Name: Sumra Jitendra V.
Class: M.A. [English]
Roll No. : 16
Paper No. : 104
Paper Name: “Indian Writing in English”
Assignment Topic: “Boomerang of Gandhian thoughts: Study Of national movements in Kanthapura.”
Dr. Dilip Barad
Department Of English
Literature is a medium of political and social awakening in a country and it is natural that suffering India’s struggle for freedom, literature played its own part. Most of the creative writing which influenced India’s national movements had taken into account the personality and achieve emends of Mahatma Gandhi who dominated the Indian political scene from 1916 till his death in 1948. The distinction of knthapura is that it depicts an early stage in Gandhi’s c career, when few people were able to recognize his greatness adequately. Kanthapura is, of course, not the first creative work which prefect’s gneiss life and ideals though it is perhaps one of the few which did so directly.
The novel depicts the freedom movements led by Mahatma Gandhi as the main theme, it also aims at social reform, It is so because the Gandhian movement did not aim at swaraja only, but also at social reform, in fact, mahatma Gandhi believed that swaraja itself could be attained after certain social reforms and social awakening.
The Freedom Movement:-
In Kanthapura, we have more than a glimpse of the freedom movement in India. Under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi. In cities as well as villages they are volunteer groups which organize the people, distribute charkha s and yarn and even form an ambulance cores to take care of those who are wounded in the firing and Lathi charges on Satyagrahis. Moorthy is a typical example of the thousands of young men who were fired with patriotic zeal by Gandhi’s inspiration and who, wonder his programmed left, schools, colleges and universities, or resigned from their jobs, and made a bonfire of their costly imported clothes.
Rangamma and Ratna represent the women’s side of the movements, while Ranga Gowda and rachanna show how even the people of the lower castes picked up0 courage, or curbed their natural instinct for retaliation and accepted he voluntary restraint of non-violence.
The ideals of patriotism and national integration are depicted one of the honor character, advocate Sankar. He is a khadi-clad advocate who has been named the walking advocate because of his simple ways. British government in India, its laws and ways are also depicted vividly in the novel. The white man who owns the skeffinton coffee estate is a symbol of the imperialist rulers of India who exploited Indians in varies ways. They employed paid agents like Bhatta and the swami to oppose the freedom movement.
There are references to the atrocities committed by the authorities in other parts of India e.g. the massacre at Jaliawalla bag in Amritsar. The British policy of divided and rule is also seen in operation, for the loyal swami is given a gift of land, so that there is no chance of his joining the patriotic movement.
People of the lower castes are not admitted inside temples but must have Darshana of the god from outside though the pariahs do not seem to mind this much; there is a movement that the doors of the temples should be thrown open to all classes. One of the followers of Gandhi in karma's has already done that.
The political movement of swaraja is closely linked with religious reforms and social uplift in Kanthapura. A well known critic is therefore quite justified in his comment;
Kanthapura is no political novel anymore than is Gandhi’s movement a more than is Gandhi’s movement a more political movement. It pictures vividly truthfully untouchability the story of the resurgence of India under Gandhi’ leadership; its religious character, its economic and social concerns, its political ideals precisely n the way Gandhi tried to spirituality polices, the capacity for sacrifice of people in response to the call of one like Gandhi not the spectacular sacrifice of the few chosen ones who later became India’s rulers, bur the officially unchrnicled, little nameless, unremembered acts of courage and sacrifice of peasants and farm hands, students and lawyers, women and old men, thanks to whom Gandhi’s unique experiment gathered momentum and grew into a national movement.’
The advent of Gandhi first civil disobedience movement:-
It was the arrival of Gandhi from South Africa which infused a new life and vitality into the Indian struggle for independence. He had already acquired considerable experience in the use of non-violence non-co-operation s a political weapon, but it was in India that he perfected his technique and used it with such success. In the beginning, be co-operated with the British, and in this way sought to secure for India an honorable place in the British Commonwealth. During the war years 1914-1918, he made a forceful plead for extending all possible help to war some measure of autonomy would be granted to the Indian people. His moderate approach incensed the extremists but he did not care for it. But when the war was over, the thankless British government did not fulfill the promises it had made to the Indian leaders. Instead there came the notorious Rowlett act 1919. The result was that the mahatma gave the clarion call for civil disobedience; there was an upsurge of Indian nationalism and patriotism such as had never been witnessed before public meetings were organized fill over the country and leaders like B. Tilak, Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, Gopal Krishna Gohkale, etc. Greely voiced the demand for Swaraja or independence. In the beginning it was a demand for home rule under the patronage of the British, but it soon grew into a demand for complete also increased till have was enacted the tragedy of the Jaliawalla Bag, April 13, 1919, which sent a wave of horror throughout the country.
Suspension of the movement:-
As the Gandhian movement continued, there were signs of increasing violence. It all culminated in the unprecedented shocked, regarded it as a personal failure, and sounded the movement. This withdrawal of the movement, when national enthusiasm was at its height offended a large number of staunch patriots, including Jawaharlal Nehru. There was a temporary decline in Gandhi’s popularity and the extremist’s within the party gained ground. The demand for complete independence, instead of dominion status within the British Empire, as voiced by Nehru in his presidential address in 1929. “We stand for the fullest freedom of India. This congress has not acknowledged, and will not acknowledge, the right of the British parliament to dictate to us in any way”
Gandhi’s Stress on Social Reform:-
In the meanwhile Gandhi continued to prepare the nation for the prolonged struggle which lay ahead before independence could be gained. He aimed at the total involvement of all sections of the Indian people and so launched a comprehensive programmed of economic, social and religious uplift and emancipation of the Indian people. His programmed of action was fourfold
1. Spinning of the charkha, weaving of one’s own cloth and boycott of foreign cloth and other good. Swadeshi and khaddar were necessary for swaraja.
2. Eradication of untouchability, and other social evils like the purdah system, so that women and his so-called lower castes may play their part in the freedom struggle.
3. Village uplift, eradication of poverty, illiteracy, caustics etc, and
4. Hindu-Muslim unity.
In the novel Moorthy places this very Gandhian programmed of action before the people of Kanthapura.
In short, Kanthapura is a great work of art presenting realistically, imperially and artistically the impact of the Gandhi movement on the masses of India. It is a great classic of the India’s freedom struggle; it gives us more essential truth about the Gandhian era than any official records of books of history.