India, a country with a very rich cultural heritage, has contributed immensely to the world of literature. India is home to some very good authors who possess unique styles and forms of narration. Therefore the question does come to mind as to why the Gen X has always remained glued to books written by foreign authors like The Famous Five, Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Percy Jackson.
However, it seems that schools in India are now changing the scenario. During the last summer vacation, some of the CBSE schools gave Class VII students the project of reading Malgudi Days by R.K. Narayan, as a part of holiday homework. The reading project — a part of the CCE scheme— is used for the formative assessments (FA).
The Intervention of CBSE
In 2011, CBSE prepared a list of books in consultation with the Association of Writers and Illustrators for Children (AWIC), to be included in the school curriculum to inculcate the habit of reading in children. The lists, for the first time, include works by Indian authors. Some of the authors that the students have been encouraged to read include Satyajit Ray, R K Narayan, Sudha Murthy, Ruskin Bond, Ismat Chughtai and APJ Abdul Kalam.
Some Well-Known Authors
India is indeed fortunate to have gifted writers, with a distinctive style, a narrative voice and an imaginative integrity. Let’s take a peek into some of the amazing works by a few Indian authors, which you must explore.
Rabindranath Tagore was known for his Contextual Modernism. He was a polymath, and was instrumental in reshaping Bengali literature. He was a proponent of India’s spiritual heritage, and attained immense international popularity once his work was translated into English and reached the West. Rabindranath Tagore was a poet, but he was also versatile in almost all genres of literature.
Some of his epic works that one has to read are: Gitanjali, Sadhana- The Realization of Life, Chokher Bali, and The Home and the World
Ruskin Bond is an Indian author of British descent with pioneering role in the growth of children’s literature in India. His books are not limited to children, for adults too enjoy reading them. Some of his famous anthologies include:
The Cherry Tree, Garland of Memories, Ghost Stories from the Raj, Funny Side Up, and Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra
Known for his works set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi, R.K Narayan, known as the Malgudi Man, had admirers in Graham Greene and VS Naipaul. His first novel was Swami and Friends, and even after 80 years, his stories have the power to take the reader on a journey of imagination, set with a backdrop of reality and nostalgia. Some of the must reads of R.K. Narayan include:
The Bachelor of Arts, Swami and Friends, Malgudi Days, The Tiger of Malgudi, and The Financial Expert
The creator of Feluda and Shonku, Satyajit Ray’s fiction was targeted at the young readers, but he has a fan following among adults too. Feluda is the Indian Sherlock who goes around solving mysteries, while Shonku is the protagonist in Satyajit Ray’s series of science fiction. Originally written in Bengali, Satyajit Ray’s work has been translated into English. Some of the famous works of this versatile author include:
The Complete Adventures of Feluda, Badshahi Angti (Royal Ring), The Exploits of Professor Shonku, A Killer in Kailash, and The Curse of the Goddess
Sudha Murthy is an Indian social worker and writes in Kannada and English. In fact, she is one of the biggest selling woman-authors in India, and her work reflects her philosophical views on charity, hospitality and self-realisation through fictional narratives. Sudha Murthy is known for both fiction and nonfiction and some of the best reads include:
Wise and Otherwise (non-fiction), Gently Falls the Bakula, Dollar Bahu, The Day I Stopped Drinking Milk, Something Happened on the Way to Heaven: 20 Inspiring Real Life Stories, and Grandma’s Bag of Stories
Known for her indomitable spirit and a fierce feminine ideology, Ismast Chugtai was an eminent writer of Urdu literature. She was revolutionary and controversial in her style and ideas, and wrote on topics ranging from female sexuality, middle class gentility and various other conflicts in modern India. An inspiration for the younger generation of writers, Ismat Chugtai was passionate about her beliefs.
Some of her famous books include
The Quilt, Tehri Lakir- The Crooked Line, The Heart Breaks Free, The Wild One, and My Friend, My Enemy
APJ Abdul Kalam
The Indian scientist who also served as the President of India from 2002 – 2007, APJ Abdul Kalam is indeed a visionary, and has written English literature, egging on the future generation of India to work towards the progress and the development of the country. He believes that the Generation Next needs the capacities of 5 kinds of minds to be instilled in them viz, Disciplinary mind, Synthesizing mind, Creating mind, Respectful mind, and Ethical mind.
Some of the more famous works of APJ Abdul Kalam include: Ignited Minds, Wings of Fire, Target 3 Billion, India 2020
India is seeing more and more debutant authors writing fiction as well as non-fiction. It is time to explore the world of the Indian authors who have their own distinctive style. So, head out to the nearest bookstore or a library, and immerse yourself in the world of the Indian authors.