Wandering Writers in the Himalaya

Contesting Narratives and Renunciation in Modern Hindi Literature

Authors

  • Nicola Pozza University of Lausanne

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.17.2015.17.04

Keywords:

Himalaya, Hindi, fiction, wandering, colonialism, modernity, renunciation, Agyeya, Nirmal Verma, Mohan Rakesh, Krishna Sobti

Abstract

The Himalayan setting—especially present-day Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand—has fascinated many a writer in India. Journeys, wanderings, and sojourns in the Himalaya by Hindi authors have resulted in many travelogues, as well as in some emblematic short stories of modern Hindi literature. If the environment of the Himalaya and its hill stations has inspired the plot of several fictional writings, the description of the life and traditions of its inhabitants has not been the main focus of these stories. Rather, the Himalayan setting has primarily been used as a narrative device to explore and contest the relationship between the mountain world and the intrusive presence of the external world (primarily British colonialism, but also patriarchal Hindu society). Moreover, and despite the anti-conformist approach of the writers selected for this paper (Agyeya, Mohan Rakesh, Nirmal Verma and Krishna Sobti), what mainly emerges from an analysis of their stories is that the Himalayan setting, no matter the way it is described, remains first and foremost a lasting topos for renunciation and liberation.

References

Agyeya. 1962. Jaya-Dol (Collection of Stories). 3rd ed. Kashi: Bharatiya Jnanpith.

Agyeya. 1997. Agyeya kī sampūrṇ kahāniyāṁ. Delhi: Rajpal and Sons.

Agyeya. 2001. Are yāyāvar rahegā yād? [1953]. 6th ed. New Delhi: National Publishing House.

Berti, D. 2009a. Passé, localité et nationalismes dans la région de Kullu (Inde du Nord). In: G. Krauskopff (ed.). Les Faiseurs d’histoires: politique de l’origine et écrits sur le passé. Nanterre: Société d’Ethnologie: 113–142.

Berti, D. 2009b. Kings, Gods, and Political Leaders in Kullu (Himachal Pradesh). In: M. Lecomte–Tilouine (ed.). Bards and Mediums in the Khas Kingdoms. Almora/Delhi: Himalayan Book Depot: 107‑136.

Brass, P. R. 1990. The Politics of India since Independence. The New Cambridge History of India. 4, 1 The evolution of Contemporary South Asia. Cambridge–New York [etc.]: Cambridge University Press.

Chandra, N. 2007. The Pedagogic Imperative of Travel Writing in the Hindi World: Children’s Periodicals (1920–1950). In: South Asia: Journal of South Asian Studies 30.2: 293–325.

Damsteegt, T. 2001a. The Erotics of Moonlight and other Connotations in Modern Hindi Literature. In: Modern Asian Studies 35.3: 727–71.

Damsteegt, T. 2001b. Ajñeya and Anticolonialism. In: D. W. Lönne (ed.).Toḥfa-e-Dil, Festschrift Helmut Nespital. Reinbek: Dr. Inge Wezler: 153–166.

De Bruijn, T. 2007. Reading Modernism in Hindi Writing: The Case of Nayī Kahānī. Unpublished paper.

Gandhi, M. K. 1997. Hind Swaraj and Other Writings [1909]. Edited by Anthony J. Parel. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Kennedy, D. K. 1996. The Magic Mountains: Hill Stations and the British Raj. Berkeley–Los Angeles–London: University of California Press.

Luchesi, B. 2006. Fighting Enemies and Protecting Territory: Deities as Local Rulers in Kullu, Himachal Pradesh. In: European Bulletin of Himalayan

Research 29–30: 62–81.

Pennington, B. K. 2005. Was Hinduism Invented? Britons, Indians, and the Colonial Construction of Religion. New York: Oxford University Press.

Rakesh, M. 1979. Miss Pal. Translated by Frances W. Prichett. In: Journal of South Asian Literature 14.3/4: 99–118.

Rakesh, M. 2004. Mis pāl [1961]. In: Mohan rākeś kī sampūrṇ kahāniyāṁ. Delhi: Rajpal & Sons: 9–27.

Rakesh, M., K. P. Singh and A. Wajahat. 1973. Interview with Mohan Rakesh. In: Journal of South Asian Literature 9.2/3: 15–45.

Sankrityayan, R. 2009. Himācal: ek sāṁskr̥ tik yātrā. Vol. 2. New Delhi: Vani Prakashan.

Singh, N. 2008. Nayī kahānī kī pahlī kr̥ti: Parinde [1960]. In: N. K. Nawal (ed.). Nāmvar sañcayitā. New Delhi–Patna: Rajkamal Prakashan: 225–236.

Snehi, Y. 2011. Diversity as Counter-Hegemony: Reet and Gender Relations in Himachal Pradesh. In: C. Singh (ed.). Recognizing Diversity: Society and Culture in the Himalaya. New Delhi: Oxford University Press: 75–97.

Sobti, K. 1996. Bādloṁ ke ghere [1980]. In: B. Sahni (ed.). Hindī kahānī saṅgrah. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi: 209–228.

Teltscher, K. 2002. India/Calcutta: City of Palaces and Dreadful Night. In: P. Hulme and T. Youngs (eds). The Cambridge Companion to Travel

Writing. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 191–206.

Verma, N. 1996. Birds. Translated by J. Ratan. In: B. Sahni (ed.). Anthology of Hindi Short Stories. New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi: 262–296.

Verma, N. 2005. Parinde [1955]. In: Gyārah lambī kahāniyāṁ. New Delhi: Bharatiya Jnanpith: 9–42.

Zoller, C. P. 2001. On the Relationship between Folk and Classical Traditions in South Asia. In: European Bulletin of Himalayan Research 20.1: 77–104.

Downloads

Published

2015-12-21

How to Cite

Pozza, Nicola. 2015. “Wandering Writers in the Himalaya: Contesting Narratives and Renunciation in Modern Hindi Literature”. Cracow Indological Studies 17 (December):49-84. https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.17.2015.17.04.