With sympathy and ruthlessness, U.R. Ananthamurthy’s novel Samskara gives shape to the mutinies that raged within mid-century India. Cobalt Blue by Sachin Kundalkar One Part Woman by Perumal Murugan Samskara by U.R. Ananthamurthy ಯು. ಆರ್. Women Writing in India by Susie J. U.R. Ananthamurthy, in A.K Ramanujan’s translation from the Kannada, tries to Samskara—the compulsory rite given to Brahmins at their.

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U R Ananthamurthy’s Samskara: The word samskara means ritual in the Kannada language. His main goal is to attain liberation moksha and he is willing to go to any length to achieve it. For a “modern”, “rational”, “logical” person all this can seem meaningless. One can easily see why this is considered a classic of non-Western literature, dealing with particularly Indian concerns in a way that will have universal resonance to any serious reader.

Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man

Third World Protest Rahul Rao. This act of Chandri further complicated the issue because all the Brahmins suddenly turned greedy on seeing such a large quantity of gold.

Thus we find that Putta extends his hand of friendship to the Acharya upto the very end of the novel. As A K Ramanujan, the translator, says in the Afterword, Samskara is a story where the erumpent individual tears the archetype of the Brahmin. When the novel ends, Praneshacharya is still in his liminal phase.

Preparation, making ready, preparation of food etc. Through the character of Putta, U. He brought a lower-caste prostitute to the agarahara and lived with her in his house. For an answer they turn to Praneshacharyah, the most devout and respected member of their community, an ascetic who also tends religiously to his invalid wife. However, the Brahmin principles also stipulate that a non-Brahmin cannot cremate the body of a Brahmin. It’s true that reading Indian literature in translation is radically different from Indian literature composed in English and often with a foreign audience in mind.


For example somebody facing the question of Sri Krishna’s killing in Mahabharata will find the reason behind it in Ramayana, but at the same time both the texts are different in their organisation and are separated by considerable time.

Samskara: A Rite for a Dead Man by U.R. Ananthamurthy ಯು. ಆರ್. ಅನ೦ತಮೂರ್ತಿ

In Samskaraboth Naranappa and Praneshacharya are brahmin males living in the agrahara, Durvasapura. Excellent, well worth your time. Yet there was a personal price to be reckoned as well, and seeing the Acharya at the end, I wondered, just for a brief guilty moment, if the price had been too high.

These routine works filled the mind of the Acharya with pleasure and a sense of worth as sweet as the five-fold nectar of holy days.

The entire novel represents a samskaraor rite of passage, for Praneshacharya in which he attempts ananhamurthy discern the correct path to salvation by becoming a part of the world instead of a being beyond it. After his sexual experience with Chandri, Praneshacharya became a changed man. The sociological and anthropological studies that have been done in the ananthamurtjy of religion and casteism have tried to study them from the scientific point of view, but the novel treats them in a literary way.

Just like any other ordinary man, he made love to her and even ate taboo food from her hands.

He wandered aimlessily along the forest footpath until he met Putta. This point is also emphasised in Mahabharata: This same Praneshacharya, in praying for heavenly guidance in a lonely place, suddenly meets up with Narranappa’s widow, the low-caste Ch U R Ananthamurthy’s Samskara: He even could not feel comfortable in the ananthaumrthy friendship of Putta.

But here the sanskara lets his own thoughts, own biases seep in the text. The community looks to Praneshacharya — samskarz yet forty, but the most learned and devoted brahmin, and treated like the local wise old man — to find a solution, trusting him to get this important ananthamutrhy right and reminding him: Praneshacharya searched all the holy books to find a solution to this problem.


Through all this excited activity and movement, Praneshacharya walked as one entranced, following Putta. Putta immediately got interested in the peepshow. He extended his campanionship to the Acharya and insisted on remaining with him ananthamurrthy the journey. He felt that he no longer had any moral right to continue as the spiritual leader of the agrahara. Now I do get that the focal point for the author was decaying brahminism, but I find it sort of morbid that all women characters in the ananthamhrthy are either dismissed by other male characters as dead fish or seen as so “ripe” that a man wouldn’t be responsible for acting on his sexual impulse.

Their bodies are shown to be deformed and they are shown to know all kinds of sins: Online Edition of The Hindu, dated This is evident from the title of the novel which also means the last rites of a person, for the Brahmins this is a very complex affair as they are forbidden to eat anything while the uncremated body is lying there in the agrahara.

Samskara – U.R. Ananthamurthy – Oxford University Press

We are at the hands of an indifferent universe. It’s ananthaurthy to the imagination of the viewer on whether Praneshacharya owns up or not. He was very much irritated when the Smarta brahmin sitting next to him started asking questions:. Neither does it compels the reader to go in that direction.

Samskara studies not only the spiritual aspect of Hinduism and the caste system, but also orthodoxy in rituals. By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. His cheek was pressed into her low naked belly.