Gulvadi Annaji Rao exposes the weaknesses of the orthodox Brahmin religionists in addition to those who name themselves social-reformers
Gulvadi Annaji Rao‘s Rohini illave Saraswatha Mandala was printed in 1906 in Calicut. Aside from a considerable evaluation of Rohini by U. Maheshwari in her ebook, Idu Manushiya Odu (2001), there’s not a lot on Rohini within the few books which might be obtainable on the Arunodaya interval. Rohini continues to remain hidden, although its existence is just not in query. In accordance with A Catalogue of The Kannada, Badaga, and Kurg Books in The Library of The British Museum compiled by L. D. Barnett, a duplicate of Rohini is on the market in that library. This text on Rohini is put collectively utilizing all these secondary sources, particularly U. Maheshwari’s evaluation.
Like Gulvadi Venkata Rao, writer of Indira Bai, Gulvadi Annaji Rao too belonged to the Chitrapur Saraswat neighborhood. As he units about portray a wider panorama of the neighborhood in Rohini, Annaji Rao exposes the weaknesses of the orthodox Brahmin religionists in addition to those who name themselves social-reformers, however he’s notably involved about reforming his Saraswath neighborhood and talks about creating another mannequin.
Rohini is the daughter of Mukunda-raya, social-reformer and member of Brahmo Samaj. Her mom, Sunanda Devi follows orthodox Brahmin customs. Rohini goes alongside together with her mom to temples and purana recitals, and together with her father to the Upasana Mandir. In a way, she has no say in these issues. Rohini is 14 years outdated and her mom desires to get her married to a Brahmin boy of their very own neighborhood. However Mukunda-raya believes in grownup marriage in line with the tenets of the Brahmo Samaj. Her mom is fearful of Christianity and as a substitute of sending her to a ladies’ college, she herself teaches Rohini at residence. However her mom’s needs are thwarted and her father will get Rohini married to a social-reformer named Amrita-raya within the Brahmo Samaj custom.
Amrita-raya drifts into the orbit of Vishweshwara-raya, often known as ‘Sudharakagrani’ ‘Main Reformer,’ falls into unhealthy methods and finally ends up as a drunkard. Vishweshwara-raya is definitely a cheat within the garb of a social-reformer. Amrita-raya regrets his methods in entrance of Rohini, however abuses her when she questions him. However she is affected person all through. As soon as when he beats her up, she faints and a frightened Amrita-raya additionally collapses, faints and is paralysed. Rohini takes care of him, however he doesn’t get well, he dies. Rohini turns into a widow.
Numerous younger women and men play essential roles and take the novel ahead by way of their beliefs and statements. Sanjiva-raya, who belongs to the orthodox Brahmin group, says, “a correct Brahmin spouse should settle for her husband’s non secular views as her personal.” Marutha-raya, who believes in social-change, is ostracized from the neighborhood as a result of he couldn’t pay the high-quality quantity imposed on him. Bhaskara-raya comes ahead to assist Marutha-raya throughout this era. Marutha-raya had supplied shelter to Mithra, daughter of Vishweshwara-raya, the pretend reformer. Marutha-raya had sorted Mithra all these years and he fears that if she goes again to Vishweshwara-raya, she is likely to be compelled to transform to Christianity or Islam. Bhaskara-raya is attracted in direction of Mithra, however when he realizes that she is Vishweshwara-raya’s daughter, he begins avoiding her.
Vishweshwara-raya, who had deceived lots of people, is lastly caught and arrested because of the efforts of Mukunda-raya, who additionally brings Marutha-raya’s household beneath his care. Rohini and Mithra grow to be pals in opposition to this backdrop. Mithra is saddened by the truth that Bhaskara-raya seems to be at her with contempt, however there have been different causes for her distress. At any time when she wore good garments or jewels or smiled and laughed whereas talking with individuals, her grandmother would chide her – “childhood is for boys, not made for women.” She should gown like a married girl of 30 even when she is just seven years outdated, should not sing, should not adorn herself – as a result of solely prostitutes do such issues, her grandmother would say. Mithra couldn’t perceive any of those guidelines.
Mukunda-raya is now pondering significantly about Rohini’s remarriage, however her mom is in opposition to the thought. Narayana, Mukunda-raya’s nephew, is secretly in love with Rohini. He was deeply damage when Rohini was married to Amrita-raya. He’s nonetheless attracted in direction of Rohini, however now that she is a widow he desires to be mentally distant from her. She is conscious of Narayana’s emotions in direction of her, and she or he too likes him however is helpless. Her despair comes by way of when she says, “What if ladies have magnificence? What if they’re from respectable households? These egocentric males have created these merciless customs and have sucked the soul out of the lives of ladies.” Narayana desires to marry Rohini, however holds again. He feels that she is a ‘para-stree,’ a lady who was married to another person. Narayana is a progressive younger man and marrying a widow is just not in opposition to his worldview, however he hesitates.
Ramasharma tells Narayana that Rohini is a widow now and never a ‘para-stree’ anymore and that he could be doing a virtuous deed by marrying a widow. This Ramasharma is an attention-grabbing creation by the writer; a kind of itinerant character, who goes round bare-chested. He seems contextually and disappears, providing steering and recommendation to Narayana all through the novel. Ramasharma additionally tells Bhaskara-raya to not spurn Mithra simply because she is the daughter of a fraudster and advises him to marry her.
Although the novel is called after Rohini, Maheshwari opines that Rohini is just not an energetic central character who propels the novel ahead. Rohini permits issues to occur to her. The writer, she says, locations Narayana because the central consciousness of the novel. Ramasharma had suggested Narayana that if we don’t reform or change the customs and rituals of the Brahmin caste together with altering conditions and instances, it will be destroyed by ‘mlechchas,’ which means ‘outcastes,’ like foreigners, who’re Christians. Accordingly, the writer’s concern within the novel isn’t just restricted to foregrounding the difficulty of widow remarriage, however the uplift and welfare of your entire Saraswath neighborhood. Narayana turns into the writer’s voice.
Narayana wishes to ascertain a ‘Brahmin Samaj’ as in opposition to the ‘Brahmo Samaj’. For him, the Brahmin Samaj could be a neighborhood of educated Brahmins with out inter-caste animosity and prejudice, who would dedicate time for the welfare of their fellow neighborhood members and the nation. The writer means that right here ‘Saraswath’ doesn’t simply imply his ‘Chitrapur Saraswath Neighborhood,’ however an prolonged connotation of the phrase ‘Saraswatha’ that may imply a neighborhood of educated people who find themselves dedicated to fostering schooling and making a society of discovered and erudite residents. The ‘Saraswatha Mandala’ within the subtitle of the novel refers to this neighborhood of discovered individuals.
Annaji Rao doesn’t blindly extol the virtues of social-reformers; he criticizes individuals who go round as reformers for its exterior grandeur (like Mukunda-raya, who insists on taking Rohini to the Upasana Mandir) and likewise those that masquerade as reformers (Vishweshwara-raya) luring younger individuals into their nefarious actions. He criticizes orthodox religionists for sending injunctions on the slightest pretext and excommunicating individuals from their caste. On this planet of early Kannada social novels, Rohini might be the primary that depicts a widow remarriage the place the widow is just not a virgin, as in Indira Bai or Hemalathe-Prabhakara. Annaji Rao tears up yet one more smokescreen that had saved the orthodox religionists glad, and strikes past the symbolic.
Gulvadi Annaji Rao hailed from Mangalore and practiced legislation for a while there and later settled in Mumbai. He was the editor of Kannada Dhurina, printed from Kumta. He wrote in Kannada and English and a few of his English writings had been printed in The Kanara Saraswat Quarterly (printed from Mumbai). The web site www.chitrapurebooks.com carries Gulvadi Annaji Rao’s writings printed throughout 1927-32.
S. Jayasrinivasa Rao is a literary historian and translator residing in Hyderabad. He’s a instructor at Aurora’s Technological & Analysis Institute, Hyderabad.