Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Raj Anand was an Indian writer who is famous for his literary works in English. In his writings, he feeds the lives of the poorer caste in traditional Indian society. Anand was born on 12th December 1905 in Peshawar, NWFP, British India (now situated in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). He was among the pioneers of Indo-Anglian fiction amount with R.K. Narayan, Raja Rao, and Ahmad Ali and was also one of the first Indian writers in English who achieve the International readership and popularity. His genre of writing was realistic fiction. Mulk Ji is acclaimed for his literary works, which have earned the position of modern Indian English literature classics and are known around the world for providing insight into the life of the oppressed and portraying the true picture of poverty, exploitation, and misery.
He got huge praise for his memorable protest novel Untouchable (1935). After this, his other two novels that depicted the story of Indian poor society were published including Coolie (1936) and Two Leaves and a Bud (1937). In his unique writing style, he included Punjabi and Hindustani idioms in English which brought him into the limelight as one of the first writers to do so.
Early Life and Education
Anand Ji was born in Peshawar (now in Pakistan).His father's name was Lal Chand and his mother's name was Ishwar Kaur. He completed his graduation with honors at Khalsa College, Amritsar in 1924. After this, he moved to England and takesadmittedtoUniversity College London as an undergraduate student. He also worked there in a restaurant to run his livelihood. Then, in 1929, he completed his Ph.D. in philosophy at Cambridge University. During this period, the ember of Bloomsbury Group became his friends. Picasso was also one of his friends who gifted him a painting also. Mulk Raj Ji also gave lectures at the League of Nations' International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation, Geneva.
- Mulk Raj Anand came into the field of literary writing after facing a family tragedy related to the rigidity of India's caste system. In his debut written essay, he responded to an aunt's suicide after her family had excommunicated her for having a meal with a Muslim woman.
- He started his writing career in England by writing some short reviews in S. Eliot's magazine, 'Criterion'.
- During the 1930s and 40s, he actively took part in politics and gave many speeches at the meeting of the Indian League.
- In 1935, his first novel 'Untouchable' was published which expose the dark side of India's untouchable caste system. The novel is beautifully written by using Hindi and Punjabi idioms in English. This experiment captured the vernacular inventiveness and gave Mr. Anand, the reputation of India's Charles Dickens.
- In the same year, he founded the Progressive Writers' Association along with other two writers Sajjad Zaheer and Ahmed Ali.
- In 1937, Anand Ji joined the International Brigade in the Spanish Civil War. During this period, he wrote numerous essays and articles onvarious political issues.
- From 1939 to 1942, he began lecturing in literature and philosophy at London County Council Adult Education Schools and the Workers' Educational Association.
- During the 1930s and 40s, he gave his time to the politics of London and India. He was an active member of the Indian National Congress as well as the British Labor Party.
- During World War ll, Mulk Raj Ji worked as a scriptwriter and broadcaster also in the film division of BBC London.
- In 1946, he launched the magazine about fine arts named 'Marg' which was mainly funded by JRD Tata and later got financial support from Tata Group.
- In 1947, Anand Ji came back to India.
- From 1948 to 1966, he spent his time teaching at various universities. In the 1960s, he served as a professor of Literature and Fine Arts at the University of Punjab.
- From 1965 to 1970, Mr. Anand served as the fine art chairman at Lalit Kala Akademi.
- In 1970, he also became the president of Lokayata Trust after which he created a community and cultural center in Hauz Khas village, Delhi.
- In the same year, he joined the International Progress Organization (IPO) working on the issues related to cultural self-awareness among countries.
Personal Life and Legacy
- In 1938, Mulk Raj Ji got married toan English actress and communist Kathleen VAR Gelder in London. They together had a daughter named Susheila. But their marriage unraveled and they divorced in 1948.
- Later in 1950, he married a Persian classical dancer, Shirin Vajibdar in Bombay.
- In 2004, Mr. Anand lost his life because of pneumonia at the age of 98 at Jahangir Hospital, Pune, Maharashtra, India.
Mr. Anand had always been a socialist. His novels are essential social statements as well as literary treasures, as they criticize many facets of India's socioeconomic structure and the legacy of British colonialism. Anand himself was adamant that politics and writing were inextricably linked. He was a founder member of the Progressive Writers' Association and assisted in the writing of the organization's manifesto.
- Kali ka ladai(1939)
- Two Leaves and a Bud(1937)
- The Village(1939)
- Across the Black Waters(1939),
- The Big Heart(1945)
- The Lost Child(1934)
- Seven Summers: A Memoir(1951)
- The Road(1961)
- The Death of a Hero(1964)
- Short Story Collections
- The Lost Child and Other Stories(1934)
- The Power of Darkness and Other Stories(1959)
- Lajwanti and Other Stories(1966)
- Between Tears and Laughter(1973)
- Indian Fairy Tales(1946)
- More Indian Fairy Tales(1961)
- Seven Summers(1951)
- Morning Face(1971)
- Pilpali Sahab(1985)
- Other Notable Works
- The Golden Breath: Studies in five poets of the new India(1933)
- Introduction to Indian art(1956)
- Kama Kala(1958)
Awards and Honors
- In 1953, Mr. Anand won the International Peace Prize given by World Peace Council.
- In 1968, he was awarded Padma Bhushan by the Government of India for his extraordinary contribution to the field of literature and education.
- In 1971, he received Sahitya Akademi Award for his highly popular novel 'The Morning Face' (1968).
- He was honored as India's Charles Dickens for his memorable work in the novel "Untouchable'.