Friday, September 28, 2012

Mumbai University SYBA Indian English Literature Semister First


The Martyr's Corner - 


A Critical Appreciation

Rama was a food vendor who used to sell his items at a fixed corner in the market place which happened to be very lucky for him. It drew all kinds of crowd to him very conveniently and he too was very popular amongst his customers. Rama was very hardworking and punctual. Daily at 8.15 in the evening he reached the place with a load of his stuff in a big tray on his head, a stool stuck in the crook of his arm, a lamp in another hand and a couple of legs to mount his tray. Rama’s well displayed mouthwatering bandas, dosais, chappatis, chutney, duck eggs and freshening hot coffee allured everyone to come to him and satisfy their taste buds. Even a confirmed dyspeptic could not pass by without throwing a look at this tempting sight. Rama’s customers included boot polish boys, jutka drivers, beggars, grass selling women and the cinema crowd coming out after the evening show. The corner where Rama used to sell his stuff was easily accessible to all his customers and he was making a good profit of almost ten rupees everyday. It was interesting to see that all the copper coins his clients earned throughout the day by serving their customers ultimately came to Rama in the evening because it was there only where they could buy eatables at very reasonable and cheap rates. Rama and his wife were very happy about their growth because after sparing fixed amount for next day’s investment they were able to save some money for contingent expenses. On the other hand his fellowmen were a little bit jealous of him because for them he hardly worked for two hours and minted lots of money in this small span of time. They could hardly realize that to cater his customers for two hours in the evening Rama and his wife worked very hard throughout the day to prepare the base material.
Rama was very meticulous and vigilant. He was always watchful and could very well tell that who was picking what from his tray. He always cared for the satisfaction of his customers and allowed them to examine their buy thoroughly. He was kind and always dealt leniently with the boot polish boys and let them enjoy their coffee by sticking to the glass as much as they wanted but he did not like the women clients because their shrill voices irritated him immensely. He served his customers very sincerely. After the end of the evening show at 10. 15having emptied all the food items of the tray Rama used to get back home very delighted and saturated. Then he tucked a betel leaf with tobacco in his mouth and retired to bed to take some rest.
But one day Rama got astounded when he was denied to sell his stuff from his favorite corner because someone was murdered there in the noon so a group of people were holding a meeting there to show their protest. They were agitated and demonstrated strongly. Very soon a fierce fighting got started killing many people and consequently leaving the spot totally devastated. Even after few days Rama was not allowed to sell his goods from there because the corner was declared a holy place and it was decided that a stone monument would be built in memory of the departed leader who was killed there by the police. Soon the spot was cordoned off, money was raised and a stone memorial was erected with an ornamental fencing and flower pots encircling the spot and thus it became ‘The martyr’s corner’. Rama was forced to leave his favorite place but the new place did not bring luck to Rama. He lost his selected customers because it was inconvenient for them to reach to him at his new place. His income reduced substantially and he had to return home with a bulk of leftover each day. His business and happiness were all ruined. He lost his reputation too when he tried to reuse his leftover because it made some of his customers sick. Ultimately Rama wound up his business and got to retire but soon his savings were too exhausted and ultimately he had to take up the job of a waiter in Kohinoor restaurant where he was dealt with very rudely by his guests. He submissively gulped the insult but never forgot to inform them that once he himself was a hotel owner and this piece of reminiscence gave him great satisfaction.
The language of the story is vivid and descriptive. The content of the story takes us to the first half of the last century when the coins of annas, paisas and pies were prevalent. Rama is portrayed as a kind hearted person. The hollow eyes and ragged dresses of beggars and boot polish boys rent his heart. The title of the story is sarcastic and points out at the sick mentality of the politicians who give more importance to the dead but they inhumanly ignore the sufferings and plights of living.
Although in conventional manner the spot had emerged out to be a ‘Martyr’s Corner’ but ironically it was Rama only who paid the price by losing his livelihood, reputation and entire fortune. In true sense the real martyr is Rama himself.
Saadat Hasan Manto
(May 11, 1912 — January 18, 1955)
WHILE thousands are involved in the unprecedented communal frenzy that follows the announcement of Partition, the inmates of a mental asylum find themselves in a strange situation. The authorities have decided that while the Muslim inmates could stay back, the Hindu and Sikhs would have to go to India. This creates confusion because the inmates have not heard of Pakistan. A Sikh inmate refuses to leave because, when he was brought in, the asylum was in India. What follows is confusion, confusion and more confusion. And as you read you begin to wonder who is insane: the inmates of the asylum or the violent mobs outside, hell-bent on killing anyone who does not belong to their religion. And all though the story, Toba Tek Singh is hilarious, you are not quite sure whether to laugh or cry.

Many stories have been inspired by the horrors of Partition, but no one portrayed it in so few words, and with such irony as Saadat Hasan Manto, the amazing genius of modern Urdu literature, did.

Born in Samrala, Manto wrote radio scripts, film scripts, produced more than 250 short stories, scores of plays, and essays as well a novella. During World War II, he was with the All India Radio, New Delhi. But the best years of his life were spent in Bombay, where he was associated with leading film studios. He wrote over a dozen films, the prominent of them being: Eight Days, Chal Chal Re Naujawan, and Mirza Ghalib.

Manto's forte was the short story. With cynical wit and brutal frankness, he exposed the decaying social mores and traditions of society that was physically in the 20th century but mentally in the 12th. "In my reform house, I keep no combs, curlers, or shampoos," he used to tell his critics, "because I do not know how to apply make-up on people. . . . Every angel who came to my faculty was barbered thoroughly and in style so that not a single hair was left standing on their head."Manto was tried thrice for obscenity before and thrice after independence. Two of his greatest stories Colder than Ice and The Return were considered obscene by Pakistani censors. He was never really comfortable in Pakistan, for his missed India, especially his beloved city Mumbai. His friend Ahmed Rahik once remarked, "He [Manto] began to die the moment he left Bombay."And like his character from Toba Tek Singh, Manto was in a strange dilemma after Partition:"I found it impossible to decide which of the two countries was now my homeland?"
Good Advice Is Rarer than Rubies: Overview
“When I first saw The Wizard of Oz, it made a writer of me,” Rushdie once said. He drew on his interest in that story when he wrote “Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies,” which alludes to the famous slippers that offer Dorothy an opportunity to go home, away from the magical and foreign place that is Oz. “Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies” was published in the collection East, West, which explores the ways in which people of Eastern ethnicity, especially those from India and Pakistan, experience conflict when they confront Western cultures. The collection is divided into three groups of stories—the East, the West, and the combination of both. “Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies” uses unreliable third-person narration to celebrate Eastern values through a tale about an Indian woman who will use trickery to avoid marriage to a man in Great Britain because she prefers to stay at her home in India. Miss Rehana, a beautiful Indian woman, so beautiful that she captures the attention of all men who look at her, is on her way to get her papers to go to London. Muhammad Ali, an expert advice-giver and trickster, smitten by her beauty, gives her free advice as to how to avoid the insults and red tape of immigrating to England, offering to arrange for her a free passport to bypass this. After listening to him patiently, Rehana instead uses his advice to avoid getting the permits she needs. Her fiancé in England was chosen by her parents rather than by herself, and as it turns out, he is an old man. She prefers to reject the Indian societal pressure to marry and instead continues her life as an independent, single woman working as an ayah (nanny) to three children in Lahore. The story rejects the notion that England is a preferable place to live over India but equally rejects the Indian practice of arranged marriage as well as the expectation that all young women must marry. As a result, the author does not simply celebrate Indian culture; he depicts it in a realistic, nuanced way.
Presentation of the story
“Good advice Is Rarer Than Rubies,” is written by Salman Rushdie. Salman was born in India, but today he is a British citizen.
He graduated from Kings College in 1968 in Cambridge.
He has won several literature prizes and is one of the best known contemporary writers in English language.
He often writes stories that are based on his own experience as an immigrant in England.
This is a short story in the book “East, West” that was published in 1994. East, West are divided into three parts: “East,” “West” and “East, West.”
Each selection contains stories around their geographical area. “Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies”, is a story from the East.
Summary:
This story is about a lady named Rehana. She is going to get permission to London and is waiting outside the British Embassy.
Outside she meets a man named Muhammad Ali, he is a poor bus driver. The bus driver wants to give Rehana some advice for only a small cost, but Rehana have no money.
Muhammad didn’t give up, and because she was so beautiful he gave her the advice for free.
He told her that going into the Embassy was her biggest mistake. When he started to answer her question she understood that he was helping her.
He went through the presentation that she was going to have in the embassy. When she was done he told her that it would cost more than a big smile and her truth in some questions.
They would ask all kinds of questions and if she answered wrong at any of the questions she was finished, she would lose her dignity if she went inside.
But Muhammad really surprised her when he told her that he had some contacts and could get Rehana a false passport.
Rehana got very unsure about what she was going to do, since it was in fact illegal.
As determined as she was, she walked away and went into the line where all the women stood waiting to go into the embassy.
When she got out in the street again, Muhammad Ali was there waiting for her.
She grabbed him in the arm and when they sat on the front bumper she told him about her life.
She was going to England to meet the man her parents chose for her when she was a little girl.
In the end she also told him that she got the questions wrong and she was not going to England. She was not sad, in fact it seemed that this was the best thing that could happen to her.
The story ends with Rehana turning back to her job as ayah for three good boys, without a passport so she could travel to England.

Setting:
The story takes place in the multi million city Lahore in Pakistan. The year is 1970, and we are in the gates of the British Embassy.

Point of view:
“Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies,” is written in 3rd person narrator that stands outside the story. The narrator has got some sight in the main characters thoughts and life.
This makes him able to give us a bit background information that we would not get, if he didn`t know their thoughts. For example he says about Muhammad Ali: "Miss Rehana eyes where large
and black and shiny enough not to need help af antomony, and when the advice expert Muhammad Ali saw them, he felt himself becoming young again." The text also contains a lot of dialog
between the two main characters, Miss Rehana and Muhammad Ali.

Theme/Moral:
We think that the theme in this story is very complex. In the story we have people that have to s probably arranged marriage and how it is to be an immigrant in other countries.
The moral in this story is to do the right thing and be happy for what you have.


Character description:
Miss Rehana :
Miss Rehana is a beautiful Indian woman, with large, black and shiny eyes. She is described as very independent by some of the other characters in the story.
Because of her beauty, she often gets special treatment from other men that likes her. Muhammad Ali did for example notice her because of her beauty,
and thought that she would be easy to trick. She did not want his advice, and acted like she was very clever woman, and does not want this Muhammad Ali`s good advice.
Muhammad Ali: Muhammad Ali is an "advice expert" and a poor bus driver, that makes money out of fooling people outside the British Embassy in India.
He tricks other people that pays him a larger amount of money, so that he can fix them illegal papers to Britain.
As soon as he gets their money, they never sees him again.


Relations between characters:
In this story Miss Rehana meets Muhammad Ali outside the British Embassy. She is there to reply entrance and passport to Britain,
while Mohammad Ali is there to trick money out of naive people. Miss Rehana is a clever woman, and does not want this Muhammad Ali`s good advice.
He change his mind about tricking Miss her, and does after some time actually want to help.
He waits at her outside the Embassy, while she`s inside. Muhammad Ali felt sorry for Miss Rehana when she did not receive passport and entrance to Britain,
and the story end with the two of them walking to buy some pakora (fried vegetables).

Good Advice Is Rarer than Rubies by Salman Rushdie
Brief summary
One Tuesday morning, the beautiful Miss Rehana leaves a bus in front of the British Consulate somewhere in Pakistan. Her parents are dead,and her fiancé,who lives in Bradford and who she has not seen since she was nine years old,has sent for her,and she has come to apply for a visa to immigrate to Britain. She is immediately accosted (D.: jmd.ansprechen) by the advice expert Muhammad Ali,who is so attracted to the beautiful young girl,that he even offers her his advice for free. Miss Rehana conscientiously uses his advice, but not to”pass” the test. Instead, she deliberately (D.:mit Absicht) fails,telling Muhammad afterwards that she has a job in a great house as ayah /nanny  to three boys who would have been very sad to see her go.
Structure of the plot

Rushdie has always been fascinated by motion pictures, and the action of this single incident
is presented to the reader as if he was watching actors in a film.
At the beginning of the story Miss Rehana is at first concealed (D.: verborgen) by a cloud of dust,and then makes a dramatic entrance when she descends from the bus.
The narrative is divided into short scenes, in which the reader forms certain expectations as to (D:hinsichtlich) how the narrative could continue.

p.203 -205 /15 : the reader has formed the impression that Miss Rehana is a beautiful and 
                           polite young lady.

p.205/16-206/27: Miss Rehana does not seem to be so  polite any longer, as she is obviously
                             making fun of the old man.
p.206/28-208/2:   Muhammad Ali,the crook and swindler,who usually feels no guilt when it
                                     comes to tricking women into giving him money,is giving his advice for
                                      free.
p.208/3- 208/25:   Miss Rehana is angry now and the old man feels like a fool, as she tells
                              him off (D: jmd. ausschimpfen)
p.208/26- 210/29:  Miss Rehana is happy again. Against all the expectations she does not 
want to leave Pakistan and go to Britain to marry Mustafa Dar. Muhammad                              is puzzled,but impressed by Miss Rehana`s determination and the beautiful smile she gives him when she departs.

The theatrical opening finds its parallel in the ending:”Her last smile,which he watched from the compound until the bus concealed it in a dust-cloud,was the happiest thing he had ever seen in his long,hot,hard,unloving life.”
Setting
The compound . Rushdie has revived the colonial setting of the compound or contact zone.The area in and around it is clearly defined by a bus-stop,a shanty-town and the closely guarded consulate,where the privileges for entry to the West are granted. The author wants to show that colonial structures still exist even after independence and that entry to the West is still regarded as a privilege.
Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies by Salman Rushdie
Point of view
The story is told by a third-person narrator who concentrates on Muhammad Ali. He offers us insight into Muhammad`s motives and his fascination with Miss Rehana. As the reader concentrates more or less on him and forgets about Miss Rehana, the outcome of the story comes very much as a surprise to him.
Style
The story is written in a very simple style with relatively short sentences. The reader is not distracted (D.: ablenken) from the events by any subplots or long,descriptive passages.
An important feature is the spoken language, which gives a realistic sense of the way many people speak in Pakistan. Muhammad`s English is not fluent and full of grammar mistakes.
In contrast to him Miss Rehana`s English is perfect; she has probably had a better education.The protagonists`s language contains elements which are typically English (“tip-top”,”absolutely topsy-turvy”). On the other hand, Hindi,Urdu and Arabic expressions also come up (“lala,sahib,pukka,babuji,bibi,salaam,wallah”).
Besides there are expressions which the Western reader might class as being oriental: “Good advice is rarer than rubies.” “When fate sends a gift,one receives good fortune.”
Finally there are expressions which the oriental reader might class as being British: “.. a great nation full of the coldest fish in the world.” Rushdie does not only underline the post-colonial consequences of the spread of the English language but also the question how it has mixed with indigenous (D: einheimisch) languages to form a hybrid language,which both the colonizer and the colonized can understand.
Characters
Miss Rehana
She is different from all the other Tuesday women. From the very beginning, the author stresses her breath-taking beauty by which she attracts the bus-driver`s, Muhammad`s and the Consulate official`s attention . When the advice-giver Muhammad Ali approaches her to give her advice, she confidently informs him that she is a poor orphan and cannot give him any money. Under her spell (D: Zauber), he offers his advice for free,which she accepts.However, she is by no means the docile and shy young woman the reader expects. She forms her own ideas and knows about what is right or wrong.Probably, she has learnt only to rely on herself. To the reader she appears as very self-confident, conscientious, content with her present situation,polite ,but also quite firm and strict when the situation demands it.
Muhammad Ali
He is a merciless crook who exploits the situation of those who try anxiously to get permission to enter Great Britain. Muhammad cannot do without the money he is given by these women. Yet Miss Rehana obviously manages to twist him around her little finger by her beauty, that he does not appear as the powerful advice-giver any longer who knows everything. He is suddenly a foolish old man ,who has lost his head, because of a young woman who even makes fun of him. His male pride is extremely hurt,when Miss Rehana turns down his advice.
Good Advice Is Rarer Than Rubies by Salman Rushdie
Themes
Stereotyping
The story opens with the description of the bus which brings Miss Rehana to the compound: it is decorated with oriental arabesques but also with Western slogans, and can therefore not be classed as belonging to one culture or the other – it cannot be stereotyped.
Miss Rehana is not the beautiful,polite young lady she seems to be and Muhammad is not the corrupt crook.
The narrative structure underlines in which way stereotypes are formed,and by disappointing the expectations the reader has formed,Rushdie wishes to make the reader aware of the mechanisms which lead to stereotyping. Rushdie stresses that the reader should reflect on historical and cultural processes which have determined our way of seeing things.
Links to other stories
Immigration:
Although it is not a central issue, Spark`s “The Black Madonna” also deals with immigration. However, it  shows the racism which some immigrants experienced when they entered Britain, whereas Rushdie underlines the fact that immigration is not always the ideal solution.
Stereotyping: This also an issue in Qaisra Sharaz`s “A Pair of Jeans”: in the eyes of the future in-laws Miriam is at first the ideal stereotypical Muslim daughter-in-law, but when she sees her dressed in Western clothes she is automatically stereotyped as the wild, disobedient girl.
The author
Rushdie was born in Bombay in 1947 to a middle-class Muslim family.he was educated at the Engluish public school Rugby and studied at King`s College Cambridge.His fourth novel, “The Satanic Verses” opens with two Indian actors falling from the sky after a jumbo jet is hijacked and explodes. The novel was controversial as it dealt with the founder of Islam , Muhammad, in a satirical way. This led to accusations of blasphemy against Islam, so that the novel was banned in many countries and was burned in the streets of Bradford. Iran`s spiritual leader at that time, issued a fatwa (a legal pronouncement) calling on all Muslims to kill the writer and the publishers of  the book, which forced Rushdie to go into hiding.


POSTMODERN TRAITS IN THE NOVELS OF AMITAV GHOSH
Indian writing in English has stamped its greatness by mixing up tradition and modernity in the production of art. At the outset, the oral transmission of Indian literary works gained ground gradually. It created an indelible mark in the mind and heart of the lovers of art. The interest in   literature lit the burning thirst of the writers which turned their energy and technique to innovate new form and style of writing.   Earlier novels projected India’s heritage, tradition, cultural past and moral values. But a remarkable change can be noticed in the novels published after the First World War, which is  called, modernism. The novels written in the late 20th century, especially after the Second World War, are considered postmodern novels. Salman Rushdie, Vikaram Seth, Shashi Tharoor, Upamanyu Chatterjee and Amitav Ghosh are the makers of new pattern in writing novels with post-modern thoughts and emotions.  Amitav Ghosh is one among the postmodernists. He is immensely influenced by the political and cultural milieu of post independent India. Being a social anthropologist and having the opportunity of visiting alien lands, he comments on the present scenario the world is passing through in his novels. Cultural fragmentation, colonial and neo-colonial power structures, cultural degeneration, the materialistic offshoots of modern civilization, dying of human relationships,blending of facts and fantasy, search for love and security, diasporas, etc… are the major preoccupations in the writings of Amitav Ghosh. The elemental traits of post-modernism are  obviously present in the novels of Amitav Ghosh. As per postmodernists, national boundaries are a hindrance to human communication.  They believe that Nationalism causes wars. So, post-modernists speak in favour of globalization. Amitav Ghosh’s novels centre around multiracial and multiethnic issues; as a wandering cosmopolitan he roves around and weaves them with his narrative beauty. In The Shadow lines, Amitav Ghosh  makes the East and West meet on a pedestal of friendship, especially through the characters like Tridib, May, Nice Prince etc., He stresses more on the globalization rather than nationalization. In The Glass Palace, the story of half-bred Rajkumar revolves around Burma, Myanmar and India. He travels round many places freely and gains profit. Unexpectedly, his happiness ends when his son is killed by Japanese bomb blast. The reason for this calamity is fighting for national boundaries.Amitav Ghosh has been credited for successfully mastering the genre known as ‘magical realism’ which was largely developed in India by Salman Rushdie and in South America by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Ghosh is seen as “belonging to this international school of writing which successfully deals with the post-colonial ethos of the modern world without sacrificing the ancient histories of separate lands.” (Anita  Desai, 1986:149) Like Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh perfectly blends fact and fiction with magical realism. He reconceptualizes society and history. He is so scientific in the collection of material, semiotical in the organization of material, so creative in the formation of fictionalized history. Vol. II. Issue. II 1 June 2011 Amitav Ghosh weaves his magical realistic plot with postmodern themes. Self-reflexity and confessionality characterize fictional works of Amitav Ghosh. Displacement has been a central process in his fictional writings; departure and arrivals have a permanent symbolic relevance in his narrative structure. Post modernism gives voice to insecurities, disorientation and fragmentation.  Most of his novels deal with insecurities in the existence of humanity, whichis one of the postmodern traits. In The Glass Palace, the havoc caused by Japanese invasion in Burma and its effect on the Army officers and people -- a sense of dejection that deals with so much human tragedy, wars, deaths, devastation and dislocation (Meenakshi Mukherjee, p.153) – has been penned. In The Shadow Lines, Tridib sacrificed his life in the act of rescuing May from Muslim mobs in the communal riots of 1963-64  in Dhaka. Pankaj Mishra describes Amitav Ghosh in the New York times, as one of few postcolonical writers, “ to have expressed in his work a developing awareness of the aspirations, defeats and disappointments of colonized people as they figure out their place in the world”.  Postmodernism rejects western values and beliefs as only a small part of the human experience and rejects such ideas, beliefs, culture and norms of the western. In The Hungry Tide, Ghosh routes the debate on eco-environment and  cultural issues through the intrusion of the West into East. The Circle of Reason is an allegory about the destruction of traditional village life by the modernizing influx of western culture and the subsequent displacement of nonEuropean peoples by imperialism.  In  An Antique Land, contemporary political tensions and communal rifts were portrayed.  Postcolonial migration is yet another trait of postmodernism. In The Hungry Tide, the theme of immigration, sometimes voluntary and sometimes forced, along with its bitter/sweet experiences, runs through most incidents in the core of the novel – the ruthless suppression and massacre of East Pakistani refugees who had run away from the Dandakaranya rufugee camps to Marichjhampi as they felt that the latter region would provide them with familiar environs and therefore a better life. In Sea of Poppies , the indentured labourers and convicts are transported to the island of Mauritius on the ship Ibis where they suffer a lot. In The Glass Palace, Burmese Royal family, after the exile, lives an uncomfortable life in India. Rajkumar who piles heap of amount in Burma is forced to leave his home and business due to Japanese invasion. Irony plays a vital role in the postmodern fiction. The writers treat the very subjects like World War II, communal riot, etc.  from a distant position and choose to depict their histories ironically and humorously. In The Glass Palace, Amitav Ghosh weaves the characters of Queen Supayalat and Arjun with a tinge of irony. Queen Supayalat, even after being captured by the British forces, does not lose her pomp throughout the novel. The portraiture of the Queen is too ironic. Arjun, basically an Indian, is completely influenced by the western ideology. He imitates the West in his dressing sense and food habit. He  is not aware of the fact that he is used as instrumental to inflict pain on his own people.  Temporal distortion is a literary technique that uses a nonlinear timeline. The author may jump forwards or backwards in time. In  The Glass Palace, Amitav Ghosh uses nonlinear timeline. The memory links the past to the present and many of the characters. It helps to recreate a magical world. In The Hungry Tide, he shuttles between the Marichjhampi incident from Nirmal’s point of view and the present day travels of Piya Roy, Kanai and Fokir. This timetravel creates an intricacy of sub-topics and plots.  In his other novels, characters move round a Vol. II. Issue. II 2 June 2011gyre of timelessness, yielding helplessly to the chasm in human relations and other postmodern perturbations. The narrative style of Amitav Ghosh  is typically postmodern. In The Shadow Lines, the narrative is simple. It flows smoothly, back and forth between times, places and characters. His prose in  The Shadow Lines is so evocative and realistic written effortlessly as well as enigmatically with a blend of fiction and non-fiction. Throughout The Glass Palace, Ghosh uses one end to signal the beginning of another so that at one level, nothing changes but yet everything does. There is a strong suggestion of Buddhist metaphysics in his technique. Life, death, success and failure come in cycles and Ghosh uses the conceit of a pair of binoculars early in The Glass Palace to sensitize the reading in this perspective. Being a postmodernist, he makes use of very simple language to give clarity  to the readers. Many Indians writing in English experiment with the language to suit their story. Ghosh  also does it in  The Hungry Tide using Bangla words like mohona, bhata and others, interweaving them with local myths like that of Bon Bibi and her brother Shaj Jangali, the presiding deities of the region. Though The Glass Palace and The Hungry Tide have their share of non-English lexical items, Sea of poppies in numerous places piles up the Indian (Bengali or Bhojpuri) or lascar-pidgin terms to the point where some readers might to some extent begin to get confused.  For Amitav Ghosh, language in the process of the production of art attains the status of diasporic representation – voicing him and thousands of other uprooted individuals. Language embodies the attempt to create family that has  broken and dispersed in  the mire of confused identity. Ghosh acknowledges it in  The Shadow lines:-You see, in our family we don’t know whether we’re coming or going – it’s all my grand mother’s fault. But of course, the fault was n’t hers at all: it lay in the language. Every language assumes a centrality, a fixed and settled point to go away from and come back to, and what my grandmother was looking for was a word for a journey which was not a coming or a going at all; a journey that was a search for precisely that fixed point which permits the proper use of verbs of movement. (The Shadow Lines, 153) This is a language that Ghosh believes in and this kind of language he tries to create in his work.   Postmodernists reject elaborate formal aesthetics in favour of minimalist designs. Amitav Ghosh does not give any significance for picturesque description and ornamental use of language. Tabish khair comments on this as  Ghosh is very careful in his use of English and vernacular transcriptions. He develops a conscious and rich tradition in Indian English fiction, a tradition that includes R.K. Narayan and Shashi Deshpande. The attempt is not to stage Indian Englishes. Ghosh avoids the aestheticisation of language. (p.108) Postmodernists defend the cause of feminists.  Uma, Amitav Ghosh’s character, is a perfect example of this. Uma is a break from the traditional women characters.  She is a political activist who travels around the country to dissipate the patriotic spirits.  Blurring of genres, one of  the postmodern traits, can be witnessed in the writings of Amitav Ghosh. He disfigures by blending many genres. Girish Karnad rightly said about him,  “ Ghosh uses to great effect a matrix of multiple points of view in which memory, mythology and history freely interpenetrate …….. A delight to read” (Indian Express). The Glass palace is not only a novel but also romance, narrative fiction, adventure fiction, and historical fiction. He combines all the elements of a novel to create fragmentation. Ghosh uses the romantic genre to chart the characters who reflect on the history of colonialism in Burma and the formation of the present Myanmar nation. It is also a narrative fiction that employs a complex spiral narrative structure to texture many characters’ identities and experiences in the world where we live in. It can be read in historical point of view, since it is portraiture of history and document of nation. Ghosh invents the third person narrator who relates a story in a spiral fashion that fictionalizes and makes real historical subject and event. The Calcutta Chromosome (1995)  is “not only a medical thriller but also  a Victorian ghost story, a scientific quest,  a unique mixture of a ‘whodunit thriller’, and a poltergeist tale”. (Sudeep Sen,p.222)  To sum up, postmodernism, not having concrete definition yet, is a blooming and ongoing area. Even if it has its own features, it is very difficult to concretize these solid elements. Thus, this paper remains an attempt to apply the post-modern theory in Amitav Ghosh’s novels.


PRE-INDEPENDENCE INDIAN ENGLISH NOVEL

Indian fiction in English emerged  out of almost six decades of intellectual and literary gestation that had begun in 1930’s with the triumvirate of R.K. Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao. It is with their advent that the actual journey of the Indain English novel begins. The early Indian novels which were merely patriotic gained a rather contemporary touch with their arrival.  The nineteen thirties were the beginning of the fertile era in Indian Writing in English. The political scene dominated by Gandhiji, the Satyagraha movements, the Round Table Conferences and various other social and cultural factors ignited the spirit of the Indian writers that earned international renown. The novelists, Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao and R. K. Narayan form a
trilogy of early Indian Writing in English and with their advent ushered a new era in this field. Under the profound Gandhian influence, Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable (1935),  Coolie  (1936),  Two Leaves and a Bud (1937),  The Village (1939) take up the issues concerning the exploitation of the underdogs and the have-nots of the Indian society and treats them with the sympathy and
respect due to human beings. The sweeper, the peasant, the plantation labour, the city worker, the sepoy; all emerge alive from his novels, anguished, wretched yet human and vividly portrayed in spite of their sufferings. R. K. Narayan too began his career as a writer in the same year 1935
with Swami and Friends. His other works The Bachelor of Arts (1936) and The Dark Room (1935) appeared in quick succession but the next publication of The English Teacher (1945) came after a long gap. The third of the great trilogy is Raja Rao. His novels are few and of
them only  Kanathapura (1938) is published in the first half of the twentieth century. Kanthapura is simple in plot, structure language and philosophy. The novel set in the 1930’s in Gandhiji’s golden decade, when the spark of genuine nationalism and awakening, typically Indian in its yoking of social and spiritual values, swept through out the country, razing all barriers-communal, religious and intellectual.  I Untouchable  (1935), the shortest of Anand’s novels, is a poignant recordation of a days experience in the life of Bakha. Born into a family of sweepers, one of the neglected communities of the traditional Hindu caste structure, he is a sweeper with a difference. He is young, intelligent and sensitive and thus more prone to suffering. Like all the untouchables, he is condemned to live in a world where “the day is dark as the night and the night pitch-dark”. Surprisingly, his presence in the midst of dirt has not stained the innocence, purity and responsiveness of his heart.   The day begins, like all his days, with bullying from his father, Lakha, and loud shouts from the sepoys reminding him of his duty. His sister Sohini’s
tribulations are no less severe. She has to wait for hours to get a pail of water from the well. The low caste-men are not allowed to draw water, for their touch meant pollution even to water, the great purifying element. They have to depend upon the charity of somebody. If men like Pandit Kalinath draw water for them, it is not out of mercy on their part, but as an occasional cure for their constipation. If he favours Sohini by offering the bucket of water, it is meant more than sympathy and less than consideration for her.  Bakha often thinks of retaliation against the injustice and exploitation meted out on him and the lower castes but his father, Lakha pacifies him. His is the voice of servile humility and he cannot entertain any thought of retaliation
against a high caste man. The difference in the reaction of Bakha and Lakha to the exploitation is the difference of the old and the new generations. Belonging to an older generation, he is apt to accept the law of untouchability with less resentment than Bakha. For Bakha it is a curse which has to be fought and destroyed.  In the afternoon, Bakha attends the marriage of his friend Ram
Charan’s sister – the girl of a higher caste whom he couldn’t marry. Ram Charan the washerman’s son, Chota the leather-worker’s son, and Bakha forget for once the caste discrimination and differences and share the sugarplums, and plan to play hockey in the evening. The only comfort Bakha derives is from the house of Havildar Charat Singh when  he goes to receive the promised hockey-stick. When the havildar asks him  to bring coal from the kitchen for his hookah, he simply cannot believe himself. Anand gives a graphic description of Bakha’s reaction-his excitement and admiratrion for the man who has such a unique gesture and also the furtive circumspection that the Havildar, after all might not be in his senses. He reflects: He might be forgetful and suddenly realize what he had done. Did he forget that I am a sweeper? He couldn’t have done, I was just talking to him about my work. And he saw me this morning. How could he have forgotten? (Untouchable 39)    Bakha is only partly the prototypical ‘untouchable’, for he is also himself, a unique individual, even in some measure an exceptional ‘untouchable’. The many things that happen to him  in the novel could have happened with anybody.  The dramatic telescoping, the juxtaposition, the linking up, of so many events in the course of twelve hours is of the novelist.  Bakha’s quest is a quest for identity, in a world which refuses to
recognize him as anything more than dirt. At the end of the novel we find that he has succeeded to some extent. In the presence of Gandhi, people seem to forget all their differences of caste and creed and  high and low. Gandhiji’s concern for the untouchables adds new dimension to the outlook of Bakha. He has become altogether a different man for he has seen a new world. There is a noticeable growth in the consciousness  of Bakha and his adoration for the Englishmen stands shattered under the impact of Gandhi-touch.   Anand’s treatment of untouchability has both  a merciless clarity and tonal objectivity which transfers a whole range of inherited feeling associated with the practice from the  victim to the social structure and its moribund quality. Towards the conclusion, we begin to wonder as to who are the real untouchables. Is it Bakha and his men or the people who insulate themselves with petrified traditions? Thus the attention of the readers is shifted from the exploited individual to the exploitative  system which denies man his simple natural sense of worthiness.  Anand’s picture of Bakha has a clear ring of authenticity about it. Thus E. M. Forster remarks: Untouchable could only have been written by an Indian, and by an Indian who observed from the outside. No European, however sympathetic, could have created the character of Bakha, because he would not have known enough about his troubles. And no untouchable could have written the book, becausehe would have been involved in indignation and self-pity. (Preface to Untouchable p.vi.) Untouchable is the novelist’s shortest novel, and the unities in it are admirably preserved, as in a classical play, for Untouchable covers the events of a single day, twelve hours from dawn to dusk to be precise, in the life of the
‘low-caste’ boy, Bakha, in the town.. Anand achieves the maximum effect by strictly observing the classical unities and this economy and the severe discipline with which he organizes the material is not equally evident in Coolie.    In any satisfactory work of art, form and content are inseparable parts of a single whole. Thus the form of  a structure of a work of art should
correspond to the requirements of the theme and the elaboration of that theme in that work of art. There must be a close correlation between the formal or technical side of a work and its subject-matter. Anand’s first novel is a great success because in it the unities of  time and place have been observed, in addition to the unity of action. Untouchable strikes us as the picture of  a place, of a society, and of certain persons not easily to be forgotten: a picture that is also an indictment
of the evils of a decadent and perverted orthodoxy. II From the plight of the social outcaste, in Untouchable Anand in Coolie (1936) turns to the lot of another class of the underprivileged in modern Indian society. But in Coolie the range and scope of the novelist’s fiction widens, his
canvas expands and there is the orchestration of the themes barely touched upon in  Untouchable.  Coolie (1936) is the odyssey of Munoo, an orphaned village boy from the Kangra hills, who sets out in search of a livelihood. His several roles include working as a domestic servant in an urban middle-class household in Shamnagar, as a worker in a pickle-factory and a coolie in the bazaar in Daulatpur, as a labourer in a cotton mill in Bombay and a as a rickshaw-puller in an Anglo-Indian household in Simla.   The central theme of the novel is the refusal to  a simple, landless
peasant of the basic right to happiness. Delineating the miserable past of Munoo, the novelist writes: He had heard of how the landlord had seized his father’s five acres of land because the interest on the mortgage covering the unpaid rent had not been forthcoming when the rains had been scanty and the harvest bad. And he knew how his father had died a slow death of bitterness and disappointment and left his mother a penniless beggar, to support…a child in arms.     
(Coolie p-6)  It is not that Munoo was a below-average child. He was full of zest for life and quite promising. Describing  his intelligent activities that could be compared to any of the bright children the novelist delineates: …was a genius at climbing trees.  He would hop on to the trunk like a monkey, climb the bigger branches on all fours, swing himself to the thinner space, he would jump from one tree to another. (Coolie p-7) Poverty leads Munoo to begin his  tryst with destiny at the age of fourteen. He begins working as a domestic servant in the house of Babu Nathoo Ram at Shamnagar. The lady of the house Bibi Uttam Kaur underfeeds and humiliates him. Ultimately he is forced to run away from this house after realizing his position in this world. The novelist remarks: He realized finally his position in the world. He was to be a slave, a servant who should do the work, all the odd jobs, someone to be abused, even beaten. (Coolie p-33)   But the Shamnagar episode is only the beginning. It is his stint at Sir George White Cotton Mill in Bombay that exposes Munoo to the full forces of modern capitalistic machine. The British management offers no security of tenure and retrenchment is carried out frequently.  The British foreman is at once the recruiting authority, a landlord who rents out ramshackle cottages at exorbitant rent, and also a moneylender-all rolled into one. The Pathan doorkeeper practices usury with even severe methods. The Sikh merchant exploits his position as the only provision store-keeper in the colony to his full advantage. M. K. Naik: observes: The ill-paid, ill-housed, under-nourished and bullied labourer is broken, both in body and mind, as Munoo finds his friend Hari is, though his own youthful vitality saves him from this ultimate fate. (Mulk Raj Anand p-41-2)  It is not only capitalism and industrialism that exploit the likes of Munoo, but communalism too does not spare them. A worker’s strike is easily broken. Casual rumours of communal disturbances divert the objective of the workers from their rights to communal issues. 
 The novelty in this work is the  depiction of the relationship shared between the colonizers and the colonized. The relationship which has exploitation at the core is depicted  with its dimensions of prejudices, embarrassment and inhibitions on both sides. Thus the theme of the exploitation and the underprivileged is presented in  depth in Coolie and the picture is drawn with vividness, but the temptation to lay  on the colours too thick is on the whole avoided.  The social panorama against which Munoo moves gives Anand an opportunity to deal with a cognate theme such as the relationship between the Indians and the British in pre-Independence days, a relationship in which the element of exploitation is mixed with prejudices, misunderstandings and inhibitions on both sides. The setting in the novel moves briskly from the Kangra hills to the plains of Bombay and back to the Punjab hills. The novel depicts the people belonging to different cross sections of society from the landless peasants to the aristocratic Anglo-Indian and British and its varied spectacle from the scrupulous to the mean. This too is depicted in a period of about two years. So
zealously has the novelist attacked the social system that M. K. Naik finds its impact to an extent of crippling the art of the novel. He remarks: A sensitive and intelligent rustic adolescent, uprooted from the heaven of his native hills and thrown into the maelstrom of the varied urban world would undergo nothing short of a total transformation of personality within the
space of two years, which can actually constitute an age in terms of development at that impressionable period. Of this transformation there is no sign in Munoo. The change brought by puberty and the loss of vitality consequent on the onset of the disease are duly noted, but the inner development of Munoo is totally neglected. Things happen to him and, he reacts to them, but strangely enough, the growth of the mind is nowhere shown. The only explanation possible is that Anand is so busy painting his picture of social inequality that the artistic danger in leaving his protagonist a static and passive victim escapes his notice altogether. (Mulk Raj Anand p-
45) The novelist has a dual role to perform. He has to tell a tale and also with it convey his philosophy forcibly, without in any way mitigating his artistry. He tells us of the class-conflict between the rich and the poor, of the individual’s right to work and of the  worker’s right to share the produce. Anand’s art, owing to the tension between humanism and his radicalism, is
ever on the point of being impaled on the horn’s of a dilemma; but his fidelity to the fact of life and to the interior modalities of the human personality saves him from being a mere propagandist. Even his socialist view of art serves as an alembic rather than as a screen between the detail and the pattern of the felt life. But the artistic balance is rather precarious, and in this novel, the novelist seems to fall a prey to his political instinct. He portrays exploitation at various
levels, including the one which thrives in the name of Trade Unionism and thus universalizes the theme. By over-emphasizing the sincerity and integrity of the Red Flag Union and showing Onkar Nath, who happens to be the President of the Indian Trade Union Congress in an unfavourable light, Anand the propagandist seems to have taken precedence over Anand the artist.   Anand’s portrayal of  these characters lacks objectivity. They are not full-blooded characters but only skin-deep and transparent. Yet they do conform faithfully to the  quaint image into which a ruled nation forces the personality of the ruler. The comic epiphany orders into a  viable focus the subversive feelings which the folk-mind entertains in respect of the pretentious
superiority of the master-race. In a country’s fables of identity, low-mimetic images of power constitute a kind of counter-myth, and Anand seems to be subconsciously operating at this level in his delineation of the English characters.          The novel cannot be said to possess the unity of which we expect from a well built plot as Anand pays more attention to the content of his novels than to the form. Anand makes no special effort to build up or construct his plot as a true craftsman should do. Having decided upon a theme Anand proceeds to invent a plot to develop, to expand, to elaborate and to illustrate that theme; but, while inventing a plot, he does not take pains to bind the plot into a unified whole. The theme in Coolie is poverty and unemployment. An offshoot of this theme is the contrast between the rich and the poor. This theme has been
comprehensively and exhaustively dealt with by Anand in this novel.  The plot which Anand has built in  this novel does not have organic unity. The plot here consists of long strings of incidents, events, situations and episodes. The incidents and the events involve persons, individuals, groups of people who have certainly been made  to live and who are integral to these incidents and events. But the incidents  and the events have not been closely inter-woven and do not even follow one another according to logic of cause and effect. The incidents happen just by chance and without any design either on the part of the characters or on the author. For instance, while Munoo does get a job in Babu Nathoo Ram’s house as a domestic servant in accordance with a plan formed by Munoo’s uncle, the rest of the story is a matter of chance happening. Munoo meets Prabha Dyal and Ganpat just by chance; he happens to receive the help of circus elephant-driver just by chance: he saves the life of a child in Bombay just by chance, thus becoming acquainted with Hari; he comes to know Ratan just by chance; he is knocked down on a road by a passing car just by chance and is taken to Simla. The only unity about this string of chance-happenings lies in the fact that the protagonist stands at the centre of all these happenings, so that it is the personality of the protagonist which imparts to the novel whatever unity it does.  The chapter dealing with his life in Bombay is by far the longest chapter and it depicts not only the plight of Munoo but also of Hari, Lakshmi, Ratan and thousands of other  workmen. The last chapter deals with Munoo’s experience in Simla where he dies a premature death. In each of these sections of the novel we meet a  different group of characters and the only common
character in all of them is Munoo. The characters we come across in the second chapter are forgotten when we come to the next chapter. It is only Munoo who imparts some kind of unity to the novel. Thus the real theme of the novel is the experience of Munoo and his reactions to these experiences in different places. But the incidents and the happenings of the different chapters
of the novel have not been interwoven into an artistic design or pattern; and no device has been employed for a close inter-linking of the various events of the episodes. The incidents and the events do not follow one another logically and are the result of mere chance and accident. Actually chance and fate play too prominent a role in the novel. Munoo is a passive character. Things happen to him and he has no role in determining the course of events. The novel has succeeded in serving the purpose which the author had in writing it. The wretchedness and the misery resulting from the poverty and the exploitation of the unemployed and the under-privileged by the capitalists and also the affluent middle-class have most effectively been conveyed to us through the experiences of Munoo and also through the experiences of others
at various places and in various contexts. Munoo the domestic servant at Babu Nathoo Ram’s house; Munoo, the factory worker in Daulatpur; Munoo as a mill-worker in Bombay; and Munoo as a rickshaw-coolie in Simla – in shor, Munoo as a victim of the social system in the country has been portrayed in detail and most convincingly. Others belonging very much to the same category are Tulsi, Maharaj, Ratan, Hari, Lakshmi and Mohan. They all belong to suffering and their exploiters are Bibi Uttam Kaur, Ganpat, Jimmie Thomas, the Pathan gate-keeper, the Sikh shopkeeper and the Sahiblogs of Simla- have been depicted in a realistic manner as the tyrants and the blood-suckers. Besides, there are thousands and thousands of other coolies whose wretched existence has been described. Munoo, by temperament is the kin of Bakha. He shares with Bakha his sensitivities, imagination, love for life  and fellow-feeling for others. But the difference between the two is that the problem of Bakha is peculiarly Indian, Munoo’s is of a more universal nature. Bakha’s experience is limited in time and space whereas, Munoo’s life is painted on a large canvas and his struggle for survival takes him through the cross-section of the country. If Bakha is an untouchable, Munoo too, is an untouchable in a different sense: he is poor. Coolie is about double the size of Untochable, and the action is spread over some years and moves from village to town, from town to city, and from city to Bombay, and from Bombay to  Shimla. The pace of writing, as in Untouchable, is swift, and has scenes follow in quick succession. Thus Coolie is a picaresque novel presenting the journey of the protagonist and the crosssection of India. It highlights the pains and predicaments of poor working people. If the  Untouchable  is the microcosm,  Coolie is more like the macrocosm that is Indian society.
III The next work of the novelist to  come in chronological order is Two Leaves and a Bud (1937), which presents the theme of the exploitation of the underprivileged with the far greater concentration than Coolie, sine in the earlier novel the scene shifts from one stratum of society to another, while in the latter work, the entire tragedy is  unfolded against the  background of the
tea-plantation which is a microcosm in itself, a world in which British officials and their Indian subordinates on the one hand and the coolies on the other are ranged in two separate  camps of the exploiters and the exploited. Thus the issue of racism looms large over the novel than in any other works of Mulk Raj Anand. The starting point in his novel too is a village, as in the case of Coolie. But here we travel from a village in the Punjab to a tea-estate in Assam. The protagonist in this case is a middle-aged man by the name of Gangu. He travels from his village to Assam in the company of his wife Sajani and his two children, Leila and Buddhu. Ganga begins to work as a labourer on the teaestate and becomes a victim of the exploitation which is going on there. It is
double exploitation. There  is exploitation of the labourers by their foreign masters, but there is also the exploitation by certain well-placed Indians. Among the British masters some are really good men, while some are evil. The worst of the evil Britishers is a man called Reggie Hunt, who is the assistant manager of the tea-estate where Gangu has found employment. Reggie Hunt is hated by the labourers and not much liked even by the fellow Britishers. The devil of a man, he tries to seduce  Gangu’s daughter Leila who is now a charming, grown up girl. Thwarted in his nefarious attempt he fires at Gangu killing him on the spot. At the trial this  villain is acquitted of the charge of murder and even of culpable homicide.   Gangu’s exploitation begins when he is lured to the tea-estate with a grand promise by Sardar Buta who recruits labourers for the tea-estate, with a promise of receiving a plot of land free of charge. Once he reaches it, the
promised land turns out to be a prison where he just receives starvation wage and is compelled to live in unhygienic conditions and undernourished, he and his wife fall a prey to disease of  which she even loses her life. On his intervention when the British Assistant Manager attempts to molest his daughter, he is shot dead and ends up by paying with his life rather than beginning a new one.   Gangu is a victim of the exploitation by the forces of capitalism and here too the exploiters are the British colonizers. The British attitude towards the Indians is revealed by the treatment  meted out on them by the British      tea-estate officials namely Croft-Cook and Reggie Hunt. M. K. Naik observes:  For them the Indian labourer is just a piece of property, a sub-human being with no rights and all duty, whose only utility is to be a serviceable tool in the
vast machine of the plantation. (Mulk Raj Anand p-47)   The British officials totally mistrust the Indians. Every coolie is for them a potential agitator. Even a simple quarrel between the two collie women is magnified as an uprising and severely dealt with, and when the coolies come
peacefully to seek redress, they are branded as revolutionaries and shot down.The consequence of utterly failing to understand the difficulties of the coolies is resorting to suppression as the panacea to  all issues that arise in the relationship between the colonizers and the colonized. 
 Besides the British feeling of superiority is represented the deep-rooted feeling of inferiority in the colonized Indians. Such a feeling is not limited to the illiterate coolies who have been the victims of the feudal Indian structure since generation but even the educated middle-class Indians. Thus Babu Shashi Bhushan Bhattacharya  cannot  assert   himself  in the presence of a kind doctor  like de la Havre.  De La Havre rightly summing up the situation observes: If only the British had begun by accepting these people from the very start on terms of equality, as human beings…But there it was, the British had exaggerated the worst instinct in their own character, and called out the worst in the Indian. (Two Leaves and a Bud p-154)  In the picture of race-relationship the novelist presents an effective counter-balance to Reggie Hunt through the young doctor de la Havre. He is depicted as sensitive, fair-minded Englishman, as opposed to the shrewd, sly and selfish Reggie Hunt. He can analyze the problems of the coolie and of the 273
Indo-British relationship in all its aspects, such as the historical, the economic, the political, the sociological and the psychological; at the same time he can put himself in the coolie’s place and feel for him. Thus de la Havre is, indeed one of the finest portraits of one aspect of British character in Indian fiction in English.  Gangu, the protagonist of the novel is comprehensively sketched. He rightly represents the class of the pre-independence peasants. He is credulous
enough to believe the exaggerations of Buta regarding the plantation to which he is being lured and simultaneously he is aware that Buta is laying it on thick. Years of misery have converted him into a meek, passive and abject fatalist. But the instinct to live is still very strong in him. This instinct is clearly stated in the delineation by the novelist wherein he observes:

Women fiction writers
Arundhati Roy
Arundhati Roy was born in Shillong, Meghalaya, India, to Ranjit Roy, a Bengali Hindu tea planter and Mary Roy, a Malayali Syrian Christian women's rights activist.She spent her childhood in Aymanam in Kerala, and went to school at Corpus Christi, Kottayam, followed by the Lawrence School, Lovedale, in Nilgiris, Tamil Nadu. She then studied architecture at the School of Planning and Architecture, Delhi, where she met her first husband, architect Gerard da Cunha.Roy met her second husband, filmmaker Pradip Krishen, in 1984, and played a village girl in his award-winning movie Massey Sahib. Until made financially secure by the success of her novel The God of Small Things, she worked various jobs, including running aerobics classes at five-star hotels in New Delhi. Roy is a cousin of prominent media personality Prannoy Roy, the head of the leading Indian TV media group NDTV. She lives in New Delhi.

Literary career

Early career: screenplays

Early in her career, Roy worked for television and movies. She wrote the screenplays for In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones (1989), a movie based on her experiences as a student of architecture, directed by her current husband, and Electric Moon (1992); she also appeared as a performer in the first. Roy attracted attention in 1994, when she criticised Shekhar Kapur's filmBandit Queen, based on the life of Phoolan Devi. In her film review entitled, "The Great Indian Rape Trick", she questioned the right to "restage the rape of a living woman without her permission," and charged Kapur with exploiting Devi and misrepresenting both her life and its meaning.[3][4][5]

The God of Small Things

Roy began writing her first novel, The God of Small Things, in 1992, completing it in 1996. The book is semi-autobiographical and a major part captures her childhood experiences inAymanam.
The publication of The God of Small Things catapulted Roy to instant international fame. It received the 1997 Booker Prize for Fiction and was listed as one of the New York Times Notable Books of the Year for 1997. It reached fourth position on the New York Times Bestsellers list for Independent Fiction. From the beginning, the book was also a commercial success: Roy received half a million pounds as an advance; It was published in May, and the book had been sold to eighteen countries by the end of June.
The God of Small Things received stellar reviews in major American newspapers such as The New York Times (a "dazzling first novel," "extraordinary," "at once so morally strenuous and so imaginatively supple" and the Los Angeles Times ("a novel of poignancy and considerable sweep"), and in Canadian publications such as the Toronto Star ("a lush, magical novel"). By the end of the year, it had become one of the five best books of 1997 by TIME. Critical response in the United Kingdom was less positive, and that the novel was awarded the Booker Prize caused controversy; Carmen Callil, a 1996 Booker Prize judge, called the novel "execrable," and The Guardian called the contest "profoundly depressing." In India, the book was criticised especially for its unrestrained description of sexuality by E. K. Nayanar, then Chief Minister of Roy's homestate Kerala, where she had to answer charges of obscenity.

Shashi Deshpande

Shashi Deshpande (Kannada: ಶಶಿ ದೇಶಪಾಂಡೆ) (born in 1938 in Dharwad, Karnataka, India), is an award-winning Indian novelist. She is the second daughter of famous Kannada dramatist and writer Sriranga. She was born in Karnataka and educated in Bombay (now Mumbai) and Bangalore. Deshpande has degrees in Economics and Law. When she was living in Mumbai she did a course onjournalism at the Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan and worked for a couple of months as a journalist for the magazine 'Onlooker'.She published her first collection of short stories in 1978, and her first novel, 'The Dark Holds No Terror', in 1980. She won the Sahitya Akademi Award for the novel 'That Long Silence' in 1990 and the Padma Shri award in 2009.
Shashi Deshpande has written four children’s books, a number of short stories, and nine novels, besides several perceptive essays, now available in a volume entitled Writing from the Margin and Other Essays.

Shobhaa De

Early life

Shobhaa De was born in a Maharashtrian Goud Saraswat Brahmin family in Mumbai, India. She completed her schooling from Queen Mary School, Mumbai and graduated from St. Xavier's College, Mumbai with a degree in psychology.

Career

After making her name as a model, she began a career in journalism in 1970, during the course of which she founded and edited three magazines – Stardust, Society, and CelebrityStardustmagazine, published by Mumbai-based Magna Publishing Co. Ltd., was started by Nari Hira in 1971. and became popular under the editorship of Shobhaa De. In the 1980s, she contributed to the Sunday magazine section of The Times of India. In her columns, she used to explore the socialite life in Mumbai lifestyles of the celebrities. At present, she is a freelance writer and columnist for several newspapers and magazines.
Shobhaa De is one of India’s top best-selling authors. All her 17 books have topped the charts and created records. Spouse – The Truth About Marriage, that examines the urban institution of marriage, sold 20,000 copies on the day of its official launch in Delhi and is currently being translated into several languages. De gave a new definition to the mass market best seller with her breakthrough, bold and highly individualistic style that spoke a new language. She is credited with having given birth to Hinglish, a heady, irreverent mix of Hindi and English, that spoke to readers in an entirely new way. Four of her titles, namely, Socialite Evenings, Starry Nights, Sultry Days, and Second Thoughts are course material in the University of London. Her work features extensively in Comparative Literature courses at Universities abroad and within India. An academic examination of her books titled, The Fiction of Shobhaa De, compiled by Professor Dodiya, features 40 critical essays by academics – Indian and foreign. Over a hundred dissertations on her work are in various libraries worldwide.
Recipient of several awards for her journalistic contributions, De writes prolifically for Indian and International publications. She runs four weekly columns in mainstream newspapers, including theThe Times of India and Asian Age. She has been the writer of several popular soaps on television, including India’s first daily soap, Swabhimaan. She also anchored a prestigious weekly show called Power Trip which featured India's Billionaires as never before. She participates on a regular basis on important TV debates, such as The Editor's Verdict on NDTV during the 2009 elections. She is recognized as an important social commentator and something of an authority on popular culture. Outspoken and forthright, De chronicles today’s India in her own inimitable style. More recently via her blog and Twitter account.
Her books are best sellers in several regional languages, including Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati, Malayalam, Bengali and Marathi. Bollywood Nights was launched at the London Book Fair in April 2007, and for the American market in the same year, by Penguin International. The U.K. edition of her work, Superstar India was published in April 2009. Superstar India sold over 100,000 copies in India during its first year, to establish a new record. It will be published in America in September 2009. Glitzernacht, was launched at the prestigious Frankfurt Book Fair in 2006, followed by 4 more titles in German, with an additional 3 to follow. The first of her Italian books, Sorelle was launched in Milan and Rome, followed by Bollywood Nights in May 2007. Her books are in translation in Spanish, Italian, German, Hungarian, Portuguese, Turkish, Russian, Polish and Korean at present. Her first book in its French edition was published by Actes Sud in 2010.
She was the chief guest at Chandigarh University, in 2007. Department of English, where she delivered the Presidential Address on "New Trends in Contemporary Writing." De has participated in several literary festivals, including the prestigious Writers' Festival in Melbourne. The Writers’ Festival in Hong Kong, Singapore and Jaipur, besides the literary festival called Kitaab in Mumbai. She has been invited to the Kovalam Lit Fest as well as the first South African Festival of Indian Authors in September 2009. Dubai Lit Fest in 2010. Jaipur Lit Fest 2010. Hay Lit Fest in the Maldives in 2010. Karachi Lit Fest in Feb 2011. There are over 50 dissertations on her work in publication. She was a part of the official Indian Delegation to the Global Women’s Forum at Deauville (France) in October 2008. She was a keynote speaker at the Leadership Conclave in Delhi, October 2009 . The subject – "Has the Indian Woman Come of Age, Finally?." She is regularly invited to participate in prestigious All-India debates, like the annual one in Kolkata, The Telegraph Debate. Invited regularly as a leading television panelist on national issues by India’s top anchors, Arnab Goswami, Rajdeep Sardesia, Karan Thapar.
Considered one of the top Opinion Shapers in the region, she is on the Readers’ Digest List – “ India’s Most Trusted People” published in March 2010, along with Ratan Tata and Dr. Abdul Kalam. She is on the list of ‘50 Most Powerful Women in India” published by the DNA Newspaper, March 2010. She was also featured on the 2010 list of ‘ India’s 50 Most Beautiful’ in Hi Blitz.
Her latest book is titled Shobhaa at Sixty and has been published by Hay House in 2010. 2010 saw her emerge as a Publisher in her own right, with the launch of her own imprint by Penguin Books, titled The Shobhaa De Book.

 

 

Jhumpa Lahiri

Lahiri was born in London, the daughter of Indian immigrants from the state of West Bengal. Her family moved to the United States when she was three; Lahiri considers herself an American, stating, "I wasn't born here, but I might as well have been." Lahiri grew up in Kingston, Rhode Island, where her father Amar Lahiri works as a librarian at the University of Rhode Island; he is the basis for the protagonist in "The Third and Final Continent," the closing story from Interpreter of Maladies. Lahiri's mother wanted her children to grow up knowing their Bengali heritage, and her family often visited relatives in Calcutta (now Kolkata).
When she began kindergarten in Kingston, Rhode Island, Lahiri's teacher decided to call her by her pet name, Jhumpa, because it was easier to pronounce than her "proper names". Lahiri recalled, "I always felt so embarrassed by my name.... You feel like you're causing someone pain just by being who you are." Lahiri's ambivalence over her identity was the inspiration for the ambivalence of Gogol, the protagonist of her novel The Namesake, over his unusual name. Lahiri graduated from South Kingstown High School and received her B.A. in English literature fromBarnard College in 1989.
Lahiri then received multiple degrees from Boston University: an M.A. in English, M.F.A. in Creative Writing, M.A. in Comparative Literature, and a Ph.D. in Renaissance Studies. She took a fellowship at Provincetown's Fine Arts Work Center, which lasted for the next two years (1997–1998). Lahiri has taught creative writing at Boston University and the Rhode Island School of Design.
In 2001, Lahiri married Alberto Vourvoulias-Bush, a journalist who was then Deputy Editor of TIME Latin America, and who is now Senior Editor of Fox News Latino. Lahiri lives in Fort Greene, Brooklyn with her husband and their two children, Octavio (b. 2002) and Noor (b. 2005).
Literary career
Lahiri's early short stories faced rejection from publishers "for years".[9] Her debut short story collection, Interpreter of Maladies, was finally released in 1999. The stories address sensitive dilemmas in the lives of Indians or Indian immigrants, with themes such as marital difficulties, miscarriages, and the disconnection between first and second generation United States immigrants. Lahiri later wrote, "When I first started writing I was not conscious that my subject was the Indian-American experience. What drew me to my craft was the desire to force the two worlds I occupied to mingle on the page as I was not brave enough, or mature enough, to allow in life."[10] The collection was praised by American critics, but received mixed reviews in India, where reviewers were alternately enthusiastic and upset Lahiri had "not paint[ed] Indians in a more positive light."[11] Interpreter of Maladies sold 600,000 copies and received the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction (only the seventh time a story collection had won the award).[3][12]
In 2003, Lahiri published The Namesake, her first novel.[11] The story spans over thirty years in the life of the Ganguli family. The Calcutta-born parents emigrated as young adults to the United States, where their children, Gogol and Sonia, grow up experiencing the constant generational and cultural gap with their parents. A film adaptation of The Namesake was released in March 2007, directed by Mira Nair and starring Kal Penn as Gogol and Bollywood stars Tabu and Irrfan Khan as his parents. Lahiri herself made a cameo as "Aunt Jhumpa".
Lahiri's second collection of short stories, Unaccustomed Earth, was released on April 1, 2008. Upon its publication, Unaccustomed Earth achieved the rare distinction of debuting at number 1 onThe New York Times best seller list.[13] New York Times Book Review editor, Dwight Garner, stated, "It’s hard to remember the last genuinely serious, well-written work of fiction — particularly a book of stories — that leapt straight to No. 1; it’s a powerful demonstration of Lahiri’s newfound commercial clout."[13]
Lahiri has also had a distinguished relationship with The New Yorker magazine in which she has published a number of her short stories, mostly fiction, and a few non-fiction including The Long Way Home; Cooking Lessons, a story about the importance of food in Lahiri's relationship with her mother.
Since 2005, Lahiri has been a Vice President of the PEN American Center, an organization designed to promote friendship and intellectual cooperation among writers.
In February 2010, she was appointed a member of the Committee on the Arts and Humanities, along with five others.

Anita Desai

Anita Mazumdar was born in Mussoorie, India, to a German mother, Toni Nime, and a Bengali businessman, D. N. Mazumdar.[3] She grew up speaking German at home and Bengali, Urdu,Hindi and English outside the house. Although German is her first language she did not visit Germany until later in life as an adult. She first learned to read and write in English at school and as a result English became her "literary language".[4] She began to write in English at the age of seven and published her first story at the age of nine.[3]
She was a student at Queen Mary's Higher Secondary School in Delhi and received her B.A. in English literature in 1957 from the Miranda House of the University of Delhi. The following year she married Ashvin Desai, the director of a computer software company and author of the book: Between Eternities: Ideas on Life and The Cosmos. They have four children, including Booker Prize-winning novelist Kiran Desai. Her children were taken to Thul (near Alibagh) for weekends, where Desai set her novel The Village by the Sea.[3] For that work she won the 1983 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, a once-in-a-lifetime book award judged by a panel of British children's writers.[2]

Career

Desai published her first novel, Cry The Peacock, in 1963. She considers Clear Light Of Day (1980) her most autobiographical work as it is set during her coming of age and also in the same neighbourhood in which she grew up.[5] In 1984 she published In Custody – about an Urdu poet in his declining days – which was shortlisted for the Booker Prize. In 1993 she became a creative writing teacher at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[6] Her novel, The Zigzag Way (2004), is set in 20th-century Mexico and her latest novel The Artist of Disappearance came in 2011.
Desai has taught at Mount Holyoke College, Baruch College and Smith College. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, the American Academy of Arts and Letters, and of Girton College, Cambridge University (to which she dedicated Baumgartner's Bombay).[7] In addition, she writes for the New York Review of Books.

Postcolonial 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 co-native language could be one of the numerous languages of India. It is also associated with the works of members of the Indian diaspora, such as V.S. Naipaul, Kiran Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri and Salman Rushdie, who are of Indian descent.
It is frequently referred to as Indo-Anglian literature. (Indo-Anglian is a specific term in the sole context of writing that should not be confused with the term Anglo-Indian). As a category, this production comes under the broader realm of postcolonial literature- the production from previouslycolonised countries such as India.
IEL has a relatively recent history, it is only one and a half centuries old. The first book written by an Indian in English was by Sake Dean Mahomet, titled Travels of Dean Mahomet; Mahomet's travel narrative was published in 1793 in England. In its early stages it was influenced by the Western art form of the novel. Early Indian writers used English unadulterated by Indian words to convey an experience which was essentially Indian. Raja Rao's Kanthapura is Indian in terms of its storytelling qualities. Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali and English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into English. Dhan Gopal Mukerji was the first Indian author to win a literary award in the United States. Nirad C. Chaudhuri, a writer of non-fiction, is best known for his The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian where he relates his life experiences and influences. P. Lal, a poet, translator, publisher and essayist, founded a press in the 1950s for Indian English writing, Writers Workshop.
R.K. Narayan is a writer who contributed over many decades and who continued to write till his death recently. He was discovered by Graham Greene in the sense that the latter helped him find a publisher in England. Graham Greene and Narayan remained close friends till the end. Similar to Thomas Hardy's Wessex, Narayan created the fictitious town of Malgudi where he set his novels. Some criticise Narayan for the parochial, detached and closed world that he created in the face of the changing conditions in India at the times in which the stories are set. Others, such as Graham Greene, however, feel that through Malgudi they could vividly understand the Indian experience. Narayan's evocation of small town life and its experiences through the eyes of the endearing child protagonist Swaminathan in Swami and Friends is a good sample of his writing style. Simultaneous with Narayan's pastoral idylls, a very different writer, Mulk Raj Anand, was similarly gaining recognition for his writing set in rural India; but his stories were harsher, and engaged, sometimes brutally, with divisions of caste, class and religion.

Poetry

An overlooked category of Indian writing in English is poetry. Rabindranath Tagore wrote in Bengali and English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into English. Other early notable poets in English include Derozio, Michael Madhusudan Dutt, Toru Dutt, Romesh Chunder Dutt, Sri Aurobindo, Sarojini Naidu, and her brother Harindranath Chattopadhyay.
A generation of exiles also sprang from the Indian diaspora. Among these are names like Agha Shahid Ali, Sujata Bhatt, Richard Crasta, Yuyutsu Sharma and Vikram Seth.
In modern times, Indian poetry in English was typified by two very different poets. Dom Moraes, winner of the Hawthornden Prize at the age of 19 for his first book of poems A Beginning went on to occupy a pre-eminent position among Indian poets writing in English. Nissim Ezekiel, who came from India's tiny Bene Israel Jewish community, created a voice and place for Indian poets writing in English and championed their work.
Their contemporaries in English poetry in India were Jayanta Mahapatra, Gieve Patel, A. K. Ramanujan, Arun Kolatkar, Dilip Chitre, Eunice De Souza, Kersy Katrak, P. Lal, Kamala Das, andArvind Krishna Mehrotra, among several others. The younger generation of poets writing in English include Smita Agarwal, Makarand Paranjape, Nandini Sahu, Vattacharja Chandan, Arundhathi Subramaniam, Ranjit Hoskote, Sudeep Sen, Hemant Mohapatra, Jeet Thayil, Mani Rao, Jerry Pinto, Abhay K among others.
The Partition as portrayed in the novel and short story
The partition of India and the associated bloody riots inspired many creative minds in India and Pakistan to create literary/cinematic depictions of this event.[1] While some creations depicted the massacres during the refugee migration, others concentrated on the aftermath of the partition in terms of difficulties faced by the refugees in both side of the border. Even now, more than 60 years after the partition, works of fiction and films are made that relate to the events of partition.
Literature describing the human cost of independence and partition comprises Khushwant Singh's Train to Pakistan (1956), several short stories such as Toba Tek Singh (1955) by Saadat Hassan Manto, Urdu poems such as Subh-e-Azadi (Freedom’s Dawn, 1947) by Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Bhisham Sahni's Tamas (1974), Manohar Malgonkar's A Bend in the Ganges (1965), and Bapsi Sidhwa's Ice-Candy Man (1988), among others.[2][3] Salman Rushdie's novel Midnight's Children (1980), which won the Booker Prize and the Booker of Bookers, weaved its narrative based on the children born with magical abilities on midnight of 14 August 1947.[3] Freedom at Midnight (1975) is a non-fiction work by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre that chronicled the events surrounding the first Independence Day celebrations in 1947. There is a paucity of films related to the independence and partition.[4][5][6] 

Hoshyarpur to Lahore

Entitled Hoshyar Pur say Lahore tak in Urdu, it is a true story based on a train journey from Indian city of Hoshiarpur to Lahore in Pakistan. It is written by a Police officer who traveled in this train.
Ali Pur Ka Aeeli
Ali Pur Ka Aeeli in Urdu is an autobiography of Mumtaz Mufti that includes his narration on the account of bringing his family from Batala to Lahore on a truck.

Khaak aur Khoon

Khak aur Khoon is a historical novel by Nasīm Hijazi that describes the sacrifices of Muslims of the Sub-continent during the time of partition in 1947.
When a portion of the Muslims from the various regions of India were trying to get to Pakistan, some faced attacks from Hindu and Sikh groups, during their journeys, that involved snatching of money, and jewellery of their wives and daughters.

The Broken Mirror

The Broken Mirror, a Hindi novel by Krishna Baldev Vaid, portrays the psychological and sociological transformations in a West Punjabi village in the phase leading up to the Partition, with emphasis on commensal taboos and hardened community boundaries.

Half a Village

Half a Village, a Hindi novel by Rahi Masoom Reza, represents the experiences of subaltern Indian Muslims in village Gangauli, and their distinctive take on the vacuity of 'high politics'.

The Weary Generations

The Weary Generations, an Urdu novel by Abdullah Hussein, tracks the prehistory of the partition through the experiences of the main character, Naeem, a veteran of the First World War who faces up to the futility and meaningless of the partition.

Basti

Basti by Intizar Hussain is an Urdu novel that focuses on the partition as memory, through the lens of protagonist Zakir, a historian who seeks to come to terms with this memory in the context of the happenings in 1971 in Pakistan leading up to the formation of Bangladesh.

The Dark Dancer

The Dark Dancer is a novel by Balachandra Rajan that portrays the experiences of an Indian educated abroad who returns home to face the horror of the Partition.

A Bend in the Ganges

A Bend in the Ganges is a novel by Manohar Malgonkar that features some of the graphic violence that occurred during the partition.

Sunlight on a Broken Column

Sunlight on a Broken Column is a novel by Attia Hosain which depicts the experiences of the protagonist, Laila, a young woman from a taluqdari family of Oudh, in the years leading up to the partition.

Pinjar

Pinjar is a Punjabi novel written by Amrita Pritam which is the story of a horse that goes for a walk with a girl called zoe the same name.

Dastaan

Dastaan is a drama on hum channel Pakistan based on razia butt novel [bano] which is the story of a Muslim family in Ludhyiana India and two lovers Hassan and bano those got separated in partition. Its Heart breaking story of the division of India

Kingdom's End and Other Stories

Kingdom's End and Other Stories (1987) is a collection of stories written by Saadat Hasan Manto, published by Penguin Books India (ISBN 0-14-011774-1). The majority of stories by this Urdu writer from Punjab revolve around the end of the Raj, Partition and communalism. His stories include Thanda Gosht, Khol Do, Toba Tek Singh, Iss Manjdhar Mein, Mozalle, Babu Gopi Nath etc. Some of his characters became legendary. An online translation of Toba Tek Singh is available.

Raavi Paar and Other Stories

Raavi Paar and Other Stories (2000) is a collection of stories by Sampooran Singh Gulzar that deal with the partition of India and Pakistan..

Sacred Games

While Vikram Chandra's 2006 novel Sacred Games is not about partition, it does contain a long and graphic chapter describing the main character's mother's flight as a young Sikh girl from what would become Pakistani Punjab, during which her beloved older sister was abducted.

Train to Pakistan

This saga by Khushwant Singh was first published in 1956. Singh’s version of the Partition is a social one, providing human accounts in a diverse, detailed character base where each person has unique points of view, pointing out that everyone is equally at fault and that placing blame was irrelevant. Interwoven with this point are the subtle questions of morality which Singh asks through his characters, such as whether or not the bad needs to be recognized to promote the good, and what constitutes a good deed. It was adapted into a Hindi film by the same name by Pamela Rooks in 1998.[9]

Tamas

Penned by Bhisham Sahni and the winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1975, Tamas depicted riots in a small Indian town. The fiction was later adapted into a TV series by the same name forDoordarshan, and later a one-off four hour feature film

Midnight's Children

Salman Rushdie wrote this famous surrealistic fiction full of satirical references to the event of partition and independence. The "midnight" alluded to in the title is the moment at which partition and independence became official. It was later adapted into a film by the same name by Deepa Mehta.

Purbo-Paschim

Purbo-Paschim (East and the West) is an epic Bengali saga by Sunil Gangopadhyay. The narrative deals with a particular family that had to migrate from East Pakistan to West Bengal, and their fight against the tide.The story stretches from a pre-independence period to early 1980s and reflects the socio-economical changes that this region went through during this long period of time.

A Fine Balance

Written by Rohinton Mistry, the story is set in 1975. However, the Partition plays a dominant role in the narrative.

Ice-Candy Man

Bapsi Sidhwa's 1988 novel, written in the backdrop of the riots in Lahore, re-released in 1991 as Cracking India. Later the story was made into a film, called Earth by Deepa Mehta.

Interpreter of Maladies

Jhumpa Lahiri was awarded the 2000 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for Interpreter of Maladies, a collection of short stories some of which involved the aftermath of the partition.

Azadi

Semi-autobiographical novel by Chaman Nahal.

"The Shadow Lines"

A novel by Amitav Ghosh, that reflects the hollowness of the partition through its character Thamma. The book is written in English. It is a Sahitya Akademi award winner book. It was published by Oxford University Press.

Dalit literature

Dalit Literature, literature about the Dalits, the oppressed class under Indian caste system forms an important and distinct part of Indian literature. Though Dalit narratives have been a part of the Indian social narratives since 11th century onwards, with works like Sekkizhar's Periya Puranam portraying Dalit women like half-naked and sexually exploitable and praising the killing of thousands of Dalits on "Kazhumaram" in the hands of Gnanasambandan, Dalit literature emerged into prominence and as a collective voice after 1960, starting with Marathi, and soon appeared inHindi, Kannada, Telugu and Tamil languages, through self-narratives, like poems, short stories and most importantly autobiographies known for their realism, and for its contribution to Dalit politics. It denounced as petty and false the then prevailing romanticism with the bourgeois Sadashiv pethi literature treated the whole Dalit issue, ignoring the social reality of appalling poverty and oppression of caste Hindus which was the result of the bourgeois character of this culture. It is often compared with the African-American literature especially in its depiction of issues of racial segregation and injustice, as seen in Slave narratives

Ambedkari (Literature) Sahitya

In 1993, Ambedkari Sahitya Parishad, Wardha organized first "Akhil Bhartiya (All India) Ambedkari Sahitya Sammelan" in Wardha, Maharashtra to reconceptualize and transform "Dalit Sahitya (literature) into "Ambedkari Sahitya" after the name of its modern age hero and inspiration Dr.B.R. Ambedkar. Ambedkari Sahitya Parishad then successfully organized Third Akhil Bhartiya Ambedkari Sahitya Sammelan in 1996 and became a strong advocacy force of this transformation. Since then ten similar sahitya sammelans were held in various places. Ambedkari Sahitya Parishad was formed in 1992 with the goal to connect people with common ideals and aspirations, to provide a platform to those who are inspired by Dr B R Ambedkar's thoughts and philosophy to express their anguish through their literature against the oppression and bigotry, and to make their presence felt in the world.

Dalit Writers

Maharashtra

Diasporic fiction
Indian English fiction has always been responsive to the changes in material reality and
theoretical perspectives that have impacted and governed its study since the time of its inception.
At the earlier stage the fictional works of the writers like Mulk Raj Anand, R. K.Narayan and
Raja Rao were mainly concerned with the down- trodden of the society, the Indian middle class
life and the expression of traditional cultural ethos of India. At that time, even to a much later
stage when writers like K. S. Venkataramani, Markandaya, Bhabani Bhattacharya, Chaman
Nahal, Ruth Praver Jhabvala, Nayantara Sahagal, Arun Joshi, and Khushwant Singh wrote, Indian
English fiction concentrated on the depiction of social reality of the times. And the study of these
writings was largely based on realist ideology. The critical studies of their works were directed to
explore how far they had been successful in giving expression to the reality around them. Much
of the study was based on sociological and Marxist theoretical perspectives. Apart from the views
related to the study of external reality, the  psychological reality expressed through different
characters formed another aspect of literary criticism.
The interplay of a variety of material and philosophical developments marks a discernible
shift in the nature and study of Indian English fiction. Consequently, Indian English fictional
scene has become variegated, complex and thematically richer. The writers settled abroad and the
ones who divide their time between India and abroad have contributed much to this rapidly
developing sub-genre of English literature. Now Indian English literature no longer remains
limited to the writings necessarily of the sons ofthe soil. It has broadened the scope of fictional
concerns of these writers from purely Indian to the global and transnational. 
The diaspora writers in particular interweave the Indian and the global that marks the
emergence of cultural mix at a mass level in the times impacted by globalization and
unprecedented growth in the field of technology and communication. Their writings show how
the developments in one part of the world have immediate and wider impact in different parts of
the world. Their fictional works become more significant for giving expression to cross-cultural
encounter from a different perspective. The writings of Bharati Mukherjee, Jhumpa Lahiri, Anita
Desai, Kiran Desai, Kavita Dasvani, M.G. Vassanji, V.S.Naipaul and Hari Kunjru, to name a few,
provide an inside view of the problems faced by the displaced people in their adopted homes in a
way that questions the traditional understanding  of the concepts like home, nation, native and
alien. These writers contest essentialist nature  of the difference between cultures premised on
binary division informing the east and the west. Whereas the earlier writers depicting crosscultural encounter often created stereotypical forms of life and characters to mark the essential
difference between the cultures, diaspora writers often contest fixed notions of identity and stable
norms that govern life at home and abroad. Diaspora fiction highlights an altogether different
attitude of the people from the earstwhile colonies in the postcolonial times. 
Postcolonial perspectives have also impacted the critical and the creative aspects of Indian
English fiction. How the colonial rulers created a particular image of their subject races to
perpetrate their hold on them forms an important feature of the emerging forms of narrative. Contemporary writers hailing from the previously colonized nations, particularly India, explore
forms of life that existed during the British rule and expose the subtle strategies employed to
make the colonized people take their subjugated position as something natural and transcendental.
These writers also bring out the functioning of almost the same power politics that defines the
relations between the power wielding people and the people kept at the margins even after the end
of political imperialism. A number of contemporary writers fictionalize these aspects of life and
the postcolonial critics analyze and expose the way colonialists propagated constructed reality
about different societies and cultures as  the  reality. The theoretical perspectives used for the
purpose are usually based on the insights provided by Michel Foucault, Edward Said, Homi
K.Bhabha and the other postcolonial thinkers. All these ideas contest monolithic, unitary and
totalitarian views about reality and its understanding. The study of literary woks is taken up to
find how the writers have presented experiences of the colonized people. The variery of life that
forms the subject matter of postcolonial creative and the critical writings also includes different
forms of oppressed human existence even after the end of British Imperialism. It points out the
colonialist nature of the native rulers and challenges the essentialist understanding that treats
certain races as always the colonizers and the others as fundamentally free from such cultural
traits. The postcolonial fictional writings often  provide a revisiting to history and contest its
existing interpretation . The fiction writers often mix fact and fiction to re-examine the earlier
happenings, incidents, views and assumptions. Their major concern being the nature of reality
that existed during the colonial period, these writers often concentrate on the political and social
happenings with a view to contesting the academic or the accepted versions about them. In the
process these writings use the historical facts and references to persons and places to subvert the
earlier discourses. The fictional polemics in such writings is often premised on the ideas that treat
history as something constructed, hence a kind of fiction. The major function of these writings is
to expose and criticize the subjugation of man by man in all its forms. Therefore, the critical
stance used by post colonialists turns extremely relevant in the works concentrating on the
decolonization of the social groups oppressed in the name of class, caste, gender and race. Instead
of objective and realistic,this kind of fiction tends to be purposive and political as it involves the
assertion of specific views in the name of giving voice to plurality, multiplicity and heterogeneity
informing life.
Another theoretical perspective that asserts multiplicity, heterogeneity, and plurality in
socio-cultural reality and the world of ideas relates to Bakhtin’s insights about dialogic nature of
discourse and significance of interactive voices. His insights in terms of heteroglossia, polyphony
and dialogism have provided new ideas for the understanding and analysis  of fictional works.
Earlier a fictional discourse was understood to be governed by the singular perspective of the
narrator or the author or some dominating character. All the fictional details were supposed to
move towards a unified world view presented in a work of art. All other voices were subordinated
to the governing consciousness of the author or the character assumed to carry the ideas of the
writer. In the changed scenario, reality presented in a novel as well as the world view of the
characters form ‘polyphony' of voices. Sometimes even the characters subordinated to the
predominant voices in a novel represent multiple valid voices. These ideas have challenged the
unitary nature of reality , the authority of the omniscient narrator and presence of a centralized
perspective. It points out a decisive shift in the  understanding of reality and its presentation in
fiction. As reality is no longer treated to be unitary and singular, the meaning of a work of art too
is no longer considered to be ultimate, complete, total and limited to the intended meaning of the
writer that he can convey in authoritative terms.  The ideas contesting stable and fixed nature  of reality and rejecting the possibility of
complete and ultimate understanding of reality along with the insights provided by existentialists
who challenge the existence of essential human self and reality, thinkers like Foucault, Derrida,
Jean Francis Loytard, Frederic Jameson, form what is commonly considered postmodernist
perspective. In spite of the difference in their approaches their views taken collectively contest
originary, unitary and transcendental nature of reality and the concepts like humanism, idealism
and other overarching systems like spiritualism, Marxism, humanism, etc. used to make sense of
human experience. The reality and ideals like truth, justice human self and identity are treated to
be constructed and contextual. By implication, the stable, pre-given and fixed nature of values
stands contested. In the study of literature  it displaces the canonical view about culture and
literature. According to these ideas the difference between high and low serious and popular
culture and art is constructed and fictional. The life in the mainstream or kept at the margins or
periphery has equal relevance and significance for art. These theoretical views have impacted the
thematic as well as the formal features of literary writings, particularly fiction. According to these
frameworks a work of art is not supposed to follow set literary patterns  and parameters. It has
encouraged experimentation in fiction writing. Consequently, a shift from traditionally accepted
standards and forms of life to the popular, and  marginalized forms of life, and from fixed literary
norms of presentation to altogether new, striking and wonderful has resulted.
Apart from different theoretical views, quick urbanization of the Indian society in recent
years, emphatic role of institutionalized form of democracy and an unprecedented awareness of
human rights have resulted in self assertion and individual independence that can be observed
from a lack of the sense of community and a disregard for moral and social values.
Corresponding to these developments, there has emerged a spurt of writings about what is
commonly called the marginalized forms of life. These writings concentrate on the life and
problems of the people kept at the margins due to the compulsions of gender, caste and ethnicity.
For example, the writings concentrating on the problems of women are now explored with a view
to ascertain how far they support women’s struggle for liberation from patriarchy. Using
theoretical ideas propounded by different western feminist thinkers, the critics study the fictional
works of art as an expression of a specific reality related and limited to women’s existence in
society. Similarly, the life and experiences of the people related to specific, particularly minority,
ethnic group also form the subject of study  in a number of fictional writings. Although these
writers tend to give a realistic view of the life around but the way they fictionalize these forms of
life marks a study of reality from a specific point of view that makes the presented reality created
and constructed purposefully rather than being representation of reality understood traditionally.
Consequently what has been presented does not seem as important as how it has been presented.
It highlights the fictional nature of the reality depicted and tends to make these writings a
politically symbolic act. Such writings further highlight multi-layered and heterogeneous nature
of reality and the vertical nature of cultural division instead of horizontal.   
The foregoing views about the nature of fictional writings and their study suggest some
predominant aspects of Indian English fiction. These ideas in any case, do not mean that these are
the,  and the only features of Indian English fiction and fictional studies. Moreover, a creative
artist does not consciously take up writing to suit or support some philosophical, ideological or 
critical perspectives. On the other hand, critical studies may apply specific critical tools without
limiting the meaning of a work of art. However, the recurrence of some elements in creative and
critical writings marks the predominant trends. The present anthology of critical writings on a variety of fictional works is aimed to trace
the gradual growth and maturity of creative and  critical expressions related to Indian English
fiction. The critical analysis taken up in different papers marks the variety of perspectives used
for the study of fictional writings and the shift that Indian creative and critical perceptions have
registered. In her study of Kiran Desai’s  The Inheritance of Loss Tejinder Kaur explores the
nature of fictional discourse that concentrates on the problems of diasporas at home and abroad.
Her analysis points out the broad nature of the term ‘Diaspora’ that also includes displaced people
even within their own country. The promise of comfortable and prosperous life acts as a great
pull for the people particularly from the Indian sub-continent to settle abroad. These people
experience inhuman life, discriminatory treatment at the hands of the people of the host country
including the earlier settlers from different countries. On the other hand, political compulsions
and peculiar socio-economic conditions result in  people’s migration within their own country.
Apart from this, how diasporas respond to their adopted homes also forms the subject of study
concentrating on Kiran Desai’s fictionalization of diaspora life.
 P.S.Ramana’s paper concentrates on the nature of the fictionalization of diaspora
experiences. He points out the difference between the migrant novel in vernaculars like Punjabi
and the novels written in English about people’s lives in an alien land. He observes that whereas
the Punjabi novel about diaspora life explores the  hardships faced by the illiterate and semiliterate, farm and industrial labour the novels like The Namesake are mainly about the problems
that the educated middle and upper middle class people face in their adopted homes. Apart from
this, Ramana critically examines  how Jhumpa Lahiri’s The Namesake remains silent about the
political and the broader social issues and limits to the personal and the familial. Such
observations provide valuable insights for the critical evaluation of diasporic fiction. Looking
from a postcolonial perspective Ramana asserts that novels like The Namesake, no doubt, bring
out the hardships and tensions that immigrants undergo in their adopted homes in general and in
the western countries in particular, yet they fail to draw attention to the marginalized position of
the migrants in socio-political terms. The silence about larger ethnic, demographic changes and
cultural and economic conflicts is more intriguing in this novel. Emphasizing the role of a literary
work for the consolidation or the subversion of  certain ideologies Ramana considers Lahiri as
writer complicit with neo-colonial forces for suggesting assimilation into the adopted culture.
Diasproa writing mostly constitutes the works by the writers settled abroad. Exception to
this can be seen in Manju Kapur’s novel The Immigrant. She depicts the immigrant experience
without herself being one. How her novel offers a counter narrative to the ideas often expressed
in fictional writings concentrating on diasporic experiences forms the main thrust in Narinder
Neb's study of this novel. The novel subverts the discourse that tends to treat all kinds of
immigrant experiences as diasporic. The paper discusses how the novelist brings out a highly
pragmatic approach of the immigrants who willingly leave their native places tempted by a
promise of bright future or as an escape route out of some economic or personal problem. They
do not leave their earlier homes under political compulsions or due to hostile circumstances that
result in forced exile. Therefore, these people’s desire to settle abroad is completely the result of
their own conscious choices. They are ready to  make all sorts of compromises to fulfill their
dreams. The sense of alienation, discrimination and being marginalized is not as harrowing and
painful for them as it is for the people who have to leave their country against their wishes. It
points out a different narrative stance adopted by Manju Kapur in her novel The Immigrant.  The interaction between different cultural groups particularly related to the East and the
West has been studied from post colonial perspective by Jagroop Singh in his paper “Colonizing
the Mind: Civilizational Imperialism and Amitav Ghosh’s  The Glass Palace”. His study of
Amitav Ghosh’s novel brings out how colonialists use strategies of “physical usurpation of
territories” through militaristic and civilizational imperialism for the colonization of the minds of
their subjects. The material and ideological instruments go a long way in subjugating the subject
races. The paper studies this novel as a postcolonial text as it exposes the colonial designs of the
British Empire. Jagroop Singh finds  this novel  ‘a probing critique of the civilizational
imperialism of British rule which colonized the native mind by re-framing the existing structures
of human knowledge into East-West binaries of orientalism’. He also points out how the novel
challenges the propagation of certain constructed forms of reality and ideas as something
essential and transcendental. In the process he emphasizes how the subtle ways of civilizational
imperialism function as more potent, though invisible, tool in the hands of the colonialists.
Premised on Said’s insights provided in his seminal works and Foucault’s concept of power
knowledge discourse, Jagroop Singh’s study of The Glass Palace explores the implications of
post colonialism in Ghosh’s novel.
 Using Foucauldian perspectives Anand Bajaj, explores the role of power structures and
the discourses in the fictional world created by Arundhaty Roy in her novel The God of Small
Things. In the process, he explains the nature of power, knowledge and discourse the way they
are understood and interpreted by Foucault. His paper analyzes the functioning of casteism and
patriarchy as the discourses that impact the lives of different characters in Roy’s novel. How the
variety of perspectives interact and supplement one another to award meaning to human
experiences also finds relevance when he coalesces Althusser’s perceptions about the functioning
of ideology with the concepts of knowledge and power as propounded by Foucault. It brings out
the similarities in the way ideology and power function as discourses of truth to “hide the
essential nature of all relations”. 
Bakhtin, like Foucault and other theorists, has impacted literary studies to a large extent.
His concepts of polyphony’ ‘heteroglossia’ and the dialogic nature of discourse are used to study
the co-existence and interactive role of plurality of ideas presented in a work of art, particularly
novel. Seema Singh uses these ideas to show the  presence of multiple valid voices in Amitav
Ghosh’s novel ‘The Shadow Lines’. Her study shows that the author\ narrator does not have
absolute authority at the same time nor do they turn irrelevant. On the other hand, their voices
along with the other characters and the context in which the novel is being read form the fictional
discourse constituted of multiple voices. These voices always stand in a dialogic relationship that
makes the novel polyphonic. Consequently different shades of reality and ideologies find
expression through multiple consciousnesses. The simultaneous co-existence of different literary
and artistic motifs highlights the hybrid nature of novel.
The fictionalization of women's problems and their study forms another significant aspect
of contemporary Indian Englisy fiction. How women suffer due to patriarchal hegemonic
structures and the way these women protest against their subjugation forms the central concern in
a number of fictional writings. The study of such writings is aimed to explore the extent to which
they serve the purpose of giving voice to women and support their struggle for rights. The critical
perspectives used for this study involve the study of the kind of images of women the writiers
present and the way these images serve the feminist ends. Sunita Goyal and Manmeet Sodhi present feminist critique of Shashi Deshpande's A Matter of Time and Bapsi Sidhwa's Cracking
India in their respective papers.
The theoretical perceptions applied for the  study of life and its creative representation
highlight the plurality of existence and challenges the existence of a commonly experienced
epistemological world. The assertion of separate cultural identities based on religion, caste
ethnicity and gender in contemporary Indian English fiction can be studied against this backdrop.
Jagroop Singh’s paper on Rohintion Mistry’s  The Family Matters studies the ethno-religious
politics that makes the minority communities in India, like the Parsis, wary of the majority
community. Rohinton Mistry himself being a Parsi gives expression to the fears and anxieties of
his community. The present study of his novel highlights the limitations and relevance of the
fiction concentrating on particular ethnic groups. In the process it expresses the view that the
novel does not remain ethnocentric as it celebrates hybridity and multi-culturalism in the on going
process of globalization and transnationalism. The study also highlights the peculiarities of the
post-modern, globalized world in which identity is considered something fluid and constructed.
At the same time the concept of identity acquires greater significance for the minorities and
marginalized groups who seek a space within the larger cultural groups through the assertion of
their ethnic identity. It can also be understood in terms of emergence of micro narratives against
the hegemonic nature of meta-narratives. These aspects of life, their presentation and study also
forms a significant feature of post- modernist aesthetics. 
Post modernist writings share the elements of modernism in breaking away from traditions,
experimentation with form and a markedly different attitude towards life and its understanding
yet they do not have everything in common. While modernists lament the loss of order and try to
re-create it, the postmodernists celebrate it. The postmodernist art registers the disintegration of
social and literary traditions and values. All these aspects, along with other thematic features of
postmodernism form the subject of study in Surekha’s paper on Shashi Tharoor’s Riot, and Rohit
Phutela’s analysis of Hari Kunjru’s novel The Impressionist. 
The variety of critical perspectives used  to study fictional works marks a radical
transformation in the attitude towards reality and realism. In spite of taking the artistic and the
formal aspects of differnt writings the major thrust of such studies often remains thematic.
Considering this as a kind of overconscious critical focus on themes Kulbhushan Kushal believes
that it usually ignores the formalistic and the aesthetic. His paper on Raja Rao's The Serpent and
the Rope brings out the relevance and significance of the study of the formal and the technical
aspects of the narrative. His paper analyzes the interactive role of different structrual elements,
particularly theme and character in the novel. In the course of the study, he observes that the
presentation of a contrast between two cultures in this novel reveals 'the protagonist's
consciousness as it passes through various emotional and spiritual problems'. Kushal's paper
exhibits yet another dimension of the change informing the study of fiction in general and Indian
English fiction in particular. 
Another dimension related to the variety informing critical perspectives deployed for the
study of fictional writings and the understanding of reality presented in these works can be
ascertained from Surekha's paper presenting an existentialist study of V. S. Naipaul's The Magic
Seeds, and Narinder Neb's paper in which he discusses the nature of Shobha De's fictional world
that finds relevance in the shift informing paradigms of understanding life and its fictionalization. 
The present collection of articles offers valuable reflections on theoretical
and creative aspects of contemporary Indian English fiction impacted by different material and ideological spheres of life in recent times. A study of contemporary
fictional works and their analysis based on different theoretical perspectives
certainly points out how contemporary y creative writings and their studies have
moved ahead to explore uncharted lands.


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