This book brings together several important essays examining the interface between identity, culture, and literature within the issue of cultural identity in South Asian literature. The book explores how one imagines national identity and how this concept is revealed in the narratives of the nation and the production of various cultural discourses. The collection of essays examines questions related to the interpretation of the Indian past and present, the meanings of ancient and venerated cultural symbols in ancient times and modern, while discussing the ideological implications of the interpretation of identity and "Indianness" and how they reflect and influence the power-structures of contemporary societies in South Asia. Thus, the book studies the various aspects of the on-going process of constructing, imagining, re-imagining, and narrating "Indianness", as revealed in the literatures and cultures of India.
Diana Dimitrova is Professor of Hinduism and South Asian Religions at the University of Montreal, Canada. She is the author of Western Tradition and Naturalistic Hindi Theatre (2004), Gender, Religion, and Modern Hindi Drama (2008), and Hinduism and Hindi Theater (2016). She is the editor of Religion in Literature and Film in South Asia (2010) and The Other in South Asian Religion, Literature and Film: Perspectives on Otherism and Otherness (2014).
Thomas de Bruijn is an independent scholar and author of Ruby in the Dust: History and Poetry in Padmavat by the South Asian Sufi Poet Mu?ammad Jayasi (2012) and co-editor of Circulation of Culture: Literature in Motion in Early Modern India (2014).
Chapter 1. Of many Indias: alternative nationhoods in contemporary Indian poetry
Chapter 2. Reviewing Nirmal Varma, Jaidev and the Indianness of Indian Literature
Chapter 3. Indianness as a category in literary criticism on Nayi Kahani
Chapter 4. Imagining "Indianness" and modern Hindi drama
Chapter 5. The Indian contexts and subtexts of my text
Chapter 6. Kishorilal Gosvami's Indumati
Chapter 7. Indianness, absurdism, existentialism, and the work of imagination: Vinod Kumar Shukla's Naukar ka kamiz
Chapter 8. 'Subah ki sair' and 'Dusri duniya', two short stories by Nirmal Varma