Mulk Raj Anand
Famous Indian novelist Mulk Raj Anand was born on December 12, 1905 in Peshawar in present-day Pakistan. After graduating from the Khalsa College, Amritsar in 1924, he traveled to the U.K. to study at the University College London and Cambridge University. After completing his Ph.D in 1929, he studied and lectured at the League of Nations School of Intellectual Cooperation in Geneva.
It was an irony that he started his literary career due to a family tragedy. His first essay was in response to his aunt’s suicide, who was excommunicated by his family for sharing a meal with a Muslim. His first novel, “Untouchable” published in 1935 was an account of the day-to-day life of an “untouchable.” His second novel “Coolie” was the story of a 15-year-old boy, working as a child labourer, who dies of tuberculosis.
He joined India’s freedom struggle and fought with the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. During the World War II, he worked as a scriptwriter for the BBC in London, where he became friends with George Orwell. Some of his prominent novels include The Village (1939), Across the Black Waters (1940), The Sword and the Sickle (1942) and The Private Life of an Indian Prince (1953). He returned to India in 1946 and settled down in Mumbai. Mulk Raj Anand founded the magazine Marg and became a director of Kutub Publishers. He taught at various Indian universities and was appointed as the chairman of the Lalit Kala Akademi from 1965 to 1970. Mulk Raj Anand became president of Lokayata Trust in 1970. This great literary icon passed away on September 28, 2004.