What is Indian literature in English missing? This is a question which always comes in the minds of the intellectuals who are reading the new launches every day. In which direction the English fiction in India is moving? What are the Indian authors writing in English trying to do? What is their purpose? There are many sub-questions which will come to accompany the major question that we are raising here today. What is the thing that Indian literature in English is missing? Let’s try to come close to the problem and the possible interpretations of the possible solutions.
The Quick-fix format:
Whatever the author may say but the truth is out there. The writings by Indian authors in English in the recent years have been focused on the trend rather than providing something worthy to read. We have the stories based on facebook love, teenage love, model love, broken love, physical love and so on and so forth versions of love… even the love is not the same what it was supposed to be. The readers, nevertheless, take these works welcoming and enjoy reading those. Serious readers, on the other hand, are still living the nostalgia of the golden period of Indian literature in English as well as some of the rare occasions when something worthy is produced by the authors like Amitav Ghosh and Adiga.
Excessive focus on digitally connected readers:
Accept it! The readers are not found on social media only. Still, there are the readers in those corners of the country who don’t have a facebook account or twitter either and they love to spend hours in the local library wrestling with the books published before 1980s! However, the authors and their agents rather focus on the teenagers and youths who are found on facebook, twitter, google etc. This social trend has not done too good to the fiction in India but rather contracted it to a limited zone.
The money trail:
As many copies you sell as much money you make! This is the truth of the publishing industry and the authors seem to have embraced this golden line. They have begun focusing on the themes which will generate more chances of making money rather than the themes which will offer them the critical acclaim. You might ask yourself why do we fail in performing better in the Booker awards and why can’t we even think of the Nobel Prize in literature!
We have to settle with a flood in the Indian publishing industry because every new morning, there are at least 400 titles being launched, agreed, contracted or published. How much shall we read? How much will they write? How many do we listen about? In the age of competition, there is always a dearth of quality and therefore, there is unlikely a chance of Indian readers getting quality works to read in fiction unless they search for it.
We need authors who care for reputation rather than fame. We need the word-weavers who rather opt for a long-term relationship with writing than the short-term shortcut to quick fame and then fall to the grounds of reality. We need to generate the interest in quality reading habits rather than letting the readers enjoy for a temporal period of time and then down and dusted with the book. We need to work a lot and seriously in the literary direction and then only we will be able to counter the ‘trend’ in Indian English literature which by all means is not doing any benefit to our literary fraternity!