Inspiring Indians - Mulk Raj Anand

Mulk Raj Anand was an Indian writer in English. Together with R.K. Narayan, he was one of the first to gain international acclaim. Lets learn more about this great writer known for his unique depiction of the Indian society. 

Early life

He was born in Peshawar (modern Pakistan)on 12 December 1905. He graduated with honours from Khalsa College, Amritsar in 1924. He went to England and studied at University College , London and Cambridge University. He completed his PhD in 1929. He also studied - and later lectured - at League of Nations School of Intellectual Cooperation in Geneva. He was involved with Workers education association in London where he lectured frequently between 1932 and 1945. 

Literary Career 

Books by Mulk Raj Anand

His literary career was launched when he wrote his first essay due to a family tragedy. Mulk Raj Anand's first novel, "Untouchable", (1935), was a stark reflection of the day-to-day life of a member of India's untouchable caste. It received critical acclaim and also wide readership. Prominent among his other novels are The Village, Across the Black Waters, The Sword and the Sickle, all written in England, and Coolie, The Private Life of an Indian Prince written in India. Coolie, considered to be his most important work in literature, was highly critical of British rule in India and India's caste system.

He founded the fine-arts magazine Marg.The magazine was mainly funded by J.R.D. Tata when it was launched and later supported by the Tata Group companies. Subsequently, the National Centre for Performing Arts (NCPA) was formed as a trust, and the magazine has since then been funded by it. 

Awards & Honours 

Author of more than a dozen novels, of countless short stories and literary essays, he was honored with Sahitya Akademi Award, the coveted Indian award for literary writing. He also received the International Peace Prize from World Peace Council. 

The Padma Bhushan, India's second highest civilian honor was conferred on him by in 1967. He received various other honors and fellowships from prominent universities. The US Library of Congress has more than one hundred and fifty publications by and on him in its collection. 

Work in other fields 

Mulk Raj Anand was drawn to the Indian Independence movement. At the same time, he also supported freedom elsewhere around the globe and even travelled to Spain to volunteer in the Spanish Civil War. He spent his World War II days working as a scriptwriter for the BBC in London, where he became a friend of George Orwell (novelist). He was a friend of Picasso and had Picasso paintings in his collection. In 1970, he became president of Lokayata Trust, for creating a community and cultural centre in the village of Hauz Khas, New Delhi.

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