Famous Indian Writers- A perspective with “Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar”
Famous Indian Writers in “Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar” has addressed the issues of the quality of writing being authentic, creative, deeply researched, critical and realistic. These have been reflected well in the book review. Researched realism, ruggedness, non-linear narrative and use of many Indian languages as seen in a hydro electric project site represents the theme of the microcosms of India and in many ways is a slice of life and reflecting Indian conditions. Famous Indian Writer Kochery C Shibu has used the language in parts in “Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar” where the use of English is pure. The developing of Indian ness in writing as a theme has been articulated well in the novel.
The Indian English Writers refer to the body of writers from India whose mother tongue is not English. The Famous Indian Writers of the yester years are led by RK Narayan, Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao. They established a name for themselves in the early part of 20th century. The writing used English in its puritan form. The Famous Indian Writers of Indian Origin include VS Naipaul, Kiran Desai, Jhumpa Lahiri, Agha Shahid Ali, Rohinton Mistry and Salman Rushdie.
The Indian English Writers have come of age with the Indian Borne writers becoming famous with their works. Arundhati Roy, well known among the Famous Indian Writers, with her timeless classic “The god of small things in 1997” went on to win the booker prize. Arvind Adiga is another amongst the Famous Indian Writers who won booker prize for his novel “The white tiger” in 2008. From the vintage writers RK Narayan and his magical world of Malgudi days stands out amongst the Famous Indian Writers . Malgudi is believed to have been formed from adapting the initial part of Malleswaram and and the later part of Basavan Gudi of Bangalore. Raja Rao, Babani Bhattacharya and Manohar Malgaonkar are all in the elite list of the Famous Indian Writers.
Famous Indian Writers also include Indian origin and expat writers who have been more successful and recognized in the yester years. Amongst the Famous Indian Writers VS Naipaul won the booker prize in 1971 for “In a Free State”. Anita Desai was short listed for Booker prize three times. Salman Rushdie with numerous nominations and his “Mid nights Children” stands tall amongst the Famous Indian Writers. Indo Candian author Rohinton Mistry was nominated for the Booker Prize three times. Kiran Desai won the booker prize for “Inheritance of Loss” in 2006 and is another famous Indian writer.
Famous Indian Writers also include the likes of Neel Mukherjee whose book The Lives of Others was shortlisted for the 2014 Booker prize. Mukherjee's The Lives of Others begins in Calcutta in 1967, and reveals the stark contrast between the lives of two Bengali families - one wealthy and the other in poverty. The political activism of the era provides a backdrop to his portrayal of the chaos of family life.
Jhumpa Lahiri's is another expat amongst Famous Indian Writers whose book The Lowland, published in 2013, was a nominee for the Booker Prize. The main plot of Lowlands focuses on two brothers Subhash and Udayan who grow up in India in the 1960's during the Naxalite movement in Calcutta. The plot of the book is against a historical backdrop. The novel follows the lives of the brothers, particularly Subhash after he moves to Rhode Island, and details the unforeseen events that transpire and control much of what happens in the lives of the brothers.
The Indian Novelist Amitav Ghosh is another amongst the Famous Indian Writers whose novel “the Sea of Poppies” was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 2008. This novel unfolds in north India and the Bay of Bengal in 1838 on the eve of the British attack on the Chinese ports known as the first opium war. In Sea of Poppies, people assemble from different corners of the world sailors, marines and passengers for the Ibis, a slaving schooner now converted to the transport of coolies and opium.
Famous Indian Writers also includes the expat Indra Sinha whose novel “Animals People” which was was shortlisted for the 2007 for the Booker Prize. The protagonist is a 19-year-old orphan of Khaufpur, born a few days before the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. He has a twisted spine and he must walk on all fours. The protagonist referred to simply as Animal rejects sympathy, uses profanity and is obsessed about sex.
Expat Anita Desai is another of the Famous Indian Writers whose novel “Fasting and Feasting” was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for fiction in 1999. The novel touches up on several poignant issues played upon in a middle-class family attempting to deal with modernization. A society with its own value system and prejudices weaved into its way of life.
“MAYA BECAME FATIMA AFTER THE NIKAH”
For a debut novel, Kocheri C Shibu's Men and Dreams in the Dhauladhar (Niyogi Books, 2015) shows a surprising grasp of Indian realities. For instance, the characters include two inter-religion couples (Khusru – Rekha, and Rafiq - Maya) both of which have Muslim men and Hindu women. This reflects the novelist's realism since, in most inter-faith couples of India, the male partners are Muslim with the female partners being Hindu. Only when there are more couples where the man is Hindu and the woman is Muslim, should we expect realistic novelists to write about such pairs.
Some reasons for the lopsided pattern in Hindu-Muslim couples have been indicated by the author himself. It could be due to the fact that Hindu women generally marry later than Muslim women, which gives the former more time than the latter to choose their husbands. A case in point is Rekha's usage of delaying tactics to postpone conjugal life: “Rekha kept saying 'another year' every time she was asked about her marriage” (page 111). Another reason for Hindu women being more open than Muslim women to inter-faith marriages could be that Hindus are brought up in an 'all faiths are equal' kind of belief rather than a 'my faith is the only true one' sort of superiority. This is exemplified in Rekha saying “Inshallah” to Khusru's query (page 232) whereas never does the latter use any Hindu expression for the former. In this context, it is significant that though Rekha was a virgin, she let herself be swept off her feet by Khusru who had had a hyperactive sex life. Yet another reason for the preoponderance of Muslim man - Hindu woman relationships could be that Hindu society, by and large, does not mind such alliances. This social acceptance is revealed by onlooker Vijay statement: “Don't know from where Khan has pataoed her, looks like a girl from good family” (page 217). Anyway, a truly secular Indian citizen can merely wish that inter-faith affairs become more evenly balanced in the near future than they are now.
A related example of the novelist's realistic touch is the renaming of Maya as Fatima after her marriage in a mosque (page 282). It is worth remembering that, just before the nikah, the couple had been taken by the assembled men to a temple for marriage in which her husband Rafiq was not given any Hindu name. That Hindus do not try to convert people of other faiths is shown by this contrast itself. Finally, one would like to aver that true secularism can only mean an India in which religious conversions (which mean erasure of the previous set of beliefs) become a thing of the past since projecting the belief of any one community as better than that of another is a sure sign of communalism.
Reviewed by Dr T Guha, HoD Languages, INA Ezhimala