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Book Review - Andrew Ciampaglio Dr Chinnaiah Jangam Gandhi...

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Andrew Ciampaglio Dr. Chinnaiah Jangam Gandhi and Modernism 11/16/07 The Indian Clerk as Relating to Indian History and Lifestyle “A loving exploration of one of the greatest collaborations of the past century, “The Indian Clerk” is a novel that brilliantly orchestrates questions of colonialism, sexual identity, and the nature of a genius.” That’s a quote from Mansil Suri an Indian writer about David Leavitt’s novel “The Indian Clerk”. The Novel “The Indian Clerk” does not take place in Indian; neither does it directly deal with any domestic issue of India. But after saying that, the Novel does deal with one of the most interesting non political citizens to ever come out of India. I chose this novel because I was highly interested in individuals in India and what the home life was like of a higher caste Hindu. Srinivasa Ramanujan was a high caste Hindu who worked as a clerk in Madras India. He also became one of the most genius mathematicians of the 20 th century. The story of this man as portrayed in the novel “The Indian Clerk” is a real life story very similar to that of an American movie “Good Will Hunting” which was nominated for Best Picture in the Academy Awards. This is how the book originally jumped out at me. The idea of how a man from India was able to become one of the most important mathematicians in the world was extremely interesting to me. Looking into his life which up until leaving for
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Cambridge was a pretty normal Indian Citizen’s life is what I was most interested in and how it related to other lives in Indian such as Untouchables. So again, even though this novel does not directly deal with Indian issue’s but it ranges into many realms such as the question what would have happened if this man with such a brilliant mind had grow up in a untouchable community or how did his growing up in a high caste Hindu life style affect his growth and how it almost stopped him from leaving India to purse his career in mathematics? Also how would have colonialism and the Indian Independence movement and the different ideas from people such as Gandhi and Nehru affect this man from pursuing his ideas and how the changing in times could have affected other people that could have made impacts in the world? These questions along with an analysis of Srinivasa Ramanujan’s life as an ordinary person, because he is one of the most important non political figures to come out of India, is what I want to look at and discuss in the upcoming paragraphs.
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