Wandering Writers in the Himalaya

Contesting Narratives and Renunciation in Modern Hindi Literature





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


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.

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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.