Anand Mulloo’s ‘Edge of The Cliff’- A Landmark in Diasporic Writing

— Dr Sarita Boodhoo

Anand Mulloo has often been described as a rebel writer, as an evergreen Turk or more precisely a fiery and energetic Maratha. His versatility speaks for itself. His restless energy leaves him no time to wallow in despondency while he forges ahead. We may safely call him a man of all seasons, a worthy son of the soil and of the Indian diaspora.

A self-made man, Anand has emerged as a key figure on Indian diaspora writing. From his early writings published in Mauritius, he is now published by the prestigious centenary Indology specialist, Motilal Banarsidas in New Delhi.

Anand Mulloo’s deep thirst for knowledge has led him to various alleys of expressions: fiction, remember his novel — Watch Them Go Down, 1967, Essay writing — Footprints, 1968, protest and travel poems – Dust of Time, 1970, further protest poems in Ashes and Embers, 1973, four historical biographies on Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, short stories, magazine editing — Femmes des Iles and Shakti, and various publications on education such as Education for the People, 1970.

Great grandson of an Indentured immigrant from Sawantwadi, Anand Mulloo bears the proud and distinguished title of Sawant of the Western Ghats, Maharashtra. Anand Sawant Mulloo is an example of millions of sons and grandsons of Indentured immigrants who have made a qualitative upward mobility. His father Jayeram was an assistant to an attorney-at-law but who refused to be a party to his boss’s legal crookedness and preferred to resign and live a humble and honest life as a tailor instead. A man of principles, a reformer and Arya Samajist leader, he passed on these values to Anand. Hailing from an illustrious family, his mother Saiyah was the niece of Pandit Sahadeo, a pioneer in the making of Mauritius.

Born in 1936, former head of History Department, John Kennedy College, lecturer and researcher at Mahatma Gandhi Institute, Anand has travelled extensively to USSR, China, Europe, South Africa, South East Asia and of course to Mother India, time and again. He wrote his first experiment with Indianness in 2005 — “Voices of the Indian Diaspora”, reckoned to be the early writing by an overseas Indian on the diaspora. With more maturity and spiritual experiences, he embarked on the writing of “Hinduism Unveiled”, a 540-page book on the principles and practices of Hinduism in a comparative perspective. In his book, “Experience Indianness”, 2008, he expresses the civilizational ethos that characterizes India and the Indianness expressed, articulated throughout the Indian diaspora.

Anand Mulloo now belongs to the diaspora. He is a role model both in writing and disseminating the diaspora as in his “Unfinished Journey”, 2009. And now with the launching of Edge of the Cliff, Volume 1, The Revival, at the 6th Regional PBD, MGI on 27 October, he has added another milestone in his long list of prolific writings which is, as he says it himself: “More than an autobiography.

This book is but the first part of a Trilogy. It is the story of his marvellous life entwined with the changing historical, political, economic, cultural and social panorama of Mauritius during the period 1928-68. As he says himself: “The various incidents narrated here read like footnotes in the history of Mauritius as it evolves…” The 300-page Edge of the Cliff makes fascinating and absorbing reading. Written in a fluid and lucid style, it is commendable to one and all in the diaspora.

* Published in print edition on 1 November 2012

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