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“Mala” is one of the most representative short stories of
Indian Society and Culture by Indian Malaysian writer KS
Maniam. The story of a simple village girl becomes the central
focus of the author to show the way and belief of the Indian
People. The story has become of a great research for finding
out the cultural and social picturesque of tradition and norms
of India. Like other Indian English writers KS Maniam also has
projected the story to show the true picture of Indian society.
Such as: language, dress, praying, feast and festivals,
customs, marriage systems, patriarchal attitudes towards
women, conspiracy, education, class conflicts, traditional
belief on the way of life.
Subramaniam Krishnan popularly known as K. S. Maniam, is
an Indian Malaysian Short story Writer, Playwright and
He was born in 1942
He lives with his wife, son and daughter in Subang Jaya,
Malaysia, and devotes his time fully to writing.
K. S. Maniam has been writing from his early teens. His
stories have appeared in numerous journals around the
He has been lecturer (1980–85) and Associate Professor
(1986–97) in the English Department, University of Malaya, in
South Asian English Writer
A keen observer of Indian Society
He is the inaugural recipient of the Raja Rao Award (New Delhi,
September 2000), for his outstanding contribution to the literature of the
South Asian Diaspora.
He enriched the writing of English by the Indian
Depicted the true picture of Indian society
His artistic representation contributed a lot in developing Indian English
Make a clear record for the Asian English Literature
K S Maniam College of Education, India
He is also Honored by other different award like he receives the first prize
for The Loved Flaw: Stories from Malaysia in The New Straits Times–
McDonald short-story contest (1987) and for Haunting the Tiger:
Contemporary Stories from Malaysia in The New Straits Times–Shell
The Return (London: Skoob, 1981, 1993)
In A Far Country (1993)
Between Lives (2003)
The Cord (1983)
The Sandpit: Womensis (1990)
The Eagles (1976)
Removal in Pasir Panjang (1981)
The Pelanduk (1981)
The Third Child (1981)
The Dream of Vasantha (1981)
Project: Graft Man (1983)
We Make It To The Capital (1984)
The Aborting (1986)
Haunting the Tiger (1990)
Sensuous Horizons: The Stories & The Plays (1994)
In Flight (written 1993, published 1995)
Arriving ...and other stories (1995)
Faced Out (2004)
Mala is a story about a simple, ethnic Indian girl, Mala which her real name is
Malati. Mala get her name from her neighbor because she was a lazy girl.
Mala is taken from Malay words which is “Malas” means lazy. The word Mala
also can be interpreted in different ways. It may be consider as an ornament for
decorating if we take the word from Indian Bengali word MALA
She’s from a small town and her father wants her to get married and find
bridegroom for her. But, she was falling in love with her friend’s brother,
When all her neighbor talked much about her bad attitude, she decide to
accepted an offer of marriage from Sanker who lived in Kuala Lumpur, it is
because she attracted by a hope of greater freedom, but found with time that
despite some improvements she'd replaced one form of servitude with another.
She likes to have child but Sanker just want to have more money. Besides that,
in Kuala Lumpur she becomes another person when Sanker change her.
She lost her own identity because of her husband.
Mala, the protagonist of the story
Sanker , husband and lover of Mala
Lucy, a Chinese woman living in the shared
apartment with Sanker
Susi, Sanker’s Sister and a friend of Mala
Her Two Brothers
Her neighboring woman
Subservient to their way of life
Conspiracy of a neighboring women .
A negative attitude of society to girls
Her seeking for independence
Education for girls and boys
Objectifying women through different ways
Negative approach towards girls and women
Rituals and customs
Feast and Festivals
Love at first sight
Everything is justified through male gaze
Patriarchal Attitude to Female
Traditional way of life and culture
Purity in Sexual activities
To summarize the above discussion we can
say that “Mala” is certainly a wonderful short
story of KS Maniam where one can easily find
the different aspects of Indian people as well
as the socio-cultural representation of Indian
Society. So, this story has a great importance
in world literature to get the universal idea of
South Asian English Literature.