Short stories in India have their origins in oral story telling which were handed down from one generation to the next. Short stories tend to be more concise and brief. Just like short stories from different countries and languages, short stories in India talk about different kinds of social, cultural and political issues while also tapping into a large audience which enjoys topics of love, romance, comedy and action.
From the very beginning, Indian literature was blessed in abundance with fables, fairy tales, mythological characters in every language and dialect possible. Many short fiction stories were translated from one regional dialect to the other to make them popular. Fakir Mohan Senapati is credited to have most probably written the first Indian short story. it was entitled ‘Lachmania’ and was published in 1868. Written works were published in periodicals or journals. during that time there was a large demand for them as people preferred complete stories to novels which were published in parts in these journals.
The first Hindi short story seems to have emerged in the 1900’s. The first volume of the ‘Saraswati’ is said to have published the work of Indumati by Kishori Lal Goswami. However some historians say that the idea of the story was taken from a Bengali story, if so, then due credit for the first Hindi short story should be given to Ramachandra Shukla’s ‘Garaha Varsa Ka Samay.’ during India’s independence struggle, Hindi short stories focused on the lives of ordinary men and women who were depicted with lots of love and feelings while other stories dealt with human misery and helplessness brought about due to foreign rule.
Stories were written with different themes in mind. From Madhav Rao Sapre’s ‘Eka Tokri Bhar Mitti’ which tells of the trials of a poor widow and a wealthy landlord, to Chandhradhara Guleri’s ‘Usne Kaha Tha’ a story dealing with love and life and told with vividness and clarity from the very beginning. other forms of short stories include the exchanges by Akbar and Birbal, many of which have become folk traditions and are an integral part of the Indian tradition. The fables of Panchatantra are extremely popular even today and are considered to be as old as the Rigveda.