Sneha Sikand of Saffronart on the Indian National Archives’ latest acquisition
New Delhi: Eight years after celebrated novelist Mulk Raj Anand’s demise, the National Archives has been able to acquire a collection of his belongings – 88 sealed boxes that contain documents spanning articles and jottings by Anand on the political shape of India, particularly his papers on the Asian-African Conference of 1955. Other items include his personal letters, notes, books and other jottings.
As part of the archival process, the boxes need to be air-cleaned, fumigated, and finally get classified. The idea is to have an entire room dedicated to the writer. The Mulk Raj Anand Room will be a space for all the invaluable material which could serve as a well documented history of the world during his time.
Known widely for his novels Untouchable, The Village, and Coolie among others, he was one of the first Indian novelists to write in English. Despite some amount of resistance from Anand’s family members, his trust was finally handed over to the archives. Known as the “founding father” of the Indo-English novel, social awareness was the core of most of his writings. Despite his serious writings, one gets a very good picture of his humorous and self-mocking side while reading his Self Obituary written in 1999, five years before his death.