Contemporary Literature

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Arundhati RoyWriters throughout India have used mythology or folk legend to highlight the problems of modern society. The acclaimed Kannada novel Samskara by U. R. Anantha Murthy portrays a spiritual search against a background of the pressures of day-to-day living.

A number of novels look at neglected regions of India and their spoken dialects. For example, Jayamohan, writing in Tamil; Debes Ray, in Bengali; and Shivprasad Singh, in Hindi, provide portraits of contemporary Indian village life. Such writers also demonstrate that India is a country of many religions and cultures.

A central theme in much modern Indian literature is the change from a rural, traditional life to an urban, modern one. Some writers examine this theme by portraying a romantic view of village life. Others describe the cruel and harsh realities of the impersonal city.

Feminist literature is represented in all Indian languages. Writers challenge the values of male-dominated society and create an alternative mythology in which the perspective of women is emphasized. Authors from this movement include Kamala Das, who writes in Malayalam and English; Krishna Sobti, in Hindi; Ashapurna Devi, in Bengali; and Rajam Krishnan, in Tamil.

Contemporary Indian authors who write in English include Amitabh Ghosh, Shashi Tharur, Vikram Seth, Arundhati Roy, Deepak Chopra and Upamanyu Chatterjee. For such authors, English is no longer a colonial language. They are able to express their heritage while remaining committed to the modern reality of India.

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