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Depiction of Corruption in English-Language Indian Fiction

NCJ Number
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice Volume: 25 Issue: 2 Dated: May 2009 Pages: 170-185
Gilbert Geis
Date Published
May 2009
16 pages
This study analyzed English-language novels and short stories set in India by just over 24 writers, primarily native Indians, in order to determine how they depicted episodes of public corruption in Indian fiction.
Themes of corruption permeate the novels studied. Politicians and public officials are viewed as stealing from the poor and powerless in order to enrich themselves. Lower ranking government officials require bribes to perform assigned duties for serving the public, as do the police. Postal workers are portrayed as petty thieves who sell stolen stamps and pocket money sent through the mail. Bribery permeates the work of customs officials, the obtaining of advantages on public transportation, and the smuggling of goods on the black market. This survey of the literature set in India provides vivid illustrations of the nature of corruption in India, serving as an adjunct to empirical studies of public corruption, which are still in their infancy. Among the authors surveyed were Rudyard Kipling (1865-1936), E.M Forster (1879-1970), and Paul Scott (1920-1978). This study analyzed each of 33 works of fiction about India recommended online by the Baltimore County Public Library (2008). 53 references