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5 Indian Writers Who Changed The Way India Perceives English Novels

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By Abhishyant Kidangoor:

English writings, be it autobiographical or works of fiction, has always fascinated Indians. Reading and libraries have always been a part of our rich culture. Many Indians made their mark on us with their writings in English. While many of these works have been acclaimed internationally, some of them remain dear to our hearts. Here are 5 English Indian authors who revolutionized English literature in India.

1. R.K. Narayan: The fictitious town of Malgudi, the Sarayu river and Mempi forests still remains in the heart of all those who have read the marvellous works of this author, who passed away in 2001. Considered to be the best English novelists from India, he defined English literature for the early India. His most popular work, Swami and Friends takes us through the experiences of the ten-year-old mischievous yet adorable, Swaminathan. The two other books of this trilogy, The Bachelor of Arts and ‘The English Teacher’ takes us through Swami’s transformation from a boy to adolescent and then an adult. While the Tiger Of Malgudi makes for an interesting read as it has a tiger talking to the readers in first person, The Guide etches onto our memories, Raju’s transformation from a tour guide to one of the holiest saints of the country. Adapted into hit TV shows and films, all these characters and the ironical plots have been imbibed into the lives of the avid Indian book readers. This man, according to me, is indeed the greatest Indian English writer of all times.

2. Arundhati Roy: For all those who have read The God Of Small Things, Estha’s “silence” and Rahel’s “emptiness” (as described by the author), would have been fascinating. The fact that these twins lived separately their whole lives and yet managed to be close to each other is heart-warming. The themes of betrayal, love, social discrimination and Indian politics are very cleverly included in the plot. Being the only novel she has written so far, Arundhati Roy can be termed as the true Indian ‘Harper Lee’!

3. Kiran Desai: She, like her mother, made the nation proud with The Inheritance of Loss. The writer gained immediate critical success with this book, which dealt with the theme of migration. The book gained prominence when it won the Man Booker Prize in 2006. The Indian readers who enjoy serious works of literature accepted this work of hers, which was done with much confidence and Kiran Desai went on to feature in almost all the lists of ‘India’s best writers’.

4. Chetan Bhagat: If someone could be named as the sole reason for reinstating the position of books and reading in modern India, that person without doubt would be Chetan Bhagat. His ability to relate to the readers and the common wavelength that he shares with the youth makes him one of the most popular writers of our times. Five Point Someone and 2 States clicked with the masses overnight. All his books were done with remarkable aplomb and this is one name which would never be missed out while talking about Indian English writers. Having mastered the art of storytelling, Bhagat is indeed a revolutionary writer who reflected the thoughts of the nation through his work.

5. Amish Tripathi: Having joined the elite group of Indian English writers recently, Amish is more of a storyteller than a writer. Nonetheless, his debut novel The Immortals Of Meluha became a raging success and might soon be adapted into a movie. Mythology and history are the themes of his books and the portrayal of the Hindu god Shiva as a Tibetan tribal is indeed awe-inspiring. How someone could come up with such an interesting idea would remain a mystery. While the second book in the trilogy gained immense success, his ardent fans are eagerly waiting for the release of the final book in the trilogy.

Many other writers have created ripples with their work. And they have all gained commercial and critical success. These writers may belong to different eras and may work on different genres. One might think it unfair to compare these writers with each other as each of them belongs to a different league of their own. However they have all equally impressed us with their works and in a way, helped in shaping the nation for what it is now. Books and novels would always play a vital role in a country like ours. And the work of these and many other writers need to be lauded and highly appreciated!

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  1. Rigya Singh

    Good job but Chetan Bhagat is technically not a writer, author or even remotely related to the literary world.

    You totally ignored Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth, Rabindranath Tagore, Amitav Ghosh and so on.

    1. Ravi

      You are exactly right! 🙂 This is just an individualistic opinion

    2. Satish

      agreed !!!

  2. Anuva Kulkarni

    Good article but don’t judge the quality of the writer on what kind of prizes they won. Did you really like Inheritance of Loss? I think there is so much more to write about for an Indian writer – enjoyable and comforting stuff. Instead we glorify writers who paint morbid pictures of poverty and tragedy. I strongly feel new genres need to emerge in Indian english literature.

  3. juhi anil

    it is right Chetan Bhagat is not technically not a writer for literary world but literary world accepted him b’coz he is the writer of todays generation.

  4. Anon

    How could you miss Ruskin Bond? “Rom on the Roof’ is one of the best novel I have read so far. Also Khushwant SIngh is another legend. Read is ‘Train to Pakistan’

  5. Kartik

    Ruskin Bond?
    Khushwant Singh

  6. Sivakumar

    This is a really bad list Chetan Bhagat and Amish Tripati don’t deserve a place in any top list. There are some fantastic writers who have been ignored for whatever reason. Vikram Seth, Amitav Ghosh, Salman Rushdie, Rohinton Mistry…

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