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Indian Writing in English

Indian English literature is the body of work by writers in India who write in the English

language and whose native and co-native language could be one of the numerous languages of

India. It is frequently referred to as Indo Anglian literature

The seed of Indian Writing in English was sown during the period of the British rule in India.

Now the seed has blossomed into an ever green tree, fragrant flowers and ripe fruits. The Fruits

are being tasted not only by the native people, but they are also being "chewed and digested"

by the foreigners. It happened only after constant caring, puring and feeding. Gardeners like

Tagore, Sri Aurobindo, R.K.Narayan, Raja Rao. Indian English Literature is an honest

enterprise to demonstrate the ever rare germ of Indian Writing in English. English is not an

alien language to us. It is the language of our intellectual make-up-like Sanskrit or Persian was

before- but not of our emotional make-up..

Indian English Literature is an honest enterprise to demonstrate the ever rare gems of Indian

Writing in English. From being a singular and exceptional, rather gradual native flare – up of

geniuses, Indian Writing has turned out to be a new form of Indian culture and voice in which

India converses regularly. Indian Writers – poets, novelists, essayists, and dramatists have

been making momentous and considerable contributions to world literature since pre-

Independence era.

Growth and Development of Indian English Novel

While English prose for social and political purposes was written by Indians from earliest times

with rare force, eloquence and effectiveness, excellence in the writing of creative prose could

be achieved much later than in the writing of verse. It was only with the Gandhian struggle for

freedom that the Indo-Anglican novel really came its own. The Indian novel made such a late

start because, in the beginning, it had to face a number of peculiar problem. One of the most

difficult problems which had to be faced was the problem of language. The Indian writer in

English must evolve a language flexible and varied enough to suit different factitious characters

drawn from the most varies professions and start a of society, as well as Indian enough to create

the impression of verisimilitude and authenticity.

Mulk Raj Anand has tried to solve the problem of medium by Indianization of English words,

by literal translation into English of Indian expressions, proverbs’, etc., and result has not

always been a happy one. Raja Rao has more successfully solved this problem. He does not

write baboo English, but successfully transmutes into English, the idiom,

the rhythm and the tone of the natural speech of his characters.

Other Indian novelists in English have solved , and are trying to solve, this problem in their

own way, so that their language may become a suitable medium for the expression of the

emotional and intellectual life of Indians. Indian writings in English and their work is largely

imitative of British models. We may call this phase (from 1830-1880). The phase of imitation,

though even these early writers show considerable mastery over English language and

versification. The second stage is of Indianization, and it may be said to begin with the work

of Toru Dutt in the last quarter of the 19th century. The third phase may be said to begin with

the opening of the new century. It is the phase of increasing Indianization, when the Indians

writing in English acquire a national consciousness and write to interpret the mind and heart of

India to the west. Fourthly, experimentation and individual talent mark the works of writers in

post-independent India. Indian writers have acquired confidence and strike out along new lines

on their own. This growth and maturity of Indo-Anglican writing is clearly brought out, if we

briefly trace the History of Indo-Anglican poetry, novel and drama, from 1880 down to the

present day.

Anand's contribution to Indian English Novel

A writer's views and attitude which condition his work are the resultant of a number of

influences that operate upon him from childhood onwards, and Mulk Raj Anand is no exception

in this respect. His heredity, his social milieu, his education, the books he has read and the

people he has meet, have all conditioned his art and gone into the making of Anand, novelist.

MulkRaj Anand was the master of storyteller of the downtrodden and of the touchable who

suffer from the unending story of explanation.

Mulk Raj Anand enjoys the reputation of being a pioneer novelist because of a corpus of

creative fiction of sufficient bulk and quality besides novels and short stories, he has written a

number of books on art paintings and literature. Anand became an exciting name with his early

novels untouchable, coolie and Two leaves and Bud in which he started the new trend of

realism and social protest in Indian English Novel. Mulk raj Anand was the only surviving

member of the great triumvirate of Indian wring in English. The other two are R.K.Narayana

of “ Malgudi days “and Raja Rao of “ Kanthapura “ . He was sophisticated and cosmopolitan

in his outlook and philosophy of life, but was impatient of transcendentalism and sceptical of

religion. His realistic novels angry at injustice, satirical yet warm reveal the great Indian

generosity of heart and great sympathy whit the unfortunate and anger against towards the

forces, which made then helpless.

His later works, however, saw the focus more on personal dilemmas, struggles and the human

psyche. His prolific work spanning several decades included 'Seven Summers' (1951),

'Morning Face' (1968) and 'Confessions of a Lover'. His varied professional graph saw him

working as a scriptwriter and broadcaster in the film division of BBC in London during the

world War II, founding the magazine `Marg', becoming the director of Kutub publishers and

teaching in India from 1948 to 1966.He was the chairman of the Lilith Kala Academy and the

president of the Lokayata Trust, for creating a cultural centre at Hauz Khans in New Delhi.

He also penned short notes on books in T S Eliot's magazine `Criterion' and wrote on varied

subjects such as Tagore, Nehru and even sculpture.

But the real test of a novelist as Mulk Raj Anand himself once said -- "It may lie in the

transformation of words into prophesy, because what is a writer if he is not the fiery voice of

the people, who through his own torments, urges and exaltations by realising the pains,

frustrations and aspirations of others, and by cultivating his incipient powers of expression,

transmutes in art all feeling, all thought, all experiences, thus becoming the seer of a new vision

in any situation".

What is a Novel ?

The term Novel is applied to a great variety of writings that have in common only the attribute

of being extended works of fiction written in prose. As an extended narrative, the novel

distinguished from the short story and from the work of middle length called the novelette, its

magnitude permits a greater variety of characters, greater complication of plot, and more

sustained exploration of character and motives than do the shorter, more concentrated modes.

As a narrative written in prose the novel is distinguished from the long narratives in verse of

Geoffrey Chaucer, Edmund Spenser, and John Milton which beginning with the 18th

century, the novel has increasingly supplanted. The term for the novel in most European

languages is roman, which is derived from the medieval term, the Romance. . The English

name for the form on the other hand, is derived from the Italian”novella”, which was a short

tale in prose. Currently the term “Novella” is often used as an equivalent for Novelette, a prose

fiction of middle length, such as Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” or Thomas Mann’s

“Death of Venice”.

Another important predecessor of the novel was the “ Picaresque narrative” which emerged

in sixteenth-century Spain. The Novel is a genre of fiction, and fiction may be defined as the

art or craft of contriving, through the written word, representations of human life that instruct

or divert or both.

Structure of the Novel

A novel like a play, has a plot, and to a great extent its characters revel themselves and their

intensions in dialogue. The dramatist, however, must depend on what he can make us see and

hear for ourselves, whereas the novelist can describe what could never be presented on any

stage. The Novels has in fact no rigid framework, and English authors have taken full advantage

of the freedom this affords them. Foreign critics have remarked that the English novel, with all

its unrivalled richness and variety, is apt to be lacking in one important element of the highest

art- a sense of proportion.

The novel can, of course, have its “setting” or background in any part of the world and any

time, past, present, or future. For almost every period of English history a novel could be found

in the works of Scott, Lord Lytton, Charles Kingsley, Thackeray and writers of marked

ability lesser stature, such as Harison, Ainsworth, G.P.R. James, C.M.Yonge, Conan Doyle,

and Stanley weyman, to name no living authors. As regard the local or regional setting certain

authors have almost marked out a territory of their own. The novel has firmly established itself

as the most effective medium for social criticism and diagnosis. Several of the Elizabethans

wrote prose works of fiction in a form related to that of the Novel. The 18th century novel

though firmly established by Richardson was further developed by Henry Fielding, Tobias

Smollett, and Laurence it as a form. Among the later novelists Oliver Goldsmith deserves

special mention for his brilliant studies in character and also for the essay intimate style which

became a model for domestic fiction. The 19th century saw the process of refinement carried a

step further Jane Austen affected the characters of the novel by discarding a sensationalism

which had come in during the last half of the 18th century. The novel took many new directions

during the 19th century. During the last fifty years the scope of the novel has widened to include

every subject.

Elements of a Novel

 Plot :

Plot is essentially the story or the events that make up what the book is about. Plot, of

course is defined by conflict either internal or external, and the best plots are both

original and interesting. In plot there are suspense, flashback, surprise ending. The plot

in a dramatic or narrative work is the structure of its actions, as there are ordered and

rended toward achieving particular emotional and artistic effects. There is great variety

of plot forms. For example, some plots are designed to achieve the effects of comedy,

romance, or satire.

 Theme:

Theme is the central message “moral of the story” and underlying meaning of a

fictional piece may be the author’s thoughts on the topic or view of human nature.

Story’s title usually emphasizes what the author is saying various figures of speech such

as (symbolism, allusion, smile, metaphor, hyperbole or Irony) may be utilized to

highlight the theme.

 Setting:

Setting is where the novel takes place. The setting might be a room, a forest, a battle

field. A setting can create atmosphere to the fiction, that help the reader imagine the

scenes. The setting of a narrative or dramatic work is the general local and the historical

time in which its action occurs within a work is the particular physical location in which

it takes place.

 Conflict:

Conflict is the struggle between opposing forces main character must fight against some

force or make an important decision.

 Character:

Characters are the imaginary people that write about in the fiction or Drama. The

characters are literary genre a short and usually witty, sketch in a prose of a distinctive

type of person. The genre was inaugurated by Theophrastus, a Greek author of second

century B.C. Characters are the persons, in a dramatic or narrative work, endowed with

moral and dispositional qualities that are expressed in what they say- the dialogue, and

what they do the action.

 Point of view Point of view signifies the way a story gets told the perspective or

perspectives established by an author through which the reader is presented with

the characters, actions, setting, and events which constitute the narrative in a work

of fiction.

Introduction to the writer


Mulk Raj Anand, India's most controversial novelist, was born in 1905 in Peshawar, now in

Pakistan, but then in the North-West Frontier Province of India. His father was a Coppersmith

who matriculated and rose to the position of the Head clerk in Dogra Regiment of the British

Army. His mother came from a peasant family. They had five sons of whom four survived, the

novelist himself being third. Indian author with hundreds of novels, short stories, and critical

essays in English and is also considered as a founder of the English-language Indian novel. He

is best remembered for his realistic depiction of the poorer classes of people in India. He was

very familiar with the problems of the poorer sections.

One of the first Indian writers in the English language to make a mark on the international

scenario, Mulk Raj Anand was an author with hundreds of novels, short stories and essays

to his name. Considered a pioneer of the Anglo-Indian fiction, he is best remembered for

his depiction of the poorer classes of people in India and their plight. His writings are rich

with the realistic and touching portrayal of the problems of the common man, often written

with heart wrenching clarity. Mulk Raj Anand was much too familiar with the problems

of the poorer sections himself. The son of a coppersmith, he had witnessed cruelties of

unimaginable horrors unfold before his own eyes all that stemmed from the caste system

that loomed over India like a malignant curse. He was an avid learner and went to

Cambridge for higher education where he became actively involved in politics. He later

returned to India to campaign for the cause of India’s independence. A bold and outspoken

writer, he exposed several of India’s evil practices through his writings. He was a prolific

writer and authored a great number of works, most of them were a commentary on the

social structure of his time .

Anand's life and career can conveniently be divided into three parts " the early years in India

until his departure for England, 1905-1925, the abroad 1925-1945 and the later year in India,

from 1946 to the present day. This division is not merely based on the his principal periods of

residence, but corresponds with the different stages of his literally career. The first period

reveals the various strands that go into the shaping of his mind and the influences that later

bear upon his writing. The second period is the most important it is concerned with Anand's

hard struggle to become a novelist, and the eventual success that led him to be rated as the

foremost Indian novelist. The third disappointing. Apart from Private Life of an Indian Prince

and the two sensitive autobiographical novels.

He was studied at Khalsa College, Amritsar participated in the non-violent campaign and

suffered brief imprisonment and Graduated from Punjab University .Then moved to England

where he attended University college London as an undergraduate and after that PhD in

philosophy from Cambridge University in 1929. Anand developed friendships with members

of the Bloomsbury Group all this while. During his while away to Geneva, he used to lecture

at the League of Nation's school of Intellectual Cooperation. Anand produced various forms of

literary art and creative writing such as novels and short stories which proved to be the classic

works of Modern Indian English literature marked for the appreciative perception into the lives

of the oppressed.


He became a writer in English language as English language publishers were more open to publish

the kind of themes he wrote on. His writing career began in England where he used to publish short

reviews in T. S. Eliot’s magazine, ‘Criterion’. During the 1930s and 1940s he was very active in

politics and spoke regularly at the meetings of India League which was founded by Krishna Menon.

Over this period he became acquainted with the likes of intellectuals, such as, Bertrand Russell and

Michael Foot, and authors like Henry Miller and George Orwell. He was deeply influenced by

M.K. Gandhi. His first novel, ‘Untouchable’ was published by the British firm, Wishart in 1935.

The story was about a day in the life of Bakha, a boy who has to become a toilet cleaner just because

he belongs to the untouchable caste. The novel was seen as a poignant reminder of the atrocities of

the caste system in India. In 1935, he played an important role in the founding of the Progressive

Writers’ Association in London along with the writers Sajjad Zaheer and Ahmed Ali. His heart

wrenching novel ‘Two Leaves and a Bud’ (1937) again dealt with the way the lower caste people

are exploited in India. It was the story of a poor peasant who is brutally killed by a British officer

who tries to rape his daughter. He joined the International Brigade in the Spanish civil war in 1937.

As a socialist, he wrote numerous articles and essays on Marxism, Fascism, Indian independence

and other political issues.

Works and Awards

After returning to India in 1946 Anand continued with his enormous literary output like poetry

and essays on a wide range of subjects, as well as autobiographies, novels and short stories.

Some of his works:

 “The Village” (1939)

 “Across the Black Water “(1939)

 “The sword and the Sickle” (1942)

 “Coolie” (1936)

 “The Private Life of an Indian Prince” (1953)

 “Untouchable” (1935)

 “Two leaves and Bud” (1937)

 “The Big Heart” (1945)

 “Seven Summers” (1951)

 “The old woman and Cow”(1960)

 “The Road” (1963)

 “Morning Face” (1970)

Short Stories:

 “The Lost Child and other stories”(London 1934)

 “The barbers trade union and other stories” (Bombay 1944)

 “Indian fairy tales” (Bombay 1946)

 “The tractor and corn goddess and other stories”

 “Bishop Fables “(Bombay 1960)

 “Lament on death of a master of Arts” (1967)

 “The power of darkness and other stories” (Bombay 1959)

He painted himself on a memoir named Seven Summers (1951), which contained seven parts

and for one part Mulk Raj Anand won the Sahitya Academy Award called "Morning

face"(1965). A literary magazine, Marg was founded by him Anand taught in many


He worked with International Progress Organization (IPO) on the issues of cultural self-

comprehension of nations in the 1970s. He was honoured with the Padma Bhushan, India's

highest civilian Award in 1967 for his vast contributions towards the field of Literature and

Education. He met actress Kathleen van Gelder in London and the couple married in 1938. Their

union produced a daughter. The marriage however unravelled and the couple divorced in 1948.In

1950, he married Shirin Vajibdar, a classical dancer Mulk Raj Anand, the pioneer of the Anglo-

Indian fiction, died of pneumonia at the age of 98 on 28 September 2004, in Pune.

Anand’s Style

Anand’s style of writing fiction is just a vernacularised style. He has used many vernacular

words and phrases in producting the crude and ludicrous effect. He has translated into English

many Punjabi swear words and phrases and obscene abuses he has also translated Indian

proverbs and smiles, his narrative prose is equally good, compact and effective. He has a

versality of stole his style has touches of irony and satire, and the ornateness of poetry. He has

followed stream of consciousness technique in his style.

Mulk Raj Anand’s narrative prose is brilliant and effective and compact, he has versality of

style, he has translated Hindi and Punjabi Idioms, introduced Hindi words, changed spelling of

English and has used vulgar language of the rustics. Mulk Raj Anand does not recognise pure

act for Art’s sake and elives in the social values, he is the spokes man of ar of the people. Mulk

Raj Anand is a realistic; he has exposed the social evils in a realistic way. He had seen sad

condition of the poor people in India, he shared their sorrows, and coloured his imagination

with the blood of the oppresses, the downtrodden and the poor people.


Since most of the novels of Mulk Raj Anand portray the suffering and misery of the Indian

people due to factors like religion, social and cultural imbalance, poverty, politics etc., of

the people we find pathetic scenes abundantly. In novels like 'Untouchable' and ‘Coolie’,

human pathos receives a dominant role. The novel “Coolie” reveals human misery; in

particular it exposes a heart-rending account of the suffering and misery of the poor character

like Munoo. In the novel 'Untouchable' the suffering of the downtrodden is brought out

clearly through the character, Bakha.

In the novel 'Coolie', there appears an account of the suffering and misery of Munoo,

indifferent phases of his career. The life of the poor and the way in which the poor are exploited

and ill treated appears in several places in the novel. The author's style of evoking pathos by

way of using appropriate expressions and his ability to move the hearts of his readers are

apparent in many places in the novel. In one instance, Munoo, the hero of the novel first

wanders alone and then in the company of Hari and his family, trying to find a spot where they

could rest for the night. Here the author, with soft and laconic

Strokes, recreates scenes with due accuracy. The careful selection of phrases by the author

evokes pathetic feeling sin the readers.

Themes and techniques

The novels of Mulk Raj Anand within their complex of thematic structure and techniques invite

immense possibilities of explorations and insights. Apart from the countless number of studies

undertaken on Mulk Raj Anand, the thematic aspects of his novels, even in their traditional

classification offer multiple interpretations and insights. Man and society form a variegated

fabric of life. Within the complicated structure of society lie the joys and sorrows of man. Mulk

Raj Anand with his exposure to various social theories and philosophies has incessantly

attempted to present a just and righteous vision of life.

His novels deal with socio-economic aspects of life. The thematic design of a novel depends

largely on the author's concerns of life. The human concerns which engaged Mulk Raj Anand

intensely were deeply related to discrimination, orthodoxy, social disparity, untouchability

and the highhandedness of the powerful and the rich. The themes of his novels depict these

concerns in an intensely artistic and realistic manner. Mulk Raj Anand weaves the plots of his

novels to reveal the stark reality of life and also generates a positive view point. To Mulk Raj

Anand, the world in general and India in particular, was fraught with social injustice. He

focused acutely on the wide and deep divide between the rich and the poor, the haves and the


His themes dwell upon the subtle aspects of discriminations which underline his strong

preference for humanism. It is this enlargement of feelings, heart and mind which govern his

thematic pattern..In his novels “Untouchable”, “Coolie”, “The Road”, Two Leaves and A

Bud” and “ The Big Heart” Mulk Raj Anand emerges as the champion of the underdogs and

a crusader against social distinctions and man-made barriers which divide humanity. He

vehemently condemns the insensibility, self centeredness and lack of human sympathy and

understanding in the upper strata of society for the poor and the exploited. He is both a realist

and humanist whose fundamental aim is to establish the fundamental oneness of mankind.

Mulk Raj Anand’s first novel “Untouchable” deals with the problem of casteism in general

and Untouchability in particular, in vivid artistic terms and its artistic power is evident in every

page of the novel. Untouchable, lays bare the humiliating experience of Bakha who challenges

the Barhamincal attitudes of high caste people. His biting satire against the high caste and the

rich exposes their double standards. Sohini is otherwise an untouchable, yet the high priest of

society do not hesitate to desire sexual pleasure from her body. In this novel he attacks casteism.

He say casteism is a crime against humanity and everyone who believes in human dignity

should actively try to eliminate it.

“Coolie”, is a heartrending saga of human suffering. Munoo’s travails and tribulations are

sharp pointers to man’s sadistic pleasure in torturing child domestics. Munoo represents those

numberless children whose childhood is lost in endless physical labour. Love, care and fund

are strange words for them. Mulk Raj Anand takes up the theme of human suffering again and


Critical comments

1.“To Anand belongs to the honour of being the pioneer, the first launching modern India’s

literature on this new road.”

Sajjad Zaheer

2. “As novelist addressing himself to the task of exposing certain evil, Anand has been as

effective almost as Dickens himself”

- K.R.Iyengar

3.“ His upbringing and his intellectual development have led him, on the whole, to place
greater emphasis on the need to revolt against the decayed aspects of the Indian tradition.”


4. “In his two novels “Untouchable”, “Coolie” Anand deals with the misery and
wretchedness of the poor and their struggle for a better life”

-C. Paul

5. “Anand’s condemnation of untouchability desires its effectiveness from the total control
of all the aspects of his problem. He shows a sure grasp of the psychology of both the caste
Hindu and the Untouchable”

-M.K. Naik

6. “Anand is a rational humanist, in the western tradition, believing in the power of science
to improve material conditions in progress and manifest intension is to propagate his beliefs
through his novels.”

-Meenakshi Mukharjee

7. “For Anand the Marxist-social purist of the appropriate verbal structure, if not virtually
one and the same are complementary aspects of a single purpose.

-S.C. Harrex

8. “Mr. Anand’s picture is real comprehensive and subtle and his gifts in all moods from
force to comedy, from pathos to tragedy, from realistic to poetic are remarkable”.

-V.C Pritchett

9. “Anand censures all such relationships, for they are inhuman, unhealthy and meanly

-Saros Cowasjee

10. “Mulk Raj Anand is essentially pre-occupied with one broad theme, whatever his
ostensible subject. The theme of the confrontation between tradition and modernity”.

- M.K. Naik

11. “Anand’s novels are organic wholes, the form and content are fully integrated; they are
inseparable parts of a single whole.”

- S.S. Harrex


“Coolie”, the novel that established Anand as a novelist depicting the social realism of the

1930s, does not concentrate on caste-consciousness as does Untouchable. Picaresque in

nature, it is the story of Munoo, The landless peasant, the young innocent boy of fourteen

who is compelled to leave his home in the idyllic hills of North- East in the late 1920s.”

Mulk Raj Anand‟s second novel “Coolie” was published in the year 1936. It may be

regarded as a social tragedy of a common man, where Munoo is a tragic character who

inspires pity. Here Anand does not romanticize the protagonist but exposes the social forces

of tragedy, capitalism, industrialism and communalism. As Untouchable dwells on the

evils of caste system which has condemned a large section of Indians to a sub human

existence of insufferable sadness, Anand‟s “Coolie” portrays in artistic terms a yawning

gap between the haves and have nots, the exploiter and the exploited, the ruler and the

ruled. The novel explores the stresses and strains generated in Indian society as a result of

the developing economic structure, expanding commerce and political change, which

necessarily demand new class arrangements in society.

The novel revolves round another social evil of no less magnitude, the system of class. It

describes the effects that the pervasive evil of class system has on a poor hill boy named

Munoo, who is forced to leave the idyllic hills to make a living in the plains. Drifting from

place to place, job to job, Munoo becomes virtually rootless and incapable of finding a

place for himself in a society infested with human sharks and fat gods. He symbolized the

disinherited and the dispossessed of the earth whose tragic life indicates man‟s inhumanity

to man. “Coolie” is a study in destitution, or to use Peter Quenelle’s words, Indians, seen

third Class a continent whose bleakness, vastness and poverty are shaded by a touch of the

glamour more or less fictitious, that so many English story-tellers, from Kipling to Major

Yeats-Brown, have preferred to draw across the scene.

The novel relates a series of adventures in picaresque manner, only the hero is no rogue but

himself the victim of the word‟s rogueries. Unlike Bakha, the negative hero of

“Untouchable”. Munoo’s place is not in the old caste system that is questioned because

he belongs by birth to the second highest order.

Whereas the problem of Bakha is particularly Indian, Munoo‟s problem is of universal

nature. Bakha‟s experience is limited in time and space, but Munoo’s struggle for survival

takes him through the cross-section of the whole country. As S. C. Harrex points out, “The

catastrophe for Munoo is a series of personal disasters punctuated by moments of

tragic illumination and leading to inevitable doom”. After Untouchable, Anand again

records the plight of the miserable have-nots in his very much successive novel Coolie. It

is a panoramic novel having a much wider canvas than that of his first novel Untouchable.

Scholars are of the opinion that if Untouchable is the microcosm, “Coolie” is more like the

macrocosm that is Indian society.

“Coolie” is the most extensive in space and time. It brings out variegated action and

multiplicity in character. There is also an arrangement of themes-such as the contrast

between rural and urban India and the race relations. Cruelty, poverty and inhuman social

forces of exploitation are responsible for the tragic denouement in this story. The premature

death of the protagonist, an innocent child, becomes very tragic. Munoo becomes acutely

aware of his predicament at some point or other in his life and begins to search for the

meaning of life and destiny. A sweeper is at least assured of his place in society because of

the indispensability of his work. But the coolie has no such assurance and lives under the

perpetual threat of losing his job. As the class system has proved more divisive, Anand‟s

attack is correspondingly vehement. Anand comments on the poverty stricken people of

village through Munoo.

“Coolie” has been variously described as an “Epic of misery”, the epic of modern India,

“The odyssey of Munoo” and a “Tragic drama” with five episodes. It further confirms

Anand‟s position as one of the most interesting revolutionary writers of their time. The

sociological concern of Anand in his fiction is no longer primarily limited to caste, but the

general issue of poverty, exploitation, social and economic parasitism and moral

corruption are presented in more representative contexts. So, “Coolie” has a power to move

us with its presentation of a universal human tragedy which is the result of exploitation of

all kinds prevailing in the society. It is one of the great novels with hunger, starvation,

sufferings and wretchedness, sickness, disease and degradation that hunger causes its

theme. Anand serves to illustrate and develop the central theme of the exploitation and

suffering, of the poor in a capitalistic society. Anand‟s compassion for the underdog

invests the novel with great power, but at the same time his artistic control over his material

does not slacken him. Anand universalizes the individual tragedy of Munoo, following the

anthropological dictum that “the proper study of mankind is man”

Munoo has become a victim of irrational system and inhuman cruelties of society.

“Coolie” is the story of the hill boy, Munoo, an orphan village lad, who moves from the

hill-village to the town, from town to the city, and then up to the mountains. He is an

archetype of downtrodden, the sum and substance of whose life-story is always the same,

meaning unendurable suffering and perpetual apathy. At the tender age of fourteen, Munoo

was imparadised from his village and launched on the whirlpool of experiences and is

finally swept away to his doom. Munoo’s life is tragic in the extreme, means he is exploited

by almost everyone and everywhere. The poor orphan is forced to leave his idyllic village

in the Kangra hills. Before the beginning of his inglorious odyssey, Munoo is a sensitive

and intelligent boy full of high spirits and a zest for life.

When he was going to city with his uncle, “he had dreamed of course, of all the wonderful

things which the village-folk spoke about when they came back from the town.” But all his

dreams are shattered when he is ill-treated by a shrewish and vindictive housewife Bibiji,

Uttam Kaur, wife of Babu Nathoo Ram, the sub-accountant in Imperial Bank of

Shamnagar. The experiences of his humiliation started in this house. He is shocked and

he learns here his first lesson in the harsh school of the modern urban world. On the next

day of his arrival, he relieves himself in the drain outside the kitchen and thereby,

unknowingly, lowers the social prestige of his masters.

In fact Munoo has been presented as passive and incapable of analyzing his situation like

Bakha therefore he took for granted his identity. It never occurred to him, to ask himself

what he was, apart from being a servant and why he was a servant. And like every child in

the world, like most grown-ups, he had been blinded by the glamour of greatness, glory

and splendour of it, into which forgetting that he was condemned by an iniquitous system

always to remain small, abject and drab. What kept him chained to the wheel of “coolie’s”

destiny was his ignorance about the potentialities of his make-up. He had suffered every

day since he came to the house but now he had been slapped and abused most callously,

because he slipped with a tea-tray in presence of Mr. England. His heart was no longer in

his work. When a few days later, he complained to his uncle, he refused to listen to him,

and beat him most mercilessly. Munoo’s expectations are extremely modest. The world is

not his oyster and he wields no sword with which to open humiliates him. Munoo fails to

dampen his high spirits completely, and it is finally his living vitality and irrepressible

impetuosity which drive him away from the house, as, while playing, he accidentally

injures the small daughter of Bibiji. He runs away from Sham Nagar. As Anand says

“whipped dog hides in a corner, a whipped human seek escape”, he thought he could no

longer bear the disgrace and humiliation he had suffered. Sham Nagar episode is the first

act in the tragic drama of exploitation.

After the early sting at Shamnagar the second phase of Munoo’s tragic life begins in

Daulatpur, where Prabha Dayal and his wife are kind to him, but Prabha’s partner in pickle

factory, Ganpat, ill-treats him. Prabha’s wife soon grows fond of him and gives him

motherly warmth. Here, life for Munoo is pleasing in the beginning owing to the affection

of Prabha and his wife Parvati. But “Happiness is an occasional episode in the general

drama of pain.” Life becomes ugly and hellish because of Ganpat‟s wicked behavior and

it is Ganpat’s villainy that Prabha Dayal is reduced to beggary. Prabha’s pathetic

condition is clearly observed when Ganpat wants to turn him out of his factory but in a

helpless and miserable condition Prabha begs pity of Ganpat.

The pickle factory is sold out and Munoo has to work as a coolie which means mere beast

of burden, first in the grain market and then in the vegetable market. His poor and meek

personality is exploited here because in the grain market there is cut throat competition

between the naked starving coolies each competing with the other for jobs at extremely low

wages. Anand gives us a harrowing account of sufferings of Munoo and other coolies in

the market. They are reduced to the level of beast and are huddled with them.

Munoo’s urge to go to Bombay is fulfilled and he is overjoyed but all his enthusiasm and

curiosity about Bombay goes proironical when he comes to understand and experience the

“Life in death” there. He is also warned by elephant driver- “The bigger a city is, the

crueller it is to the sons of Adam… You have to pay even for the breath that you breathe.”

He does not find the city much different from Sham Nagar or Daulatpur; only he realizes

that life is more confusing in Bombay. The problems of the exploited remain the same; the

change is only the scale. In the bigger factories there is more ruthless exploitation and

greater human misery. The working conditions in the Sir George Cotton Mills are worse

than those in the pickle factory at Daulatpur. Ganpat turns into Jimmi Thomas, a tyrannical

foreman who is wicked and shrewd. In this episode, Anand wants to make it clear that the

economic and political exploitation thus coalesce into one. The capitalists particularly

Englishmen consider the laborer and coolies as subhuman with no rights. For them “the

Indian labourer is just a piece of property a sub human being, no rights and all duty, whose

only utility is to be a serviceable tool.”

Standing in contrast with the covert exploitation instanced above, the exploitation which

flows from the lower layer of the industrial system the layer symbolized by the foreman

Chimta Sahib is face to face exploitation. It alternates between the crude and the subtle.

When Hari and Munoo approach Chimta Sahib in search of employment, there follows

the following dialogue which illustrates the crudeness and rudeness of exploiter Chimta

Sahib, “Oh, Huzoor, „entreated Hari, Joining his hands again, please be kind to us for the

sake of these Children.” “Yes”, said the foreman, „You have the pleasure of going to bed

together, damn fools, and breeding like rabbits, and I should be kind to your children.”

“Huzoor Sahib”, interposed Munoo, I Heard in Daulatpur that the least pay for work in a

factory was thirty Rupees.” “Yes, bark a lie,” said Jimmy Thomas and he would have burst,

but Lal kaka brought a book for him to sign.” Chimta Sahib’s exploitative approach

changes from rudeness to subtle politeness and pose of sympathy as he comes to the main

points of exploitation.

Anand observed that in those days money decided the class of a person. How industrial and

capitalistic forces were exploiting the poor in India can be easily understood through

“Coolie”. The layer of this system in their descending order includes Sir Reginald White,

President of Sir George Cotton Mills, Mr. Little, the Manager and Jimmy Thomas, the

foreman. The higher the layer in the system, the more subtle and politely masked is the

exploitation. In a moment of crisis brought about by depression, Sir Reginald White guards,

“against any loss to the share holder.” But he instructs the mills to go on short time, ordering

“no work for the fourth week in every month” cutting short the labourers‟ already meagre

wages to what is less than even “starvation allowance.”

The factory is a huge octopus one with its numerous tentacles crutching the labourers in its

deadly grasps, slowly, paralyzing and poisoning them. The British management offers no

security of tenure and effects retrenchment summarily. The British foreman is at once the

recruiting authority, a landlord who rents out ramshackle cottages at exorbitant rent, and

also a money lender – all rolled into one, the Pathan door keeper practices usury with even

more drastic methods. The Sikh merchant puts his monopoly as the authorized dealer in the

mill workers colony to full personal advantage. The ill paid, ill housed, under nourished

and bullied labourer is broke, both in body and mind, as Munoo finds his friend Hari is,

though his own youthful vitality saves him from this ultimate fate.

The normal life is paralyzed as soon as crisis overtakes the city. Munoo finds himself in

the midst of the labour strike, followed by an outbreak of communal violence. A large

gathering of the coolies was addressed by three communist leaders, and a decision to go on

strike was taken. However, the management played a trick and a rumour was spread that

Hindu children were being kidnapped by the Mohammedans and the meeting which was

called to take a strike decision soon turned into a wild crowed frenzied with communal

passions. Their wrath against the management was turned against each other, and all efforts

of the leaders to make them see reason were of no avail. Communal frenzy possessed the

coolies and with in no time, the rioting spread to most part of Bombay. Hindus and

Mohammedans struck blows and killed each other and many other were killed and wounded

by the police lathis and bullets.

Communal madness creates a horrible scene, and Anand has brought out the full horror of

it by his realistic presentation, just only in order to show that the people using politico-

economic factors to exploit poor people are so clever that only in order to solve their own

purpose they inspired poor, innocent, uneducated labourers to fight with each other and

used religion and caste based social status as an instrument to exploit the poor people

without thinking about the painful results of the situations. Munoo is both an actor and a

spectator who drifts with the crowd. He senses the futility of rhetoric as also the greater

futility of disorganized action. The words of poet Sauda-there are two kinds of people in

the world rich and the poor echo in his ears. Munoo feels that there is no happiness for

poor in this world. As in the search of happiness and in order to escape himself from the

world which is full of pain of suffering he runs from one place to another. He leaves

Shamnagar as he is going away from the miseries. But in Daulatpur, he is welcomed by

different types of miseries. And again as urge to go to Bombay, a place of happiness and

enjoyment in his imagination compels Munoo to run away from Daulatpur. But miseries

are everywhere; there is no escape from pain in this world for an underprivileged, poor

person. Only the name, shape and level of exploitation are changed. But he is being

exploited everywhere and every time because he was a poor person.

Poverty, starvation and hunger make Munoo realize their effect when he is on the Kangra

hills. Usurious exploitation was at its peak in that village. In Shamnagar, he is exploited

physically and psychologically in order to get some relief from this fortune, unknowingly

he enters into the cage of an exploitation based on politico-economics system in society at

Daulatpur and Bombay, where capitalism, industrialism and communalism are used to

suck the blood from the veins of poor labour class people. At the end of all these three

episodes, Shamnagar episode, Daulatpur episode and Bombay episode, Munoo is found

running away from every city. Tired, dazed hungry and sweating under the heat of the sun

Munoo was walking in the middle of the road and was suddenly knocked down by a

speeding car. Thus ended the Bombay phase of career of Munoo and began the Simla phase,

the last phase of his chequered career.

In Simla, the final act of Munoo’s tragedy commences when Mrs. Mainwaring, whose

car knocks him down, treats him with almost loving care, yet he is compelled to work hard,

to pull rickshaw uphill for long hours and so his energy is sapped and he falls a prey to the

deadly disease of consumption. While pulling his mistress’s rickshaw, Munoo observes

the beauty of the place and also shows curiosity about the world of the upper sections of

society. He wishes he too belongs to this society. His mistress is kind to him but her

coquetry fires his adolescent passions till he crumples at her feet in an orgy of tears and

kisses. Mrs Mainwaring is a woman of vast pretensions and no morals. She has married

and divorced and remarried several times. To her Munoo is just a boy and a servant. Munoo

fails to endure his illness for long and at last passes away in the arms of his friends, Mohan,

when he is hardly sixteen years old. Harrex says, “In a dirge-like movement, Coolie ends

with Munoo’s death as a result, medically, of consumption, and naturalistically, of the

ills of society.” Thus, the life history of Munoo is presented with depth in the novel and

this is the life history of the starving millions of Indians who are over worked and treated

like animal, till they die prematurely of hunger, suffering and disease. Munoo is a universal

figure, a larger-than-life character, one who represents the sufferings of the exploited

millions of the country.

There is a contrast between the starvation and hunger of the poor and well fed opulence of

the rich, between the luxurious and sky touching dwellings of the rich and the miserable

hovels of the poor, between the tranquil and decent bungalows of the English and the

meaner dwellings of Indians, even the well-dodo, between the tattered rags of the poor and

the gorgeous dresses of the rich and between the price and arrogance of the Europeans and

cringing servility of the Indians. A close study of the novel shows how “Even in the midst

of unfold misery and horrible sordidness, his instinctive yearning for life compels him

struggle for existence.”

Munoo has been denied the fundamental rights to happiness Anand presents him as a

victim of irrational system and of the inhuman cruelties of society. What happens to this

obscure hill boy is by no means an isolated example of human suffering and exploitation.

Munoo’s destiny symbolizes the tragic situation of the poor, and the under privileged and

downtrodden who in themselves are not responsible for their unalleviated suffering, but

who are all the same victims of ruthless exploitation. Therefore, asserts K. K. Sharma that

“Coolie is a sincere protest against the emergence of a new world of money and

exploitation and class distinction. It shows how coolies like Munoo are completely

beaten down by the curve of money power in the Iron Age.”

The prevailing social order and new values created by the modern civilization sap the

natural warm heartedness and zest for life of an individual like Munoo and lead to his tragic

waste and suffering. Munoo is not able to redeem himself because he is made to think that

people like him are born to suffer. He expresses himself, The poor are hungry and sick, and

weak and helpless at all places, whether in small towns and villages or in big cities. They

have no sense of self respect or dignity, they are incapable of asserting themselves, and

they have to cry before the more affluent people for right to live. They are driven from

pillar to post and are compelled to live a sub-human life in most unhygienic conditions,

having been reduced to this wretched state by the combined forces of colonialism,

capitalism and industrialism.

Among the few good characters of Anand, Prabha Dayal treats Munoo just like his own

son and showers a lot of love and affection on him. Again in Bombay, he meets Hari and

Ratan and the tension created by the hellish atmosphere is occasionally relaxed by

moments of comfort and warmth of comradeship. A Sunday evening spent with Pyari Jan

is delightful too. Similarly, though rickshaw pulling in Simla drives Munoo to an untimely

death, his life there is paradoxically, much more comfortable than his life in Bombay.

Anand is fair both to the rich and the poor. He takes no side. It can, however, be said that

needless greed of the rich results in the evil of exploitation. We see a lot of difference

among ceiling Prabha's creditors, fighting among themselves to recover whatever they

can, and the coolies anything with each other to earn a few annas so that they might live

another day.

Thus, “Coolie” reaches the heights where it touches the pathetic and sublime areas of

human experience. Here, Anand explores the limits of pain central to existence. He places

Munoo in opposition to a debasing and debased society a frail, defenseless figure in a

predominantly hostile world. Society is the great destroyer that kills Munoo and his like.

The tragedy of Munoo is an indictment of the evils of capitalism. But the purpose of the

novelist is not to present a gloomy picture of life. On the contrary, he wishes to arouse the

conscience of humanity against the ruthless exploitation of the weak and the down-trodden.

In Coolie, Anand handles the realities of the human situation as he sees and understands

them. What he desires is self restraint and joint efforts to resist exploitation and



“Coolie” is one of the most popular novels of Anand and it has already been translated into

over important languages of the world. It has been eulogised by readers, scholars and critics

alike. It is a panoramic novel having a much wider canvas than his first novel “Untouchable”,

and much larger number of characters. V.S.Pritchett praise the following glowing words,

”I got more out of “Coolie” than in out of any other novel have read for a very long time

indeed.”Coolie” is the only political Novel I have read which profoundly satisfied me”.

The novel was written in three months and was published in 1936 by Lawrence and Wiskart.

In an unpublished article entitled “Musings on Munoo” Anand tells us that he was provoked

into writing this novel by the partiality shown by Bonamy Dobree.

Mulk Raj Anand was arguably the greatest exponent of Indian writing in English, whose

literary output was infused with a political commitment that conveyed the lives of India’s poor

in a realistic and sympathetic manner. He had been involved in India’s freedom movement,

been impressed by Marx’s letters on India and his general political framework and had been a

co-founder of India’s greatest literary movement in the 1930s.

Novel, an invented prose narrative of considerable length and a certain complexity that deals

imaginatively with human experience, usually through a connected sequence of events

involving a group of persons in a specific setting. The novel is a genre of fiction, and fiction

may be defined as the art or craft of contriving, through the written word, representations of

human life that instruct or divert or both.

The elements of a novel are the same elements as that of the short story plot, theme, setting,

point of view, character except that there may be more than one of each of these

elements. That is, within the main plot of a novel there may be several subplots, there may be

more than one theme, and point of view can certainly change as well.

For Critical Appreciation I have analysed the following aspects from the novel “Coolie”.


“Coolie” is a complex work of art, epical in its dimensions, so a large number of themes and

ideas stand out of it. Anand’s compassion for the under-dog and indignation at the exploitation

of the Indian by the forces of capitalism, racism invest these two novels “Coolie” and “Two

leaves and a Bud” with great power so long as his autistics control over his material does not

silken. One of the important themes of the exploitation of the poor by the rich of the “ have-

nots”’, by the “haves” of society. The poor people like Munoo and Bishamber are exploited in

society, suffer due to their poverty, and are beaten due to their helplessness. Munoo is beaten

the house at Babu Natho Ram on trifle grounds because he was a poor and humble

“Coolie”and had come to sell his fowls. Thus everywhere in society the poor people were

oppressed, exploited, beaten, humiliated, crushed and neglected and their tears had no price.

The pitiable condition of the poor’s and the social injustice is the theme of the “Coolie”. Anand

has pleaded for the improvement of the lot of the poor, rustic Orphan boy and helpless. He

made the hero are two classes of people, rich and poor. Thus the main theme of this novel is

the miserable condition of poor people. The novelist shown how Munoo makes struggle for a

better life, but poverty becomes obstacle in his progress.

Anand is a humanist, he has humanised the Indian novel, but his championship of the have-

nots and his angry denunciation of the exploiters of the poor has exposed him to the charge of

being a communist and a protagonist, though time and again he was himself rejected this

charge. Anand a champion of downtrodden. In his novels he revels a trinue intuition of the

inhumanity of man, his exploitative nature and his possible redemption. Anand finds the

stratification o society on the basis of caste abominable. Anand, the champion of the outcastes,

pictures in his novels the predicament of women is often made to another victim of the rigid

social order. He shared their sorros and coloured his imagination with the blood of the

oppresses, the downtrodden and the poor people. He express various social economic aspects

of life.

Coolie marks a greater self-assurance in the art of Anand and a further deepening description

of marginal living .It comprehends greater veriety and deeper levels of degradation than does

Untouchable. The Plot of the novel is such as will not readily yield to a plain summary of facts.

Here is the story of a hill boy, Munoo, Who moves from the village to the town, from the town

to the city, and then up to the mountains. He traverses an experience, and is finally swept away

to his doom. He explores the limits of existence before he goes under.

So Anand uses the themes of downtrodden, social and economical injustice, to make a

successful event of his novel “Coolie”.


The setting of “Coolie” merits special attention. The scene of action shifts in space in orderly

sequence .So does the centre of gravity. However, the shift in scene of action is by no means

arbitrary; it is conditioned by a certain principle of organization to indicate the macrocosmic

character of the theme. The action begins in the village of Bilaspur and may be taken as time

of pain at birth. In sham Nagar, the hero fined himself in virtual serfdom. In Daulatpur, he

loses his job and is thrown out on the streets. In cosmopolitan Bombay, He has the taste of the

slum and the fifth; finally, in Simla, his cup of misery full, he goes under. Simla, it may be

said prepares the stage for his crucifixion.

At the time of the opening of the story, Munoo is a child of fourteen years studying in Vth

class of the school of his native village Bilaspur. His childhood is passed in the Idyllic

surroundings of the village situated on the Kangra hills on the banks of the river Beas. He is

the leader of the village boys, like Bishan and Bishamber, and Jay Singh, the son of the

village landlord, is his rival for the leadership. In the company of his friends he grazes his cows

all day, and finds time to sit under the shade of a large Bunyan tree to enjoy there the fruits of

the season. But this happily idyllic life is now coming to an end, for that very day he has to go

with his uncle Daya Ram to Sham Nagar, a town at a distance of about ten miles. His uncle

and aunt are of the that he is quite grown up, and so must start earni ng his own living. As the

novel opens, his aunt Gujri is heard shouting foe him. He must at once come home and get

ready to go to sham Nagar with his uncle. The chapter opens with Munoo,s walking with his

uncle on the road Sham Nagar.

Anand traces the social and economical conditions of four towns in North Indian: Shamnagar,

Daulathpur, Bombay, and Simla.


The plot of the “Coolie” is not a well constructed plot. Anand tries a single pattern in the carpet

of life and avoids superfluous things form the plot of “Coolie”. The story begins in Kangara

hills develops in industrial cities and ends in a hill station. The beginning and end of the story

lies in the hills either the Kangara hills or Simla. The novel has a design, a plan, a framework

which is definite. He aims to represent the true life of an Indian Coolie. The household service

in the house of Babu Natho Ram is a kind of domestic slavery as “Munoo” the hero of the

novel calls it. The setting of every part is calculated, every event in the life of Munoo shows

the tragedy, and serves the purpose of events is maintained throughout the plot. Munoo has

passed a very miserable life after the death of his father. Munoo goes to the city of Sham

Nagar with his uncle Daya Ram bae footed. His uncle is a peon in the imperial bank and he

had got him a job in the house of Babu Natho Ram. Munoo feels weary and not asks his uncle

to ride in the cart but Daya Ram refuse him. Munoo observe new things, in the town like huge

buildings, different vehicles, the steam engine and various item of eatable things. He had never

seen these strange things; he was surprised to hear the sound of phonogram. There was no eager

fluttering sense of sight of the grand building of the imperial bank.

“Coolie” is a comprehensive study of social condition of India. The aim of this novel is to

present the true life of Indian Coolie.


Mulk Raj Anand had drawn inspiration from the stream of consciousness technique. He

tried to present those characters whom he knew from early childhood. He showed his wide

observing power of humanity in delineating his characters. He selected this character among

the common people. He showed in his novels that the characters are not the product of

circumstances. Anand present the real feelings of his characters and delegates their merits and

weakness. He has sympathy with his characters. His curiosity and compassion for his characters

makes him a real master in the art of characterization. For his central character Munoo, one of

his childhood playmates, who was consigned to labour in a pickle factory and who accepted

his lot with fatalism peculiar to the Indian peasantry. The characterization of Munoo is vivid,

dramatic, and powerful. Munoo is cast in the mode of the archetypal, ironic, and perfect

victim or scapegoat under the sentence of death. But the ironic focus in not sharp enough to be

convincing. This is so because Anand attempts a naturalistic reproduction of the vast human

landscape and develops and epic mood and scale. Like Balzac and Tolstoy, he draws vast

spaces and creates memorable characters. He is not sufficiently detached to maintain the

aesthetic distance which, properly speaking, yields the ironic stance. Munoo is conceived as

a romantic hero, and as such there is no incongruity in the delineation, which is basic to the

ironic portrayal. He is first and last, a victim rather than a rebel and, therefore, is capable of

rising to a tragic stature. All other men and women, their morality and behaviour, their mode

of thinking and speaking, are evaluated in accordance with Munoo’s reactions to them. Munoo

is the hero of the novel ad round him are grouped a number of characters which may be

classified as

 Individual characters

 Institutional characters

 Representational characters

Individual characters are less important than the central figure. But they have their own

well marked personalities and they shape the action by the good or the evil that is in them. Such

individual characters in the novel are Jimmie Thomas and Ganpat among the wicked, and

prabha dayal among the noble –hearted. The village friends of Munoo, the servants of the

rich men in Sham nagar, Tulsi, Maharaj and the wife of Prabha in Daulatpur, the soda

water seller, the foot-path sleepers including the woman whose husband had died the previous

night, the yogi, prostitute piari jan, the Pimp Bude Khan, and dancers Janaki and Gulab

Jan, Mr. Little, The manager, the rickshaw pullers of Simla etc.. All belong to the class of

institutional characters also minor figures, like the institutional ones, but their personalities are

better defined and they have their own point of view.

So, Anand’s attempt to use different types and different levels of characterisation to present

the saga of Munoo has been quiet successful.

Point of view:

The life of Munoo has been depicted from the psychological point of view. Munoo has a

sense of his inferior social position and aspiresto raise his status. He cries but no body cares,

he weeps but nobody hears his means, he revolts against the exiting social oddes but nobody

respond him. The structure of this novel is such that the entire picture of the life of Munoo

from his infancy to the adulthood comes before the eyes. Munoo shows the reaction to every

situation and acts according to his conscience. He runs from the house of Babu Natho Ram,

when he was beaten. He had a sense of self respect. He does not want to eat the residue food

or the meal which he dislikes and runs out hungry.

The psychological fiction there are two tendencies , first the use of probing method, like

introspection or analysis, and secondly developing techniques, like point of view and stream

of consciousness which stimulate the flow of inner-conflict. Anand’s novel “Coolie” is purely

a psychological novel where in he has depicted the gradual development of the mind of Munoo

and his psychological approach to various problems in a novel way. In the novel “Coolie” the

surface life of Munoo reflects the inner-self. Munoo, a hill boy, leaves his Idyllic surroundings,

so that he may work and see the world. The first contact with reality shatters his dreams.

Arriving in the house of a bank clerk, he fails foul of a shrewish and vindictive, house wife and

before he feels from his employer’s frenzied rage he has relived himself near their doorstep

and there by lower their social prestige.

So, Anand’s novel “Coolie” is depicted from the psychological point of view.


“A project work on Critical Appreciation of Mulk Raj Anand’s Novel Coolie”, is a project work

taken up by me in which I have analysed the critical appreciation of Mulk Raj Anand’s “Coolie”. My

experience during this project is marvellous. I came to know and learn many aspects Mulk Raj Anand’s

“Coolie” and important points like.....

1. Growth and development of Indian English Novel.

2. What is a novel?

3. Anand’s contribution to Indian English Novel.

Further I had a personal enrichment by learning about MulkRaj Anand’s “Coolie” I choose the

“ Coolie” as my topic for project study because I am very interested to know about

comprehensive study of Indian English Novel. Anand‘s love for novelty and originality

enabled him to carry the Tagore and Premchand, Bankim and Sarat Chandra to a new

height. He has modernized the Indian novel.

In the sensitive portrayal of an Individual like Bakha, Mulk Raj Anand displays his penetrating

thought and human attitude in understanding the grim realities of the social life in India. It is a

revolutionary novel in the sense that it has an outcaste as its chief protagonist. “Coolie” is

based upon the problem of class-struggle, social-injustice and psychological conflict of the

subaltern, the poor, under dogs and the rich, the privileged ones.. The observations, which came

up as final facts of the studies of Anand’s novels as social realism which is doubtless firm

conclusion, which brought through the enduring journey of his protagonists.

From this project I learnt that a little more sympathy and little more tenderness on the

part of the society , and the healthy human values and radiacl social transformation in our

human society.

Anand has created a special place as a writer of Indian writing in English. At last I would like

to conclude with the words that social realism is the foremost and chief essence in the major

novels of Mulk Raj Anand. After the profound investigation of Anand’s major novels I could

say that they are written for the betterment of society, particularly the downtrodden, suppressed

untouchables and all the sufferers at the hand of the social design.

1. Dr.Tanveer A.M.”Indian Literature”Patna,Garg Publishing house,2010,pg:10,12,16

2. M.H.Abrams;”A Glossary of literary terms” pg;21,132,138,163,Macmillan publishers India
Ltd,Delhi,1971,published by Rajiv Beri for macmillan Publishers India Ltd.,Taj Press

5. G.G.Harpham. M.H.Abrams, a Glossary of literary terms, pg:253-257
6. Birjadish Prasad, “a background to the study of English literature pg:193-224, Chenai, 1957 macmillan
India limited, 2005