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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 September, 2004, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Indian author Mulk Raj Anand dies
Mulk Raj Anand
Mulk Raj Anand: 1905-2004
One of India's best known novelists and short-story writers, Mulk Raj Anand, has died at the age of 99.

Anand died of pneumonia in the city of Pune, the Press Trust of India reports.

He was educated at Cambridge and London universities in the 1920s, receiving his PhD in 1929, and lived in Britain for many years.

Anand used much of his writing to describe the trauma suffered by those at the bottom rung of India's complex social hierarchy.

He was one of the first Indian novelists to write in English, using Hindi and Punjabi phrases, to enrich the language.

Anand's first novels were Untouchable (1935) and Coolie (1936), the story of a 15-year-old child labourer who dies of tuberculosis. Coolie was seen as a powerful critique of India's caste system and the British colonisation of India.

It was written in reaction to a personal tragedy - his aunt had just committed suicide after being ostracised from her Hindu community after dining with a Muslim.

The forward to the book was written by EM Forster, whom he considered a good friend.

The writer Martin Seymour-Smith has described it as "one of the most eloquent and imaginative works to deal with this difficult and emotive subject".

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called Anand's family in Pune to offer his condolences.

Literary giant

Mulk Raj Anand was born in 1905 in Peshawar in what is now Pakistan.

Anand's works
Untouchable (1935)
Coolie (1936)
Two Leaves and a Bud (1937)
The Village (1939)
Across the Black Waters (1940)
After his initial studies in Amritsar, he moved to England where he spent much of his time in the next three decades.

During World War II he worked as a freelance broadcaster with the BBC in London.

From 1948 to 1966 Anand taught at several Indian universities.

Among his many literary friends were the authors Henry Miller and George Orwell.

He was also said to have been strongly influenced by Mahatma Gandhi.

His famous works include Coolie (1936), Two Leaves and a Bud (1937), The Village (1939) and Across the Black Waters (1940).

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