Mulk Raj Anand Wiki, Age, Death, Wife, Family, Biography & More

Mulk Raj Anand

Mulk Raj Anand (1905-2004) was a prominent Indian writer, recognized for his detailed representation of the lower castes of traditional Indian society in his works. Mulk Raj Anand’s work is based on themes like feudal system, poverty, hunger, religious hypocrisy, and exploitation. Some of his prominent works include Untouchable (1935), Coolie (1936), Across The Black Waters (1939), followed by other works such as the short story collection- The Lost Child and Other Stories (1934), The Tractor and the Corn Goddess and Other Stories (1947) and many more. Mulk Raj Anand volunteered in the Spanish Civil War with a role of journalist. In September 2004, he died due to pneumonia at the age of 98.


Mulk Raj Anand was born on Tuesday, 12 December 1905 (age 98 years; at the time of death) in Peshawar, British India (now in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). His zodiac sign is saggittarius. He graduated in 1924 from Khalsa College, Amritsar. Later, he moved to England for further studies, where he gained his undergraduate degree from the University College, London. He graduated with a PhD degree in Philosophy from Cambridge University in 1929. Mulk Raj Anand’s literary career began because of a family tragedy where his aunt was abandoned by the family just for sharing her food with a Muslim woman due to which she committed suicide. This incident deeply affected Mulk Raj Anand, and he came to know about the dark side of caste system in India. In response to it, Mulk Raj Anand wrote his first prose essay. In 1933, he returned to India and also lived in Sabarmati Ashram with Mahatma Gandhi and wrote his first draft of his first novel, Untouchable.

Mulk Raj Anand in his youth

Mulk Raj Anand in his youth

Family & Caste

Mulk Raj Anand belonged to a Hindu Khatri family of Peshawar, British India.

Parents & Siblings

Mulk Raj Anand’s father, Lal Chand was a coppersmith who later joined the British Indian Army. His mother Ishwar Kaur was a farmer who belonged to a peasant family. They had five sons of whom four survived, Mulk Raj Anand was the third son. [1]TUCL

Wife & Children

In 1938, Mulk Raj Anand got married to an English actress and communist Kathleen Van Gelder and had a daughter, Susheela. In 1948, both parted ways after 10 years of being together. Shirin Vajifdar was his second wife who was an Indian classical dancer and a critic. They tied the knots in 1950.

Mulk Raj Anand's second wife- Shirin Vajifdar

Mulk Raj Anand’s second wife- Shirin Vajifdar

Religion/Religious Views

Although, Mulk Raj Anand belonged to a Hindu family, but his writings portray a beautiful presentation of his religious views. In the novel, Untouchable, Mulk Raj Anand has preached the religion of humanity based on Gandhi ji’s views over any other religion. [2]eGyanKosh

so that the kind of humanism, on which I believe the kind of world I hope for… is yet integral to the Indian tradition in which I grew up”


Mulk Raj Anand's Autographed Letter


Mulk Raj Anand was a prolific writer . Besides novels and short stories, he had also written a number of books on art and paintings. He started the wave of social protest and realism in Indian English fiction through his works. His novel Death of a Hero was adapted into a television show, Maqbool Ki Vaapsi on DD Kashir.


Untouchable 1935

Untouchable, Mulk Raj Anand’s first significant book, was published in 1935. The plot of the book follows a person from the lowest social caste in India. Untouchable is a strong work that exposes the dehumanizing differences and institutionalized oppressions present in India’s segmented society, despite its seeming simplicity. The protagonist of the book is a sweeper who belongs to a lower caste of untouchables, and because of the belief system of upper caste, he is treared as an outcast by the society. Anand has criticized the restrictions which limit untouchables’ existence through this novel.

Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand

Coolie 1936

It is the second book written by Mulk Raj Anand. He criticized the Indian Caste System through this novel. This novel talks about the orphan boy Munoo who faces the poverty and exploitation in his life. In his novel, Mulk Raj Anand portrayed the affects of class hierarchy that British colonialism had imposed in Indian society.

Coolie by Mulk Raj Anand

Across The Black Waters 1939

Anand wrote a triology consist of three novels, The Village (1939), Across the Black Waters (1940), and The Sword and the Sickle (1942). Across the Black Waters recounts Lalu’s experience serving as a sepoy in the Indian Army through World War I as he fought for Britain against the Germans in France. He is presented by the author as a peasant who was forcibly removed from his family’s farm, and who was unaware of the actual causes of the war.

Across the Black Waters by Mulk Raj Anand

Other Novels

Some of other noteworthy novels by Mulk Raj Anand are Two Leaves and a Bud (1937), The Village (1939), Lament on the Death of a Master of Arts (1939), The Sword and the Sickle (1942), The Big Heart (1945), Seven Summers: the Story of an Indian Childhood (1951), The Private Life of an Indian Prince (1953), and The Old Woman and the Cow (1960).

Short-Story Collections

Old Bapu (The Power of Darkness and Other Stories collection)

Mulk Raj Anand used themes like mortality, struggle, and hope in Old Bapu, taken from his The Power of Darkness and Other Stories collection. The story is narrated by an unnamed narrator in third person perspective.

The Power of Darkness and Other Stories collection by Mulk Raj Anand

The Silver Bangles (Lajwanti and Other Stories collection)

This story is a part of Lajwanti and Other Stories collection written by Mulk Raj Anand. The themes that he used in it are patriarchy, hatred, and rage. Again, the narrator of this story is unknown and is written through a third person’s perspective.

Lajwanti and Other Stories collection by Mulk Raj Anand

Other Short story collections by Raja Rao

Mulk Raj Anand is also known for the short stories The Lost Child and Other Stories (1934), The Barber’s Trade Union and Other Stories (1944), The Tractor and the Corn Goddess and Other Stories (1947), Reflections on the Golden Bed and Other Stories (1953), and Between Tears and Laughter (1973).

Books on Art and Paintings

Album of Indian Paintings (1973), Madhubani Painting (1984), The Hindu View of Art (1933) are some of the books written by Mulk Raj Anand on art, painting, and literature.

Mulk Raj Anand's Album of Indian Paintings

Mulk Raj Anand's Madhubani Art

Mulk Raj Anand's The Hindu View of Art

Awards and Honours

  • Sahitya Akademi Award (1971) for Morning Face (1968)
  • Padma Bhushan (1968)
  • International Peace Prize (1953)


Mulk Raj Anand was suffering through pnemonia and died at Jehangir Hospital in Pune on 28 September 2004 at the age 98.


  • M. K. Naik, a scholar of Indian literature in English, once compared Mulk Raj Anand to an “august and many-branched” banyan tree.
  • Mulk Raj Anand was an active member of the Indian National Congress.
  • He was also a member of the British Labor Party.
  • During World War ll, Mulk Raj Anand was a scriptwriter in the BBC London film division. He also worked as a broadcaster in the same film division.
  • He was friends with Picasso and had a collection of his pairings and other art works.
  • During World War II he worked as a scriptwriter for the BBC in London, where he met George Orwell and built a close bond of friendship. Orwell reviewed Anand’s novel The Sword and the Sickle.
  • He was a founding member of Progressive Writers’ Associaltaion.
  • Mulk Raj Anand was once mocked and criticised for writing a novel (Untouchable 1935) about a lower-caste by an English critic Edward Sackville-West, a novelist and a music critic who in the 1920s and 1930s, wrote a series of semi-autobiographical novels.

    He said superciliously, ‘Oh! There can be no novel about the poor! One can only laugh at the Cockneys like Dickens’. This unnerved me and made me feel hopeless about my confessional,” said Mulk Raj Anand. [3]The Print


Add Comment

Don`t copy text!