By Kalki Krishnamurthy
Translated in English with the same name by GS Iyer
Alai Osai is a reflection of Kalki’s personal political belief system. It observes the Partition and describes the mindset of people during that era. The author had visited the Hindu refugee camps in Delhi to depict the emotions of people driven out of their land that is currently known as Pakistan. This is the first major work in Tamil that gives adequate coverage to the issues of Partition.
Kalki considered Alai Osai, which was serialized in Kalki in 1948-49 and published as a book in 1963, as his best. The novel won for him the Sahitya Akademi award posthumously in 1956.
About the Author
Ramaswamy Aiyer Krishnamurthy, better known by his pen name Kalki, was an Indian writer, journalist, poet, critic and Indian independence activist. Although there is practically no subject he left untouched and no genre he did not experiment with, he is best known for his historical romances, which are acclaimed as classics and remain popular to this day, nearly five decades after his death. The government of Tamil Nadu announced the nationalization of Kalki’s works, this will enable publishers to come out with reprints of his works. It is amazing that whereas works of several contemporary writers fail to see even a second edition, each of these novels has been re-published eight times over the past 15 years (1984-1999). Kalki’s crusade against alcohol, untouchability, superstition, oppression of women and many of the decadent practices in Brahmin families of those days is testimony to his progressive thinking