In this literary essay, Ramlal Agarwal talks about Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel and how text of the epic is twisted beyond recognition turning it into a disappointing experience for the reader.
Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel has come in for high praise in India and abroad, and is already in its fifth edition. Khushwant Singh called it one of the most significant books in recent times. Washington Port reviewed it on its front page and the Times London, called it a tour de force
Tharoor humbly explains why he calls his novel The Great Indian Novel. He further states, his primary source of inspiration is the Mahabharata. Since Maha means Great, and Bharat means India, he calls this novel The Great Indian Novel.
After about two months of non-fiction, self-help reads, I decided to go for fiction, a novel, a story that I can drown myself in. I decided to do a little readathon a few days ago and let the book completely hypnotize me and let it have my complete attention. After all, it deserves every bit of it because it had been a long time since I’d lost myself in a fictional world.
And yet, only a few books and few writers have this power, something that seems to come almost naturally to them, this inexplicable talent to drown the reader in the book. You are lucky enough to have found a book that does that to you. I consider myself to be extremely fortunate to have got to read a few books that give me the same feeling. One of those and the most prominent of those have to be Khaled Hosseini’s books.
“But it’s better to be hurt by the truth than to be comforted with a lie.” – Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner
In this literary essay, Ramlal Agarwal takes us through Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children calling it a saga set in the backdrop of Partition traversing three generations of a liberal Kashmiri Muslim family which moves from Kashmir to Amritsar, to Agra, to Delhi, to Bombay and to Karachi.
Midway through Midnight’s Children, Rushdie, in an aside, wants to know from Padma, his muse, “Can any narrative stand so much so soon?” Padma was stunned by the query but Rushdie does not wait for her answer and plunges headlong into his narrative of so much so soon. He tells multiple stories in multiple styles and walks away triumphantly with the Booker Prize and the Booker of Bookers Prize. The novel received rave reviews. Malcolm Bradbury in The Modern British Novel observes,
“In several senses Midnight’s Children marked a new narrative start. The book turns on the moment of India’s post-imperial rebirth.”
Before Rushdie, the Indian novel in English was hamstrung by the hangover of colonial conscience. But, by the 1960s the colonial clouds cleared and a band of new writers emerged who had acquired extraordinary competence in the use of English language and the confidence to be independent. Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children set the trend.
In this literary essay, Ramlal Agarwal explores the classic novel A passage to India highlighting how readers were drawn to the novel because it was about India, a subject close to the heart of the British and the Indians.
In the 1940s and the 1950s there was one novel the students and scholars of English literature in India were taken up with and that was E.M.Forster’s A Passage to India. It was essentially prescribed in all courses in English literature, it was discussed in all highbrow magazines and there could be no seminar without it. It was one book no teacher or student of English literature could afford to neglect. But with the passage of time, like all classics, it receded from the center-stage to the back-stage.
Anushree Joshi takes us through interrogation and confrontation of Gender Roles in Kamala Das’ works in this literary essay
This paper attempts to analyze the feminist tones in the poetry of Indian-English writer and poet, Kamala Das, particularly focusing on the expression and problematization of gender roles in her 1965 poetry collection, Summer in Calcutta. It argues that her gendered identity manifests itself in her poetic style and aesthetic, wherein she questions the patriarchal expectations of gender – of women rooted in immanence and domesticity and of men rooted in transcendence and the public sphere. The custom of arranged marriage, domestic emotional abuse, confinement to the private sphere of domesticity, and daunting standards of feminine beauty, are some of the gendered expectations in the Indian woman’s experience that Das’ poetry interrogates. The confessional movement of poetry in the West, iconized in the poetry of women writers like Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath, also appears to influence Das’ mode of expression, since she emphasizes on the ‘I’ in her poems, while voicing the experience of not only her own self, but also of women as a community who have been disenfranchised socially, linguistically, politically, or culturally due to the gendered roles and expectations imposed upon them.
Keywords: gender roles, confessional poetry, domesticity, Kamala Das, feminist
In this literary essay, Shaswato Sarcar explores Edgar Allan Poe’s works highlighting how Poe flourished because of his unprecedented approach and narrative technique, which was one of a kind.
Even though Edgar Allan Poe was considered as one of the most popular figures in the genre of ‘Romanticism’, he did introduce the audience of that age to a completely distinct style and genre of his own. He was known around the world and still is, because of his signature genre of ‘psychological horror’. Though the Victorian era was flooded with horror story writers, still Poe flourished because of his unprecedented approach and narrative technique. His narrative style was one of a kind. He made sure that his readers were as much moved by his storytelling as by the context.
Poe was a pioneer of Macabre. He completely transformed the genre of the horror story with his masterful tales of psychological depth and insight not envisioned in the genre before his time and scarcely seen in it since.
Exploring all that Bhishma did to order and protect the lives of two generations of Kurus, Neera Kashyap dissects his character to bring out the finer nuances.
Bhishma Pitamah, the grand patriarch of the Kuru clan in the epic of the Mahabharata lived a long life spanning five generations. From scholarly estimates, it appears he may have lived for over a hundred years, for he enjoyed the boon from his father King Shantanu of choosing his own time of death – ichcha mrityu. He earned this boon by making the most astounding vows: giving up his claim to the throne and taking a life-long vow of celibacy so that there would be no claimants to the throne from his own bloodline. Read more