A commemorative postage stamp on the Birth Anniversary of Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami, an Indian English writer, brother of renowned cartoonist R. K. Laxman :
Issued on Oct 10, 2009
Issued for : The Department of Posts is proud to issue a commemorative postage stamp on R. K. Narayan.
Stamp & FDC : Sankha Samant.
Special thanks to Shri R.K. Laxman for permitting the use of his sketches and paintings.
Cancellation : Alka Sharma
Type : Stamp, Mint Condition
Colour : Multi colour
Denomination : 500 Paise
Stamps Printed : 0.4 Million
Printing Process : Wet–offset
Printer : India Security Press, Nasik
Name : Rasipuram Krishnaswami Iyer Narayanaswami
Born on Oct 10, 1906 at Madras, British India
Died on May 13, 2001 at Chennai, India
- Rasipuram Krishnaswami Ayyar Narayanaswami shortened his name to R.K. Narayan at the behest of his close friend and admirer, Graham Greene. It was to become a name familiar to all readers of Indian works of fiction and non fiction written in English, a name that will stay in the vanguard of the trend which still continues unabated.
- R.K. Narayan is inseparable from Malgudi, the fictional small town he created with such a realistic touch that each of us finds its resonance in the villages, towns and suburbs around us. Narayan‘s writings are deceptively simple narratives with an undercurrent of gentle humour and compassion. He wove the characters and events out of the threads of his own experience of life.
- Born on 10th October 1906 in Madras (now Chennai), Kunjappa, as he was affectionately called, was brought up by his maternal grandmother, as his father, a school headmaster, moved place frequently. While formal education came through a succession of schools, he learnt arithmetic, mythology, Sanskrit and classical Indian music from his grandmother. It was the library at the Maharajah’s Collegiate High School, Mysore, which fed his latent interest in reading and he began writing too. A Bachelor’s degree in 1926 was followed by a brief stint at teaching. But he soon quit this, deciding to stay home and write. His initial attempts received neither recognition nor reward. His first novel Swami and Friends was ridiculed and rejected by family and publishers in 1930. But Malgudi was born and it remained to define the social sphere of the country at the time, with the colonial rule on its edges.
- He married Rajam in 1933 but this happy union was short-lived, her death in 1939 leaving him bereaved, along with a little daughter, Hemalatha. He continued his writing with the publication of SWAMI AND FRIENDS (1935), THE BACHELOR OF ARTS (1937), THE DARK ROOM (1938) and eleven more novels, including THE GUIDE (1958), collections of short stories, travelogues and mythology retold. Often his books were delightfully illustrated by his equally talented brother, R.K. Laxman.
- His stories were a blend of tradition and modernity, poignantly highlighting the tragi-comic situations of the daily life of ordinary people. Simple and unpretentious in style, the reader can be deceived by his books into seeing only the surface of the story. But the social comment and psychological authenticity gently but unrelentingly reaches him as he understands the nuances of R.K. Narayan‘s Malgudi and its occupants.
- His stories were made into films and TV serials in several Indian Languages, the most famous one being ‘The Guide‘ which was made in Hindi and English.
- R.K. Narayan received several awards and accolades for his work : the Sahitya Akademi Award for ‘The Guide’ (1960), the Padma Bhushan for distinguished service to Literature (1964), the AC Benson Medal of the Royal Society of Literature (1980) of which he was an honorary member, as also a member of the American Academy & Institute of Arts & Letters. He was nominated a Member of the Rajya Sabha in 1989. The Universities of Mysore, Delhi and Leeds conferred honorary doctorates on him. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan in 2000. R.K. Narayan died on 13th May 2001.
- Text : Based on material provided by the proponent.