The Emergency and the Indian English Novel: Memory, Culture and Politics, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

The Emergency and the Indian English Novel

Memory, Culture and Politics, 1st Edition

By Raita Marjaana Merivirta

Routledge India

256 pages

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Hardback: 9781138312982
pub: 2019-07-01
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This book examines the memory of the National Emergency (1975-1977) in Indian English novels of 1980s and 1990s. It looks at five major, award-winning works: Salman Rushdie’s ‘Booker of Bookers’ Midnight’s Children (1981), Nayantara Sahgal’s Rich Like Us (1985), Shashi Tharoor’s The Great Indian Novel (1989), and Rohinton Mistry’s Such a Long Journey (1991) and A Fine Balance (1995), to show how memories and narratives of the emergency period were constructed in Indian English literature. The author states that these Emergency novels are parallel histories, countering the official narrative presented by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and her government. Read in conjunction with other representations of the period – government white papers and Indira Gandhi’s speeches, examples of the post-Emergency literature, memoirs, biographies and historiography – these novels show how this counter memory rescued what was silenced and forgotten, and gave voice to the victims and the sufferers.

Freedom of speech and expression being one of the most important political debates in the recent years, this book is a timely and useful volume for scholars and researchers of English literature, media studies, cultural studies, political studies, sociology, post-colonial studies, general history and for general readers as well.


"Raita Merivirta’s The Emergency and the Indian English Novel is a significant contribution to the study of Indian English fiction. It persuaded me to rethink some of my ideas about a group of novels I thought I knew well."

Ralph Crane, Professor of English, University of Tasmania, Australia

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Introduction 1. Indian English Novels in the 1980s and The 1990s 2. Midnight’s Children: Preserving Memories for ‘The Amnesiac Nation’ 3. Safeguarding Democracy in The Great Indian Novel 4. Family Ties: Nepotism and Corruption in Rich Like Us 5. The Repressive State Apparatus in Such a Long Journey and A Fine Balance 6. Conclusion. Bibliography.

About the Author

Raita Merivirta has aDoctor of Philosophy from La Trobe University, Melbourne in English. She is Endeavour Research Fellow at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Historiography
HISTORY / Asia / India & South Asia
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / General
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Historical Events
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Politics