(Last Updated on : 17/11/2009)
A true child of the transition period, which was infested with the socio-political turmoil, Nayantara Sahgal, since her childhood keenly observed the contemporary ethos and the conditions of the individuals enmeshed in the chaotic situation. Eventually her fictional mellowness is concerned with the depiction of the human condition. The novels of Nayantara Sahgal are based on political atmosphere and are the representatives of the political atmosphere of the then society with the political personalities involved in it. The characters of her novels were the witnesses of the political upheavals of the then political scenario.
However, the novels of Sahgal on an obvious level deal with India`s elite responding to the crises engendered by political change. Being a part of the family, which was politically active, since the British Imperialism, her novels always has an undertone of the political ideology and the history of political orientation established in India. In the novels of Nayantara Sahgal, is found a tone of feminism different in kind seeking independent existence of women. Mortified by the plight of the women as a victim of conventional Indian Society, Nayantara Sahgal has pointed out in her novels the ills of the contemporary society, which held women as the butt of all humiliation. The novels of Nayantara Sahgal hence are the replicas of the contemporary society.
Most of the protagonists of Sahgal`s novels are from affluent upper class Indian background. First novel of Sahgal, "A Time to Be Happy" was written in the background in the aurora of independence of India. Another novel, named "Storm in Chandigarh" was about the partition of Punjab
. It was during the time after the partition took place in 1947. In Sahgal`s "The Day in Shadow" the personal concerns of the characters get priority over the political circumstances. This story proceeds with the prejudice of the patriarchal Indian society and the struggling of the protagonist, Simrit Raman.
Her other novel "Rich Like Us" develops around the elite character trapped in the mesh of corruption. The novel on an obvious level is the realization of Truth. Later novel by Sahgal was the celebrated novel, "Indira Gandhi: Her Road to Power" is the depiction of Indira Gandhi`s movement in relation to Indian Politics.