SOAS University of London

South Asia Department

Narratives of Mobility in Contemporary Hindi Literature (Masters)

Module Code:
Unit value:
Taught in:
Term 2
The course is intended to introduce students to a thematic approach to modern Hindi literary texts that puts literary texts in a wider social and political context. While class discussions will concentrate on textual and stylistic features, generic questions and narrative analysis, discourse analysis and secondary and theoretical readings from the social sciences will also be brought in to highlight the ways in which literary works give expression to concerns, dynamics and visions that belong to social imagination.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

By the end of the course students will have gained direct acquaintance with some of the most significant authors and works of post-1947 Hindi literature, learnt to apply techniques of textual analysis, and reflected upon the strategies needed in order to use literary texts in order to consider broader cultural, social and political questions.


A total of 11 weeks teaching with 2 hours classroom contact per week.

Scope and syllabus

Post-1947 Hindi literature is full of narratives of mobility, change and transformation. While the conventional account speaks of a single journey into modernity, in the shape of alienated individuals, nuclear families and urban anomy (e.g. G. Roadarmel, ‘The Theme of Alienation in the Hindi Short Story’, and Death in Delhi), the reality thrown up by literature appears much more complex, ambivalent and messy. Whether it is the conflicting pulls of old and new gender identities, or the relationship between village and city and region and nation, or the tension between lower caste origin and middle class identity, contemporary Hindi literature offers a vivid picture of how change actually takes place in contemporary India.

The course will consist of seminars during which we will analyse and discuss sample texts in Hindi (stories or chapters from novels), in the light of secondary literature on social transformation. Genres discussed will include regionalist writing, popular fiction, women’s writing and Dalit autobiographies.

Method of assessment

One essay of 5,000 to be submitted on day 1, week 1, term 3 (80%); an oral presentation (20%).

Suggested reading

A comprehensive reading list for this course will be supplied by the convenor at the beginning of the course.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules