Indianness: Reflection of Indian Writers

Article Posted in: Research Articles

Paper by Ankita Gupta
Published in Vol.III, Issue. XXXIV, November 2017




                 India is a land of diversity. Our country has various languages, cultures, traditions and religions. All these elements have created an impact all over the world. We see a glimpse of ‘indianness’ in the writings of different authors. It is not very easy to define the word ‘indianness’, but we can say, it is a quality which must be presented in the great works of all Indian writers. From R.K.Narayan to V.S.Naipaul all depict the daily life of a common man, his simplicity, his culture and values always remain a favourite theme for their writings. The main aim of my research paper is to highlight the ‘indianness ’through the works of great eminent authors.

Keywords: Diversity, Indianness, Simplicity, Eminent.



                                  India is known as the land of cultures and traditions and is one of the oldest civilization in the world. Indian culture and tradition are rich and unique in their own way. In our country there are many communities and sub-communities, each of them has their own culture, tradition, religion, language and literature. Literature plays a very important role in the establishment and growth of the society. Plots depicted in the fictional writings are inspired by the reality. So we should not treat the stories just as stories, but as the reflection of the reality. In our country there are many great authors who wrote about their land and people, for e.g. Mulkraj Anand, Raja Rao and R.K.Narayana: the founding fathers of Indian English literature were mainly concerned with the downtrodden of the society, Indian middle-class life and the expression of the traditional and cultural ethos of India. The Indian authors have touched each and every aspect of Indian life. They have portrayed the beautiful picture of India through their writings and because of it the culture, tradition and values of our country got such a high recognition in the world context. The famous American writer Mark Twain wrote about India that-“India is the cradle of the human race, the birthplace of human speech, the mother of history, the grandmother of legend and the great-grandmother of tradition.”1

                                 Indian authors have influenced an entire generation with their writings. Most of the writers are multilingual. Kalidas, Kabir, Guru Nanak, etc each composed their songs and poems in more than one language. Translation is the bridge between the literature of the past and the present generation. Ideas and concepts like Indian philosophy, Indian literature, and Indian culture would have been impossible in the absence of translation. Our rich mythologies, epics e.g. The Ramayana and The Mahabharata have been translated into many languages and it helped the outsiders to understand the Indian culture in a better way. At present no one is there who don’t know the story of Ramayana, Mahabharata or Bhagvatgeeta. It’s a translation only which gave our epics such a wide recognition in the world.  Max Muller said about Upanishad that-“there is no book in the world that is so thrilling, stirring and inspiring as the Upanishad”.

                                Literature always acted as a mirror to society. Ancient authors had portrayed the picture of an ancient India through their writings. For e.g. Munshi Premchandra showed the actual Indian society and the conditions that existed that time.  The time when India was almost completely a rural place.  He showed the true pain and agony of the farmer and the poor. In Kafan, the poor farmer family had no money to cremate the body of a dead woman. They asked for money from the zamindar and other members of the society. However, they used the money to satisfy their hunger. This story presents the grim reality of that time. He always tried to show what he observed and lived in those days of India. We can read Munshi Premchand works to know how India was a long time ago.

As with the passage of time our Indian society developed, we see a gradual development in our culture and literature also. One of the important themes of our great Indian authors is the portrayal of Indian common man and woman. The portrayal of the image of women by Indian authors is not uniform. it differs from time to time, from novel to novel, and writer to writer. Overall three aspects of women’s have been depicted by the authors. Firstly, of that time when they were exploited and forced to obey the traditions and cultures of their society. The best example of it we can see in the writings of Rabindra Nath Tagore. He wrote broadly on women. Some of the famous female protagonists of his stories are Bimla, Binodini, Chandalika , Shyama etc. secondly, when their identity is transforming, they began to raise their voice for their rights. Like in the poems of Kamla Das, we always see a rebellion against male-dominated society. Through her works, she advocated for the equal rights and liberty for women. Lastly through the writings of Kiran Desai, Jhumpa Lehrai, Shashi Deshpande and Bharati Mukherjee we see a new avatar of a new woman who is confident and makes her own decisions.

                    There is a well known saying that, if you want to study the culture and tradition of any period, you should go through its literature. Another thing which catches the eyes of our great authors is our Indian philosophy. It’s our Indian philosophy only that inspired the aliens to come and study our culture and values. Sir Aurobindo explored the concept of Indian philosophy and made it popular in the world.


                            Thus literature plays a vital role in preserving knowledge to be passed down through generations. There is a saying-“if language is a plant literature is its flower” our country has a vast literature. The literature of our country always spread the fragrance of our rich culture and traditions. It teaches us, inspire us and make us feel proud always.


Introduction to the Author: 

Ankita Gupta is a research scholar from Ambikapur, Chattisgarh.



  2.– Muller
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