MY FAVORITE INDIAN AUTHORS.
Hope you are enjoying your weekend. This week I wanted to share information about two of my favorite Indian authors whose contribution towards English Literature cannot be ignored. Let’s meet them.
SHRI. RABINDRANATH TAGORE.
Rabindranath Tagore was born on 7 May 1861 in Calcutta, Bengal Presidency, British India (now Kolkata, West Bengal, India). He was born in a Bengali Brahmin family and started writing poems when he was eight. He used the pseudonym of Bhanusimha ( The Sun Lion) when he published his poems at the age of sixteen. He started writing short stories and dramas using his real name by the year 1877.
He was a great patriot who was against the British Rule and supported the Indian Freedom Struggle. He became an exponent of Bengal Renaissance in the field of art and left behind paintings, sketches and doodles, hundreds of texts, and some two thousand songs. He also founded Vishwa-Bharati University, Shantiniketan, West Bengal. He made India proud by becoming the first non- European to win Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, for his masterpiece, Gitanjali : a collection of poems.
He wrote the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.
His famous works include:
Balaka ( Poem)
Sonar Tori ( Poem)
Ghare-Baire ( Novel)
Gora ( Novel)
Jana Gana Mana ( India’s National Anthem)
Rabindra Sangeet ( His songs)
Amar Shonar Bangla ( Bangladesh’s National Anthem)
Valmiki Pratibha ( His first drama) (1881)
Dak Ghar ( The post office) ( Play) (1912)
Chitrangada, Chandalika, and Shyama were his other plays.
His first short story was Bhikharini ( The Beggar Woman) in 1877 when he was just sixteen. Kabuliwala” was (“The Fruitseller from Kabul”) published in 1892. It was followed by Kshudita Pashan” (“The Hungry Stones”) (August 1895), and “Atithi” (“The Runaway”, 1895) .
I read Gitanjali while I was doing my post graduation in English Literature. I was deeply moved after reading one of his poems. I have also read Kabuliwala which is one of his exemplary work. He is immortal in the history of Indian Literature and one of the greatest writers, playwright, lyricist and a great patriot. Mahatma Gandhi gave him the Sobriquet of Gurudev while he acknowledged Gandhiji as Mahatma. He passed away on 7th August, 1941.
A glimpse into Gitanjali:
Long live Gurudev and long live his legacy.
SHRI. R. K. NARAYAN
Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami aka R.K. Narayan is one of my favorite Indian Authors, besides, Shri.Rabindranath Tagore. He was born on 10 October 1906 in Madras (Chennai), Madras Presidency under British Rule. The first four books of R.K.Narayan including the semi-autobiographical trilogy of Swami and Friends, The Bachelor of Arts and The English Teacher got published through the courtesy of his mentor and friend, Graham Greene. He introduced the fictional town of Malgudi in South India which was adapted into the famous TV series ‘ The Malgudi Days’. I loved the show as well as the book. I remember reading stories from Swami and Friends as a part of the curriculum in my English textbook during the school days. I became a huge fan of his writing. His prominent work include:
Swami and Friends (1935)
The Bachelor of Arts (1937)
The Dark Room (1938)
The English Teacher (1945)
Mr. Sampath (1948)
The Financial Expert (1952)
Waiting for the Mahatma (1955)
The Guide (1958)
The Man-Eater of Malgudi (1961)
The Vendor of Sweets (1967)
The Painter of Signs (1977)
A Tiger for Malgudi (1983)
Talkative Man (1986)
The World of Nagaraj (1990)
Grandmother’s Tale (1992)
Next Sunday( 1960 )
My Dateless Diary (1960)
My Days (1973)
Reluctant Guru (1974)
The Emerald Route ( 1980)
A Writer’s Nightmare (1988)
A Story-Teller’s World (1989)
The Writerly Life (2001, Penguin Books India)Mysore (1944, second edition, Indian Thought Publications)
Gods, Demons and Others (1964)
The Ramayana (1972)
The Mahabharata (1978)
Short story collections:
Malgudi Days (1942)
An Astrologer’s Day and Other Stories (1947)
Lawley Road and Other Stories (1956)
A Horse and Two Goats (1970)
Under the Banyan Tree and Other Stories (1985)
The Grandmother’s Tale and Selected Stories (1994).
He won the Sahitya Akademi award for Guide in 1960 and has been conferred with Padma Vibhushan, and Benson Medal. He served as the Member of Parliament from 12 May 1986 – 31 May 1992. His brother, R.K. Laxman was one of the famous cartoonists of India. I enjoyed reading his cartoon strip in the Times of India. R.K.Narayan passed away on 13 May 2001 (aged 94) in Chennai.
( Information: Wikipedia)
An excerpt from Swami and his friends (ashatampablog.blogspot.com) :
Swaminathan sat in his father’s room in a chair, with a slate in his hand and pencil ready. Father held the arithmetic book open and dictated: “Rama has ten mangoes with which he wants to earn fifteen annas. Krishna wants only four mangoes. How much will Krishna have to pay?”
Swaminathan gazed and gazed at this sum, and every time he read it, it seemed to acquire a new meaning. He had the feeling of having stepped into a fearful maze. His mouth began to water at the thought of mangoes. He wondered what made Rama fix fifteen annas for ten mangoes. What kind of a man was Rama? Probably he was like Shankar. Somehow one couldn’t help feeling that he must have been like Shankar, with his ten mangoes and his iron determination to get fifteen annas. If Rama was like Shankar, Krishna must have been like the Pea. Here Swaminathan felt an unaccountable sympathy for Krishna.
‘Have you done the sum?’ father asked, looking over the newspaper he was reading.
‘Father, will you tell me if the mangoes were ripe?’
Father regarded him for a while and smothering a smile remarked: ‘Do the sum first. I will tell you whether the fruits were ripe or not, afterwards.’
Swaminathan felt utterly helpless. If only father would tell him whether Rama was trying to sell ripe fruits or unripe ones! Of what avail would it be to tell him afterwards? He felt strongly that the answer to this question contained the key to the whole problem. It would be scandalous to expect fifteen annas for ten unripe mangoes. But even if he did, it wouldn’t be unlike Rama, whom Swaminathan was steadily beginning to hate and invest with the darkest qualities.
‘Father, I cannot do the sum,’ Swaminathan said, pushing away the slate.
‘What is the matter with you? You can’t solve a simple problem in Simple Proportion?’
‘We are not taught this kind of thing in our school.’
‘Get the slate here. I will make you give the answer now.’
Swaminathan waited with interest for the miracle to happen. Father studied the sum for a second and asked: ‘What is the price of ten mangoes?’ Swaminathan looked over the sum to find out which part of the sum contained an answer to this question. ‘I don’t know.’
‘You seem to be an extraordinary idiot. Now read the sum. Come on. How much does Rama expect for ten mangoes?’
‘Fifteen annas of course,’ Swaminathan thought, but how could that be its price, just price? It was very well for Rama to expect it in his avarice. But was it the right price? And then there was the obscure point whether the mangoes were ripe or not. If they were ripe, fifteen annas might not be an improbable price. If only he could get more light on this point!
‘How much does Rama want for his mangoes?’
‘Fifteen annas,’ replied Swaminathan without conviction.’Very good. How many mangoes does Krishna want?’
‘What is the price of four?’
Father seemed to delight in torturing him. How could he know? How could he know what that fool Krishna would pay?
‘Look here, boy. I have half a mind to thrash you. What have you in your head? Ten mangoes cost fifteen annas. What is the price of one? Come on. If you don’t say it—’ His hand took Swaminathan’s ear and gently twisted it. Swaminathan could not open his mouth because he could not decide whether the solution lay in the realm of addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division. The longer he hesitated, the more violent the twist was becoming. In the end when father was waiting with a scowl for an answer, he received only a squeal from his son.
‘I am not going to leave you till you tell me how much a single mango costs at fifteen annas for ten.’
What was the matter with father? Swaminathan kept blinking. Where was the urgency to know its price? Anyway, if father wanted so badly to know, instead of harassing him, let him go to the market and find it out.
The whole brood of Ramas and Krishnas, with their endless transactions with odd quantities of mangoes and fractions of money, were getting disgusting.
Father admitted defeat by declaring: ‘One mango costs fifteen over ten annas. Simplify it.’
Here he was being led to the most hideous regions of arithmetic, Fractions. ‘Give me the slate, father. I will find it out.’ He worked and found at the end of fifteen minutes: ‘The price of one mango is three over two annas.’ He expected to be contradicted any moment. But father said: ‘Very good, simplify it further.’ It was plain sailing after that.
Swaminathan announced at the end of half an hour’s agony: ‘Krishna must pay six annas,’ and burst into tears.
I hope you enjoyed reading it.
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