This book is a close study of miniatures in Indian English literature - miniatures from life that have the power to light up a face with a smile and touch hearts. It is a critical study of the short stories of seven major Indo-Anglian short story writers of India and traces the beginnings of short story writing in India, the influences on the writers, the themes used and the techniques employed in writing the short story in English. The primary objective of the study is to identify thematic similarities in the stories and study the various techniques used to present the themes. The broader purpose is to showcase the varied hues of life portrayed in Indian English literature.
Dr Jaba Mukherjee Gupta has a Ph D in English literature. At the post-doctoral stage of her career, she studied Organization and Leadership at the University of San Francisco, USA. Prof Gupta enjoys teaching and was a Professor at TAPMI [T A Pai Management Institute], Manipal. Now she lives in Lusaka, Zambia with her husband and spends her time in writing and research. Prof Gupta is the co-author of the book Management Communication - A Case Analysis Approach, 4e. She has published several articles, case studies and research papers in national and international journals and books. She has also published several poems and short stories in India and in the USA.
There is something embryonic about the birth of a story and in its telling the baby is revealed. When a child snuggles close to its grandmother or a parent to listen wide-eyed to a story, the warmth and safety of the womb is recreated. Perhaps that explains the popularity of the short story! The best storyteller I have known is my grandmother. As a child I listened to her narration of stories about Krishna and drank in the words enhanced with expressions on her face. She spoke with involvement and complete absorption in her story - so much that time stood still for me-almost dissolved/ disappeared and I reveled in the created story-world. I dedicate this book to her.
When I look back on life what I remember are the human stories... stories about friends and family, teachers and care-givers. I realize that the stories have sustained my memory and helped me derive meaning from life experiences in an alien world; have shaped my being and given me a sense of justice and fairness in life. I confess to feeling very unhappy with stories that violate my understanding of poetic justice!
My fascination for stories and storytellers impelled me to choose short stories as my area of study and research. But having grown up on a liberal dose of English short stories written by well known authors from UK and the USA, and translations from Maupassant, Chekov and others, I was eager to focus on the Indian Anglophone writers. I have chosen seven writers who hail from different regions of the country; and who lived and wrote in pre- and post-independent India. These writers were among those not afraid to bring the Indian milieu unabashed and unapologetically into the living rooms adorned by foreign artifacts. Their writings had the natural, raw and unpretentious smell of rustic India and a distinct flavor of urban culture that was overpowering the country. The stories chosen have been studied thematically giving ample opportunity to look closely at some of the untapped areas like hunting and army life, individual character based themes including man, woman and child trying to cope with the demands of life. The stories under social themes have exposed the funny, the good, the bad and the ugly sides of life in India.
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