Realism in Mulk Raj Anand Novels

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      Mulk Raj Anand is undoubtedly one of the greatest Indian novelists writing novels in English. Particularly Anand surpassed all literary wizards. He makes a triangle with Raja Rao and R.K. Narayan. He has an imposing bulk of literary work of his credit, including a dozen of novels, short stories, essays and articles on a variety of subjects. It is astonishing that besides an imposing bulk of literary works to his credit Anand has not been appraised critically in a proper way

Anand’s Social Realism

      Anand depicts real social manners, customs, ideas and beliefs which are characteristic of life in the Punjab. He inherited an indelible impression of Punjab because he was born and bred in Peshawar, now in Pakistan. He portrays Punjabi's character and highlights menaces of a real life character. He consummated his social realism and it is remarkable. Anand’s realism is manifest from excessive use of expressions like ‘Rape-mother,’ ‘Rape-sister,’ ‘Wha Guru’, ‘Ri daughter of a pig’. Although it is coarse and vulgar but Anand could not resist his urge to give real life feel. Such expressions have been criticised. But Anand could not have portrayed Punjabi life so realistically without a liberal use of such coarse and vulgar expressions.

Anand’s Naturalism: A Sordid Aspects of Life

      “There lived the scavengers, the leather workers, the washermen, the barber, the water carriers, the grass-cutters and other outcastes from Hindu society. A brook near the lane, once with crystal-clear water; now soiled by the client and filth of the public latrines situated about, the odour of the hides and skins of dead carcasses left to dry on its banks, the dung of donkeys, sheep, horses, cows and buffaloes heaped up to be made into fuel cakes.” The opening scene of Untouchable is unparalleled for its realistic touch. Anand dextrously Portrays the sordid and ugly aspects of life. Anand believes that beauty and ugliness, cleanliness and filth, sweet and offensive smells' go side by side in real life. Dirts and filth of the public latrines, the odour of the hides and skins of dead carcasses, and the dung of donkeys, sheep, horses, cows and buffaloes are so real that one can feel and visualise every detail. In another scene, the lecherous Pandit attempt to molest Sohini. One can easily perceive what the Pandit feels. Anand could not ignore the reality of life. He sees beauty in real life situation. And in his attempt to present naturalism, he follow the well known French novelists Lola and Balzac.

Realistic Subject

      Anand’s subject has never been the lavish and posh romance of affluent society. He led Indo-Anglian novels from romance to realism. He focused on harsh realities of life. He transformed mere entertainment into an instrument for social reform. Anand has been sincere, to his subject and being a devoted writer his chief objective was to focus attention on suffering, misery and wretchedness of the have nots. He believes that capitalism, feudalism are the chief forces which exploit and oppress the under-dogs. Both of his novels Untouchable and Coolie made us sympathise with oppressed characters like Baldia and Munoo. Other novels except Untouchable and Coolie, are brimmed with the anguish and aspirations for a free and better life.

Arts for Life Sake or Proletarian Humanism

      Anand is a Proletarian humanist so he does not believe in extravagance and lavishness and luxury. He believes in the theory of ‘Arts for life sake’. ‘Arts for Arts Sake’ is mere our escape from the harsh realities of life. He is not an escapist. He has been conscious of the need to revolutionize and inspire the untouchables, the peasants, the coolies and the lowest social or economic class of a community. He poured all his energy and efforts into his pen to write for the proletariat to bring dignity to their lives. Anand says, “The theme of my work is the whole man and whole gamut human relationship, rather than one single part of it.” In his view the underdogs need human dignity, self-awareness and freedom more than anything else.

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