By Makarand R. Paranjape
‘Another Canon: Indian Texts and Traditions’ in English strains the advance of Indian English literary and textual perform over a interval of 7 many years, focussing on vintage texts that have fallen past the scope of the verified canon.
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However, subsequent to Hitler’s attack on Russia in 1941, Kirillov, after a period of ‘seminal psychosis’ (60), almost akin to the ‘dark night of the soul’ (57) undergoes a transformation: Somehow this inner conversion appeared almost to have changed his skin – he seemed suddenly to see the skin of Irene on his own wrist and hand, as if by divine compassion. Stalin had made him white – the Indian struggle now entered the international arena, and Marx was justified (60–1). Kirillov’s thesis, which contains many quotations from Stalin, Lenin and Marx, is accepted by the party, to his great elation: The party, knowing the scrupulous pertinency of Kirillov’s arguments, asked for a final report on the matter.
Significantly, Kirillov’s ideological turn-about has been carefully prepared for by his views on two earlier issues: his justification of the Moscow trials in which Stalin liquidated his rivals, and his support of the Hitler–Stalin Pact of 1939. In the first case, the narrator (R referred to as ‘Rama’ on p. 41 and later revealed to be Raja Rao himself on p. 116) goes to Kirillov to get his signature on an appeal on behalf of the Moscow undertrials: Kirillov, I want your signature. It’s that a fair trial may be given to the Moscow accused.
K. Krishna Menon, who, like Kirillov, was a brilliant, versatile and voluble South Indian expatriate. He too, like Raja Rao’s hero, came early under the spell of Mrs. Annie Besant, and was sent abroad for education as a young man, having been earmarked for becoming a pillar of the Theosophist movement in India. Menon, however, became similarly associated with the British Labour Party. Unlike Kirillov however, however, he never married and never became a Communist…(‘Raja Rao’s Comrade Kirillov’ 115).
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