Rangey Raghav Indian writers that I like
Rangey Raghav was one of the first writer, whose books I remember from my childhood. I had found some of his books at home like Pracheen Brahmin Kahaniyan (Antique Brahmin tales), that had immediately captivated me.
Rangey Raghav was born as Tirumalley Nambakam Veer Raghav Acharya on 17 January 1923 in Agra. He did masters degree from St. John's college in Agra. For his PhD he chose the subject of Guru Gorakhnath. He was proficient in English, Hindi, Sanskrit and the dialect spoken around the area of Mathura-Agra, Braj bhasha.
Rangey Raghav started writing when he was 13 years old. His report on the famine in Bengal, Toofano ke beech (In the midst of thunderstorms), when he was 19 years old, created lot of attention.
Rangey Raghav had many talents including painting, music and archaeology. These multi-dimensional interests give a richness to his writings that is not so easy to emulate. He died very young, at 39 years, after a long illness, on 12 September 1962. Yet in his brief life he managed to write more than 150 books including novels, stories, plays, reports, criticisms and on theme of culture and art.
Rangey Raghav received many awards including Hindustani Academy award (1947), Dalmia award (1954), Uttar Pradesh Government award (1957 and 1959), Rajashtan literature Academy award (1961) and after his death, in 1966, Mahatma Gandhi award.
In the preface of the book Pracheen Brahmin Kahaniyan (first edition 1959, published by Kitaab Mahal, 56 A Zero road, Allahabad) he had written (translation of S. Deepak from Hindi):
Aryan traditions have mixed with many non-Aryan traditions. Thus, we see many different influences in the antique tales of India. After the war of Mahabharata, Hindu religion received a new form through Vaishnav and Shivaite schools of thinking. Both these schools have accepted antique Brahmin traditions, yet at the same time, these have transformed those traditions in their own ways. Because of this, the descriptions of characters that we find in Veda and Upnishad, in the Pauranic traditions they become different. In them (in the older traditions) we see shadows of a new humanism and their orthodoxy is rendered less harsh. I have noticed that the older writers while describing their main characters, have both explicit and implicit belief systems, that were not limited by narrow communal expectations but they gave more importance to overarching humanist ideals. Therefore, I have made an effort to present this antique Indian way of thinking to readers, because our ancient sages had given lot of importance to these ideas. These same ideas continue to inspire us through our culture.
These few words give an idea of essential humanism that pervades the writings of Rangey Raghav. For him, history and culture are not a prison for orthodoxy but rather a search for higher meanings in the Indian art, culture and traditions.