Secularism in the Postcolonial Indian Novel: National and Cosmopolitan Narratives in English

1st Edition

Neelam Srivastava

Published May 8, 2015
ISBN 9780415759502 - CAT# Y163156
Series: Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures

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This study explores the connections between a secular Indian nation and fiction in English by a number of postcolonial Indian writers of the 1980s and 90s. Examining writers such as Vikram Seth, Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh, Shashi Tharoor, and Rohinton Mistry, with particularly close readings of Midnight‘s Children, A Suitable Boy, The Shadow Lines and The Satanic Verses, Neelam Srivastava investigates different aspects of postcolonial identity within the secular framework of the Anglophone novel. The book traces the breakdown of the Nehruvian secular consensus between 1975 and 2005 through these narratives of postcolonial India. In particular, it examines how these writers use the novel form to re-write colonial and nationalist versions of Indian history, and how they radically reinvent English as a secular language for narrating India. Ultimately, it delineates a common conceptual framework for secularism and cosmopolitanism, by arguing that Indian secularism can be seen as a located, indigenous form of a cosmopolitan identity.


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