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Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology
Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021
ISSN: 2582-0974 [121] www.mejast.com
Country: India
Contemporary India in its Socio-Political Paradigm: A Study of Gita Mehta‟s Select Works
Dr. Prakash Bhadury1
& Ms. Aparna Mishra2
1
Assistant Professor of English, Email: prakashbhadury@gmail.com
2
M.A. English, Email: aparna028mishra@gmail.com
Copyright: ©2021 Prakash Bhadury & Aparna Mishra. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution
License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Article Received: 28 February 2021 Article Accepted: 31 May 2021 Article Published: 30 June 2021
1. Introduction
The present paper focuses on Gita Mehta‟s select works dealing with India in its socio-political paradigm and it is
an uphill task to explain the varied mosaic of Indian society in brief starting from Indus valley civilization to
modern times and Mehta has made a brilliant attempt in touching the pulse in exact places of the most older of
civilizations as if reading her is touching a live bare wire of vibrancy and depth of Indian culture and its wrongful
assumption by the non-serious beholders, readers or foreigners. In the tradition of Indian writing in english (IWE),
Mehta as the contemporary women writers of India has been quite straight to the heart of the issues shunning away
from any fixed beliefs or any colorings. She performs the role of an artist showing all the facts through fiction
while putting aside all subjectivity and personal resentment. Her observation about India, her country of origin has
been two fold-as insider and as outsider, both at a time as she tours India every year for keeping in touch with her
mother land. In all the four fiction and collections of essays as nonfiction, „she takes delight in the variety and the
vitality of the people‟ (Joshi: 21). Of course, she has little patience with cowardice, corruption, or hypocrisy. As the
paper deals the author‟s endeavour to expose the unevenness of Indian polity, political leaders and followers, the
readers feel amused. Hence, a brief background is discussed that can hint as to author‟s making.
2. Literary Career and Making of the Author
Gita Mehta was born in 1943 to a family extremely active in the struggle for Indian independence. She is the
daughter of Biju Patnaik, a famous Indian freedom fighter who later on became the major political leader of Orissa.
She was born into a community of freedom fighters who were often forced to go underground because of their
political actions. Only several weeks after her birth, her father was imprisoned for his political activities. Young
Gita was growing up in the middle of such freedom activities. Her family‟s indulgence into freedom movement
often created fluid situations. She often found her father in jail and her mother kept tracing him from jail to jail. She
happened to be the war correspondent with NBC (USA) to cover the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and she witnessed the
ABSTRACT
Mehta had written fiction and non-fiction juxtaposing tradition and modernity, fact and fiction, East and West, often exposing the reality in as much
as she synthesizes the roots of Indian culture, tradition and peoples’ aspirations of contemporary India through the thesis and antithesis of various
dimensions of Indian Socio –political Paradigm. Present paper endeavors to look into India’s socio political and cultural values and its dilution or
deterioration in modern time. Four major works have been chosen which examines her observations since independence to modern time while
referring India’s deep cultural and spiritual values of five thousand years. Karma Cola speaks of influx of foreigners to India during the rise of
Hippie culture of 1960s and the degeneration of values thereof. Raj, a fiction reveals how life was lived in a princely state under colonial period
through the eyes of an Indian woman. In A River Sutra the focus shifts towards Indian culture, its diversity, Indian religions and myth. The novel
clarifies Indian spiritual values. Snake and Ladder satirizes the deplorable socio-poetical condition of the country. Methodology adopted is
analytical and contrastive study of the facts and fiction to have a right assessment of contemporary India in its socio-political paradigm.
Keywords: Culture, Corruption, Dynasty, Freedom, Karma, Politics.
Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology
Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021
ISSN: 2582-0974 [122] www.mejast.com
birth of Bangladesh. She also made documentary on election in the erstwhile princely states. This firsthand
experience widened her horizons further. Her journalistic background gave her „keen political insight founded on
thorough investigation and not on mere assumptions‟ (Sandhya: 7). Thus, her works become smart investigation
into the people, ideas, history and personalities that have shaped modern India. Since four major works have been
taken for analysis, I would discuss on each in order to show Mehta‟s vivid pen picture of contemporary India.
Karma Cola 1979: Mehta began her fiction writing with Karma Cola in 1979. It is an amalgam of Karma, an Indian
concept and Cola, a western drink. This first book is a series of interconnected essays weaving her impressions of
India‟s mysticism with ironic wit and sarcasm. Karma Cola is a work of non-fiction by Mehta‟s terse and brisk
prose. Indian philosophy and the concept of Karma turned into pseudo-spirituality and sold by mediocre sellers to
mediocre buyers. It yields dangerous results. The desire of these buyers to attain self-realization in instant ways is
childish. The book opens with the chapter titled as Reinventing the Wheel. It is a satirically spoken as to how the
term, „karma‟ is trivialized and how it has become a symbol of commodity. It smacks on Western depictions of
India‟s spirituality. On reading the book, one could see that the author has taken the issue for drawing our attention
to fact rather than any vague, half-baked explanation of our culture. Rather, she has dealt with the topic from wider
perspective and deeper insight.
Karma Kola examines the stories of the foreigners who were exploited callously by the so called gurus. The book
shows as to how cheap popularity and vulgar patronization had put Indian culture as market commodity and as
salable product in the West. This implication is justified by the sub title, „Marketing the mystic East‟. The chaos
that the author is talking about took place because of the invasion of the Hippies from the USA, closely followed by
the Beatles and the Rolling Stones1
. The central focus is put on the Hippy culture2,
the groups of which came to
India and took refuge in the holy places around the Ganga starting from Rishikesh to Varanasi. Hippies became
known as flower children and their influence as flower power. Their philosophy came to be epitomized by the
Beatles‟ song “All You Need is Love” (Joshi: 17). Some other aspects of their lifestyle were sexual libertarianism;
communal living characterized by free and love relationships and extensive travel. These aspects quickly
superseded the original philosophy of the movement. Finally, it degenerated into wide spread drug abuse, indulging
into orgy and violence. The Hippy culture was reflected in Dev Annand‟s “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”.
The locals knew the corruptions involved, yet they kept silent for their selfish gain in economy. High sounding
words like Karma, Nirvana and Maya, the Indian culture and spiritual thought became cheap concepts, bereft of
truth and reality. Karma became a crude joke. The myth of the mystic East and the materialistic West; and the
antithetical nature of the Occidental and Oriental; all these aspects come under the author‟s scrutiny and a new
direction is given to the theme of „East-West encounter‟. Mehta shows India is emerging as an exhibition item. As
a global mercantile tool India finds herself as an object of other‟s consumption.
The core idea behind the work is a misconception of the Westerners that India can be explained to anyone and
everyone can understand the subtle spiritual and mythological aspects. At this point, it is to note what Karma really
means. Karma in terms of Gita and Swami Vivekananda has one goal which is purification of human heart. In the
Bible, Jesus too makes it clear: “blessed are those, pure in heart/ for they shall see God:” (Vivekananda vol.2: 63).
Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology
Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021
ISSN: 2582-0974 [123] www.mejast.com
Lord Krishna has made the meaning of Karma so vivid and the same is explained afresh by Vivekananda as the
goal of Karma is disinterested work with the aid of Viveka and vairagya3
. Lord Krishna spoke of Karma as a means
to the end of self-knowledge and infinite bliss; his focus was on the disinterestedness of Karma- action. If one reads
Upanishads, one finds the strong adherents of janna, bhakti, yoga; all rivalled among themselves, each claiming
superiority for its own chosen path. No one tried to reconcile. The author of the Gita did. That‟s the take away home
of the Gita: „The reconciliation of the different paths of Dharma, and work without desire or attachment- these are
the two special characteristics of the Gita. (Vivekananda 4: 105).
The book suggests that the author is stirring on the followers and smug mentality of the gurus. With least
knowledge of the Oriental philosophy they have rushed to India. Lack of knowledge can be compensated by intense
study, but from where would they bring the Oriental frame of mind and frame of reference. It is shown that the
westerners are escapists and not capable enough to „unlearn their frame of reference‟ (Patel: 63). The book has been
an eye opener for one and all for making the meaning of sex and sexuality clear in Indian perspectives which is
rooted, essentially to our long tradition and spirituality. The role of sanyasi as made clear is not secular pleasure but
a life of renunciation and in service to others. The erotic carvings in our temples such as in Khajuraho and Konarak
are often misunderstood, but the lofty ideal behind those is making the mind unwavering to external trappings for
the higher purpose of spiritual pursuits. The external and internal riddles are juxtaposed.
Raj (1989): It is a third person narration by an omniscient narrator who presents the story of Jaya – a princess. The
novel is divided in four books: Balmer, Sirpur, Maharani and Regent that shows Jaya‟s formative period to Indian
independence. The whole story is knitted in terms of Jaya‟s upbringing, her married life and widowhood and her
„metamorphosis‟ through these years (Joshi: 120). Thus, Raj could be read from feminist perspectives. The major
portion of the narration is through the consciousness of Jaya. Weaving the contemporary political and historical
threads, the narrator guides the readers through Jaya‟s birth till the end of the novel when she fills up her application
for the first election in independent India. After formative years in home where she grew up in restrictions, she
came to another life of captivity and bondage with her marriage in which a major time is spent in Harem along with
other concubines of the prince. Life in Harem is pitiable and degrading. Women are treated as commodity. They are
deprived of learning, personality development and exposure to the larger world. They struggle to satisfy the
demands of their husbands:
But suppose your husband thinks your breasts are too small. Suppose your husband does not approve of
your dark skin. Or does not think green eyes are becoming in a woman. How will you keep his interest
then? We poor creatures must use every aid to keep a man’s affection constant (Raj: 104-105).
The author has referred to the concept of sati in the novel more than once. When a widowed woman, immediately
after her husband‟s death, immolates herself on her husband‟s funeral pyre is termed as Sati tradition. By
portraying widows like Jaya and Maharani Jai Singh, Mehta explains that a widow is not unclean or unholy; nor
does she bring bad luck. She implies that sati means a virtuous woman. A sati is one who is brave enough to carry
on her life in the absence of husband. The concept of sati runs through the novel in different forms. Maharani Jai
Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology
Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021
ISSN: 2582-0974 [124] www.mejast.com
Singh achieves a reputed status of Sati Mata. It is not any supernatural or miraculous power that imparts her the
status; it is the philanthropy and her vision for the welfare of the public that earns her reputation.
The other gloomy side is that the princes and kings indulge into extra marital affairs with foreign ladies and actress.
Through an ironic example as to the callous extravagance of the ruler of the Nawab of Junagadh who spends money
for his dog‟s marriage, builds hospitals for animals but he does not show any charity for human beings. There are
fans and fire places for his eight hundred animals. While the primary requirements of people are not fulfilled, his
dogs are fed from gold and silver dishes. Mehta also hints at the ancient policies of governance. The welfare of the
subject, all round development of the subject, security, peace and justice, of people were the basic principles of
governance in those days. The author has put the ideal governance policies in the mouth of the Raj Guru “These are
the four arms of the kingship. A king must tend his people. He must provide for their welfare. He must be
implacable in dispensing justice. A king must intrigue with other powers for the welfare of his state.” (Raj, p 98.). It
reminds of Dual rule of British Empire. Thus, the novel displays three important dimensions in parallel: women‟s
subjugation in Indian society; the decadent state of the princely states; and the dehumanizing condition of British
Raj.
A River Sutra (1993): The novel speaks on the tales of passion, enchantment, love, values, ideals, myth, all spoken
through stories within story which is called frame narrative in the tradition of Boccaccio‟s Decameron or Chaucer‟s
The Canterbury Tales. The novel is built around India‟s holy river the Narmada. The energy of the novel is formed
through the deep veins of Indian culture and mythology. The prose as a whole is meditation on the country‟s secular
humanist traditions. Classical Sanskrit drama, Hindu mythology, Sufi poetry, Indian classical music and much
more have been reflected and reiterated in the work. Though the novel creates many India, it is the perennial India
that holds the interest of the author as well as the readers. The Narmada stands for the culture of oneness and the
theme of the novel is integration of various religions and philosophies with the geography of the river. Because of
the formulation of the substances of ancient Indian culture, A River Sutra is a modern Indian work which hints at
the problems faced by the modern India. When she actually came to writing after conceptualizing the idea of this
novel, she was skeptical about the subject and wondered whether it will be palatable to the western readership. She
was secretive about it and wrote it privately.
The story begins with a retired bureaucrat who prefers to take up a manager's job in a remote guest house facing the
river Narmada in the Vindhya range. He, in such serene and beautiful surroundings, hopes to find tranquility for
himself. Since the river is surrounded by pilgrim centers of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Muslims, the bureaucrat
happens to meet a number of pilgrims and listening to those tales of loss, love and languishment. The novel begins
with 'The Monk's Story' and ends with the 'The Song of the Narmada'. The bureaucrat in search of peace and
serenity at the banks of the Narmada undergoes a metamorphosis of his own philosophy of life. He learns what life
is. In each tale he enquires into the tragic reality of life, relationship of man with the world and transcendence.
Mehta makes Indian culture and its mythic roots clear through the story of the Jain monk. The narrator tells the
story of the monk to his Muslim friend Tariq Mia, a mullah who explains that to have complete self- realization, one
needs to experience life for oneself and should not escape from it by just renouncing the worldly duties. Mehta has
Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology
Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021
ISSN: 2582-0974 [125] www.mejast.com
offered two broad dimensions of India and its culture for the readers to understand it to the core: one set is about the
nation, its freedom struggle, transition from princely states to a sovereign nation and the other point is its spiritual
values and culture that stands for mutual coexistence and honour for all the religions and cultures. it is, in Indian
terms, Sanatan Dharma4
. To assess the reflected image of India, we must know the real India first. India is referred
to as a country which has one of the oldest civilizations across the globe. Such an extended period of time, of about
five thousand years, would not allow itself to be summed up in a single work. Indian history has witnessed immense
amalgamation of various cultures and religions what Tagore has declared in his majestic voice in his song:
Come O' Aryan, non-Aryan, Hindu or Muslim,
Come O' Englishman, come O' Christian.
O' Brahmin, grab others' hands to waive prejudice.
Come O' condemned, stains of contempt be erased…
Now, on this vast expanse of the great mankind. (Tagore, trans.)
Snakes & Ladders (1997): In 1997 comes Snakes and Ladders which has a tone of sarcasm and expresses the
author‟s angst at the deplorable condition of the country. It contains commentary on both colonial and postcolonial
India in a frank and lucid language with her roving eyes on the past and present, tradition and modernity and with a
strong flavor of truth in the country‟s history. She deliberately selected this title to denote the paradoxes of Indian
life. The game of snakes and ladders is a factor of chance and at any time a player may go up by ladder or may go
down through snakes, depending on who one chooses in real life! We, the people of India, have been witnessing the
ups and downs of our modern times, its political intrigues, corruptions and opportunism since independence. Mehta
with her keen observations and her firsthand experience as a correspondent is able to make the darkness visible,
make it frank and let others peep into the facts.
As an Indian, she feels it necessary to speak of it; she wishes to see her country progresses and rightly she is the
daughter of the soil, yet she is not sentimental about it. She undertook to depict India in its true perspectives at the
50th
year of independence. She has held India on the mirror with her close observation and honest historical details
of India is all about and thus, the glamour and false is taken off so as the nation could be enlivened to its deserved
place shunning away its corrupt system and sold out politicians. The book is criticized as hurriedly completed to get
it published in 1997, the fiftieth year of independence, yet it has, through the textuality of history, maintained the
facts intact and deserved literary merit. The comment in this regard is worth quoting: “critics have made caustic
remarks that she has written the book of India; a country of her childhood or a recreated India from a vantage point
of her diasporic situation. But it is not the exact words or so simplistic labeling that could be done” (Qtd. Joshi:
158). Mehta herself narrates: “These essays are an attempt to explain something of modern India to myself. I hope
others may also in them facets of an extraordinary world spinning through an extraordinary time”. (Snakes and
Ladders, p.vii).
The opening chapter is significant from various points of view. It establishes Mehta‟s family as the one totally
involved in the freedom movement. Some events of freedom struggle have been interspersed in the essays. It can be
Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology
Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021
ISSN: 2582-0974 [126] www.mejast.com
inferred that as the daughter of a famous freedom fighter, she has been patriotic and truthful to her nation what she
delineates the details of the freedom struggle from 1943 to 1947 in which her family members‟ struggle is woven
well. The author laments the fact of the fate of the freedom fighters notwithstanding the fact that we got
independence by the sacrifice of self- less martyrs, the real freedom fighters were not given due place and many
were relegated into oblivion and some were languishing in margins. The power politics has taken charge of the fate
of the country and the so called powerful people used every possible means to wipe off these names.
Decolonization has not produced the promised freedom; it has only been replaced by internal colonization.
Absolute power has corrupted our leaders absolutely. In order to retain power, the leaders have created a vicious
atmosphere in which to speak against the authority is considered a blasphemy.
She talks about Bengal Famine (1942) that occurred due the hoarding of grains in apprehension of Japanese attack.
People‟s worst plight and death of thousands which we find the most vivid portray in Bankim Chatterjee‟s Ananda
Math and also which gave us the mantra for freedom fighters-Bande Mataram (Ananda Math). Freedom came with
the sacrifice of thousands of self-less souls, yet having gained it we, mainly the corrupt politicians could not value
it. People do not show interest for voting as in a corrupt system, it is meaningless. Unity in diversity is just a hollow
word that is used only as a slogan or formality. The author observes that India is divided in the terms of religions,
sects, faith, states, communities and every other conceivable element causing difference. Every state has its own
indigenous culture, language and identity. They differ so effectively from state to state that every state appears as an
individual country. North India is radically different from the south India and within regions there are multiple
differentiations thus, making regionalism prominent. Indians are again divided into the lines of religion, caste and
community sentiments.
One interesting phenomenon that draws our attention is dynastic politics in which incisively Nehru‟s in adeptness
in poverty alleviation is criticized as the role of agriculture was not given its due importance. People in Kerala voted
for communist govt. Nehru could not accept it and overruled the election.
The author praised Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri who was quite practical and sensitive to the need of the
country and who realized the basic necessity of self-dependency on food. Declaration of Emergency, unlawfully, in
1975 by Mrs. Gandhi is still much talked about black spot in our country that murdered democracy in which she
was removed from the post of prime minister by the Supreme Court but she did not leave the office. Instead, in
order to escape any threat to her power and position, she declared a state of emergency. No citizen had any right.
Political opponents were handcuffed at midnight and jailed. That night power was cut off to the printing press.
After power supply was resumed, the newspapers published blank pages signifying death of democracy. In the
absence of opposition, she amended Indian constitution and four amendments were made (42nd
Amendment,). One
of the most poignant among them was life time immunity to the Prime Minister. Innocent villagers were sterilized.
National radio and television were under the guidance and supervision of the Prime Minister Office. In haste, she
declared election in the bare minimum time. The leaders of the opposition were jailed. Those who were released
were not allowed to leave the city. But people in India had realized the fact and this realization was strongly
reflected in the following election. Not only Congress lost the power, Mrs. Gandhi herself lost her seat. New Prime
Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology
Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021
ISSN: 2582-0974 [127] www.mejast.com
Minister, Morarji Desai held a public inquiry into the cause of emergency. Unfortunately, Janata Party
disintegrated very soon and in the following election Mrs. Gandhi was voted back to power. Operation „Blue Star‟
was launched for promoting Bhindranwala, the monstrous man. The priest was to divide the Hindus and Sikhs.
With the support of Sikh community within the state he became more corrupt and turned beyond toleration. He
captured the Golden temple, made it his forte and Mrs. Gandhi, finding no way out to curb this monstrous act
engaged Operation Blue Star in which Indian Army was pressed into vacating the golden temple and the monster
was killed in shoot out. In the massacre of the temple, the sacred library with ancient religious scriptures turned into
debris. So many innocent lives were also destroyed. Assassination of Indira Gandhi, nationwide killing of Sikhs
and Rajiv Gandhi‟s coming to power followed. He brought in IT revolution but it was in a void as villagers had no
water supply but they had access to TV! India ‟86, a propaganda was undertaken for liberalization. Rajiv Gandhi
resorted to advertisements through video clippings and photographs of previous works done for the people as
election propaganda; it was cheap and misuse of power. Thus, Mehta strongly condemns hereditary democracy
self-centeredness, separatist tendency and violence. Dry Slogan of Garibi Hatao by the successive PMs without
being sensitive to the need of the people appalled one and all. Shariat, Islamic religious law on marriage and
divorce: 1986 was upheld. In 1985, the Supreme Court of India granted an illiterate Muslim woman maintenance
payments for herself and her children from her husband who had divorced her. The landmark judgment applied to
all Indian women. But in 1986, to win the support of fundamentalist Muslim voters, Rajiv Gandhi used his brute
majority in Parliament to pass a new law for Muslim women who would be subject to medieval interpretations of
the Shariat, Islamic religious law on marriage and divorce. Mehta wished to see uniform civil and of late, it has
come only in 2020. Rajiv Gandhi also dismissed a legally elected state government in Kashmir and replaced it with
a puppet government. It triggered another severe and long lasting, perhaps everlasting hatred among communities.
The Muslim priests prevailed upon the community and non-Muslims were terrorized. Kashniri Pandits were
compelled to leave the valley, immediately. Unlawful support of Tamil Tigers (LTTE) for in order to gain support
of thirty million Tamil voters engaged India into war against Sri Lanka by sending that was a huge loss of Indian
economy.
3. Conclusion
Mehta‟s select work is arresting to whoever reads them for her keen observations and incisive comments while
holding up mirror on socio-political paradigm of India. After independence, our democratic set up could not be
democratic in spirit and failed to deliver the good in fifty years, till 1997. Life was a matter of chance. The
degeneration came in public life because of lack of political will and in want of self-less leaders. Raj exposes the
subaltern state of women, their struggle against degrading life under patriarchy and their potential of awakening in
modern time. A River Sutra unravels the hidden recesses of human psyche and glides to the deeper question of the
essence of religious faiths and practices that could synthesize existing paradoxes. Here, the crafty and cunning
gurus of Karma Cola are replaced by Tariq Mia, Mohan and Prof. Shankar who are capable of guiding for higher
truth. Karma is Being and Becoming, and not the blind belief of a system and degeneration like Hippies and Indian
so called gurus. Finally, modern India continues to be a bleak landscape in which Mehta by attempting to expose its
sordid past and dismal present, has played the role of great benefactor to the nation.
Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology
Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021
ISSN: 2582-0974 [128] www.mejast.com
Note:
 Popular rock group which sprung in England in 1960s. This band of young Nirvana seekers could easily be
identified by these characteristics: use of drugs, casual life style and indifference to life and authority.
 In its early stages the movement had a positive tone in the sense that it rejected materialism and advocated
universal brotherhood. Later they degenerated as a reaction group.
 Viveka & Vairagya: Discrimination and renunciation.
 Santana Dharma: Indian tradition since the Vedic period that holds religion, not as a belief system, but the end
of which is Being and Becoming. It holds pluralism and frees religion from the hold of superstitions,
dogmatism, intolerance.
Declarations
Source of Funding
This research did not receive any grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors.
Competing Interests Statement
The authors declare no competing financial, professional and personal interests.
Consent for publication
We declare that we consented for the publication of this research work.
Works Cited
[1] Joshi, Vishwas A., “The image of India in the works of Gita Mehta”, Shodhganga.
https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/40924.
[2] Mehta, Gaeta, “Karma Cola”, New York: Simon and Schuster pub, 1979, Print.
[3] Mehta, Geeta, “Raj”, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989, Print.
[4] Mehta, Geeta, “A River Sutra”, New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 1993, Print.
[5] Mehta, Geeta, “Snakes and Ladders: Glimpses of India”, Nan A. Talese (New York, NY), 1997, Print.
[6] Mehta, Gita, “1943. Contemporary Authors”, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.encyclopedia.com.
[7] Patel, PR., “The Fictional World of Gita Mehta: A Study”, Shodhganga.
https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/44125.pdf.Accessed 18 Oct 2020.
[8] Sandhaya, PV., “The novels of Gita Mehta A thematic study”, Shodhganga.
https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/85148/6/06_chapter%201.pdf.
[9] Vivekananda, Swami, “Thoughts on the Gita”, The complete works, p.63, Advaita Ashram Publication, 2018.
[10] „Sanatan Dharma‟, Blog, November 5, 2017, Vivekananda.
https://hinduism365blog.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/%E2%80%8Bswami-vivekananda-on-india.
[11] Translation of song he mor chitto punyo in English,
http://www.geetabitan.com/lyrics/rs-h/hey-mor-chitto-punyo-english-translation.html.

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June 2021.contemporary india .gita mehta's select works

  • 1. Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021 ISSN: 2582-0974 [121] www.mejast.com Country: India Contemporary India in its Socio-Political Paradigm: A Study of Gita Mehta‟s Select Works Dr. Prakash Bhadury1 & Ms. Aparna Mishra2 1 Assistant Professor of English, Email: prakashbhadury@gmail.com 2 M.A. English, Email: aparna028mishra@gmail.com Copyright: ©2021 Prakash Bhadury & Aparna Mishra. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. Article Received: 28 February 2021 Article Accepted: 31 May 2021 Article Published: 30 June 2021 1. Introduction The present paper focuses on Gita Mehta‟s select works dealing with India in its socio-political paradigm and it is an uphill task to explain the varied mosaic of Indian society in brief starting from Indus valley civilization to modern times and Mehta has made a brilliant attempt in touching the pulse in exact places of the most older of civilizations as if reading her is touching a live bare wire of vibrancy and depth of Indian culture and its wrongful assumption by the non-serious beholders, readers or foreigners. In the tradition of Indian writing in english (IWE), Mehta as the contemporary women writers of India has been quite straight to the heart of the issues shunning away from any fixed beliefs or any colorings. She performs the role of an artist showing all the facts through fiction while putting aside all subjectivity and personal resentment. Her observation about India, her country of origin has been two fold-as insider and as outsider, both at a time as she tours India every year for keeping in touch with her mother land. In all the four fiction and collections of essays as nonfiction, „she takes delight in the variety and the vitality of the people‟ (Joshi: 21). Of course, she has little patience with cowardice, corruption, or hypocrisy. As the paper deals the author‟s endeavour to expose the unevenness of Indian polity, political leaders and followers, the readers feel amused. Hence, a brief background is discussed that can hint as to author‟s making. 2. Literary Career and Making of the Author Gita Mehta was born in 1943 to a family extremely active in the struggle for Indian independence. She is the daughter of Biju Patnaik, a famous Indian freedom fighter who later on became the major political leader of Orissa. She was born into a community of freedom fighters who were often forced to go underground because of their political actions. Only several weeks after her birth, her father was imprisoned for his political activities. Young Gita was growing up in the middle of such freedom activities. Her family‟s indulgence into freedom movement often created fluid situations. She often found her father in jail and her mother kept tracing him from jail to jail. She happened to be the war correspondent with NBC (USA) to cover the Indo-Pak war of 1971 and she witnessed the ABSTRACT Mehta had written fiction and non-fiction juxtaposing tradition and modernity, fact and fiction, East and West, often exposing the reality in as much as she synthesizes the roots of Indian culture, tradition and peoples’ aspirations of contemporary India through the thesis and antithesis of various dimensions of Indian Socio –political Paradigm. Present paper endeavors to look into India’s socio political and cultural values and its dilution or deterioration in modern time. Four major works have been chosen which examines her observations since independence to modern time while referring India’s deep cultural and spiritual values of five thousand years. Karma Cola speaks of influx of foreigners to India during the rise of Hippie culture of 1960s and the degeneration of values thereof. Raj, a fiction reveals how life was lived in a princely state under colonial period through the eyes of an Indian woman. In A River Sutra the focus shifts towards Indian culture, its diversity, Indian religions and myth. The novel clarifies Indian spiritual values. Snake and Ladder satirizes the deplorable socio-poetical condition of the country. Methodology adopted is analytical and contrastive study of the facts and fiction to have a right assessment of contemporary India in its socio-political paradigm. Keywords: Culture, Corruption, Dynasty, Freedom, Karma, Politics.
  • 2. Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021 ISSN: 2582-0974 [122] www.mejast.com birth of Bangladesh. She also made documentary on election in the erstwhile princely states. This firsthand experience widened her horizons further. Her journalistic background gave her „keen political insight founded on thorough investigation and not on mere assumptions‟ (Sandhya: 7). Thus, her works become smart investigation into the people, ideas, history and personalities that have shaped modern India. Since four major works have been taken for analysis, I would discuss on each in order to show Mehta‟s vivid pen picture of contemporary India. Karma Cola 1979: Mehta began her fiction writing with Karma Cola in 1979. It is an amalgam of Karma, an Indian concept and Cola, a western drink. This first book is a series of interconnected essays weaving her impressions of India‟s mysticism with ironic wit and sarcasm. Karma Cola is a work of non-fiction by Mehta‟s terse and brisk prose. Indian philosophy and the concept of Karma turned into pseudo-spirituality and sold by mediocre sellers to mediocre buyers. It yields dangerous results. The desire of these buyers to attain self-realization in instant ways is childish. The book opens with the chapter titled as Reinventing the Wheel. It is a satirically spoken as to how the term, „karma‟ is trivialized and how it has become a symbol of commodity. It smacks on Western depictions of India‟s spirituality. On reading the book, one could see that the author has taken the issue for drawing our attention to fact rather than any vague, half-baked explanation of our culture. Rather, she has dealt with the topic from wider perspective and deeper insight. Karma Kola examines the stories of the foreigners who were exploited callously by the so called gurus. The book shows as to how cheap popularity and vulgar patronization had put Indian culture as market commodity and as salable product in the West. This implication is justified by the sub title, „Marketing the mystic East‟. The chaos that the author is talking about took place because of the invasion of the Hippies from the USA, closely followed by the Beatles and the Rolling Stones1 . The central focus is put on the Hippy culture2, the groups of which came to India and took refuge in the holy places around the Ganga starting from Rishikesh to Varanasi. Hippies became known as flower children and their influence as flower power. Their philosophy came to be epitomized by the Beatles‟ song “All You Need is Love” (Joshi: 17). Some other aspects of their lifestyle were sexual libertarianism; communal living characterized by free and love relationships and extensive travel. These aspects quickly superseded the original philosophy of the movement. Finally, it degenerated into wide spread drug abuse, indulging into orgy and violence. The Hippy culture was reflected in Dev Annand‟s “Hare Rama Hare Krishna”. The locals knew the corruptions involved, yet they kept silent for their selfish gain in economy. High sounding words like Karma, Nirvana and Maya, the Indian culture and spiritual thought became cheap concepts, bereft of truth and reality. Karma became a crude joke. The myth of the mystic East and the materialistic West; and the antithetical nature of the Occidental and Oriental; all these aspects come under the author‟s scrutiny and a new direction is given to the theme of „East-West encounter‟. Mehta shows India is emerging as an exhibition item. As a global mercantile tool India finds herself as an object of other‟s consumption. The core idea behind the work is a misconception of the Westerners that India can be explained to anyone and everyone can understand the subtle spiritual and mythological aspects. At this point, it is to note what Karma really means. Karma in terms of Gita and Swami Vivekananda has one goal which is purification of human heart. In the Bible, Jesus too makes it clear: “blessed are those, pure in heart/ for they shall see God:” (Vivekananda vol.2: 63).
  • 3. Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021 ISSN: 2582-0974 [123] www.mejast.com Lord Krishna has made the meaning of Karma so vivid and the same is explained afresh by Vivekananda as the goal of Karma is disinterested work with the aid of Viveka and vairagya3 . Lord Krishna spoke of Karma as a means to the end of self-knowledge and infinite bliss; his focus was on the disinterestedness of Karma- action. If one reads Upanishads, one finds the strong adherents of janna, bhakti, yoga; all rivalled among themselves, each claiming superiority for its own chosen path. No one tried to reconcile. The author of the Gita did. That‟s the take away home of the Gita: „The reconciliation of the different paths of Dharma, and work without desire or attachment- these are the two special characteristics of the Gita. (Vivekananda 4: 105). The book suggests that the author is stirring on the followers and smug mentality of the gurus. With least knowledge of the Oriental philosophy they have rushed to India. Lack of knowledge can be compensated by intense study, but from where would they bring the Oriental frame of mind and frame of reference. It is shown that the westerners are escapists and not capable enough to „unlearn their frame of reference‟ (Patel: 63). The book has been an eye opener for one and all for making the meaning of sex and sexuality clear in Indian perspectives which is rooted, essentially to our long tradition and spirituality. The role of sanyasi as made clear is not secular pleasure but a life of renunciation and in service to others. The erotic carvings in our temples such as in Khajuraho and Konarak are often misunderstood, but the lofty ideal behind those is making the mind unwavering to external trappings for the higher purpose of spiritual pursuits. The external and internal riddles are juxtaposed. Raj (1989): It is a third person narration by an omniscient narrator who presents the story of Jaya – a princess. The novel is divided in four books: Balmer, Sirpur, Maharani and Regent that shows Jaya‟s formative period to Indian independence. The whole story is knitted in terms of Jaya‟s upbringing, her married life and widowhood and her „metamorphosis‟ through these years (Joshi: 120). Thus, Raj could be read from feminist perspectives. The major portion of the narration is through the consciousness of Jaya. Weaving the contemporary political and historical threads, the narrator guides the readers through Jaya‟s birth till the end of the novel when she fills up her application for the first election in independent India. After formative years in home where she grew up in restrictions, she came to another life of captivity and bondage with her marriage in which a major time is spent in Harem along with other concubines of the prince. Life in Harem is pitiable and degrading. Women are treated as commodity. They are deprived of learning, personality development and exposure to the larger world. They struggle to satisfy the demands of their husbands: But suppose your husband thinks your breasts are too small. Suppose your husband does not approve of your dark skin. Or does not think green eyes are becoming in a woman. How will you keep his interest then? We poor creatures must use every aid to keep a man’s affection constant (Raj: 104-105). The author has referred to the concept of sati in the novel more than once. When a widowed woman, immediately after her husband‟s death, immolates herself on her husband‟s funeral pyre is termed as Sati tradition. By portraying widows like Jaya and Maharani Jai Singh, Mehta explains that a widow is not unclean or unholy; nor does she bring bad luck. She implies that sati means a virtuous woman. A sati is one who is brave enough to carry on her life in the absence of husband. The concept of sati runs through the novel in different forms. Maharani Jai
  • 4. Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021 ISSN: 2582-0974 [124] www.mejast.com Singh achieves a reputed status of Sati Mata. It is not any supernatural or miraculous power that imparts her the status; it is the philanthropy and her vision for the welfare of the public that earns her reputation. The other gloomy side is that the princes and kings indulge into extra marital affairs with foreign ladies and actress. Through an ironic example as to the callous extravagance of the ruler of the Nawab of Junagadh who spends money for his dog‟s marriage, builds hospitals for animals but he does not show any charity for human beings. There are fans and fire places for his eight hundred animals. While the primary requirements of people are not fulfilled, his dogs are fed from gold and silver dishes. Mehta also hints at the ancient policies of governance. The welfare of the subject, all round development of the subject, security, peace and justice, of people were the basic principles of governance in those days. The author has put the ideal governance policies in the mouth of the Raj Guru “These are the four arms of the kingship. A king must tend his people. He must provide for their welfare. He must be implacable in dispensing justice. A king must intrigue with other powers for the welfare of his state.” (Raj, p 98.). It reminds of Dual rule of British Empire. Thus, the novel displays three important dimensions in parallel: women‟s subjugation in Indian society; the decadent state of the princely states; and the dehumanizing condition of British Raj. A River Sutra (1993): The novel speaks on the tales of passion, enchantment, love, values, ideals, myth, all spoken through stories within story which is called frame narrative in the tradition of Boccaccio‟s Decameron or Chaucer‟s The Canterbury Tales. The novel is built around India‟s holy river the Narmada. The energy of the novel is formed through the deep veins of Indian culture and mythology. The prose as a whole is meditation on the country‟s secular humanist traditions. Classical Sanskrit drama, Hindu mythology, Sufi poetry, Indian classical music and much more have been reflected and reiterated in the work. Though the novel creates many India, it is the perennial India that holds the interest of the author as well as the readers. The Narmada stands for the culture of oneness and the theme of the novel is integration of various religions and philosophies with the geography of the river. Because of the formulation of the substances of ancient Indian culture, A River Sutra is a modern Indian work which hints at the problems faced by the modern India. When she actually came to writing after conceptualizing the idea of this novel, she was skeptical about the subject and wondered whether it will be palatable to the western readership. She was secretive about it and wrote it privately. The story begins with a retired bureaucrat who prefers to take up a manager's job in a remote guest house facing the river Narmada in the Vindhya range. He, in such serene and beautiful surroundings, hopes to find tranquility for himself. Since the river is surrounded by pilgrim centers of Hindus, Jains, Buddhists and Muslims, the bureaucrat happens to meet a number of pilgrims and listening to those tales of loss, love and languishment. The novel begins with 'The Monk's Story' and ends with the 'The Song of the Narmada'. The bureaucrat in search of peace and serenity at the banks of the Narmada undergoes a metamorphosis of his own philosophy of life. He learns what life is. In each tale he enquires into the tragic reality of life, relationship of man with the world and transcendence. Mehta makes Indian culture and its mythic roots clear through the story of the Jain monk. The narrator tells the story of the monk to his Muslim friend Tariq Mia, a mullah who explains that to have complete self- realization, one needs to experience life for oneself and should not escape from it by just renouncing the worldly duties. Mehta has
  • 5. Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021 ISSN: 2582-0974 [125] www.mejast.com offered two broad dimensions of India and its culture for the readers to understand it to the core: one set is about the nation, its freedom struggle, transition from princely states to a sovereign nation and the other point is its spiritual values and culture that stands for mutual coexistence and honour for all the religions and cultures. it is, in Indian terms, Sanatan Dharma4 . To assess the reflected image of India, we must know the real India first. India is referred to as a country which has one of the oldest civilizations across the globe. Such an extended period of time, of about five thousand years, would not allow itself to be summed up in a single work. Indian history has witnessed immense amalgamation of various cultures and religions what Tagore has declared in his majestic voice in his song: Come O' Aryan, non-Aryan, Hindu or Muslim, Come O' Englishman, come O' Christian. O' Brahmin, grab others' hands to waive prejudice. Come O' condemned, stains of contempt be erased… Now, on this vast expanse of the great mankind. (Tagore, trans.) Snakes & Ladders (1997): In 1997 comes Snakes and Ladders which has a tone of sarcasm and expresses the author‟s angst at the deplorable condition of the country. It contains commentary on both colonial and postcolonial India in a frank and lucid language with her roving eyes on the past and present, tradition and modernity and with a strong flavor of truth in the country‟s history. She deliberately selected this title to denote the paradoxes of Indian life. The game of snakes and ladders is a factor of chance and at any time a player may go up by ladder or may go down through snakes, depending on who one chooses in real life! We, the people of India, have been witnessing the ups and downs of our modern times, its political intrigues, corruptions and opportunism since independence. Mehta with her keen observations and her firsthand experience as a correspondent is able to make the darkness visible, make it frank and let others peep into the facts. As an Indian, she feels it necessary to speak of it; she wishes to see her country progresses and rightly she is the daughter of the soil, yet she is not sentimental about it. She undertook to depict India in its true perspectives at the 50th year of independence. She has held India on the mirror with her close observation and honest historical details of India is all about and thus, the glamour and false is taken off so as the nation could be enlivened to its deserved place shunning away its corrupt system and sold out politicians. The book is criticized as hurriedly completed to get it published in 1997, the fiftieth year of independence, yet it has, through the textuality of history, maintained the facts intact and deserved literary merit. The comment in this regard is worth quoting: “critics have made caustic remarks that she has written the book of India; a country of her childhood or a recreated India from a vantage point of her diasporic situation. But it is not the exact words or so simplistic labeling that could be done” (Qtd. Joshi: 158). Mehta herself narrates: “These essays are an attempt to explain something of modern India to myself. I hope others may also in them facets of an extraordinary world spinning through an extraordinary time”. (Snakes and Ladders, p.vii). The opening chapter is significant from various points of view. It establishes Mehta‟s family as the one totally involved in the freedom movement. Some events of freedom struggle have been interspersed in the essays. It can be
  • 6. Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021 ISSN: 2582-0974 [126] www.mejast.com inferred that as the daughter of a famous freedom fighter, she has been patriotic and truthful to her nation what she delineates the details of the freedom struggle from 1943 to 1947 in which her family members‟ struggle is woven well. The author laments the fact of the fate of the freedom fighters notwithstanding the fact that we got independence by the sacrifice of self- less martyrs, the real freedom fighters were not given due place and many were relegated into oblivion and some were languishing in margins. The power politics has taken charge of the fate of the country and the so called powerful people used every possible means to wipe off these names. Decolonization has not produced the promised freedom; it has only been replaced by internal colonization. Absolute power has corrupted our leaders absolutely. In order to retain power, the leaders have created a vicious atmosphere in which to speak against the authority is considered a blasphemy. She talks about Bengal Famine (1942) that occurred due the hoarding of grains in apprehension of Japanese attack. People‟s worst plight and death of thousands which we find the most vivid portray in Bankim Chatterjee‟s Ananda Math and also which gave us the mantra for freedom fighters-Bande Mataram (Ananda Math). Freedom came with the sacrifice of thousands of self-less souls, yet having gained it we, mainly the corrupt politicians could not value it. People do not show interest for voting as in a corrupt system, it is meaningless. Unity in diversity is just a hollow word that is used only as a slogan or formality. The author observes that India is divided in the terms of religions, sects, faith, states, communities and every other conceivable element causing difference. Every state has its own indigenous culture, language and identity. They differ so effectively from state to state that every state appears as an individual country. North India is radically different from the south India and within regions there are multiple differentiations thus, making regionalism prominent. Indians are again divided into the lines of religion, caste and community sentiments. One interesting phenomenon that draws our attention is dynastic politics in which incisively Nehru‟s in adeptness in poverty alleviation is criticized as the role of agriculture was not given its due importance. People in Kerala voted for communist govt. Nehru could not accept it and overruled the election. The author praised Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri who was quite practical and sensitive to the need of the country and who realized the basic necessity of self-dependency on food. Declaration of Emergency, unlawfully, in 1975 by Mrs. Gandhi is still much talked about black spot in our country that murdered democracy in which she was removed from the post of prime minister by the Supreme Court but she did not leave the office. Instead, in order to escape any threat to her power and position, she declared a state of emergency. No citizen had any right. Political opponents were handcuffed at midnight and jailed. That night power was cut off to the printing press. After power supply was resumed, the newspapers published blank pages signifying death of democracy. In the absence of opposition, she amended Indian constitution and four amendments were made (42nd Amendment,). One of the most poignant among them was life time immunity to the Prime Minister. Innocent villagers were sterilized. National radio and television were under the guidance and supervision of the Prime Minister Office. In haste, she declared election in the bare minimum time. The leaders of the opposition were jailed. Those who were released were not allowed to leave the city. But people in India had realized the fact and this realization was strongly reflected in the following election. Not only Congress lost the power, Mrs. Gandhi herself lost her seat. New Prime
  • 7. Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021 ISSN: 2582-0974 [127] www.mejast.com Minister, Morarji Desai held a public inquiry into the cause of emergency. Unfortunately, Janata Party disintegrated very soon and in the following election Mrs. Gandhi was voted back to power. Operation „Blue Star‟ was launched for promoting Bhindranwala, the monstrous man. The priest was to divide the Hindus and Sikhs. With the support of Sikh community within the state he became more corrupt and turned beyond toleration. He captured the Golden temple, made it his forte and Mrs. Gandhi, finding no way out to curb this monstrous act engaged Operation Blue Star in which Indian Army was pressed into vacating the golden temple and the monster was killed in shoot out. In the massacre of the temple, the sacred library with ancient religious scriptures turned into debris. So many innocent lives were also destroyed. Assassination of Indira Gandhi, nationwide killing of Sikhs and Rajiv Gandhi‟s coming to power followed. He brought in IT revolution but it was in a void as villagers had no water supply but they had access to TV! India ‟86, a propaganda was undertaken for liberalization. Rajiv Gandhi resorted to advertisements through video clippings and photographs of previous works done for the people as election propaganda; it was cheap and misuse of power. Thus, Mehta strongly condemns hereditary democracy self-centeredness, separatist tendency and violence. Dry Slogan of Garibi Hatao by the successive PMs without being sensitive to the need of the people appalled one and all. Shariat, Islamic religious law on marriage and divorce: 1986 was upheld. In 1985, the Supreme Court of India granted an illiterate Muslim woman maintenance payments for herself and her children from her husband who had divorced her. The landmark judgment applied to all Indian women. But in 1986, to win the support of fundamentalist Muslim voters, Rajiv Gandhi used his brute majority in Parliament to pass a new law for Muslim women who would be subject to medieval interpretations of the Shariat, Islamic religious law on marriage and divorce. Mehta wished to see uniform civil and of late, it has come only in 2020. Rajiv Gandhi also dismissed a legally elected state government in Kashmir and replaced it with a puppet government. It triggered another severe and long lasting, perhaps everlasting hatred among communities. The Muslim priests prevailed upon the community and non-Muslims were terrorized. Kashniri Pandits were compelled to leave the valley, immediately. Unlawful support of Tamil Tigers (LTTE) for in order to gain support of thirty million Tamil voters engaged India into war against Sri Lanka by sending that was a huge loss of Indian economy. 3. Conclusion Mehta‟s select work is arresting to whoever reads them for her keen observations and incisive comments while holding up mirror on socio-political paradigm of India. After independence, our democratic set up could not be democratic in spirit and failed to deliver the good in fifty years, till 1997. Life was a matter of chance. The degeneration came in public life because of lack of political will and in want of self-less leaders. Raj exposes the subaltern state of women, their struggle against degrading life under patriarchy and their potential of awakening in modern time. A River Sutra unravels the hidden recesses of human psyche and glides to the deeper question of the essence of religious faiths and practices that could synthesize existing paradoxes. Here, the crafty and cunning gurus of Karma Cola are replaced by Tariq Mia, Mohan and Prof. Shankar who are capable of guiding for higher truth. Karma is Being and Becoming, and not the blind belief of a system and degeneration like Hippies and Indian so called gurus. Finally, modern India continues to be a bleak landscape in which Mehta by attempting to expose its sordid past and dismal present, has played the role of great benefactor to the nation.
  • 8. Middle East Journal of Applied Science & Technology Vol.4, Iss.2, Pages 121-128, April-June 2021 ISSN: 2582-0974 [128] www.mejast.com Note:  Popular rock group which sprung in England in 1960s. This band of young Nirvana seekers could easily be identified by these characteristics: use of drugs, casual life style and indifference to life and authority.  In its early stages the movement had a positive tone in the sense that it rejected materialism and advocated universal brotherhood. Later they degenerated as a reaction group.  Viveka & Vairagya: Discrimination and renunciation.  Santana Dharma: Indian tradition since the Vedic period that holds religion, not as a belief system, but the end of which is Being and Becoming. It holds pluralism and frees religion from the hold of superstitions, dogmatism, intolerance. Declarations Source of Funding This research did not receive any grant from funding agencies in the public, commercial, or not-for-profit sectors. Competing Interests Statement The authors declare no competing financial, professional and personal interests. Consent for publication We declare that we consented for the publication of this research work. Works Cited [1] Joshi, Vishwas A., “The image of India in the works of Gita Mehta”, Shodhganga. https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/40924. [2] Mehta, Gaeta, “Karma Cola”, New York: Simon and Schuster pub, 1979, Print. [3] Mehta, Geeta, “Raj”, New York: Simon and Schuster, 1989, Print. [4] Mehta, Geeta, “A River Sutra”, New Delhi: Penguin Books India, 1993, Print. [5] Mehta, Geeta, “Snakes and Ladders: Glimpses of India”, Nan A. Talese (New York, NY), 1997, Print. [6] Mehta, Gita, “1943. Contemporary Authors”, 16 Oct 2020, https://www.encyclopedia.com. [7] Patel, PR., “The Fictional World of Gita Mehta: A Study”, Shodhganga. https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/handle/10603/44125.pdf.Accessed 18 Oct 2020. [8] Sandhaya, PV., “The novels of Gita Mehta A thematic study”, Shodhganga. https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/bitstream/10603/85148/6/06_chapter%201.pdf. [9] Vivekananda, Swami, “Thoughts on the Gita”, The complete works, p.63, Advaita Ashram Publication, 2018. [10] „Sanatan Dharma‟, Blog, November 5, 2017, Vivekananda. https://hinduism365blog.wordpress.com/2017/11/05/%E2%80%8Bswami-vivekananda-on-india. [11] Translation of song he mor chitto punyo in English, http://www.geetabitan.com/lyrics/rs-h/hey-mor-chitto-punyo-english-translation.html.