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Kanthapura by Raja Rao

Kanthapura (1938)

by Raja Rao

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192491,169 (3.64)17



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Tedious and too filled with nationalistic fervour to really be a light read. ( )
  milti | Dec 14, 2011 |
This short but impactful novel tells of life in an Indian village in the last years of the Raj, and the way that Gandhi's thought arrives in the village (through a young man called Moorthy, who sees the Mahatma speaking and is inspired to give up his 'foreign' ways and bring the message to his village) and gradually spreads. It's not universally popular - some of the villagers don't see that 'politics' affects them - and many of the powerful respond with financial pressure ("Well, well, he said to himself, every squirrel has his day, and now for every Congress member the interest will go up to 10 and 20 per cent") and even violence. And yet, the message continues to inspire the villagers. One of the many interesting things in the book is how the villagers' response is linked to religion - some of them treat Gandhi as a god, for example, and after acts of Satyagraha (non-violent resistance) the villagers feel the same euphoria as they do after taking part in temple ceremonies at religious festivals.

It will sound horribly shallow to say that this book looked as if it was going to be hard going! - apart from the subject, my copy has tiny print crammed closely together on the page. But it was anything but - it has a very story-telling style (the narrator is an old woman of the village) which rushes on, bringing in all sorts of detail of character and surroundings, making it very vivid. ( )
2 vote wandering_star | Aug 28, 2010 |
If you are at all interested in the history of India I recommend that you read Kanthapura. Set in 1930's India, the story of the lives of the inhabitants of a small village are told by a nameless narrator. The impact of Mahatma Gandhi's ideas bring change. I must admit to not knowing much about this period of history or Gandhi's influence on the lives of the people of India. It did take me a short time to get used to the narrative style - heavily influenced by the traditional story telling of India - but it made the characters seem real. A very interesting book. ( )
  calm | Aug 21, 2010 |
Not so much a review of the book as a testimony to the benefit I received from walks home with him after his evening seminar over six years. Although he claims to have introduced me to the son of his guru to be my guru, after four years I knew Raja was my true mentor. ( )
  teepeegee | Apr 6, 2008 |
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Our village - I don't think you have ever heard about it - Kanthapura is its name, and it is in the province of Kara.
'And remember always, the path we follow is the path of the Spirit, and with truth and non-violence and love shall we add to the harmony of the world.  For, brothers, we are not soldiers at arms, say I; we seek to be soldier saints.' (pg 131 of 190)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0811201686, Paperback)

Kanthapura has been described as one of the most satisfying of all modern Indian novels. Recognized as a major landmark of Indian fiction, it is the story of how the Gandhian struggle for independence comes to one small village in south India.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:50 -0400)

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