Top 10 Successful Short Story Writers in India

1.Rabindranath Tagore:Rabindranath Tagore (born May 7, 1861) was the first non-European laureate to win the Nobel Prize. Best known as a poet, he was a man with a great number of talents. He was a nationalist who gave up his knighthood to protest British policies in colonial India after the Jallianwala Bagh massacre. He was a painter and a songwriter too. One of these rare talents were short stories too. He wrote them in Bengali, English and Hindi. He even translated various famous English stories in Bengali and Hindi.

His famous short stories are: Sompotti Somorpon, Kabuliwallah (The Fruitseller from Kabul), Ghare Baire (The Home and the World), Jogajog (Relationships), Nastanirh (The Broken Nest), Shesher Kobita (The Last Poem or Farewell Song), Gora, Char Oddhay, Bou Thakuranir Haat, Malancha and Chokher bali are some of his excellent works in short stories.

2. Premchand: Munshi Premchand (born July 31, 1880), is one of the most renowned names in Hindi Literature. His original name was Dhanpat Rai. He was a novelist, a dramatist and mainly a short story writer. His translations into Hindi are still relevant. Munshi Ji was a teacher by profession but was still writing in Urdu language. He also wrote tiny stories. He was very patriotic and his works in Urdu depicted the conditions of the nationalist movement going on in colonial India. His thought-provoking short stories were realistic on one hand and poignant on the other. His short stories always carried some sort of social message while side by side entertaining the readers. His depiction of plight of girls and women in the 19th century is picturesque and hits the readers to create awareness about the status of women. He was later elected as Progressive Writers’ Association in Lucknow.

His famous short stories are: Adeeb Ki Izat, Duniya ka Sabse Anmol Ratan, Bade Bhai Sahab, Beti ka Dhan, Saut, Sajjanata ka dand, Panch Parameshvar and Pariksha.

His famous short stories are: The timeless beastly tales and other stories, From Heaven Lake: Travels Through Sinkiang and Tibet, Arion and the Dolphin (for children)

3. R. K. Narayan: Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami (born October 10, 1906) was an Indian writer who was renowned as a man of simplicity. His writing was as simple as his life was. He had been nominated for Nobel prize for literature several times. The compassionate humanism of each of his short and tiny stories. Swami was one of his best characters which was even adapted as a series on Doordarshan. Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami won various awards and honors for his works. These include, Sahitya Akademi Award for The Guide in 1958 and Padma Bhushan in 1964.

His famous short stories are: Gods, Demons and Others, The Grandmother’s Tale and Selected Stories, A Horse and Two Goats and Other Stories, Malgudi Days (book), Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories and The World of Malgudi.

4. Ruskin Bond: Ruskin Bond (born May 19, 1934) is a great Indian writer of British descent. He has authored many great children’s stories and was awarded Sahitya Akademi award to honor his work of literature. His famous character is Rusty who was involved in various mischievous activities since his birth.

His famous short stories are: The sensualist, The night train at Deoli, The cherry tree, The tiger in the tunnel, Time stops at shamli, Sussana’s 7 husbands, Delhi is not far, The room in the roof, Death of the trees, The blue umbrella, A flight of pigeons, When darkness falls.

5. Mahadevi Verma: Mahadevi Verma (Born March 26, 1907) was in true sense the modern Meera as Mahadevi Verma was greatly influenced by Buddhism and she was deeply aesthetic. Her poetry is marked by a constant pain, the pain of separation from her beloved, the supreme being.She brought Chhayavaad generation back to its position when romanticism was at its peak. She received Jnanpith award in the year 1982.

Her famous short stories and prose are: Ateet Ke chalchitra, Kshanda, Mera Parivaar, Path ke Saathi, Sahityakaar ki Asatha, Sambhashan, Sankalpita, Shrinkhla ki kadiya, Smriti Ki Rekhayen

6. Khushwant Singh: Khushwant Singh (Born Feb 02, 1915) was an Indian novelist, a lawyer and a journalist. He was a man of rare intellect and possessed many hidden talents. He was a graduate of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi and King’s College London.He was the editor of many reputed newspapers and magazines like, The Illustrated Weekly of India, The National Herald and the Hindustan Times.

His famous short stories’ collections are: The Mark of Vishnu and Other Stories, The Voice of God and Other Stories, A Bride for the Sahib and Other Stories, Black Jasmine, The Collected Stories.

7. Mulk Raj Anand: Mulk Raj Anand (Born Dec 12, 1905) was the first Indian writer in English to be in the light in the international scene. He can be considered a pioneer in anglo-Indian fiction and the first to depict the masses and their plight. He highlighted many social evils prevailing in the society of that time. He himself was born in a coppersmith family but being an avid learner, he went to Cambridge for higher studies.

His famous short stories’ collections are: The Lost Child and Other Stories, The Barber’s Trade Union and Other Stories, The Tractor and the Corn Goddess and Other Stories, Reflections on the Golden Bed, The Power of Darkness and Other Stories Lajwanti and Other Stories, Between Tears and Laughter, Selected Short Stories of Mulk Raj Anand, Tales Told by an Idiot: Selected Short Stories.

8. Jhumpa Lahiri: Jhumpa Lahiri(Born July 11, 1967) is a Pulitzer prize winning writer known for works of fiction like Interpreter of maladies, The Namesake, Unaccustomed Earth and The Lowland. She is famous for the pondering thought she spends on each and every character and the mesmerizing emotional connection with them.

Her famous short stories’ collections are: Interpreter of maladies, the namesake

9. Vikram Seth: Vikram Seth (Born June 20, 1952) is an Indian novelist, poet, travel writer best known for his epic novel ‘A Suitable Boy’. For more than three decades he has been writing and getting the due appreciation from critics. He graduated from Corpus Christi College, Oxford and did his master’s in economics from Stanford University, U.S.A. The novel ‘The Golden Gate’ published in 1986 made him one of the most highly acclaimed novelists of his time and the book won him plenty of accolade from readers as well as critics.

10. Anita Desai: Anita Desai(Born June 24, 1937) is one of the most notable contemporary Indian fiction writers in English. She was born to a Bengali father and a German mother. She grew up in Delhi, receiving her education first at Queen Mary’s School and later at Miranda House, one of Delhi University’s most prestigious colleges. At the early age of seven, she published her first novel,Cry, the Peacock, in 1963. Desai since then published novels, short stories, and children’s literature.

Her famous short stories’ collections are: Games at Twilight and Other Stories, Diamond Dust: Stories

Other notable short story writers include, Jayshankar Prasad, Rohinton Mistry, Kiran Desai, Amitav Ghosh and Arundhati Roy.

Black Milk

Saadat Hassan Manto (1912__1954) was born in Sambrala (now part of East Punjab) on the 11th of May, 1912. He himself gave birth to ‘Manto’ as he neared the end of his schooldays. The first page of the book contains the following lines entitled as

” In memory of a conversation”:

“The milk of human kindness… if

you’ll pardon the cliché… flows in

the breast of every Manto character …”

“Its colour will have to be black if society

is to accept that verdict…”

Manto is known for writing unspeakable truths, hidden and dark tales of mankind augmented with pessimism, reality and bleak side of life, depicting sociopolitical and historical events along with the shades of gender and racial discrimination, injustice, violence, and all that one could feel. He gives the voice to all such emotions and pent up feelings that everyone wants to express but is unaware of the channel to express, this is the reason his words coincide with thoughts of all folks irrespective of their social strata, language and culture. Most of his stories entails stream of consciousness, discovers all that runs through the mind of every human being.

He had strong conviction over his art of story telling as his own epitaph contains lines:

“Here lies Saadat Hassan Manto along with his art of story writing… even now under tons of earth he is wondering, who is greater story writer… he or God.

Most of his short stories have been written in the background of partition between India and Pakistan, cover numerous socio political issues in such a subtle and pithy manner that no one can math his mastery of weaving words within a tapestry.

“Sakina” is the story that unfolds grim picture of Indo-Pak partition (1947), along with the shattered drams and expectations associated with new land of freedom. This story reveals how trust of an elderly father is broken by his own companions, whom he thought of his saviors and confidants. In the opening lines we are told that the special train carrying refuges from Amritsar has arrived after eight hours at Mughalpura , beyond the new international border, first paragraph depicts the scene depicts the scene of looted, wounded and brutally killed people during the riots.

An old man Sirajuddin wakes up and finds himself laying on the cold damp ground of the refugee camp. All around him, he sees an agitated sea of humanity, men, women and children. He wants to think and recollect but his memory fades away. Images begin to form on the screen of his mind rioting, looting, fire, running, the railway station, gun fire, the dark night and… and Sakina. At once sirajuddin rises up to his feet and like a madman rushes into the masses of people around him.

Dejected by his missing daughter, he looks for someone to bring his daughter back. After some days he meets with a party of young men, who possess guns and a lorry. They after having got the description regarding Sakina promise him to locate her and bring her back.

But after locating Sakina they prove otherwise, instead of handed her to Sirajuddin, they ruthlessly use her and then caste her away near the rail tracks, where she is found lying unconscious. When she is brought to the refugee camp hospital, Sirajuddin recognizes her by the black mole on her pallid lifeless cheeks and creams with joy “Sakina…. Sakina.” But quite shocking to the readers, when doctor examines the pulse of girl, looks at Sirajuddin and nodes his head towards the window “Open it” he says, the girl on stretcher i.e Sakina stirs, her hands move slowly and she opens the knot of her shalwar and pushes the garment down her thighs…

Old Sirajuddin face lights up with joy, “She’s alive…” he shouts, “My daughter’s alive…”

The doctor begins to drip with sweat.

The plight of helpless people migrating from one land to another is conveyed through a hair-raising event that leaves a lasting gloomy impact on readers. How human beings get turned into wild animals during any situation of chaos, when things fall apart and center cannot hold. One shudders deeply on looking through the windowpane opening into the time when a blood stained line was drawn between two civilizations and religions at the cost of several lives, sanctities and honors. When so many fathers lost their daughters and got their embodiments only, devoid of souls.

The usage of word “open it” entails symbolism and leads towards so many connotations and interpretations. Earlier this story was entitled as “Khol Do” while it was written in Urdu version, but when translated, its title was changed into “Sakina”. This story is an index of how social fabric is destroyed when anarchy and disorder is prevalent in society, History discloses that aftermath of any war gives birth to lost generation, who have aimless lives and are subjected to agonies, immorality, dissatisfaction and anxiety.

This short story reflects the socio political and geographical condition of migrated people at the time of partition, religious and cultural differences that became the root cause for two separate realms. The naïve and simple attitude of people, their blind trust on others, expectations and dreams regarding new liberated land, their capacity to sacrifice and sufferings. Then their exploitation and manipulation at the hands of authorities and people around them.

Title: BLACK MILK (an anthology of short stories)


Translated from Urdu by: HAMID JALAL

Genre: PROSE

Publisher: Sang_e_Meel Publications 1996

Pages: 187

Language : ENGLISH

Title of short story: SAKINA

Boobala Darling’s Long Awaited Proposal – Part 2 Of 3 – A Short Story

Boobala is finally on the cruise that she has wanted to take her whole life, but so far, it hasn’t gone that well. She’s been humiliated by the Captain, and aggravated by other guests. In part 2, though, her cruise takes a surprising turn.

As Boobala gorges on her food, a tall slim gentleman by the name of Irving Levy enters the dining room. He is assisted by his quad cane. Irving, a retired sixty year old wealthy stock broker, is known by the Captain because of the numerous trips he takes aboard the Empress Carinthia, but since his total hip replacement surgery and extensive physical therapy, he had not been able to travel as much recently, until now. Grateful that the worst has passed, he still uses his quad cane for support for the time being. Dressed in a loud multi-striped shirt with a bow tie, plaid pants and ridiculous suspenders, he sees Boobala sitting by herself. He shuffles over to her table.

“Excuse me, is this seat taken?” he asks in a well-mannered voice.

Boobala gets annoyed as she really didn’t want him or anyone at her table. She responds sarcastically, “Do you see a reserve sign?”

“Why no,” stutters Irving, taken aback by her response.

Boobala looks Irving over, amused at his outfit, though she has to admit he is kind of cute. He is meticulously groomed. His grey hair looks refreshingly healthy. He is clean-shaven face with a thin mustache. She likes the sound of his voice and the scent of his cologne.

“Not bad, Not bad for an old guy,” she thinks.

“So vat are you waiting for, go ahead and park your Tuchis.”

Irving pulls out the chair and sits at the table with Boobala. “Thank you, Thank you,” says Irving.

Boobala snaps at him, “Alright already, stop with the thanks. You’re giving me a headache.”

Irving turns to Boobala and introduces himself, “My name is Irving Levy. May I inquire, what is yours?”

“Boobala Finkenberg Darling.”

“Darling,That’s not a Jewish name, is it? Irving asks.

Boobala gets pissed by his many questions. She snaps at him with an edge in her voice “Vat, are you writing a book? You ask about my private life. I don’t know you? My husband was English and he was a lazy bum. He beat me up and made my life very unhappy. It was a loveless marriage of seventeen years. Because he couldn’t hold down a job, we ended up living with his Uncle Jake throughout our marriage. We lived through bad times where even a penny was considered money. I worked, and he stole my paychecks to gamble. Harry died from a heart attack at age 36 because he owed money to a loan shark who was going to slice him up. I should have listened to my mother, she did not like him, but I was so young and so in love, I eloped with him. My parents were very wealthy, they owned a top of the line clothing business in Brooklyn, but they disinherited me when I eloped with Harry. Guess what, I didn’t even pay for this trip, I won it. There you go, my whole life in a nutshell!” Boobala quickly puts her hand to her mouth, shocked by what she just said to a total stranger. It slid out like oil over water. She felt embarrassed, wanting the ground to open up and swallow her. She hoped the ladies at the other table hadn’t heard. What was there about this man, that made her feel so instantly comfortable that she blurted out her whole life to him?

Irving looked at Boobala with compassion and adoring eyes, “The world is beautiful Boobala, but it’s the people who make it ugly.” He was mesmerized by this feisty woman. For the first time in many years, he believed that he was in love. His hazel eyes glowed as he continued to talk to Boobala.

‘What a charming smile,’ she thought, as she looked at his face. ‘Nice dental work. At least his breath doesn’t smell, and there are no hairs popping out of his ears and nose.’

“I see you are a nice Jewish woman. Do you speak Yiddish?” Irving asked.

“How could you tell I’m Jewish?

Irving points to her chest, “You’re wearing a button that says: “Kiss me I’m Jewish”, plus it’s written all over you.” Boobala looks down at her chest, smiling as she remembers Myrtle pinning the button on her. She could still hear Myrtle laughing and saying: “Here Boobala, an attention grabber. It will be a great conversation piece to help you meet someone. Mazel Tov!” she had said as she hugged her beloved friend good-bye.

Irving continued to speak, “Besides, you remind me of my ‘Libe Mameleh’.” (Yiddish term: beloved mother). He takes a large handkerchief out and wipes away tears and blows his nose, putting the handkerchief back into his pocket.

After clearing his throat he asks, “So tell me, did you remarry?

Boobala answers curtly as usual. “Would I be here alone, if I was married?”

“Sorry, I was not thinking. Just trying to make small conversation.” he responded.

Boobala, now irritated, continues to indulge in her meal. She suddenly pauses for a moment to let out a belch, and says to Irving “Pass me a roll and the salt shaker please, and wipe your chin, you’re dribbling. “

After she finishes, she gets up abruptly and leaves the dining room area to go back to her cabin, stopping to purchase a ticket for the land cruise. Irving, on the other hand, is so smitten by Cupid’s arrow that he follows her like a lost puppy dog. Boobala stops at the photographer’s section to admire the pictures taken when the passengers boarded the Empress Carinthia. She remembers her rough ordeal and exclaims, “They didn’t even take my picture. I don’t see it here.”

She turns around and sees Irving behind her. ‘No way on earth he can be my prince charming. Those outfits and the quad cane have to go.’ She is starting to get annoyed and avoids him constantly to the point of rudeness. No matter how much he is insulted, he always shuffles his way back to her.

Every day they would meet in the dining room. Boobala started to relax her guard and warm up to him as they got to know each other better. She was starting to expect him to show up. She really began to like him. Actually, Irving had a terrific sense of humor, which Boobala instantly adored. He became enraptured with her smile. He was a man in love, and she was the woman he wanted to marry. He would wait for Captain’s night to propose to her.

My, my, what will happen next. Will Boobala accept Irving as her Prince Charming? Has Boobala found true love? Will Boobala finally get a fairy tale ending in her troubled life. You can only find out by reading part 3.