Indian Modernities : Literary Cultures from the 18th to the 20th Century book cover
1st Edition

Indian Modernities
Literary Cultures from the 18th to the 20th Century

Edited By

Nishat Zaidi

  • Available for pre-order on June 9, 2023. Item will ship after June 30, 2023
ISBN 9781032280127
June 30, 2023 Forthcoming by Routledge India
290 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This volume studies the ways in which modernity has been conceived, practiced, and performed in Indian literatures from the 18th to 20th century. It brings together essays on writings in Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Odia, Gujarati, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, and languages from Northeast India, which form a dialogical relationship with each other in this volume. The concurrence and contradictions emerging through these studies problematize the idea of modernity afresh.


The book challenges the dominance of colonial modernity through socio-historical and cultural analysis of how modernity surfaces as a multifaceted phenomenon when contextualized in the multilingual ethos of India. It further tracks the complex ways in which modernism in India is tied to the harvests of modernity. It argues for the need to shift focus on the specific conditions that gave shape to multiple modernities within literatures produced from India.


A versatile collection, the book incorporates engagements with not just long prose fiction but also lesser-known essays, research works, and short stories published in popular magazines. This unique work will be of interest to students and teachers of Indian writing in English, Indian literatures, and comparative literatures. It will be indispensable to scholars of South Asian studies, literary historians, linguists, and scholars of cultural studies across the globe.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Entanglements of Indian Modernities: Poetics, Praxis, Possibilities in Literary Cultures  from 18th to 20th Century

Nishat Zaidi


Part I

Performing Modernity, Affecting Modernism


A: Intimations of Modernity


1.    Registers of the New: Translating Modernity in 19th and 20th Century India

     Supriya Chaudhuri


2.    Tagore and the Modern

      Sukanta Chaudhuri


3.    Provincializing Modernity: From Imagined Community to Communitarian Imaginaries in Malayalam Fiction

      E. V. Ramakrishnan


4.    Past Continuous: Munshi, Gujarat and the Patan trilogy

     Rita and Abhijit Kothari


B: Trajectories of Modernism


5.    B.S. Mardhekars Interliterary Poetics and the Emergence of avant-garde modernism in Marathi

     Sachin C. Ketkar


6.    oody Modernism: Miraji becomes Sappho

      Geeta Patel


7.    Nayī Kahānī and the 1950s Hindi middlebrow magazine

     Aakriti Mandhwani


8.    Dark Dispatches of Modernity and Nation Making: A Rereading of Nirmal Verma’s Dark Dispatches

     Bharti Arora


Part II

Modalities, Movements, Histories



9.     Fashioning Readers: Canon, Criticism and Pedagogy in the Emergence of Modern Oriya Literature

      Pritipushpa Mishra


10.  Punjabi Kissa: Negotiating Modernities and Mediums

       Akshaya Kumar


11. “A People’s Literature”: Reimagining Telugu Literary History

        Rama Sundari Mantena


12.  Progressivism and Tamil Modernity: Tracing the History of Progressive Literature in Tamil, 1940-1970

      Rajesh Venkatasubramanian


13.  An/Other Modernity: The Politics of Literary Cultures in Northeast India”

      Sukalpa Bhattacharjee     



Part III

Translating Modernity


14.  Negotiating Modernity: Translation as a Critique of the Orientalist Agenda with Special Reference to Tamil

     C T Indra


15. Translation and the Making of Modern Kannada Literature: English Geetagalu as a Canonical Text

     Tharakeshwar V.B.


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Nishat Zaidi is Professor and former Head, Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India.