1) Explain the importance of major political and socio-economic developments that influenced the Indian writers in English.

Ans: In talking about the concept of Indian tradition as well as the tradition of Indian English literature, It is to be noted that the distinctive quality of this genre of literature — fiction in particular — is its social content – particularly in its representation of the conflict between the individual and the community. The powerful focus on political, social and economic struggle ascertain its strong connection to the cultural and historical background of a traditional society in the midst of vast changes. This is the focal point of difference with the Victorian novel which is generally regarded as the precursor of the Indian English novel as a distinct genre. Writers from the earliest stages of Indian English writing like Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Sri Aurobindo and others were treating the novel as a document for social change and as a weapon of the nationalistic struggle. This idea was taken up by the early greats of the Indian English fiction namely M.R.Anand, R.K.Narayan and others who used the novel in an attempt to portray social truths and as a vehicle of change and reform. The colonial encounter beginning in the early nineteenth century has been an important factor in the formation of Indian English literature (fiction), an encounter of conflict as well as of awareness. It has created an awareness of difference which in turn has led to the charting of cultural territory in the post-colonial context. The history of the genesis of Indian English writing is a fascinating subject of study. It reflects the transformation, transition and upheavals of an entire people and traces the social, political and cultural history of the Indian nation from the late nineteenth century and continues to reflect the ever changing scenario of Indian life in contemporary Times. The study of the emergence of the novel in India, both in the regional languages as well as in the English is more than a subject of literary research, it is related to the socio-political and cultural developments of the country in the nineteenth century. The growth of this genre can be traced to the social and political happenings of a colonized country as well as the influence of several indigenous narrative traditions of an ancient culture. ―Mahatma Gandhi‘s emergence as the undisputed leader of the Indian National Congress is an interesting story by itself. ‖. The creative writers of Indian English have made use of the country‘s freedom struggle 42 and the Partition as the background of their novels. In many of these novels, Gandhi figures prominently as also his ideology and philosophy. As for example, M.FLAnand, Raja Rao and R.K.Narayan, who published their first works during the 1930s were strongly influenced by Gandhi. In the immediate post-independence era when there was a great outpouring of fiction, the notable works to be influenced by Gandhi-the man and his principles were Bhabani Bhattacharyya‘s So Many Hungers , K. A. Abbas‘s Inquitab, K. Markandaya‘s Some Inner Fury R.K. Narayan‘s Waiting for the Mahatma , Attia Hossain‘s Sunlight on a Broken Column Manohar Malgaokar‘s, A Bend in the Ganges R.K.Narayan‘s, The Vendor of Sweets and Chaman Nahal‘s The Crown and the Loin Cloth. Gandhi also touches the fiction of many modem Indian writers indirectly where the focus is on topical themes like the relationship between two communities- Hindus and Muslims, the horrors of the Partition, men-women relationships, the corruption and disillusionment in free modem India. Gandhi appears in different roles as a sage, an eccentric, a moralist, a shrewd politician, a fundamentalist or just a simple man with a special sense of humour. For example, the early Kanthapura (Raja Rao) to Shashi Tharoor‘s The Great Indian Novel. Thus in the first phase we see two predominant theories in the novel; historical and the other political and reform-motivated. But at the same time, the novelists of this period were also interested in areas of human experience which are issues of deep and abiding interest to the Indian people as a whole. Therefore, they made use of such experience for artistic and creative purpose.


2) Make a brief note on pre-Independence Indian English Drama. Why are the possible reasons for the lack of growth of this genre?

Ans: Drama is a composite art form. It is mimetic like all other performing arts in literature. It imitates life, particularly reflecting the three unities of time, place and action. ―It is designed for representation on the stage by actors who act the parts of the characters of its story, and among whom the narrative and the dialogue are distributed.‖ Though India has a long and fertile history in Drama, starting from Sanskrit plays of Vedic Age, the Indian English Drama started its innings only in the nineteenth century, with the publication of Krishna Mohan Banerjee‘s The Persecuted in 1813. A social play, it brought to light the conflict between the East and the West. But Madhusudan Dutt‘s Is This Called Civilization? which was published in 1871 is reckoned as the real starter of the Indian English Drama. Later he translated his Bengali plays, Ratnavali and Sermista into English. After a lull for a few decades, Indian English Drama came back to life in the 20th century. The Preindependent India witnessed the works of many a significant playwright, including Rabindranath Tagore, Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, T.P. Kailasam, A.S.P. Ayyar, Harindranath Chattopadhyaya and Bharati Sarabhai. Their works signaled the coming back of Indian English Drama. Rabindranath Tagore and Sri Aurobindo Ghosh, two great names in Bengal Renaissance, held the light for the onward march of the Indian English Drama. Tagore wrote his plays in Bengali. They were translated into English. Some of them were translated by Tagore himself. His best known plays Chitra, Sacrifice, The Post Office, Muktadhara, The Cycle of Spring, The King of the Dark Chambers are tinged in symbolism and allegory and draped in rich Indian philosophy. His plays are a rich fusion of the Indian and the Western literary traditions in which the East and the West meet. Sri Aurobindo, a significant Indian playwright in English, wrote five complete and six incomplete poetic plays, transcending the limits of time and place. His plays encompass a vast continuum in the time scale, ranging from ancient Greece to medieval India. They also include a vast panorama subsuming Iraq, Syria, India, Spain, Britain and Norway. The predominant theme of his plays is universal love and brotherhood. All his plays are dipped in rich philosophy, poetry and love. His well-known plays are Perseus the Deliverer, The Viziers of Bassora, Prince of Edur, Eric, Vasavadutta and Savitri. Sri Aurobindo deftly handles the ancient legends to showcase the present search for freedom. Indian English drama has an in-built inhibiting factor – the fact that most of our life is spent speaking other languages. English is usually associated with certain functional spaces – certain offices or academic institutions. Even in these spaces English is not even the only language used any longer, except in written documents. Though these may have great impact on our lives, think of exam results for instance, the dramas of our lives are played out in a melange of languages, very often in languages other than English. In this circumstance, how is the Indian English dramatist to create convincing theatre? So, our first point could be that the Indian English playwright has to write dialogues in a language that his characters may not speak all the time or even in the specific circumstances that the playwright has created.

3) How was Rushdie successful in creating a new wave in Indian English Literature?

Ans: Salman Rushdie, an Indian Expatriate, shot into fame m 1981 with the Booker prize award to his second Book Midnight’s Children. And now, no doubt, he has being hailed as a major novelist with his many other bestsellers. He has instantly charmed all the categories of readers. His novels are characterised by an abundant variety, in both technique and subject matter. One of the significant themes of his novels is the re-expression of past, portrayal of the events from recent Indian history. He has made specific use of history and at the same period our freedom movement and 39 the consequent emergence of the two states, namely India and Pakistan in Midnight’s Children. He has transformed facts of history into a great work of art. Apart from Midnight’s Children, which is having a great amount of historical and political essence, he has written many other, books with different themes. The literary excellence of his novels are simply outstanding. Rushdie applies so many themes and techniques in his novels. One such theme is his concept of history and its 41 interplay with the individual. He calls himself, significantly enough, ‘a fairly political animal.”. He told his reviewer Gordon wise that his last two novels are on historical themes. “It seems to me”, he remarked, “that everything in MIDNIGHT’S CHILDREN has had to do with politics and with the relationship of individuals and history.” Rushdie, as we know, went to Cambridge in 1965 to read history. His studies and experiences have helped him evolve a distinct concept of historical processes and their roles. ‘Shame’ is Rushdie’s third novel written in 1983. It is a story about Pakistan. It dramatizes ‘Military Politics of the Divided Muslim India’ whose history Rushdie considers a ‘disaster’. It opens in the imaginary town of ‘Q’ ~ Quetta in Pakistan. And in this •town lived three lovely loving sister’s known by the names of Chunni, Munnee and Bunny. Omar Khayyam, an image of suspense and fantasy, is born as the fantastic son of three sisters who share automatic and simultaneous symptoms of pregnancy and interestingly with no father in picture. 1n the process of unfolding this fairytale Rushdie makes a savage attack on the political life of Pakistan. This novel reconstructs the sordid political history of Pakistan bringing to light the deep socio cultural imbalances that have shaped tills history. He has excellently picturised the scenes of murders, camps and rigged elections in the context of the grim atmosphere of fear, intrigue! humiliation and desperate defiance that govern the lives and minds of the people of Pakistan. It is well known that Rushdie writes without any boundary, he finally believes that freedom of expression is the most precious asset of a writer. His most controversial novel, ‘The Satanic verses’ published in 1989 made him much famous and infamous. In 1990, his another bestseller ‘Haroun and the Sea’ was published. As it is already mentioned that Rushdie is sometime a critic, and his first work on criticism was published in 1991, which was named as ‘Imaginary Homelands: Essays and criticism. In continuation ‘The Wizard of Oz’ came in the year 1992 and then ‘East-West’ in 1994.











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