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THE TRIBUNEsaturday plus
Saturday, November 13, 1999

Regional Vignettes

For children

Mulk Raj Anand: Witness to a century

"WITNESS to a century" by Aruti Nayar (October 30) made interesting reading. Mulk Raj Anand’s novels like Untouchable, Coolie and Death of a Hero present a realistic view of the Indian society. His remarks about the character of the Indian middle class are remarkable. He has aptly characterised it as " acquisitive and incapable of initiating any social change."

It has contributed very little in disseminating knowledge and benefits of technological revolution to the poorer section of our society. Unlike in European and other Asian nations, it continues to be rooted in insipid rituals, and strong sense of materialism. It has not imbibed ideas of romanticism and rationalism. It cannot said to be actuated with an idea of "to eat to live", rather it is banking upon the idea of "to live to eat"



Mulk Raj Anand, who has served as a role model for many struggling writers, rightly says: "Writing is not media hype or astronomical signing amounts or smart alecky promotional gimmicks, it is a mission and a life purpose." His observations assume significance in the context of the prevailing trend of commercialisation of writing wherein the modern writers are surrendering to the forces of the market. Mulk Raj Anand rightly bemoans the abject lack of awareness about the literary traditions of the world as well as India.

A creative writer blossoms only if he is motivated by an inner intellectual quest as in the case of Mulk Raj Anand whose quest began in Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram and got strengthened with the success of Untouchable and Coolie. All writers who are planning to write a novel must take a leaf out of the style book of this great writer who firmly believes that a novel should never be any thing less than a vehicle of social reform and a writer should possess the ability to simplify complex concepts.


Namita Gokhale

This refers to Khushwant Singh’s article "A woman of talent and guts" (October 30). Namita Gokhale faced many sufferings and tragedies.

There is no doubt that life is a blend of happiness and sorrow. Where there is a rose, there are thorns. A wise person strikes a balance between the two extremes of life without becoming ecstatic in a happy situation or feeling depressed in the event of adverse circumstances.

Namita Gokhale showed the same grit and mettle when she was close to death. Her assertion that happiness makes us lazy and flabby gives us a message that we should face the realities of life with equanimity.



Namita Gokhale has led a tough life. Her inner resources helped her pull through all the ordeals that she faced. But despite the tragedies in her life, Namita finds a lot of magic in everyday life. She opines: "Failure is more important than success" and "suffering is a great incentive for growth."

Luckily, she did not have to face the heartbreak of rejection slips. Once she finished the book, Paro Dreams of Passion, Namita landed in London and was able to find an agent and a publisher.


Victims of circumstances

Apropos of K.S.Chawla’s article "Victims of their circumstances" (October 30), if children and youngsters are given the right type training, there would be no crimes, no indiscipline, no juvenile delinquency and no violence. Proper training at home helps develop a balanced personality. This is possible only in happy homes, and to build such homes, both parents must get along with each other. Each must respect the rights of the other and work out their problems without quarrelling and resorting to violent means, because violence and non-cooperation between the parents affects the psyche of the children and may sometimes lead to their becoming juvenile delinquents.

If there is an atmosphere of love and confidence at home, even the most difficult young person will eventually pass through the turbulent teen years without any permanent harm. The children stand more in need of example than criticism. If a child lives with acceptance and friendship, he learns to find love in the world.


The slow killer

This refers to the article "The slow killer" by Kuldeep Dhiman (October 23). The word depression has been defined by the writer. The writer has given many reasons that can trigger depression, like retirement, redundancy, death of dear ones or departure of a grown-up from home. Materialism also causes depression.

With growing technology, man is becoming more and more money-minded and materialistic. He is busy trying to gain power, money and attain a high standard of living. If he is unable to fulfil these aspirations, he goes into the dark world of depression. Our society should understand that this type of attitude will take it to a point where depressive disorder will spare no one.


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