TALES FROM MODERN INDIA by K.- Ed. Natwar-Singh

TALES FROM MODERN INDIA

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Claiming the distinction of being the first published anthology of modern Indian short fiction, these stories, in spite of a certain provinciality, bring Indian writing more or less into the twentieth century. Gone are the lush myths and religious tales of ancient, pre-Anglicized India. The writers have been influenced not only by the realism of the great nineteenth century writers, but also by two of its most pervasive thinkers--Marx and Freud. The stories are, in today's sense, extra-literary, in that they have been written to teach and correct--to ""make one think."" The tales combine conventional Western realism with the traditional Indian didacticism and tendency towards parable. They seem old-fashioned to the sophisticate accustomed to the comtemporary emphasis on irony and experiment and the current cult of idiosyncrasy. They may seem cliched or even innocuous in spite of their social commitment and concern with injustice. But though the style may seem backward, and the moralizing may strike one as naive, the authors are in general storytellers of much charm and sincerity. Noteworthy are Raja Rao's tale of the plight of the Indian woman, Chandar's moving war story, Bhongi's sometimes mawkish but arresting story of the untouchable, and Santha Rama Rau's story of the educated Indian youth--perhaps, in our terms, the ""hippest"" story of them all. Earlier writers, such as the revered Tagore, tell simpler fables, while the younger, living writers seem to be moving towards a modern complexity. The greatest virtue of this collection is that it will stir a lively interest in India and her problems--the sense of India is this book's most important truth.

Publisher: Macmillan