The Great Indian Novel by Shashi Tharoor

The Great Indian Novel is a satirical novel by Shashi Tharoor, first published by Viking Press in 1989. It is a fictional work that takes the story of the Mahabharata, the epic of Hindu history, and recasts and resets it in the context of the Indian Independence Movement and the first three decades post-independence. Figures from Indian history are transformed into characters from mythology, and the mythical story of India is retold as a history of Indian independence and subsequent history, up through the 1980s. Some critics have identified an element of subversion in the novel [1]. The work includes numerous puns and allusions to famous works about India, such as those by Rudyard Kipling, Paul Scott, and E. M. Forster. The Mahabharata is an epic tale describing the historical dynastic struggle over the throne of the kingdom of Hastinapur between the Pandavas and the Kauravas, two branches of the heirs of the King Shantanu. In his novel, Tharoor recasts the story of the nascent Indian democracy as a struggle between groups and individuals closely related by their personal and political histories. Through his cantankerous narrator, Tharoor takes an irreverent tone towards figures such as Mohandas Gandhi and Jawaharlal Nehru, who are ordinarily treated with reverence by Indians. The phrase "great Indian novel" is an allusion to the long-standing idea of the "Great American Novel" and is also a pun, roughly translating "Mahabharata" (maha "great"; Bharata "India"). The Mahabharata, which is not a novel but an epic poem, can be understood, according to Tharoor, to represent Hinduism's greatest literary achievement and thus serves as an appropriate paradigm in which to frame a retelling of recent Indian history. A significant characteristic of Tharoor's version of the story is the emphasis on the older generations (e.g., Bhishma, Dhritarashtra, and Pandu) and the resulting de-emphasis on the actions of the Kauravas and the Pandavas.

The 1308th greatest fiction book of all time

This book is on the following lists:

  1. - 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (The Book)

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Name Binding Sales Rank Lowest New Lowest Used Published
The Great Indian Novel Paperback 2208448 $24.95 $8.21 2011
Great Indian Novel Paperback 2623616 $13.97 $4.52 2014
The Great Indian Novel Hardcover 1322707 $66.87 $7.50 1991
Encyclopaedia Of Great Indian Novels And Novelists Paperback 13238035 $78.99 $12.21 2011
The Ojibway: A Novel of Indian life of the Period of the Early Advance of Civilization in the Great Northwest Paperback 14456383 $20.49 1991
The Ojibway : a novel of Indian life of the period of the early advance of civilization in the great Northwest (1904) Kindle Edition 4581824 1904
The Ojibway: A Novel of Indian Life, of the Period of the Early Advance of Civilization in the Great Northwest (Classic Reprint) Paperback 7844025 $16.57 2017
The Great Indian Novel Paperback 2479003 $44.05 $1.49 1993
The Great Indian Novel Paperback 258122 $24.72 $3.99