Name: Lakshmi Raj Sharma
Genre: Literary Fiction, Socio-historical fiction, Historical fiction, Short Stories, Academic, Literary Theory
Famous Books: The Tailor’s Needle, Saba & Nisha: A love story, Intriguing Women
Lakshmi Raj Sharma is an Indian English novelist who writes literary fiction. His novels are loaded with literary embellishments, sensible themes and interesting plots to make the works not only the fictional pieces for entertainment but also representative novels that reflect the reality of our society, offer a glimpse of our psychological perspectives and deal with many serious issues directly or indirectly. Serious fiction, which has become a rare phenomenon these days, is a phrase that one can apply very easily to the works by Lakshmi Raj Sharma.
The author is also working as an English literature professor at Allahabad University. It adds further responsibility upon him to write novels of repute and literary standards and he has been carrying this onus tremendously. We will talk about him, his life in brief and also about his writings briefly.
Lakshmi Raj Sharma was born in 1954 into a household of well-known people in Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh. He did his early schooling and completed higher secondary education in Allahabad. He attended the famous Boys’ High School and College, Allahabad, before entering Allahabad University where he completed graduation in English literature in the year 1975 and masters in 1977. Later, he got his PhD degree from the same university in 1986. It is also a notable fact that Lakshmi Raj Sharma was selected for the Indian Administration Services but chose an academic career over a lucrative career in Indian administration. He joined the university where he studied and it is also interesting to note that he is married to his co-worker, Bandana Sharma, a professor in English literature in the same department.
It is also evident that the novelist uses the memories of his childhood, the places he lived and the stories he might have heard in his works. The readers will note that Mirzapur, Rai Bahadur and many other instances that we find in The Tailor’s Needle by Lakshmi Raj Sharma, reflect the author’s personal experiences. We will talk about his writing in brief in the next section of this article.
Indian English literature (limited to the genre novel) has been through many phases. We have seen the writings of early Indian novelists like Raja Rao and Mulk Raj Anand which became very popular among the readers for their realism and social representation. Later, we entered into the phase when R. K. Narayan became popular with his social works that epitomised Malgudi and by this, in a way, represented India. We also came to a phase when novelists like Anita Desai and others became popular, bringing many new issues to the fore. However, the recent decades that passed could not show more originality and seriousness. We have more in terms of novels being written but we have very little in terms of serious literature being produced. In such a scenario, a writer like Lakshmi Raj Sharma becomes very important for the literary fraternity. Lakshmi Raj Sharma’s writings represent not only the important contemporary issues but also take the fictional liberty to bring to the readers close to our history through novels.
The novelist entered into the writing industry with his debut novel published in 2009 in England, The Tailor’s Needle. This novel was published in India in 2012 by a reputed publication house, Penguin. This novel, which has been described as a Raj novel by the novelist himself and many critics, takes the readers back into the era of British rule in India. It traces the progress of a Brahmin family which, more or less, resembles the experiences and memories of the author himself. The novel is praised widely for its realistic characterisations and a compelling storytelling technique.
Intriguing Women, which is the third overall book by the novelist, brings discourses about feminism to the attention of the readers. It is a set of short stories that are compelling and wonderful. It is written in a traditional way and it has serious themes which the author has employed. It discusses various issues related to the experiences as a woman, internationally and in India. The readers have appreciated this collection for its selection of themes which represent the contemporary issues in a way that readers are compelled to ponder over these.
Lakshmi Raj Sharma is not only capable of generating beautiful literary narratives but also truly contemporary pieces of fiction that can enchant modern readers as well. His novel Saba & Nisha: A Love Story is a swiftly moving crime thriller fiction written with extreme care that will fascinate the readers of this era. Moreover, even in this racy thriller piece, the novelist has been successful in involving the serious issues that Indians have to face today. This novel takes up the issue of inter-religion marriages in India which is an extremely difficult and almost impossible feat to achieve.
Lakshmi Raj Sharma’s approach is that of a critical observer who keeps an eye on the story and brings the best things at the best moments to the front so that the readers can enjoy his literary productions to the fullest. The language in his novels plays an important part in keeping the readers impressed, intrigued and indulged with the storyline. He ascribes the best possible style to the characters that he creates. For example, the British characters in the novel The Tailor’s Needle are all amazingly portrayed and their dialogues are superb. Sir Saraswati Chandra in the same novel is a carefully portrayed personality who goes beyond the definition of a gentleman in the novel.
To conclude this section, I will add that Professor Sharma’s writing is mature, sensitive and up to the mark in terms of literary measures that make a piece of writing not only worth reading but also worth admiring and sharing.
- The Tailor’s Needle
- Intriguing Women
- Marriages are Made in India
- Saba & Nisha: A love story
- Emancipation (forthcoming)
- The Twain Shall Meet
- The English World and Other Stories
The novelist has also produced some academic literary works on crucial subjects. T. S. Eliot Middleton Murry Debate is one among those.
Though Lakshmi Raj Sharma will be a new name for many readers of the contemporary Indian English novel, it is the high time that we begin acknowledging the presence of such authors and do our best in bringing them ahead in the line that is full of casual authors exercising their wit, imagination and pen to produce mediocre literature that is the best for leisure and passing time. He is a novelist who can put life into the characters he designs and realism into the storylines he draws. I would recommend that the readers who love reading novels should try reading the novels by Lakshmi Raj Sharma and see for themselves how pleasant it is to read aesthetically constructed and beautifully written novels. I am sure that this will be a wonderful experience for many readers who are new to reading traditionally written novels. You can buy the works by Lakshmi Raj Sharma from Amazon India:
Article by Amit Mishra for The Indian Authors