Mulk Raj was a path breaker. He, in company with Raja Rao and R.K. Narain, inaugurated the age of what is labeled the Indian English - or the Indo-Anglian - Novel. Mulk Raj's 1935 novel, 'The Untouchables', was the forerunner of this genre, and the western literary circles pricked up their ears and eyes to the birth of this new writing. Soon after this came in his 'Coolie', Narain's 'the Bachelor of Arts' (1937), 'the Dark Room' ((1938), 'The English Teacher' (1945), 'The Gide' ((1958), 'the Man eater of Malgudi'(1961), Raja Rao's 'Kantapura' ((1938), 'The Serpent and the Rope' ((1960), 'The Cat and Shakespeare' (1965) and others established the Indo-Anglian Novel. Mulk Raj was highlighting the life of the poor and the hapless in his country through his novels and short stories, and he enriched the English language by introducing into its body a mix of the Punjabi and Hindustani elements.
Mulk Raj was born in 1905 in Peshawar, now in Pakistan, as the son of Lal chand, a copper smith and soldier, and Ishwar Kaur. He had his education from Amritsar in Punjab, and graduated with honors from the University of Punjab, and later had his higher studies in Cambridge, and the University of London gave him his Ph.D. in Philosophy. He worked at the School of Intellectual co-operation of Geneva's League of Nations and also at the Workers Educational Association of London. But the raging freedom movement in India dragged him back to his motherland, and he joined the movement led by Gandhiji. He reached Spain to join the fight of the Republicans against the Fascist General Franco. During the World War II, he worked for the BBC in London as a script writer. After the War, he returned to India and worked in various universities as professor and continued with his writing, which he did forcefully, keeping the social realities in Indian villages and towns. His writings have influenced Indian writing in various languages.
He died in 2004, leaving a great wealth of writings and memories of a source of powerful influence.