Ethics and values in Kural Thirukural shows the discipline and moral values that has to be maintained in the

life of human being. On Truth  Truth can be defined as a harmless speech delivered by one person to another.  The lie takes the position of truth, and becomes truth when the lie can even result with goodness instead of misery.  No one should tell lie knowingly from their heart, if they do so then the lie that they said will lead them to endless misery and burn their heart.  If a person is firmly and strongly free from lies, he will lead a harmonious life by the praise and heartily blessings of worldly people.

Analysis on authors
The publication of Salman Rushdie’s Booker McConnell Prize-winning novel, Midnight’s Children (1980), generated an enormous Western interest in and appetite for contemporary Indian writing, albeit chiefly fiction written in English by writers living outside India. In Britain, the new generation of Indian writers is large and varied. In the United States, where the Indian population is proportionately much smaller and less visible, the kinds of Indian writing favored by publishers and readers are in general limited to the exotic and the poignant. Much to her credit, Lahiri has avoided exploiting the former while investing the latter with an emotional depth made all the more effective by a restrained, Chekhovian style that is worlds away from both the Rabelaisian extravagance of Rushdie and the mere cleverness of his many imitators. Lahiri’s roots, in fact, predate Rushdie, extending back to another transplanted Bengali writer, Bharati Mukherjee, whose early stories also concern the complexities of the Indian immigrant experience. In dealing with the lives of the Americanized offspring of that earlier immigrant generation, Lahiri is interested less in the clash of cultures than in the commonplace disasters that slowly erode the fragile foundations of her characters’ everyday lives. It is for this new generation of young, well-educated Indian Americans that Lahiri’s stories provide a shock of recognition not unlike Hanif Kureishi’s films and fictions have in Britain and Philip Roth’s early fiction did for young American Jews in the 1950’s, the sense that “someone understands us!” The cultural displacement that Lahiri’s characters experience so acutely has wider implications, however, insofar as it serves as an “index of a more existential sense of dislocation.” “Interpreter of Maladies” The title story of Lahiri’s debut collection offers an excellent introduction to her highly accomplished but unassuming art. At first glance “Interpreter of Maladies” looks like a case of yet another Indian writer exploiting a distant homeland to satisfy the American

appetite for the foreign and faraway. The story does not exploit, however; it explores. Its Indian setting acts as a necessary backdrop for a complex portrayal of that sense of disappointment and displacement central to Lahiri’s vision. A young, thoroughly Americanized Indian couple, Mr. and Mrs. Das, both born in the United States, pay a visit to the Sun Temple in Konarak, under the watchful eye of their guide and driver, Mr. Kapasi, from whose perspective, but not in whose voice, the story is told. Thus, it is the couple, not the country, that appears strange to Mr. Kapasi, who takes note of, and quiet exception to, a family that acts as if “they were all siblings.” Although appalled by their effusive, even excessive informality, Mr. Kapasi also finds himself attracted, especially as they take pains to include him in their little circle and even more when Mrs. Das pays him an unexpected compliment, saying how important his regular, weekday job is, interpreting patients’ maladies for a doctor. Lahiri quickly sketches Mr. Kapasi’s life as a series of disappointments. Having once dreamed of becoming a scholar of languages, he has had to settle for much less: first, as a teacher of English at a local grammar school, and then, in order to pay his dead son’s medical bills, as an interpreter of maladies and weekend tour guide. Not surprisingly, Mrs. Das’s compliment goes to his head. Her promise to send him a copy of the group photo that her husband has just taken leads this otherwise hopeless husband of an embittered wife to fantasize a chaste but satisfying epistolary relationship with the attractive, twenty-eight-year-old Mrs. Das. It is an imaginary airmail affair of the heart that appears at once touching and ridiculous, especially as played against the backdrop of the temple’s erotic friezes. However, when Mrs. Das, whose own marriage is none too happy, tells Mr. Kapasi of her secret symptoms—the child fathered by another man, the “terrible urges to throw things away”—he proves inadequate, even “insulted that Mrs. Das should ask him to interpret her common, trivial little secret.” Failing to understand the depth of her despair, he responds in a way that serves as the ironic measure of his own failures of nerve and compassion. “‘Is it really pain you feel, Mrs. Das, or is it guilt?’” Even the scrap of dignity he salvages from rescuing her son from hungry monkeys is quickly stripped away when he alone sees the paper on which he had written his address (and pinned his hopes) fall from Mrs. Das’s bag and blow away in the wind. “A Temporary Matter” “A Temporary Matter” is an even more painful rendering of what Lahiri has described as “the dilemma, the difficulty and often the impossibility of communicating emotional pain to others, as well as expressing it to ourselves.” The title refers to a disruption in electrical service while workmen repair a damaged line. “‘It’s good of them to warn us,’” says the wife, Shoba. There had been no warning months before when her child was stillborn and she and her husband had been left to drift apart even while living together, she into her job as a proofreader (correcting other people’s mistakes), he, “still a student at thirty-five,” into a still unfinished dissertation on agrarian revolts in India. Darkness forces them together, dining together by candlelight and passing the time telling stories that become “an exchange of confessions—the little ways they’d hurt or disappointed each other, and themselves.” The experience is painfully intimate, fraught with risk as well as possibility, but when the line is repaired, it is the reader’s turn to be caught off

guard, unprepared first for Shoba’s declaring that she is leaving Shukumar, then for the way he avenges himself, telling his rebellious wife what she had neither known nor wanted to know: their child’s sex. It was a secret he had kept even after holding their dead son “because he still loved her then, and it was the one thing in her life that she had wanted to be a surprise.” The story ends with the two together yet alone, each weeping “for the things they now knew.” “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dinner” Lahiri found writing “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dinner” difficult because it draws on two aspects of her own experience. One is the way her parents’ lives in America were largely defined by their Indianness, which caused them to look back, and occasionally travel back, to India, in part to compensate for the “malnourished version of family” they experienced as immigrants. (This is a subject more fully rendered in “Mrs. Sen’s.”) The other is the way that as the daughter of Indian immigrants, Lahiri came to feel that she could never really be at home either in the India her parents yearned for or in America. “When Mr. Pirzada Came to Dinner” is not so much about its title character, then, as it is about its Lahiri-like narrator, a woman in her early thirties looking back to 1971, when she was ten and Mr. Pirzada, a visiting researcher from Dacca, was a frequent guest in her home. It is a time when East Pakistan becomes Bangladesh and ten-year-old Lilia comes to feel her Indianness in much more complex terms than before. She learns, for example, that despite language and appearance, the “impeccably suited” and formal-sounding Mr. Pirzada is not Indian and that the war in East Pakistan that her parents and their guest follow so intently on television has no place at her school, where she and her classmates study the American Revolution. Seemingly, all ends well: India comes to the Bangladeshis’ aid; Mr. Pirzada is reunited with his family in a homeland at once familiar and new; and Lilia grows up, learning along the way from books about a war halfway around the world that had once mystified her. Nonetheless, the story ends elegaically, with Lilia’s feeling the “absence” that haunts all of Lahiri’s characters. “The Third and Final Continent” “The Third and Final Continent” is another story Lahiri found difficult to write, not because it is autobiographical (though it does draw on her parents’ experiences) but because of the challenge of narrating the story in a man’s voice. Although it is her restrained style, Indian characters, and immigrant themes that have attracted most attention, it is Lahiri’s virtuoso handling of narrative voices and points of view that is arguably the most impressive feature of her writing: the Faulkner-inspired “we” of “The Treatment of Bibi Haldar,” the young white boy in “Mrs. Sen’s,” the young (again white) woman from Michigan in “Sexy” who feels so displaced in a Boston in which her welloff Indian lover feels so at home. Perhaps the greater challenge Lahiri faced in writing this story was to avoid sounding sentimental, which is just what “The Third and Final Continent” did seem when it first appeared in The New Yorker. As the last of the nine stories in Interpreter of Maladies, however, “The Third and Final Continent” leaves a very different impression. Here, the artful simplicity of the narrator’s seemingly uneventful odyssey from Calcutta to London in 1964 and then to Boston on the very day

in 1969 when men first set foot on the Moon, seems quietly triumphant rather than sentimental. The story’s and the narrator’s modesty and humility compel the reader’s attention, focusing not on the narrator’s travails but instead on the summer he rented a room in the home of an elderly and cantankerous lady whom he treated with typically Indian formality and sincere if understated affection. His subsequent life, humbly and briefly narrated at story’s end, is ordinary enough—marriage, job, home, children—yet it leads the reader to wonder whether in marveling at achievements such as the Moon landing the reader may have missed entirely the kinds of commonplace triumphs that “The Third and Final Continent” celebrates—triumphs so conspicuously absent in Lahiri’s other stories.

Bellafante, Ginia. “Windows into Life.” Time 154 (August 2, 1999): 91. Bellafante maintains that Lahiri and Gish Jen—Who’s Irish: Stories (1999)—are two of the best of the young writers who have published collections of short stories this summer. Lahiri’s strength is her “gift for illuminating the full meaning of brief relationships” of various kinds. Crain, Caleb. “Subcontinental Drift.” The New York Times Book Review, July 11, 1999, 11-12. In Lahiri’s seductive, “elegantly constructed” stories, “the pang of disappointment turns into a sudden hunger to know more” on the part of both characters and readers. Curtis, Sarah. “Strangers and Neighbours.” The Times Literary Supplement, October 22, 1999, 25. In these stories of “isolation and displacement,” Lahiri goes well beyond typical Indian-immigrant fiction, utilizing her “ability to delineate in telling detail the mores of both [Indian and American] societies” in order to “illuminate human nature” in general. Flynn, Sean. “Jhumpa Lahiri.” Esquire 134 (October, 2000): 172. Flynn recounts his meeting with Lahiri when she worked for Boston magazine in the summer of 1997. He discusses the success of her book. “Jhumpa Lahiri.” People 54 (December 25, 2000): 138. A brief profile indicating the popular reception of Lahiri’s collection and her elevation to the status of a personality. Kakutani, Michiko. “Liking America, but Longing for India.” The New York Times, August 6, 1999, p. E48. Praising Lahiri’s “wonderfully distinctive new voice” and “eloquent and assured style,” Kakutani contends that the “cultural displacement” that connects Lahiri’s stories serves as “a kind of index of a more existential sense of dislocation.” Keesey, Anna. “Four New Collections Show the Elastic Quality of Short Fiction.” The Chicago Tribune, August 8, 1999, p. 4. Lahiri’s fiction “deals tenderly with the difficulties of the expatriate.” Although not averse to including “vivid, aromatic details” of Indian life, she is most effective when most retrained and austere.

O’Grady, Megan. Review of Interpreter of Maladies, by Jhumpa Lahiri. The Village Voice 104 (April 19, 1999): 59-60. According to O’Grady, Interpreter of Maladies “speaks to anyone who has ever felt like a foreigner—at home or abroad.” Although marriage may be her “richest domain,” the “awe she invokes in her characters as they cross barriers of nations and generations” is present in all nine stories. Todd, Tamsin. “At the Corner Delhi.” The Washington Post, October 7, 1999, p. C8. After Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things), Lahiri has been anointed “the next subcontinental sensation”; fortunately her fiction proves her a worthy candidate: original, “accomplished, insightful and deeply American.”

The Namesake (Magill’s Literary Annual 2004)
Gogol Ganguli, the protagonist of Jhumpa Lahiri’s first novel, is on a quest: He is compelled to reinvent himself, to achieve a sense of dignity that will overcome the embarrassment of his name. Born in the United States, he is the son of Ashima and Ashoke Ganguli, who were married in India in the traditional way, by parental arrangement. They strive to preserve their Bengali culture while freeing their children to become successful Americans. Unlike immigrants of earlier generations who turned their backs on the old country, knowing they could never return, the Ganguli family travels frequently and with fluid ease between the United States and India, fully at home in neither place. Gogol’s name is a bizarre accident of fate. Ashoke, as a young man in India, survives a terrible train accident and is saved only because the rescuers notice the crumpled page of a book falling from his hand. This book is the collected short stories of Russian writer Nikolai Gogol. This accident marks Ashoke physically with a lifelong limp and emotionally with a sense of mystery about his survival when all others in the same railroad car perished. When his son is born in Boston, Ashoke must name the child on the birth certificate before the infant is released from the hospital. Indian children are given a pet name for the family, with the formal or “good” name chosen later, when the child’s personality has been formed. The grandmother in India has been chosen to name the boy, but her letter has not yet arrived. Ashoke names his son for the author whose book saved his life. This name is, for Gogol, a despised symbol of his cultural alienation, neither Indian nor American but Russian. Worse still, as he learns in high school, the author, although a genius, was mentally disturbed and suicidal. The narrative spans the first thirty-two years of Gogol’s life, following him as a young child, then a schoolboy, continuing through his college years and his early career as an architect. While Gogol is the focus of the story, the narrator, writing in the third person as a distant observer, departs from this position at times to explore the lives of other major characters who are on their own journeys, trying to make sense of their lives.

Ashoke earns his degree in engineering and becomes a tenured professor at a small-town New England college, and the family establishes a home on Pemberton Road. A man of the working world, Ashoke successfully adapts to American ways in his public life. However, he and Ashima socialize only with their Bengali friends, immigrants who share their traditions. Ashoke and Gogol are outwardly respectful to each other, but Ashoke is puzzled and saddened by his son’s emotional distance. Ashima, a homemaker in the old world tradition, is torn between the old ways and the new. She wears the sari throughout her life and cooks Indian food but adopts American customs for the sake of her children. Her Thanksgiving turkey is seasoned with garlic and cumin, and she decorates an artificial Christmas tree. The scenes in the novel are fraught with the tension between the two cultures which causes conflict in the family life. Ashima often accedes to her son’s wishes but sometimes stands her ground with indignation. When Gogol returns from a grade-school field trip with a grave rubbing from a Puritan cemetery which he intends to display on the refrigerator, Ashima is horrified. In Hindu tradition, the body is burned; she finds it barbaric that Americans display artifacts of the dead in the place where food is cooked and consumed. Ashoke, in a poignant scene, presents his son with a hardcover volume of Gogol’s short stories for his fourteenth birthday, a special edition ordered from England and intended to commemorate the significance of his name. Gogol, a thoroughly Americanized teenager preoccupied with his favorite Beatles recording, is indifferent to his father’s gift. Ashoke quietly leaves the room, where he is not welcome. Although Gogol will eventually learn this story, the author conveys a powerful sense of loss for a moment of love that might have united father and son. The Gangulis maintain close ties with their families in India by telephone. The middle-of-the-night overseas calls invariably bring news of serious illness or a death in the family, revealing Ashimi’s sense of loss and separation from loved ones and her native traditions. Only on her return to India does she feel secure. However, Gogol and his younger sister, Sonia, are bored and annoyed by their noisy, intrusive Bengali relatives. They crave their hamburgers and pizza and hot showers. When they return to the United States, they purposely forget their Indian experience—it seems irrelevant to their lives. Although Gogol is enrolled in school under his formal name, Nikhil, it seems strange to him, and he continues to call himself Gogol, much as he hates the name. His sister calls him by the unfortunate nickname of Goggles. When he is eighteen and a freshman at Yale University, he changes his name legally to Nikhil. His roommates, and later his adult friends, know him as Nikhil, but occasionally a family member calls him Gogol, and this requires an embarrassing explanation. Gogol’s headlong affair with Maxine Ratliff in New York City, where he works as an architect, illuminates the clash between the two cultures that is at the heart of this story. Maxine is an editor of art books, and she and her parents are upscale Americans

whose lifestyle would make a good feature story in a trendy magazine. Maxine’s mother is a textile curator at the Metropolitan Museum, and her father is a lawyer. The Ratliffs are as different from the Gangulis as it is possible to imagine. Where Gogol’s parents refuse to acknowledge that he might have a sex life, the Ratliffs are at ease with Maxine and Gogol’s affair, conducted casually in their home. The Ratliffs have frequent dinner parties, featuring small portions of elegantly prepared food. They are wine connoisseurs and often appear to be mildly intoxicated. The Gangulis are teetotalers, and Gogol has never seen them display physical affection. They entertain their Bengali friends in large, noisy gatherings with an overabundance of food, which they chew with their mouths open. Seduced by their contrasting lifestyle and infatuated with Maxine, Gogol moves into the Ratliffs’ tastefully decorated Manhattan town house. In one scene, Gogol and Maxine stop briefly at the house on Pemberton Road on their way to a vacation in New Hampshire. Ashima is hurt that they will spend the holiday with Maxine’s family but responds with polite hospitality. Gogol sees that his mother is overdressed and has cooked too much food. Ashima is deeply offended when the young woman calls her by her first name but suffers the insult without comment. The death of Ashoke is a wrenching experience for Gogol and a turning point in his life. During a visiting professorship at an Ohio university, Ashoke is felled by a fatal heart attack. Ashima, who has remained in the family home, is notified by telephone from the hospital; she finally reaches Gogol at the Ratliff home. Gogol must identify his father’s body in the morgue and clear out the apartment where his father had lived temporarily. The precisely detailed description of Ashoke’s body, the hospital rooms, and the bare furnishings of the apartment are a stark reminder to Gogol of his loss, his discovery that he has never truly known his father. These scenes recall an earlier event when young Gogol and his father had walked on the sands at Cape Cod to the lighthouse, as far as they could go. Ashoke said, “Remember that you and I made this journey, that we went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.” After Ashoke’s death, Maxine and Gogol gradually drift apart. Gogol’s reaction seems remote and puzzling: “His time with her seems like a permanent part of him that no longer has any relevance, or currency. As if that time were a name he’d ceased to use.” After the period of mourning for Ashoke, Gogol agrees, at his mother’s request, to meet Moushumi, the daughter of Bengali friends whom he has known since childhood. The two are attracted to each other, begin an affair, and marry in a traditional Indian ceremony. Moushumi, however, has had previous affairs and a troubled history of mental breakdowns. She inexplicably sabotages her marriage through an affair with an older, less attractive man. The conclusion reaches for a symmetry that resolves the conflicts in the narrative. Ashima sells the family home and will spend half the year in Calcutta with her friends and relatives, the other half with her children in the United States. Sonia is engaged to Ben, a man of mixed Jewish and Chinese ancestry, and this promises to be a successful

union. Gogol, as he helps to dismantle the home on Pemberton Road, rediscovers the volume of short stories, his father’s birthday gift, and begins to read. Lahiri’s first book, The Interpreter of Maladies, is a collection of short stories which won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000. The Namesake, her first novel, has raised high critical expectations. Her style, often described as luminous and graceful, is accomplished, especially in the precisely detailed word choices and descriptions of ordinary life that draw the reader into the narrative. Lahiri grounds the reader with a sense of time and place by frequent mentions of historical events, such as the assassinations of the 1960’s. She is a shrewd, often ironic, observer of the nuances of both Indian traditions and American pop culture. The Gangulis, for instance, are baffled by teenage Sonia’s disruption of the household when she dyes her entire wardrobe black, and they find it incredible that the president of the United States is addressed as Jimmy. Critics have high praise for Lahiri’s richly sensuous, epicurean descriptions of the preparation and consumption of food. The author says that she is an enthusiastic cook. Like food, train travel, both in India and the United States, is a recurring motif. In an interview, Lahiri said that she sees her narrative as resembling the incomplete glimpses of the passing scene through the window of a train. Several critics find that the gaps in the narrative give the impression of incompleteness. Others say that the third-person, distant narrative voice creates a flat, unemotional tone. However, The Namesake has received enthusiastic popular acclaim, and most critics agree that it fulfills the promise of her earlier, highly praised work. As a portrait of immigration and a personal quest for identity, the novel raises interesting questions. Given the genuine pain that Ashima and Ashoke suffer in attempting to reconcile their cultural heritage with the American dream, it is worth considering whether Gogol’s angst over the oddity of his name should evoke the reader’s sympathy. Ashoke’s common-sense interpretation of Gogol’s complaints when he announces he will change his name is instructive: “The only person who didn’t take Gogol seriously, the only person who tormented him, the only person chronically aware of and afflicted by the embarrassment of this name . . . was Gogol.” As Gogol takes up his father’s gift and begins to read, there is hope that he has reached a mature resting place between the two cultures that are his heritage.

Review Sources
Booklist 99, nos. 19/20 (June 1, 2003): 1710. Kirkus Reviews 71, no. 11 (June 1, 2003): 773. Library Journal 128, no. 12 (July 15, 2003): 123. The Nation 277, no. 13 (October 27, 2003): 36-38.

New Leader 86, no. 5 (September/October, 2003): 31-32. The New York Times Book Review, September 28, 2003, p. 11. Publishers Weekly 250, no. 27 (July 7, 2003): 48-49. San Francisco Chronicle, September 14, p. M1. Time 162, no. 12 (September 22, 2003): 76. The Washington Post, September 14, 2003, p. BW10.

The Namesake (Magill’s Literary Annual 2004)
The Namesake portrays both the immigrant experience in America, and the complexity of family loyalties that underlies all human experience. Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli, after an arranged marriage in India, emigrate to America where Ashoke achieves his dream of an engineering degree and a tenured position in a New England college. Their son Gogol, named for the Russian writer, rejects both his unique name and his Bengali heritage. In a scene central to the novel’s theme, Ashoke gives his son a volume of Nikolai Gogol’s short stories for his fourteenth birthday, hoping to explain the book’s significance in his own life. Gogol, a thoroughly Americanized teenager, is indifferent, preoccupied with his favorite Beatles recording. Such quietly revealing moments give the narrative its emotional power. The loneliness of lives lived in exile is most poignantly revealed in the late night family telephone calls from India, always an announcement of illness or death. Gogol earns his degree in architecture, but happiness in love eludes him. An intense love affair with Maxine draws him into a wealthy American family, revealing the extreme contrasts between American and Indian family values. Gogol’s marriage to Moushumi, who shares his Indian heritage, ends in divorce. Jhumpa Lahiri’s conclusion achieves a fine balance. Ashima, now a widow, sells the family home and will divide her time between America and Calcutta. Gogol, at thirtytwo, discovers in his father’s gift of Gogol’s short stories a temporary reconciliation with his name and the heritage he has rejected. Critics praise Lahiri’s luminous, graceful style and her keenly observed details of daily life, particularly the mythic significance of food and ethnic customs. The Namesake, her first novel, fulfills the promise of her collection of short stories, The Interpreter of Maladies (1999), that won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000.

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