Indian English fiction has gradually evolved and it has certainly reached a stage where people around the world take notice of what our authors are doing. It has taken time for Indian literature to make its emphatic entry on the international forums, however. Once it’s done, readers, critics, movie-makers, academicians, and simply everybody is taking notice of what we produce in terms of literary output. It may have many reasons that we are enjoying international scrutiny and limelight; however, one certain reason is that India is the largest book market in the world. And nobody would like to miss the market with the largest number of readers – potentially bigger sales and better money. However, where does Indian fiction stand? Indian English literature has many aspects today… which ones are doing us well and which ones are making us look weird?
It has become a usual practice, even among the academicians, to name Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripathi when we begin discussing Indian English literature. And this, in my opinion, is hampering our literature, our literary culture and the mainstream literary discourse. If we continue like this, we will be missing the major components of literature at the cost of popularity, notoriety and vanity. However, it is unlikely to be a turn in the tide in recent years. A major part of reading audience in India is formed by the youths of the country and they are not interested in what they read, mostly, until they are being entertained, their leisure being spent well and they are getting what they want from literature they read – thrill, kicks and satisfaction. I must say youths are damn right with their reservations. However, why do they not read the works by established authors as much as they read popular authors? This question can be best answered by the authors themselves who are not ready to make their tactics fragile, flexible and friendly.
Talking comprehensively, everything that is happening in Indian English literary scenario today is, this or that way, damaging our weight, seriousness and image on the international forum. We are considered only a market, not a provider. People are coming from other countries to sell whatever they write to our readers. Our literature, to be frank, is not crossing the frontiers of India unless it is fitting the agenda of those who are willing to take it to their nation. Arvind Adiga’s works, Amitav Ghosh’s works and Arundhati Roy’s works are the testimonies that can prove such an assertion.
Authors who write in English, in India, will have to build a narrative that can be taken to the world – to tell others about who we are, what we are and how we are. Right now, authors are only using Indian narrative to sell their version of India and this does not make any sense… Everything that I can see, with a critical mindset, is either pro or against the idea of India to an extent that we cannot rely on. Nothing is what it should be and it will not be good for us in the long run!
By a regular writer for BookWorm Reviews