Discuss Raja Rao’s novel Kanthapura as a novel written in the Gandhian spirit
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Discuss Raja Rao’s novel Kanthapura as a novel written in the Gandhian spirit

The novel of Raja Rao’s “Kanthapura” explores how Gandhi’s philosophy impacted Raja Rao, leading to the development of the character Moorthy. It also focuses on Moorthy’s attempts to encourage people to join the freedom movement while under the influence of Gandhi. Raja Rao believes that Gandhi represents the path, the truth, and the life. Gandhi’s philosophy serves the same purpose in the book Kanthapura for Moorthy, who considers it to be the path, the truth, and the meaning of his existence.

Mahatma Gandhi was the first Indian national figurehead to recognise that revolutionising people without using the resources of their religion was impossible. He was India’s and the world’s leader, not just for his fight for Indian independence, but also for his impeccable character. Gandhian philosophy and ideology impacted education, politics, economics, religion, social life, language, and literature. Gandhi’s influence on modern writing is both personal and diverse. Raja Rao is a writer from the Gandhian period, and his novel “Kanthapura” portrays the influence of Gandhi, who started the Freedom Movement in India in the 1920s in order to free the country from the British colonial rule. M.K. Naik is correct in his assessment that the book is primarily political in nature and does not reflect the author’s typical philosophical preoccupations, save in a broad sense. The author delves into Gandhi’s ideals of loving one’s adversaries, nonviolence, and the eradication of untouchability with zeal. Gandhian ideology had an influence on Mulk Raj Anand, R.K. Narayan, and K.A. Abbas. Gandhi’s philosophy had a big impact on Raja Rao. Rao stayed to Gandhi’s ashram at Sevagram for a few days. Raja Rao was linked to the secret programmes of young socialist activists during the Quit India Movement.

Raja Rao’s faith in Gandhi’s philosophy led him to see Mahatma Gandhi as a genuine saint. Rao portrays Mahatma Gandhi as a symbol of heavenly power in this book. Gandhi is portrayed as a reincarnation of Krishna who would provide relief to the Indian people. Gandhi will slay the serpent of foreign domination in the same way that Krishna slew the serpent Kalia. Gandhi, as a leader, advises the people of India to spin yarn because if they do, the money that would otherwise go to Britain would be kept in India to feed the hungry and clothe the naked. The author raises Gandhi’s campaign to mythic proportions. Rao makes a great comparison between Ram and Ravana, with Ram standing in for Mahatma Gandhi and Ravana standing in for the British government. Mother India, or independence, is likened to Sita, Gandhi is compared to Ram, and Jawaharlal Nehru is compared to his brother Bharta in this book. Gandhi’s exile is alluded to by the author. To free India, Gandhi leaves his house, travels the length and width of the country, and lives a life of exile. Rao claims that Gandhi, like Ram, would go to Britain and Lanka to secure our independence, Sita. It’s a battle between the gods and the devil.


Discuss Raja Rao’s novel Kanthapura as a novel written in the Gandhian spirit


Seetharamu’s ready acceptance of the torture by the British government increases Moorthy’s faith in Gandhi’s nonviolence worldview. The phrase non-violence refers to the removal of ill-will from one’s heart, since it is the source of hostility and violence. When Ranga Gowda wishes to teach Puttayya a lesson for stealing all the canal water for his crops, Moorthy teaches the Gandhian ideal of nonviolence and love for the enemy to him. When Ranga Gowda wants to settle a score with Bade Khan, the British-appointed policeman in Kanthapura who oversees the political activities of the freedom fighters, Moorthy warns him against resorting to violence.

Gandhi’s nonviolence credo serves as an incredible model for the whole globe. Jayaramachar goes on to add that because truth is God, the people should tell the truth. It has the same tone as the Bhagavad Gita, which emphasises honesty as an important aspect of human conduct.

Rao was inspired by Gandhi’s philosophy, which is one of the most difficult philosophies of the twentieth century, during his early years. Gandhi, according to Jawaharlal Nehru, is “like a strong stream of fresh air… like a beam of light that penetrated the darkness and removed the scales from our eyes; like a whirlwind that disturbed many things, most notably the workings of people’s brains.” Gandhi offered the people of India the tremendous weapon of nonviolence, which was later reinforced by the non-cooperation and civil disobedience campaigns of the 1930s. Gandhi’s movement aspired not just for political independence, but also for economic liberty and spiritual renewal. Gandhi wished for everyone, rich and poor, to live a dignified existence free of all forms of exploitation.

Rao’s belief in Gandhi’s philosophy led him to see Gandhi as a real God. Mahatma Gandhi is portrayed at Kanthapura as a symbol of heavenly force as well as tremendous reality. The novel’s subject, “Gandhi and Our Village,” has a mythological meaning in that the past and present are intertwined. The locals’ long-held belief that gods stroll through the streets of Kanthapura during the month of Kartik shows that myth and reality coexist. The gods walk through the potters’ and weavers’ streets, and lights are turned on to view them. This allusion confirms the peasants’ unwavering belief in gods, a belief shared by the author and his characters. Rao emphasises the importance of religion in the fight for freedom. As a result, religion and politics are intertwined throughout the book. A religious metaphor is used to illustrate the value of freedom. The political participation of Kanthapura residents is fueled by their religious beliefs. Rao deftly navigates traditional mythology while also incorporating modern realities. The frequent use of myth adds additional dimensions to the fight for liberty. Thus, Raja Rao’s first book, “Kanthapura,” depicts Gandhi’s nonviolent philosophy and the eradication of untouchability. The emphasis placed on caste, the mythological portrayal of Gandhi and mother India, and the spiritualization of the liberation struggle within the confines of Indian cultural tradition all point to Gandhian ideology having a huge influence in “Kanthapura.”

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