Cultural Plurality in Indian Fiction: Understanding the Indian Identity through R.K. Narayan

Divyali Mehrotra
Symbiosis School for Liberal Arts


India’s identity consists of several facets, and defining the national identity of a culturally plural land is a difficult task; an even more challenging task is the representation of this diversity in works of art and literature. R.K. Narayan’s works have been said to put Indian literature on the map, and the fictional town of Malgudi on the literary map. He brought a small-town India, in an experiential manner, to the forefront and gave the world a peek into Indian society. With such a large reach, the question of what the Indian identity is and the influences on the depiction of this identity become important. This study aims at tracing the depiction of cultural plurality in Indian fiction through the works of R.K. Narayan and the way he shapes the Indian identity in his stories. The study will utilise a narrative approach and textual analysis to answer the research question.

Keywords: Cultural Pluralism, Indian Identity, RK Narayan, Indian society, Indian Literature