IEL has a relatively recent history, being only one and a half centuries old. The first book written by an Indian in English was Travels of Dean Mahomet, a travel narrative by Sake Dean Mahomet published in England in 1793. In its early stages, IEL was influenced by the Western novel. Early Indian writers used English unadulterated by Indian words to convey an experience which was essentially Indian. Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay (1838–1894) wrote Rajmohan’s Wife and published it in 1864; it is the first Indian novel written in English. Raja Rao (1908–2006), Indian philosopher and writer, authored Kanthapura and The Serpent and the Rope, which are Indian in terms of their storytelling qualities. Kisari Mohan Ganguli translated the Mahabharata into English, the only time the epic has ever been translated in its entirety into a European language. Rabindranath Tagore (1861–1941) wrote in Bengali and English and was responsible for the translations of his own work into English. Dhan Gopal Mukerji (1890–1936) was the first Indian author to win a literary award in the United States. Nirad C. Chaudhuri (1897–1999), a writer of non-fiction, is best known for his The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian (1951), in which he relates his life experiences and influences. P. Lal (1929–2010), a poet, translator, publisher and essayist, founded a press in the 1950s for Indian English writing, Writers Workshop. Ram Nath Kak (1917–1993), a Kashmiri veterinarian, wrote his autobiography Autumn Leaves, which is one of the most vivid portraits of life in 20th century Kashmir and has become a sort of a classic.[who?]

R. K. Narayan (1906–2001) contributed over many decades and continued to write till his death. He was discovered by Graham Greene in the sense that the latter helped him find a publisher in England. Greene and Narayan remained close friends till the end. Similar to the way Thomas Hardy used Wessex, Narayan created the fictitious town of Malgudi where he set his novels. Some criticise Narayan for the parochial, detached and closed world that he created in the face of the changing conditions in India at the times in which the stories are set. Others, such as Greene, however, feel that through Malgudi they could vividly understand the Indian experience. Narayan’s evocation of small town life and its experiences through the eyes of the endearing child protagonist Swaminathan in Swami and Friends is a good sample of his writing style. Simultaneous with Narayan’s pastoral idylls, a very different writer, Mulk Raj Anand (1905–2004), was similarly gaining recognition for his writing set in rural India, but his stories were harsher, and engaged, sometimes brutally, with divisions of caste, class and religion. According to writer Lakshmi Holmström, “The writers of the 1930s were fortunate because after many years of use, English had become an Indian language used widely and at different levels of society, and therefore they could experiment more boldly and from a more secure position

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