Weaving Cross-cultural Narratives
Hybrid Forms and Historico-political Discourse of the Anglophone Indian Novel
Keywords:anglophone Indian novel, cross-cultural encounter, historico-political discourse, national identity, Raja Rao, Salman Rushdie, Anita Desai, Amitav Ghosh
Weaving Cross-cultural Narratives: Hybrid Forms and Historico-political Discourse of the Anglophone Indian Novel
As the anglophone Indian novel exists in the in-between space between transnational and local cultures, it has repeatedly staged the encounter between a variety of cultural dimensions while remaining acutely aware of the way they interact with historical and political discourse. This essay examines four novels—Raja Rao’s Kanthapura, Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Anita Desai’s In Custody and Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide—that have conceived their narratives as a site of encounter between cultures in response to articulations of Indian national identity. The essay stresses the authors’ shared concerns but also the different formal solutions and ideological positions they adopt. Rao—a pre-Partition author—deals with otherness within a nationalist paradigm. Rushdie, Desai and Ghosh, on the other hand, tackle otherness in different modes that are dependent on their writing after Partition and in a climate of growing violence and fundamentalism.
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