Describe how the issue of caste was included in novels in India. By referring to any two novels, discuss the ways in which they tried to make readers think about existing social issues.
Indians used the novel as a powerful medium to criticise what they considered defects in their society and to suggest remedies. The issue of caste was included in Indian novels for this same purpose. O Chandu Menon's "Indulekha", a love story based on the lines of Benjamin Disraeli's novel "Henrietta Temple", is a comment upon the marriage practices of upper-caste Hindus in Kerala. Through the characterisations of his main characters, the author (himself a member of an "upper caste") pits the ignorant and immoral Nambuthiri Brahmins against the educated and modern Nayars.
While writers like Chandu Menon wished to bring about reforms within their castes, there were others who sought to reform the entire caste-based society. In his novel “Saraswativijayam”, Potheri Kunjambu (a "lower-caste" writer from Kerala) attacks caste oppression. The novel shows a young “untouchable” man flee his village to escape caste-based tyranny. After converting to Christianity and receiving modern education, he returns to his village as a judge in the local court where the villagers had filed a case against the local Brahmin bully for murdering this young man. In the end, the judge reveals his identity and the Nambuthiri repents and reforms his ways. Apart from being critical of the upper castes, this novel also stresses the importance of education for the upliftment of the lower castes.