All things old China - books, anecdotes, stories, podcasts, factoids & ramblings from the author Paul French

Mulk Raj Anand’s 1945 The Big Heart dedicated to Xiao Qian (Hsiao Ch’ien)

Posted: November 25th, 2021 | No Comments »

The Indian writer Mulk Raj Anand and the Chinese journalist Hsiao Ch’ien (Xiao Qian) were both in London at the same time during World War Two. They lived quite close – Anand in Primrose Hill, Hsiao in Belsize Park, and they both worked on the Eastern Service of the BBC with many notable names, including Orwell (who was good friends with Anand. They became friends. In 1945 Anand published a novel, The Big Heart

first edition

‘The theme of the novel is the conflict between hereditary copper smiths and the capitalists. It is a novel about a village of artisans in Amritsar District in the early 1940s whose livelihood is destroyed by the establishment of a factory producing copper utensils…The story ends with the machine emerging the winner over human.’

Interestingly Anand chose to dedicate the novel to Hsiao and ‘the friendship of India and China.’

Mulk Raj Anand (1905-2004)
Hsiao at the BBC during WW2
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