How Indian Is Indian Writing In English?


At a reception organized at Santiniketan to pay homage to Rabindranath Tagore’s literary genius after he had been awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, Tagore said, “The insult and infamy that was my lot to suffer at the hands of my country were not inconsiderable in quantity and so long I had borne them with patience. In this context, I have not been able to understand clearly why I received honor from outside. I did not know that God, whom I had offered homage sitting on the Eastern shore, would extend his right arm in the western shore to accept the same… Europe has given me the garland of honor. If it carries any value, it lies in the aesthetic sense of the men of culture of that country. That has no connection with our country.” It is perhaps the only recorded incident when Tagore lost his innate sense of courtesy and self-control. Coming from a person who has been regarded for over a century as the first person to put India on the literary map of the world, Tagore’s words speak tons for the double standards in Indian literary taste and for a nation’s failure to recognize its literary geniuses until and unless they bear the western stamp of approval. It is no wonder that most Indian English writers prefer to chalk the journey of their literary stardom away from homeland.


One comment

  1. Yeah I agree, Jhumpa Lahiri, Vikram Seth n now Kiran Desai…….hard but bitter truth. Indians have not given literature the true place it deserves and Im not talking about just english literature. There are so many different vernacular literary works that never see the light of the day, hardly acknowledged and slowly die out. its sad.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s