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The form of postcolonial writings In this essay, I explore the diverse forms and narrative modes that postcolonial

writing employs for different purposes. Essentially, postcolonial literature represents an interrogative stance which questions the assumptions, methods and the very moral basis of colonialism. It also explores the nature of the postcolonial state and its many of concomitant corrupt practices of former colonial masters which still perpetuate in some form or other in the postcolonial state. What is important, at this stage, is not merely describe postcolonial literature, often happened in postcolonial criticism and pedagogy, that the text is political or counter or anti but to explore how the postcolonial writer registers his or her protest in the text. Postcolonial literature demands a certain kind of narrative which is, different uses, employment and adaption of language as it concerns with political economy and activism. The protest or the critique is achieved through the use of different aesthetics and narratives in the text. It is a home truth that there is no politics without rhetoric, no protest without language and no anti without narrative. Speaking on that aspect of postcolonial literature, Pramod K. Nayar observes, Just as racism and colonialism used language and rhetoric to discriminate, Postcolonialisms deploy language, narrative and particular forms for their critic. Postcolonial literature has, thus, appropriated, modified, and generated many forms of narratives, rhetorical strategies, and linguistic forms in which its critique of empire and imperialism may be made. Specific purposes Therefore, a form of postcolonial literature and its specific purposes is as important as the content of the text. The form of postcolonial literature is often associated with the purpose of it; the purpose of the work may range from nationalism and selfidentification to anti-imperialistic critique and postcolonial protest. Often protest writing has a political agenda of social change and expresses anger and disillusion at the postcolonial nation state. Nayar points out, Resistance literature in both the colony and the postcolonial nation include testimonio writings, prison narratives, revolutionary tracts and insurgency writing. In other cases, literature takes more complex forms. A more experimental mode is visible in postcolonial writings after the 1970s. Salman Rushdie, Buchi Emecheta, Ben Okri, Bessie Head, J.M Coetzee, and others began to play with the form of the novel. Nayar points out that this playing with the form of the novel has generated a mixture of genres. Magic realism, a strategy favoured by South American writers such as

Marquez, Allende and cosmopolitans like Rushdie, combines a variety of genres: the historical document, popular writing, the romance, the political novel, and the picaresque tale. In cases where the aim is to develop a nativist political position, local folklore and myth is extensively used. Thus ghost stories and songs figure in writers from African and diasporic writers such as Okri. Politically informed fiction is the most straightforward form of postcolonial critique. The works of Nayantara Sahgal and Amitav Ghosh in India, for instance, explore diverse issues of colonial and postindependence India: from communal violence to political corruption. Incidentally, Nayantara Sahgal was featured in the just concluded HSBC Galle Literary Festival. One of the favoured literary modes among the early stage postcolonial writings was the social realist form. Nayar observes, Naipauls controversial interpretations of Indiaparalleling Nirad C. Chaudhuris in both his fiction and non-fiction are couched in straight-forward narratives in the mode of social realist novel. The social realist form is favoured by people like Andre Brink, Patrick White, and Rohinton Mistry. Accumulation of details, clear observation, and a tightly structured narrative in these authors provide a panoramic view of the postcolony. According to Nayar, a primary concern of the postcolonial writings is with the questions of form, style, genre and language. Nayar states, Postcolonial writers take recourse to their native forms and traditions to counter, oppose, or re-write canonical Euro-American literature. The attempt is often to provide an alternative view of their culture. While such attempt is frequently articulated in genres borrowed from the former coloniser culture, the genre is adapted and injected with native traditions. Postcolonial writers are, therefore, clearly concerned with questions of form, style, genre and language. Diverse forms Perhaps, the most contentious areas in the postcolonial discourse are the role of English and issues of form. Issues of form can be generally categorised as orality and literature, employment of folk, myth and history in postcolonial writing, principal literary genres such as magic realism, decanonisation of Euro-American literature and postcolonial English (highly influenced by local languages and their linguistic registers). Use of local oral traditions is one of the salient features of postcolonial literature. Asia, Africa and South America are replete with rich cannon of varied oral traditions. These rich oral traditions have profoundly influenced the postcolonial writings. Nayar observes, such a term best captures varied narrative modes of postcolonial literature, whose forms, sources, issues of authority, and audience draw upon oral traditions even as they produce books in the European literary mode. Orality is thus the central indigenous mode in the postcolonial writing. In these cases, it is not a binary of orality or literary but of orality in literacy.

It is clear that first generation of postcolonial writers such as Amos Tutuola and Raja Rao, adapted their aesthetics from the indigenous mode of story-telling. Naturally, the postcolonial writing of this era is replete with proverbs, riddles, songs, and chants colloquialism, local legends, and apocrypha from their clan/community/ tribe/ ethic groups. Nayar observes this as Walter Ong, in his classic work on the subject, has demonstrated how oral discourse is aggressive, repetitive, and copious because the audience is dependent upon the oral components for meaning. Meaning here is irreducibly performative and context-bound. Orality informs postcolonial narrative forms at time when the novelist is staking out a territory and mode of writing for herself, perhaps, during colonial rule itself (Tutuola, Raja Rao) and a conscious attempt is being made, in the postcolonial context, to move away from European style and influences (Ngugi).