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Remembering RK Narayan on His Death Anniversary: Facts about the Creator of Malgudi Days

Statues of the three characters Swamy, Rajam, Mani of the serial Malgudi Days, at Arasalu, Shimoga in Karnataka. (Image: Shutterstock)

Statues of the three characters Swamy, Rajam, Mani of the serial Malgudi Days, at Arasalu, Shimoga in Karnataka. (Image: Shutterstock)

Did you know that his full name is Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami? Kunjappa was his nickname given by his grandmother.

RK Narayan, is one of the most loved Indian English literature laureates. He is the first post-independence writer who grabbed the Western world’s attention by introducing them to the Indian writing in English. A leading author known for his simple, subtle style, Narayan is by far one of the most widely read and popular Indian writers.

The man behind the immensely loved, gem-like The Malgudi Days, was instrumental in introducing and popularizing the Indian English literature genre on the global platform.

Swami and Friends, his first novel set in the fictitious Malgudi, was the perfect work that beautifully encapsulated the transitioning milieu of British and post-independence India.

The English Teacher, The Financial Expert, Waiting for the Mahatma, My Dateless Diary, The Man-Eater of Malgudi, and numerous other literary works have been penned by him.

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Such was the author’s charisma that well-known British writer Somerset Maugham visited India to meet Narayan. And when he couldn’t find his house, the writer wrote a letter expressing his deep respect and admiration for him.

On his 20th death anniversary why not revisit the most revered author by getting to know him better through some amazing facts.

  • West was so enamoured by the author’s works that Narayan was elected as an honorary member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters.
  • Narayan went on to win the AC Benson medal presented by the Royal Society of Literature.
  • He earned nomination many times for the Nobel Prize in Literature.
  • Recipient of the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award (for The Guide), he has been also honoured with Padma Bhushan and Padma Vibhushan.
  • Upon reading Narayan’s Malgudi Days manuscript, it was the English novelist Graham Greene who referred it to Hamish Hamilton, the renowned publisher. Surprisingly, the novel had faced many rejections earlier by several publishing houses.
  • Narayan’s first published work was a book review. Development of Maritime Laws of 17th Century England was the book to be reviewed by him.
  • His novel The Guide was adapted for a stage representation at the Broadway Theatre New York.
  • Rockefeller Foundation in the USA had granted a fellowship to Narayan. During his period of fellowship, he delivered lectures in University of California, Berkeley and Michigan State University.
  • He received his first honorary doctorate from the University of Leeds.
  • Did you know that his full name is Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami? Kunjappa was his nickname given by his grandmother.

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first published:May 13, 2021, 08:27 IST