Indian Society Portraits in R.K Narayan's The Guide

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      The daily life of Indians, the traditions of the land and indeed the superstitious and values of India gain a form in the remarkable novel The Guide. R.K Narayan quite consciously in his novel The Guide echoes the more and tradition of the Indian society, amidst his literal symbolism, R.K Narayan chief concern is to give an artistic expression of Indian life, though his art form is westers, his theme, atmosphere, situations and senses are truly Indian.

Malgudi, Narayan's India is symbolized by Malgudi. Malgudi of course does not exist, its an imaginary landscape inhabitat by the unique characters of his stories.

      Malgudi, Narayan's India is symbolized by Malgudi. Malgudi of course does not exist, its an imaginary landscape inhabitat by the unique characters of his stories. It is an average town with swami's, baggers, postman, shopkeepers, spongers etc. Narayan creates his fictional world of Malgudi as an essentially Indian society or town gradually grows like any other town and becomes a city of tourists, a centre of attraction for scholars of ancient Indian culture and even Americans who see the future of India in its growth. The Indianness and Indian sensibility provided the whole place. Narayan's Malgudi is also a microcosm of India it grows and develops and expands and changes and is full of humanity.

      Two locals, in The Guide there are two locals namely Malgudi and Mangla. Though Mangla is the actual setting, Malgudi is a part of recollection and consciousness. The hero is common in both the locals like all other heroes of R.K Narayan the hero of The Guide has a longer consciousness and involved with bigger concern of life.

      The Village School, Narayan gives vivid and faithful picture of a village school the 'pyol' school, with its respected but not well paid teachers; the schoolmaster sitting on a cushion with classes going on simultaneously the routine of school boys shouting and getting caned; the foul-mouthed teacher who abuses instead of including good manners; the co-operative effort of the parents catering to the needs of the school master all these are typically Indian and represent a typical village schools.

      Religious beliefs, The Guide also depicts Indian religious belief superstition and philosophy. The blind faith of the Indian masses in sadhus and religious man is depicted in there acceptance of Raju as a swami.

      Sacrifice, the Sacrifice of life for social and spiritual good, an ideal of Indian philosophy is portrayed through all this. Selfishness gives way to altruism and sacrifice; Raju epitomize this Indian belief, he moves from scepticism to idealism, he changes his psyche and from a criminal he become as a Swami with true feelings for those who have fed him. Thus, he sacrifices his life for the well being of the villagers.

      Indian Culture in all these Narayan characters like Raju, Marco and Rosie are deeply rooted in Indian culture - Rosie a devadasi daughter stands for traditional Indian culture; Marco embodies modern man appreciating the Indian heritage; Raju's death and faith stand for men's faith in Indian tradition. The temple and rural poverty widen his prospective in contrast with his urban life with Rosie and he gains spiritual faith and peace. Indian faith and tradition are ultimately triumphant in spite of modernization.

      Family Relationships being a part of Indian tradition the main theme of family, too is characteristically Indian. Narayan gives a graphic description of Raju's family and inter family relationship. His relationship with his father and mother is expressed vividly the theme of family relationship is also depicted with reference to Velan who has the responsibility of marrying off his sister.

      Indian Scenes and Situations in fact at each and every step we come across Indian scenes and situations. The mother and son argument over marriage, the material uncle endeavour to bring Raju to the scenes, the establishment of Raju as a fake Swami, the fascination of tourist for King Cobra dance, the renovation of the temple, chanting of holy text, lighting of the lamp at the temple, the Mela, like atmosphere while Raju is fasting are all typically Indian.

      Narayan also gives a realistic picture of the plight of Indian villages. He authentically portrays the problem of a country dependent on agriculture and monsoons. Drought lands to the inevitable feminine dying cattle, lack of water, hoarding by merchants, riots, penance, Pooja's and sacrifices to appease the rain God. The faith in swamis at the time of drought and the consequent fasting by Raju is typically Indian.

      Narayan in his authentic portrayal of India, uphold The traditions Hindu worldview. By juxtaposing several symbolic elements Narayan represents the religious and philosophical believe based on the great Indian epics, legends, folks and tales. It affirms values of Indian traditional life and undeniably confers on the novel its artistic uniqueness.

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