Indian Writings in English or the works of fiction and non-fiction by Indian Writers over the years have been an intrinsic part of New English Literature now. This tradition was started way back in the late nineteenth century by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay with his novel, Rajmohan’s Wife, and since then there’s been a galore of writers continuously producing path breaking works in English. In this article, we’ve shortlisted 10 of the important texts of Indian English Literature which are regarded great masterpieces and if you’re a reading buff, put them into your to read list right away:
10. The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai
This book takes you on a journey…a journey across the geography of India, a journey across the minds and hearts of people. The Inheritance of Loss is a diasporic novel dealing with the dilemma associating with migrating and uprooting oneself from his/her own land! This book, among numerous other accolades, also won the Man Booker Prize in 2006.
9. The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri
This novel by Jhumpa Lahiri is very different from her body of works, and by far her best work! Yes, this one, too, like the other works, is diasporic, but the way she has attuned two stories into one novel is exquisite and definitely worth your time and energy!
8. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
Is there anything left to be said about this masterpiece which shook the whole literary and non-literary world alike? While we don’t want to get any conflict regarding its subject, what we can vouch for is that you won’t be disappointed after reading this novel—but, read it with an open mind! After all, Literature is a piece of art! The book is currently banned in India, but we do know how to lay our hands on a copy, don’t we?
7. The Ibis Series by Amitav Ghosh
This series constitutes a trilogy of which only two has been published—The Sea of Poppies and the recent, River of Smoke, both of which are yet another tales, which takes us back to the age of the Opium War, by the wordsmith, Amitav Ghosh. It’s indeed a must-read, if you’re yet to read!
6. The Country Without a Post Office by Agha Shahid Ali
If the others were great pieces of fiction, here we’ve got a great instance of poetry for you! It is a poem where Agha Shahid Ali recapitulates his country and his hometown—the vivid and beautiful Kashmir. It was first published as “Kashmir without a Post Office”, and is regarded as one of the finest compositions by Agha Shahid Ali.
5. In Custody by Anita Desai
A heartrending tale of an old but whimsical Urdu poet forgotten by the society constitutes the novel In Custody. The novel is a deep insight into relationships that knows no boundaries, caste or religion—it is a saga on the relationship called humanity. The novel had won the Booker Prize in 1984.
4. The Guide by R.K. Narayan
If you’re moved by Hardy’s portrayal of Wessex, then it’s time you read The Guide with Malgudi replacing the quintessential English town of Wessex for a more pan-Indian culture! This story of Indianness, love and lust is indeed one of the greatest work of Indian English in history!
3. Train to Pakistan by Khushwant Singh
Yes, yes, we know that there is hardly any literate person in India who hasn’t read this novel! It is one novel which, in spite of romanticizing with the idea of Partition, presents before us the horrid and crude realities associated with partition, woven with a magical tale of love and lust!
2. A Suitable Boy by Vikram Seth
Apart from being a great read, this book is the longest English novel ever published in a single edition! If the other novels were concerned about the diasporic dualities that this novel presents before us a post-Independent India trespassed by different political ideologies and an equal pathetic condition! The satirical puns woven into the tale is indeed to watch out for!
1. Gitanjali by Rabindranath Tagore
This is the Collection of poems that fetched us our first Novel Prize—Gitanjali or Song Offerings consisting of 103 (not 53 that makes up the original Bengali version of the same) poems that matches different moods, different circumstances and situations of life, and prepares us to face the world with a new zeal and energy!