International Council for Education, Research and Training

Through the Sands of Time: A Historical Exploration in The Glass Palace

Singla, Priyanka
Associate Professor Department of English, Government College for Women, Hisar


Amitav Ghosh’s The Glass Palace is widely regarded as one of the essential historical novels of the last century. This paper explores the importance of The Glass Palace as a historical novel and why it remains relevant today. The novel allows readers to see imperialism’s devastating effects on individual lives and communities. It captures the cultural and psychological tensions of colonialism in one of the central locations it affected, Burma. Furthermore, The Glass Palace’s significance as a historical novel stem from its detailed portrayal of the social, economic, and political situation of the time. By presenting historical events in an entertaining, engaging way or with fictional characters, Ghosh makes his reader cull information from one of the more enthralling telling of Asian history. 

Keywords: Colonialism, Post Colonialism, History, Culture, Identity.

Impact statement

Amitav Ghosh’s novel, “The Glass Palace,” provides a vivid historical exploration of the tensions and transformations that have shaped Southeast Asia’s political, economic, and cultural landscape over the course of the 20th century. By tracing the lives and journeys of a diverse cast of characters, ranging from Indian and Burmese royals to British colonial administrators and Chinese immigrant labourers, Ghosh captures the complex interactions between global and local forces that have driven historical change in the region. The novel’s gripping portrayal of historical events, such as the British annexation of Burma and the Japanese occupation of Southeast Asia during World War II, shows how these events have shaped the region’s politics and society over time. Through its exploration of historical themes such as imperialism, nationalism, migration, and identity, “The Glass Palace” offers readers a compelling and nuanced perspective on the ongoing challenges and opportunities facing Southeast Asia in the present day. 

About Author

Priyanka Singla is presently working as an Associate Professor of English at Government College for Women, Hisar, Haryana. She has a teaching experience of more than eighteen years. She has completed her doctoral degree on the topic “Post Colonial Concerns in Bapsi Sidhwa’s Ice-Candy- Man and An American Brat and Rohinton Mistry’s A Fine Balance and Family Matters”. Apart from post colonialism, her areas of research interest include Gender, Sexuality, Cultural Studies, Feminism and Queer Theory. She has published several articles on these research areas in both National and International Journals- peer reviewed as well as UGC- Care Listed. She also has four book chapter publications to her credit. She has presented several research papers in various National and International Conferences and Seminars.


1. Ghosh, Amitav, The Glass Palace, New Delhi: Penguin Books of India, 2000.

2. Bhatt, Indira and Nityanandam, (eds.) The Fiction of Amitav Ghosh, New Delhi: Creative Books, 2001.

3. Bose, Brinda, (ed.) Amitav Ghosh: Critical Perspectives, New Delhi: Pencraft International, 2003.

4. Khair, Tabish, Amitav Ghosh: A Critical Companion. Delhi: Permanent lack, 2003.

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