About This Presentation



Title: LM/37 LINGUE E LETTERATURE EUROAMERICANE Curriculum: Culture e letterature dei paesi di lingua inglese Author: rossella Last modified by – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:1427
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 138
Provided by: Ross208


Transcript and Presenter's Notes


  • L-LIN/10
  • 1 CORSO (CFU 8)
  • Prof. Rossella Ciocca

India Shining and the Darkness
  • The novel in India has seen its rise and
    development as an autonomous genre in coincidence
    with fundamental experiences such as the conquest
    of independence, the achievements and failures of
    the nationalist project, the internal and
    overseas mass migration, and more recently the
    dramatic passage from centralized economy to
    neo-liberal free market.

The course will focus upon some narrative
renditions of the contrast between the India
shining social dream and the hardness of daily
life in a country where the actual system of
power relations is still very iniquitous and
caste ridden.
Bibliography Primary texts
Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger, London, Atlantic
Books, 2008 Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss,
London, Penguin, 2006 Vikas Svarup, Slumdog
Millionaire, New York and London, Scribner, 2008
(as QA, 2005)
  • B. D. Metcalf and T. R. Metcalf, A Concise
    History of India, Cambridge, Cambridge University
    Press, 2002
  • Pryamvada Gopal, The Indian English Novel,
    Nation, History, and Narration, Oxford, Oxford
    University Press, 2009 (Timeline,
    Introduction,Chapters 1, 5, 8, Conclusions)
  • S. Rushdie, Step Across this Lines, London,
    Vintage, 2003
  • H. K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture, London and
    New York, Routledge, 1994 (Introduction, chapter
  • Appadurai, Modernity at Large, Minneapolis,
    Minnesota U. P., 1996 (chapters 1,2) fotocopies
  • R. Ciocca. Psychic Unease and Unconscious
    Critical Agency For an Anatomy of Postcolonial
    Melancholy , 2013 (pdf)

Indian states
  • Indian languages, 2 main families Indo-European
    (Hindi, Urdu, Hindustani, Punjabi, Bengali,
    Marathi, Gujarati, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi
    etc.) and Dravidian (Tamil, Telugu, Kannada,
    Malayalam et al.)
  • Hinduism, Islamism, Christian creeds, Sikkism,
    Jainism, Buddhism, Animism, Parseeism

RELIGIOUS PLURALITY India has been described
as a continent-sized mosaic. With its
billionstrong, diverse, multireligious,
multilingual, and multicultural population, it is
a vast, complex, and confusing country. India is
a secular state, but it is home to adherents of
all the major religions. Hindus make up around 82
percent of the population, followed by Muslims at
around 12 percent Christians make up 23 percent
of the population Sikhs 2 percent and
Buddhists, Jains, and others (such as Parsis
and Jews) another 2 percent of the population.
(No Transcript)
Indian religions distribution
  • It is a plurilingual society with eighteen
    officially recognized or scheduledlanguages,
    thirty-three major languages, and a total of
    1.652 languages and dialects that belong to four
    language families (Austric, Dravidian,
    Indo-Aryan, and Sino-Tibetan) and are written in
    ten major scripts as well as a host of minor
    ones. Hindi is the main language, with around 40
    percent of the population identified as Native
    Hindi speakers. Its nearest rivals are Bengali,
    spoken by 8 of the population, and Telugu (also
    8 ), followed by Marathi (7.5 ), and Tamil (6.5

  • In a north-south divide between the northern
    Indo-European languages and the southern
    Dravidian languages (Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and
    Malayalam), the speakers of the latter group
    comprise just 22 percent of the total Indian
    population. Thus in the mosaic of Indian
    diversity, no single language has an outright
    majority, but Hindi dominates

(No Transcript)
Indo-Arian and Dravidian
  • Caste endogamous group or collection of groups
    bearing a common name and having the same
    traditional occupation, sharing the tradition of
    a common origin and common tutelary deities.
  • BRAHMANA (priests today intellectuals and
    managers) mouth
  • KSHATRYA (warriors and kings) arms
  • VAISYA (land owners, traders) legs
  • SHUDRA (hand workers, peasants, servants,) feet
  • Outcast people
  • dalit (broken, oppressed)
  • Harijan (Gods son) introduced by Gandhi

Modern India is divided into large social
collectivities such as dalits, tribals,
backwardcastes, and forward castes.
Traditional Hindu society was structured around
the hierarchical four-fold caste system known as
varna at the top were the Brahmins, the elite
caste of priests, scholars and the interpreters
of the Sanskrit sacred texts just beneath them
were the Kshatriyas, the caste of kings and
warriors the third caste was that of the
Vaishyas, or traders and merchants below them
were the Sudras, the caste of artisans and
peasants. The first three castes of Brahmins,
Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas today constitute the
forward castes. However, there is yet another
caste known as untouchables, so called because
they were considered polluted, and hence any
polluting physical contact between the forward
castes and the untouchables was scrupulously
avoided. Today, the untouchables and other
depressed castes and tribal communities comprise
the various backward castes.
The backward castes constitute about 20 percent
of the Indian population, and many are still
engaged in their traditionally assigned tasks of
disposing of garbage and waste matter, as well as
taking care of the deadproviding firewood for
cremation ceremonies, lighting the cremation
pyre, and disposing of any dead animals in the
Village. However, the caste system is like a
Honeycomb with each stratum in the caste system
further fragmented into self contained regional,
even local entities known as jatis. Often there
is little interaction between jatis of different
regions. Thus the Brahmins of northern India have
little to do with the Brahmins of southern India,
and likewise the Vaishyas of eastern India have
little to do with the Vaishyas of any other
Indian region.
Twenty-five years after Indian independence, in
the 1970s, the dalits spurred two notable
movements the Dalit Panthers and dalit
literature. The former was a short-lived
political movement inspired by the Black Panther
movement in the United States, and the latter was
a blossoming of writing by dalits on the dalit
experience. Most of the writing is in Marathi
verse and prose, and there are just a few
translations into English. The backward castes,
along with other oppressed minorities such as
tribals and some Muslim communities that have
been identified as backward castes, have
become powerful political entities in
modern Indian democracy. The various
communities in contemporary Indian society
are now classified as the forward or
upper castes, the dalits or scheduled
castes (SCs), the other backward castes
(OBCs), and the tribals or scheduled tribes
(STs), all of whom (except the forward
castes) benefit from positive discrimination with
a percentage of seats reserved for entry
to higher educational institutes and job
reservations in the public sector. (p.34)
Mahatma Gandhi (18691948) dedicated a large
part of his life to the eradication of
untouchability, which he considered a blight on
the face of Hinduism. He renamed this fifth group
the Harijan, or children of God. The
upper-caste Hindus, Gandhi said, must make amends
for the atrocities they had perpetrated on the
lower castes over the centuries. The great
Harijan leader Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar (18911956),
generally known as Babasaheb, who qualified for
the bar at Grays Inn and received his doctorate
from the London School of Economics, was a member
of the backward castes and a key figure in the
drafting of the Indian Constitution written in
Despite Gandhis efforts at social reform,
Ambedkar did not believe that the Hindus would
ever change their attitudes towards the Harijans,
and he formed the Scheduled Castes Federation in
opposition to the Congress. He also urged his
caste members to embrace another religion, and in
1956, Ambedkar, along with 200,000 members of the
backward castes, embraced Buddhism. The backward
castes are also known as dalits. Dalit means
broken, reduced or ground to pieces in
Marathi. The social worker Jyotiba Phule
(18971890) had first used the word in
dalitodhar, or upliftment of the oppressed, in
his Satya Shodhak (Truth Seeking) movement to
counter Brahmin suppression of the lower castes.
The division of society into four colours or
castes (Varna) was developed in the Vedic period.
(described in Manus code).The God Brahma
created the primeval man from clay. The 4 varna
derived from his limbs.
Origins of the system of castes 
Main literary works of the Vedic period(ancient
age, c. 1600-600 B.C.) Rig-Veda (hymns, prayers
and spells) Upanishads (explanatory comments on
sacred texts) Mahabharata and Puranas (epic
The main story of Mahabharata deals with a
conflict several generations long over dynastic
succession in the Bharata family that is told in
about 24.000 stanzas. The epic in its textual
form contains numerous interpolated commentaries
on matters of religion and philosophy, genealogy,
history, folklore, and myth that quadruple its
length to about 100.000 stanzas. Through oral
transmission the epic saw an almost never-ending
Indian HistoryANCIENT INDIATraces of man
from early PaleolithicAryan invasion theory
(recently questioned) about the middle of II
millennium B.C. India was invaded from northwest
by the Aryans who established in the subcontinent
a unifying civilization. The gradual change of
color from light to dark skin as we move
southwards fits in with a pattern of invasion
which gradually pushed the previous populations
before it.On the other hand modern excavations
brought to light the existence of urban
civilizations, antedating the Aryan period,
extensively devoted to trade with Mesopotamia
(about 2500-1900 B.C.)
The Aryansoriginal home possibly south
Russiapastoral and agricultural people living in
villagesmade no attempt to occupy the cities
they overcameinferior in material civilization
superior in political and military organization
The Aryan civilization moved eastwardSanskrit
emerged as national languageVI century B.C. end
of the Vedic period, a new intellectual and
spiritual climate see the rise of Buddhism and
Jainism 327-25 B.C. Alexander the Great s
invasion in North-west India
ALEXANDER the Greats invasion of India
 180 B.C. 200 A.D. foreign invasions in
northern India (Greeks, Parthians, Tukhara) III
century classical age of Indian civilization
Literature, art, science and philosophy evolved
the forms they were to retain in successive
yearsNorthern India was reunited under the
dynasty of the Guptas.  
Guptas dynasties
  • Classic art
  • Gupta reigns

650-1200 A.D. Dynastic rivalries, northern India
was divided into a number of separate states (the
Arab conquest of Sind in 712 was merely an
episode and it was not until Islam had been
firmly established in the area of modern
Afghanistan that the Moslem conquest of India
became possible)
ISLAMIC INDIAXIII- XVI cent. The Sultanate of
Delhi was ruled by 5 successive dynasties
(Metcalf, p.11- 15) In XIV cent. the sultanate
attained its greater extent reaching Kashmir.
After that it began to decline and divide into
different regional reigns. Incursions led by
Tamerlane occurred in 1399.
Sultanate of delhi
Mughal India

1526 beginning of the Mogul Empire Babur
descended from Tamerlane and Jenghiz Khan, his
ambition was to recover the territories of the
vast Mongolian empire. Ousted from central Asia
he had to take refuge in Afhganistan from which
he attacked India. At his death in 1530 he
controlled the greater part of northern India.
Phases of Mughal empires
Akbar (1556-1605) was the greatest Mogul emperor
extending his dominions, practising a
conciliatory policy towards Hindu subjects
  • Shah Jahan (reigns 1627-1658, imprisoned by his
    son 1658-1666) patronized culture, the arts and
  • Taj mahal, regal tomb and the red fort of Agra

Aurangzeb (1658-1707) is considered the chief
cause of the decline of Mogul empire for his
political as well as religious intolerance and
bigotry. Hindus were excluded from public office,
some of their schools and temples were destroyed,
the tax on non-Moslems was reintroduced.
The successors were puppets controlled by
favourites and court factions, Northern India was
invaded by Nadir shah of Persia (Peacock throne
and Koh-i-Nor diamond were ransacked). Foreign
invasion were not the causes but the symptoms of
Mogul decline.
Babur the conquerorand the decadent last emperor
Mughal islamic art
  • miniatures
  • Mosaics, majolica

Mughal Art(refined court life)
  • watercolor
  • watercolor

COLONIAL INDIA european settlements
  • Portoguese India
  • The quest for India was begun by Portugal. In
    1498 Vasco da Gama anchored off Calicut, in 1500
    Cochin became the first trading headquarters in
    India, Goa became the capital of Portuguese

British empire
British Raj
British Raj in XIXth century
  • A mix of direct and indirect rule

  • The English East India Company was established in
    1600. In the first half of XVII cent. it obtained
    various concessions from the Mogul Empire first
    trading posts were Surat, Agra, then Calcutta and
    later on Bombay. The commercial settlements were
    soon fortified. Rivalry arose with the
    Portuguese, defeated by the English fleet.
  • In XVIII cent. the European rivals were English,
    French and Dutch. Gradually the East India
    company emerged as the dominant authority it was
    able to obtain the concession to collect and
    administer the revenues in Bengal, Bihar and
    Orissa paying the emperor an annual tribute.

  • Indian Mutiny 1857
  • the great revolt of the Bengal native army led
    to transference of government to the crown. Due
    to many causes it was accompanied by rebellion of
    the population and some of chieftains. The
    pretext for revolt was the introduction of a new
    rifle whose cartridges, lubricated with pigs and
    cows grease, had to have their ends bitten off
    by the sepoys.
  • Indian Mutiny
  • Or
  • Indian Rebellion

1858 Government of India act 1876 Victoria
Empress of IndiaThe British empire Culture
education politics society economy
  • Pros?
  • Paternalism
  • Racism (town conception, admission to civil
  • Militarism, authoritarianism (Amritsar massacre)
  • Exploitation (colonial economy)
  • Reinforcement of caste system and religious
    divisions (divide et impera)
  • Unification of the country
  • Codification of laws
  • Use of English as vehicular language
  • Cultural vitality of anglicised élites
  • Technological development (trains, telegraph,
    mail service)
  • Social reforms (age of consent bill, abolition of
  • Unified Educational system

  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is an Indian literary
    theorist, and University Professor at Columbia
    University. In "Can The Subaltern Speak?" Spivak
    discusses the race and power dynamics involved in
    the banning of sati. Spivak writes that all we
    hear about sati are accounts by British
    colonizers or Hindu leaders of how
    self-immolation oppressed women, but we never
    hear from the sati-performing women themselves.
    This lack of an account leads Spivak to reflect
    on whether the subaltern can even speak.

Amritsar or Jallianwala Bagh massacre
  • The massacre was a seminal event in the British
    rule of India. On 13 April 1919, a group of
    non-violent protesters had gathered in the
    Jallianwala Bagh garden in Amritsar, Punjab. On
    the orders of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer the
    army fired on the crowd for ten minutes,
    directing their bullets largely towards the few
    open gates through which people were trying to
    run out. The dead numbered between 370 and 1000.
    The brutality stunned the entire nation. The
    initially ineffective inquiry fueled widespread
    anger, leading to the Non-cooperation movement of

Towards independenceGandhian non violent
movementII world war The Congress and the
Muslim League India Pakistan and civil war
The narration of the nationGandhi and Nehru,
the noble fathers of the nation 1947 Nehru A
Tryst with Destiny
(No Transcript)
The narration of the nation Bharatmata, Mother
  • Bharat-Mata, a traditional rooted vision of the
    country as female powerful and inexorable when
    depicted as a deity or divine feminine energy,
    Shakti, but also frail and victimized when
    conceived as the prey of foreign attack and
    colonial exploitation.

PARTITION In 1946 after a series of violent
riots and fights between Hindu Sikhs and
Muslims, the Congress Party decided to accept the
request of the Muslim League for a separate and
independent Muslim state. The British
authorities were informed and in three months Sir
Cyril Radcliffe drew Wagah (successively sadly
known as the line of hatred)
The narration of the nationIndia 1947-8
  • The bright side Independence celebrations
  • The dark side
  • Partition and civil war

Partition We crossed the border at Wagah. I
dont know what I had been expecting. Blue rivers
and green plains, tigers and elephants,
forest-covered mountains. All the wonders we had
been promised about the Indian side. But the
landscape didnt change. It had the same scrub
and wild brush, the same dirt and heat. (Manil
Suri, The Age of Shiva)
The territorial wound
Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started
the killing. According to the Hindus, the Muslims
were to blame. The fact is, both sides killed.
Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed.
Both tortured. Both raped. (K. Singh, Train to
INDEPENDENT INDIA 1948 Gandhi murdered by a Hindu
fundamentalist Nehru and the new Indian order,
Zamindari abolition (V. Seth, A Suitable Boy)
Gandhis Dynasty Indira Gandhi (remove poverty
campaign) Emergency
DEMOCRATIC INDIA India emerged as a secular
socialist republic. Today its secularism is under
strain and its socialism has been abandoned, but
it remains a vibrant democratic republic with an
elected parliament.
Sanjay Gandhis child birth control (Rohinton
Mistry, A Fine Balance) Communalist policy, The
golden temple of Amritsar assassination by Sikh
bodyguard Rajiv Gandhis economic liberalism,
communalist policy and assassination by Tamil
contrasts Liberalism in economy, technological
innovation, cultural globalization, backward
castes policy, religious tensions, nuclear
weapons, Kashmir unsolved question, female
emancipation and persecution (S. Rusdie, Indias
50th anniversary)
minute on Indian Education, 1835 English
Education act, 1835 G. Viswanathan, The
Beginnings of English Literary Study in British
  • Gramsci, Foucault, Bhabha, Habermas, Appadurai
  • Gramscian persuasion about primacy of culture
  • in the exercise of power
  • The supremacy of a social group manifests itself
    in two
  • ways as domination and as intellectual and
    moral leadership.
  • It seems clear that there can, and indeed must
  • hegemonic activity even before the rise of
    power, and that
  • one should not count only on the material force
    which power gives in order to exercise an
    effective leadership
  • (Prison Notebooks)
  • (British books constituted about 95 of book
    imports in India between 1850 and 1900)

(No Transcript)
2) Multi-focal multi-centred nature of Power
relationships M. Foucault, La volontà di sapere,
pp. 82-6
3) Overcoming binary representation of the
relation Colonizer/colonized H. Bhabha, The
Location of Culture The language of critique is
effective not because it keeps forever separate
the terms of the master and the slave, but to
the extent to which it overcomes the given
grounds of opposition and opens up a space of
translation a political object that is new,
neither the one nor the other, properly alienates
our political expectations, and changes, as it
must, the very forms of our recognition of the
moment of politics.
BHABHA My illustration attempts to display the
importance of the hybrid moment of political
change Here the transformational value of change
lies in rearticulation, or translation, of
elements, that are neither the One nor the
Other but something else besides, which
contests the terms and territories of
both. Cultures are never unitary in
themselves, nor simply dualistic in the relation
of Self to Other
The reason a cultural text or system of meaning
cannot be sufficient unto itself is that the act
of cultural enunciation the place of utterance
is crossed by the différance of writing. The
production of meaning requires that these two
spaces be mobilised in the passage through a
third space which constitutes the discursive
conditions of enunciation that ensure that the
meaning and symbols of culture have no primordial
unity or fixity that even the same signs can be
appropriated, translated, rehistoricised and read
anew. agency is the activity of the
contingent. agency is realized outside the
Jürgen Habermas
The public sphere is an area in social life where
individuals can come together to freely discuss
and identify social problems, and through that
discussion influence political action. It is a
discursive space where meanings are articulated,
distributed, and negotiated.The public sphere can
be seen as a theater in modern societies in which
political participation is enacted through the
medium of talk and a realm of social life in
which public opinion can be formed.
Bourgeois public sphere
Most contemporary conceptualizations of the
public sphere are based on the ideas expressed in
Jürgen Habermas book The Structural
Transformation of the Public Sphere An Inquiry
into a Category of Bourgeois Society. The work is
still considered the foundation of contemporary
public sphere theories. Through this work, he
gave a historical-sociological account of the
creation, brief flourishing, and demise of a
"bourgeois" public sphere based on
rational-critical debate and discussion. Habermas
stipulates that, due to specific historical
circumstances, a new civic society emerged in the
eighteenth century. Driven by a need for open
commercial arenas where news and matters of
common concern could be freely exchanged and
discussedaccompanied by growing rates of
literacy, accessibility to literature, and a new
kind of critical journalisma separate domain
from ruling authorities started to evolve across
In its clash with the practices of the absolutist
state, the emergent bourgeoisie gradually
replaced a public sphere in which the rulers
power was merely represented before the people
with a sphere in which state authority was
publicly monitored through informed and critical
discourse by the people. The discursive arenas,
such as Britains coffee houses or Frances
salons may have differed in the size and
compositions of their publics, the style of their
proceedings, the climate of their debates, and
their topical orientations, but they all
organized discussion among people that tended to
be ongoing and dialectical.
Arjun Appadurai
Historical instruments of cultural
interactions Warfare and commerce (antiquity
and Middle Ages) Products of print capitalism
B. Anderson (Early Modernity) Modern forms of
transport (industrial revolution) Information and
Communication the global village Marshall
McLuhan (XXth century) Electronic media now
create communities with no sense of place while
imagination is a particularly powerful fuel of
Appadurai lists 5 different but overlapping types
of constructed landscapes(global cultural flows
of imagination upon which or from which people
build their sense of identity) Technoscapes,
Financescapes (p.34) Ethnoscapes, Mediascapes,
Ideoscapes (Appadurai p.33, 35, 38)
Appadurai Mediascapes
The Net (e-mail, e-work, social networks,
matrimonial sites, chats, virtual reality, second
lives...) Electronic media transform the field
of mass mediation because they offer new ways and
new languages for the construction of imagined
subjectivities and imagined worlds. The Net is a
space in which individuals and groups annex the
global into their own practices of technological
modernity. Vernacular globalization Vs cultural
homogenization Appadurai, p. 10
Contemporary globalized public spheres
Collective audiences and social networks create
communities of sentiments whose sodalities are
often transnational, even postnational, they
operate beyond the boundaries of the nation. As
mass mediation becomes increasingly dominated by
electronic media, and as such media increasingly
link producers and audiences across national
boundaries, and as these audiences start new
conversations between those who move and those
who stay, we find a growing number of globalized
public spheres. Electronic media now create
communities with no sense of place while
imagination is a particularly powerful fuel of
Indigenization of the novel
  • a transaction between two unequal, and
    unequally motivated, sides in an encounter that,
    despite its unevenness, was still characterized
    by exchange of some sort.
  • (P. Joshi)
  • Indian readers then writers transmuted an
    imported and alien form into local needs that
    inspired and sustained them across many decades.
    (P. Joshi)

Cultural colonization
  • English Literature of serious standard was
    introduced to educate colonized people. 
  • British books constituted 95 of book imports
    into India between 1850 and 1900 and were present
    in equivalent percentages among Indian library

Consumption practices
  • Numerous public and circulating libraries emerged
    to provide books at small expense or for free.
  • While fiction constituted about a third of the
    total holdings of a library it was requested up
    to three times more often than the other forms.
  • Indians preferred popular fiction romance and
    melodrama resonated with the circularity and
    intricacy of the epic plot of, for example, the
    Mahabharata and the Ramayana full of
    interconnections and coincidences.

Reading public
  • The reading public included civil servants,
    university and school teachers, students, minor
    ranks of the aristocracy, merchants, clerks. It
    was predominantly male and metropolitan. A
    greater majority read English novels translated
    into regional language.

The novel as a site of agency
  • The novel acquired a social agency that was
    peculiarly Indian. It became a new form involved
    in inventing and representing the self it
    provided its readers with a new language for
    figuring out the emerging social relations
    associated with modernity. In many cases the
    novel with its populistic and sentimentalist
    overtones became one of the most powerful
    vehicles for anti-colonial feelings.

Locations of agency
  • The majority of literary English production
    entered India through the ports of Calcutta and
    Bombay. These two capitals were more open to
    Western cultural influence and at the same time
    gave life to the most powerful anti-colonial
    movements (The Great Mutiny and the Swadeshi
    movement emerged in Bengal, Gandhi from Bombay

From reading to producing
  • Sometimes Indian authors gave up English and
    retained the novel form
  • Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wrote in Bengali
    although he was also an essayist, historian,
    philosopher and social thinker his fame rested on
    his novels he was called Scott of Bengal.
    Anandamath, 1882, a historical novel is his most
    widely known work the setting is XVIII century
    rural Bengal, a time of famine during which a
    local insurgency seeks to overthrow a cruel and
    unjust political order of weak and decadent
    Muslim rulers and British tax collectors.

The mystic leader of the rebellion recurs to the
figure of Mother India ravaged by occupiers. The
historical dislocation served as a device to host
contemporary political feelings. A past in which
Indians are present as actors and not as passive
and defeated people. As the novel passed from
serialised to book form it underwent a
progressive softening of its anti-colonial tones,
often replacing the term English with Muslim.
Various editions of the novel
  • The movie released in 1952

  • In 1932 4 writers published in Urdu a collection
    of innovative short stories Angarey (Burning
    Embers) characterized by frank depiction of sex
    and a general irreverence towards religion. (ex
    a wet dream during a nap with the head on an open
    Koran) The book was condemned from Mosques
    pulpits as un-Muslim the British government for
    fear of public riots banned the book.

  • In response the 4 writers wrote a manifesto
    which was to become the first document of the
    All-India Progressive Writers Association
  • The movement was equally directed against
    internal orthodoxy and ignorance as well as
    foreign domination
  • One of the 4 was Ahmed Ali, Twilight in Delhi

In 1935, the Progressive Writers Association
(PWA), a movement of Indian writers was formed in
London. It was inspired by the meeting in Paris
of the International Association of Writers for
the Defence of Culture against Fascism led by
Maxim Gorky, André Gide, André Malraux, and
others. Radical Indian students and intellectuals
began to meet regularly at the Nanking Restaurant
in Denmark Street to discuss and formulate the
organizations original manifesto. The PWA
believed that the new literature of India must
deal with basic problems of existence todaythe
problems of hunger and poverty, social
backwardness and political subjugation, so that
it may help us to understand these problems and
through such understanding help us to act
(Russell 1992 205). Most of the members of the
organization returned home after finishing their
studies in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, and
elsewhere, and soon Marxist ideology began to
inform the work of the Indian writers, both in
English and in the regional languages.
From Urdu to English
  • Alis use of English is partly to reach the
    widest possible audience both in India and
    abroad. However Ali imports into his English
    novel Urdu forms borrowed from poetry and ghazals
    that are themselves the product of borrowings
    from Arabic, Persian, and Hindustani(P. Joshi)

Twilight in Delhi records the effects of cultural
and social decay on a Delhi Muslim family in
particular the patriarch Mir Nihal has a
sensitive awareness of past greatness but little
comprehension of the ongoing demise. The action
takes place between 1911(coronation in Delhi of
George V) and 1919 (Rowlatt Bills which allowed
British judges to try cases without juries)
From English to the Indian novel in
Indian-English the revolution of S. Rushdie
  • A fiction written in a robustly vernacular
    English, manifestly hybrid, mixing the novel with
    diverse narrative forms both of the modern
    languages of cinema, television, journalism etc.
    and of old traditional Indian genres such as the
    oral epic

The watershed Midnights Children
  • I became a writer at the moment I found a
    narrative voice for Midnights Children and that
    was finding a literary equivalent of that oral
    narrative from India that had kept the audience
    rapt for thousands of years

Oral tradition
  • While Bankims narrator took its cue from the
    serious and judgemental narrator of the written
    epic, Rushdies clearly comes from the jesting,
    jocular figure of the oral tradition whose
    fallacy inspired the unreliable narrator in M.C.,
    Saleem Sinai

All-comprehensiveness of M.C.
  • Saleem Sinai states that an entire universe can
    be understood from his life his personal story
    reflecting Indias history. (a commonplace for an
    audience raised on the Mahabharata Whatever is
    in the Mahabharata can be found elsewhere but
    what isnt in it can be found nowhere.

Midnights Children
  • Multiplying Meaning
  • History
  • Whereas Bankims narrator helped stabilize
    meaning, Rushdies, taking his inspiration from
    the circular structure of the oral epic and the
    tendency to change and adjust while repeating,
    multiplies meaning.
  • History in M.C. is not so much rendered fantasy,
    as fantasy and fabulation are rendered possible
    and even respectable forms of acquiring
    historical knowledge.

The novels agency
  • In the hands of Rushdie the novel becomes a means
    to address issues surrounding modernity such as
    citizenship, subjectivity, identity, community
    and communalism, religion and politics, nation
    and nationalism besides aesthetical concerns
    about meta-fiction, inter- textual play, the role
    of the narrator, narrative perspectivism etc.

The novels agency nation and narration
  • Rushdie creates a curious myth of the nation
    instead of celebrating its moment of glorious
    birth after a heroic liberation struggle, he
    interrogates its unglamorous middle age tainted
    by communal unrest and the threat of separatist

The novels agency
  • But in seizing the authority to tell their own
    versions of history, sociology, politics, his
    novels vindicate the right to master their own
    fantasies and world pictures. The fact that these
    novels exist marks the liberation of an Indian
    voice from the official and objective reality
    answering the mandate of imperialist culture.
    They articulate versions of Indian history and
    identity rendering them plural, just legends
    that make up reality, revealing in a
    post-modernistic way the fictional nature of
    reality itself.

Salman Rushdie
The contemporary Indian novel in English
  • In 1980 S. Rushdies Midnights Children
    transformed the Indian novel in English in an
    international phenomenon opening the way to
    dozens of ensuing literary cases.

Indian writers in English
  • before Rushdie
  • Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao, R. K. Narayan,
    Khushwant Singh, V. S. Naipaul, Kamala
    Markandaya, Anita Desai (she already wrote but
    declared a debt to Rushdie) et al.
  • after Rushdie
  • Shashi Deshpande, Shashi Tharoor, Amitav Ghosh,
    Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Chandra, Rukun
    Advani, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Anita Nair, Manju
    Kapur, Vikas Swarup, Kiran Desai, , Kamala Das,
    Aravind Adiga

Diasporic voices
  • V. S. Naipaul, Hanif Kureishi, Monica Ali, Nadeem
    Aslam, Jhumpa Lahiri, Rohinton Mistry, Bapsi
    Sidhwa, Amid Chauduri, Chitra Divakaruni,
    Ardashir Vakil, et al.
  • Indian Diaspora
  • Before Partition towards the empire (Mauritius,
    Fiji, Tanzania, Kenia, South Africa, Trinidad as
    indentured labourers, coolies)
  • After Partition GB, USA, Canada as emigrants

Priyamvada Gopal, The Indian English Novel.
Nation, History, and Narration, Oxford and New
York, O. U. P., 2009
  • Timeline, Introduction
  • Chapter 1 Making English India
  • Chapter 5 Midnights Legacies
  • Chapter 8 The Literature of Migration
  • Conclusions

Aravind Adiga
  • Three stories of violence and murder in a
    grotesque style
  • The White Tiger the servant kills his master and
    the reasons why
  • Between the Assassinations collection of short
    stories (unequivocal title)
  • Last Man in Tower how good and friendly people
    can become murderes

Literary genre Realism and Satire
  • In his stories, the author expresses his
    indignation and his pessimism by means of social
    critique expressed in a satirical mode. The
    murderers are not punished. There is no social
    justice and no happy ending. The stories are not
    tragic in tone but grotesque ironical distance
    between style and content .

  • Castal violence, social unjustice, political
    corruption, religious fanaticism (traditional
    evils of Indian society)are investigated as
    sources of rebellion in the first two works of
    Adiga. The culprits are not punished (Balram, the
    murderer had been previously pursued for a crime
    he had not committed)
  • In his third work the source of violence is greed
    conceived as a social force connected to the new
    economy of late capitalism. Money is stronger
    than any other value (friendship, honesty,

I. Chambers, Borders and Beyond
  • If the market was once apparently subservient and
    subject to the political and social demands
    imposed by the state, today, it is the state and
    its politics that is increasingly shaped and
    disciplined by the requirements of the market. So
    changes, and rather sharp ones, do occur. The
    political economy that sustains the reasons of
    the market is itself the result of certain
    political and cultural conceptions being
    transformed into practice and achieving a
    hegemonic hold on public understanding.

  • This debut novel won the 40th Man Booker Prize.
    It provides a darkly humorous portrait of the
    class/caste struggle in the new-liberal,
    globalized India. The novel examines issues of
    poverty, caste, social justice, corruption and
    inequality in India. The protagonist, a brilliant
    village boy, is able to transcend his caste
    destiny and to become a successful business-man,
    not by means of study and personal initiative ,
    as he would like, but by becoming violent and
    corrupt as the society in which he is forced to
    fight his way up. The price he has to pay is to
    transform himself into a murderer. Despite
    democracy there is not for him a chance in
    freedom and justice.

The White Tigers plot
  • Balram narrates his life in a letter, which he
    writes in 7 consecutive nights to the Chinese
    Premier, visiting India. Balram explains how he,
    the son of a rickshaw puller, born in a rural
    village in "the Darkness, escapes a life of
    servitude to become a successful businessman. In
    Laxmangarh he lived with his extended family. He
    is a smart child however, he is forced to quit
    school in order to help pay for his cousin
    sister's dowry. He begins to work in a teashop
    with his brother. Despite his caste
    (sweet-maker), while working in the teashop he
    describes himself as a bad servant and decides
    that he wants to become a driver.

Facing many difficulties he learns how to drive
and gets a job driving Ashok, the son of the
Stork, one of Laxmangarh's high-caste landlords.
He moves to New Delhi with Ashok and his wife Ms
Pinky. Throughout their time in New Delhi, Balram
is exposed to the extensive corruption of India's
society. One night Pinky decides to drive the car
by herself and hits something. When they discover
that she has killed a person Balram is asked to
sign a confession taking the responsibility upon
himself. Balram is deeply affected and decides
that the only way to escape India's "Rooster
Coop" will be by killing and robbing Ashok. One
day he murders Ashok by hitting him with a
bottle. He then manages to move to Bangalore
India shining new technological capital. There he
bribes the police in order to start his own
business. He is afraid that his family has almost
certainly been killed by the Stork as retribution
for Ashok's murder. At the end ,Balram is obliged
to live in fear and with the unpleasant thought
of having become a murderer but he still
vindicates his right to have broken the Rooster
Coop and have felt what it means not to be a
Tone and style
  • In his novel Adiga attempts to catch the voice of
    the low castes. He wanted to capture the unspoken
    voice of people from "the Darkness" the
    impoverished areas of rural India, and he wanted
    to portray these people and their lives without
    sentimentality or indulgence, without
    romanticizing poverty.

  • Names 9-11, 33-5, 36-7
  • India /China 4, 30-1, 90-1, 95-6
  • Light (propaganda) Vs Darkness (terrible truth)
    14, 19-20, 84, 118-20,
  • Colonial history21, 173
  • Castal legacy 24-26, 51, 54-6, 61,63-4, 66-7, 193
  • Globalization 6-7, 38, 302, 303-5
  • Superstition 8-9
  • Poverty as dispossession 13, 167, 169, 174-6, 187
  • Corruption 47-50, 97, 270-72
  • Ambivalence 246, 320-1

  • Desai is the daughter of the novelist Anita
    Desai. She was born in Chandigarh, and spent the
    early years of her life in Pune and Mumbai. She
    left India at 14, and spent a year in England
    with her mother, and then moved to the United
    States, where she studied
  • creative writing at Columbia University.
  • She has a relationship with Orhan Pamuk
  • (turkish novelist), recipient of the 2006
  • Nobel Prize for Literature. Her first novel,
  • Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard,
  • was published in 1998.

The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai Winner
of the 2006 Man Booker Prize
  • The novel follows two separate threads
  • Two settings Northern India
  • USA
  • Two times postcolonial globalized present
  • late-colonial period

First thread, Two times
  • In India near the Nepal border lives Jemubhai
    Popatlal, a retired Cambridge-educated judge.
    Living with him is his orphan granddaughter Sai
    and his cook. Sai is 16 and has fallen in love
    with her 20-year old tutor, Gyan. Gyan, however,
    joins Nepalese independence insurgents and the
    group breaks into Jemubhai's home looking for
    weapons, terrorizing them all.
  • Through Sai we experience Indian postcolonial
    precarious present.
  • At the same time, the story shuttles back and
    forth between Sai's youth and that of her
    Anglophile grandfather, Jemu. Through the judge,
    we experience the colonial era in all the cruelty
    of its old, ingrained hatreds and prejudices.

Second thread, second location
Meanwhile, Biju, the son of Jemubhai's cook has
illegally immigrated to New York City where he
works in the city's restaurant kitchens. With
him, we experience the world of illegal
aliens. As events unfold, the novel alternates
between Kalimpong and New York.
Through the double juxtaposition of time and
place the reader experiences the antagonisms and
convulsions of the larger world -- the clash of
races, classes, cultures, religious creeds -- are
filtered through the stories of the
protagonists. The novel, although it focuses on
the fate of a few powerless individuals, manages
to explore many contemporary international
issues globalization, multiculturalism, economic
inequality, fundamentalism and terrorist
violence. Despite being set in the mid-1980's, it
breathes the atmosphere of post-9/11 novel.
  • Desai takes a sceptical view of the West's
    consumer-driven multiculturalism. She seems far
    from writers whose fiction takes a generally
    optimistic view of what Rushdie has called
    "hybridity, impurity, intermingling, the
    transformation that comes of new and unexpected
    combinations of human beings, cultures, ideas,
    politics, movies, songs." In fact, Desai's novel
    seems to argue that such multiculturalism,
    confined to the Western metropolis and academia,
    is not able to address the causes of extremism
    and violence in the modern world. Nor, it
    suggests, can economic globalization become a
    route to prosperity for the downtrodden.

  • What binds the seemingly disparate characters is
    a shared historical legacy and a common
    experience of impotence and humiliation
    (postcolonial melancholy).

JEMUBAI,4, 11, 48-55, 150-2, 219-30, 403-11
  • The judge is a minute man (Macaulay), a mimic man
    (Naipaul) whose Anglo-philia can only turn into
    self-hatred. (See H. Bhabha concept of Mimicry
    almost but not quitewhite)
  • These Indians are also an unwanted anachronism in
    postcolonial India, where subjected peoples have
    begun to awaken to their dereliction, to express
    their anger and despair. (See for example A.
    Adiga, The White Tiger)

SAI, 3, 32-3, 189-190,
  • Young and tender Sai, is ready to forget her sad
    past as an orphan to rejoice in her first
    romance, but, betrayed in her love, she is lead
    to conclude that there is no chance for happiness
    in an unhappy world.
  • "Never again, could she think there was but one
    narrative and that this narrative belonged only
    to herself, that she might create her own mean
    little happiness and live safely within it."

GYAN, 12, 216-8, 231-5
  • Half-educated, uprooted men, like Gyan, with only
    the promise of a limited access to democracy and
    modernity, gravitate to the first available
    political cause in their search for a better way.
    He joins what sounds like an ethnic nationalist
    movement, not so much out of ideological
    conviction but largely as an opportunity to
    express his rage and frustration.

BIJU, 26-7, 28-31, 413-5
  • For Biju, living his miserable life in
    immigrant-packed basements in New York, without a
    green card, the city's endless possibilities for
    self-invention become a source of pain. This
    awareness only makes him long to fade into
    insignificance, to return "to where he might
    relinquish this overrated control over his own
    destiny." (irony on the Western value of
    self-determination). But going back home in the
    climactic scenes of the novel, Biju is
    immediately engulfed by the local eruptions of
    rage and frustration. For him and the others
    withdrawal or escape are no longer possible.

Vikas Swarup is an Indian novelist and diplomat
who has served in Turkey, United States,
Ethiopia, United Kingdom, South Africa and Japan.
He has published three novels Q A (best known
as Slumdog Millionaire after the title of the
movie ), Six Suspects and The Accidental
His debut novel, Q A, tells the story of how a
penniless waiter in Mumbai becomes the biggest
quiz show winner in history. It has won many
literary prizes and awards. Critically acclaimed
in India and abroad, this international
bestseller has been translated into 43 different
Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British film
directed by Danny Boyle. It is an adaptation of
the novel Q A (2005). Slumdog Millionaire was
widely acclaimed, being praised for its plot,
soundtrack and directing. In addition, it was
nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 2009 winning
eight, the most for any film of 2008, including
Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted
Set in Mumbai and other Indian location, the film
tells the story of Ram Mohammad Thomas, a young
man from Dharavi, the biggest slum of Mumbai who
appears on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be
a Millionaire? and exceeds people's expectations,
thereby arousing the suspicions of cheating the
boy is arrested and tortured. When he is rescued
by a female lawyer, he recounts in flashback how
he was able to answer all the questions, each one
linked to a key event in his life.
StructureEach chapter coincides with a question
and the sum which is won giving the right answer.
Each answer corresponds to an episode in the
protagonists very adventurous and hard life
LITERARY GENRE Social fable, Social
Romance, with elements of Picaresque novel and
  • Slumdog Millionaire (oxymoron)
  • Realistic details/Unrealistic story19-20,29-31
  • Tragic situations 280-5/ Happy ending 315-6
  • Corrupted Institutions12/ Magic Helpers 13-4
  • Realistic settings 76-8/ Fantastic coincidences
  • (events become answers, Prem Kumars role in Nita
    and Neelima Kumaris lives, Rams role in Smitas
    life 313-4)

Dharavi Asias biggest slum, pp.1-2
Ram Mohammad Thomas - The protagonist. Is an
orphan, an everyman whose name stands for three
different Indian religions. He is in love with
Nita and believes firmly in destiny. He possesses
a "lucky" coin that he uses when confronted with
big decisionsbut it is revealed that both sides
are "heads." Generally, he has a very pessimistic
and realistic view of life. As a result of that,
he isnt very self-confident and hasn't the idea
of becoming rich but having some English helps
him. Salim Ilyasi - Ram's best friend, who has
dreams of becoming a Bollywood moviestar. He is
very handsome, with a clear, musical voice. He
also believes firmly in destiny. His character is
coined as a young, childish and naive person.
Compared to Ram Mohammed Thomas, his outlook in
life is positive and very idealistic. .
Prem Kumar - The show host of the quiz show 'Who
Will Win a Billion? (or W3B)' It is later
revealed that he is the man who abused both Ram's
former employer and Nita, and Ram joins the show
to get revenge on him. By the end of the book, he
has helped Ram win the show and commits suicide
in his car, though Ram suspects the show's
producers had a hand in his death. Smita Shah -
Ram's lawyer and childhood friend, she saves him
from torture and listens to him tell his story.
Though she is at first skeptical, she slowly
comes to believe what he is telling her. It turns
out that her real name is Gudiya, and she was the
abused girl he mentioned in one of his
storiesthe one whom he saved after he pushed her
father down the stairs.
Nita - A young prostitute with whom Ram falls in
love. It is a tradition within her tribe to send
one girl to be a prostitute, and she tells Ram
bitterly not to call her beautiful because that
is the reason she was chosen instead of her
plain-looking sister. Her brother is her pimp,
and so she implores Ram not to kill him. At the
end of the book, she and Ram are married. Neelima
Kumari- A famous actress who refused to play any
other role apart from the main role and wanted to
stay the same way forever. Ram spent sometime
with her as a servant. She is based on a real
actress. Known as the "Tragedy Queen," she is
abused by Prem Kumar but refuses to turn him in,
saying that a true Tragedy Queen must possess
real sadness in her life. She commits suicide,
wanting to be remembered as young, but the police
find her body a month laterafter it has
Write a Comment
User Comments (0)
About PowerShow.com