Man Whose Name Did Not Appear in the Census... and Other Stories

Orient Paperbacks
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'The volume is remarkable for the variety of its inspiration...' — Manchester Guardian, UK

'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 

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About the author

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.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Orient Paperbacks
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Published on
Sep 5, 2018
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Pages
110
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ISBN
9788122206463
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Short Stories (single author)
Literary Collections / Asian / Indic
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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The Big Heart is a moving tale of conflict, love and passion centred on a group of craftsmen trying to come to grips with automation that threatens their livelihood and traditional way of life.

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.

A terrifying sound disturbs the peace of Hansuli Turn, a forest village in Bengal, and the community splits as to its meaning. Does it herald the apocalyptic departure of the gods or is there a more rational explanation? The Kahars, inhabitants of Hansuli Turn, belong to an untouchable "criminal tribe" soon to be epically transformed by the effects of World War II and India's independence movement. Their headman, Bonwari, upholds the ethics of an older time, but his fragile philosophy proves no match for the overpowering machines of war. As Bonwari and the village elders come to believe the gods have abandoned them, younger villagers led by the rebel Karali look for other meanings and a different way of life.

As the two factions fight, codes of authority, religion, sex, and society begin to break down, and amid deadly conflict and natural disaster, Karali seizes his chance to change his people's future. Sympathetic to the desires of both older and younger generations, Tarashankar Bandyopadhyay depicts a difficult transition in which a marginal caste fragments and mutates under the pressure of local and global forces. The novel's handling of the language of this rural society sets it apart from other works of its time, while the village's struggles anticipate the dilemmas of rural development, ecological and economic exploitation, and dalit militancy that would occupy the center of India's post-Independence politics.

Negotiating the colonial depredations of the 1939–45 war and the oppressions of an agrarian caste system, the Kahars both fear and desire the consequences of a revolutionized society and the loss of their culture within it. Lyrically rendered by one of India's great novelists, this story of one people's plight dramatizes the anxieties of a nation and the resistance of some to further marginalization.
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