Presentation on theme: "LM/37 LINGUE E LETTERATURE EUROAMERICANE CURRICULUM: CULTURE E LETTERATURE DEI PAESI DI LINGUA INGLESE L-LIN/10 LETTERATURE DEI PAESI di LINGUA INGLESE."— Presentation transcript:
LM/37 LINGUE E LETTERATURE EUROAMERICANE CURRICULUM: CULTURE E LETTERATURE DEI PAESI DI LINGUA INGLESE L-LIN/10 LETTERATURE DEI PAESI di LINGUA INGLESE I 1 CORSO (CFU 8) Prof. Rossella Ciocca
India Shining and the Darkness The novel in India has seen its rise and development as an autonomous genre in coincidence with fundamental experiences such as the conquest of independence, the achievements and failures of the nationalist project, the internal and overseas mass migration, and more recently the dramatic passage from centralized economy to neo- liberal free market.
The course will focus upon some narrative renditions of the contrast between the India shining social dream and the hardness of daily life in a country where the actual system of power relations is still very iniquitous and caste ridden.
Bibliography Primary texts Aravind Adiga, The White Tiger, London, Atlantic Books, 2008 Kiran Desai, The Inheritance of Loss, London, Penguin, 2006 Vikas Svarup, Slumdog Millionaire, New York and London, Scribner, 2008 (as Q&A, 2005)
CRITICISM B. D. Metcalf and T. R. Metcalf, A Concise History of India, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2002 Pryamvada Gopal, The Indian English Novel, Nation, History, and Narration, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2009 (Timeline, Introduction,Chapters 1, 5, 8, Conclusions) S. Rushdie, Step Across this Lines, London, Vintage, 2003 H. K. Bhabha, The Location of Culture, London and New York, Routledge, 1994 (Introduction, chapter 1) A.Appadurai, Modernity at Large, Minneapolis, Minnesota U. P., 1996 (chapters 1,2) fotocopies R. Ciocca. Psychic Unease and Unconscious Critical Agency: For an Anatomy of Postcolonial Melancholy, 2013 (pdf)
INDIA: MOSAIC OF IDENTITIES LINGUISTIC VARIETY Indian languages, 2 main families: Indo- European (Hindi, Urdu, Hindustani, Punjabi, Bengali, Marathi, Gujarati, Assamese, Kashmiri, Sindhi etc.) and Dravidian (Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam et al.) RELIGIOUS PLURALITY Hinduism, Islamism, Christian creeds, Sikkism, Jainism, Buddhism, Animism, Parseeism (Zoroastrianism)
RELIGIOUS PLURALITY India has been described as a continent-sized mosaic. With its billionstrong, diverse, multireligious, multilingual, and multicultural population, it is a vast, complex, and confusing country. India is a secular state, but it is home to adherents of all the major religions. Hindus make up around 82 percent of the population, followed by Muslims at around 12 percent; Christians make up 2–3 percent of the population; Sikhs 2 percent; and Buddhists, Jains, and others (such as Parsis and Jews) another 2 percent of the population.
MULTILINGUISM It is a plurilingual society with eighteen officially recognized or scheduledlanguages, thirty-three major languages, and a total of 1.652 languages and dialects that belong to four language families (Austric, Dravidian, Indo-Aryan, and Sino-Tibetan) and are written in ten major scripts as well as a host of minor ones. Hindi is the main language, with around 40 percent of the population identified as Native Hindi speakers. Its nearest rivals are Bengali, spoken by 8 % of the population, and Telugu (also 8 %), followed by Marathi (7.5 %), and Tamil (6.5 %).
NORTH-SOUTH LINGUISTIC DIVIDE In a north-south divide between the northern Indo-European languages and the southern Dravidian languages (Telugu, Tamil, Kannada, and Malayalam), the speakers of the latter group comprise just 22 percent of the total Indian population. Thus in the mosaic of Indian diversity, no single language has an outright majority, but Hindi dominates
PLURAL but RIGID SOCIAL STRUCTURE Caste: endogamous group or collection of groups bearing a common name and having the same traditional occupation, sharing the tradition of a common origin and common tutelary deities. BRAHMANA (priests; today intellectuals and managers) mouth KSHATRYA (warriors and kings) arms VAISYA (land owners, traders) legs SHUDRA (hand workers, peasants, servants,) feet Outcast people: dalit (broken, oppressed) Harijan (Gods son) introduced by Gandhi
Modern India is divided into large social collectivities such as dalits, tribals, backwardcastes, and forward castes. Traditional Hindu society was structured around the hierarchical four-fold caste system known as varna: at the top were the Brahmins, the elite caste of priests, scholars and the interpreters of the Sanskrit sacred texts; just beneath them were the Kshatriyas, the caste of kings and warriors; the third caste was that of the Vaishyas, or traders and merchants; below them were the Sudras, the caste of artisans and peasants. The first three castes of Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vaishyas today constitute the forward castes. However, there is yet another caste known as untouchables, so called because they were considered polluted, and hence any polluting physical contact between the forward castes and the untouchables was scrupulously avoided. Today, the untouchables and other depressed castes and tribal communities comprise the various backward castes.
The backward castes constitute about 20 percent of the Indian population, and many are still engaged in their traditionally assigned tasks of disposing of garbage and waste matter, as well as taking care of the deadproviding firewood for cremation ceremonies, lighting the cremation pyre, and disposing of any dead animals in the Village. However, the caste system is like a Honeycomb with each stratum in the caste system further fragmented into self contained regional, even local entities known as jatis. Often there is little interaction between jatis of different regions. Thus the Brahmins of northern India have little to do with the Brahmins of southern India, and likewise the Vaishyas of eastern India have little to do with the Vaishyas of any other Indian region.
Twenty-five years after Indian independence, in the 1970s, the dalits spurred two notable movements: the Dalit Panthers and dalit literature. The former was a short-lived political movement inspired by the Black Panther movement in the United States, and the latter was a blossoming of writing by dalits on the dalit experience. Most of the writing is in Marathi verse and prose, and there are just a few translations into English. The backward castes, along with other oppressed minorities such as tribals and some Muslim communities that have been identified as backward castes, have become powerful political entities in modern Indian democracy. The various communities in contemporary Indian society are now classified as the forward or upper castes, the dalits or scheduled castes (SCs), the other backward castes (OBCs), and the tribals or scheduled tribes (STs), all of whom (except the forward castes) benefit from positive discrimination with a percentage of seats reserved for entry to higher educational institutes and job reservations in the public sector. (p.34) Mahatma Gandhi (1869–1948) dedicated a large part of his life to the eradication of untouchability, which he considered a blight on the face of Hinduism. He renamed this fifth group the Harijan, or children of God. The upper-caste Hindus, Gandhi said, must make amends for the atrocities they had perpetrated on the lower castes over the centuries. The great Harijan leader Dr. Bhimrao Ambedkar (1891–1956), generally known as Babasaheb, who qualified for the bar at Grays Inn and received his doctorate from the London School of Economics, was a member of the backward castes and a key figure in the drafting of the Indian Constitution written in 1950.
Despite Gandhis efforts at social reform, Ambedkar did not believe that the Hindus would ever change their attitudes towards the Harijans, and he formed the Scheduled Castes Federation in opposition to the Congress. He also urged his caste members to embrace another religion, and in 1956, Ambedkar, along with 200,000 members of the backward castes, embraced Buddhism. The backward castes are also known as dalits. Dalit means broken, reduced or ground to pieces in Marathi. The social worker Jyotiba Phule (1897–1890) had first used the word in dalitodhar, or upliftment of the oppressed, in his Satya Shodhak (Truth Seeking) movement to counter Brahmin suppression of the lower castes.
The division of society into four colours or castes (Varna) was developed in the Vedic period. (described in Manus code).The God Brahma created the primeval man from clay. The 4 varna derived from his limbs.
Origins of the system of castes Main literary works of the Vedic period (ancient age, c. 1600-600 B.C.) Rig-Veda (hymns, prayers and spells) Upanishads (explanatory comments on sacred texts) Mahabharata and Puranas (epic narrations)
Indian History ANCIENT INDIA Traces of man from early Paleolithic Aryan invasion theory (recently questioned): about the middle of II millennium B.C. India was invaded from northwest by the Aryans who established in the subcontinent a unifying civilization. The gradual change of color from light to dark skin as we move southwards fits in with a pattern of invasion which gradually pushed the previous populations before it. On the other hand modern excavations brought to light the existence of urban civilizations, antedating the Aryan period, extensively devoted to trade with Mesopotamia (about 2500-1900 B.C.)
The Aryans original home possibly south Russia pastoral and agricultural people living in villages made no attempt to occupy the cities they overcame inferior in material civilization superior in political and military organization
The Aryan civilization moved eastward Sanskrit emerged as national language VI century B.C. end of the Vedic period, a new intellectual and spiritual climate see the rise of Buddhism and Jainism 327-25 B.C. Alexander the Great s invasion in North-west India
180 B.C. – 200 A.D. foreign invasions in northern India (Greeks, Parthians, Tukhara) III century classical age of Indian civilization Literature, art, science and philosophy evolved the forms they were to retain in successive years Northern India was reunited under the dynasty of the Guptas.
650-1200 A.D. Dynastic rivalries, northern India was divided into a number of separate states (the Arab conquest of Sind in 712 was merely an episode and it was not until Islam had been firmly established in the area of modern Afghanistan that the Moslem conquest of India became possible)
ISLAMIC INDIA XIII- XVI cent. The Sultanate of Delhi was ruled by 5 successive dynasties (Metcalf, p.11- 15) In XIV cent. the sultanate attained its greater extent reaching Kashmir. After that it began to decline and divide into different regional reigns. Incursions led by Tamerlane occurred in 1399.
Mughal India 1526 beginning of the Mogul Empire Babur descended from Tamerlane and Jenghiz Khan, his ambition was to recover the territories of the vast Mongolian empire. Ousted from central Asia he had to take refuge in Afhganistan from which he attacked India. At his death in 1530 he controlled the greater part of northern India.
Akbar (1556-1605) was the greatest Mogul emperor extending his dominions, practising a conciliatory policy towards Hindu subjects
Shah Jahan (reigns 1627-1658, imprisoned by his son 1658-1666) patronized culture, the arts and architecture Taj mahal, regal tomb and the red fort of Agra
Aurangzeb (1658-1707) is considered the chief cause of the decline of Mogul empire for his political as well as religious intolerance and bigotry. Hindus were excluded from public office, some of their schools and temples were destroyed, the tax on non- Moslems was reintroduced.
The successors were puppets controlled by favourites and court factions, Northern India was invaded by Nadir shah of Persia (Peacock throne and Koh-i-Nor diamond were ransacked). Foreign invasion were not the causes but the symptoms of Mogul decline.
Babur the conqueror and the decadent last emperor
COLONIAL INDIA: european settlements The quest for India was begun by Portugal. In 1498 Vasco da Gama anchored off Calicut, in 1500 Cochin became the first trading headquarters in India, Goa became the capital of Portuguese possessions. Portoguese India
British Raj in XIXth century A mix of direct and indirect rule
The English East India Company was established in 1600. In the first half of XVII cent. it obtained various concessions from the Mogul Empire: first trading posts were Surat, Agra, then Calcutta and later on Bombay. The commercial settlements were soon fortified. Rivalry arose with the Portuguese, defeated by the English fleet. In XVIII cent. the European rivals were English, French and Dutch. Gradually the East India company emerged as the dominant authority: it was able to obtain the concession to collect and administer the revenues in Bengal, Bihar and Orissa paying the emperor an annual tribute.
Indian Mutiny 1857 the great revolt of the Bengal native army led to transference of government to the crown. Due to many causes it was accompanied by rebellion of the population and some of chieftains. The pretext for revolt was the introduction of a new rifle whose cartridges, lubricated with pigs and cows grease, had to have their ends bitten off by the sepoys. Indian Mutiny Or Indian Rebellion
1858 Government of India act 1876 Victoria Empress of India The British empire: Culture education politics society economy Unification of the country Codification of laws Use of English as vehicular language Cultural vitality of anglicised élites Technological development (trains, telegraph, mail service) Social reforms (age of consent bill, abolition of sati*) Unified Educational system Paternalism Racism (town conception, admission to civil service) Militarism, authoritarianism (Amritsar massacre*) Exploitation (colonial economy) Reinforcement of caste system and religious divisions (divide et impera) Pros? Against
*ABOLITION OF SATI Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak is an Indian literary theorist, and University Professor at Columbia University. In "Can The Subaltern Speak?" Spivak discusses the race and power dynamics involved in the banning of sati. Spivak writes that all we hear about sati are accounts by British colonizers or Hindu leaders of how self-immolation oppressed women, but we never hear from the sati-performing women themselves. This lack of an account leads Spivak to reflect on whether the subaltern can even speak.
*Amritsar or Jallianwala Bagh massacre The massacre was a seminal event in the British rule of India. On 13 April 1919, a group of non-violent protesters had gathered in the Jallianwala Bagh garden in Amritsar, Punjab. On the orders of Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer the army fired on the crowd for ten minutes, directing their bullets largely towards the few open gates through which people were trying to run out. The dead numbered between 370 and 1000. The brutality stunned the entire nation. The initially ineffective inquiry fueled widespread anger, leading to the Non-cooperation movement of 1920-22.
Towards independence: Gandhian non violent movement II world war The Congress and the Muslim League India Pakistan and civil war
The narration of the nation: Gandhi and Nehru, the noble fathers of the nation 1947 Nehru A Tryst with Destiny
The narration of the nation Bharatmata, Mother India Bharat-Mata, a traditional rooted vision of the country as female: powerful and inexorable when depicted as a deity or divine feminine energy, Shakti, but also frail and victimized when conceived as the prey of foreign attack and colonial exploitation.
PARTITION In 1946 after a series of violent riots and fights between Hindu –Sikhs and Muslims, the Congress Party decided to accept the request of the Muslim League for a separate and independent Muslim state. The British authorities were informed and in three months Sir Cyril Radcliffe drew Wagah (successively sadly known as the line of hatred)
The narration of the nation India 1947-8 The bright side: Independence celebrations The dark side: Partition and civil war
Partition We crossed the border at Wagah. I dont know what I had been expecting. Blue rivers and green plains, tigers and elephants, forest- covered mountains. All the wonders we had been promised about the Indian side. But the landscape didnt change. It had the same scrub and wild brush, the same dirt and heat. (Manil Suri, The Age of Shiva)
Muslims said the Hindus had planned and started the killing. According to the Hindus, the Muslims were to blame. The fact is, both sides killed. Both shot and stabbed and speared and clubbed. Both tortured. Both raped. (K. Singh, Train to Pakistan) The territorial wound
INDEPENDENT INDIA 1948 Gandhi murdered by a Hindu fundamentalist Nehru and the new Indian order, Zamindari abolition (V. Seth, A Suitable Boy) Gandhis Dynasty Indira Gandhi (remove poverty campaign) Emergency
DEMOCRATIC INDIA India emerged as a secular socialist republic. Today its secularism is under strain and its socialism has been abandoned, but it remains a vibrant democratic republic with an elected parliament.
Sanjay Gandhis child birth control (Rohinton Mistry, A Fine Balance) Communalist policy, The golden temple of Amritsar assassination by Sikh bodyguard Rajiv Gandhis economic liberalism, communalist policy and assassination by Tamil terrorist
CONTEMPORARY INDIA Vivacity and contrasts Liberalism in economy, technological innovation, cultural globalization, backward castes policy, religious tensions, nuclear weapons, Kashmir unsolved question, female emancipation and persecution (S. Rusdie, Indias 50 th anniversary)
THE ENGLISH NOVEL IN INDIA Thomas Macaulay, A minute on Indian Education, 1835 English Education act, 1835 G. Viswanathan, The Beginnings of English Literary Study in British India
THEORETICAL ANALYTICALPERSPECTIVES Gramsci, Foucault, Bhabha, Habermas, Appadurai 1)Gramscian persuasion about primacy of culture in the exercise of power The supremacy of a social group manifests itself in two ways: as domination and as intellectual and moral leadership. … It seems clear that there can, and indeed must be hegemonic activity even before the rise of power, and that one should not count only on the material force which power gives in order to exercise an effective leadership (Prison Notebooks) (British books constituted about 95 % of book imports in India between 1850 and 1900)
2) Multi-focal multi-centred nature of Power relationships M. Foucault, La volontà di sapere, pp. 82-6; 3) Overcoming binary representation of the relation Colonizer/colonized H. Bhabha, The Location of Culture The language of critique is effective not because it keeps forever separate the terms of the master and the slave, … but to the extent to which it overcomes the given grounds of opposition and opens up a space of translation: a political object that is new, neither the one nor the other, properly alienates our political expectations, and changes, as it must, the very forms of our recognition of the moment of politics.
BHABHA My illustration attempts to display the importance of the hybrid moment of political change: Here the transformational value of change lies in rearticulation, or translation, of elements, that are neither the One … nor the Other … but something else besides, which contests the terms and territories of both. Cultures are never unitary in themselves, nor simply dualistic in the relation of Self to Other…
The reason a cultural text or system of meaning cannot be sufficient unto itself is that the act of cultural enunciation – the place of utterance – is crossed by the différance of writing. … The production of meaning requires that these two spaces be mobilised in the passage through a third space …[which] constitutes the discursive conditions of enunciation that ensure that the meaning and symbols of culture have no primordial unity or fixity; that even the same signs can be appropriated, translated, rehistoricised and read anew. … agency is the activity of the contingent. … agency is realized outside the author.
The public sphere is an area in social life where individuals can come together to freely discuss and identify social problems, and through that discussion influence political action. It is a discursive space where meanings are articulated, distributed, and negotiated.The public sphere can be seen as a theater in modern societies in which political participation is enacted through the medium of talk and a realm of social life in which public opinion can be formed. Jürgen Habermas
Bourgeois public sphere Most contemporary conceptualizations of the public sphere are based on the ideas expressed in Jürgen Habermas book The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere – An Inquiry into a Category of Bourgeois Society. The work is still considered the foundation of contemporary public sphere theories. Through this work, he gave a historical-sociological account of the creation, brief flourishing, and demise of a "bourgeois" public sphere based on rational-critical debate and discussion. Habermas stipulates that, due to specific historical circumstances, a new civic society emerged in the eighteenth century. Driven by a need for open commercial arenas where news and matters of common concern could be freely exchanged and discussedaccompanied by growing rates of literacy, accessibility to literature, and a new kind of critical journalisma separate domain from ruling authorities started to evolve across Europe.
In its clash with the practices of the absolutist state, the emergent bourgeoisie gradually replaced a public sphere in which the rulers power was merely represented before the people with a sphere in which state authority was publicly monitored through informed and critical discourse by the people. The discursive arenas, such as Britains coffee houses or Frances salons may have differed in the size and compositions of their publics, the style of their proceedings, the climate of their debates, and their topical orientations, but they all organized discussion among people that tended to be ongoing and dialectical.
Historical instruments of cultural interactions Warfare and commerce (antiquity and Middle Ages) Products of print capitalism B. Anderson (Early Modernity) Modern forms of transport (industrial revolution) Information and Communication the global village Marshall McLuhan (XXth century) Electronic media now create communities with no sense of place while imagination is a particularly powerful fuel of identification. Arjun Appadurai:
Appadurai lists 5 different but overlapping types of constructed landscapes(global cultural flows of imagination upon which or from which people build their sense of identity) Technoscapes, Financescapes (p.34) Ethnoscapes, Mediascapes, Ideoscapes (Appadurai p.33, 35, 38) MEDIASCAPES
Appadurai: Mediascapes The Net (e-mail, e-work, social networks, matrimonial sites, chats, virtual reality, second lives...) Electronic media transform the field of mass mediation because they offer new ways and new languages for the construction of imagined subjectivities and imagined worlds. The Net is a space in which individuals and groups annex the global into their own practices of technological modernity. Vernacular globalization Vs cultural homogenization: Appadurai, p. 10
Contemporary globalized public spheres Collective audiences and social networks create communities of sentiments whose sodalities are often transnational, even postnational, they operate beyond the boundaries of the nation. As mass mediation becomes increasingly dominated by electronic media, and as such media increasingly link producers and audiences across national boundaries, and as these audiences start new conversations between those who move and those who stay, we find a growing number of globalized public spheres. Electronic media now create communities with no sense of place while imagination is a particularly powerful fuel of identification.
Indigenization of the novel … a transaction between two unequal, and unequally motivated, sides in an encounter that, despite its unevenness, was still characterized by exchange of some sort. (P. Joshi) …Indian readers then writers transmuted an imported and alien form into local needs that inspired and sustained them across many decades. (P. Joshi)
Cultural colonization English Literature of serious standard was introduced to educate colonized people. British books constituted 95% of book imports into India between 1850 and 1900 and were present in equivalent percentages among Indian library holdings.
Consumption practices Numerous public and circulating libraries emerged to provide books at small expense or for free. While fiction constituted about a third of the total holdings of a library it was requested up to three times more often than the other forms. Indians preferred popular fiction: romance and melodrama resonated with the circularity and intricacy of the epic plot of, for example, the Mahabharata and the Ramayana full of interconnections and coincidences.
Reading public The reading public included: civil servants, university and school teachers, students, minor ranks of the aristocracy, merchants, clerks. It was predominantly male and metropolitan. A greater majority read English novels translated into regional language.
The novel as a site of agency The novel acquired a social agency that was peculiarly Indian. It became a new form involved in inventing and representing the self; it provided its readers with a new language for figuring out the emerging social relations associated with modernity. In many cases the novel with its populistic and sentimentalist overtones became one of the most powerful vehicles for anti-colonial feelings.
Locations of agency The majority of literary English production entered India through the ports of Calcutta and Bombay. These two capitals were more open to Western cultural influence and at the same time gave life to the most powerful anti-colonial movements (The Great Mutiny and the Swadeshi movement emerged in Bengal, Gandhi from Bombay Presidency)
From reading to producing Sometimes Indian authors gave up English and retained the novel form Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wrote in Bengali; although he was also an essayist, historian, philosopher and social thinker his fame rested on his novels: he was called Scott of Bengal. Anandamath, 1882, a historical novel is his most widely known work: the setting is XVIII century rural Bengal, a time of famine during which a local insurgency seeks to overthrow a cruel and unjust political order of weak and decadent Muslim rulers and British tax collectors.
The mystic leader of the rebellion recurs to the figure of Mother India ravaged by occupiers. The historical dislocation served as a device to host contemporary political feelings. A past in which Indians are present as actors and not as passive and defeated people. As the novel passed from serialised to book form it underwent a progressive softening of its anti-colonial tones, often replacing the term English with Muslim.
The movie released in 1952 Various editions of the novel
In 1932 4 writers published in Urdu a collection of innovative short stories Angarey (Burning Embers) characterized by frank depiction of sex and a general irreverence towards religion. (ex: a wet dream during a nap with the head on an open Koran) The book was condemned from Mosques pulpits as un-Muslim; the British government for fear of public riots banned the book.
In response the 4 writers wrote a manifesto which was to become the first document of the All-India Progressive Writers Association The movement was equally directed against internal orthodoxy and ignorance as well as foreign domination One of the 4 was Ahmed Ali, Twilight in Delhi (1940)
In 1935, the Progressive Writers Association (PWA), a movement of Indian writers was formed in London. It was inspired by the meeting in Paris of the International Association of Writers for the Defence of Culture against Fascism led by Maxim Gorky, André Gide, André Malraux, and others. Radical Indian students and intellectuals began to meet regularly at the Nanking Restaurant in Denmark Street to discuss and formulate the organizations original manifesto. The PWA believed that the new literature of India must deal with basic problems of existence todaythe problems of hunger and poverty, social backwardness and political subjugation, so that it may help us to understand these problems and through such understanding help us to act (Russell 1992: 205). Most of the members of the organization returned home after finishing their studies in London, Oxford, Cambridge, Paris, and elsewhere, and soon Marxist ideology began to inform the work of the Indian writers, both in English and in the regional languages.
From Urdu to English …Alis use of English is partly to reach the widest possible audience both in India and abroad. However… Ali imports into his English novel Urdu forms borrowed from poetry and ghazals that are themselves the product of borrowings from Arabic, Persian, and Hindustani…(P. Joshi)
Twilight in Delhi records the effects of cultural and social decay on a Delhi Muslim family; in particular the patriarch Mir Nihal has a sensitive awareness of past greatness but little comprehension of the ongoing demise. The action takes place between 1911(coronation in Delhi of George V) and 1919 (Rowlatt Bills which allowed British judges to try cases without juries)
From English to the Indian novel in Indian-English: the revolution of S. Rushdie A fiction written in a robustly vernacular English, manifestly hybrid, mixing the novel with diverse narrative forms both of the modern languages of cinema, television, journalism etc. and of old traditional Indian genres such as the oral epic
The watershed: Midnights Children I became a writer at the moment I found a narrative voice for Midnights Children and that was finding a literary equivalent of that oral narrative from India that had kept the audience rapt for thousands of years
Oral tradition While Bankims narrator took its cue from the serious and judgemental narrator of the written epic, Rushdies clearly comes from the jesting, jocular figure of the oral tradition whose fallacy inspired the unreliable narrator in M.C., Saleem Sinai
All-comprehensiveness of M.C. Saleem Sinai states that an entire universe can be understood from his life; his personal story reflecting Indias history. (a commonplace for an audience raised on the Mahabharata: Whatever is in the Mahabharata can be found elsewhere; but what isnt in it can be found nowhere.
Midnights Children Whereas Bankims narrator helped stabilize meaning, Rushdies, taking his inspiration from the circular structure of the oral epic and the tendency to change and adjust while repeating…, multiplies meaning. History in M.C. is not so much rendered fantasy, as fantasy and fabulation are rendered possible and even respectable forms of acquiring historical knowledge. Multiplying Meaning History
The novels agency In the hands of Rushdie the novel becomes a means to address issues surrounding modernity such as citizenship, subjectivity, identity, community and communalism, religion and politics, nation and nationalism besides aesthetical concerns about meta-fiction, inter- textual play, the role of the narrator, narrative perspectivism etc.
The novels agency: nation and narration Rushdie creates a curious myth of the nation: instead of celebrating its moment of glorious birth after a heroic liberation struggle, he interrogates its unglamorous middle age tainted by communal unrest and the threat of separatist violence.
The novels agency But in seizing the authority to tell their own versions of history, sociology, politics, his novels vindicate the right to master their own fantasies and world pictures. The fact that these novels exist marks the liberation of an Indian voice from the official and objective reality answering the mandate of imperialist culture. They articulate versions of Indian history and identity rendering them plural, just legends that make up reality, revealing in a post-modernistic way the fictional nature of reality itself.
The contemporary Indian novel in English In 1980 S. Rushdies Midnights Children transformed the Indian novel in English in an international phenomenon opening the way to dozens of ensuing literary cases.
Indian writers in English before Rushdie: Mulk Raj Anand, Raja Rao, R. K. Narayan, Khushwant Singh, V. S. Naipaul, Kamala Markandaya, Anita Desai (she already wrote but declared a debt to Rushdie) et al. after Rushdie: Shashi Deshpande, Shashi Tharoor, Amitav Ghosh, Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy, Vikram Chandra, Rukun Advani, Upamanyu Chatterjee, Anita Nair, Manju Kapur, Vikas Swarup, Kiran Desai,, Kamala Das, Aravind Adiga
Diasporic voices V. S. Naipaul, Hanif Kureishi, Monica Ali, Nadeem Aslam, Jhumpa Lahiri, Rohinton Mistry, Bapsi Sidhwa, Amid Chauduri, Chitra Divakaruni, Ardashir Vakil, et al. Indian Diaspora Before Partition: towards the empire (Mauritius, Fiji, Tanzania, Kenia, South Africa, Trinidad as indentured labourers, coolies) After Partition: GB, USA, Canada as emigrants
Priyamvada Gopal, The Indian English Novel. Nation, History, and Narration, Oxford and New York, O. U. P., 2009 Timeline, Introduction Chapter 1 Making English India Chapter 5 Midnights Legacies Chapter 8 The Literature of Migration Conclusions
ARAVIND ADIGAs works Three stories of violence and murder in a grotesque style The White Tiger: the servant kills his master and the reasons why … Between the Assassinations: collection of short stories (unequivocal title) Last Man in Tower: how good and friendly people can become murderes
Literary genre: Realism and Satire In his stories, the author expresses his indignation and his pessimism by means of social critique expressed in a satirical mode. The murderers are not punished. There is no social justice and no happy ending. The stories are not tragic in tone but grotesque: ironical distance between style and content.
VIOLENCE IN INDIA Castal violence, social unjustice, political corruption, religious fanaticism (traditional evils of Indian society)are investigated as sources of rebellion in the first two works of Adiga. The culprits are not punished (Balram, the murderer had been previously pursued for a crime he had not committed) In his third work the source of violence is greed conceived as a social force connected to the new economy of late capitalism. Money is stronger than any other value (friendship, honesty, loyalty)
I. Chambers, Borders and Beyond If the market was once apparently subservient and subject to the political and social demands imposed by the state, today, it is the state and its politics that is increasingly shaped and disciplined by the requirements of the market. So changes, and rather sharp ones, do occur. The political economy that sustains the reasons of the market is itself the result of certain political and cultural conceptions being transformed into practice and achieving a hegemonic hold on public understanding.
THE WHITE TIGER, 2008 This debut novel won the 40th Man Booker Prize. It provides a darkly humorous portrait of the class/caste struggle in the new-liberal, globalized India. The novel examines issues of poverty, caste, social justice, corruption and inequality in India. The protagonist, a brilliant village boy, is able to transcend his caste destiny and to become a successful business-man, not by means of study and personal initiative, as he would like, but by becoming violent and corrupt as the society in which he is forced to fight his way up. The price he has to pay is to transform himself into a murderer. Despite democracy there is not for him a chance in freedom and justice.
The White Tigers plot Balram narrates his life in a letter, which he writes in 7 consecutive nights to the Chinese Premier, visiting India. Balram explains how he, the son of a rickshaw puller, born in a rural village in "the Darkness, escapes a life of servitude to become a successful businessman. In Laxmangarh he lived with his extended family. He is a smart child; however, he is forced to quit school in order to help pay for his cousin sister's dowry. He begins to work in a teashop with his brother. Despite his caste (sweet-maker), while working in the teashop he describes himself as a bad servant and decides that he wants to become a driver.
Facing many difficulties he learns how to drive and gets a job driving Ashok, the son of the Stork, one of Laxmangarh's high- caste landlords. He moves to New Delhi with Ashok and his wife Ms Pinky. Throughout their time in New Delhi, Balram is exposed to the extensive corruption of India's society. One night Pinky decides to drive the car by herself and hits something. When they discover that she has killed a person Balram is asked to sign a confession taking the responsibility upon himself. Balram is deeply affected and decides that the only way to escape India's "Rooster Coop" will be by killing and robbing Ashok. One day he murders Ashok by hitting him with a bottle. He then manages to move to Bangalore: India shining new technological capital. There he bribes the police in order to start his own business. He is afraid that his family has almost certainly been killed by the Stork as retribution for Ashok's murder. At the end,Balram is obliged to live in fear and with the unpleasant thought of having become a murderer but he still vindicates his right to have broken the Rooster Coop and have felt what it means not to be a servant.
Tone and style In his novel Adiga attempts to catch the voice of the low castes. He wanted to capture the unspoken voice of people from "the Darkness" – the impoverished areas of rural India, and he wanted to portray these people and their lives without sentimentality or indulgence, without romanticizing poverty.
KIRAN DESAI, 1971 Desai is the daughter of the novelist Anita Desai. She was born in Chandigarh, and spent the early years of her life in Pune and Mumbai. She left India at 14, and spent a year in England with her mother, and then moved to the United States, where she studied creative writing at Columbia University. She has a relationship with Orhan Pamuk (turkish novelist), recipient of the 2006 Nobel Prize for Literature. Her first novel, Hullabaloo in the Guava Orchard, was published in 1998.
The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai Winner of the 2006 Man Booker Prize
PLOT and STRUCTURE The novel follows two separate threads Two settings: Northern India USA Two times: postcolonial globalized present late-colonial period
First thread, Two times In India near the Nepal border lives Jemubhai Popatlal, a retired Cambridge-educated judge. Living with him is his orphan granddaughter Sai and his cook. Sai is 16 and has fallen in love with her 20-year old tutor, Gyan. Gyan, however, joins Nepalese independence insurgents and the group breaks into Jemubhai's home looking for weapons, terrorizing them all. Through Sai we experience Indian postcolonial precarious present. At the same time, the story shuttles back and forth between Sai's youth and that of her Anglophile grandfather, Jemu. Through the judge, we experience the colonial era in all the cruelty of its old, ingrained hatreds and prejudices.
Meanwhile, Biju, the son of Jemubhai's cook has illegally immigrated to New York City where he works in the city's restaurant kitchens. With him, we experience the world of illegal aliens. As events unfold, the novel alternates between Kalimpong and New York. Second thread, second location
PRESENT/PAST LOCAL/GLOBAL Through the double juxtaposition of time and place the reader experiences the antagonisms and convulsions of the larger world -- the clash of races, classes, cultures, religious creeds -- are filtered through the stories of the protagonists. The novel, although it focuses on the fate of a few powerless individuals, manages to explore many contemporary international issues: globalization, multiculturalism, economic inequality, fundamentalism and terrorist violence. Despite being set in the mid-1980's, it breathes the atmosphere of post-9/11 novel.
PESSIMISM Desai takes a sceptical view of the West's consumer- driven multiculturalism. She seems far from writers whose fiction takes a generally optimistic view of what Rushdie has called "hybridity, impurity, intermingling, the transformation that comes of new and unexpected combinations of human beings, cultures, ideas, politics, movies, songs." In fact, Desai's novel seems to argue that such multiculturalism, confined to the Western metropolis and academia, is not able to address the causes of extremism and violence in the modern world. Nor, it suggests, can economic globalization become a route to prosperity for the downtrodden.
CHARACTERS What binds the seemingly disparate characters is a shared historical legacy and a common experience of impotence and humiliation (postcolonial melancholy).
JEMUBAI,4, 11, 48-55, 150-2, 219-30, 403-11 The judge is a minute man (Macaulay), a mimic man (Naipaul) whose Anglo-philia can only turn into self-hatred. (See H. Bhabha concept of Mimicry: almost but not quite…white) These Indians are also an unwanted anachronism in postcolonial India, where subjected peoples have begun to awaken to their dereliction, to express their anger and despair. (See for example A. Adiga, The White Tiger)
SAI, 3, 32-3, 189-190, Young and tender Sai, is ready to forget her sad past as an orphan to rejoice in her first romance, but, betrayed in her love, she is lead to conclude that there is no chance for happiness in an unhappy world. "Never again, could she think there was but one narrative and that this narrative belonged only to herself, that she might create her own mean little happiness and live safely within it."
GYAN, 12, 216-8, 231-5 Half-educated, uprooted men, like Gyan, with only the promise of a limited access to democracy and modernity, gravitate to the first available political cause in their search for a better way. He joins what sounds like an ethnic nationalist movement, not so much out of ideological conviction but largely as an opportunity to express his rage and frustration.
BIJU, 26-7, 28-31, 413-5 For Biju, living his miserable life in immigrant-packed basements in New York, without a green card, the city's endless possibilities for self-invention become a source of pain. This awareness only makes him long to fade into insignificance, to return "to where he might relinquish this overrated control over his own destiny." (irony on the Western value of self-determination). But going back home in the climactic scenes of the novel, Biju is immediately engulfed by the local eruptions of rage and frustration. For him and the others withdrawal or escape are no longer possible.
Vikas Swarup is an Indian novelist and diplomat who has served in Turkey, United States, Ethiopia, United Kingdom, South Africa and Japan. He has published three novels Q & A (best known as Slumdog Millionaire after the title of the movie ), Six Suspects and The Accidental Apprentice.
His debut novel, Q & A, tells the story of how a penniless waiter in Mumbai becomes the biggest quiz show winner in history. It has won many literary prizes and awards. Critically acclaimed in India and abroad, this international bestseller has been translated into 43 different languages.
Slumdog Millionaire is a 2008 British film directed by Danny Boyle. It is an adaptation of the novel Q & A (2005). Slumdog Millionaire was widely acclaimed, being praised for its plot, soundtrack and directing. In addition, it was nominated for 10 Academy Awards in 2009 winning eight, the most for any film of 2008, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay.
plot Set in Mumbai and other Indian location, the film tells the story of Ram Mohammad Thomas, a young man from Dharavi, the biggest slum of Mumbai who appears on the Indian version of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? and exceeds people's expectations, thereby arousing the suspicions of cheating; the boy is arrested and tortured. When he is rescued by a female lawyer, he recounts in flashback how he was able to answer all the questions, each one linked to a key event in his life.
Structure Each chapter coincides with a question and the sum which is won giving the right answer. Each answer corresponds to an episode in the protagonists very adventurous and hard life (studentsppt)
LITERARY GENRE Social fable, Social Romance, with elements of Picaresque novel and Bildungsroman Slumdog Millionaire (oxymoron) Realistic details/Unrealistic story19-20,29-31 Tragic situations 280-5/ Happy ending 315-6 Corrupted Institutions12/ Magic Helpers 13-4 Realistic settings 76-8/ Fantastic coincidence s (events become answers, Prem Kumars role in Nita and Neelima Kumaris lives, Rams role in Smitas life 313-4 )
characters Ram Mohammad Thomas - The protagonist. Is an orphan, an everyman whose name stands for three different Indian religions. He is in love with Nita and believes firmly in destiny. He possesses a "lucky" coin that he uses when confronted with big decisionsbut it is revealed that both sides are "heads." Generally, he has a very pessimistic and realistic view of life. As a result of that, he isn`t very self-confident and hasn't the idea of becoming rich but having some English helps him. Salim Ilyasi - Ram's best friend, who has dreams of becoming a Bollywood moviestar. He is very handsome, with a clear, musical voice. He also believes firmly in destiny. His character is coined as a young, childish and naive person. Compared to Ram Mohammed Thomas, his outlook in life is positive and very idealistic..
characters Prem Kumar - The show host of the quiz show 'Who Will Win a Billion? (or W3B)' It is later revealed that he is the man who abused both Ram's former employer and Nita, and Ram joins the show to get revenge on him. By the end of the book, he has helped Ram win the show and commits suicide in his car, though Ram suspects the show's producers had a hand in his death. Smita Shah - Ram's lawyer and childhood friend, she saves him from torture and listens to him tell his story. Though she is at first skeptical, she slowly comes to believe what he is telling her. It turns out that her real name is Gudiya, and she was the abused girl he mentioned in one of his storiesthe one whom he saved after he pushed her father down the stairs.
characters Nita - A young prostitute with whom Ram falls in love. It is a tradition within her tribe to send one girl to be a prostitute, and she tells Ram bitterly not to call her beautiful because that is the reason she was chosen instead of her plain-looking sister. Her brother is her pimp, and so she implores Ram not to kill him. At the end of the book, she and Ram are married. Neelima Kumari- A famous actress who refused to play any other role apart from the main role and wanted to stay the same way forever. Ram spent sometime with her as a servant. She is based on a real actress. Known as the "Tragedy Queen," she is abused by Prem Kumar but refuses to turn him in, saying that a true Tragedy Queen must possess real sadness in her life. She commits suicide, wanting to be remembered as young, but the police find her body a month laterafter it has decomposed.