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Novels in the Colonial World

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Novels in the Colonial World - Lesson Summary

Novels developed during the 17 th and the 18 th century in Europe when it was colonising the world. Early English novels like Robinson Crusoe projected the western world as superior and colonised nations as primitive.

Writers in India felt that the novel allowed them to explore their identities and problems. Many Indian novels criticised the defects in society and suggested reforms. Indian novels were used by British administrators and missionaries as a source of information on the social and religious life of Indians.

Colonial historians showed Indians as weak and dependent on the British. Indian writers wrote novels to glorify Indian history and create a sense of national pride in people. Several novels were written about the Rajputs and the Marathas, and celebrated their adventure, heroism and sacrifice. Premchand depicted collective belonging in his novels by showing characters from all strata of society.

Novels created a sense of collective belonging as they were read by people from all walks of life who shared the same language.

Novels began to depict various dialects and variations in a language making the readers familiar with the different ways in which the same language was spoken by different people. Chandu Menon’s novel InduLeka showed how Indian readers could successfully blend western and Indian lifestyles. The novel favoured the growth of silent reading. 

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