The literature of the diaspora – for whom?

Category: Thoughts
Book Worm reviews opinions article review

Indian literature, in various languages, has always been home to a diversity of opinions, ideas, thoughts and creativity that cannot be matched. Who can claim to have the creative height that could even distinctly match the aura of Ramayan or Mahabharat? Leaving history of the country aside, assuming these works as literary pieces, I am sure that the world can only witness the magnanimous dimensions of Indian literature. Years, decades, centuries and ages passed and we are still a country with great diversity in literature. However, this diversity often becomes monotonous as readers get to read one certain section of authors producing one certain kind of literature and they both, writer and the written, manage to please a certain section of audience and jury that finalised prizes. For the sake of this article, let’s focus on the diaspora literature. Indians who are outside India, remember India so much but care the least to do what V. S. Naipaul could do.

Indian diaspora literature, it seems at large, writers for the audience that is elite, conscious about broader issues that common people generally ignore or do not have time to entertain themselves in those, politically aware and mostly partisan, and tending towards, more or less, a stand that is against the stand that a national interest could see. For example, Arundhati Roy supporting naxals and murdering mobs of the communists (the violent ones). Even in the works of Jhumpa Lahiri, you will find a kind of tilt towards emotions, experiences, and thoughts that we generally find otherwise. So do we see in the works of Aravind Adiga when he paints everything black in his otherwise The White Tiger.

Readers in India read novels that entertain them, help them with their leisure hours and keep them light. IN short, keeping away the mundane and making space for some pleasure, fun and light moments. If you read too much of the diaspora literature, most of the time, you will like depressing emotions and thoughts taking over and sinking in the abyss of uncertainties and directionlessness. Jhumpa Lahiri’s works, in general, are rather negative in connotation, emotions and also the flow of thoughts that hold the readers back or kind of make them negatively sentimental about things happening around them. This, I can say with firm words, is not to be found when you read the works by Indian authors like Ashwin Sanghi, Amish or even Mr Bhagat for that matter. And this is the problem that these authors living outside India will have to solve with works that offer a wider audience interest and have multiple points of interest rather than the same old monotony – this is good and that is bad.


By VishnuG M for BookWorm Reviews

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