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- Top PDF Indian English Novel: A Realistic Picture of Development of Indian Society
- Indian English literature
- Hindi literature
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Top PDF Indian English Novel: A Realistic Picture of Development of Indian Society
In spite of the global turn in First World War historiography, the colour of the Great War and modern literary memory remains predominantly white. This article challenges such Eurocentrism and recovers the substantial yet hitherto largely unknown literature the First World War produced from across the Indian subcontinent, both in vernacular Indian languages and in English.
Like colonial war memory, war literature in the Indian subcontinent was far more oblique and diffused across the civilian sphere, flourishing in different vernacular languages and following different traditions. Eurocentrism however is no longer the only cause. Most of the colonial troops — the Indian sepoys , the Senegalese tirailleurs or the South African labourers — came from nonliterate or semiliterate communities and did not leave behind an abundance of journals, memoirs, poems, and novels.
In such a context, how can we speak about colonial literatures of the war? Second, war literature cannot be reduced any longer to combatant literature alone. Literary historians often search for an Indian Wilfred Owen or a Pakistani Siegfried Sassoon in a mimicry of the English trench poet.
But the contexts were very different: like colonial war memory, war literature in South Asia is far more oblique and diffused across the civilian sphere, filtered through or interrupted by other conflicts. Finally, in societies as multi-ethnic, multi-lingual and multi-religious as undivided India , literature flourished in different vernacular languages and followed different traditions.
Four million non-white men were involved in the First World War. Writings, Images, and Songs , the first literary and cultural study of the Indian war experience, I was constantly surprised to find, over a decade, a varied and powerful body of literary works — from both combatants and non-combatants, men and women — that straddles the genres of memoir, verse, fiction, short story, plays and songs.
Such a recovery was the first step towards a more global literary memory and opened up a rich representational space to capture the undertones, emotions and nuances of a conflict that reverberated in the furthest reaches of the empire.
The original letters are now lost, but hundreds of extracts from them, translated by the colonial censors, survive. Neither the direct transcript of trench experience nor just scribal embellishment, they are some of the earliest encounters between textual form and South Asian subaltern history.
These sepoys might have been non-literate but they were intensely literary; there is a thickening of language as emotions such as horror, resignation, or homesickness erupt through images, metaphors, and similes:. They can be read alongside the very popular if propagandist Urdu journal Akbar-I-Jung for wounded Indian troops convalescing in various hospitals in south England or, more productively, with the recently unearthed qissa , Vada Jung Europe The Great European War , a 2,line verse narrative meant to be recited or sung.
At once a battle-chronicle, a religio-philosophical meditation and an elegy for lost youth , the poem remains a singular document. One of the most poignant recordings is by a twenty-two-year old Gurkha sepoy Jasbahadur Rai. Consider the following extract:. Blurring the boundaries between reportage, lament, and compulsive testimony, the song is also the birth of the lyric subject as the Nepalese genre of jheyru or female lament is called upon to bear witness to historical trauma.
But what about literature with a capital L? Much of the important literature is in the regional languages. Though the Bengalis were barred from joining the army and served as non-combatants, a disproportionately high number of memoirs come from them.
The most powerful of them is Abhi Le Baghdad On to Baghdad by a middle-class Bengali youth, Sisir Prasad Sarbadhikari, who worked as a stretcher-bearer in Mesopotamia and was caught up in the siege of Kut before being taken prisoner and dragged across the Middle East. The other remarkable Bengali memoir is Kalyan Pradeep. The Life of Dr Kalyan Kumar Mukopadhyay by an eighty-year-old woman, Mokkhada Devi, about her only grandson — trained in the United Kingdom and part of the distinguished Indian Medical Service — who served as a doctor in Mesopotamia and died in captivity.
The only major literary figure from undivided India who joined the army the 49th Bengali and underwent military training though his battalion was never mobilized was the Bengali rebel-poet Kazi Nazrul Islam — now regarded as the national poet of Bangladesh. What is remarkable about his war writings is the way the First World War gets fused with other events such as the October Revolution, the Third Anglo-Afghan War, and the Indian nationalist struggle to form a vision of revolutionary violence, incandescent for him with a terrible beauty.
A poem on imperial conquest becomes an elegy for the subjugated motherland: the Turks and Arabs are hailed as shahid martyrs and azad liberators , fighting for freedom.
The lines of identification are clear. The empathy that men such as Kalyan Mukherjee and Sisir Prasad Sarbadhikari felt with the local people and the resulting ambivalence about the Indian role in Mesopotamia reach a shattering climax in this Muslim anti-colonial revolutionary poet. When war was declared, the responses in India were largely enthusiastic: even nationalist leaders, including Mahatma Gandhi , threw themselves into the recruitment effort.
Contribution to the war, it was widely believed, would be rewarded with greater political autonomy. Punjab was the main recruiting area and contributed more than half the total number of combatants from the subcontinent.
Punjabi folk literature, particularly verse and songs, were mobilized by the colonial officials and local chieftains for recruitment purposes.
While this rich sonic world has been lost, what had survived, I realised in the course of my research, was a powerful corpus of printed war texts in Punjabi and Urdu published across northern India, particularly in Punjab. These range from recruitment verses such as Bharti. Most probably, they were commissioned by the colonial state but several of them have a deeply subversive streak.
In wartime Punjab, the most powerful form of literary dissent against the imperial war effort was to be found in the pages of Ghadar di Gunj , the poetry and literature of the Ghadar movement.
A generic mythic imagination about warfare evolves into a visceral description of industrial warfare one would expect in the writings of Owen or Henri Barbusse What makes it remarkable is that it would be produced as early as by two civilian Indian writers who had never left the country: Piyare Mohan Datttatreya, a celebrated student of philosophy and economics at the Government College of Lahore and Bishan Shahi Azad, a well-known Urdu journalist.
However, some of the most eloquent protests came from the village women whose fathers, husbands or sons had actually left for war.
Poor, non-literate and disenfranchised, the voices of these women are wholly absent in the conventional archives or narratives. But what have serendipitously survived are folksongs improvised and sung during the war years by these women. Coaxing, cajoling, anxious, passionate, rueful, angry, desperate, mournful, bitter and desolate in turns, these folksongs provide us with a veritable archive of female emotions, pointing to a buried tradition of female protest:.
Much of the surviving war literature was produced by the educated middle-classes and the political bourgeoisie. It ranges from essays, poems, and short stories to fiction, both in English and vernacular languages. Some of them were published in English-language journals, such as the short-lived Calcutta-based Indian Ink and the compendious war volume All About the War in India c.
The most remarkable contemporary Indian voice in English was that of Sarojini Naidu : internationally feted poet, as well as feminist, nationalist and future leader of the Indian National Congress. Songs of Love, Death and Destiny :. The most articulate of Indian women-nationalists seems to be ensconced in the English patriotic and pastoral tradition through colonial education. For Naidu, the imperial war service becomes the route not just for greater political autonomy but a validation of Indian racial and nationalist honour, a recurrent theme in writings of the time with regional variations.
Very different in subject and tone but similarly fraught is the immensely popular short story Us Ne Kaha Thah At Her Bidding which catapulted its author Chandradhar Sharma Guleri , a Sanskrit scholar and school teacher, to literary stardom.
Neither pro-war nor anti-war, the story neither affirms or dissents as Guleri evolves traumatic historical experience into an intimate story of heroic self-sacrifice, personal honour and religious self-fashioning through the figure of Lehna Singh, a Sikh soldier. Many of the tropes we associate with European trench narrative — trench raids, mud, darkness, ribald humour , same-sex intimacy — are present in this remarkable story by an aging civilian teacher who had never been outside India.
The three Indian intellectuals who were most visible on the international stage were Tagore, Muhammed Iqbal and Mulk Raj Anand All three were anti-colonial but Tagore, alone among most Indian intellectuals, was also fiercely anti-nationalist. After receiving the Nobel Prize in , he became one of the most feted literary figures, lecturing to packed audiences from Japan and Germany to Argentina; Owen read his prize-winning poetry collection Gitanjali in the trenches.
But The Oarsmen reveals his mature stance on the war which, for him, was the symptom of a greater spiritual malaise:. As with Virginia Woolf in Three Guineas , empire, nation-building and war were, for Tagore, related in a vicious cycle of violence.
Trained in philosophy in Cambridge and Heidelberg, Iqbal, like Tagore, was anti-colonial but no simple critic of the West; its literature and culture had partly shaped him. Here, the English metaphysical poet John Donne's love of conceits, as in The Sun Rising , is combined with the wit of the Indian Muslim poet Akbar Illahabadi to produce biting satire.
Such a mode puts pressure on our very idea of First World War verse: the pity and pathos of Owen are instead replaced by a sharp dose of anti-colonial and anti-Western schadenfreude. Both Tagore and Iqbal hoped that the global catastrophe might usher in a more just and equitable world-order. But such hopes would be swept aside, first by Versailles and then the Amritsar Massacre of , which made Tagore give up his knighthood in protest.
Anand grew up in the Punjab but came to London and established himself as a cosmopolitan intellectual on the fringes of the Bloomsbury group. The middle novel in the Lalu trilogy, Across the Black Waters opens up a whole new world in war fiction, as we see the protagonist Lalu and his fellow sepoys from a Punjabi village arriving in Marseilles:.
Anand is one of the first Indian writers to launch a sustained experimental attack on standard English. Following in the footsteps of Owen and Erich Maria Remarque , Anand gives us the trench experience in both its gory detail and intense male bonding.
But the delicacy of the novel lies in the way he exposes the weight of colonial history in the intimate regions of the self as internalisation of the racist ideology:. But the war becomes for Lalu a site of politicisation as he begins to question both colonial and racist hierarchies. Like the experience of the South Asian troops, there is no homogenous literature from undivided India.
Das, Santanu: Literature India , in: online. International Encyclopedia of the First World War, ed. DOI : Version 1. Literature India. By Santanu Das. These sepoys might have been non-literate but they were intensely literary; there is a thickening of language as emotions such as horror, resignation, or homesickness erupt through images, metaphors, and similes: There is conflagration all round, and you must imagine it to be a dry forest in a high wind in the hot weather, with the abundance of dry grass and straw.
No one can extinguish it but God himself — man can do nothing. Our hearts are breaking. Germany fights the world with ghastly might, harder to crush than well-soaked grain in the mill. The white had pretty skin.
They were in the prime of their youth. Consider the following extract: With the rising of the Sisai river, I came, carried in its bubbling flow We arrived in the country, Germany, at the orders of the British Listen, oh listen, gold-wearing birdie, at the orders of the British Listen, oh listen, gold-wearing sister, the heart cries, sobbing.
The bubbling of water, the restlessness of this heart, how many days will it take to console yourself? This really is some story. This wretched today bows his head to you. The War in Europe has caused so much devastation, times are not peaceful, nor is Holi sweet. Rivers of blood are flowing in Europe, in what new colours has arrived the old Holi.
Injured horses are running around scared. Rivers of blood are flowing on the land. Soldiers who were hale and hearty only hours ago are lying crushed on the ground beyond recognition. Dead are lying in heaps. Trenches and bunkers which were there to protect the living are now full of those who either have their arm torn away or are without a leg Coaxing, cajoling, anxious, passionate, rueful, angry, desperate, mournful, bitter and desolate in turns, these folksongs provide us with a veritable archive of female emotions, pointing to a buried tradition of female protest: My husband, and his two brothers All have gone to laam.
Without you I feel lonely here. Come and take me away to Basra.
Indian English literature
In spite of the global turn in First World War historiography, the colour of the Great War and modern literary memory remains predominantly white. This article challenges such Eurocentrism and recovers the substantial yet hitherto largely unknown literature the First World War produced from across the Indian subcontinent, both in vernacular Indian languages and in English. Like colonial war memory, war literature in the Indian subcontinent was far more oblique and diffused across the civilian sphere, flourishing in different vernacular languages and following different traditions. Eurocentrism however is no longer the only cause. Most of the colonial troops — the Indian sepoys , the Senegalese tirailleurs or the South African labourers — came from nonliterate or semiliterate communities and did not leave behind an abundance of journals, memoirs, poems, and novels.
The outbreak of war in , as in , brought to an end an era of great intellectual and creative exuberance. Individuals were dispersed; the rationing of paper affected the production of magazines and books; and the poem and the short story , convenient forms for men under arms, became the favoured means of literary expression. It was hardly a time for new beginnings, although the poets of the New Apocalypse movement produced three anthologies —45 inspired by Neoromantic anarchism. No important new novelists or playwrights appeared. Only three new poets all of whom died on active service showed promise: Alun Lewis , Sidney Keyes, and Keith Douglas , the latter the most gifted and distinctive, whose eerily detached accounts of the battlefield revealed a poet of potential greatness.
It is broadly classified into four prominent forms styles based on the date of production. They are:. The literature was produced in languages such as Khariboli , Braj , Bundeli , Awadhi , Kannauji , as well as Marwari , Magahi , Bhojpuri and Chhattisgarhi which are not descendants of or related to Standard Hindi.
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Poems and Short Stories
Show all documents The novel studies the contrast between Indias rise as a modern global economy and a leading character Balram, who comes from crushing rural poverty. Balram transcends his sweet maker caste and become a successful entrepreneur by establishing his own taxi service. It is a story of school teacher known as Masterji. He is retired and gives top up class. He lives in crumbling middle class block of flats, having lack of water.
Indian English literature IEL , also referred to as Indian Writing in English IWE , is the body of work by writers in India who write in the English language and whose native or co-native language could be one of the numerous languages of India. It is frequently referred to as Indo-Anglian literature. Indo-Anglian is a specific term in the sole context of writing that should not be confused with Anglo-Indian. Although some Indo-Anglian works may be classified under the genre of postcolonial literature , the repertoire of Indian English literature encompasses a wide variety of themes and ideologies, from the late eighteenth-century to the present day, and thereby eludes easy categorization. IEL has a relatively recent history, being nearly two centuries old.
Zubaan originates the books, develops them, does the editorial work, while the print production, marketing and sales are done by Penguin. All Colors are published online only and will feature a number of poems from new authors each month.