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The Trilogy
The Village, Across the Black Waters and The Sword and the Sickle: Introduction by Saros Cowasjee
Mulk Raj Anand The Trilogy : Mulk Raj Anand : Vision Books : Book (ISBN: 8170949653)
Pages: 950
Price: Rs. 1495
Format: Hardcover
ISBN13/10: 9788170949657 / 8170949653
Availability: Yes
Published in 2016
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Table of Contents

'. . . the finest of his works.' — S. Menon Marath in Life and Letters

The Trilogy is a story of the transformation of a man and a nation on an epic scale. The three novels comprising this trilogy — namely The Village, Across the Black Waters and The Sword and the Sickle — unfold a saga of changing India, from one characterised by oppressive, stagnant life to one where one can dream dreams.

Lal Singh, nicknamed Lalu, is a Sikh peasant youth who feels stifled by the endless petty tyrannies of Indian village life, mired in poverty, debt and social rigidity. Rebellious and free-spirited, Lalu flees from an unjust imminent arrest, finding refuge by enlisting in the army in the midst of World War 1.

Hastily trained, Lalu's regiment is pitchforked from rustic Punjab into the soul-grinding trench warfare in France. But France also provides Lalu a new window to the life and world of a free people. Upon returning home, Lalu is demobilised from the army in disgrace — and without the reward of a piece of land of his own to till upon which he had set his heart. Angry and rootless, he elopes with his childhood sweetheart and is fortuitously drawn into India's gathering independence movement. Now socially and politically aware, Lalu proves himself to be a natural political organizer of the peasantry. Through the tumult and din of protests and arrests, Lalu grows dimly aware of the meaning and possibility of freedom, and the coming of a new dawn.

The Trilogy is scripted on a vast canvas and is peopled with an array of arresting characters, including Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, soldiers Indian, English and German, petty officials, politicians, rich landlords and, most importantly, poor Indian peasants. Mulk Raj Anand vividly captures all the quite diverse smells, the air and nuances as the action moves from rural Punjab to the war trenches in France and on to India’s pre-Independence political heartland.



Reviews

'. . . this trilogy is the finest and the most balanced of his works.'  — S. Menon Marath in Life and Letters

'Anand's achievement in the first two volumes of the trilogy has yet to be surpassed by an Anglo-Indian novelist.'  — Meenakshi Mukherjee in Critical Essays on Indian Writing in English

'The Village is an Indian pastoral, unique in character. No one has described the beauty and the squalor of an Indian farmer’s existence, the pageantry and pettiness of life in a small Indian hamlet, with the knowledge and understanding that Mr. Anand . . . is able to command.'  Southport Guardian

'Across the Black Waters . . . communicates the claustrophobic tension of death, and the pervading sense of inevitability . . . . His descriptions of brutality match in compassion and outrage, and perhaps also in poetic flair, those of Wilfred Owen, Siegfried Sassoon, or David Jones.'  — Alastair Niven in The Literary Half-Yearly

'The Sword and the Sickle is one of the most remarkable books which Mr. Anand has written. It is an honest attempt to describe objectively the discontent in India . . . . It is written from the point of view of a revolutionist, but more still from that of an Indian and it gives an intimate picture of Indian life . . . .'  — Edwin Muir in The Listener


Mulk Raj Anand

Mulk Raj Anand (1905-2004) was born in Peshawar and educated at the universities of Punjab and London. After earning his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1929, Anand began writing notes for T. S. Eliot’s magazine Criterion as well as books on diverse subjects such as cooking and the arts. Recognition came with the publication of his first two novels, Untouchable (1935) and Coolie (1936). These were followed, among others, by his well-known trilogy The Village (1939), Across the Black Waters (1940) and The Sword and the Sickle (1942). By the time he returned to India in 1946, he was the best-known Indian writer abroad.

Making Bombay (now Mumbai) his home and centre of activity, Anand plunged with gusto into India’s cultural and social life. Writing remained, however, his main pre-occupation, and in 1953 he published Private Life of an Indian Prince — his finest literary achievement. In 1980 appeared his best non-fictional work, Conversations in Bloomsbury (revised ed. 2011) — a wide-ranging dialogue with T. S. Eliot, Aldous Huxley, Virginia Woolf and others. He also founded and edited the renowned Indian art magazine Marg, and worked ceaselessly on his monumental autobiographical fiction, The Seven Ages of Man.

A recipient of the Sahitya Akademi award, the Padma Bhushan and several honorary doctorates, Anand's complete papers are now housed in the National Archives of India in New Delhi.


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