(Last Updated on : 15/07/2011)
Kanthapura is the story of a village in South India named 'Kanthapura' written by Raja Rao. He was an excellent writer and the simple story of a village life is depicted in an extra-ordinary way in this creation of his. The title of the story is kept by the name of the village only. So the title truly signifies the story.
Born on November 8 in the year of 1908 Raja Rao was a famous writer. The place was Hassan, in the state of Mysore in south India, into a well-known Brahman family. He post-graduated in France, and all his publications were in English. Rao was very much concerned with his language and consciousness. He studied in a Muslim school. After taking a degree from Madras University, he left India for Europe, where he remained for a decade. He studied at the universities of Montpellier and the Sorbonne, doing research in Christian theology and history. In 1931 he married Camille Mouly. She was a French academic. His first stories were published in French and English. His Kannada articles were also published in an influential journal 'Jaya Karnataka'. He marriage with Camille Mouly didn't work out and he got divorced in 1939. Rao returned to India and began his first period of residence in an ashram. In search of his spiritual heritage, he traveled widely in India. This happened during WW II. In 1942 he was active in an underground movement against colonial rule. He also edited the literary magazine 'Tomorrow' for some days.
'Kanthapura' is the first major Indian novel in English by Raja Rao. The novel deals with the Civil disobedience movement of 1030's. Mahatma Gandhi on the participation of a small village of South India in the National struggle calls for the story's central concern. The villagers sacrifice all their material possessions in a triumph of the spirit. It shows how the people of country united at the time of movement and joined at the non-violence movement to bring independence from the British. 'Kanthapura' was first published in English and then in France. Achakka narrates the whole story. She is an old village woman and the story revolves around in a village Kanthapura in South India. In this village there are clear discrimination between Brahman, Sudra and Pariah quarters still the mutual bonding between the villagers are very strong and they live happily with equal social and economical bonding. To maintain social harmony they live like one single family. Kanthapura may be isolated and deprived of modern civilization but it is compensated by an ever-enriching cycle of ceremonies, rituals and festivals. Rao depicts beautifully the partication of the villagers in different festivals like Dussera,
Sankara-jayanti, Kartik Purnima, Ganesh Jayanti, Styanarayana Puja, etc. the common picture of village has always come up in many of Rao's story and that can be called as Raja Rao's speciality.
'Kanthapura' by Raja Rao is a marvelous creation. He depicts very simple happenings of a village in a lively manner. In his writing a clear picture of villagers become prominent. In his village religion imparted through discourses and pujas keeps alive in the natives a sense of presence of God. In the whole story a serenity flows in a simple harmonic motion which makes the story worth reading.