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Mulk Raj Anand

  • Given name:
  • Middle name:
  • Last name:
  • Date of Birth:
  • Place of Birth:
    Peshāwar (PK)
  • Date of Death:
  • Place of Death:
    Pune (IN)
  • Profession:
    Art PatronCultural CriticPhilosopherWriter
  • Introduction:

    As a global socialist and modernist, Mulk Raj Anand sought and shaped opportunities for intellectual exchanges between Asia and Europe.

    Word Count: 20

  • Signature Image:
    Mulk Raj Anand by Howard Coster, half-plate film negative, 1930s (© National Portrait Gallery, London).
  • Content:

    Driven by the idea of a global modernism in culture and society, the life of Indian intellectual Mulk Raj Anand was deeply shaped by reciprocal exchanges between Asia and Europe. One of the enduring achievements of the philosopher and writer is Marg, a magazine of the arts, which Anand founded with local and exiled creatives in Bombay in 1946.
    Anand had already met some of the contributors to Marg, for example the Ceylonese art historian Anil (Marcia) De Silva and the socialist writer George Orwell, in his London days. Educated in Amritsar and Lahore, Anand moved to the British capital in 1925 shortly after being arrested for anti-British agitation. He studied philosophy at University College London, completing a doctoral thesis on Bertrand Russell in 1929.
    London and its intellectual scene provided a fitting environment to deepen his political and humanitarian commitments. Living in precarious conditions, part-time jobs for Bloomsbury Group connections including Virginia Woolf and the literary magazine CRITERION, provided him with a small income. Nevertheless, his network extended far beyond the local literary scene: from cultural practitioners like Sigmund Freud to the Spanish civil rights movement. These acquaintances were characterised by shared attitudes towards aesthetic reforms and a commitment to global socialism.
    In the colonial metropole Anand increasingly distanced himself from oppressive power structures and societal norms. Early novels such as Untouchable (1935), Coolie (1936) and The Big Heart (1945) portrayed the lives of India’s lower social strata to denounce class and caste discrimination in Indian society. Anand also experienced everyday racism, which further reinforced his anti-fascist and anti-colonial stance. Emerging as a key voice of Anglo-Indian literature and co-founder of the Indian Progressive Writers’ Association, he was committed to an independent, secular and modern India.
    Transnational contexts also determined Anand’s life after his return to Bombay in 1945. Not untypical of the city's left-wing milieu, he lived in a shared a flat –  in his case with the sisters Anil und Minnette De Silva.  It was there at 25 Cuffe Parade, that the art and architecture magazine Marg was conceived. Assuming the mantle of Marg’s editorship from 1946 to 1981, Anand and the interdisciplinary founding team shaped the Indian discourse on art and architecture. The diversity of the thematic and regional focus of the magazine is reflected in the diverse founding members. These included local architects such as M. J. P. Mistri or the poet Bishnu Dey, but also German exiles such as the  chief architect of Mysore State Otto Koenigsberger, the art historian Hermann Goetz and the art critic Rudi von Leyden.
    With von Leyden Anand shared a multifaceted, mutually formative relationship. Both were instrumental in establishing the Progressive Artists' Group in Bombay. Anand may have identified with the young group of artists because of their desire for aesthetic reform and their urge for an artistic expression of the newfound freedom from colonial rule. Mulk Raj Anand's at-home-soirees or Souza’s farewell party at von Leyden’s home, which was also attended by exiles Walter and Käthe Langhammer and Emanuel Schlesinger, bear witness to Bombay's cosmopolitan, cultural elite. According to art historian and painter Rathan Parimoo, Leyden also formed an important reference figure for Anand's practice as an art critic, which was reflected in his equal analysis of form and style. How much Anand relied on Leyden's understanding of art was demonstrated not least by his appointment of Leyden as a jury member at India’s First Triennale of Contemporary World Art in 1968.
    As a confidant of the first prime minister of independent India Jawaharlal Nehru, Anand propagated secular state interventionism in the cultural sector. Anand − himself closely aligned to the Communist Party of India − saw the arts as powerful liberating tools and societal correctives. Architecture was for him the “mother art” (Marg, vol 1, no. 1, 1946, p. 6), seismographically anticipating the making of a modern India based on humanism.
    Although Anand can be criticised for his utopianism and orientation towards European modernity, he remained committed to his progressive social agenda. This manifested itself not only in his advocacy of international solidarity, but also in his attitude of equality towards women or people from lower castes. Although increasingly threatened, to this day, Anand's belief in socialist egalitarianism beyond nations’ borders continues to resonate in India's cultural history, and in the freshly printed pages of Marg magazine.

    Word Count: 709

  • Media:
    Paperback cover of Untouchable by Mulk Raj Anand Preface by E.M., 34pp., Forster, Bombay: Kutub-Popular, around 1953 (© Kutub-Popular).
    Mulk Raj Anand in his late years at Taraporevala Mansion. 25 Cuffe Parade. Photograph: Dolly Sahiar (reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India/ Taken from Garimella 2005, 9).
  • Bibliography (selected):

    Bluemel, Kristin. “Introduction in the Space between Modernisms George Orwell and the Radical Eccentrics.” George Orwell and the Radical Eccentrics: Intermodernism in Literary London, by Kristin Bluemel, Palgrave Macmillan US, 2004, pp. 1–25.

    Dalvi, Mustansir. “Mulk and Modern Indian Architecture.” Mulk Raj Anand: Shaping the Indian Modern, edited by Annapurna Garimella, Marg Publications, 2005, pp. 56–65.

    Deboo, Khorshed. “Revisiting the Past, Reimagining a Future. How an Art Magazine Found a Place in Indiaʼs Nation-Building Narratives.” Himal Southasian, 16 February 2021, Accessed 20 March 2021.

    Hoskote, Ranjit. “The Last of Indian English Fictionʼs Grand Troika.” The Hindu. Online Edition of Indiaʼs National Newspaper, 28 September 2004, Accessed 20 March 2021.

    Kapur, Geeta. “Partisan Modernity.” Mulk Raj Anand: Shaping the Indian Modern, edited by Annapurna Garimella, Marg Publications, 2005, pp. 56–65.

    Lee, Rachel, and Kathleen James-Chakraborty. “Marg Magazine: A Tryst with Architectural Modernity.” ABE Journal, no. 1, May 2012., doi: 10.4000/abe.623. Accessed 20 March 2021.

    Loomba, Ania. Revolutionary Desires: Women, Communism, and Feminism in India. Routledge, 2019.

    Morse, Daniel Ryan. “An ‘Impatient Modernist’: Mulk Raj Anand at the BBC.” Modernist Cultures, vol. 10, no. 1, March 2015, pp. 83–98.

    Nasta, Susheila. “Between Bloomsbury and Gandhi? The Background to the Publication and Reception of Mulk Raj Anandʼs Untouchable.” Books Without Borders, Volume 2: Perspectives from South Asia, edited by Robert Fraser and Mary Hammond, Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2008, pp. 151–69. Springer Link, doi: 10.1057/9780230289130_11. Accessed 20 March 2021.

    Parimoo, Rathan. “Remembering Mulk Raj Anand.” Mulk Raj Anand: Shaping the Indian Modern, edited by Annapurna Garimella, Marg Publications, 2005, pp. 42–49.

    Saha, Amit Shankar. “Perspective: Exile Literature and the Diasporic Indian Writer.” Rupkatha Journal on Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities, vol. 1, no. 2, Autumn 2009, Accessed 20 March 2021.

    Sales-Pontes, Alzira Hilda. Dr. Mulk Raj Anand – A Critical Bibliography (Doctoral thesis, Loughborough University Of Technology, 1985), Accessed 20 March 2021.

    Satchidanandan, Koyamparambath. “Mulk Raj Anand: A Creator with Social Concern.” Frontline, vol. 21, no. 21, October 2004, pp. 9–22.

    Verma, K.D. “Mulk Raj Anand: A Reappraisal.” Idem. The Indian Imagination: Critical Essays on Indian Writing in English, Palgrave Macmillan US, 2000, pp. 83–103. Springer, doi: 10.1007/978-1-349-61823-1_5. Accessed 20 March 2021.

    Viswanathan, Rashmi. “Mulk Raj Anand.” 20 February 2019, Post. Notes on Art in a Global Context, Accessed 20 March 2021.

    Word Count: 359

  • Archives and Sources:

    Marg, Marg Publications,

    Word Count: 6

  • Acknowledgements:

    We would like to thank Marg (Anjana Premchand, Mrinalini Vasudevan) for their support of our research.

    Word Count: 16

  • Author:
    Rachel Lee; Mareike Schwarz
  • Known addresses in Metromod cities:

    8 St George's Mews Regent's Park Road, Primrose Hill, London, NW1 8XE (residence); 25 Cuffe Parade, Bombay (now Captain Prakash Pethe Marg), Colaba, Mumbai (residence and office).

  • Metropolis:
  • Rachel Lee; Mareike Schwarz. "Mulk Raj Anand." METROMOD Archive, 2021,, last modified: 15-09-2021.
  • Rudolf von Leyden
    GeologistAdvertisement SpecialistJournalistArt CriticArt CollectorCartoonist

    The advertisement expert, Rudolf von Leyden, became a major art critic and art historian in Bombay in the 1940s, advocating an urgent need for modernism in art in post-colonial India.

    Word Count: 30

    Rudolf and Nena von Leyden’s farewell party for Francis Newton. Showing all members of the Progressive Artists’ Group. Front from left: PAG = M.F. Husain, S.K. Bakre, H.A. Gade, K.H. Ara, F.N. Souza, S.H. Raza with writer Mulk Raj Anand (1st right front). Back: Käthe Langhammer (with lace collar dress), Rudolf von Leyden with his wife Nena (centre), Walter Langhammer (2nd right), Ebrahim Alkazi (theatre pioneer, 1st right back), Bombay 1949. (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).
    Letterhead of The Hand. Commercial Art Studio Rudolf von Leyden, 1934 (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).Advertisement for Agfa by Rudolf von Leyden (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).Bombay Art Society Committees 1952/53, reprinted in Bombay Art Society 62th Annual Exhibition 1952–53 (at Jehangir Art Gallery), Bombay 1952, n.p. (Photo: Margit Franz 2021).Two modernists meet: Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru (left) and Rudolf von Leyden (right), 1950s. (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).The article by Rudolf and Nena von Leyden “Ganjifa, the Playing Cards of India” (Marg, vol. 3, no. 4, 1949, p. 36; reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).Indian President Zakir Husain (left), President of India, opened the first Triennial for contemporary art on 10 February 1968 in the Lalit Kala Gallery in New Delhi. In the picture on the left with jury member Rudolf von Leyden (right). (© Private Archive James von Leyden, Lewes; All Rights Reserved).
    Emanuel Schlesinger
    Factory OwnerTechnical DirectorArt CollectorArt Critic

    The art collector Schlesinger provided primarily financial aid by creating working opportunities for young artists in post-independence Bombay, and initiated the corporate culture of buying art.

    Word Count: 26

    Opening of the Raza exhibition, first row from left: Unknown, S.H. Raza, Käthe Langhammer, Rudolf von Leyden, second row from left: Walter Langhammer, K.H. Ara, Emanuel Schlesinger, 1948 (Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz, authorized by the late S.H. Raza © Raza archive; All Rights Reserved).
    Letter from Emanuel Schlesinger (Bombay) to S. H. Raza (Paris), September 1956, on official INDON letterhead paper (Reprinted from: Vajpeyi 2013, 96; Image courtesy: The Raza Foundation).Emanuel Schlesinger (far left, seated in the first row) at the opening of the Chemould Gallery at Jehangir Art Gallery Main Hall, September 1963 (Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz © Gandhy Archive, Mumbai; All Rights Reserved).Early Raza painting Street Scene in Bombay from Schlesinger Collection as a calendar print (Photo: Margit Franz 2010; All Rights Reserved).
    Homi Jehangir Bhabha

    Homi Jehangir Bhabha was a world class scientist, institution builder, an artist and art connoisseur. His vision for growth of science and art has had significant impact in post-colonial India.

    Word Count: 30

    Homi Bhabha in front of one of his paintings, Photo: Lettice Ramsey, n.d. (Courtesy of Stephen Burch, All Right Reserved).
    Homi Bhabha, working on his painting inspired by the Countess’ Aria Dovo Sono i belli moment' from Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro, Photo: Lettice Ramsey, n.d. (Courtesy of Stephen Burch, All Right Reserved).
    Minnette De Silva

    Probably the first Sri Lankan woman architect and a founding member of Marg, Minnette De Silva mediated between tradition and modernity while defying the boundaries of gender, caste and disciplines.

    Word Count: 30

    Portrait of Minnette De Silva, around 1945 (© De Silva 1998, 112).
    44.2 Cover of Volume I of Minnette De Silva’s autobiography, 1998 (© De Silva 1998, x).Minnette De Silva within a self-designed interior in Ceylon woods, St. George’s, around 1952 (© De Silva 1998, 114).Pablo Picasso (left), Minnette De Silva, Jo Davidson and Mulk Raj Anand at the World Congress of Intellectuals in Defense of Peace, 1948 (PAP, Public Domain, via Wikipedia Commons).Piries House, Alfred House Gardens, Colomba, 1952−1956 (© De Silva 1998, 182).
    Ernst N. Schaeffer
    JournalistPhotojournalistTour GuideEditorRadio ModeratorNewspaper Correspondent

    In exile Ernst Schaeffer diversified his journalistic practice and developed an understanding of Bombay through walking the city streets, taking on street-level-photography and photojournalism.

    Word Count: 24

    Portrait of Ernest N. Shaffer, around 1965. (© Shaffer 1971; Photo: Margit Franz 2021).
    Photo Studio Ernst Schaeffer's logo and address (© Antiquariat Gerhard Gruber (Heilbronn); All rights reserved).Portrait of Maharaja Raol Sir Shri Krishna Kumarsinhji Bhavsinhji KCSI (1912–1965), the last ruling Maharaja of Bhavnagar State by Ernst Schaeffer, around 1935 (© Antiquariat Gerhard Gruber (Heilbronn); All rights reserved).Ernst Schaeffer’s photographic documentation of the renovation and expansion of Nilambagh Palace in Bhavnagar, mid 1930s (© Antiquariat Gerhard Gruber (Heilbronn); All rights reserved).Ernst Schaeffer, Juhu (Pictorial Bombay, p. 54; Photo: Margit Franz 2021).Cover of Ernest N. Shaffer’s autobiography Ein Emigrant entdeckt Indien (Photo: Margit Franz 2021).
    Marg. A Magazine of Architecture and Art

    Local and exiled creatives formed the Modern Architectural Research Group to publish a progressive journal of art and architecture in Bombay from 1946 onwards.

    Word Count: 23

    Cover of the first issue, detail (Marg, vol. 1, no. 1, 1946, reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).
    Cover of the first issue (Marg, vol. 1, no. 1, 1946, reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).Advert MARG means Pathway (Marg, vol. 1, no. 2, 1947, p. 110; reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).Editors’ page of the first Marg issue (Marg, vol. 1, no. 1, 1946, p. 1; reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).Excerpt from “Architecture and You” (Marg, vol. 1, no. 1, 1946, p. 10; reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).A collage of exiles’ contributions to Marg (All images reproduced with the permission of The Marg Foundation, Mumbai, India).Editorial “Planning and Dreaming.” (Marg, vol. 1, no. 1, 1946, p. 4f).
    Iconic Photo of the Progressive Artists’ Group and Their Associates

    There are two versions of the PAG photo at the opening of M.F. Husain's first solo exhibition in 1950 (published in 1996 and 2003) and two narratives about the opening.

    Word Count: 28

    The iconic photo of the Progressive Artists’ Group and their associates, 1950 (Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz © Gandhy Archive, Mumbai; All Rights Reserved). First row: (seated, from left) Dr. Mulk Raj Anand, Siloo Bharucha, Renu Khanna, K.H. Ara, M.F. Husain (in black headgear, seated in front of everyone else), Bal Chhabda, unknown, G.M. Hazarnis (holding folder). Second row: (seated, from left) unknown, unknown, Laxman Pai, Käthe Langhammer (black dress with white framed collar), Emanuel Schlesinger. Third row: (standing, from left) Dr. Percy Brown, Khorshed Gandhy, T.A. Schinzel (behind Mrs. Gandhy), Krishen Khanna (in striped tie), Sadanand Bakre (with glasses, just behind Khanna), D.G. Kulkarni (with glasses, near Bakre), V.S. Gaitonde (to Kulkarni’s left), A.A. Amelkar, Tyeb Mehta, Shiavax Chavda (with hands folded), Walter Langhammer (in dark tie), Kekoo Gandhy, Manishi Dey. Last row: (standing) all four men are unknown.
    First publication of the iconic photo of the Progressive Artists’ Group and their associates in the catalogue for the inauguration of the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) Mumbai, 1996 (Photo: Yashodhara Dalmia, 2020).Another moment from the same lineup: the historic snapshot from Khorshed and Kekoo Gandhy’s archive on the front-page of their book The Perfect Frame. Presenting Modern Indian Art. Stories and Photographs from the collection of Kekoo Gandhy (Zitzewitz 2003, front page).Dr. Percy Brown, Käthe Langhammer and M.F. Husain in front of Husain´s ground-breaking painting Man during the evening of the opening on 3 February 1950 (Dalmia 2001, 103; authorized by Yashodhara Dalmia).
    Open Studio Evenings by Käthe and Walter Langhammer

    The painter Walter Langhammer and his wife Käthe built an informal infrastructure to promote local avant-garde artists and regularly invited them to Open Studio Evenings at their studio.

    Word Count: 29

    Open evening at the Langhammer’s, from left: Walter Langhammer, unknown woman, Kekoo Gandhy, Wayne Hartwell (American cultural affairs diplomat) n.d. (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).
    Dinner party at the Langhammer’s studio amidst his paintings (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Käthe and Walter Langhammer (far left) attending an Indian dinner, late 1930s/early 1940s (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Opening of the annual Langhammer exhibition by Sir Cowasjee Jehangir in the Convocation Hall, 27 November 1949 (from left: Mr. C.V. Oak, Rani Maharaj Singh, Walter Langhammer, Sir Cowasjee Jehangir, Käthe Langhammer) (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Photography Morning in the Great Mosque in Ajmer (translation by the author) by Käthe Langhammer, Rajasthan, 1940s (© Archive Margit Franz: Langhammer Photo Archive; All Rights Reserved).Käthe Langhammer in South India. They toured all of India for The Times of India Annual. Photo by Walter Langhammer (© Archive Margit Franz: Langhammer Photo Archive; All Rights Reserved).Invitation card for the Langhammers’ farewell party, April 1957 (© Digital Photo Archive Margit Franz; authorised by the late Kekoo Gandhy; All Rights Reserved).Entrance to Langhammer’s residence at 20 Nepean Sea Road (Photo: Margit Franz, 2007; All Rights Reserved).