Sunday, December 29, 2013

Kanthapura - Raja Rao


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'Kanthapura' is the first major Indian novel in English..The title Kanthapura is the name of a fictional village situated in Western ghats in the valley of Himavathy river in South India where people believe,the village is guarded by goddess Kenchamma..The plot of the novel is Indian freedom movement and the book was considered as a major land mark in Indian fiction.It is the story of how the Gandhian struggle for Independence came to one tiny village in south India..The story depicts blind beliefs and traditions of people in those days.The Author Raja Rao is a well known Indian writer in English..His notable work, 'The Serpent and the rope' has won the Sahitya Academy award and he was also honoured with  Padma Bhushan  and Padma Vibhushan by the Indian government.

Copyright A Homemaker's Utopia
Here are few lines from the book..
Karthik is a month of lights,sisters and in Kanthapura when the dusk falls,children rush to the sanctum flame and the kitchen fire,and with broom grass and fuel chips and coconut rind they peel out fire and light clay-pots and copper candelabras and glass lamps.Children light them all,so that when darkness hangs drooping down the eaves,gods may be seen passing by,blue gods,quite gods and bright-eyed gods.And as they pass by,the the dust sings back in to the earth,and night curls again through the shadows of the streets.Oh!have you seen the gods sister ?

About Sankar,the advocate
The friends got angry and called him a fanatic;but he said there must be a few fanatics to wash the wheel of law.. 

We hear this Kanthapura story in the words of old woman Achakka..Now,coming to the story,the main character,An educated Brahmin young man Murthy,who was intensely motivated by the Gandhian ideology tries to create awareness in the people about the independence by organizing Harikathas and Bhajans..Few more learned people like Ramgamma,Seenu,Patel Range Gowda,Ratna and Shankar also join him..Soon Murthy becomes active member of Congress committee,which was established to work at national as well as provincial levels to support these Satyagrahis..Murthy tries to educate the coolies of Skeffington Coffee estate and also fights against untouchability..He even goes to Pariah quarters to give them free spinning wheels to spin cloth..This causes severe wrath in higher classes of the village,and Bhatta who is one of them helps the police Bade Khan to suppress the agitation against British rule..However Murthy and company stick to their ethics of non-violence and keeps the movement going on..Finally after great violence,the police succeeded in bringing the village under their control and in the process they also put some satyagrahis in prison..

The best lines from the book in Murthy's words,
A cock does not make a morning,nor a single man a revolution,but we'll build a thousand-pillared temple,a temple more firm than any that hath yet been builded,and each one of you be ye pillars in it,and when the temple is built,stone by stone,and an by man,and the bell hung to the roof and the eagle-tower shaped and planted,we shall invoke the Mother to reside with us in dream and in life.India then will live in a temple of our making.

The plot is simple yet deeply motivating..There use to be four quarters in the village,on the basis of caste system..In those days,going against customs and traditions was not so easy for anybody..Breaking the society-made rules was a typical deal..Murthy not only sacrifices his mother Nukamma but also outcasted by Brahmins..Like Murthy,the novel gives a wide description about the greatest sacrifices made by the villagers of Kanthapura...While it was a great read, I also felt at times that the author confuses readers by repeated mentioning of names of characters in same sentences...Wish you a happy reading friends :-)

11 comments:

Me said...

Interesting details there...!

Indrani said...

Good review!
A very happy new year to you!

Rajesh said...

Interesting.
Wish you Happy and Prosperous New Year.

anitaexplorer said...

Nice review. I liked the lines you have selected too :)
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An Indian Writer said...

I have heard of this book but never had the chance to read. Thanks for the review, I should get hold of it now.

Rajni Sinha said...

nice review---would read it as an when I can lay my hands on it ---A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU AND YOURS

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

Thank you so much friends :-)

neeraj said...

Really liked the post. Can you share your email id with me? Wanted to discuss an opportunity regarding book review writing.

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Neeraj,
Thanks a lot for the visit and comment :-)

Akanksha Jain said...

Detailed information and interesting reviews

A Homemaker's Utopia said...

@ Akanksha,
Thank you so much Akanksha :-)