Multiplicity of Voices in Indian English Novels: a Postcolonial Study Sample Essay

A foundational text in the treatment of postcoloniality is Edward Said’s Orientalism. Said identifies how the western universe “spoke” for and represented the Orient. while the Orient was kept soundless to keep and let this place of power for the westerner. In Said’s Orientalism. he gives a brief history of these phenomena he identifies and describes. He says. [ t ] aking the late 18th century as a really approximately defined get downing point Oriental studies can be discussed and analyzed as the corporate establishment for covering with the Orient—dealing with it by doing statements about it. authorising positions of it. depicting it. by learning it. settling it. governing over it ; in short. Orientalism as a Western manner for ruling. restructuring. and holding authorization over the Orient.

An of import point of Said’s construct of Orientalism is that in the western literature written about the Orient. the west “spoke for” the Orient. therefore controlling/containing by contradicting the Orient’s ain voice. He says of Flaubert’s Egyptian concubine that “she ne’er radius of herself. she ne’er represented her emotions. presence. or history. He spoke for and represented her” . The concubine was soundless. Because of the ethnocentricism of Europeans. “Orientals were seldom seen or looked at ; they were seen through. analyzed non as citizens. or even people. but as jobs to be solved or confined” . as “silent shadows to be animated by the Orientalist” . “The Orient” was a consistent. inactive entity of survey. Within a citation by Gertrude Bell ( “in all the centuries the Arab has bought no wisdom from experience” ) . Said recognizes denegation with the usage of “the Arab” “such as to pass over out any hints of single Arabs with narratable life histories” . Alternatively. harmonizing to Said. what was absent in modern-day Western civilization was “the Orient as a truly felt and experienced force” .

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Against this inactive position of the Orient. Said recognizes the force per unit area of narrative: “Narrative asserts the power of work forces to be born. develop. and dice. the inclination of establishments and actualities to change” Said identifies the “complex kineticss of human life” as what he calls “history as narrative. ” . Speaking of literature. Said says. one of the dramatic facets of the new American social-science attending to the Orient is its remarkable turning away of literature. What seem to count far more to the regional expert are “facts. ” of which a literary text is possibly a disturber. The net consequence of this singular skip. . . is to maintain the part and its people conceptually emasculated. reduced to “attitudes. ” “trends. ” statistics ; in short. dehumanized. Since an Arab poet or novelist [ . . . ] writes of his experiences. of his values. of his humanity. he efficaciously disrupts the assorted forms by which the Orient is represented. A literary text speaks more or less straight of a life world.

Said ends his survey of Orientalism by stating “Orientalism failed to place with human experience. failed besides to see it as human experience” and that he desires to see a challenge to the worldwide hegemony of Oriental studies with his book as a part to this challenge.

Said assuredly proves his thesis. but today there is a really dry state of affairs in footings of the state of India and the thesis of Said’s book. Today. alternatively of wanting silence on the portion of the Orient. the western universe seems to be hotfooting to the doors of the Orient—to India in particular— to hold the Orient now speak for them. Today. in the United States. when you call about a job with some concern history. alternatively of talking to person in the United States. you will most probably be talking to person in any figure of eastern ( Oriental ) call-centers. Harmonizing to a 2006 CNN intelligence study. 85 % of all outsourcing contracts are with India. Besides in 2006 Reuters published consequences of a study that indicted that New Delhi is the “most attractive metropolis in the world” for outsourcing. The following six slots were besides filled by Indian cities— Bangladore. Hyderabad. Mumbai. Pune. Chennai. and Kolkata. So. when “Megan” replies your call from the United States about a recognition card measure. you really probably could be talking to “Nalini” in Pune.

Besides. in the publication concern. after the phenomenal success of Arundhati Roy’s foremost novel The God of Small Things ( and her phenomenal million-dollar progress ) . publishing houses “descended on India” in what William Dalrymple authorship in The Observer called “a major printing feeding-frenzy” seeking new Indian writers. One of the grounds for this “feeding-frenzy” is that today Indian novels seem to rule best seller lists. and. in peculiar. the honored Man Booker Prize list. ( Roy won the award in1997. ) The award was awarded to Salman Rushdie in 1981 for Midnight’s Children. which in 1993 was designated the “Booker of Bookers” as the best novel to win in the first 25 old ages of the award and so “The Best of the Booker” in 2008 for the best novel to win in the forty-year history of the award. Several Indian authors have been on the short-list of possible victors. and in 2006 Karim Desai. the girl of Anita Desai. an Indian author who antecedently had two of her ain books on the short list for the BookerPrize. won the honored award. The most recent Indian victor ( 2008 ) was Aravind Adiga for his novel The White Tiger.

Indian films besides seem to earn strong involvement to the extent that the Indian-written. India- filmed Slumdog Millionaire was nominated for 10 academy awards in 2009 and won eight the most for any film of 2008. including the esteemed award for Best Picture of the twelvemonth. Other Indian-made films besides have won great spectator coverage. Mark Lorenzen. in his survey of “Bollywood. ” made up of movie and media companies in Mumbai. India. writes. “Producing approximately 1100 movies yearly. dual that produced by USA. India is the world’s largest movie manufacturer. Bollywood. with an estimated 3. 6 billion tickets sold globally in 2001 ( compared to Hollywood’s 2. 6 billion ) . is arguably one of the world’s most fecund cultural clusters” .

Based on this proliferation of Indian outsourcing call centres and the success of Indian novels and films. it seems that. alternatively of silence. the West is now anticipating something rather different from the East. Alternatively of silence. the West now desires talking. But what does this speech production truly intend? Does this speech production carry the same power that Said identifies as the westerner’s when he spoke for the Orient? Are the listeners of these voices hearing truth and an honorable portraiture of the Indian voice? Within this speech production. is at that place any remainder of what Ngugi wa Thiong’O calls the “colonization of the mind” ? Peter Morey says that “in relation to our cardinal concern with narrative and power. the issue one time once more becomes one of narrative as resistance” . Where Oriental studies failed to place with human experience by hushing the Oriental. the many Indian texts today represent personal narrations. challenges to the hegemony of Orientalism. therefore giving “voice” to human experiences of Indian people. .


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