‘Malgudi Times’ dated October 10, 2005

August 28, 2006

Click on the image for a larger view

This is the birth centenary year of RK Narayan. Of all the Indian novelists in English, RK Narayan remains one of the most highly regarded, perhaps the most widely popular, and even the most ‘typically Indian’.

Last year, in September 2005, I designed this front page of an imaginary newspaper ‘Malgudi Times’ on the occasion of RK Narayan’s 99th birth anniversary(Oct.10).

Few authors are remembered more for the place they wrote about than the characters they created. But treating Malgudi as just a place would only indicate literary ignorance of the reader. For Malgudi is also perhaps the most memorable of characters created by Narayan, arguably the Indian author who came closest to getting the Nobel Prize.

RK Narayan weaved a world existing nowhere, but striking a chord of perfect reality with readers across people reading English. His books appeal in a quiet, reassuring way and have remained popular over many decades. His writing is also part of literature coursework in some American universities. Narayan evokes a diction of unusual freshness and rare ingenuity with the English literary idiom.

The greatest point about Narayan’s writing is its use of language. His talent goes beyond mere aptitude with words or a maverick Malgudi.  Narayan stands for the immense flexibility, adaptability and élan of English; he uses the language of Bible, Shakespeare and American Constitution to an amazing effect while dealing in subjects vastly removed. His creatures squat on the floor for meals, wear dhoti with a coat, read the Ramayana, regard mothers as sacred, rebel against fathers, marry for love over money, and aspire for eternal life. The author writes all this without a single footnote, without any discernible twang of the foreign, with a sense of disarming familiarity. Narayan represents the synthesis that is English, a language evolving through the synergy of civilizations, known and unknown; a language in continual quest.

Malgudi lives on. And so does his writing.

Also read:

A fan’s tribute to MS, R.K. Narayan The collection of English, Tamil, Kannada and Malayalam articles includes the 1974 Magsaysay Award citation and MS’ response.

BS Ramakrishna’s letter to the editor As I was reading the article, I could not help remembering the late R.K. Narayan, whose educational outlook always differed from those of his elders and well-wishers.

A scrapbook of priceless clippings The most prized item in the scrapbook is a rare picture of the two Rasipuram brothers together. 


23 Responses to “‘Malgudi Times’ dated October 10, 2005”

  1. ari4u Says:

    I enjoyed these shows when i was a kid. Thanks for bringing back memories of swami and his gang 🙂

  2. Anil Anand Says:

    Namaskara Gurugalige,

    I think you already know this but Malgudi was named after 2 famous localities of BANGALORE- MALleshwaram and BasvanaGUDI.

  3. Kamalakar Says:

    The ‘Malgudi Times’ idea is good. I remember a friend who wrote a doctorate thesis on RKN used to have with him a map of Malgudi complete with Railway Station. Lawley Road, Kabir Street and all. If one could draw up a map of a place from a novel, that is some vividity in the portrayal of the place! As also consistency.
    But I am afraid you overrate him as a novelist. RKN was good, not great. He was a conservative writer, his humour was monotonous, and his literary techniques not sharp. I like some of short stories more than his novels. ‘Road Engine’ for example.
    Is it true that Malgudi was named after those two bangalore areas? What did he have to do with them, a Mysorean all along?

  4. Vani Says:

    Awesome post, Bellur. The detailing is superb.

    Superb tribute to one of my most favorite authors.

    Look forward to more such posts from you.

  5. Mridula Says:

    Simply loved the newspaper you designed. As much as I have loved the Malgudi Days. Swami is a hot favorite with my two teenaged nephews, it is one of the few books they have read again and again.

  6. Gangadhar Says:

    Wow RK..newspaper work’s really awesome!!
    And i love RK’s stories..

  7. rk Says:

    i loved ‘Malgudi Days’ made by Shankarnag. too good. 🙂

    anil anand,
    yes, this is what most people say. but the writer has said in a few interviews that MALGUDI was not named after the two localities in Bangalore. but it is nice to feel that way! 😉

    thanks for your comments. i have seen the malgudi map. very well done. you are free to feel that he was monotonous, conservative and overrated. but the beauty of RK Narayan was that he was just a storyteller whose stories worked on different levels. yes there was some surface simplicity, but there were enough subplots open to the reader’s imagination.
    to the question you have posed at the end, i have answered it in my comment to mr.anil anand. 🙂

    thank you for liking the post. i hope to put up more stories in the coming days on RKN.

    glad you liked the paper! hope your nephews read all RKN’s books.

    happy you found the paper ‘really awesome’!
    the reason most readers like him is because he told stories of simple folks trying to live their simple lives in a changing world. his characters were ordinary Indians trying to blend tradition with modernisation, resulting in often tragi-comic situations. readers love such situations. one could get a feel of real India, especially South India, through his writings. he wrote in English but his writings conveyed a unique flavour as if he were writing in the native tongue.

  8. Diya Says:

    Awesome post….A rich n true tribute to a literary genius…Keep the good work going 🙂

  9. Praveen Says:

    Yeah !!! nice imaginary New paper.
    BTW, I wanted to buy some books, hope with the paper cutting from your paper I can get 10% discount 😉

  10. rk Says:

    Thanks a lot. I need the best wishes from all of you!

    You can certainly get the 10% discount. Catch the train to Malgudi soon, reach the bookshop and place an order a month in advance. The shop is not Computerised and the paper work is slow in Malgudi, as you know. They get only limited copies of each title…..so book your copy immediately!

  11. travel plaza Says:

    Amazing write up RK. RK Narayan is one of my favorite authors. And the imaginary newspaper is awesome:)

  12. Vijay Says:

    RK.. very cool..and classy.. a great tribute to a great man. Still remember RKN going for walks in Yadavagiri, Mysore. Stern looking but full of life… probably observing every tiny thing around him. We used to visit his house ofter (his grandson was my cousin’s classmate)..never talked to us much but made sure we got enough to each 🙂

  13. Vijay Says:

    Sorry the last part should have been “enough to eat”…

  14. rk Says:

    thanks. nice to know RKN is your fav. author. 🙂

    i envy you coz you got to see him so closely. 👿
    he and his famous cartoonist brother, laxman, are great observers. and it reflects in their works, isn’t it?

  15. Vijay Says:

    Still remember R.K. Laxman drawing a caricature of mine (just on a whim) and giving it to me on one of his visits to Mysore (I was there on holidays).

    Stupid me.. I lost it..

  16. usha Says:

    Excellent work, Bellur

    Wish Government could create a small minature of malgudi for kids.. as his birth centenary gift.

    Also a park for Kuvempu on similar lines ..

    Legendary writers

  17. rk Says:

    You were both lucky (to have got a caricature done by the greatest cartoonist) 🙂 and unlucky (to have lost it)! 😦

    Thanks for the comments.
    I feel nothing can match the imaginary Malgudi modelled in the minds of the readers.
    Truly, RKN was an unmatched author and Kuvempu an unmatched poet.

  18. […] Thank you Vijay for this marvellous gift that you have given me in the Birth Centenary year of RK Narayan, the creator of Malgudi. […]

  19. astroshiva Says:

    Very imaginative…. very very creative.. Good work dude. Your news paper has refreshed the magical memories of malgudi. Good piece of work.

  20. rk Says:

    hi shiva,
    thanks for dropping by and commenting.
    feels nice to know that you liked the imaginary front page of “MALGUDI TIMES”.
    best wishes

  21. Ambika Says:

    this is a great picture…. Vijay u have a cartoon personally drawn and lost it???????????????? OMG how could that happen? I wish i had one…. anyway all the best in trying to search out that cartoon, am sure thats one in a million…..
    But very creative coverpage… keep those ideas flowing..

  22. ravisidula Says:

    The beauty of R.K. Narayan writings and characters were that one could relate self to his characters. The simplicity of the people and the endings left to the imagination of the readers does raise the spirits of the individuals. His books inspired me to write short stories


  23. deepak Says:

    fantastic creativity to make malgudi times.as a r k & malgudi fan simply admire this creativity

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