ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Interrogating the ‘Indian’ in the Indian Novel

Repeated invocations of “India” in the literary scape seemingly exclude India’s North East.

The term Indian is used in the titles of many courses in various Indian universities. The recently revised BA Honours English programme by the University of Delhi includes writers from Indias North East in its Indian courses, but most of the Indian courses in other Indian universities categorically exclude them. Many universities may have centres named after the North East; concurrently, the Indian courses in their English departments periodically exclude the same region.

In this context and sharing my experience of a recent Faculty Development Programme (FDP) titled Remapping the Indian Novel in English, I ask: What is Indian in the Indian novel? Are Indians in Indias North East same as Indians in the rest of the country? How are these two Indians different? Why are they not the same? This leads me to examine the rise of the novel in India. This form has traversed many historical moments such as colonialism, liberalism, globalisation, nationalism, and modernity. However, the trajectories of these narratives need to be mapped differently in Indias North East. There must not be a quick dismissal of postcolonial methodology as commonsensical and deterministic vis--vis this region because many critics still argue that the region is yet to exit the moment of the colonial while postcoloniality remains a desirable aspiration.

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Published On : 20th Jan, 2024

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