India is a country vibrant with all kinds of varieties. It is quiet natural that a nation’s lifestyle, its economic, social, religious and literal norms and notions remain always interrelated. Literature of any nation in any language is an output of the squeezed subtleties of an author’s experiences and expeditions confronted in his daily life. Indian literature which can be traced back even to Vedic periods is like a jewel pulsated and polished by the existence of diversity in regions, religions, rulers, languages and socio economic revolutions.
August 15, 1947 a landmark day and year in Indian history has impact on its deep rooted literature too. To be a free nation was a dream come true, but the social chaos and racial riots that followed was fierce and formidable. The partition of the nation into Hindustan and Pakistan was of immense impulse and people were at a loss regarding even their identity. This total uncertainty could not but affect the total set up and this is reflected in the literary products of those times.
Post Independence period is indeed a trend setter in the field of Indian Literature. A study of pre- independence literature will show that till that date all literary genres have religion, devotion and heroic stories as their main stream for narration. Once the freedom struggle aggravated and was in fire, patriotic songs and stories took over the age old themes. Even during the colonial period English was prevalent as the official language and was also taught to upper class people. This could familiarize the people with western ideas, values and literary works. This explains how they could adapt themselves to the new and novel way of thoughts and trends that emerged later.
It was some 10 years before our independence; Indian writers grouped in a London hotel in hidden identity and formed ‘The progressive writers’ association’. But once India was divided geographically on the basis of religion and language it was their unity that was shattered. How could they gather again under same banner when their nationality itself changed?
Many writers of those times had to travel in different directions, shunning away the prestigious membership of this elite group. Most of them turned into slogan writers instead of poems, and these switch over was the forced need of the time.
Many of the novels written after the partition, imbibed this sullen spirit and expressed it emphatically. Partition and its results became the main subjects of those days’ literary works both in native languages and English. To enlist few among the noted works of these kind Khushwant singh’s English novel ‘Train to Pakistan’, Manto’s ‘Toba Tek Singh’and Bhisham Sahni’s Hindi novel ‘Tamas’, they portrait the dislocation and distraught caused by the partition .
People were obsessed with the ideas of globalization, development, nationality and ups and downs in business markets. Being a part of this upcoming crowd it was not possible for the writers to be blind towards social realms and its realties. People for their financial betterment immigrated to other places; especially western countries. This paved way to a collaboration with publications in the western countries. Indian writers got more attention in the world market when their works got published there and thus Indian elites obtained international fame. R.K Narayan and the support he got from Graham Greene can me mentioned here.
As years went by, there started a thematic change in writings, depiction of progressive trend prevailed and positive kind of social awakening was fully attempted. It was a nationwide trend and many valuable masterpieces were written in regional languages. The Kannada novel ‘Samskara’written by U.R Anantha murthy shed light on a particular sect of the community and how the high status they held in society was slowly wiped off. Malayalam Novel ‘Chemmen’ of Thakazhi Sivasankara pilla and Madgulkar’s ‘Bangarwadi’ are heart rendering stories of the downtrodden sects of the society. The emergence of Dalit (oppressed) writers is an important stepping stone towards social consciousness. They indulged in reciting stories of their own grievances.’Poisoned Bread’ edited by Arjun Dangle is a notable anthology which contains the works of Dalit writers both men and women.
Though Indians have written novels even from 19th century, it is after 1960s they could get a strong hold. R K Narayan with his famous novel ‘The financial expert’ and ‘Man eater of Malgudi’ could exert world wide popularity. Kamala Markendaya and Khushwant Singh are very prominent among the English novelists admired for their clear cut secularism and inborn passion for poetry.
Introduction of many valuable women writers is a remarkable outcome of the progressive perspective that was prevalent during 1960s. Anitha Desai one among the best is well known for her realistic narration of the stabbing experiences of middle class women in India. She is an expert creator of very sensitive women characters. The famous novelist and social activist Arundhati Roy is at the helm with a booker’s award to her credit for her ‘The God of small things’ and still active with writings on current political and social affairs. Jhumpa lahiri First Asian to win the Pulitzer award for her novel ‘Interpreter of Maladies’, mainly writes about Indo Americans and Bengalis. Mahadevi varma and Shobha De are noted for romanticism and erotic elements in their works respectively. To wind up, Kiran Desai the latest hit with her Booker’s award is yet to give more of her wonderful stuff.
In short the post independence literature is pregnant with many wonderful writings and witnessed the budding of many exuberant writers. But deeply thinking over the quality, the opinion varies. As in many other fields of life it has also became a race for fame and money, the policy of the survival of the fittest .Many renowned authors are not keen on producing the best but marketing on the basis of the name they have acquired. With the assistance of the present day technologies writing and publishing have become easier and through the electronic media it reaches more number of people in no time.
Whatever it is, India as ever is rich in its literary outputs, and with the abundance, ambiance and the innovative attitude of our writers it will ever remain rich and robust among other world literatures.