The Haunted Man: A Novel
by Alexander Raju
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About the Author
Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely; this is true under dictatorship, totalitarianism and
fundamentalism, and democracy as well. Slavery, bondage, suppression and discrimination follow when absolute
power corrupts. Perhaps, an Abraham Lincoln could legally put an end to the physical slavery, but its manifestation
in various other forms related to race, including color and caste, culture, language, religion, nationality and
political system remains a threat to manís spirit of freedom. The nineteen month-long Emergency declared in India
in 1975 would be relatively an insignificant event in the political history of the worldís largest democracy. But,
when The Haunted Man, allegorically presents the agony of the people, gasping for breath under its
heavy yoke, the subject gains universality. Through dozens of symbolic episodes and references picked up from the
world of literature-scape, Alexander Rajuís novel unravels the severity of such physical and psychological
suppressions of the helpless masses and, thereby, not only creates awareness among freedom-loving peoples but also
tenders a warning to the whole world.
Born on April 1st, 1952, in Kerala State of India, Alexander Raju studied in St. Peterís Primary School, Vazhoor,
St. Paulís High School, Vazhoor, St. Dominicís College, Kanjirappally and Baselius College, Kottayam. He began his
career as a freelance journalist as early as 1974, after completing his higher studies in the Universities of Kerala
and Saugar, Madhya Pradesh. Touring almost every nook and corner of India, he acquired a firsthand knowledge of the
Indian ways of life among various ethnic groups who differed totally in their culture, religion and language. When
Sikkim became the twenty-second State of India, he joined the staff of Sikkim Express as one of its sub-editors
and later became the editor of Bullet, a newsweekly published from Gangtok. He was one among the three-member
team that launched Dainik Aawaz, the first Nepali News-daily of India.
Returning to his native state of Kerala, he worked as a lawyer for a short while. In 1981, he joined the faculty
of English at Baselius College, Kottayam, his own alma mater, as a lecturer. Since 1990, he has been serving as a
registered Research Guide in Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India. Currently he is Professor of English in Bahir
Dar University, Ethiopia.
Alexander Raju, an Indian English critic, poet, novelist and short story writer, has many books to his credit.
Ripples and Pebbles (1989), Sprouts of Indignation (2003) and Magic Chasm (2007) are collections
of his poems. His first novel The Haunted Man came out in 1997. Candles on the Altar (1985) and
Many Faces of Adam (1991) are collections of his short stories. The Psycho-Social Interface in British
Fiction (2000) is a critical work.
"The theme of the wanderer is not an uncommon one in various literatures of the world, and it is even found in
music. This novel depicting the wanderings of a haunted man is unusual, however, in a number of ways. Told through a
number of striking episodes containing pieces of powerful writing, it is more than apparent on the surface, for its
aim would appear to be to reflect through somewhat horrific incidents a dark, though relatively brief, period of
modern history. Literary allusions are many, particularly, and not inappropriately, to Samuel Butlerís Erewhon.
Not all of these will be immediately understood by all readers, but it is by no means necessary to recognize them all
to follow the direction of the narrative and to appreciate its symbolism."
Ė Professor Ronald E. Asher, Department of Linguistics, Edinburgh University, U. K.
"To his symbolic portrait of the Emergency, Alexander Raju has attempted to give a thick coating of the venom of
anger and horror and a thinner one of underlying comedy and satire. The dreams (of the Wanderer) are like the swings
of a palanquin from one aspect of Emergency to another, from dream to reality and back Ė but steadily moving on
towards a psychic reorientation of the dreamer. This is symbolized in the different tones of the music heard on the
course of this psychic journey."
Ė Professor O.P. Mathur, Banares Hindu University, Uttar Pradesh, India
"The significance of The Haunted Man, the novel that debunks the craze for power, is that it is the document
of an attitude. Belated or not, Alexander Rajuís indictment is piercingly sharp, so it cannot miss the target." (From
the Foreword to Magic Chasm)
Ė Dr. B. Keralavarma, Maharajaís College, Kerala, India
Click here to view Alexander Raju's other books
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