as far as creative writing is concerned. Indian English literature is also at times recurrently referred to as `Indo-Anglian literature`. Some early pioneers in the Indian languages were also tempted at the threshold of their career to adopt English for their creative writing. it helps to sharpen the reader’s sensibility. are superior in intrinsic literary merit to a great deal of mediocre stuff that passes for literature in some Indian languages. like the Dutt sisters. and many others. Toru and Aru. as such. are classic examples. There has been. Happily. no Indian writer in English has reached anywhere near the heights attained by some of the great writers in the Indian languages. K. Narayan. English literature in India is also intimately linked with the works of associates of the Indian diaspora.have
. (Last Updated on : 21/08/2009) English Literature in India Indian English Literature. â€œThe Captive Ladieâ€. also admiringly referred to as IEL in short. essayists. have achieved distinction. a fair number of Indian writers. good literature continues to be written and. as it justifies itself. As a categorised concept. dramatists . pertains to that body of work by writers from India. and Bankim Chandra’s early novel â€œRajmohan’s Wifeâ€. Sarojini Naidu. Indian English literature is an honest enterprise to demonstrate the ever rare gems of Indian writing in English. just as India once was.Moreover. The modern Indian literature is the representation of each aspect of modern life. comes under the broader territory of postcolonial literature . partly because they owed their inspiration to English literature and partly because they hoped thereby to reach a wider audience. K. What modern Indian literature sadly lacks is a well-proportioned and many-sided development. Narayan today. and political bias. in the republic of letters as in that of men. have voluntarily adopted it as their literary medium. and. an unbroken tradition of some gifted Indians choosing to write in English. Wisely they discovered in time that they could create best in their own language. among contemporaries. 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. including such eminent thinkers steeped in Indian thought as Vivekananda. from Derozio in the 1820s to R. While Indian authors . a born story-teller with any eye for observation and the gift of gentle irony. their versatile uncle Romesh Chunder. Mulk Raj Anand. 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.poets. rather gradual native flare-up of geniuses. this yielding of literature in India in English. Madhusudan Dutt’s first narrative poem. novelists. Raja Rao. Bhabani Bhattacharya. patriotic piety. This healthy trend of the modern Indian literature should gain in strength with a growing realization that. Manomohan Ghosh. Many of them. especially with people like Salman Rushdie who was born in Indian but presently resides elsewhere. Aurobindo Ghose and Radhakrishnan. a sensitive and well-trained critical apparatus and its judicious and fearless exercise are a prerequisite of happy results. 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’.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Commander of British Naval Expedition Hector. he is sure to be lost amidst such profundity. The man that comes to surface more than once in all the genres of Indian English literature. Creative writing in English is looked at as an integral part of the literary traditions in the Indian perspective of fine arts. had welcomed Captain William Hawkins. Allan Sealy. Anita Desai. And in this British context of an overwhelming English arrival. Indeed. Indian writing represents a new form of Indian cultural ethos. Indian English literature. is Rabindranath Tagore. as can be known from British Indian history. which had begun several decades ago and is still in a continuous process of metamorphosis. Vikram Seth. It was indeed India`s first tryst with any Englishman and English. Heart-rending and grievous issues were time and again brought up in these dramatisations and poetical expressions by stellar and legendary poets and playwrights. in the court of the Mughals. education and literary expression with an important means of communication amongst various people of dissimilar religions. quite understandably spurs attention from every quarter of the country.been making momentous and considerable contributions to world literature since the preIndependence era. 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 . Amitav Ghosh. Narayan. K. Commencing from Mulk Raj Anand. that had tremendously arrested attention of the native masses. Beginning in the early times of British rule. R.Vikram Chandra . Arundhati Roy. still researched as an institution in himself. who possibly was an unending ocean of knowledge and intellect. Every possible regional author was dedicated in their intelligence to deliver in the `British mother tongue`. Indeed. it was indeed the Indian English dramas and Indian English poetry. if one begins to explore the highly curious and arresting history of Indian English literature and also experience its various facets. making the genre admired in its own right. still. 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. English was adopted by the Indians as a language of understanding and awareness. Jhumpa Lahiri. as expressed in Indian English literature plays and movies and other media. Times back then were much severe. Indian English literature (IEL) precisely conforming to its gradual evolution had all begun in the summers of 1608 when Emperor Jahangir. 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. in a gallant manner. they are also incurring and earning an immense amount of critical acclamation.the panache of fine Indian writers is long and much augmented. much prior to the advent of the novelistic writing. generally always comes to surface the factor of any Indian writing in a foreign and alien lingo. in the abstract sense.in a "foreign"
. Toru Dutt to Salman Rushdie. the past few years have witnessed a gigantic prospering and thriving of Indian English writing in the global market. highly erudite and learned as they were even in such periods. There appears to be an acceptance of Indian English literature as. Though India was under the British rule. much deviated from their original roots. 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. Indeed. This literary body has become thoroughly absorbed and is presently a dynamic element of the quintessential Indian way of life. which led to the consequent sizeable English arrival and people thus had begun to stay back in India. Not only are the works of Indian authors writing in English surging on the best-seller list.
Manohar Malgaonkar (Distant Drum. India had emerged as a major literary nation. to Kashiprasad Ghosh. as is mirrored in the literal translation of local idioms.the local language construction and system is very much reflected in the illustrations. Besides the legendary and hugely venerated Indian English literary personalities of Rabindranath Tagore or R K Narayan. The Great Indian Novel). Allan Sealy (The Trotternama). Indian literature in English dates back to the 1830s.V. it is addressed as a standard model of comparison. `Stylistic influence` from the local languages appears to be an exceptional feature of much of the Indian literature in English . Other Indian English literature novelists of repute of the contemporary times include . but. Pankaj Mishra (Butter Chicken in Ludhiana. even winning the Booker Prize. Shobha De (Selective Memory). "alien" language. 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. The Mammaries of the Welfare State). who is considered the first Indian poet writing in English. Salman Rushdie`s `Midnight`s Children` had become a rage around the world. Some Inner Fury. Bhadani Bhattacharya. He had written and dedicated pages about social reform and religion in India. M Ananthanarayanan. Combat of Shadows. The Accompanist. Fire on the Mountain. Vikram Seth
. The native language is considered `pure`. Games at Twilight) and Nayantara Sehgal. Such was the already established solid ground of Indian English literature. an aspect that has acquired much more momentous adjectives. Desani. Arun Joshi. however. in English. Raj Kamal Jha (The Blue Bedspread). later novelists like Kamala Markandaya (Nectar in a Sieve. their dedication to the nation is considered in much suspicion. is still generally held across cultural diversity. thus bringing in the tremendous attraction and brilliancy of admiration of Indian English novels. Khushwant Singh. far more differentiated than any regional Indian language. During the 1980`s and 90`s.language. a rather unfortunate sensibility for such intelligent and cultured wonders. there was also witnessed times in pre-Independent India. Two Virgins). Anita Desai (Clear Light of Day. Naipaul. 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. 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 the beginning. 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.V. Amitav Ghosh (Circle of Reason. A broad view that the mother tongue is the primary means of literary creativity. as can be seen in Raja Rammohan Roy and his extraordinary output. Indeed.S. Creativeness in another tongue is often measured as a deviation from this strict norm. A Silence of Desire. Upamanyu Chatterjee (English August. O. A Bend in the Ganges and The Devil`s Wind). Indian English literature writers are sometimes incriminated of forsaking the national or regional language and penning in a western. G. 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. 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. Shadow Lines). they have also acculturated English in terms of the `Indianised context`. solely in the medium of English. The Romantics).V. The Princes. political writing in the novel or essay format was dominant. Amit Chaudhary (A New World). Sashi Tharoor (Show Business. Sochee Chunder Dutt was the first writer of fiction. Vijayan.
adventure.. gorgons. the writer. As such. leaving his/her readers to judge the conclusion according to their own wish and understanding. Narasimha Rao`s The Insider. Satish Gujral`s A Brush with Life. Now. Existentialism. if such phenomenon ever comes into being. Geive Patel. 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. Selected Poems). To state more precisely. Before beginning with a novel. or the ancient ones like mythological or epical. Prof. their times at large. poetry. Bipin Chandra`s India After Independence. tragedy. Sunil Khilnani`s The Idea of India. if viewed in an open angle. Yogesh Chadha`s Rediscovering Gandhi and Pavan K.e. 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. Surrealism. Indian literature and its predominating themes. war.K. Laxman`s The Tunnel of Time. like Symbolism. R. it can be found that a writer. a writer always has to bear in mind the previous happening in his community and consequences that might occur after the work is published. short story or play. who took the world with a storm. a work to which they have also been successful. Relations.N. comedy. like romance. themes in Indian literature always have to be created keeping in mind the ongoing Indian society or the people associated with it. Indeed. Love and Longing in Bombay). Thus. . who is forever bound under societal norms when he/she is writing for the present generation. Firdaus Kanga. A K Ramanujan (The Striders. Dom Moraes (A Beginning). dealing with kings. be it of any capability cannot move out form the longestablished themes of humanity. As such. when elaborated further on this very subject. palaces. mythological themes in Indian literature was the first to capture and enchant Indian readers. most likely is to be branded a `social outcaste` or made `incommunicado`. The mid-20th century Indian literature in English had witnessed the emergence of poets such as Nissim Ezekiel (The Unfurnished Man). vision of
. J. Eunice de profoundly were influenced by literary movements taking place in the West. Hence. the writer never as such can move out from his society and publish an out-of-this-world creation. which perhaps was taken to a likeness by ladies and gentlemen both from the mass and the class. Sudhir Kakar (The Ascetic of Desire). demons. queens. both symbolically as well as realistically. whose `The God of Small Things` won the 1997 Booker Prize and became an international best-seller overnight. The writer in the genre of Indian English literature. are also outstanding works of the recent times. Dixit`s Fifty Years of India`s Foreign Policy. the ancient Hindu society in India had always favoured and liked to base their writing on mythology and umpteen other legends and folklore.(Mappings) and Vikram Chandra (Red Earth and Pouring Rain. i. Keki Daruwalla. Second Sight. Rohinton Mistry. P Lal. was Arundhati Roy. Kiran Desai (Strange Happenings in the Guava Orchard). as writers beginning from the prehistoric age have tried to mirror their society. Ardeshir Vakil (Beach Boy) and Jhumpa Lahiri (Interpreter of Maladies) are some other renowned writers of Indian origin. Former Prime Minister P.Varma`s The Great Indian Middle Class.e. the thought themes in Indian literature broadly hold within itself a magnificent yet clandestine vision. (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. And this where lies that much hidden `success` of the writer. Since the ancient Indus Valley Civilization. Absurdism and Confessional Poetry. And this certainly is not an overstatement or hyperbole. society. i. it is generally seen that writers are of the habit to leave their piece of work with an open ending.V.
dealing again with convoluted versions of social backgrounds and yet falling in place with a perfect balance. these mythological stories had so very appealed and captivated Indian minds. in a zealous attempt to show their vengeance against such English oppression. Epic themes in Indian literature began its journey with the two legendary magnum creations Ramayana and Mahabharata. 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. permanently portraying one or the other type of societal variation that has changed with age. gallantry. themes in Indian literature during Medieval Age differs grossly with themes in Indian literature for the contemporary age. English as a basic and fundamental language was very much introduced in the dozens. it can be witnessed that authorship is mysteriously and productively in line with societal norms. these luminaries were capable to take India and Indians towards that modernistic section. which just as usual.heaven or hell. In societies that were yet to see modern light of day. had penned out series of English works of art. the literary and artistic sides perhaps had overshadowed all the other routined existence. resting for a good 200 years. battles and ultimate winning. contemporary Indian literature has derived out a sophisticated version of romantic theme in Indian literature. Such a prolonged and momentous Raj establishment by an `alien` Empire. is espoused by modern Indian regional or English writings. wholly falls in place with the structure organisation that humanity dwells in. be it in any kind of literal category. relationships with heroic adventure and its knights wooing the princess etc and not only a love affair between a male and a female. also including themes like `never never land` and every sort of non-living thing being animated into a living being. chivalry. maximum of later Sanskrit classical literature was based on these two epics. Romance as is known in strict terms in present Indian scenario was far from what was see in those times. jumping from staunch Hinduism and its priests and borrowing to some extent from west. that none of the succeeding generations has ever been able to come out of this everlasting `hypnotic` effect. architectural and political sides. taking themes in Indian literature towards a genre by itself. (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. Britishers did leave their share of wondrous virtues in the literary. Romance necessarily entailed virtually every aspect of life dealing with war. However. who were the venerated writers of Ramayana and Mahabharata respectively. with the class and then the mass joining in to be amalgamated with the erudite and good-hearted British populace. did have its both adverse and beneficial factors. with Indian literature and English education never remaining the same again. battles. crusades. precisely from its European counterpart. Indeed. Themes in Indian literature during Vedic Age. Writers were successful to represent every kind of backdrop and link it with romanticism. As such. It was also precisely during this time that the illustrious Indian litterateurs. the Almighty. Indeed. that present critics refer to as much ahead of times. themes in Indian literature during Classical Age. social themes in Indian literature. influences and citations of which are still employed by contemporary Indian writers. Leaving out the ruthless colonisation. In all these variety of literary genres. Thinking in terms of such colossal dimensions called for expert Hindu Sanskrit scholars like sages Valmiki and Vyasa. only to be accepted forever by the
. Indeed. Romantic themes in Indian literature was soon to follow the ancient Hindu society.
In "Coolie" by Mulk Raj Anand.in the myths. Presently. The history of the Indian English novel can thus honestly be dubbed as the story of a `metamorphosing India`. always served as a land of stories. Narayan. The Indian ness of novel writing in English. This displaced intellectual class. precisely in the fiery talks of Henry Louis Vivian Derozio. Niradh C.K. who had opened the doors to an overabundance of writers. India has. history of Indian English novel speaks a different global tongue. With many regional geniuses joining hands in such an endeavour. Men like Salman Rushdie have enamoured critics with his mottled amalgamation of history and language as well. had viewed India without the Crown in a dubious and incredulous manner. The history of the Indian English novel had though begun to emerge from these benevolent English gentlemen themselves. conversed. in the folklore and the umpteen languages and cultures that chaffered. Raja Rao and R. Gandhism truly comes alive in a quaint laid-back village down south. re-enact life with all its contrarinesses and arbitrarinesses.global literary scenario. the history of English novel in India. He had in fact tossed away the `fiery patriotism` and spiritualism that were `Brand India` and grieved the absence of colonial rule. the Indian language of expression began to alter in a rapid manner. There did exist a time when education was an infrequent opportunity and speaking English was really not necessary by natives out crying against British. but also a rather fanatical and the cynical attempts at being unequalled. 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 strict segregation between ritual and reality being quite a thin line. The early history of English novels in India was not just patriotic depictions of Indian ness. 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. laughed and cried all over the subcontinent. which was once viewed as a taboo and things of scorn due to English stronghold. with literature in India awaiting its second best metamorphosis. hidden . He had indeed served as that mouthpiece. Chaudhuri.K.the perfect language of the `displaced intellectual`.K. come to life and in a heart-rending manner. Amitav Ghosh plays brilliantly in
. in the years to come. surpassing all other literary genres. one of the most stellar instances belonging to this genre. however with the Indian diaspora being a much depending force in the publishing world. the social discrepancy and gross inequality in India is very much laid down stripped from any social constraints. The perspectives from within ensured more clarity and served a social documentative purpose as well. The stories however were already in the location. par excellence writers had come to light and with what consequences! People like Tagore or R. was no longer needed to be depicted by outsiders. novel writing never did remain the same. presents itself as a solemn enterprise. The history of the Indian English novel was once more standing at the crossroads in the line of post-colonialism. unrestrained to any particular culture or heritage . In R. 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. Under men like Mulk Raj Anand. since time immemorial. the invisible men and women of the country`s ever-multiplying population. 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 `Kanthapura` by Raja Rao. Narayan`s much-admired visionary village Malgudi. Narayan have proved this in shining glory time and again. With the bursting in of `colonialism` genre in Indian literature.
The first outstanding Bengali poet of the nineteenth century (and the last in the old tradition). English novels in India are triggering off debates concerning colossal advances. Arundhati Roy begins her story without actually a beginning and does not really end it also. Many foreign missionaries learnt the languages of the people. religions. with its emphasis on democracy and selfexpression. Later in the second half of the sixteenth century. stimulated a nationalist consciousness which resented the foreign imposition and searched for the roots of self-respect and pride in its own heritage. Reading material. who was also one of the founders of the Baptist Mission Press. the clash of loyalties has been sharper. when Fort William College was established in Kolkata and The Baptist Mission Press in Serampore. during this time. languages. The college was founded by the East India Company to provide instruction to British civil servants in the laws. 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.postcolonial realities and Vikram Seth coalesces poetry and prose with an aura of Victorian magnificence. The new era of modern Indian literatures may be said to begin in 1800. condemning exploitation and trying to make sense of the rapidly changing pace of the `new India`. customs. himself wrote a Bengali grammar and compiled an English-Bengali dictionary as well as two selections of dialogues and stories. was the training-ground of many distinguished writers. Women novelists have loved to explore the world of the much trodden lore again and again. William Carey. `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. the Indian English novel owned a far flung reach. History of Indian English novels however. and literatures of India in order to cope with the increasing demands of fast-growing administrative machinery. Iswar Chandra Gupta (1812-59). the impact of Western learning as such was comparatively
. near Kolkata. but in India. Now more than ever. books in Tamil and other Dravidian languages began to be printed. and dictionaries and grammars were compiled. 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. For instance. whose remarkable journal. whereas Jhumpa Lahiri`s well-crafted tales trudge at a perfect pace. does not only end here. 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. Sambad Prabhakar. Rabindranath Tagore’s novel Gora is a masterly interpretation of this built-in conflict in the very nature of Indian renaissance. 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. (Last Updated on : 28/04/2009) Modern Indian Literature The development of modern Indian literature has been marked by certain characteristics. because the new impulse was identified with an alien culture and foreign domination. Although the printing-press came to south India much earlier and the foreign missionary enterprise functioned much longer and more zealously than in Bengal. While Rohinton Mistry tries to painstakingly decode the Parsi world.S. The very impact of Western thought. Naipaul had earned the same. Pico Iyer fluently and naturally charts the map in his writings. plagiarisation and film rights. was translated from the Sanskrit classics as well as from foreign literature. a conflict which still persists and has coloured not only our literature but almost every aspect of human life.
it was natural that it should witness the birth of the modern drama. the Bengali language is supple and musical. He is known as the father of the modern novel in India and his influence on his contemporaries and successors. It was. both historical and social. they had little use for the flamboyance and rhetoric natural to a language derived from Sanskrit. Vaishnava lyricism. in Bengal and other parts of India.slow and the resurgence of literary activity bore fruit in its modern form much later than in Bengal. It has still a lively stage tradition. they all attained maturity in his hands. Bankim Chandra Chatterjee (1838-94). was profound and extensive. for his own success was a tour de force of a rare genius. in 1795. Mitra’s ‘Alaler Gharer Dulalh’ was the first specimen of original fiction of social realism with free use of the colloquial idiom. turned with superb gusto and skill into a creative tool for his novels and stories. With the emotional temperament and lyrical genius. He led the way but could not establish a vital tradition. drama. Michael Madhusudan Dutt (1824-1873) was the pioneer who. essay. It was Rabindranath Tagore who naturalized the Western spirit into Indian literature and thereby made it truly modern in an adult sense. ‘Meghnadbadh Kabya’. based on a Ramayana episode unorthodoxly interpreted. the first stage-play in Bengali produced in Kolkata was by a Russian adventurer-cumIndologist. had been written before him in Bengali by Bhudev Mukherji and Peary Chand Mitra. Because they were men of serious purpose who had much to say. Kolkata being the first cosmopolitan city in India to grow under the new regime. but they all stand on his shoulders. not only in poetry but in prose as well. the two forms in which he excelled. Raja Ram Mohan Roy (1772-1833) who laid the real foundation of modern Bengali prose. Pathfinders rather than creative artists. Lebedev. 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). It was an adaptation of a little-known English comedy. made the first conscious and successful experiment to naturalize the European forms into Bengali poetry by his epic in blank verse. as though fashioned for poetry. it was in the soil of poetry that this crossfertilization with the West bore its richest fruit. 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. and the rustic vigour of the folk idiom. both of whom were primarily social reformers and educationists. with the result that the Upanishads and Kalidasa. Novel. and was in no sense a peer of his Great Russian contemporaries. â€œThe
. He had his limitations. 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. short story. and didactic. There have been better novelists in India since his day. they standardized the medium which their younger contemporary. and literary criticism. Though the first harvest was reaped in Bengali prose. Though Indian literature in its latest phase has outgrown his influence. the later development of the novel. effusive. In him modern Indian literature came of age. Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Tagore was the most vital creative force in the cultural renaissance of India and represents its finest achievement. He did this not by any conscious or forced adaptation of foreign models but by his creative response to the impulse of the age. But it was Bankim Chandra who established the novel as a major literary form in India. and anticipated. as indeed it should. Novels. turning his back on the native tradition. as well as by a number of sonnets. and they chiselled a prose that was both chaste and vigorous. however crudely. he was too romantic. Curiously enough.
as he did of poetry. All the more credit to the pioneers who held aloft the banner of their mother tongue are Mahjur and Master Zinda Kaul in Kashmiri. The first original play in Bengali was Kulin Kulasarvasva. Ratnavali. 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. This is because of its robust intellectual tradition. But it luxuriated in its own affluence and remained aloof from the vital currents that were sweeping the country forward in the nineteenth century. Manomohan Basu. were too symbolic or ethereal to catch the popular imagination. Many years passed before a serious attempt was made to build an authentic stage. and Sindhi had an even more retarded development. The development of modern Assamese and Oriya. and partly because Mumbai. the two eastern neighbours of Bengali. some based on old legends and some social satires. He may thus be said to have laid the foundation of modern Indian drama.
. But though both he and Dwijendralal achieved phenomenal popularity in their day. and it is to his indefatigable zeal that the public theatre in Kolkata is largely indebted. Rabindranath Tagore’s plays. and. the most vigorous in its response to the spirit of the new age. Of the numerous languages of India perhaps Marathi was. though they had considerable literary merit and were marked by originality and depth of thought. provided a cosmopolitan modern environment. and Fakirmohan Senapati and Radhanath Ray in Oriya were the early pioneers in their respective fields. the more famous Girish Chandra Ghosh and Dwijendralal Roy. Lakshmikanta Bezbarua and Padmanath Gohain Barua in Assamese. and Chiplunkar as the builders of prose. producer. reinforced by memories of the erstwhile glory of the Maratha Empire. mainly under private patronage. Sardar Puran Singh and Bhal Vir Singh in Punjabi. and playwright. Ramnarayana’s second play. particularly in the neighbouring Kannada. and Mirza Kalich Beg and Dewan Kauromal in Sindhi. and Agarkar.Disguiseâ€. Apte’s novels stimulated the development of the novel in some other languages too. later. created a sensation. was also late in coming and was preceded by valuable spade-work done by the Christian missions. provoked Madhusudan Dutt to try his hand at this medium. Narmad’s poetry blazed the trail in Gujarati. like Kolkata. exposing the atrocities of the British indigo planters. His impetuous genius turned out a number of plays in quick succession. ‘Nil Darpan’ (published in 1860). by Richard Paul Jodrell. Flourishing under court patronage. based on a Sanskrit classic. written by Pandit Ramnarayana. both literary and political. Tilak. a social satire against the practice of polygamy among Kulin brahmans. Urdu had made phenomenal progress and was the most important Indian language to prosper in the eighteenth century. a born dramatist whose very first play. the novelist Hari Narayan Apte. Among the stalwarts who laid the foundation of its modern literature may be mentioned the poet Keshavsut. after Bengali. their popular appeal was due more to the patriotic and melodramatic elements in their plays than to any abiding literary merit. Girish Chandra was actor. although his achievement in this form did not equal his performance in poetry and he soon retired from the field. Kashmiri. On the other hand. His place was taken by Dinabandhu Mitra (1829-74). Punjabi. Dinabandhu wrote many more plays and was followed by a succession of playwrights among whom were Rabindranath Tagore’s elder brother Jyotirindranath Tagore. partly on account of the political conditions and partly because of the cultural glamour of Urdu in regions predominantly Muslim.
the French Revolution. All the great events which have influenced European thought within the last one hundred years have also told. passionately voiced in the songs and poems of the Tamil poet Bharati and the Bengali poet Kazi Nazrul Islam. have voluntarily adopted it as their
. Tagore’s Gitanjali is the swan song of this great tradition. a strange trinity. with its age-old tendency to sentimental piety and glorification of the past. ‘Sri’. which even now looks too wistfully to the past. yielded a rich harvest. which equalled. The spiritual note of Indian poetry had attained a poignant and rapturous pitch in the medieval Vaishnava outpourings. and Viresalingam and Guruzada Appa Rao in Telugu. indirect. both in Bengal and outside. Marx. Moreover. Bendre and Puttappa. that of Tagore. has responded to the new age more dynamically than the oldest. 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. Manek Bandyopadhyay. in both poetry and prose. Darwinism. however feeble their effect may be. if not surpassed. Tagore’s main impact was. The independence of America. Subhas Mukhopadhyay et al. including such eminent thinkers steeped in Indian thought as Vivekananda. Malayalam. However. and the Gujarati poets. and Kailasham in Kannada. From the beginning of the twentieth century Indian literature was increasingly coloured by political aspirations. Positivism. It is worth observing that the youngest of the Dravidian languages. The influence of the philosophy of Sri Aurobindo Ghose is also noticeable among some writers. The revolt began in Bengal. the results of German labour in the field of philosophy and ancient history. Gokhale. it has not given any new trend or horizon to Indian literature in general. the vigour and freedom of English literature and English thought. Premendra Mitra. but beyond imparting a certain mystic glow to their verse and confirming their faith in the reality of the Indian spiritual experience. The past has weighed more heavily on the south than on the north in India and nowhere more heavily than on Tamil Nadu. Though none of these three was a man of letters proper. 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. in the work of Jivanananda Das. led by Puttanna. which had had a longer and a richer literary past than the northern languages. 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’. by Bharati and Kalki in Tamil. the plaintive tone by that of challenge and mockery. Ranade. however. The devotional content of poetry was henceforth increasingly replaced by the political. all these have influenced and shaped the intellect of modern Bengal. and Freud. on the formation of the intellect of modern Bengal. the impact on Indian writing of the mixed interaction has given a much-needed jolt to the smugness of the traditional attitude. On the whole. a fair number of Indian writers. until the dominant note of Indian literature today is that of protest. Utilitarianism. in as rich a flowering as in the other languages of India. like the Kannada poets. Aurobindo Ghose and Radhakrishnan. the war of Italian independence. Sundaram and Jayant Parekh. Buddhadeva Bose. the ethical bias by the ideological. the teachings of history. 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. Tamil. by Kerala Varma and Chandu Menon in Malayalam. the great effort of the French intellect in the eighteenth century. But Tagore’s influence in literature was soon overshadowed by the impact of Gandhi.What is surprising is the rather late and tardy resurgence in the four Dravidian languages. in course of time the creative spirit in these languages too responded to the impulse of the age.
the Indian English novel had begun its journey. an unbroken tradition of some gifted Indians choosing to write in English. the demarcation between ritual and reality being very narrow. a born story-teller with any eye for observation and the gift of gentle irony.in the myths. are classic examples. Mulk Raj Anand. Bhabani Bhattacharya. India has always been a land of stories. In R. There has been. 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. as it justifies itself. Happily. Some English novels of R. their versatile uncle Romesh Chunder. Wisely they discovered in time that they could create best in their own language. Some early pioneers in the Indian languages were also tempted at the threshold of their career to adopt English for their creative writing. among contemporaries. 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. have achieved distinction. 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. This healthy trend of the modern Indian literature should gain in strength with a growing realization that. What modern Indian literature sadly lacks is a well-proportioned and many-sided development. The Indian English novel erupted in the fiery talks of Henry Derozio. and many others. With the coming of Mulk Raj Anand. There was a time when education was a rare opportunity and speaking English was unnecessary. The modern Indian literature is the representation of each aspect of modern life. (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. Manomohan Ghosh.Narayan. Narayan today. despite this clamour of sophistry. good literature continues to be written and.K. as far as creative writing is concerned. Raja Rao. a sensitive and well-trained critical apparatus and its judicious and fearless exercise are a prerequisite of happy results. the social disparity in India is laid bare. â€œThe Captive Ladieâ€. Many of them. and political bias. from Derozio in the 1820s to R. the invisible men and women of our teeming population come to life and act out life with all its
. it helps to sharpen the reader’s sensibility.K. The stories were already there. the spiritual prose of Tagore and the pacifist dictums preached by Gandhi. in the folklore and the umpteen languages and cultures that gossiped. it cannot be denied that. K. K.literary medium. patriotic piety. and. Narayan. Sarojini Naidu.Narayan’s imaginary village Malgudi. conversed. and Bankim Chandra’s early novel â€œRajmohan’s Wifeâ€. Toru and Aru. like the Dutt sisters. Raja Rao and R. In “Coolie” by Mulk Raj Anand. no Indian writer in English has reached anywhere near the heights attained by some of the great writers in the Indian languages. in the republic of letters as in that of men. laughed and cried all over the subcontinent.
S. the Indian English novel had a far flung reach. condemn exploitation and try to make sense of the fast changing pace of the new world. He opened the doors to a plethora of writers. Gandhism awakes in a sleepy village down south. Niradh C Chaudhuri viewed India without the crown skeptically. When you ponder on the subject very few Indian English writers in India have made it with their English writing. 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 speaks a global tongue. plagiarism and film rights. Indian English began with a bang when Tagore was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature and by the time V. The early novels in India were not just patriotic depictions of Indianness. India no longer needed to be depicted by outsiders. As India grew out of her obsession with freedom and viewed her own streak of imperialism during the Emergency. Pico Iyer effortlessly walks the map in his writings. In ‘Kanthapura’ by Raja Rao. Writers in India need more avenues to make themselves heard and as readers the Indian audience should not get too mesmerized by foreign publications. He discarded the fiery patriotism and spiritualism that were ‘Brand India’ and mourned the absence of colonial rule. Women writers explore old wives’ tales. Now with the Indian Diaspora being a reckoning force in the publishing world. The real need in India is more publishing houses that are willing to give aspiring writers in India a chance.Naipal bagged the same. This brings us to a problem with contemporary Indian English writing. While Rohinton Mistry tries to decipher the Parsi world. Now Indian English novels are sparking off debates about huge advances. The perspectives from within ensured more clarity and served a social documentative purpose as well. unconfined to any particular culture or heritage. the Indian idiom began to change. 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. 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. It seems to be a prerequisite to have a global perspective if one is to be successful in writing in English. Hinglish masala and a dose of spiritual realism are only the tip of the iceberg.perversities and whimsicalities. Amitav Ghosh dabbles in postcolonial realities and Vikram Seth fuses poetry and prose with an air of Victorian grandeur. There were the cynics.
Indian English literature
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Jump to: navigation.the language of the displaced intellectual. Salman Rushdie fascinates critics with his ‘chutnification’ of history and language as well. The Indian Diaspora raised the curtain on the fantastic mythical realities that were part of domestic conversations in the villages. They inevitably have the odd degree from Oxford and Cambridge and their foundations are laid abroad. search
this production comes in literature under the broader realm of postcolonial literature.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. Raja Rao's Kanthapura is Indian in terms of its 1830s | 1840s | 1850s | storytelling qualities. Structuralism | translator. a writer of non. England in 1912 by John Cuban literature | Rothenstein. titled Travels of Dean Mahomet. is best known for his The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian 20th century Modernism | where he relates his life experiences and influences. 19th century unadulterated by Indian words to convey an experience which was 1800s | 1810s | 1820s | essentially Indian. 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. The early modern period It is frequently referred to as Indo-Anglian literature. Writers Workshop. Early Indian writers used English Modern Literature. As a category. who was born in India. Mahomet's travel narrative 1790s | 1800s was published in 1793 in England. Chaudhuri.Modern Literature. Nirad C. Dhan Gopal Mukerji was the first Indian author to win a literary award in the United States. founded a press in the 1950s for Deconstruction | Indian English writing. Lal. Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali and 1860s | 1870s | 1880s | English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into 1890s | 1900s English. In its early stages it was influenced by the Western art form of the novel. it is only one and a half centuries 1730s | 1740s | 1750s | old. Jamaican literature | Mexican literature | Peruvian literature Australasian Literature Australian literature | New Zealand literature
. publisher and essayist. such as writer Salman Rushdie. P. fiction. The first book written by an Indian in English was by Sake Dean 1760s | 1770s | 1780s | Mahomet. a poet. the 18th century 1700s | 1710s | 1720s | IEL has a relatively recent history. (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). photographed in Hampstead.the production from European literature in previously colonised countries such as India.
sometimes brutally. Booker of Bookers 1992. and Best of the Bookers 2008) ushered in a new trend of writing. Mulk Raj Anand. He is usually categorised under the magic realism mode of writing most famously associated with Gabriel García Márquez. 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. but his stories were harsher. Simultaneous with Narayan's pastoral idylls. feel that through Malgudi they could vividly understand the Indian experience. 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.
. a very different writer. Rushdie with his famous work Midnight's Children (Booker Prize 1981. Graham Greene and Narayan remained close friends till the end.R. Narayan is a writer who contributed over many decades and who continued to write till his death recently. born in India. now living in the United Kingdom. Others. the most notable is Salman Rushdie. class and religion. with divisions of caste.K. 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. and engaged. however. Similar to Thomas Hardy's Wessex. Narayan created the fictitious town of Malgudi where he set his novels. was similarly gaining recognition for his writing set in rural India.
• • • • • • • •
1 Later history 2 Debates 3 Poetry 4 Alternative Writing 5 Indo-Nostalgic writing 6 References 7 See also 8 External links
 Later history
Among the later writers. such as Graham Greene. He was discovered by Graham Greene in the sense that the latter helped him find a publisher in England.
Bharti Kirchner. Arundhati Roy. his attention is on the story. Tarun Tejpal. Being a self-confessed fan of Jane Austen. author of The Courtesan and the Sadhu (2008) is a Texas based writer who uses historical themes to address spiritual concepts. Kiran Nagarkar. Rohinton Mistry. Prakash. Amit Chaudhuri. Kiran Desai. its details and its twists and turns. Mysore N. Anita Desai. Vikram Seth. follows a story-telling (though in a satirical) mode as in the Mahabharata drawing his ideas by going back and forth in time. has spent much of her career exploring issues involving immigration and identity with a particular focus upon the United States and Canada. Amitav Ghosh. Vijay Singh. author of A Suitable Boy (1994) is a writer who uses a purer English and more realistic themes. in his The Great Indian Novel (1989). author of Jasmine (1989). Jhumpa Lahiri. Gita Mehta. Raj Kamal Jha. Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni. Other authors include Manoj Das Vikram Chandra. Khushwant Singh.and C R Krishnan. Vikas Swarup. Dr Birbal Jha . Shashi Tharoor. Suketu Mehta.
. His work as UN official living outside India has given him a vantage point that helps construct an objective Indianness.Salman Rushdie Bharati Mukherjee.
Naipaul evokes ideas of homeland. but the deciphering of meaning needs cultural familiarity. is a person who belongs to the world and usually not classified under IWE. Davidar sets his The
. In his book. but its own historical quest. Debates
It would be useful at this point to bring in the recent debates on Indian Writing in English ("IWE"). becomes a trope for an ideal hybridity by which the West celebrates not so much Indianness. 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. 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. Arundhati Roy. who live in England or America and whom one might have met at a party?" Chaudhuri feels that after Rushdie.S. Amit Chaudhuri questions – "Can it be true that Indian writing. bagginess. critical/uncritical. a Pulitzer prize winner from the U. whatever that infinitely complex thing is.. is a writer uncomfortable under the label of IWE. that endlessly rich. complex and problematic entity. S. is to be represented by a handful of writers who write in English. He also feels that Indianness is a theme constructed only in IWE and does not articulate itself in the vernacular literatures. elitist/parochial and so on. a third generation Indian from Trinidad and Tobago and a Nobel prize laureate. Recent writers in India such as Arundhati Roy and David Davidar show a direction towards contextuality and rootedness in their works. including writers in English. shallow/deep. rootlessness and his own personal feelings towards India in many of his books. its reinterpretation of itself". calls herself a "home grown" writer. IWE started employing magical realism. Naipaul. Jhumpa Lahiri. The renowned writer V. He further adds "the post-colonial novel. 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. He contrasts this with the works of earlier writers such as Narayan where the use of English is pure. The very categorisation of IWE – as IWE or under post-colonial literature – is seen by some as limiting. a trained architect and the 1997 Booker prize winner for her The God of Small Things. 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. Some of these arguments form an integral part of what is called postcolonial theory. Key polar concepts bandied in this context are superficial/authentic. imitative/creative. nonlinear narrative and hybrid language to sustain themes seen as microcosms of India and supposedly reflecting Indian conditions. Her award winning book is set in the immensely physical landscape of Kerala.
geography and politics are integral to the narrative. Kersi Katrak.
 Alternative Writing
Not only mainstream. In his novel Lament of Mohini  (2000). Michael Madhusudan Dutt.
 Indo-Nostalgic writing
Indo-Nostalgic writing is a somewhat loosely defined term encompassing writings. Sheila Murphy and many others worldwide. Romesh Chandra Dutt. In modern times. Carla Bertola. Their contemporaries in English poetry in India were Jayanta Mahapatra. Shreekumar Varma  touches upon the unique matriarchal system and the sammandham system of marriage as he writes about the Namboodiris and the aristocrats of Kerala. Melanie Silgardo and Vikram Seth. Indian poetry in English was typified by two very different poets. Nissim Ezekiel. Joseph Furtado. Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali and English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into English. 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. Don Webb. Dom Moraes. Arun Kolatkar. with their Indian Counterparts like Dilip Gupta. Lal and Kamala Das among several others. and her brother Harendranath Chattopadhyaya. A glimpse of the unique Prakalpana fiction form which is the fusion of prose-poetry-picture-play-essay all-in-one. Dilip Chitre. Syamoli Mukherjee Bhattacharjee. John M. typically regarding India. The writings may be memoirs. Utpal etc. who has been the artificer and architect of the movement.House of Blue Mangoes in Southern Tamil Nadu. Boudhayan Mukhopadhyay. who came from India's tiny Bene Israel Jewish community. Among these are names like Agha Shahid Ali. Sujata Bhatt. K. travelogues. Bennett. Nikhil Bhaumik. Sarojini Naidu. as well as Vattacharja Chandan. Ramanujan. A generation of exiles also sprang from the Indian diaspora.
A much over-looked category of Indian writing in English is poetry. Adil Jussawala. or inspired in part by real-life experiences and in part by the
. represent a dominant theme or strong undercurrent. Bibhu Padhi. or quasifictionalized memoirs. 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. Rajagopal Parthasarathy. A. wherein nostalgia regarding the Indian subcontinent. In both the books. Eunice De Souza. Armando Menezes. Gieve Patel. created a voice and place for Indian poets writing in English and championed their work. Ramratan Mukhopadhyay. is observable from (a chapter of the on-going bilingual Bangla-English Atiprithibi / Cosmosphere) e book By Vattacharja Chandan : Aurora On The River Gour. 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. in the English language. Other early notable poets in English include Derozio. Toru Dutt. P. Sri Aurobindo. Keki Daruwala. As stated above. The movement has been enriched with the works of today’s renowned avant garde and experimental writers and mail artists such as Richard Kostelanetz.
for mass-distributed authors. perhaps dealing with impressionistic memories of places. Columbus: Ohio State University Press. it is their sweet spot. Salman Rushdie. despite the rapid growth in the incomes of urban Indians. Indo-Nostalgic writings have much overlap with post-colonial literature but are generally not about 'heavy' topics such as cultural identity. The writings are often less self-conscious and more light-hearted. cuisines. after all. "reconnection". Vijay Singh.
Haq. Jim Corbett. multilingualism or rootlessness. feature pieces in mainstream or literary magazines) or poetry. or Western writers who have spent long periods of time in the subcontinent. people. Itwas directly interested neither in Empire nor in the Kingdom of Christ– and certainly not in the suppression or advancement of indigenous culture. or simply vignettes of "the way things were".g. 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. Hoskote. Sir William Jones established the Royal Asiatic Society ofBengal in 1784 and Sir Thomas Munro too was much impressed by the Indianculture. Finally. Of course. These men came to be called
.). Butthere were exceptions as well. another common theme in Indo-Nostalgic writing is "rediscovery" or its cousin. This would include both mass-distributed "Indo-Anglian" literature put out by major publishing houses and also much shorter articles (e.g. even if one includes pirated copies.g. however. 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. including material published initially or solely in webzines. Accordingly. Typically. Rohinton Mistry. Warren Hastings established the CalcuttaMadrasah in 1781. Suketu Mehta). Ranjit (ed. Indo-Nostalgic writings may not necessarily represent all of their literary output. perhaps as the children of British Raj-era European expatriates or missionaries (e. the responsibility foradministering criminal justice. 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. 1990.writer's imagination. Stephen Alter). Certainly. Of late. Contemporary Indian Poetry. Only-in-India situations. Reasons for Belonging: Fourteen Contemporar
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. but certainly would represent a high percentage. The Company was. Kaiser (ed. the authors are either Western-based writers of Indian origin (e. Or. concomitant with the rise of nationalism within India against the backdrop of a booming economy.). interested in politicaldomination only to the extent such domination increased its own dividends. possibly having been born or raised in India. conflicted identities. a few Indo-nostalgic writers are beginning to show signs of "long-distance nationalism". they may even be Anglo-Indians who have emigrated from the subcontinent to the West. it is worth noting that the markets for such writers are almost entirely in the West.
and others followed in due course. During the 20 years between 1835 to1855 thenumber of those educated in English had been rapidly increasing.though here the foreign element seemed more pronounced. 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. 1835. The vogue for English books increased. Indians started with reading. Britain– or East India Company – was more or less the master of the situation in India. Gujrati and other Indian languages. The filiations betweenthe modern Indian literatures (including Indian English Literature) and Englishliterature have been close. in 1854 the first telegraphline and a modern postal system were inaugurated. A tokengrant of Rupees one lakh per year was made for education and the idea was topromote only Oriental education. educating and civilizing mission as well. for example. culminating in the established of Hindu Collegein 1817. Started by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and his friends – David Hare and SirEdward Hyde East.000 English books sold in India. On the other hand.became current in bigger towns and cities. In1853 the first railway was established in India.The study of English literature stimulated literary creation in Bengali. And Indo-Anglianliterature had the same origin as the other modern literature in India. In 1813the commercial monopoly of the Company was ended. 1718 at Mumbai(by Richard Cobbe. and 1720 at Kolkata. and the British in India assumed. Modern Europeanscientific techniques (including medicine and surgery) were slowly beingintroduced in India.beside police functions. Once this started. the printing presses also gave rise to the first evernewspaper – Hicky’s Bengal Gazette (1780). as against 13. and Macaulay’scelebrated Minute settled the issue at last. Westernways – in manners and customs.Indian writing in English had to range from the most utilitarian prose to themost ambitious verse-epics.000 in nativeIndian languages. dictionariesand translations. Ram Mohan Roy
. a chaplain). By the beginning of the 19thcentury. 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. Western education wasspreading fast in different parts of India and was doing much betterthan the institutions imparting oriental education.It was thus thought that Indiawas eventually progressing from its static and secure medievalism to a dynamicmodernism. 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. endowed by theThomlinsons.Last came the private schools that imparted English education – such schoolshave been started as early as 1717 at Cuddalore near Chennai. The Orientalists and theAnglicists continued to wrangle but it was quite evident that the former weresteadily losing ground. It is saidthat even in 1834-5.Marathi. it became the Presidency College in 1855. 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. 32. Telegu. Distance was being abridgedand a common medium of communication was being established.‘Brahmanised Britons’ because they admiredIndian culture and deprecated the idea of introducing Western civilization orChristianity into India. and they soon started writing also. stillrecognized as one off the premier educational institutes. speaking andcomprehending English. and the demand camemore from English educated Indians than from the Englishmen in India. Along with grammars.” On 7thMarch.” From 1835 was theAnglicizing period. and all funds appropriated for the purpose ofeducation would be best employed on English education alone.
however her life – a combination of beauty andtragedy – equally fascinates and depresses us. 1772. to conservative Bengali Brahmin parents. political science and English. his mother tongue. In Rangpur.mathematics. Toacquaint himself with the Buddhist religion. He then visited Varanasi where he learnt Sanskrit and studiedancient Hindu scriptures.He loved to repeat three of their maxims: "Man is the slave ofbenefits". he wasposted to Rangpur. In 1803. Sufimysticism had a great influence on Roy. Royfounded the Atmiya Sabha in 1814. The group held weekly meetings at his house. Along with a group of like-minded people. Dissatisfied with thesystem of education and the rote method of teaching English. His knowledge of Arabic enabled him to read the Koran in the original. followers of Sri Caitanya Maha Prabhu) a liberal sect that flourished in Bengal and South India. Roy went to a seat of Muslim studies in Patna where he mastered Persian and Arabic. Roy'sunderstanding of the different religions of the world helped him to comparethem with Vedantic philosophy and garner the best from each religion. Roy resigned from theEast India Company a few years later and came to Calcutta in 1814. Roylater began to feel that the country would benefit in terms of education and byexposure to the good points of Christianity. Roy wasdrawn to certain aspects of Christianity that led some of the followers of thereligion to suggest that he convert.the Shakti . he formed anassociation of English and Hindu scholars. His father Ramakanta Roy's family belonged to the Vaisnava (who worship Lord Vishnu . he travelled across northern India and Tibet for the next three years. He also invested his own money inthe starting of a school where he introduced subjects like science.the Preserver. "The enjoyment of the worlds rests on these two points -kindness to friends and civility to enemies". but he politely declined. Roy did his elementary education in the village school in Bengali. Though initially antagonistic towards British rule in India. Roy felt that an understanding of these"modern" subjects would give Indians a better standing in the worldof the day. and "The way of servingGod is to do good to man". At the age of 12.The renaissance in modern Indian literature begins with Raja Ram Mohan Roy.the Mother Energy of the universe). He also devoured Arabic translations of the works of Aristotle and Plato. he secured a job with the East India Company and in 1809. For this he was called a stooge ofthe British. he learnt about Jainism and studied the Jaintexts. Royclashed with his orthodox father on the issue of idol worship and left home.texts from the Vedas were recited and theistic hymns were sung. When he was 16. Roy was born in Radhanagar village in west Bengal's Hooghly district on May 22.
. To pursue his interests. as well as the works of Sufi saints. His mother Tarini Devi's orthodox priestly family (Bhattacharyas of Chatra) on the other hand belonged to the Shakta sect (worshippers of Godess Kali . Roy was drawn to the Unitarian form of Christianity thatresulted in him supporting a Unitarian Mission to be set up in Calcutta in 1824. 1865)compels attention as a poet. Toru DuttRead Toru Dutt's Poems Toru Dutt (born on 4th March. Hisquestioning mind objected to the deification of the Buddha and this did not godown well with some of the lamas.
and I love him most.
. Her mother soon reconciled. Intentto pay her tenderest addresses Tobird or cat. Toru. scholarly pursuits and morbid illness. this strained the relations between her parents but itturned out to be a temporary phase. TheDutts were one of the eminent families in Kolkata. and lost themselves in literary studies. Toruwas the youngest in the family. and mild As evening’s early star. In London. The first calamity came in 1865 when Abju died. Not so deep-loving haply. Of hisson Govi wrote: Most loving is my eldest. and a cultured man with literaryleanings and generous impulse.but most intelligent… The children had a private tutor but Govin took personalcare in educating them properly. no doubt. And thus to Toru: Punyand elf-like. She recalled gratefully. The stay at Nice was short and was followed by a visit to Italy and then to England. giving ampleproof of her linguistic abilities and ease in handling the two languages. . She had a rich and respectable ancestry. is meek.a language in which they attained proficiency to use it forcreativity. when she was just six. Here they attended schooland learnt French . the beauty of our home. but he usedto take such pains with us … When we were quite little ones… I wonder what Ishould have been without my father.-brow and blushing cheek Her nature shows serene. In 1862. Thecorrespondence with Mary Martin is a valuable source to know the mental make-upof the young poetess. Toru came into contactwith Mary Martin at Cambridgeand the two fostered a life-long bond of friendship and affection. Atwo-year period at Cambridgehelped in the blossoming of their personalities further. The letters reveal the young writer’s childlike joy inlife with her intellectual maturity. in the South-east of France. became a devoutChristian. the family left for Europewhere the girls could glean rich treasures of knowledge and become versatile. was well-to-do.Her poetry is reality. and pure. Almost a man in seeming. yet a child… And thus of Aru: My next. In 1869. Her father Govin ChunderDutt.Their first stay was in Nice.but the poet too induces interest. They speak of flowers and birds and ofartistic vision. Iknow". with disheveled tresses. having a brother Abju and a sister Aru. but less wild Than her dear brother. a good linguist. nothing very enviable or desirable. and translated The Blood of Jesus into Bengali. Initially. Self-willedand shy ne’er heeding that I call."without Papa I should never have known good poetry from bad. the lessons in music aroused thegirls’ finer sensitivities and opened new vistas of the world of emotions. was conscious of the influence herfather had exercised in shaping her mental calibre. the Dutt family embracedChristianity. The sisters clungto each other and read Paradise Lost repeatedly.
is a celebration of trees. The poems collected in Ancient Ballads were better than anything written up till then by an Indian in the English language. Pearls scattering from its tawny wings. in 1874 July. the volume throws light on the literary exertion and creative atmosphere of the Dutt family house. brought her to the attention of Edmund Gosse. Baudelaire. Leconte de Lisle. Govin’s contribution being mainly of a didactic nature. (‘Lines:Victor Hugo’) The most interesting part of the collection was the Notes appended at the end of volume. including one on Derozio in the Bengal Magazine (December 1874). while the French novel appeared in 1879 to much critical acclaim. Toru published her first essays. SainteBeauve). In its imagery and description – an affinity might be found between Toru and her contemporary Emily Dickinson. Gosse found them ‘curious’ and ‘bewildering’ as ‘nothing could be more naïve than the writer’s ignorance at some points. The family moved back to Kolkata in September 1873 and soon after that. a complete French novel – Le Journal de Mademoiselle d’Arvers. Gautier.Toru DuttRead Toru Dutt's Poems Soon after their arrival in their London came out The Dutt Family Album (1870). Bianca was published in Bengal Magazine (1878). They were largely written by Toru. The difference lies in the manner in which her language addresses her experience. containing about 200 pieces. a sketch for an unfinished romance Bianca. or The Young Spanish Maiden. Her awareness of her own Indianness is not restricted to Indian historical themes and the reworking of Indian legends. His brothers and a nephew called Omesh Chunder were the other contributors to the volume. Shortly after her return to Kolkata. A selection of English translation of the sonnets of Comte de Grammont. As souls from trials upward soar. Nerval. The bulk of the poems in Ancient Ballads is based on Indian mythology. Most of the poems were translated by Toru and her translations are also the more striking: Ha! There’s the seagull. Aru succumbed to consumption. The mythological content of her
. Thompson admired the ‘independence and masculinity’ of her criticism. It was 30th August 1877. She worked hard at learning Sanskrit and writings poems on Hindu mythology. Toru Dutt’s poetry transcends the recognisable school of nineteenth century poetry and evolves a separate identity. consisting of critical comments on the French poetry translated in the volume. 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. Toru’s first publication A sheaf Gleaned in French Fields (1876) consisting of translations of seventy French poets (including Hugo. Of no major literary importance. and a collection of poems Ancient Ballads were left behind by Toru. her vision radiating beyond the boundaries within which most of the nineteenth century poetry in English was confined. See it springs. or more startling than her learning at others. ‘Tis lost in caverns of the main! No! No! It upward soars again. ‘Baugmaree’ which takes its name from the place where the Dutt country house was situated. Then plunges in the gulfs once more.
His first book is written in verse form and chronicles the lives of young professionals in San Francisco. and Upamanyu Chatterjee.
If Rushdie’s work liberated Indian writing from the colonial straitjacket. signaled a new trend in writing as well as giving voice to multicultural concerns. With her also started the trend of large advances. Naipaul. a large number of them are part of the Indian diaspora. Mulk Raj Anand or Raja Rao used English in its classical form.
The other authors who should be included in the list are: Rohinton Mistry. but is integrated with her consciousness. In her poetry. Rushdie had to go into hiding in U. hitherto unheard of among Indian writers. and Two Lives.
The Top Ten Indian Writers in English
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. Rushdie. She won the Booker prize and remained on the top of the New York Times bestseller list for a long time. A Suitable Boy. A fatwa was issued by Iran’s Ayotollah Khomeini in 1989 calling for the execution of the author. Shashi Tharoor. but like Rushdie. Although his Midnight’s Children. An Equal Music. Till date.
Next on the list should be Vikram Seth who produced some magnificent works like The Golden Gate. Choudhuri. Although the novels are long and at times
.K. 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 Moor’s Last Sigh. the book that generated the most controversy was The Satanic Verses. Narayan. Ever since his success. and Shalimar the Clown received critical acclaim for their themes as well as his use of magic realism. Many countries banned the book including India. V. Earlier writers like Nirad C. Rushdie remains a hunted man with a price on his head. Fury. A Suitable Boy. However. which was based in a post-independent India. The God of Small Things. her memory. The renaissance was spearheaded by Salman Rushdie with his path breaking novel Midnight’s Children in 1980. He was accused of blasphemy by many Muslims because of certain allegedly irreverent references to Islam’s Prophet Mohammad. Mistry’s books shed light on the issues affecting the Parsi community in India. Shame. radically changed perceptions about Indian authors with her commercial success.S. Jhumpa Lahiri. Amitav Ghosh. with his Pidgin English. there has been a glut of Indian authors writing in English.poems does not exist extrinsically.K. R. Arundhati’s Roy’s book. These contemporary writers are not confined to people living in India. But the work that propelled him into the limelight was his second book.
a recent entrant into the world of Indian writers. The Glass Palace. His prolific writing career includes works such as A House for Mr. he is responsible for producing some of the most lyrical and insightful works on the effect of colonialism on the native people.
The list would be incomplete without a mention of Shashi Tharoor’s satirical works like The Great Indian Novel and Show Business. His wry sense of humor and realistic portrayal of India has given us the witty and amusing.depressing.
Jhumpa Lahiri. 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. her first novel. India: A Wounded Civilization. the beauty of the books lies in their lyrical prose.
Another respected name that should feature on a list of the top ten contemporary Indian writers is Amitav Ghosh. won the prestigious Pulitzer Prize in 2000. Biswas.
Lastly. and A Fine Balance. However. August.S Naipaul
One of the most enduring figures in the field and a nobel laureate. 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. Some of his better known works include Such a Long Journey. The Mammaries of the Welfare State. India: A Million Mutinies Now. India: From Midnight to Millennium. His books include The Circle of Reason. V. is of Indian origin although he was born in Trinidad. he hasn’t been able to replicate the success of his debut novel with his later works. 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. Naipaul. is a non-fiction chronicle of India’s past and its projected future. is an ambitious attempt to chart the lives of a family of immigrants through the eyes of a young boy.S. Lahiri took the literary world by storm when her debut book. His latest book. tackles the much-debated topic of cultural identity of Indians in a far off land. and A Bend in the River. An Area of Darkness. Although less prone to controversy. The Calcutta Chromosome. The Interpreter of Maladies.
. and The Hungry Tide. who has won many accolades including the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Prix Medicis Etrangere of France.
V. especially in the West. The Namesake. English. Family Matters.