The problem with Indian English literature – opinion

While it is heartening to see Indian English literature flourish on a daily basis in terms of the number of books being published every month, we have to acknowledge the elephant in the room and understand that we cannot justify everything being published in the name of literature. Every single day, the Indian book industry does not go empty without a big number of titles thrown into the hearth of Indian literature’s continuous fire. However, can we acknowledge all of that as the representatives of Indian English literature? Can we dare say that each one of the many published titles is worthy of being classified as good work of literature? We will have to debate over it.

Before we discuss the good and the bad literature, we will have to understand why this conundrum has begun in the first place. One cannot deny that the Indian publishing industry has seen a glorious and unprecedented rise in the number of self-publishing companies in India. This rise, in turn, has given rise to the number of ambitious authors who cannot take the rejection emails and letters by self-righteous and egoistic traditional publishers who have taken the backdoor policy of self-publishing. Though this trend has given rise to many acclaimed authors, in the long run, it has worked towards demeaning the quality of literature being published by greedy publishers without even editing the manuscript they receive from the anxious and eager authors. Over-ambitious Indian authors easily get fooled by the promises of these publishing companies and cannot stop their too eager anxiety of getting published and seeing their ambitions translated into books.

The decreasing quality of Indian English literature has raised many bars of doubt in the minds of the readers who are serious, energetic and ready to spread the word about Indian literature in the world. Only romantic, loath romantic, cheap romantic and pseudo-romantic literature are being written by the Indian authors who are not ready to accept that readership has taken different turns in recent times. They will have to understand that it’s the time to change their strategy and produce something different, something authentic and something with which the readers in India could connect not only emotionally but also in other ways. Authors like Ashwin Sanghi and Amish Tripathi have found the way and they are already leading from the front. And therefore, it’s the time readers ask for what do they need from the authors and publishers should also amend their checks and balances in order to identify the manuscripts that should be published or improved.

Though we also have to acknowledge that there are the authors who are doing their best in terms of bringing the best of the literature with Indian values and Indian ethos to the fore. Indian English poets are doing their bits and the same is being done by novelists from India as well. However, at the same time, we have to improve our efforts and speed up the improvements that we are willing to see in Indian literary scenario.

I hope that leading Indian authors come out of their comfort zones and try writing things that can truly represent Indian causes on the forums where leading literary figures around the world gather. I will be truly happy seeing this dream of mine being taken seriously by the writers. We should return to our roots so that we can spread what the world would accept open-mindedly and with their hearts open to willingly respect, understand and accept. Can we do that, dear authors?

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