Curriculam Vitae

P.Raja’s works won him International Eminent Poet Award (1988) from Chennai and Michael Madhusudan Academy Award (1991) from Kolkata. Pondicherry University honoured him with its literary award in 1987. And in 2009 the Govt. of Pondicherry honoured him with ‘Excellence in Literature’ Award.

ENCYCLOPAEDIA ENTRY

RAJA .P

Indian Bilingual Poet, Essayist, Fiction writer, Folklorist & Translator

Born in Pondicherry, India and so exposed to a cosmopolitan culture since childhood, P.Raja, a professor of English, began writing in his early youth and has published poems, short stories, interviews, articles, book reviews, plays, skits and features in more than 150 periodicals both in India and abroad. Two eminent American journals – Spindrift and Aristos – brought out special issues to highlight his writings.

His two collections of poems From Zero To Infinity (1987) and To A Lonely Grey Hair (1997) reflect his various concerns. P.Raja’s works won him International Eminent Poet Award (1988) from Chennai and Michael Madhusudan Academy Award (1991) from Kolkata. Pondicherry University honoured him with its literary award in 1987. And in 2009 the Govt. of Pondicherry honoured him with ‘Excellence in Literature’ Award.

His fame as a creative writer rests partly on his two collections of short stories The Blood and Other Stories (1989) and Kozhi Grandpa’s Chickens (1997), and a collection of autobiographical essays For Your Ears Only (1997). The title story in the first collection was nominated for America’s prestigious literary award – the Pushcart Prize.

He has collected a vast number of folktales, songs and riddles and rendered them into English. These volumes include Folktales of Pondicherry (1987), Tales of Mulla Nasruddin (1989) and Sudden Tales the Folks told (1995). Among his non-fictional works A Concise History of Pondicherry (1987), M.P.Pandit: A Peep into His past (1993), Many Worlds of Manoj Das (1993) the first one is a mini-classic. Probably as a sequel to this book he is working on a five volume Encyclopaedia Pondicherriana which will contain exhaustive information about this ex- French colony.

RITA NATH KESHARI

Further reading: Peter Heehs, ‘Indian English at Ease with Itself : The Writings of P. Raja.’ Language Forum 19/1-2 (1993); Judisth Tampoz, ‘Competing With the Electronic Media: Interview With P.Raja’ The Mawaheb International, edition 2007-8-9. (July –Sept.2000), Rita Nath Keshari, ‘A Slow Afternoon with P.Raja.’ Chennai Watch, Vol.3, no:1 (Sept.2002)

(included in Encyclopaedia of Post Colonial Literatures in English published by Routledge, London and New York, 2005)