Mulk Raj Anand

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Read this article to know about the biography of the famous novelist Mulk Raj Anand.

-Himani Gupta

Introduction

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Source: Wikipedia

Mulk Raj Anand, prominent Indian author with hundreds of novels, short stories, and critical essays in English and is also considered as a founder of the English-language Indian novel. He is best remembered for his realistic depiction of the poorer classes of people in India. He was very familiar with the problems of the poorer sections.

Childhood & Early Life

He was born in Peshawar to Lal Chand, a coppersmith and soldier. Some events happened in his life that inspired him to vent his frustration through words. Like, the love he had for a Muslim girl who was unfortunately almost married. He was also angered by the suicide of his relative who had been ostracized for sharing food with a Muslim.

The son of Coppersmith went to Khalsa College, Amritsar, and then graduated in 1924 from The University of Punjab in Lahore and pursued additional studies on a scholarship at the University of Cambridge and at University College in London. He earned his PhD in 1929.

While in Europe, he became politically active in India’s struggle for Independence.

Career of Mulk Raj Anand

His writing career began in England where he used to publish short reviews in T.S. Eliot’s magazine, ‘Criterion’.

He wrote a series of diverse books on aspects of South Asian Culture, Persian painting (1930), curries and other Indian dishes (1932), The Hindu view of Art (1933), The Indian Theatre (1950) and seven Little-known Birds of the inner eye (1978).

He was deeply influenced by M.K. Gandhi. Along with the two writers Sajjad Zaheer and Ahmed Ali, he played an important role in finding the Progressive Writers Association in London in 1935. Being socialist, he also wrote articles on Marxism, Fascism, Indian independence and other political issues.

Anand first gained wide recognition for his novels Untouchable in 1935 published by the British Firm, Wishart. The story was about the boy who has to become a toilet cleaner just because he belongs to the untouchable caste.

Again in 1937, his novel ‘Two Leaves and a Bud’ dealt with the way the lower caste people are exploited in India. It was the story of a poor peasant who is killed by a British officer who tries to rape his daughter. Among his other major works are the village (1939), the sword and the sickle (1942) and The Big Heart (1945).

During the World War II; he worked as a broadcaster and scriptwriter in the film division of the BBC in London. In 1946, he found the fine-arts magazine, ‘Marg’. During the 1960s, he served as Tagore Professor of Literature and Fine Art at the University of Punjab.

He also became the president of Lokayata Trust in 1970. From 1965 to 1970, he worked as the Fine art chairman at Lalit Kala Akademi.

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Major Works

His best-known work was the novel ‘Untouchable’ which tells the story of a boy, Bakha, who has to become a toilet cleaner just because of his lower-caste. The novel examined the problems of poverty in Indian Society.

He also worked on a projected seven-volume autobiographical novel entitled Seven Ages of Man, including four volumes: seven summers (1951), Morning face (1968), confession of a Lover (1976) and The Bubble (1984).

Awards & AchievementsAnand was

Anand was honoured in 1967 with the Padma Bhushan, India’s third highest civilian award for his huge contribution in the field of Literature & Education. He also won the Sahitya Academy Award for his novel ‘The Morning Face’ (1968).

Personal Life & Legacy

He married to actress Kathleen van Gelder in London in 1938. The married sadly unravelled and the couple divorced in 1948. Again in 1950, he married Shirin Vajibdar, a classical dancer. Mukul Raj Anand died in 2004 at the age of 98.

Recommended Book

Mulk Raj Anand Biography

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