Topic :- Kanthapura as aGandhian Epic
Name :- Upadhyay Devangana s.
Sub :- Indian Writing in English
Pepar :- 4
Std :- M.A. Sem-1
Roll No :- 07
Submitted to :- M.K. Bhavnagar University
Kanthapura as a Ganghian epic
Mulk Raj Anand, R.K Narayan, Raja Rao those three person are great dramatist of the Indian Writing in English. In Indian literature we have many forms like Epic, Lyrics, Drama, Short sorties and Fables but we should wit of Novel very long time. Bana’s ‘Kadambari’ and Subandhu’s ‘ Vasavadatta’ are also novels but the description would not rally fit; and, besides, there were isolated marvels for the Novel, property so called, we have to wait till the latter half of the nineteenth century.
The first Novel written in Bengali was ‘ Alaler Gharer Dulal’ which is come out in 1858. However the real beginnings with the work of the great Bankim Chandra Chatterjee. His first novel publish in English “Rajmohan’s Wife’ . It was followed next year by ‘ Durgeshnandini’ in Bengali. His other novels are:
· Krishnakantar Uyil
· Dexi chaudhurani
In the meantime Raj Lakshmi Devi’s ‘the Hindu wife’ was published in 1876 . Toru Dutt’s ‘Bianca’ in 1878.
There novels, written in English have for us today no more than an antiquarian or historical interest.
This is beginning of the novel form. Mulk Raj Anand, R. K. Narayan, and Raja Rao, there are great novelist in India writing in English.
Raj Rao is most remarkable person of Indian Writing in English ,in Novel. A novelist and a short story writer, he too is a child of the Gandhian Age, and reveals in his work his sensitive awareness of the forces let loose by the Gandhian Revolution as also of he thwarting or steadying pulls of past tradition. His four books up-to-date are the novels Kanthapura, The serpent and the Rope, The cat and Shakespeare, and The Cows of the Barricades.
‘Kanthapura’ is Raja Rao’s First novel . Raja Rao was born in 1908 and die in 2006. He is a distinguish writer and philosopher, is acknowledged as the author of the first major Indian novel in English. Beginning his career in writing in Kannada for an Indian periodical, he moved to Mercure de Frane, a Paris periodical, where he served on the editorial board for several years. Later, he also taught Indian philosophy at The University of Texas. Apart from Kanthapura his work include :
· The Cow of the Barricades and Other Stories
· The Serpent and the Rope
· The cat and Shakespeare
· A Tale India
· The Chessmaster and His Moves
Internationally recognized Raja Rao’s novels blend philosophical and spiritual insights into the fabric of everyday life. for the serpent and the Rope (1960), he received the sahutva Akademi Award in 1964. He also received the restigious Neustadt international Prize for Literature in 1988.
‘ (Raja Rao ) is a novelist in search of equation, in search of understanding a novelist looking for explanation, for wisdom….. (he) has a reach, a capaciousness, a resonance, that is sufficient to contain the largeness.’
_ Edwin Thumboo, poet and critic
· Kanthapura as a Gandhian epic
Raja rao’s Kanthapura is best cited to illustrate this purpose. The novel recodes the Gandhian impact on atypical Indian village through an informal but very intimate narration of an elderly widow, Acchakka. Gandhi is again portrayed here as Rama, Krishna, and Shiva whose birth has a divine significance. As the novel says, once Valmiki,the great sage and the writer of Ramayana, in the novel goes to the Lord Brahma and says:
“O Brahma, you who have sent us the Prince propagators
Of the Holy Law and sages that smote the darkness of
Ignorance, you have forgotten us so long that men have
Come from across the seas and the oceans to trample on
Our wisdom and spit on virtue itself….. O Brahma, deign to
Send us one of your gods so that he may incarnate on
Earth and bring back light and plenty to your enslaved
Daughter. O’ sage…siva himself will forthwith go and
Incarnate on the earth and free my beloved daughter from
Her enforced slavery.”
Raja Rao in Kanthapura has portrayed women as active participants or revolutionists against the social and political disturbances during the satygraha movement in India. In the opening chapter of the novel there is a folk song which is an invocation it the goddesses Kenchamma, whom the villagers believe to have killed a demon to save their young ones:
“ Kenchamma, Kenchamma ,
Goddess bening and bounteous,
Mother of earth , blood of lie ,
Harvest – queen , rain – crowned,
Kenchamma, Kenchamma ,
Goddess benign and bounteous “
This is symbolic. The woman folk in village draw inspiration from the great goddess showing tremendous courage when they come in contact with the British soldiers. Rangamma, a childless widow, the daughter of a learned father Ramakrishnayya of the Brahmin community , in the course of the novel becomes the source of inspiration not only for the woman of the village but also for young man who look up to her as Aunt Rangamma . She emerges as the symbol of courage and boldness or otherwise can be seen as Kanchamma , the incarnate . In the novel Raja Rao dutifully described the situation of Indian Woman . He try to described condition of widow how they suffer from society. The political stance of woman under Rangamma shows their allegiance to the practical man , Gandhi rather than the idealist Nehru , despite the men folk including Moorthy resolving to follow Nehru. To quote for instance a letter written by Moorthy to Ratna:
“Since I am out prison , I met this Satyagrehi and that ,
And We discussed many a problem , and they all say the
Mahatma is a noble person , a saint , but the English will
Know how to cheat him , and he will let himself be
Cheated . Have faith in your enemy , he says , have faith in
Him and convert him . But he world of men is hard to
Move , and once in motion it is wrong it stop till the gold
Is reached . And yet , what is the gold ? Independence ?
Swaraj ? is there not Swaraj in our states , and is there not
Misery and corruption and cruelty there ? Oh no , Ratna , it
Is the way of the masters that is wrong.”
‘Kanthapura’ is the most powerful of the Indo – Anglian novel portraying the impact of the Gandhian movement on the Indian people. The time 1920 is a renaissance period of India because this time Gandhi movement become more powerful. Raja Rao with this novel wants to represent this movement indirectly The scene is set at Kanthapura , a remote south Indian village near Hassan. The evolution of the national movement as it advances through various stages till it gains strength has been traced forcefully and realistically. In this novel Moorthy is a symbol represent as a Gandhi. In this novel we can see Gandhian non-violent non – cooperation movement, through the Moorthy. Gandhi aimed at the total involvement of all section of the people and had so launched a programme at socio-eonomic , religious levels. His programme of action was fourfold.
1. Swadeshi and Khaddar were necessary for Swaraj , hence he encouraged Charkha , weaving of one’s clothes and boycott of foreign clothes .
2. Eradication of untouchability and other social evil like pardah system so that woman and people of lower class could play their part in the freedom struggle.
3. Eradication of poverty , illiteracy , castism and village uplift.
4. Communal harmony stress on truth and non – violence. Congress communities were formed to carry out these programmes.
In the novel Moorthy places the very Gandhian programme of action before the people of ‘ Kanthapura ‘. Gandhi’s message of truth and non – violence is carried to the remote part by fellow workers , communities are formed , Satyagrehies trained to carry out the programme. Publicity material is brought from the city and freely distributed; Moorthy inspires them to Charkha spinning and weaving; literacy is spread; and they are trained to be non – violent in the face of repression by the rulers . The people of ‘Kanthapura’ are enthused with the spirit of Gandhi and they march ahead heroically despite all the suffering and the hardship they have to undergo. In the end it truly becomes a mass movement , the villages comprising men and women of all castes and professions and the labourers of the coffee estate readily meeting the onslaught of bureaucracy. An unequal fight it proves it be for the Satyagrahies; they are maimed , broken and scattered ; they leave ‘Kanthapura’ and are forced to settle at Kashipura , when the non – cooperation movement was abruptly brought to an end by Gandhiji. They had still not lost their faith in Gandhi , thought felt a bit uneasy . When Gandhi signed the Gandhi – Irwin pact , it was see as the right step.
Indian sensibility is essentially religious and even politics gets spiritualized. The religious element and the socio- political issues are artistically transformed into one entity. The objective is independence, but the means adopted are religious: ‘Harikatha’, ‘Bhajan’, ‘fasting’, and ‘prayer’ non – violence and truth. By using the mythical technique through harikatha juxtaposing the past and the present, Raja Rao has not only brought religion in politics, but has lated Gandhi as the invisible God and Moorthy the Avthar Gandhi’s trip to England to attend the Round Table conference to seen as rama going to Lanka to Rescue Sita Gandhi was Rama going tobring back bharat Mata. It is the use if the mythical technique that has made Kanthapura a Gandhian Epic a Gandhian myth
Daniel O’ an Irish politician said
“Nothing is politically right which is morally wrong”
C. D. Narasimhaiah praiaing ‘Kanthapura’ as a Gandhian novel says:
“If ever in India boy or girl today or in years to come
Wishes to gain some insight into story of India’s struggler
And suffering for independence it is in Kanthapura as it is in
Nehru’s Autobiography that he must expect to find it, and not in
Those tomb called Histories of the freedom movement, in which
The suffering and the song that was born behind the dull
Tracts of the laborious scholar untouched by Gandhi’s
Living flame. If Gandhi has been the cause of one
such minor classics in the English language, he has helped
to enrich the language as he has helped him to
exalt him that he wrote.”
It is remarkable to not that culmination of Kanthapura has an element of doubt while shifting from Gandhis to Nehruism and it is here that sane critics raise question and it is on the integrity of Rao as a Gandhian thought doth Gandhi and Nehru have the same destination, there is difference in his ‘barrowing and difference’, Gandhi is abit nostalgic and principle unscientific and so unwelcomed. Right from the beginning a reader feels orthodox village, the great village, the great is completely transformed Moorthy, the motivation is complete and experience a sort of nationalism. Transformation continues ; Moothy continues to develop, though he does not get support from all quarters and imperialism seems to be crumbling. Achakka’s thinking and behavior reflects her understanding of the dynamic between the village and the Indian nation as the blending of tradition and modeninty. Kanthapura undergoes the process and the process is an internal one. Achakka is a perpetuator of Hindu revivalist propaganda and Rao stands as aHindu reformers to encourage self exploration.