Indira Bai Analysis

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Abstract
This article, by examining and analysing Indira Bai (one of the early novels in Kannada literature), argues that the native intellectual class of India employed the medium of novel not only to critically interrogate their socio-cultural practices in the backdrop of a new consciousness and experiences ushered in by colonial transactions but also to refashion their idea of ‘tradition’ and modernity. Thus, their response to the colonial ‘modernity’ was not merely an act of ‘civilizing mission’ superimposed by the colonial empire but was also an attempt at formulating and framing a narrative of change among the emerging middle class. The paper argues that the postcolonial elite’s attempt to homogenise their experiences as victim subjects
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This paper is an attempt to trace the impact of colonial modernity as represented in Indira Bai (1899) one of the early novels of Kannada literature written by Gulvadi Venkat Rao. The novel locates itself in the dynamics of social change and attempts to construct an idea of modern womanhood, religion, science, culture, and community identity. The novel essentially addresses issues concerning Saraswath Brahmins and tries to reform the community on modern lines. The idea of ‘modern’, though influenced by the colonial version, doesn’t completely comply with its framework. In the process they imagine, invent and construct their own variant of modernity, which would also suitably accommodate their ‘past grand …show more content…
Kanyshulkam by Gurajada Appa Rao(1897) in Telugu, Kamala (1894) by Krupabai Satthianadhan in English, ‘Yamuna Paryatan’ (1857), by Baba Padmanji Mulay in Marathi, and in Bengali Bankimchandra Chattopadhyaya’s Vishvriksha, Krishnakanter Uil , Rabindranath Tagore’s Chokher Bali, Gora, Chaturanga and Jogajog and Saratchandra Chandra’s Pathanirdesh, Shubhada, Charitraheen, Shesh Prashna, Srikanta to name a few, deal with theme of widowhood. Interestingly most of these novels represent the upper castes and at times even centre on Brahmin castes reacting to the challenges and crisis of change ushered in by colonial modernity. As argued by Shivarama Padikkal ‘not all groups at all times produce artefacts which are classified as culture’ and that ‘literary production is one of the modes by which the dominant constructs its reality and history’ (Padikkal, Inventing Modernity 220). These dominant groups, through the process of literary production, were not only self-reflecting on their transformed identities but also were formulating a narrative of change in the public

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