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  • Topic: R. K. Narayan, Swami and Friends
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Bachelor of Arts

1

R. K. Narayan

R. K. Narayan Bachelor of Arts

Dear Friends, this is a backup copy of the original works in my personal library. I had a bad luck in getting back the books I lend to my friends. I am trying to make the text in digital form to ensure that I am not going to loose any of them. As I have an original printed edition, its sure that the writer/publisher already got their share. As on my knowledge there is no legal issues in giving my library collections to my friends, those who loves to read. Kindly delete this file after reading and it would be taken as I got the book back. With Thanks and regards your friend Antony. mail me to antonyboban@gmail.com

Bachelor of Arts

2

R. K. Narayan

Introduction by Graham Greene
There are writers - Tolstoy and Henry James to name two - whom we hold in awe, writers Turgenev and Chekhov - for whom we feel a personal affection, other writers whom we respect Conrad for example - but who hold us at a long arm's length with their "courtly foreign grace". Narayan (whom I don't hesitate to name in such a context) more than any of them wakes in me a spring of gratitude, for he has offered me a second home. Without him I could have known what it is like to be Indian. Kipling's is the romantic playground of the Raj. I am touched nearly to tears by his best story, _Without benefit of Clergy__, and yet the tears don't actually fall. I cannot believe in his Indian characters and even Kim leaves me sceptical. Kipling romanticises the Indian as much as he romanticises the administrators of Empire. E. M.. Foerster was funny and tender about his friend the Maharajah of Dewas and severely ironic about the English in India, but India escaped him all the same. He wrote of _A Passage to India__: "I tried to show that India is an unexplainable muddle by introducing an unexplainable muddle." No one could find a second home in Kipling's India or Forster's India. Perhaps no one can write in depth about a foreign country - he can only write about the effect of that country on his own fellow countrymen, living as exiles, or government servants, or visitors. He can only "touch in" the background of the foreign land. In Kipling and Forster the English are always posturing nobly and absurdly in the foreground; in Narayan's novels, though the Raj still existed during the first dozen years of his literary career, the English characters are peripheral. They are amiable enough (Narayan, unlike Mulk Raj Anand, is hardly touched by politics), but hopelessly unimportant like Professor Brown in _The Bachelor of Arts__. How Kipling would have detested Narayan's books, even that Indian "twang" which lends so much charm to his style. ' "Excuse me. I made a vow never to touch alcohol in my life, before my mother," said Chandran. This affected Kailas profoundly. He remained solemn for a moment and said: "Then don't. Mother is a sacred object. It is a commodity whose value we don't realise as long as it is with us. One must lose it to know what a precious possession it is. If I had had my mother I should have studied in a college and become a respectable person. You wouldn't find me here. After this where do you think I'm going?" "I don't kno w." "To the house of a prostitute." He remained reflective for a moment and said with a sigh: "As long as my mother lived she said every minute 'Do this don't do that.' And I remained a good son to her. The moment she died I changed. It is a rare commodity, sir. Mother is a rare commodity." ' The town of Malgudi came into my life some time in the early thirties. I knew nothing then of the author who had recently, I learned later from his autobiography, thrown up a teaching job in a distant town and taken the bus back to his home in Mysore - back to the world of Malgudi - where without premeditation he began his first novel, _Swami and Friends__, without knowing from one day to another what was to happen to his characters next. I too was working,...
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