Lakshmi Raj Sharma

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Lakshmi Raj Sharma
Born 1954
Mirzapur, UP, India
Occupation Academician, Novelist
Language English, Hindi
Nationality Indian
Ethnicity Asian
Education MA, DPhil
Alma mater University of Allahabad
Genre Literary Fiction, Short Stories, and Literary Theory
Notable works The Tailor's Needle, Marriages are Made in India, TS Eliot-Middleton Murry Debate, The Twain Shall Meet

Lakshmi Raj Sharma (Hindi: लक्ष्मी राज शर्मा) (born 1954) is an Indian author, novelist, and academician. He teaches English literature and literary theory. He is currently a Professor at the Department of English and Modern European Languages at the University of Allahabad, Allahabad.[1] Recently his novel The Tailor's Needle was published. A few other books are also to his credit. He is also an active blogger.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Sharma was born to a land-owning family, well known in the eastern districts of Uttar Pradesh. His grandfather Rai Bahadur Lakshmi Narain Sharma, a barrister, and his father Indra Raj Sharma were among notable people in Mirzapur. His eldest brother Ajay Raj Sharma was the Police Commissioner of Delhi and later the Director General of the Border Security Force.[3] He is married to Bandana Sharma, a fellow professor in his university department; they have a son, Dhruv Raj Sharma, who is an Etymology Educator, and the head of Logophilia Education Pvt. Ltd.

Sharma was educated at the Boys' High School & College, Allahabad for his early and secondary education. He entered the University of Allahabad in 1973, graduated in 1975 and then completed his masters in 1977. He received the Doctor of Philosophy award from the same university in 1986. He was selected for the Indian Civil Services, but opted for an academic career.[1]

The Tailor's Needle[edit]

The Tailor's Needle (2009; ISBN 0956037046, Picnic Publishing Limited, UK) is his first novel, published in 2009. It is set in India in the first half of the twentieth century. The novelist himself says: It is a Raj novel covering the era 1917–1940. The characters are Indians and Britons, including a fictional British Viceroy of India.[4] A reviewer comments:

In a blend of fictional conventions, Lakshmi Raj Sharma's literary masterpiece The Tailor's Needle uses the past to highlight modern India's fragmentation ... His moral vitality serves as a subliminal lament to India's political class today. In a dignified reproach to those who have failed the country, Sharma's The Tailor's Needle is a final adieu to the great Indian Raj novel – we will not see the like again – as well as an homage to traditions that gave meaning to people's lives.[5]

Gis Hoyle, a novelist and reviewer, observes that in the novel "The whole is held together by a gently mocking and yet ultimately compassionate narrative voice, which gives the reader a brief and enchanting glimpse into a world now gone, with all its faults – and all that might be loved in it, too."[6] Ann Northfield in Historical Novels Review writes: This is an unusual novel that carries the flavour of its time and setting. Anyone who enjoys books about India would find this worth a read.[7]

The novelist believes that his "greatest wealth is the support he has received from his students who have always overflowed into and out of his classrooms. A number of them are in high positions, some very distinguished journalists, who would go out of their way to continue their support to this author."

The Tailor's Needle has also been published in India by Penguin Books India (2012; ISBN 9780143416760).[8]

Intriguing Women[edit]

Intriguing Women is Lakshmi Raj Sharma’s third work of fiction. After the success of his debut novel The Tailor’s Needle and his first book of short stories Marriages Are Made In India, Sharma now publishes a second collection of stories about women in all their infinite – and intriguing – variety. Intriguing Women has been published in Kindle edition by The Paris Press, and a paperback edition is expected shortly. The stories in Intriguing Women have international and Indian settings. These are women who may seem superficially normal, but might not be, and women who strive for normality at all costs. Sharma also raises questions; can a woman reconcile herself to terrorism? How do we react to a woman who kills several of her husbands? Definitions of femininity are examined and magnified through the prism of fiction.[9] We meet women who despite years of oppression, are smart enough to ride the 21st century successfully, while others are left behind, unable to handle the complexities of modern life. These stories report, reflect and examine the feminine nature. What is it like to be born a woman, most particularly an Indian woman?

Other works[edit]

Professor Lakshmi Raj Sharma is currently working on his second novel, Emancipation, and has recently completed a further collection, The English World and Other Stories.[10] His works include TS Eliot-Middleton Murry Debate, The Twain Shall Meet, and a short story collection Marriages are Made in India (2001; ISBN 8175957786, Writers Workshop, Calcutta). Marriages are Made in India has also been published as an e-book by Publerati (USA).[11] Besides, he has edited Shakespeare's Problem Plays.[12]

Prof. Sharma's writings bear several influences, but Charles Dickens' influence is more than visible. He himself admits in one of his papers published in the Oxford journal English:

I must confess that if there were no Dickens, I would have been a different kind of novelist or story-writer; or, perhaps, would not have been a novelist at all.[13]