There aren’t many international awards that carry as much repute as the Nobel Prize. While the Swedish Academy duly recognized the contribution of the western countries, it kept on ignoring the talents of the rest. In vast countries like India, there is no dearth of talented people, but their contribution went unrecognized for many decades.
Here we look at some Indian writers who surprisingly missed out on the prestigious Nobel prize.
Munshi Premchand: Buoyed by robust idealism, Munshi Premchand’s writings will always enthrall readers. His portrayal of the rural India, exploitation of the poor and peasantry and their raw emotions is at par with all top global authors. ‘Godaan’ (1936) which got translated into “The Gift of a Cow” is overwhelmingly brilliant and speaks volumes about the mettle of Munshi Premchand. Rangbhumi (1925) also testifies his calibre in story-telling and ratifies his mastery over the language. His collection of stories in the 8-part Mansarovar towers above the rest of his time. Stories like ‘Poos ki ek raat‘, ‘Panch Parmeshwar‘, ‘Shatranj ke Khiladi’ deserve special mention.
Ismat Chughtai: ‘The grand dame of Urdu writing in India’, Ismat Chughtai’s outspoken narrative showcased her as a spirited artist of the first order. Her candid narrative allowed her to talk about female sexuality, smashing the genteel and respectable veneer that surrounds such uncomfortable issues. While both Terhi Lakeer and Ziddi are remarkable instances of the feminist novel, it is the short story that spring-boarded her to zenith. Despite ‘Lihaaf’ and ‘Chauthi ka Jorha’ being controversial in nature, her skills are laudable.
Vaikom Muhammad Basheer: Autobiographical in nature, Basheer’s writings with colloquial flavour and touch of sarcasm have earned high accolades among readers. Insight into the human psyche toned down by use of humour makes his writings intriguing. Popular for his autographical touch, Basheer’s books have caught the fancies of many.
Balyakalasakhi or The Childhood Companion (1944), a tragedy, is an all-time favourite among his fans. Other works include Premalekhanam or The Love Letter (1943) and Pathummayude Aadu or Pathumma’s Goat (1959).
Bibhutibhushan Bandhopadhyay: Humanity, lyricism, romanticism and bare truth, his works has it all. Pather Panchali is a perfect Künstlerroman depicting the little joys and mighty sorrows of rural Bengal. Aparajito, Aranyak, Chander Pahar are some of his brilliant works. His writings are so captivating that many were made into feature films.
The world might have ignored the contributions of the stalwarts, but the very presence of their writings have provided a base upon which generations can thrive on for ages.
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