Travel Writers' Perspectives on India


To travel is to learn that everyone is wrong about other countries.

Aldous Huxley

The quotation by Aldous Huxley stands relevant for all the travel writers, which is not done consciously. While representing another country, the travel article writer is actually reproducing his own ideas and point of view through series of events and encounters. These ideas can no chance be separated from presumptions and prejudices. However, the travel article writer does not each time tend to show his prejudices but individual psychology is not created on the year or so, but the ideologies are set in a span of centuries. These ideologies works as a steering make for the traveller. At the time of imperialism, India was represented by British authors with a need of authenticating their rule; in addition, it was the representation of ruled by the ruler. Hence, the first British travel writings exhibit conscious reproduction of the prejudices. Along with the change of your time, India ceased to be the imperial colony therefore ceases the necessity of deliberately contesting and detesting, everything and anything within Indian population and Indian culture. Though, the travel writings witnessed a transfer, still, India was represented under a guided guideline of 'imperial nostalgia'. British society kept on taking a look at the subcontinent through imperial sight. The separate identification of India was never set up. By the time the travellers moved in 21st century, things modified drastically, there was an upheaval in critical ideas and economies of all countries. This evolved the travellers' outlook towards the united kingdom colonies. The travellers could now be split into two categories; some may be that of historians and anthropologists, the other is that of creative authors. William Dalyrymple, can be put in the first category, which category viewed India not only through their point of view but through the well explored facts and occurrences. Dalyrymple witnesses India as the history buried in ruins and his travel writings showcase his attitude of making sense of within the light of recent through ruins. The next category suits their needs of creative writings, they present India through the group of reports, and the authenticity of the stories can always be contested. Both Naipaul and Theroux come under this category and both of them present India through series of stories either encountered by them while going or informed to them by the natives. Nothing of the narratives produce the evidence any authentication to the facts as genuine encounters or the concocted report to provide life for some effect. Furthermore, the traveller is usually aware of his ideas and the theme of his writing; he's well familiar with the writing to come, and the narrative to construct. This somehow stimulates the traveller to look for, and collect the occurrences and encounters under the proceeding of one general truth. It is unquestionable idea that the travel writer's eyesight is already objective. He's well aware of the storyplot and the effect his book will produce and in taking up one goal or theme for the work, he obviously look after so many things like the marketplace and viewers, and his experiences, occasions and encounters are centralized to make a e book for his market. Therefore, much of the travel literature eventually ends up making a countable encounters and influences, the cliches of their book. It will always be that the projected narrative constructions the very process of his travelling and not the vice versa. However, it can't be rejected that the narrative produced by the travel copy writer is not only the representation by the writer of his encounters but the writer himself is very much indeed available throughout the narrative. It becomes his representation also, his personality, his likes and ideologies could be observed through his travel narratives. For instance, Darlymple's sources to various literary and non - literary sources prove him as a "New Historicist" who intentionally chases the concepts of 'New Historicism", a theory initiated by Stephen Greenblatt. Darlymple's narrative skills illustrate him as a precise delegate of new critical theory. Though he plays a dual role in exposing British towards Indians, he will try to bring the history at every touch. It appears as if he believes that a attractive event or anecdote has the aftereffect of arousing skepticism about grand historical narratives or essentializing information of your historical period. So he has taken into consideration countless views without neglecting any micro details. He tries to comprehend the present in the stones and information of history. His ease at confering both the physical & temporal places of the administrative centre of India makes him a perfect guide to its recent and present. Concisely, one can attribute him as the true follower of the idea of 'New Historicism' without second thoughts.

It is through colonial nostalgia that western travel authors of the postcolonial age perpetuate the colonial ideology of United kingdom benevolence and superiority. Though Uk Empire has retreated from its past colonies since long, the stereotypical and derogatory representation of India in American travel writings still exist. Although contemporary travel writers attempt to undermine the colonial discourse, they cannot help adopting a superior approach while describing their ex - colonies and folks. This is prominently observed in the travel narratives of V. S Naipaul and Paul Theroux. William Dalrymple, whose profile is delightful narration of Indian record through the ruins of monuments and Indian custom, his writings on India are no exception to it. He presents hijras as ruins of historical eunuchs in City of Djinns. Through this, Dalyrymple could be seen representing the united states as exotic and technologically backward to that of European countries. He boasts that, "Yet today eunuchs have apparently died out almost everywhere except in the subcontinent. . . In all there are usually some three-quarters of an million of these are making it through" (Djinns 170) reveals the united states as unchanging and mystical despite globalization. He narrates the storyplot of Indian backwardness and European improvements in technology through his unconscious contrast; he rates such eunuchs ". . . . . . . have full making love change. But in India the technology for this does not can be found" (Djinns 180). Such representations echo the ideology where Western world can be regarded as innovative, modernized, adopted and more advanced than the East which western consumerism sometimes appears as a weakness of the non-western people. This establishes an undeniable fact that nobody can totally snap out the relation with his recent. Countries are travelled, interpreted and represented through the comparisons with an increase of powerful and this immediately puts the weaker country at a location of disregard and ignorance. This however, does not mean that the representations are always incorrect or myths. The largest actuality and hard luck of the subcontinent is the faulty Indian bureaucracy and the supervision, this confirms high rank in the set of negatives in every the travel writings about India.

The travellers could start to see the faults more prominently than any development or the fight for personality by the Indian subcontinent, could be explained through the following quote.

The profound hypocrisy and inherent barbarism of bourgeois civilization lays launched before our eyes, turning from its home, where it assumes reputable varieties, to the colonies, where it will go naked. Performed they not, in India, to acquire an expression of this great robber, Lord Clive himself, vacation resort to atrocious extortion, when simple corruption cannot keep pace with their rapacity? While they prated in European countries about the inviolable sanctity of the countrywide debt, did they not confiscate in India the dividends of the rajahs, who experienced invested their private personal savings in the Company's own funds? While they combated the French revolution under the pretext of defending "our holy religion, " do they not forbid, at exactly the same time, Christianity to be propagated in India, and have they not, to be able to earn a living from the pilgrims streaming to the temples of Orissa and Bengal, take up the trade in the murder and prostitution perpetrated in the temple of the Juggernaut? These are the men of "Property, Order, Family, and Religious beliefs. "

Karl Marx, The New-York Daily Tribune. 22 July, 1853

The hypocrisy of western has been an important part of their rhetoric. It is through this hypocrisy that they have succeeded in creating a great face back home while being atrocious and ignorant about all of those other world. They have established themselves as superiors and the role has transformed as time passes from that of rulers to the helpers still maintain the supremacy and travel narratives has ever played a essential role in doing that. No doubt with time the prejudiced side of the travel writers has eventually died out giving birth to new impartial travel freelance writers like William Dalyrymple but nonetheless the imperial nostalgia could be sensed guiding their writings. The condition actually does not lie in the representations however the label of non-fiction given to them, a reader immediately will consider the narrative as something has actually happened with the writers and therefore the publication becomes an genuine representation of the visited modern culture by the person of high intellect and the first hands encounters. The reader starts off taking a look at the narrative as the actual fact file about the area. This is evident in the travel narratives about India, all the three authors' repeat almost similar incidents and problems in the country hence emblematising them for the country. Failure of beauracracy, traffic guidelines, might is right, VVIP system everything is given a due importance in the representations. However, not everyone has experienced these problems, Theroux has seen India through the windowpane of teach and on the platforms and there only he starts checking the caste department in Indian modern culture with the course system in trains. All the three writers is seen witnessing what actually they wanted to see. William Dalyrymple, being truly a historian sees background just about everywhere in Delhi and he turns up as an admirer of metropolis as he switches into depth of the roots of the town. Despite of the fact that all three represents almost the same situations but the show amplified difference between the perspectives and the observations created by a historian, which is William Dalyrymple, an Indian Diasporic writer, V. S. Naipaul and a european article writer, Paul Theroux. India sometimes appears through different perspectives by different authors, hence represented differently.

Their exist a between ethnic translations and the representational fallacies of contact areas. Cultural translations are done while writing a travel narrative and the motive in it is the main element to comprehend these fallacies which may be grasped as misrepresentations or skipped representations. It really is true that one factors about the country can be so generalized by the natives that each goes un-noticed by them but are immediately captured by the foreign observer. However, this is usually to be understood that we now have certain factors which can be overlooked by these vacationers also, reason may be any. Dalyrymple's books City of Djinns and The Age of Kali both mentions the issues he has faced while residing in India, as a producing country. The issues range from water, electricity, traffic jams to problems at the passport office, but his catalogs does not focus only on these problems. Additionally he unfailingly declares about the potential customers in this country, he discusses the rich history whereas, Naipaul says it as a country without the history. Theroux rely by himself western knowledge about the subcontinent imbibed by him through books and friends like Naipaul. This becomes an noticeable real truth when Theroux does not touch even the corners of his in depth studies. Dalrymple agrees that there will be certain things which he as a copy writer will not be in a position to understand but his curiosity to comprehend them makes him a good keener observer of his surroundings and a pointed researcher. William Dalyrymple visited India when he was very young in January 1984 and since then, never kept India rather he's reluctant to live anywhere else. Within an interview he said, "I've never appeared back. . . never really still left India, '' which, "I am enthusiastic about the country and just cannot think of living somewhere else, '' The India which appears to be a place of degradation to Naipaul and prone place for westerner to Paul, for Dakyrymple, it has been a country full of earlier and enthusiastic towards future. He said, "Surviving in India has been so enriching. EASILY got maybe five more lives I'd want to are in India and I'd find increasingly more stories to create about. ''

No, there are millions of Indias. Everybody has their own India and I think from the nonsense development, "a genuine India". The real India might be the India of the villages and certainly there's a lot to be said to the fact that India's heart is based on its villages. -----interview

These lines spoken by Dalyrymple in an interview supplies the conclusion, that India is such a great country, with huge variety that it might be nonsense to convey that one individual recognizes everything about the subcontinent. Despite of regular and untiring researches, still something someplace will be left worth talking about. Moreover, the reality of one generation has to turn into a myth for the next generation and for this reason, the travel writings can never be considered traditional for long period of time. Thus, Travel books start burning off their authenticity with time, most trustworthy account will convert as a rest or at least can look as biased representation. All the three writers, detest their own observations on their re-arrival in the subcontinent. Though they provide the name of development or change to it, still it points out to the fact that no representation can ever be said 'true' or 'truth'. Additionally, the fictitious persona of the non-fictions is defined by these creators themselves.

". . . . . . Travel writing is the cheapest form of literary self-indulgence: dishonest complaining, creative mendacity, pointless heroics, and chronic posturing, a lot of it distorted with Munchausen symptoms" (Ghost Teach to the Eastern Legend 1)

As very good as India is concerned, all the three writers represent it according with their need and necessity, V. S. Naipaul's quest of finding his ties with the subcontinent and lastly declaring himself, the person of nation, due to his alienness to the area, Theroux observations through the window of trains, systems and railway bazaars, and Dalytymple's information in the annals of mughal India through its ruins and the colonial nostalgia, could be seen evidently through their works. The introduction of the subcontinent keeps different so this means, therefore different representation for all of them, Naipaul view it as degradation, as the finish of Gandhian India, Theroux see it as mimicry of western world and Naipaul discovers it as change of historical time, with history turning out to be ruins and new face of India, ignorant of the annals, coming forward. All the three writers see India according with their own perspectives which definitely are guided by their ethnical, national and scholarly backdrop. Do not require could see the subcontinent in isolation, hence impartial. India has sometimes symbolized, sometimes misrepresented and majority of the time, it's the victim of missed representations. Things are overlooked anticipated to either lack of research, over generalisation of the reality and sometimes the traveller cannot see some facts typically available around, credited to his rigorous assessment of the subcontinent to the western world. Through these travel writings India has been through an activity of emblematization, certain features have been made the emblem for India like poverty, squatters, filth, dirt and grime and corruption. It is not to say that these things aren't present however the argument is there are certain other activities too that desire a mention. The facts about India symbolized in these narratives were the result of previously chalked out plan of venturing and representing. Each writer has represented exactly what they had made a decision to represent which has been showed through the analysis of the texts and titles. India has been translated by the writers and not represented; no country can ever be displayed as you'll find so many interfering causes which can't ever allow the representation to be impartial and exact. Thus, the narratives are translation as they provide actual translation of whatever is known by them, expression to expression, event to event, without reference to the past and present of the occasions. They see waters in temples stagnating and they translate this simple fact as discovered by them without even taking into consideration the known reasons for the stagnation when the sanctity still contains. If it could have been a representation, it would have been a larger project of locating the roots because of this massive change, from sanctity to stagnation. However, whatever is produced by them must be used as true bank account,

"As Greenblatt reminds us, the eyewitness, real or not, functions rhetorical technique to persuade the reader of the "authenticity" of what is reported" (Holland and Huggan 16).

Through the reading of these texts a very important factor that comes as a visible feature of the study, that there are actually no contact zones available, yes there may be domination zones but the idea of contact zones is itself a myth. The representation fallacies of the contact zones claim for the tag of nonfiction to be changed. India is apparently a country of transfer and transformation, although transformation matching to Naipaul and Theroux is much of the mimicry of western world. Still all the three writers authenticate the development, positive or negative, through their observations and translations.

The summary of the study can be demonstrated through the figure below

Each of the author exhibits the high prejudiced way towards the united states but to elaborative influence of their past understanding of the subcontinent and over the course of time, when the number of visits increases this interference of the past knowledge is reduced because of the own private observations which extends to a threshold and the point of view of historian is developed. William Dalyrymple could develop a broader perspective and may see a whole lot which remains unrecognised by Naipaul and Theroux, owes too much to his scholarly record of being a historian. One or two visits can never be sufficient for understanding the culture and tradition of any country. It requires an intensive acquaintance with the dynamics of misconceptions and lores of the country to see and reproduce the culture of one country. Today's can never can be found in isolation; it will always be guided by the past, the notion, religions, lores and the traditions. To understand, today's one need to understand the past and the entire architectonics of the forming pushes of days gone by, this will not only are the major personalities and societies but the small tribes and individuals who otherwise seem to be unimportant. There exist a relation between visits and prejudices which connection is inversely proportional. Therefore, scribbling on the newspaper whatever sometimes appears can no chance be genuine representation, as few months of stay static in any country can't be sufficient in reaching the threshold. This aspect for the major mistake of translations and that is, these translations are created after offering an ariel view to the people and their modern culture. Representations, somehow needs much considerable and rigorous digging of the past for making sense of present.

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