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Subjected Subcontinent

Sectarian and Sexual Lines in Indian Writing in English


Eiko Ohira

This book offers a new, complex understanding of Indian writing in English by focusing its analysis on both Indo-Pakistani Partition fiction and novels written by women. The author gives a comprehensive outline of Partition novels in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh written in English as well as an overview of the challenges of studying Partition literature, particularly English translations of Partition novels in regional languages. Featured works include Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children, Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice-Candy-Man, Amitav Ghosh’s Shadow Lines, Meena Arora Nayak’s About Daddy, and Sujata Sabnis’s A Twist in Destiny. The book then moves on to a study of novels by women writers such as Githa Hariharan, Kiran Desai, Anita Desai, and Arundhati Roy, exploring their perspectives on sexuality, the body, and the diaspora.
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Chapter 3: The Overall Situation and the Issues


← 18 | 19 →CHAPTER 3

The Overall Situation and the Issues

The study of Partition literature is starting to flourish, but it lacks unity without a systematic and comprehensive study. There are far more articles on individual novels than comprehensive studies of Partition literature. A few scholars have attempted a comprehensive view of this field, but many tend to focus on such novels as Midnight’s Children, Shadow Lines, Looking Through Glass, and The Great Indian Novel only from historical perspectives, and Ice-Candy-Man only from a gender perspective. What we need is a study which maps each text in the context of a comprehensive history of Partition literature. In fact, no consensus has yet been reached on the question of which works can be called Partition novels. I aim to rectify this.

An Outline of Partition Novels

In Part II, a comprehensive outline of Partition novels in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh written in English, and English translations of those written in regional languages, will be attempted. I will discuss some major works in detail: Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice-Candy-Man (Chapter 6), Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines (Chapter 7), Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children (Chapter 8), and Meena Arora Nayak’s About Daddy (Chapter 9). I also deal with Sujata Sabnis’s A Twist in Destiny in comparison with Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’s memoir India Wins Freedom (Chapter 10).

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