India is celebrating 70th year of Independence. Although India is much older, but in this post independence era, the new India has been going forward leaps and bounds on the shoulders of giants who have managed to inspire every Indian through the generations. To celebrate India’s 70th Independence Day, every day, we will bring you seven such people from a different sector. Today, Young @ 70: Seven artists and authors who inspired India
Arundhati Roy is a famous Indian novelist and social activist. Born in 1961, Roy started her creative career from a small role of tribal girl in the film "Massey Saab" by film director Pradeep Krishen. Arundhati’s claim to fame was screenplay for Shekhar Kapur's controversial film 'Bandit Queen'. The controversy escalated into a court case, after which Arundhati Roy retired to private life to concentrate on her writing, which eventually resulted in "The God of Small Things". She won the Booker Prize for "The God of Small Things", after which Arundhati Roy concentrated her writings on political issues. She has written on varied topics such as Narmada Dam project, India's nuclear weapons and American power giant Enron's activities in India. Arundhati Roy strongly associated with anti-globalization movement and is a staunch critic of neo-imperialism.
Aurobindo Ghose was a freedom fighter, poet, scholar, yogi and philosopher. Born in 1872 in Calcutta, Ghose played a leading role in India’s freedom struggle from 1908. Sri Aurobindo Ghosh was one of the pioneers of political awakening in India. He edited the English daily Bande Mataram and wrote fearless and pointed editorials. He openly advocated the boycott of British goods, British courts and everything British. He asked the people to prepare themselves for passive resistance.
Amit Chaudhuri is one of the most influential critics of his generation. Chaudhuri is the author of six highly acclaimed novels, including Odysseus Abroad. His first major work of non-fiction, Calcutta: Two Years in the City, was published in the UK and India in 2013. His second book of essays, Telling Tales, was published in the UK in August 2013. The critic James Wood cited him as one of his three favourite younger living writers in the New York Times, along with Alan Hollinghurst and Ben Marcus. Among the prizes he has won for his fiction are the Commonwealth Literature Prize, the Betty Trask award, the Encore Prize, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and the Indian government’s Sahitya Akademi Award. In 2012, he was awarded the West Bengal government’s Rabindra Puraskar for his book On Tagore.
RK Narayan is one of the most famous and widely read Indian novelists. His stories were grounded in a compassionate humanism and celebrated the humour and energy of ordinary life. RK Narayan began his writing career with Swami and Friends in 1935. Most of his work including Swami and friends is set in the fictional town of Malgudi which captures everything Indian while having a unique identity of its own. R.K. Narayan's writing style was marked by simplicity and subtle humour. He told stories of ordinary people trying to live their simple lives in a changing world. He won numerous awards and honors for his works, including Sahitya Akademi Award for The Guide in 1958; Padma Bhushan in 1964; and AC Benson Medal by the Royal Society of Literature in 1980. Narayan was elected an honorary member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1982. He was nominated to the Rajya Sabha in 1989. Besides, he was also conferred honorary doctorates by the University of Mysore, Delhi University and the University of Leeds.
Bhupen Khakhar is remembered as an iconoclast and a maverick, a man who never did what was expected. He was open about his views on everything from social sectarianism to his own homosexuality, all of which are reflected in his works. Born in 1934, Khakhar began his career in art fairly late in life, at the age of 38. Khakhar received international acclaim as an artist much before he got recognition in India, when British artist Howard Hodgkin helped him organize a solo exhibition in the late 1970s. Among his inspirations, the painter counts British artist David Hockney. Khakhar also worked with his contemporaries in Baroda like Gulammohammed Sheikh, to evolve a visual language that combined traditional Indian art elements with contemporary themes.
Raman Siva Kumar
Raman Siva Kumar, a genius from Kerala, shortly called R Siva Kumar is a contemporary Indian art historian, art critic, and curator known worldwide. He is widely regarded as “one of the best" art historians. He researches on early Indian modernism with prime focus on Tagore’s Santiniketan School. Regarding the subject – modern art, he has conducted several lectures and has published several books. He received Kesari puraskaram for art writing by the Lalit Kala Akademi, Kerala in 2010. He spent his entire working life researching the Bengal School of Art, especially the Santiniketan crop of painters. In 2013 he was awarded by the Paschimbanga Bangla Akademi for his book Ram Kinkar Baij - A Retrospective. He was honoured by University of Dhaka for his contribution to the Indian art.
Rabindranath Tagore is one of the greatest artists and authors ever produced by India. Tagore is the first Asian to win Nobel Prize, in 1913. He was a poet, philosopher, musician, writer and educationist. He was popularly called ‘Gurudev’ and his songs were popularly known as Rabindrasangeet. Two songs from his Rabindrasangit canon are now the national anthems of India and Bangladesh: the Jana Gana Mana and the Amar Shonar Bangla. Tagore was also awarded knighthood by the British King George V, which he returned after the Jalianwallan Bagh incident.