Kamala Surayya, popularly known by her one-time pen name Madhavikutty and married name Kamala Das, was an Indian English poet as well as a leading Malayalam author from Kerala, India. Her popularity in Kerala is based chiefly on her short stories and autobiography, while her oeuvre in English, written under the name Kamala Das, is noted for the poems and explicit autobiography, she was a read columnist and wrote on diverse topics including women's issues, child care, politics among others. She was born in a conservative Hindu Nair family having royal ancestry, she assumed the name Kamala Surayya. Her open and honest treatment of female sexuality, free from any sense of guilt, infused her writing with power and she got hope after freedom, but marked her as an iconoclast in her generation. On 31 May 2009, aged 75, she died at a hospital in Pune. Kamala was born in Punnayurkulam, Malabar District in British India on 31 March 1934, to V. M. Nair, a managing editor of the circulated Malayalam daily Mathrubhumi, Nalapat Balamani Amma, a renowned Malayali poet.
She spent her childhood between Calcutta, where her father was employed as a senior officer in the Walford Transport Company that sold Bentley and Rolls Royce automobiles, the Nalapat ancestral home in Punnayurkulam. Like her mother, Balamani Amma, Kamala Das excelled in writing, her love of poetry began at an early age through the influence of her great uncle, Nalapat Narayana Menon, a prominent writer. At the age of 15, she got married to bank officer Madhav Das, who encouraged her writing interests, she started writing and publishing both in English and in Malayalam. Calcutta in the 1960s was a tumultuous time for the arts, Kamala Das was one of the many voices that came up and started appearing in cult anthologies along with a generation of Indian English poets. English was the language, she was noted for her many Malayalam short stories as well as many poems written in English. Das was a syndicated columnist, she once claimed that "poetry does not sell in this country," but her forthright columns, which sounded off on everything from women's issues and child care to politics, were popular.
Das' first book of poetry, Summer in Calcutta was a breath of fresh air in Indian English poetry. She wrote chiefly of love, its betrayal, the consequent anguish. Ms. Das abandoned the certainties offered by an archaic, somewhat sterile, aestheticism for an independence of mind and body at a time when Indian poets were still governed by "19th-century diction and romanticised love." Her second book of poetry, The Descendants was more explicit, urging women to: Gift him what makes you woman, the scent of Long hair, the musk of sweat between the breasts, The warm shock of menstrual blood, all your Endless female hungers..." – The Looking GlassThis directness of her voice led to comparisons with Marguerite Duras and Sylvia PlathAt the age of 42, she published a daring autobiography, My Story. She admitted that much of the autobiography had fictional elements."Some people told me that writing an autobiography like this, with absolute honesty, keeping nothing to oneself, is like doing a striptease.
True, maybe. I, firstly, strip myself of clothes and ornaments. I intend to peel off this light brown skin and shatter my bones. At last, I hope you will be able to see my homeless, intensely beautiful soul, deep within the bone, deep down under, beneath the marrow, in a fourth dimension" - excerpts from the translation of her autobiography in Malayalam, Ente Katha Kamala Das wrote on a diverse range of topics disparate- from the story of a poor old servant, about the sexual disposition of upper middle class women living near a metropolitan city or in the middle of the ghetto; some of her better-known stories include Pakshiyude Manam, Neypayasam and Chandana Marangal. She wrote a few novels, out of which Neermathalam Pootha Kalam, received favourably by the reading public as well as the critics, stands out, she travelled extensively to read poetry to Germany's University of Duisburg-Essen, University of Bonn and University of Duisburg universities, Adelaide Writer's Festival, Frankfurt Book Fair, University of Kingston, Jamaica and South Bank Festival, Concordia University, etc.
Her works are available in French, Russian and Japanese. Kamala Surayya was a confessional poet whose poems have been considered at par with those of Anne Sexton and Robert Lowell, she has held positions as Vice chairperson in Kerala Sahitya Akademi, chairperson in Kerala Forestry Board, President of the Kerala Children's Film Society, editor of Poet magazine and Poetry editor of Illustrated Weekly of India. Although seen as an attention-grabber in her early years, she is now seen as one of the most formative influences on Indian English poetry. In 2009, The Times called her "the mother of modern English Indian poetry", her last book titled The Kept Woman and Other Stories, featuring translation of her short stories, was published posthumously. Kamala Das had three sons -- Chinnen Das and Jayasurya Das. Madhav Das Nalapat, the eldest, is married to Princess Thiruvathira Thirunal Lakshmi Bayi from the Travancore Royal House, he is a Professor of geopolitics at the Manipal University. He had been a reside
The Serpent and the Rope
The Serpent and the Rope is a novel by Raja Rao first published in 1960 by John Murray. Written in an autobiographical style, the novel deals with the concepts of existence and fulfillment of one's capabilities; the protagonist Ramaswamy's thought process in the novel is said to be influenced by vedantic philosophy and Adi Shankara's non-dualism. The novel won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1964. Gupta, Ramesh Kumar. "Ontological Entity in The Serpent and The Rope". In K. V. Surendran. Indian Literature in English: New Perspectives. Sarup & Sons. Pp. 24–31. ISBN 9788176252492. OCLC 52263671. Piciucco, Pier Paolo. "In Between The Serpent and the Rope". In Rajeshwar Mittapalli, Pier Paolo Piciucco; the Fiction of Raja Rao: Critical Studies. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. Pp. 179–185. ISBN 9788126900183. OCLC 50117094. Dayal, P. Raja Rao. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. OCLC 24909983. Sharma, Kaushal. Raja Rao: A Study of his Themes and Technique. Sarup & Sons. ISBN 9788176256179. OCLC 297507382. Rao, A. Sudhakar.
Socio-cultural Aspects of Life in the Selected Novels of Raja Rao. Atlantic Publishers & Distributors. ISBN 9788171568291. Powers, Janet M.. "Raja Rao". In Jaina C. Sanga. South Asian Novelists in English: An A-to-Z Guide. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 9780313318856. OCLC 608576912
R. K. Narayan
Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami, was an Indian writer known for his works set in the fictional South Indian town of Malgudi. He was a leading author of early Indian literature in English along with Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao. Narayan's mentor and friend Graham Greene was instrumental in getting publishers for Narayan’s first four books including the semi-autobiographical trilogy of Swami and Friends, The Bachelor of Arts and The English Teacher; the fictional town of Malgudi was first introduced in Friends. Narayan’s The Financial Expert was hailed as one of the most original works of 1951 and Sahitya Akademi Award winner The Guide was adapted for film and for Broadway. Narayan highlights the social context and everyday life of his characters, he has been compared to William Faulkner who created a similar fictional town and explored with humour and compassion the energy of ordinary life. Narayan's short stories have been compared with those of Guy de Maupassant because of his ability to compress a narrative.
In a career that spanned over sixty years Narayan received many awards and honours including the AC Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature, the Padma Vibhushan and the Padma Bhushan, India's third and second highest civilian awards. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha, the upper house of India's parliament. R. K. Narayan was born in Madras, British India, he was one of eight children. Narayan was second among the sons, his father was a school headmaster, Narayan did some of his studies at his father's school. As his father's job entailed frequent transfers, Narayan spent a part of his childhood under the care of his maternal grandmother, Parvati. During this time his best friends and playmates were a mischievous monkey, his grandmother gave him the nickname of A name that stuck to him in family circles. She taught him arithmetic, classical Indian music and Sanskrit. According to Laxman, the family conversed in English, grammatical errors on the part of Narayan and his siblings were frowned upon.
While living with his grandmother, Narayan studied at a succession of schools in Madras, including the Lutheran Mission School in Purasawalkam, C. R. C. High School, the Christian College High School. Narayan was an avid reader, his early literary diet included Dickens, Arthur Conan Doyle and Thomas Hardy; when he was twelve years old, Narayan participated in a pro-independence march, for which he was reprimanded by his uncle. Narayan moved to Mysore to live with his family when his father was transferred to the Maharajah's College High School; the well-stocked library at the school, as well as his father's own, fed his reading habit, he started writing as well. After completing high school, Narayan failed the university entrance examination and spent a year at home reading and writing, it took Narayan four years to obtain his bachelor's degree, a year longer. After being persuaded by a friend that taking a master's degree would kill his interest in literature, he held a job as a school teacher.
The experience made Narayan realise that the only career for him was in writing, he decided to stay at home and write novels. His first published work was a book review of Development of Maritime Laws of 17th-Century England. Subsequently, he started writing the occasional local interest story for English newspapers and magazines. Although the writing did not pay much, he had a regular life and few needs, his family and friends respected and supported his unorthodox choice of career. In 1930, Narayan wrote his first novel and Friends, an effort ridiculed by his uncle and rejected by a string of publishers. With this book, Narayan created Malgudi, a town that creatively reproduced the social sphere of the country. While vacationing at his sister's house in Coimbatore, in 1933, Narayan met and fell in love with Rajam, a 15-year-old girl who lived nearby. Despite many astrological and financial obstacles, Narayan managed to gain permission from the girl's father and married her. Following his marriage, Narayan became a reporter for a Madras-based paper called The Justice, dedicated to the rights of non-Brahmins.
The publishers were thrilled to have a Brahmin Iyer in Narayan espousing their cause. The job brought him in contact with a wide variety of issues. Earlier, Narayan had sent the manuscript of Swami and Friends to a friend at Oxford, about this time, the friend showed the manuscript of Swami and Friends to Graham Greene. Greene recommended the book to his publisher, it was published in 1935. Greene counseled Narayan on shortening his name to become more familiar to the English-speaking audience; the book was built upon many incidents from his own childhood. Reviews were favourable but sales were few. Narayan's next novel The Bachelor of Arts, was inspired in part by his experiences at college, dealt with the theme of a rebellious adolescent transitioning to a rather well-adjusted adult, his third novel, The Dark
The Guide is a 1958 novel written in English by the Indian author R. K. Narayan. Like most of his works the novel is based on the fictional town in South India; the novel describes the transformation of the protagonist, from a tour guide to a spiritual guide and one of the greatest holy men of India. The novel brought its author the 1960 Sahitya Akademi Award for English, by the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters. Railway Raju is a disarmingly corrupt tour guide, famous among tourists, he falls in love with a beautiful dancer, the wife of archaeologist Marco. Marco does not approve of Rosie's passion for dancing. Rosie, encouraged by Raju, decides to start a dancing career, they start living together, but Raju's mother does not approve of their relationship, leaves them. Raju becomes Rosie's stage manager and soon, with the help of Raju's marketing tactics, Rosie becomes a successful dancer. Raju, develops an inflated sense of self-importance and tries to control her life and he wants to build as much wealth as possible.
Raju gets a two-year sentence. After completing the sentence, Raju passes through a village. Since he does not want to return in disgrace to Malgudi, he decides to stay in an abandoned temple, close to the village. There is a famine in the village and Raju is expected to keep a fast in order to make it rain. Raju confesses the entire truth about his past to Velan, who had developed a complete faith in Raju like the rest of the villagers. With media publicizing his fast, a huge crowd gathers to watch him fast. After fasting for several days, he goes to the riverside one morning as part of his daily ritual, where his legs sag down as he feels that the rain is falling in the hills; the ending of the novel leaves unanswered the question of whether he died, whether the drought ended. The film Guide was released based on the novel, it starred Dev Anand as Raju, Waheeda Rehman as Rosie, Kishore Sahu, Leela Chitnis in the lead roles. The film's score was composed by S. D. Burman; the movie depicts that in the conclusion the drought ends and Raju dies, unlike the book in which the questions remain unanswered.
The novel was adapted into a play in 1968. The play was profiled in the William Goldman book The Season: A Candid Look at Broadway. A Study Guide to The Guide An Analysis Some thoughts about the novel at Let's talk about Bollywood
Sri K. Raja Rao was an Indian writer of English-language novels and short stories, whose works are rooted in metaphysics; the Serpent and the Rope, an semi-autobiographical novel recounting a search for spiritual truth in Europe and India, established him as one of the finest Indian prose stylists and won him the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1964. For the entire body of his work, Rao was awarded the Neustadt International Prize for Literature in 1988. Rao's wide-ranging body of work, spanning a number of genres, is seen as a varied and significant contribution to Indian English literature, as well as World literature as a whole. Raja Rao was born on November 8, 1908 in Hassan, in the princely state of Mysore, into a Smartha Brahmin family of the Hoysala Karnataka caste, he was the eldest of 9 siblings, having a brother named Yogeshwara Ananda. His father, H. V. Krishnaswamy, taught Kannada, the native language of Karnataka, at Nizam College in Hyderabad, his mother, was a homemaker who died when Raja Rao was 4 years old.
The death of his mother, when he was four, left a lasting impression on the novelist – the absence of a mother and orphanhood are recurring themes in his work. Another influence from early life was his grandfather, with whom he lived in Hassan and Harihalli or Harohalli). Rao was educated at the Madarsa-e-Aliya in Hyderabad. After matriculation in 1927, Rao studied for his degree at Nizam's College. At the Osmania University, where he became friends with Ahmad Ali, he began learning French. After graduating from the University of Madras, having majored in English and history, he won the Asiatic Scholarship of the Government of Hyderabad in 1929, for study abroad. Rao moved to the University of Montpellier in France, he studied French language and literature, at the Sorbonne in Paris, he explored the Indian influence on Irish literature. He married Camille Mouly, who taught French at Montpellier, in 1931; the marriage lasted until 1939. He depicted the breakdown of their marriage in The Serpent and the Rope.
Rao published his first stories in English. During 1931–32 he contributed four articles written in Kannada for Jaya Karnataka, an influential journal. Returning to India in 1939, he edited with Iqbal Singh, Changing India, an anthology of modern Indian thought from Ram Mohan Roy to Jawaharlal Nehru, he participated in the Quit India Movement of 1942. In 1943–1944 he co-edited with Ahmad Ali a journal from Bombay called Tomorrow, he was the prime mover in the formation of a cultural organisation, Sri Vidya Samiti, devoted to reviving the values of ancient Indian civilisation. In Bombay, he was associated with Chetana, a cultural society for the propagation of Indian thought and values. Rao's involvement in the nationalist movement is reflected in his first two books; the novel Kanthapura was an account of the impact of Gandhi's teaching on nonviolent resistance against the British. The story is seen from the perspective of a small Mysore village in South India. Rao borrows the structure from Indian vernacular tales and folk-epic.
Rao returned to the theme of Gandhism in the short story collection The Cow of the Barricades. The Serpent and the Rope was written after a long silence; the work dramatised the relationships between Western culture. The serpent in the title refers to the rope to reality. Cat and Shakespeare was a metaphysical comedy that answered philosophical questions posed in the earlier novels. Rao relocated to the United States and was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin from 1966 to 1986, when he retired as Emeritus Professor. Courses he taught included Marxism to Gandhism, Mahayana Buddhism, Indian philosophy: The Upanishads, Indian philosophy: The Metaphysical Basis of the Male and Female Principle, Razor's Edge. In 1965, he married an American stage actress, they had Christopher Rama. In 1986, after his divorce from Katherine, Rao married his third wife, Susan Vaught, whom he met when she was a student at the University of Texas in the 1970s. In 1988 he received the prestigious International Neustadt Prize for Literature.
In 1998 he published Gandhi's biography Great Indian Way: A Life of Mahatma Gandhi. Rao died of heart failure on 8 July 2006, at his home in Austin, Texas, at the age of 97. Raja Rao's first and best-known novel, Kanthapura, is the story of a south Indian village named Kanthapura; the novel is narrated in the form of a Sthala Purana by an old woman of Achakka. Dominant castes like Brahmins are privileged to get the best region of the village, while lower casts such as Pariahs are marginalized. Despite this classist system, the village retains its long-cherished traditions of festivals in which all castes interact and the villagers are united; the village is believed to be protected by a local deity named Kenchamma. The main character of the novel, Moorthy, is a young Brahmin who leaves for the city to study, where he becomes familiar with Gandhian philosophy, he begins living a Gandhian lifestyle, wearing home-spun khaddar and discarded foreign clothes and speaking out against the caste system.
This causes the village priest to excommunicate him. Heartbroken to hear this, Moorthy's mother Narasamma dies. After this, Moorthy starts living with an educated widow, active in India’s independence movement. Moorthy is invited by Brahmin clerks at the Skeffington coffee estate to create an awareness of Gandhian teachings among the pariah coolies; when Moorthy arrives, he is beaten by the policeman Bade Khan, but the cooli
The Golden Gate (Seth novel)
The Golden Gate is the first novel by poet and novelist Vikram Seth. The work is a novel in verse composed of 590 Onegin stanzas, it was inspired by Charles Johnston's translation of Pushkin's Eugene Onegin. Set in the 1980s, The Golden Gate follows a group of yuppies in San Francisco; the inciting action occurs when protagonist John Brown has his friend Janet Hayakawa place an amorous advertisement of himself in the newspaper. A short heyday follows, in which Seth introduces and develops a variety of characters united in part by their interest in self-actualization and in part by closeness to Liz or John. Thereafter is depicted the progress of their marriage de facto until its dissolution, which results in the legal marriage of Liz to John's friend Phillip Weiss, the birth of their son. Following his rejection of Liz, John finds a second paramour in Janet, until the latter and two other friends die in an automobile collision; the novel brought its author the 1988 Sahitya Akademi Award for English, by the Sahitya Akademi, India's National Academy of Letters.
At the time of the novel's composition, Seth was a graduate student in Economics at Stanford University. Seth described the origins of the novel as a "pure fluke." While conducting tedious research for his dissertation, Seth would divert himself with trips to the Stanford Bookstore: On one such occasion, I found in the poetry section, two translations of Eugene Onegin, Alexander Pushkin's great novel in verse. Two translations but each of them maintained the same stanzaic form. Not because I was interested in Pushkin or Eugene Onegin, but purely because I thought, this is interesting technically that both of them should have been translated so faithfully, at least as far as the form goes. I began to compare the two translations, to get access to the original stanzas behind them, as I don’t know Russian. After a while, that exercise failed. I must have read it five times that month, it was addictive. And I realized that this was the form I was looking for to tell my tales of California; the little short stories I had in my mind subsided and this more organically oriented novel came into being.
I loved the form, the ability that Pushkin had to run through a wide range of emotions, from absolute flippancy to real sorrow and passages that would make you think and after reading it." In addition, portions of the novel make reference to Printers Inc. Bookstore and Cafe in neighboring Palo Alto, California. At intervals, various characters discuss arguments either against or in favor of homosexuality, civil disobedience and tolerance. Both dialogue and narrative oppose nuclear warfare. Powell's review The Literary Encyclopedia An online copy of Charles Johnston's translation of Onegin Information on the opera
Nirad C. Chaudhuri
Nirad Chandra Chaudhuri, CBE was an Indian English-language writer. Chaudhuri authored numerous works in Bengali, his oeuvre provides a magisterial appraisal of the histories and cultures of India in the context of British colonialism in the 19th and 20th centuries. Chaudhuri is best known for The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, published in 1951. Over the course of his literary career, he received numerous accolades for his writing. In 1966, The Continent of Circe was awarded the Duff Cooper Memorial Award, making Chaudhuri the first and only Indian to date to be given the prize; the Sahitya Akademi, India's national Academy of Letters, awarded Chaudhuri the Sahitya Akademi Award for his biography on Max Müller, Scholar Extraordinary. In 1990, Oxford University awarded Chaudhuri, by a long-time resident of the city of Oxford, an Honorary Degree in Letters. In 1992, he was made an honorary Commander of the Order of the British Empire. Chaudhuri was born in Kishoregunj, East Bengal, British India, the second of eight children of Upendra Narayan Chaudhuri, a lawyer, of Sushila Sundarani Chaudhurani.
His parents were liberal middle-class Hindus. Chaudhuri was educated in Kolkata. For his FA course he attended Ripon College in Calcutta along with the famous Bengali writer Bibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay. Following this, he attended Scottish Church College, where he studied history as his undergraduate major, he topped the University of Calcutta merit list. At Scottish Church College, Calcutta, he attended the seminars of the noted historian, Professor Kalidas Nag. After graduation, he enrolled for the M. A. at the University of Calcutta. However, he did not attend all of his final exams, was not able to complete his M. A. After his studies, he took a position as a clerk in the Accounting Department of the Indian Army. At the same time, he started contributing articles to popular magazines, his first article on Bharat Chandra appeared in the most prestigious English magazine of the time, Modern Review. Chaudhuri left his position in the Accounting Department shortly after, started a new career as a journalist and editor.
During this period he was a boarder in Mirzapur Street near College Square, living together with the writers Bibhuti Bhushan Banerjee and Dakshinaranjan Mitra Majumder. He was involved in the editing of the well-known English and Bengali magazines Modern Review and Sonibarer Chithi. In addition, he founded two short-lived but esteemed Bengali magazines and Notun Patrika. In 1932, he married a well-known writer herself. In 1938, Chaudhuri obtained a job as secretary to Sarat Chandra Bose, a political leader in the freedom movement in India; as a result, he was able to interact with political leaders of India: Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, the brother of Sarat Chandra Bose, Subhas Chandra Bose. A growing familiarity with the workings of the inner circle of Indian politics led him to be skeptical about its eventual progress, he became progressively disillusioned about the ability of Indian political leadership. Apart from his career as a secretary, Chaudhuri continued to contribute articles in Bengali and English to newspapers and magazines.
He was appointed as a political commentator on the Kolkata branch of the All India Radio. In 1941, he started working for the Delhi Branch of the All India Radio. Chaudhuri was a prolific writer in the last years of his life, publishing his last work at the age of 99, his wife Amiya Chaudhuri died in 1994 in England. He too died in Oxford, three months short of his 102nd birthday, in 1999, he lived at 20 Lathbury Road from 1982 until his death and a blue plaque was installed by the Oxfordshire Blue Plaques Board in 2008. Student historian Dipayan Pal wrote of Nirad C. Chaudhuri in The Statesman in 2016: Why was he always in love with England, though he had never visited the land before the age of 57? These questions perplexed me and the only answer I could decipher is that Nirad Chaudhuri was in search of a home that he could call his own, and this street in 1980s took him closer to the novels of Hardy and Austen. Lovers of literature not only see texts through their lives but sculpt live through the texts they read.
His textual affinity was coupled with the colonial aura he grew up with- we must remember that he spent his first 50 years in an empire where the sun never set. His England was a realisation of certain dominant sensibilities and visions he idealised but they were far from reality. Places like 20, Lathbury road makes me wonder why people choose to migrate and why certain places receive more sanctity than others. For Nirad Chaudhuri, England was sacred; the solution to this onerous puzzle cannot be found in better living standard or socio-economic conditions of higher wages. Furthermore, certain places celebrate certain people. Nirad Chaudhuri would have been immensely happy if he knew about the blue plaque as it would fit his sensibilities perfectly. Oxford County Council was happy enough to remember this “an original thinker, forthright in his opinions and an internationalist, in the sense of one who embraces the best of all cultures but never loses his own, his masterpiece, The Autobiography of an Unknown Indian, published in 1951, put him on the long list of great Indian writers.
He courted controversy in the newly independent India due to the dedication of the book, which ran thus: The dedication infuriated many Indians the pol