Many writers…have to balance the need to produce work that’s export-oriented, while still remaining true to their need to tell the stories they find compelling. There isn’t always a market abroad for the latter, and it’s telling that Indian writers feel less pressured to produce the great Indian novel these days…
The real question is not why we haven’t produced more Rushdies, but why we haven’t produced more Chetan Bhagats. The answer might lie in the fact that we’re not just a post-colonial market—we are an evolving, under-developed literary market, where the supporting infrastructure…is only just coming into being.
We don’t control the international literary markets; we haven’t yet evolved a robust domestic market of our own. Until one or the other of these comes to pass, our writers will continue to write for export, or for a very small, patient audience. And we’ll continue to need the ratification of the odd Booker win and the occasional nod from the Nobel.