17 August 2006

100 Years of a heritage…….

This is the centinary year of Rasipuram Krishnaswami Ayyar Naranayanaswami, to be specific, R. K. Narayan.

R. K. Narayan is the most widely read and cherished Indian novelist in English.
He was a master story teller, who made stories out of ordinary instances. All of his stories were characterised by simplicity and gentle humor. Only few writers can bring the fiction to reality and R.K.Narayan is definitely the one.

He is unusual among Indian authors writing in English in that he has stayed contentedly in India, venturing abroad only rarely. He rarely addresses political issues or tries to explore the cutting edge of fiction. He is a traditional teller of tales, a creator of realist fiction which is often gentle, humorous, and warm rather than hard-hitting or profound. Almost all of his writings are set in the fictional city of Malgudi, and are narrowly focused on the lives of relatively humble individuals, neither extremely poor nor very rich.

Narayan lived till ninety-five, writing for more than fifty years, and publishing till he was eighty seven. He wrote fifteen novels, five volumes of short stories, a number of travelogues and collections of non-fiction, an English translation of Indian epics, and the memoir My Days.

A town called Malgudi
A railway station serves as the main entry point for the town called malgudi. It's here you could find Raju, a guide who helps you to explore this hamlet. On the way through Lawley's extension, you'll find Ananda Bhavan where you can have a sip of coffee and continue your journey. During your journey to malgudi (which in fact even God doesn't have the capability to create such an exquisite village), you'll come across the talkative man (who keeps gossiping about anything and everything), the financial expert (who earns money by providing loan and financial advice to villagers), Mr. Sampath (the owner of truth press), the English teacher and list goes endless. As you explore further, you can come across this small creature called Swami. And further, most certainly you’ll see yourself some where there.

Centenary year.
This is the centenary year of RKN’s birth. Its still not known about how the Governament plans to observe this memorable occasion. But as an admirer of RKN’s works, Mr. Chaturvedi, the Hon. Governor of Karnataka, has suggested the Railways ministry to name the Chennai-Mysore express as “Malgudi express” to honour the legend on this occasion.

As a lover of Narayan’s works, myself plan to buy all of his books this year J Yes, I really mean it. Though I’ve read most of the works of the master, I’ve read most of them by borrowing from someone/library. So, this year, as my personal homage to this legend, I’ll buy his books and read them all again(;)).
Let me also wait for Govt to declare some sort of respect to this legend of Malgudi.


rk said...


good that you wrote on RKN, the writer I admire most, in the centenary year of his birth. really love his simple style of writing. regret to this day that i couldn't meet him.

I have a collection of all his books. have made a scrapbook on him and got it autographed by his brother, the great cartoonist RK Laxman. he was amazed how I found some rare articles published as far back as 1930. Also, TS Satyan and TS nagarajan, India's great photo-journalist brothers, and N Ram, the editor of the Hindu, who were all so close to RKN, and a relative of RKN working for the HINDU have liked the scrapbook.

An article on the same appeared in the HINDU last year. You can read it here:

and churumuri has a special section dedicated to RKN, you must have seen it. :)

Srik said...

OMG!! That was a gr8 work about RK Narayan and MS. The legends. Im interested in seeing the scrap books, please..!!
Its really exciting to know that you have done so much work in understanding the legends and their work. Hats offf to you and congratulations for doing that. I wish you all the best for ur next venture on RKL.
I just knew that you were a fan of RKN, but never knew its depth. Please let me also enlightened about the hero of Indian English literature by reading your scrap books.

Vani said...


Great tribute....I am an ardent fan of RKN, one of my favorite stories being "An Astrologer's Day". No words are enough to really contemplate the depth of his writing. Good job.

reborn said...

timely post . Though I havent read much of him, by whatever i ve read, he s too good ..simple, yet effective . Malgudi days was made into teleserial by late Shankar Nag long ago, And was shot in Agumbe ,near to my granny s place ...It was well made too.

Bhargav said...

Nice post Srikanth. I've been a big fan of RKL though. In fact, the main purpose of reading TOI was for his cartoons.
I haven't read any of RKN's books. Altough, I have seen 'Swami and friends' and 'Malgudi days' on the Television. Also we had a lesson in our seventh std abt one of the adventures of Swami. To tell you, those days I wasn't a big fan of reading. I bet I would appreciate them now. I remember RKR making a pun on his own profession in one of the episodes of Malgudi days. I don't remember the character's name. This character returns from America with a blonde girlfriend (that was how it was shown) and a machine to write stories!! This was really amusing. The machine had a button for each type of story; tragic, romance, emotional, thriller...I have found books written by RKN in our library, and will get to them soon.

Srik said...

No words are enough to contemplate the depth of his writing. Well said. Who ever reads him is destined to become a fan.

Yes, read somewhere, RKN appreciated Shankar Nag and Manjunath who played Swami's role in Malgudi days for their adorable work. Its also written that RKN was not happy the way 'Guide' was madeout. It shows how well Malgudi Days the series was made. Agumbe is a wonderful place and it most suited for the Malgudi experience.
Saw your Learning to fly blog as well. Its a good work. Congratulations. I visited Manipal very recently, last weekend. And also I visited Agumbe and the surrrounding places for a monsoon experience. It was really gr8. Thanks for visiting here and leaving a comment.

Yes, RKN is one of the best story tellers being gifted to us. The character name of the sweet vendor's son who returns with a blonde is Mali. His father Jagan, a principled man.. wonderful story line in that evergreen Indian novel. A fact that Narayan was considered thrice for the Noble prize for literature itself talks of the hights Narayan achieved by telling us stories of the under-previledged in Maludi. You must read all of them. Thanks and Keep visiting here.