Mulk Raj Anand was a famous writer in India. He is well-known for his involvement in Indian English literature. Anand was born on 12th December 1905 to a Punjabi Hindu family in Peshawar, British India.
Mulk completed his schooling in India and then for higher education, he moved to England and completed his graduation degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics from the University of London.
He was actively involved in the struggle for independence of India. Throughout his life, he wrote various short stories, essays, and novels. He passed away on September 28, 2004, in Pune at the age of 99 years.
In this blog post, we will discuss Mulk Raj Anand’s Biography.
Childhood and Education of Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Raj Anand was from a Punjabi Hindu family. So, his childhood life was marked by various cultural backgrounds. Mulk Anand was born on 12th December 1905, in Peshawar, British India. At the time he was born, Peshawar was under British India but now it’s in Pakistan. He was born into a Punjabi Khatri family to Lal Chand and Ishwar Kaur. Mulk Raj was third among 5 siblings. Anand’s father Lal Chand, was a government servant. Earlier his father was a famous coppersmith in Amritsar but later he joined the British Indian Army. His mother Ishwar Kaur was from a peasant family. She was a homemaker.
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Education of Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Anand received his education in India, Pakistan as well as in England. Mulk Anand completed his schooling in Amritsar. Then he took admitted to Khalsa College, Amritsar but later he moved to Lahore and studied at the Government College.
In 1925, For higher studies, Mulk Anand moved to England and enrolled at the University of London. At the University of London, he completed his master’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics. He also pursued a Ph.D. in the aesthetics of art and literature from the University of London
Literary Career of Mulk Raj Anand
In 1930, the literary career of Mulk Raj Anand began. He started his writing career by writing short stories, novels, and essays. He wrote his writings in the English language. He was well-known for his novels because most of his novels depicted the lives and struggles of the diminished and ill-treated people in Indian society. His writings usually cover the issues related to poverty, untouchability, caste discrimination, etc.
Aside from literary career, Anand was actively involved in various social and political issues. He was involved in various progressive and leftist movements. During the progressive movements, he used his writing for social justice and equality advocacy.
Mulk Raj Anand worked in various academic positions at various prestigious universities. At the University of Punjab, he worked as a professor. Apart from this, he also taught at various universities in foreign countries like England and the United States. Mulk Raj Anand was a creative Indian writer in English and one of the pioneers of Indo-Anglian fiction. His writings are well-known for explanations of the lives of the poor and marginalized groups in Indian society realistically.
Works of Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Raj Anand wrote a wide range of works, including novels, short stories, essays, and autobiographies. His most famous works include:
- Untouchable (1935)
- Coolie (1936)
- The Village (1939)
- Across the Black Waters (1939)
- The Sword and the Sickle (1942)
- The Big Heart (1945)
Anand wrote various short stories also. Some of the short stories of Mulk Raj Anand are acclaimed and demanded by readers all over the globe.
His collection of short stories “The Lost Child and Other Stories (1934)” won the International Peace Prize in 1953.
Awards of Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Raj Anand received a number of awards and honors throughout his career, including:
- International Peace Prize (1953)
- Padma Bhushan (1967)
- Sahitya Akademi Award (1971)
Married Life of Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Raj Anand got married twice in his life. In 1938, he got married to Kathleen Van Gelder. She was a famous English actress and communist. They were blessed with a daughter named Susheela. But unfortunately, they took divorce and their marriage ended in 1948.
In 1950, Anand got married again to Shirin Vajifdar, who was a Parsi classical dancer from Bombay. She was In 2003, Shirin Vajifdar died.
Shirin Vajifdar was a loyal companion who brought happiness to the life of Anand. They didn’t have any kids.
Anand’s daughter from his first wife Kathleen Van Susheela also became a writer and activist. She wrote several books named. She wrote a book named “The Broken Mirror: A Portrait of My Father” (2004) for her father.
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Political Life of Mulk Raj Anand
Anand was a lifelong socialist, who was active in the Indian independence movement. He was a dedicated advocate for social justice. He was a founding member of the Progressive Writers’ Association, a group of writers who used their work to promote social and political change.
His political views were shaped by his own personal experiences of poverty and discrimination. He was born into a rich Hindu family.but due to some reasons his father lost his fortune and he was then forced to experience the hardships of poverty firsthand.
He also witnessed the discrimination faced by the group of lower cast people in Indian society.
In 1930, he started involving in political activities. He joined the Communist Party of Great Britain and took part in the Indian independence movement.
In 1937, Mulk traveled to Spain and joined the International Brigade. It was a group of volunteers who were fighting against the fascist forces of Francisco Franco.
He spent several months in Spain and witnessed the horrors of war firsthand.
In 1945, he came back to India and remained active in the political arena.
He campaigned for social reforms and supported the left-wing political parties. He also used his writing to promote his political views. His novels and short stories often dealt with issues such as poverty, discrimination, and social oppression.
Anand’s political career was not without its challenges. He was often criticized for his leftist views and his association with communist parties. However, he never wavered in his commitment to social justice. He continued to write and speak out on behalf of the marginalized and the oppressed until his death in 2004.
Death of Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Raj Anand died at the age of 99 years on 28th September, 2004 at jehangir hospital, pune because of pneumonia.
Anand was a significant figure in Indian political life. He used his voice and his pen to promote social and political change, and he inspired many others to do the same. He is remembered as a champion of the poor and the oppressed, and as a tireless advocate for social justice.