WRITING 101

  1. When Munshi Premchand was 7 years old, he began his education at a madarsa in Lalpur (Varanasi district) where he learnt Urdu and Persian from a maulvi. His first major influence was the Persian-language fantasy epic Tilism-e-Hoshruba. Premchand’s first short novel was Asrar e Ma’abid (The Secrets of God’s Abode), explores corruption among the temple priests and their sexual exploitation of poor women.
  2. Rabindranath Tagore opposed the Swadeshi movement and urged the masses to avoid victimology and instead seek self-help and education. For him the presence of British administration was a “political symptom of our social disease”. He maintained that, even for those at the extremes of poverty, “there can be no question of blind revolution” and insisted on a “steady and purposeful education.”
  3. RK Narayan met his future wife Rajam in 1933. At that time she was a 15 year old girl and he fell deeply in love with her. They managed to get married despite many astrological and financial hurdles. Unfortunately Rajam died of typhoid in 1939 and left a three year old daughter for Narayan to take care of. Her death caused a great shock in his life and he never remarried. Narayan died in 2001 at the age of 94.
  4. Ruskin Bond: Bollywood director Vishal Bhardwaj made a film based on Ruskin Bond’s popular novel for children, The Blue Umbrella. The movie won the National Award for Best Children’s film. Ruskin Bond made his maiden big screen appearance with a cameo in Vishal Bhardwaj’s film ‘7 Khoon Maaf’, based on his short story ‘Susanna’s Seven Husbands’. In the movie Bond appears as a Bishop with Priyanka Chopra playing the title role.
  5. Khuswant Singh’s father Sobha Singh, also known as adhi dilli da malik, was the sole contractor who built South Block, Indian gate, Connaught place and many other buildings in Lutyen’s Delhi. During his lifetime, Khushwant was keen on burial because he believed that with a burial you give back to the earth what you have taken. He had requested the management of the Bahá’í Faith if he could be buried in their cemetery. After initial agreement, they had proposed some conditions which were unacceptable to Singh, and hence the idea was later abandoned.
  6. An aunt of Mulkraj Anand was excommunicated by the family for sharing a meal with a Muslim woman. She committed suicide and that instigated Mulkraj Anand to write his first prose essay.

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