These are excerpts which forms the second bit on the introduction to the Indian short story.
In the post-Independence period, the short story has emerged as the most popular literary form only next to the novel, in Indian writing. The short story has been able to document as well as interpret the wide variety of experiences the Indian society has passed through these decades. The modern Indian short story has helped make sense of the content of thoughts and speech in a changing world. With increase in literacy, there also has been an unprecedented growth in the number of periodicals, magazines and journals in all languages of India. The complexity of the modern mind, the need of the creative mind to innovate and the proliferation of periodicals in the print media have together contributed to the making of the modern Indian short story. What the story gains in this period is a greater inwardness of form and deeper understanding of the human life.
At the center of these stories, one often meets a tormented young man/woman
who is unable to reconcile himself/herself to his/her new environment. This
alienation comes from a deep-rooted sense of displacement which is qualitatively
different from the one occasioned by colonialism.
The elitist bias of the short story was brought into relief by another
generation of radical writers who redefined the direction of the short story.
The dalit writers and the woman writers have highlighted issues of caste,
gender, religion and ethnicity in their writing. The significance of the Dalit writing or Bandaya movement or feminist writing is that it has redefined our conceptual categories such as literary tradition, literary imagination and the nature of the literary text.
In Baburao Bagul's stort Mother, the young boy is unable to reconcile the violence of deprivation of his everyday life with the idealized view of mother as 'a river of love and benediction'. It portrays life in an urban slum with rare sympathy.
Writers like Mahasweta Devi look beyond the literary to incorporate issues
like social justice into the thematic range of their writing. This is also true
of several dalit writers who have tried to describe what they went through
without any self-pity.
Writers like, U.R. Anantha Murthy, M.T. Vasudevan Nair, Anita Desai, Mahasweta Devi, Ashokmitran have written on varied topics. Mahasweta Devi has concentrated on dalit and their imposed lifestyle that is wretched.
Rajinder Singh Bedi's Lajwanti written in the mid-sixties is one of ther most poignant stories to come out of the Partition experience. Lajwanti, an abducted woman who is returned finds that she remains an outsider, inspite of being formally accepted by her husband. Sunder Lal now, considers her a 'devi'. In his introduction to Partition stories, Alok Balla writes: Lajwanti longs to cease lamenting for the past, to be accepted as a victim of historical circumstances, to be treated a s human being with flesh and blood, who has endured a lot but not withered when touched, and the above all to be embraced as a woman who is physically alive and longs for the generosity of love.
Works of fiction have the power to exorcise the ghosts fo history. It
is by narrating and recounting events that we overcome the traumas of our lives.
Bedi's Lajwanti helps us to come to terms with one of the darkest
moments in our recent history.