Decentering Rushdie, printed under license from Ohio State University Press, offers a new perspective on the Indian novel in English and interrogates current theories of cosmopolitanism, nationalism, and aesthetics in postcolonial studies. The book works on the contention that Salman Rushdie’s Midnight’s Children which won the Booker Prize in 1981 has dominated all discussions of postcolonial literature in the recent few years with its postmodern style and orientation with the result that the rich variety of narrative forms and perspectives on the nation have been obscured, if not erased altogether.
Reading a range of novels published between the 1950s and the 1990s, including works by Nayantara Sahgal, Kamala Markandaya, Anita Desai, and Arundhati Roy, Decentering Rushdie suggests an alternative understanding of the genre in postcolonial India. Pranav Jani documents the broad shift from nation-oriented to postnationalist perspectives following the watershed crisis of the Emergency of the 1970s. Recovering the ‘namak-halaal cosmopolitanism’ of early novels— a cosmopolitanism that is ‘true to its salt’—Decentering Rushdie also explains the rise and critical celebration of postnational cosmopolitanism. The book resituates contemporary literature within a nuanced history of Indian debates about cosmopolitanism and the national question.
Pranav Jani is Associate Professor, Ohio State University.
Introduction Looking Back
Chapter 1 The Multiple Cosmopolitanisms of the Indian Novel in English
Chapter 2 Dawn of Freedom: Namak-Halaal Cosmopolitanisms in A Time to Be Happy and The Coffer Dams
Chapter 3 Twilight Years: Women, Nation, and Interiority in The Day in Shadow and Clear Light of Day
Chapter 4 After Midnight: Class and Nation in Midnight’s Children and Rich Like Us
Chapter 5 “Naaley. Tomorrow.” Suffering and Redemption in The God of Small Things
Conclusion Looking Ahead