“a Study of Traditionalism in R. K. Narayana Novels”

Topics: R. K. Narayan, India, Indian Thought Publications Pages: 21 (8219 words) Published: October 5, 2011


Submitted for Ph.D in English


NAME : Ravneet Kaur


Rasipuram Krishnaswami Narayan was born on 10th October 1906 to R. V. Krishna swami Iyer and Gnanambal at Purasawalkam, Madras. It was a congested, noisy and dusty downtown locality. The large family of Iyer included several uncles, brothers, sisters and cousins. Narayan himself was the third of eight children of his parents. The household included grandmothers and grandfathers on both mother’s and father’s side besides grand uncles and aunts because of the practice of intermarriage between the sister’s and brother’s children. Narayan himself was looked after more by his maternal grandmother addressed as Ammani rather than by his own mother. Because of closeness with the Wodeyars, the rulers of Mysore State, his father took up service as a teacher in Maharaja’s School. The School was later upgraded as Maharaja’s collegiate High School and his father was made its Principal. The Tamil speaking lyer Brahmins, thus, came to Kannada homeland of Mysore. Though his other brothers could assimilate Kannada culture-traits in their bearing and thinking, Narayan could not, somehow, naturalize himself as a Kannadiga. Sociologist Srinivas says, “Narayan’s formative years were in Madras. He came from an Iyer family in Madras, as a middleclass family. And he remained that throughout his life even though he spent the major part of his life in Mysore. But he doesn’t see Kannada culture as a Kannada does. He is external to Karnataka. He was not much interested in studies. He had a dread of Mathematics and mechanical contrivances. Besides, he suffered regular persecution and humiliation as the only Brahmin student at E.LM. Fabricius, School, Purasawalkam. Here the students and teachers were mostly converted Christians who spared no opportunity to denigrate Hindu gods and practices with “a somewhat proselytizing attitude towards its non-Christian students.” After his graduation from Maharaja’s College, Mysore he was widely advised and urged to study English Literature for M.A. But, he finally decided against it although he did read Carlyle, Ruskin, Fielding, Thackeray and Sir Walter Scott besides European and Greek classics in English translation. In the recommendation and standing of his father, he taught at Maharaja’s College for some time. However, he left in owing to several problems of stay and work. He walked out with the determination not to take up teaching as a career. After forsaking teaching, he declared his resolve to be a writer: “I thought I would throw myself full time in this gamble of a writer’s life.” As a consequence of this resolve he associated himself with The Justice, the mouthpiece of the South Indian Liberal Federation set up in around Non-Brahmin Manifesto. The movement was better known as the Justice Party. To begin with, Narayan was content with being a stringer. However, his first anonymously published piece was a review of Development of Maritime Laws of 17th Century England. The first piece of writing for which he received a handsome payment of ten rupees was his short story, ‘A Night in a Rest House’ published in The Indian Review, August. Next year saw him achieving a great breakthrough in the publication of his short piece, ‘How to write an Indian Novel,” in Punch. He was thus launched on a writing career with the patronizing help of famous British novelist Graham Greene. On the recommendation of the latter, Hamish Hamilton published his first novel Swami and Friends. Thereafter appeared The Bachelor of Arts; The Dark Room, the English, Teacher Mr. Sampath—The’ Printer of Malgudi The Financial Expert Waiting for the Mahatama The Guide The Man-Eater of Malgudi The Vendor of Sweets The Painter of Signs A Tiger for Malgudi Talkative Man The World of Nagaraj The Grandmother s Tale: Three Novellas. His other books include,...
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