This post will contain excerpts of introductions. Plural, because, the book contains two introductions. A little about the book. An anthology of short stories, published by the Sahitya Akademi. It is divided into two portions. Both contain introductions, which explain the awakening, the realization that was spreading through-out the country. Being divided on the basis of time, the first from 1900-1950 and the second from 1950-2000. Staunchly revered by me, in the same manner in which father worships Purushotamma by Yashvant Chittal. Flipping those pages, makes me discover something new, every time.
Here are the lines, i admire.
During the course of the century, the Indian short story has gone though several mutations. They have evolved in style and substance to emerge as the most vibrant literary form in modern Indian literature. Tagore, Premchand, Manto....
The development of short story as a literary form owes a great deal to the ascendancy of prose and popularity of the periodical press.... The gradual emergence of a public sphere under the influence of the freedom struggle necessitated extensive use of prose in combating and creating ideological positions and public opinions.... No other form reflects the polyphony and plurality of Indian cultural life as the short story.
Languages like Dogri, Konkani, Maithili, Rajathani and Kashmiri were late in discovering the potential of this popular form. (Bal Kaka and Nono - Ved Rahi, in Dogri is one of the best short stories that i've come across.)
A little insight into another of my favorites.
This society was riven by tragic divisions of caste, gender and class. Premchand's Kafan is as much about differences and dispossession as about psychological scars left economic deprivation. This is a rare story that brings about the invisible violence inflicted by poverty in all its starkness. Ghisu in his sixty years of existence has rarely had a square meal. He still remembers the feast at the thakur's wedding where he ate his stomach full. The father and son get drunk with the money that are given by the zamindar for the funeral of the son's wife. They sing, dance and fall down in a stupor. Premchand makes no explicit comments on the feudal system and the deprivation and dehumanization it inflicts on its victims'. But the story eloquently communicates the condition of the dalits in rural India. When Mrinal Sen made a film based on this story, he chose the setting of an Andhra village, thus confirming its relevance and appeal for the entire India.
The short story was one of the mediums that helped us imagine the nation.
the stories collected here document 'the pulse of the nation' during the most
turbulent times. These stories do not essentialize India and reduce it to some
simplistic abstractions. Perhaps this is why we need more fiction than