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Mar 3, 2011

Locale of RK Narayan

Just as Hardy immortalized his Wessex, Narayan has succeeded in giving a permanent place to his malgudi in Indian English Fiction. But the inhabitants of Malgudi have their recognizable locale trappings—are essentially human, nad hence, have their kinship with all humanity. In Swami and Friends, Malgudi is neither village nor city but a town of modest size. The River Sarayu flows by its side. One can get board the train for Madras at the Malgudi Station. Within the town there is the Market Road, which is described as “the life line of Malgudi” in Mr. Sampath. This road intersects the Race Course Road (we often pass through it in The Dark Room). There are various streets and lanes: Kabir Street and Kabir Lane, Anderson Lane, Sarayu Street.

In early thirties, malgudi has a municipality, a town hall, a club, and two schools—the Mission School and the Board high School. In 1930, Swami is a pupil of the Mission School and later in the Board School. Mission school is already Albert College from which the hero of Bachelor of Arts graduates and in which the hero of The English Teacher lectures on English Literature. In The Financial Expert, a trip to Madras becomes necessary to recover the last sheep—Marayya’s Son, Balu. Malgudi is again seen in The Guide, where there are ‘suspicious bamboo of jungles of Mempi’

After reading the locale of RK Narayna, it would be interesting to advance the theory that malgudi is the real ‘hero’ of the ten novel and short stories of narayan. All things pass and change, men and women try to live, names change fashions change but the old landmarks—sarayu river, hills-remains: “The one remains, the many change and pass.” In sum, Malgudi is Narayan’s Casterbridge. He can rightly be called the “father of regional Novel” in India.

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