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Indian novelists mostly think local – and it’s good for readership but not for Indian literary representation internationally

Posted in Category: Analysis
Indian English Novels today opinion

The world is changing. Coronavirus has changed the way we think, act and plan. It has also impacted the writing INDUSTRY. Readers are thinking digital and authors are writing digital as well. However, when we look at the Indian literary landscape, especially Indian English novel, things are not changing very much. We have a few corona-lockdown love stories with sensual fantasies of the authors getting painted on the pages… nothing more. Our authors are not thinking globally. It’s good because they don’t have their market in the USA, Canada, UK or Norway. Indian writers have their readers in India and a few among the Indians who live outside India. So, why should they bother for an international audience? What if we don’t have a say on the international literary forums? Indian authors don’t bother… they are happy with love stories between the states and sensual dance in the rain… male character and his half-girlfriend… forging fiction out of mala fide interpretations of our scriptures… who cares!

Except for Amitav Ghosh, Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai to an extent, Salman Rushdie and one-novel fame Arvind Adiga, who else is representing Indian narrative on the global forums? Can you tell me a name? Nevertheless, the problem with the representation that we are getting hitherto is that we seldom could have demanded this to be in the way we received… the readers who follow Indian fiction carefully can certainly understand my point here.

Black literature, literature by the oppressed, intellectual American literature, Irish independence and independent literature… we have so many narratives to study because the literary figures in many countries have come together for causes which are bigger than their personal achievements. However, in India, we have a competitive book market which seldom goes beyond selling a large number of copes. We have authors who focus on writing books rather than producing literature and this revelation, unfortunately for us, is very sad!

Whatever Chetan Bhagat, Amish Tripathi and even Ashwin Sanghi for that matter produce are for making money, getting readers and earning popularity. They don’t care whether their literature gets an Indian narrative on the world literature forums. I am consciously excluding a number of authors because they don’t even produce literature worthy of being discussed…

This is the sorry state of our English fiction ‘industry’ which is making money and more money but literature, sadly, is missing out of the whole business. We don’t even understand what will happen when we have about a crore of authors but no significant output that we can proudly call Indian literature… do you have any idea? Why don’t we produce more R. K. Narayans and Mulk Raj Anands who accepted the challenge of writing in a foreign and rather new language and yet became successful in getting their words out? The authors of the day have to take these points into their consideration and think about it. What are we missing? Can we recover our lost literary space? Can we have our originality taken into literary consideration once again? There are many questions that need to be answered…

By a contributor for Featured Books

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