TRADITIONAL VERSUS MODERN IDEOLOGIES IN R.K NARAYAN’S THE WORLD OF NAGARAJ

Topics: Colonialism, R. K. Narayan, British Empire Pages: 5 (1692 words) Published: February 21, 2014
R.K Narayan (1906-2001) is one of the most famous and widely known Indian English language author. He has written many short stories and novels but is very well known for his imaginary town Magudi and his novels such as Swami and Friends, The Bachelor Arts, The English Teacher, The Financial Expert and The Guide. Narayan is considered to be a leading figure in Indian English literature along with Mulk Raj Anand and Raja Rao. He wrote around the time when India was colonized by the British during the twentieth century thus a lot of his works are influenced by the events that took place at large during that period. When British colonized India they brought along with them a different culture. The Britishers completely westernized India with their development of English schools, government offices, transportation and much more. As rightly said by Dr. Madhukar Nikam, “The writer in the colonized country tended to soak up the culture of the colonial power and feel a familiar-ity and some affection for it, even though the experience of colonialism may have demoralized and destabilized his own colonized culture” (Nikam “R.K Narayan as a Post-Colonial Novelist” 2012: 25) Narayan’s fictional town Malgudi which is located in South India was created by the author in order to escape the tyrants of the British colonial rule. As Nilufer Bharucha speaks about it in her essay “Colonial Enclosures and Autonomous Spaces: R.K Narayan’s Malgudi”, “fictional town of Malgudi was a sovereign space, independent of imperial domination. Malgudi asserted a pre-colonial order and distinct Indian society and culture within the reductiveness of colonialism” (Bharucha, 2002: 129). She uses the word “Utopia” (Bharucha “Colonial Enclosures and Autonomous Spaces: R.K Narayan’s Malgudi” 129) which is perfectly suitable for this town. Everyone would love to reside in a hassel free town like Malgudi. The stories appear to be very simple yet witty. From Narayan’s very first novel Swami and Friends till The World of Nagaraj (one of his last works) it has been quite a journey, we see Malgudi slowly undergoing through a lot of changes. In his very last novel The World of Nagaraj (1990) we notice transformation taking place in this peaceful town of Malgudi where westernization has come into being. I will be thus exploring how Narayan’s last novel depicts changes in the postcolonial India and its aftermath on the younger generation (in the book) ultimately creating conflicts between two ideologies. The story revolves around the protagonist Nagaraj who calls himself “a man with mission” (Narayan,The World of Nagraj, 2005: 1) , yet he isn’t clear on what his mission is. He lives comfortably in a large house left by his father on Kabir Street with his wife Sita and his mother. He spends his day walking around the town of Malgudi and meeting people from the neighborhood as he walks by. He lives a very leisurely life working at Coomar’s Boeing Sari Centre during the day for Coomar looking after the accounts. He works there for free because “this arrangement leaves me free to come and go when I like” (The World, 24). Later he would walk back home and sit on the veranda of his house watching the people pass by and planning to write a book on the celestial sage Narada but is unable to do so. The trouble starts when his nephew Tim (his elder brother Gopu’s son) comes to Malgudi and plans to stay with them. Tim very clearly represents the younger generation who is affected by the urbanization and westernization of the Indian society. He left his father’s house because he called him a “Donkey” (The World, 37). The author here is probably mocking at the younger lot for having low tolerance level. Nagaraj plans to take full responsibility of Tim and the dilemma starts when Tim doesn’t adhere to Nagaraj’s way of living. During the course of the novel we come to know that Tim has dropped out of the Albert Mission Junior College and works at a club called Kismet in New...

Cited: SECONDARY SOURCE
Bharucha, Nilufer “Colonial Enclosures and Autonomous Spaces: R.K Narayan’s Malgudi” in “South Asian Review” Vol XXIII (2002): 129-153
Khatri, Chote Lal. R.K Narayan: Reflections and Re-evaluation. New Delhi: Sarup and Sons, 2006
Naidoo, Rajasveriee “R.K
Nikam, Madhukar “R.K Narayan as a Post-Colonial Novelist” in “English Literature” Vol X Issue 11 (January 2012) 25-27
NAME: FORAM DHRUV
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