'Anand's picture is real, comprehensive, and subtle, and the shifts in moods, from farce to comedy, from pathos to tragedy, and from the realistic to the poetic, are remarkable.' — V S Pritchett, British Literary Critic
'Anand is indeed adept in the art of spinning a yarn.' — Punjab Journal of English Studies, Guru Nanak Dev University
MULK RAJ ANAND, novelist, short story writer, essayist and art critic, along with Raja Rao and R.K. Narayan, is frequently referred to as ‘founding father’ of Indo-English writing. He began his career by writing for T.S. Eliot’s Criterion and went on to win international fame with his heart-warming portraits of the Indian landscape and its people. In injecting Indian colloquial sounds into his writings, he anticipated Salman Rushdie’s supposed breakthrough in Midnight’s Children by more than four decades.
Anand’s prolific writing career spanned more than 75 years, during which he was widely identified with the quest for a just, equitable, and forward-looking India. He wrote extensively in areas as diverse as art and sculpture, politics, Indian literature and the history of ideas.
He was conferred with many awards including Sahitya Akademi Award, the coveted Indian award for literary writing in 1972, and Padma Bhushan for his contribution to the English Literature.
He was born on December 12, 1905 and died on September 28, 2004.
Ananta, a coppersmith, returns to his home town of Amritsar after having worked in the more industrialised cities of Bombay and Ahmedabad. Like most people of his craft, he has difficulty making a living as the introduction of machines is throwing the craftsmen out of work. The coppersmiths face both destitution and a break up of their whole society based on age-old traditions and customs.
Yet, Ananta can see both the utility and the inevitability of the machines and the need for the coppersmiths to band together so that power of the machine could offer a new life for those whom it threatens. But unsettled, tense and suspicious as the coppersmiths are, a spark of demagogy culminates in violence and wanton destruction which ends in sudden, unexpected tragedy.
The Big Heart is a memorable work. It is passionate, earthy and urgent. It’s also timeless in that it is an evocative story of the churn and roil that change and modernity always create in their wake. In Ananta, Mulk Raj Anand gives us an unforgettable character. He is virile and passionate, brave, strong and tender, of large appetites yet caring and generous of spirit. Though unlettered, Ananta intuitively grasps that the conflict created by the coming of the machines can only be resolved by a spirit of understanding and accommodation on all sides. Thus a big heart alone can help society meet the existential challenge that change throws up, especially for those less pre- pared for it. Equally, Anand draws a vivid portrait of the Punjab and its people — his language infused with the clamour, sights and smells of the land.
Living in London from 1925 to 1945, Anand came to know the prominent writers and intellectuals of the metropolis, many of whom belonged to what came to be known as the Bloomsbury Group. In twenty engrossing chapters, he recalls his wide-ranging conversations with E.M. Forster, Aldous Huxley, Leonard and Virginia Woolf, Clive Bell, C.E.M. Joad, T.S. Eliot and several others.The four chapters on the enigmatic T.S. Eliot are the highlight of the book. They offer a penetrating and sympathetic understanding of Eliot's mind and reveal Anand's capacity not to allow his own personal view of the man to cloud his admiration for the poet's literary achievements.
In the imaginative rendering of his actual conversations, Anand has faithfully, often evocatively, captured the literary, cultural and political climate of England of the 1920s and 1930s. The book reveals both Anand's ambivalence towards the Bloomsbury Group as well as the ambivalent attitude of the British literati towards India's freedom. Together, the chapters metamorphose into a long autobiographical essay about the writer discovering his convictions and his nationalistic roots in a foreign land.
Yoga is hugely popular around the world today, yet until now little has been known of its roots. This book collects, for the first time, core teachings of yoga in their original form, translated and edited by two of the world's foremost scholars of the subject. It includes a wide range of texts from different schools of yoga, languages and eras: among others, key passages from the early Upanisads and the Mahabharata, and from the Tantric, Buddhist and Jaina traditions, with many pieces in scholarly translation for the first time. Covering yoga's varying definitions across systems, models of the esoteric and physical bodies, and its most important practices, such as posture, breath control, sensory withdrawal and meditation, Roots of Yoga is a unique and essential source of knowledge.
Translated and edited with an introduction by James Mallinson and Mark Singleton