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Indian Writing In English English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 5282 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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The first three decades of the 19th century marked the beginning of English writing in India but it was a period of slow incubation.

“Indian Writing in English is one of those voices in which India speaks of their own culture heritage and modernization of values and systems. Rapid growth, increasing popularity, award winning creative contributions, all are going to justify the truth that the Indian English Literature provides an opportunity to make a deep dive in Indian consciousness and sensibility”

The term “Indo-Anglian” is used to denote original literary creation in English language by Indians. Today there are large number of educated Indians who use the English language as a medium of the creative exploration and expression of their experience of life. Their writing has now developed into substantial literature in its own right and it is this substantial body of literature which referred to as “Indo-Anglian literature”. The Indo-Anglian literature is to be distinguished from ‘Anglo-Indian’ literature. The term “Anglo-Indian literature” is used to denote the writing of Englishmen in English about India and Indian life. Their works are significant as they serve to interpret India to the west. However, their presentation of Indian life is often romantic rather than realistic. Indian is presented as a land of Snake-charmers, Jugglers, Rajas and Maharajas and one great value of Indo-Anglian literature is that it serves to correct this picture and project a more favorable and truthful image of India. There is another term “Indo-Anglian literature” which is used to denote translation into English from literature in Indian languages. The Indo-English literature is further divided into classical and modern Indo-English literature. Classical Indo-English literature requires a certain degree of interpretation and adaptation of meanings, to accommodate with some latitude in translation becomes inevitable. Some allowance has also to be made foe prevailing literary taste and scruples at the time when the translation takes place. Similarly, some freedom may be claimed by the translation of some work when he has the definite audience in mind

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With the consolidation of the British power in India, English the language of rulers also began to exercise its influences on the intellectuals of the country to the educated youth of that generation, a generation finding in English language a gateway to western knowledge. English provided a window for the Indian language a gateway to western knowledge. English provided a window for the Indian intellectuals to have a look at the wide world. Despite the fact English is not their mother tongue many Indians writers in English were able to realize their creative effort through the medium of English.

The culture and tradition of India has a distinctive entity of its own, and the enlightened youth of India, though well-versed in English, were not to lose its identity. There were not a few among India’s elite who were moved by a genuine desire to present, before the western readers, true pictures of Indian through imaginative literature.

The factor that brought the English in education was the Macaulay’s “minute” urging that it was necessary to make natives of this country good English scholars and he wanted to make India a Cultural colony of England and to produce an army of English knowing clerks. By the time of Macaulay, the demand for the introduction of English as the medium of education was wide-spread.

Macaulay’s Minute on education is the landmark in the history of English education in India. In the Minutes Macaulay advocated the cause of English and said we have to educate those people who cannot at present be educated by means of their mother tongue. We must teach them some foreign language. In India English is the language spoken by the ruling class. It is spoken by the higher class of native at the seats of government.

It is remarkable that Macaulay’s views about the importance of English hold good even today. There were several factors which contributed to spread English in education of India. The English traders played a prominent part in this, right from the early days of the trading settlement as the East Indian Company. Raja Ram Mohan Roy was the first Indian to write in English. He could speak and write English fluently and forcefully as is clearly brought out his work on religion. But he was a social reformer and much of his writing is utilitarian rather than creative. Before Macaulay’s Minutes policy in education few Indians had begun to use the English for creative expression. Henry Derozio’s volume of poems was published in 1823 and kashiprasad Ghose published his poetry entitled The Shair and the others poem in 1830. These two poems are not great in their writings but their work is largely imitative of English writers. Before the middle of the century the drama, short story and novel were practically non-existent in the Indian languages. The English came in India and brought with them the number of translations. English classics were soon translated into various Indian languages and the growth of the novel and the short story in regional languages was inspired by these translations. Bankim Chandra Chatterji became the first Indian writer of a novel in English. In field of drama the translation of Shakespeare’s works came into regional languages. They also served as models to the early Indian dramatists. The Indian drama, like the novel and the short story, was the result of that impact of English studies. Sarojini Naidu an outstanding woman of her generation, a gifted poetess. She achieves success in the handling of Indian imagery and the expression of Indian personality. Tagore is a great phenomenon in the Indian literary Renaissance. He combines in himself three distinct roles- that of a poet, a philosopher and a patriot. The special feature of Tagore’s lyrics in English is that they are prose poems.

A good deal of poetry continues to be written in English and there is much experimentation in an effort to achieve modernity. The novel took later start; still the novel has gone far ahead of poetry both in quantity and quality. Very few Indians seem to have attempted fiction in English till the beginning of the present century. During the last quarter of the 19th century there was considerable literary activity. Love, hatred, intrigue, jealously, all these are shaken into a compound in the novel. With the publications of Mulk Raj Anand’s Untouchable and Coolie and Raja Rao’s Kanthapura, the novel in English may be said to have come age. R.K Narayan’s Swami and Friends and the novel The Bachelor of Arts is a more mature work and invokes variegated claim of character and ancient. While many good Indo-Anglian novels and many more short stories have already demonstrated the feasibility of Indian writing English fiction, it is nevertheless true that the unique intricacies of social life and the untranslatable nuances of conversational speech are better rendered through the medium of one’s own mother tongue.

Undoubtedly the big trio o literary bulk- M.R Anand, R.K Narayan and Raja Rao had embodied the ancient lore of India in new form. This trio has done it memorably, so memorably that are haunted by it, our mouth remain wide open and without any hesitation and gainsaying we consider them as ‘great’. It is to their credit that Indian English Literature is established as separate discipline in the literatures of the world. “Panorama of India” in their writing provides strong sense of rich heritage. They churn out various pearls and gems hidden beneath the surface of Indian culture and tradition with the strong sense of tradition they tried to establish a mutual relation between India’s past and present so that applications of myths can be made useful in present contexts of life.

“Myths are the stories of gods and supermen and these myths are created to teach a moral to community, or to give divine sanction to the rulers of that community or to give unity to that community. A land without myth is the land without faith in the supernatural and the divine. A study of Greek myths reveals the fact that the gods and the goddesses of heaven are as jealous as mortals and as narrow-minded as the ignorant”. India is the land of myth. Myths are the symbols created by the primitive men from the vivid experience of day-to-day life. These were stabilized and given a relative fixity through the medium of words. Myth has played a significant role in human society from its beginning as primitive religious narrative to its unconscious mind. Philosopher since centuries back have been interested in establishing connection between poetry and myth but modern interest in the myth has greatly been increased by the contribution of comparatively new disciplines of anthropology and psychology. In simple word, a myth is a legend, a tale, a story, a saga of super human will, courage and strength handed down to people orally over a long period of time, and put into forms by writers and the poets who made changes in them whenever it suited to their purpose to do so. Such legends or tales or stories are supposed to be very serious and reflects a society’s spiritual foundations. They are symbols of human experience embodying a firm faith or belief in comic view each culture holds dear to its heart and preserves tenaciously. Myths are old far off distant things. They are purely traditional. They are embodying popular ideas or natural phenomenaThe spell and attraction towards Indian Mythologies stories have a kind of fundamental significance. Indian writers particularly M.R Anand, R.K Narayan, Raja Rao-are aware of Indian mythologies and surprisingly enough they have created the myths with all their literary possibilities. Another reason for the employment of myths is that they, along with folk-tales and ancient legends, provide abstract story pattern. Another factor which is responsible for the existence and employment of myths is their “literacy nature”. It may be a point of objection but a literature has shown its favour we can say that poets and writers are attracted towards the myths because of their literariness or because they are literary. Myth is ethical, philosophical, religious and cultural. Indian myths are essential parts of Indian embody the nature and spirit of literature. The Indian English novelist has emulated the device of the use of the myth from the west but has naturalized is to the Indian soil. The public recitation of tales from the Ramayana, the Mahabharata and the puranas pointing out its contemporary relevance is even now a living tradition. If a world-view is required to made literature meaningful in terms of shared human experience, the epic, the puranic tales of ancient India with their unique quality of timelessness offer a solid basis of such a common background.

In Indian English fiction myths have been used mainly in two novelists. M.R Anand and R.K Narayan and others have used myths as structural parallels where a mythical situatation underlies the whole or part of a novel, whereas, Raja Rao has used myth as a part of a digressional technique and in this sphere he has excelled all others. Here he waves a variety of myths and folk-tales into the fabric of his novels to attain some desired effect. Indian Myths are about the heroes of our classics, Ramayana and Mahabharata. They are about the Demons, God, and Goddesses. These myths are incorporated in the novels of R.k Narayan.

India, inspite of her variety and complexity, is a cultural unit; she has an image of her own cultural. Cultural is an exploration term which means the sum total of all i.e. reflected in the mode of life of people-their thoughts processes and outlook on life, social structures, values, and customs, their needs, aims, aspirations and national commitment and then this is best expresses through the arts and letters of the country. The word ‘myth’ has been constantly used in the literature of the world. This term is also used in a variety of meanings in sociology, anthropology, psychology and in comparative religion-each field of study investing it with different connotations. But its use in literature is much more comprehensive. Now the conscious use of myth becomes a very familiar and popular technical device used by many writers. In the second case, there is unconscious use of myth. In this technique we find that writers may not have been using a mythical situation or character but, readers or critics have discovered the unconscious way in which myth have operated in their novels or dramas. India is the place of Myths. “Every place in India has a local legends and every temple has a story around us. Only in India art and religion in a coherent way and one is not able to separate religion from art and art from religion. Our temples are mixture of art, culture and religion. So are the novels of this South India writer, who creates an imaginary town of Malgudi and spin his Novels around it.”

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A myth is useful in the context of modern time only when it illumines the present predicament of human society or suggestive of curable effect or it can suggest a remedy. They are meant more for inspiration than for information. They are religious rituals which make life meaningful and enrich it by penetrating or its essence. A myth is not a substitute for reality but only a vehicle for a better appreciation of reality. R.K Narayan gives a modern colour to our ancient myth and indicates the validity and continuity of our rich cultural tradition. Hence R.K Narayan is a modern novelist with a mythical consciousness.

The pleasure of reading a realistic novel is certainly more mature, sophisticated and lasting than the one derived from reading of a romantic novel. It has been compared to the listening of an intelligent person or a symphony of Beethoven or sitting quietly in a great cathedral or conversing earnestly with a friend on an issue of real interest to them both.

Realism in the novel has been defined in various ways. Some scholars call it the fidelity observed as verisimilitude to life also because literal transcription of life as it is. It can be defined as verisimilitude to life also because literal transcription of life is well-nigh impossible. So it would be more proper for us to record it as a plausible interpretation of life.

A writer is realistic he cannot escape his writings from the realities but it is also not compulsory for him that he must portray the reality in photographic way. It may be in the cases of some writers that they try to represent reality in the starch and naked form but as far as Indian English writers are concerning we find especially in the case of R.K Narayan and Raja Rao always tried to represent reality in its artistic form. They grab the Indian mind full with all its superstitious comprehension of life, gullidility and appreciation o pseudo-scientific things. Their reality is always allowed with romance. But as far as realism of Mulk Raj Anand is concerning we find that he claimed as the champion of the under-dog, he exposes all the social hypocrisy and taboos, class exploitation and class struggle, all social and economic injustice in his works. He learnt the technique of realistic portrayal for the eminent master of Indian fiction like Tagore, Bankim Chandra, Prem Chandra, Sharat Chand and European novelist like Chekhov Flaubert and Tolstoy. He is minute exam of life, society and human character, who never leaves the ugliest and unpalpable situation aside. Every aspect is beautifully described in his writings.

In order to see the origin and development of realism in Indian context we have to see its origin in west also. It appeared in Europe and America as a reaction from devotional sermons and romantic literature, legends, mysteries, folktales. Gradually the realistic novel had been written on sociological pattern and they had highlighted the various problems of the society-as evils of factories and law courts, the problems of emancipation wrote to German romantic poet.

The emergence of science and revolt against romantic excess concluded in consolidating the position of realism in fiction. A realistic novel makes reality more real for our own sake and for the sake of posterity, Indo-English novelist have tried their ends to give the graphic to our awareness and insight often time as novelist, in order to reveal to us the involutions of a living cell, combines the use o a realistic novel we feel and realize that such things have been happening in the universe for ages past without our being conscious of them for the one reason or the other. In a realistic novel we can easily transfer our identity to some of the characters and out of his identification we can derive vicarious pleasure. It is also a source of enriching our own personality because while continuing to live our own life we share to the full the experiences of the character in the novel. A novel of psychological realism gives us a finer number of years. It also gives us the finer types of pleasure-because it offers as a rare insight into the different levels of consciousness and experience. The significance of realism lies in the fact that enables us to give proper appraisal of life. Poetry is a constituent of a realistic novel. One can’t eschew poetry from the texture of realistic novel. We can’t deny creative imagination, dream sequence, poetic colouring of events and incidents, psychological insight in the assessment of human personality from a realist novelist. Realism is a “many-splendoured” thing it has its sociological, aesthetic, political, regional, and psychological nuances which merit a careful study in depth especially when we have to take stock of currents and cross currents affecting for better worse-the authenticity, the literary excellence and credibility of much of Indian-English fiction. Undoubtedly, the realistic movement both in the East and the West gathered strength in the mid 19th century, as a reaction against traditional sentimental sloppy stuff-mysteries, romance, legends, myths, religious rituals and utopias of wish fulfilment. A sort of psychological realism has also surfaces in Indian English a novel which goes by the name of stream of consciousness. The tendency is applicable for the introspective, brooding and dreaming temperament of the Indians. In M.R Anand’s Untouchable and R.K Narayan’s The Guide the device is used to advantage. The impact of this technique is clearly on the Indian English novelists for often in the midst of narration, we have memories, flashbacks, longings-which well nigh destroy the objects ground in their native form and colour only to let them emerge a fresh as infinitesimal particles floating a draft in the stream of consciousness of the hero. The English Indian Novelist is well aware of the danger of handling of this technique which sacrifices reality for the sake of illusion. The more of realism gave the novelist scope for camera fidelity to portray the contemporary history of national independence struggle; significant revolutions have always been potent mines of material or fiction.

About the novelist such as M.R Anand and R.K Narayan we can reasonably claim that their work achieves distinctive Indian quality through modern experimentation. Indian novelist attempt at portrayal of cultural identity of modern India the truth Indian consciousness by dealing with the theme of tradition and modernity, in the employment of vision that affects his attitude towards myth. This difference in method reveals the basic difference of attitude towards the past.

R, K Narayan’s mythical structure is only partly a self conscious device. He uses the same archetypal pattern in all his novels.

R.k Narayan is regarded as one of the greatest of Indian writings in English. He is the most artistic of the Indian writers, his sole aim being to give aesthetic satisfaction and not to use his art as a medium of propaganda or to serve some social purpose, as it is the case with Mulk raj anand.The novelist was never a good student. He failed in both high school and intermediate examination. He could get his degree only when he was twenty-four years old. These failures at school and college have made him shy, reserved and diffident, an introvert and not an extrovert. The Guide received the shatiya Akademi award for the year 1960.He was awarded padma Bhushan in 1964, University of leads conferred on him the Honrary D.Litt in 1967, and Delhi University followed suit in 1973.He has been included in the writers and their Works series being published by the British Council; he was the only Indian so far to have achieved this distinction. He visited U.S.A in 1956, on an invitation from the Rockfeller Foundation. Many of his stories and sketches have been broadcast by the B.B.C, a rare distinction. His works have been published both in England and the U.S.A and both these countries he has enjoyed wide popularity. In America he is regarded next only to Faulkner and graham Greene. His works throw considerable light on his character and personality.R.K Narayan is not only a great novelist, but also a leading writer of short stories in English. From 1939-1945, He did not publish any full lengths novel. Between The Dark Room, 1938 and The English Teacher, 1945, there is a gap of seven years. The shocking domestic tragedy, and the horrors of the world WarII, it seems touched the sensitive Narayan too nearly and he could not make any sustained artistic effort. However, He was not entirely idle. During this period he contributed a number of short stories to the Hindu and to the short lived Quarterly Journal Indian Thought. These short stories were later on published in book form and are among the finest Indo-Anglian short Stories.R.K Narayan and Mulk raj Anand are two of the greatest of Indian writers of fiction. But While Anand is writer of fiction. But while Anand is a writer with a purpose, a writer who writes because he has some political or economic axe to grind, R.K Narayan is a novelist who has no axe to grind. He is the rare example of a pure artist. One who writes for the sake of art and not out of any ulterior motives? That is why his popularity has been worldwide and lasting. His works have been translated into a number of languages of the world, and his reputation as an artist has been steadily rising.R.k Narayan is one of those lucky writers who have achieved recognition with the publication of his very first novel. He has ten novels, about hundred short stories, a number of articles and sketches, to his credit, and all his large body of work, with few exception [as The Dark Room], is uniformly of a high standard, his first three novels deals with the life of the three different stages in the life of the same character, though he is given different names. Swami and Friends, Bachelor of art and The English Teacher are novels of school and college life and they are deeply autobiographical. The Dark Room and the sweet-vendor are also novel of domestic life. The Financial expert, Mr.Sampath, The Guide and The Man Eater Of the malgudi, deals with the careers of money hunting men of the world. Usually Narayan takes no note of the stirring political event of the day, but in the Waiting of the Mahatma Gandhi he has introduced the figure of the great Mahatma, and the effect is rather melodramatic, but this too is not a political novel. It was no doubt an artistic mistake to have dragged in the great mahatma, too big for any single work of art, but the Gandhian movement is not its theme .Its real theme is the love story of Sri Ram and Bharati, and it has been dealt with effectively and credibly. All this work is remarkably even in the quality of its achievement. Naturally, his later work is more complex, and more introspective than his earlier work, but there can be no question about the quality even of his earlier work. Narayan’s is an art for art’s sake, but it does not meant that he is a writer without any vision of life. It simply means that there is no intrusive message, philosophy or morality in his novels. They are entirely free all didacticism. But Narayan is a penetrating analyst of human passion and human motives the springs of human action-and this makes him a great critic of human conduct. Human relationship-relationships within the family circle-and relationships centering round sex and money, are his ever recurring themes, and we can learn from them how to establish right relationships. Life must be accepted and lived; despite its many short-comings, but it has to be gleaned by each reader according to the light that is in him. Narayan is the creator of malgudi. He has put this particular region of south Indian on the world map. His treatment of it is realistic and vivid, so much so that many have taken the fictitious to be the real, and have tried to identify the various geographical features and other landmarks that constantly recur in his novels. Narayan is a great regional novelist, but he is never parochial. It is against the back-drop of malgudi scenes and sights that Narayan studies life’s little ironies, which have always been the same in every age and country. His novels are tragic-comedies of mischance and misdirection, studies in the human predicament which, essentially, has always been the same. From the particular Narayan rises to the general, and intensity and universality are achieved by concentration.Narayan is the creator of a whole picture-gallery of the immortal of literature. A number of life-like memorable figures move in and out of his novels, and once we have been acquainted with them, we can never forget them. He writes of the middle class, his own class, the members of which are neither too well off not to be worried usually modest, sensitive, ardent and sufficiently conscious to have an active. Narayan regarded as one of the big three among the Indian novelist in English has been admired for his remarkable for telling stories .portraying memorable people of small oddities and eccentricities, and for his humour.Narayan’s fiction rarely addresses political issues or high philosophy. He writes with grace and humour about the fictional town malgudi and its inhabitants; and their little lives.Narayan is classic teller of tales; an enduring appeal springs from his canvas where common man and women of all the times and places are joined in their commonalty. Narayan weaved a world existing nowhere, but striking a chord of perfect reality with readers across the English reading peoples. His books appeal in a quiet reassuring way and have a remained a popular very many decades. His writings is also part of literature coursework in some American universities.Narayan evokes a unique diction of unusual freshness and rare ingenuity with English literary idiom.Narayan can be said to be a regional novelist in a higher creative sense.narayan’s stories have a functional locale-Malgudi, an imaginary world. Malgudi a small south Indian town provides the setting for almost all of Narayan’s novels and short stories. The heroes of Narayan are never drawn on a heroic scale.narayan is the creator of un-Heroic heroes. The hero of Narayan do not control events, the events are control by them. They are helpless creatures torn by desires and tossed this way and that way by the caprice of fortune. Narayan’s comic vision is ironical. His all embracing irony which includes the particular social context in his men and women who have their various transaction and the existential reality based on their particular experiences .The class between the tradition and modernity in which Narayan’s characters are sandwiched has ironical implications. In his novel modernity is the rash and impulsive force that disturbs the peaceful equilibrium of traditional life. The character in the midst of this conflict emerges as comic and grotesque figures. Narayan has deliberately avoided politics and polemics of any kind. The themes he chooses his novel be seem to be perennial interest especially to a sensitive mind interested in human beings. One of them is man’s susceptibility to self deception due to entertaining illusions. It is the most recurrent and it provides excellent field for Narayan’s relationship, the renunciation, conflict between the tradition and modernity, the east -west encounter, education, etc. Narayan’s method is to treat his themes, not in abstract or didactic terms but in terms of individuals in flesh and flood their experiences And the universal appeal of his novels, although they confine themselves a narrow region in south Indian. The themes of Narayan are all inter-related and inter-dependent. But for the purposes of study and analysis one may have to isolate them. Narayan is a writer of social novels, which are more or less comic novels. Light in their approach to life, these novels do not claim o stir deep human emotions or to reach tragic heights. Narayan is the writer with a full commitment to certain spiritual and religious idea with which the Indian are familiar and he has been able to penetrate into the core of Indian life without being hampered by problems of regionalism, religion, cast and class with which an Indian writer has to come to grips.Narayan is a short writer and novelist, has its limitations too. He is an intellectual who has known the middle class life of the south India at close quarters. But depth of pathos that move the very inner fibre are the beyond the range of Narayan. He is good at undertones but bold and dramatic flashes are not for him. The dregs of poverty, the crushing loads of misery cannot be found in the pages of Narayan But within his limited range, Narayan is an exquisite master of the art of story-telling.the choice of his subject matter shows that Narayan is a creative artist. He starts his novel with confidence and engages our attention from the very first page; so we settle down to watch him build his world. It is not a small world but it has its own limitation. The plots of Narayan are built of material and incidents that are neither extra-ordinary nor heroic. The tone of his novel is quite and subdued. Narayan selects day-to-day incidents that happen to almost every one of us one time of the other. His imagination has no friges; it has no capricious flights of fancy. The world of his creation is not full of volcanic conflagration or tragic ups and down. Even then it is a big world full of smile and tears and thoughts and drama, fusing them into a level. Harmonious, artistic vision. It does not require a very great artist to make a interesting story out of very ordinary day-to-day incidents of life. The key note of Narayan’s interest is his very minute observation and subtle ironic harmonious way of telling of his stories. Narayan’s novels are straightforward realistic pictures undisturbed by fantasy. The intellectual interest is the main spring of his inspiration and that is the angle from which he approaches all the aspects of his subject matter. The result is that he analyses actions and diagnoses motives.


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