Govardhanram Madhavram Tripathi (1855- 1907) wrote and published four parts of his novel Sarasvatichandra between 1887 and 1901. For over a century it has remained a canonical text of Gujarati literature, unmatched in popularity and influence. Govardhanram chose the novel form not for its aesthetic possibilities but because it allowed shaping the minds of his people. Govardhanram’s creative self was predicated upon his project of mediating civilizational forces to shape the future of his people. His creative impulse was tempered and guided by ‘the philosophy of consumption’. Those, according to Govardhanram, who consume themselves for the good of the society have virtue and are righteous. Consumption was dharma for him. The novel explores the ideas of family, society, state and religion through the ideals of consumption. A story of love and longing between the hero Sarasvatichandra and the heroine Kumud link these reflections.
January 2004, volume 28, No 1