India Literature in English
From the time of independence, English no longer appears among the official languages of India, nevertheless it is of fundamental importance as a literary means of expression; critics have even coined an ad hoc expression to designate literature written in English by Indian authors: this is the Indo-anglian term, which follows and overturns that of Anglo-Indian, with which the English residing in India during the English domination indicated themselves. According to Cellphoneexplorer, the relative importance of English-language literature in the country’s literary landscape is such, especially as regards fiction and the genre of the novel, that it justifies the paradoxical assertion (R. Cronin) that the Indian novel in English is “the ‘only type of Indian novel in existence ”. The essential motivation that pushes Indian authors to choose English for their works seems to lie in the desire to synthesize in them the complex reality of India as a whole, where the use of any of the different languages of the country would give them a ‘ regional identity that would inevitably take precedence over that of “Indian”. Rasipuran Krishnaswamy Narayan (1906-2001) set in the imaginary town of Malgudi, a sort of microcosm that intends to enclose the entire Indian subcontinent. In them we can identify a recurring narrative scheme in which all the socio-cultural archetypes of modern Indian society are represented in a symbolic way and with the typical humor of Narayan, against the background of the conflict between the traditional values of Hindu culture and contemporary ones. of cosmopolitanism. From The Man-eater of Malgudi (1961) to Malgudi Days (1982), A Tiger for Malgudi (1983) and Talkative Man (1986) the anti-heroes of Narayan and the community of Malgudi to which they belong must face the threat of cultural expropriation, but also with the necessary evolution of the current mentality (central theme, this, of The Painter of Signs, of the 1976).
Yet another novel, The World of Nagaray, was printed by an 80-year-old Narayan afflicted with deafness in 1990; to testify the creative vigor of this exceptional personality, he was followed, in 1993, by the collection of short stories The Grandmother’s Tale. Narayan, with his vision of the world, is ideally placed halfway between the diametrically opposed positions of two contemporary writers, Mulk Raj Anand (1905-2004) and Raja Rao (1909-2006), whose work is briefly attributable to the canons, respectively, of social realism with a materialist imprint and of the metaphysical novel. In subsequent generations, Anand’s critique of the reactionary use of religion and mythology was developed, in the sense of a “reform” of Hindu orthodoxy, by authors active since the 1960s, such as Kamala Markandaya (1924-2004 ), Manohar Malgonkar and Bhabani Bhattacharya, as well as others who emerged in the following decade, such as Arun Joshi (1939-1993) and Chaman Nahal, while the narrative tradition inaugurated by Narayan has instead found a development and a ‘ Anita Desai (b.1937). Desai, however, gives greater emphasis to the psychological analysis of the protagonists of her novels; in most cases, these are female figures, as in the debut book Cry, the Peacock (1963) or in the subsequent A Village by the Sea (1982), but also the male reality has been the object of the sensitive exploration of this writer (as in In Custody, 1984), of which Journey to Ithaca was published in 1995. Still to a writer of the beginning of the century, GV Desani (1909-2000), who in his All About H. Hatter – published in nine revised and expanded editions – has merged careful description of reality and the use of symbolism, are in some way indebted. the Salman Rushdie from Midnight’s Children (1981) and Amitav Ghosh from The Circle of Reason (1986), works in which the fantastic and the farcical are combined with results of unquestionable value. Rushdie’s activity (b.1947) then continued with the controversial The Satanic Verses (1988) and The Moor’s Last Sigh (1995) and Shalimar The Clown (2005), while Ghosh (b.1956) in 1988 published The Shadow Lines, in 1996 by The Calcutta Chromosome and, in 2000, The palace of mirrors, internationally recognized as one of the best insights into Eastern colonialism. The award of the 1997 Booker Prize to the Anglo-Indian writer Arundhati Roy (b. 1961) has sanctioned the international recognition of Indian English-speaking writers. Exponent of the second generation of Indo-Anglian authors, Roy has won international attention thanks to his dry and sometimes lyrical style, the rarefied atmospheres, the exoticism and the charm of India “I.” which he was able to instill in his first novel The God of Small Things (1997); in the second The Cost of Living (1999) chooses instead the commitment and the social denunciation towards the danger represented by an impending environmental catastrophe. In the nineties the production of Indian English-language writers continued according to two directives, one of genre and one of content: the novel or the short story remained the literary genres par excellence, while as regards the contents, in the diversified individual choice, there is a tendency towards historical-social analysis. This trend was inaugurated by Vikram Chandra (b.1961) with the novel Love and Longing in Bombay (1997), in which the author deals with the theme of the interaction between tradition and modernity, between East and West, to underline the contradictions and moods of the residents of modern metropolises, which was followed in 2006 by Sacred games. Even the new discovery of Anglo-Indian literature, Pankaj Mishra (b.1969), addresses in his first novel The Romantics: in Novel (2000) the difficult relationship between East and West seen as the encounter-clash between two cultures, two philosophies, two worlds so different and distant.
In 2004, however, The End of Suffering, and in 2006 The Temptation of the West was released . India, Pakistan and surroundings: how to be modern. The theme of the relationship between East and West is approached from a different angle by the Canadian naturalized writer Rohinton Mistry (b. 1952) in the work Such a Long Journey (1991); the writer offers, with his typical realism, very often defined in the Stendhalian mold, a cross-section that proposes the complexity of the linguistic and ethnic identities of modern India. The search for one’s roots is a common theme for young Indian authors defined by critics as “the sons of Rushdie”; many of them face the problem of a national identity, as in the case of Vikram Seth (b.1953) who, in Suitable Boy (1993), presents the question from a socio-historical point of view, setting his very long novel in the years immediately following independence. Among the young debutants of the nineties, Kiran Desai (b.1971), daughter of Anita Desai, who with her novel Strange Happenings in the Guava Orchard (1997) makes a delicate reflection on love, faith and family relationships of a small Indian village; A. Vakil (b. 1962) who in the novel Beach Boy (1998) deals with a funny and real analysis of the urban life of modern Bombay; Amit Chaudhuri (b.1962), author of A Strange and Sublime Address (1991), Freedom Song (1998), Real Time (2002), St. Cyril Road and Other Poems (2005), with which he has won numerous international literary awards; Sunetra Gupta (b.1965), raised in Africa and introduced to literature by her father, author, among others, of Memories of Rain (1992) and A Sin of Color (1999), about the life of a wealthy Indian family, who earned the Southern Arts Literature Prize; Sujata Bhatt (b. 1956), poet with numerous published collections, including Monkey Shadows (1991), Augatora (2000) and A Color for Solitude (2002); Vikas Swarup, whose debut novel The Twelve Questions, has enjoyed wide international success and has been translated into several languages.