Indian Fiction in English

By Prof.Merin Simi Raj   |   IIT Madras
Learners enrolled: 1828
The course intends to provide a comprehensive understanding of fiction written in English in India since its emergence in the 19th century and to introduce the learners to the literary ground covered in major literary histories, anthologies and critical discussions from the 1960s onwards. Apart from a chronological survey, the course will focus on the historical and literary origins of the genre, its political and economic underpinnings, the debates and controversies within the field and the crisis in contemporary literary studies. The objective of the course is also to expose the students to questions of nation, secularism, caste, gender, region and identity inherent in the writings. To enable a more nuanced engagement selected novels will be read and analysed within current critical frameworks such as postcolonialism, feminism, caste studies, historiography studies etc. the new trends in writing and publishing are also discussed in order to give a perspective of the genre in the present century. The pedagogy will include lectures, discussions and presentations by students. The locus of the course will be on peer learning and also on developing the skills for critical enquiry and academic research. The students are expected to read the prescribed novels and critical material. 

INTENDED AUDIENCE: Students, general audience with interest in Fiction

Course Status : Completed
Course Type : Core
Duration : 12 weeks
Start Date : 29 Jul 2019
End Date : 18 Oct 2019
Exam Date : 17 Nov 2019 IST
Category :
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit Points : 3
Level : Postgraduate

Page Visits

Course layout

Week 1: Introduction, background and literary history - From Srinivasa Iyengar, M.K.Naik and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra - Questions of language, legitimacy and nationalism - Regional writing vs. writing in English 
Week 2 : Early novels of the 19th century - Discussions based on Meenakshi Mukherjee’s works - the genealogy of Indian novel - Indulekha - Rajmohan’s Wife 
Week 3 : ‘Gandhi Novels’ of the 1930s-1940s and beyond - From Priyamvada Gopal and Rumina Sethi - Kanthapura - Waiting for the Mahatma 
Week 4: Novels of the 1950s and 1960s - dominant themes and traditions – Post-independence writing - Heat and Dust - The Strange Case of Billy Biswas 
Week 5: Women and Indian Fiction in English - The question of gender, feminist concerns, the idea of ‘home’ - Cry, the Peacock - Nayantara Sehgal 
Week 6: Post-1980s and Rushdie: Writing the Postcolonial Nation - Midnight’s Children - The Shadow Lines 
Week 7: Post-1980s and Rushdie: Writing the Postcolonial Nation - Ice Candy Man - The Hungry Tide - Riot 
Week 8: The region vs. the nation in Indian Fiction in English - Bombay in IE fiction - Writings from the North East - Temsula Ao’s short stories - “The Remains of the Feast” by Gita Hariharan 
Week 9: Caste in Indian Fiction in English - Untouchable - The God of Small Things - A Fine Balance 
Week 10:The global market, Booker events and literary canon - The ‘Stefanian’ writers - Arvind Adiga and
                Kiran Desai 
Week 11: Indian fiction in English in the contemporary
Week 12: ‘Other’ writings 

Books and references


Instructor bio

Dr.Merin Simi Raj
teaches in the Dept.of Humanities and Social Sciences at IIT Madras.Her teaching and research interests include literary historiography, Literary Criticism, Indian writing in English, Postcolonial literature and Narratives of marginality. 

Course certificate

  • The course is free to enroll and learn from. But if you want a certificate, you have to register and write the proctored exam conducted by us in person at any of the designated exam centres.
  • The exam is optional for a fee of Rs 1000/- (Rupees one thousand only).
  • Date and Time of Exams: 17 November 2019, Morning session 9am to 12 noon; Afternoon Session 2pm to 5pm.
  • Registration url: Announcements will be made when the registration form is open for registrations.
  • The online registration form has to be filled and the certification exam fee needs to be paid. More details will be made available when the exam registration form is published. If there are any changes, it will be mentioned then.
  • Please check the form for more details on the cities where the exams will be held, the conditions you agree to when you fill the form etc.

  • Average assignment score = 25% of average of best 8 assignments out of the total 12 assignments given in the course. 
  • Exam score = 75% of the proctored certification exam score out of 100
  • Final score = Average assignment score + Exam score

  • If one of the 2 criteria is not met, you will not get the certificate even if the Final score >= 40/100.
  • Certificate will have your name, photograph and the score in the final exam with the breakup.It will have the logos of NPTEL and IIT Madras. It will be e-verifiable at nptel.ac.in/noc.
  • Only the e-certificate will be made available. Hard copies are being discontinued from July 2019 semester and will not be dispatched

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