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Biography of Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Raj Anand was born on December 12, 1905, in Peshawar, India. Now Peshawar is in Pakistan. He was an Indian writer in English. He was one of the pioneers (अगुआ, मार्ग-निर्माता) of Indo-Anglian fiction (उपन्यास). Mulk Raj Anand, R. K. Narayan, Ahmad Ali, and Raja Rao were the pioneers of Indo-Anglian fiction. He was one of the first India-based writers in English to gain an international readership (शिक्षकत्व, अध्यापकी). He was well-known for his novels and short stories. He was prominent (प्रसिद्ध, विशिष्ठ) Indian author of novels, short stories, and critical (समालोचनात्मक) essays in English. He is considered a founder (संस्थापक) of the English-language Indian novel.
His father’s name was Lal Chand. He was the son of a coppersmith (ठठेरा), who later became a soldier.
His mother’s name was Ishwar Kaur. She was a farmer.
Spouse (पत्नी, श्रीमती)-
Mulk Raj Anand married Kathleen Van Gelder, English actress and Communist (साम्यवादी), in 1938. After 10 years, he divorced her in 1948.
His second wife was Shirin Vajifdar. She was born in Bombay, India. She Married Mulk Raj Anand in 1950. She was his second wife. She was an Indian classical(शास्त्रीय) dancer, choreographer (नृत्यरचना-कार), instructor(प्रशिक्षक) and critic (आलोचक). She was a Kathak dancer (नर्तकी, नृत्यांगना).
He attended Khalsa College, Amritsar, and entered the University of Punjab in 1921. He got his higher education from Punjab University in Lahore. He graduated with honors from there in 1924. Later he went to Britain and pursued additional (अतिरिक्त, अपर) study at the University of Cambridge. He also studied at University College in London, receiving his Ph.D. in 1929. While at college, he became involved in the Non-Co-operation Movement in 1921, and for a short while he was imprisoned (कारावासित, बन्दी). When he was spending time in Geneva, He lectured at the League of Nations International Committee on Intellectual Cooperation. He also lectured, on and off (कभी-कभार) between 1932 and 1945, at Workers Educational Association in London.
Mulk Raj Anand wrote from a young age. He had faced social and religious difficulties for his love. He had a love for a Muslim girl, unfortunately, she was already married.
His first prose essay came after the suicide of an aunt ostracized (समाज से बहिष्कृत) by her family for sharing a meal with a Muslim woman. Many incidents like these incidents, inspired him to write to vent his frustration (निराशा) through words.
He is best known for his depiction (चित्रण, वर्णन) of the poorer classes of people in India and their plight (दुर्दशा). He had depicted the lives of the poorer castes (जाति) in traditional (परंपरागत) Indian society.
He had written hundreds of novels and short stories.
He is also considered the first writer to incorporate (सम्मिलित करने) Punjabi and Hindustani idioms (मुहावरों) into English.
Career and Occupation-
He was a torchbearer (पथप्रदर्शक) of the 20th century Progressive (प्रगतिशील) Writers’ Movement. He had drafted (मसौदा तैयार किया) the first manifesto (घोषणापत्र) of the literary association (संघ). He was the founding father of Indian English novel.
He was also the Secretary (सचिव) of Progressive Writers Association.
He belonged to the 20th Century, The Modern Age.
1- Untouchable (1935)
It was his first novel. It exposed the lives of India’s untouchable (अछूत) caste. It tells the story of Bakha, a toilet cleaner. He faces Many humiliations (निरादर,अपमान, तिरस्कार)) ( pain of untouchability (छुआछूत).
Mulk Raj Anand used Punjabi and Hindi idiom in English in Untouchable (1935). It brought more reputation (प्रतिष्ठा, ख्याति) for him as- India’s, Charles Dickens.
Its introduction was written by E. M. Forster. He and E. M. Forster became a friend while he was working on T. S. Eliot’s magazine Criterion
2- Coolie (1936)
This novel was published in 1936. It reinforced (प्रबलित किया) his name and fame and made him one of India’s leading English authors. It criticized the British rule in India and India’s caste system. It presents the plight of a 14 years old boy Munoo. He faces poverty and social exploitation (शोषण).
Indian Prime Minister Man Mohan Singh launched (शुभारम्भ) a commemorative (स्मरणीय), edition including Coolie (1936) in 2004.
His first Novel-
Untouchable (1935) is his first novel. It begins with scenes of public latrines, dirty bazaars, lanes, alleys (गलियां) and gutters (नालियां).
It got criticism from English critic. Once he travelled to Ireland. He met George Russell and W. B. Yeats. He told an incident that occurred in Woolf’s drawing-room. George Russell advised him to return to India.
According to Mulk Raj Anand- He said, “Son, go back to Gandhi for a year. He is struggling against the rejection of outcasts (बहिष्कृत); at the same time he is fighting against imperialism (साम्राज्यवाद)”. George Russell wrote to Gandhi on Mulk Raj Anand’s behalf (की ओर से)”. He also wrote to Gandhi asking if he could visit. Gandhi Ji replied saying, “Come of March 1927”.
Mulk Raj Anand went to Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad and showed a draft (मसौदा) of the Untouchable to Gandhi Ji. Gandhi Ji told, “I have looked at your novel. You seem to use big words as- Harijans’ sigh (आह), moan (कराह, विलाप) and groan (कराहना, तड़प)! They do not use such heavy words. Gandhi Ji suggested him to use simpler language and transliterate (लिप्यन्तरण, एक भाषा के लेख का दूसरी भाषा में लिखना) what they say”.
After that Mulk Raj Anand rewrote the entire novel in the ashram and Gandhi approved (अनुमोदित किये, स्वीकृत किये) its final draft. Although 19 publishers rejected the manuscript (हस्तलिपि). Lawrence and Wishart, a small publishing company, published the novel ‘Untouchable’ in 1935.
Mulk Raj Anand’s friend E. M. Forster noted The Preface of the novel and helped him in publishing the novel ‘Untouchable’. He said about the novel, “None of us is pure—we shouldn’t be alive if we were. But to the straightforward (स्पष्टवादी, सरल, सीधा-सादा), all things can become pure, and it is to the directness (सादगी, निष्कपटता) of his attack that Mr. Anand’s success is probably due (यथोचित, उचित)”.
Finally, his novel Untouchable brought name and fame to him. It was translated into many other languages. Bakha, the Hero belongs to the downtrodden (कुचला हुआ, रौंदा हुआ) race.
He won International Peace Prize form World Peace Council in 1953.
He won Padma Bhushan Award in 1967.
He won the Sahitya Academy Award, in 1971.
- Untouchable (1935)
- Coolie (1936)
- Two Leaves and a Bud (1937)
- The village (1939)
- Across the Black Waters (1939)
- The Sword and the Sickle (1942)
- The Big Heart (1945)
- The Lost Child (1934)
- Seven Summers: A Memoir (1951)
- The Private Life of an Indian Prince (1953)
- The Old Woman and the Cow (1960)
- The Road (1961)
- The Death of a Hero (1964)
He was mocked (मजाक उड़ाया, हंसी उड़ाया) by an English critic Edward Sackville-West for trying to write a novel about a lower-caste protagonist (नायक).
According to Mulk Raj Anand, the critic said, “Oh! There can be no novel about the poor! One can only laugh at the Cockneys (मुर्ख पुरवासी) like Dickens’. This unnerved (हतोत्साहित किया) me and made me feel hopeless about my confessional (पाप स्वीकार पीठिका).”
Later, that novel turned out to be his seminal (प्राथमिक, लाभदायक) debut (प्रथम प्रवेश) book, Untouchable (1935).
He died pneumonia (निमोनिया) in Pune on September 28, 2004. He was 98 years old when he died.