Arun Joshi

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Arun Joshi (1939-1993) was an Indian writer. He is known for his novels The Strange Case of Billy Biswas and The Apprentice. He won the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel The Last Labyrinth in 1982.[1] His novels bear contemporary characters who are urban, English speaking[2] and disturbed for some reason. His stories often explore philosophical dimensions like an individual's yearning to decipher the meaning of life and the throe of materialistic existence.

"The shallowness of middle class society is not for him a point of rhetoric, intended to show off his own enlightened superiority, but a theme to be explored with actual concern.[3]""


Arun Joshi was raised by a family of eminent scholars in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.[4] During his time in the United States, he received a B.S. degree from Kansas University and an M.S. degree from M.I.T. His experiences in the U.S. are a recurring motif in many of his works.

On returning to India, he began working at Delhi Cloth & General Mills, North India's first textile factory and among the earliest joint-stock companies of the country, as chief of its recruitment and training department. He married Rukmini Lal, a daughter of a shareholder. He resigned from D.C.M. in 1965 while continuing to be the executive director of Shri Ram Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources in Delhi.[5]

Arun Joshi lived a reclusive life and generally avoided publicity. He got his work published locally by Orient Paperbacks. Even though multi-national publishers like Penguin had entered the publishing space in India, Arun Joshi stuck with Orient all his life.[6]

The Strange Case of Billy Biswas[edit]

The Strange Case of Billy Biswas was written in 1971[7] and tells the story of a US returned Indian named Billy Biswas. The narrator is Billy's friend from college days. Billy gets fed up with the materialistic ways of life. He destes watching everyone around so obsessed with amassing more than they need, yet remaining dissatisfied. He gets married thinking a household life will get him out of this discontent. But he turns more irritable. Being an anthropologist, he often visits the remote tribes in India. During one such visit, he suddenly disappears.

The novel explores man's quest to seek meaning in life, the fickleness of materialism and the rest of the world's behaviour towards such a person.



  • The Foreigner, 1968
  • The Strange Case of Billy Biswas, 1971
  • The Apprentice, 1974
  • The Last Labyrinth, 1981
  • The City and the River, 1990

Short stories[edit]

  • The Survivor and Other Stories, 1975.
  • The Only American From Our Village.
  • The Homecoming.


  • Shri Ram: A Biography, with Khushwant Singh, 1968.
  • Laia Shri Ram: A Study in Entrepreneurship and Industrial Management, 1975.

External links[edit]


  1. ^ ADITYA SUDARSHAN. "The strange case of Arun Joshi". The Hindo. Retrieved February 14, 2014. 
  2. ^ SUDARSHAN, ADITYA. "The strange case of Arun Joshi". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-05-26. 
  3. ^ SUDARSHAN, ADITYA. "The strange case of Arun Joshi". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-05-26. 
  4. ^ Dr. Anjan Kumar. "Existential Angst in The Novels of Arun Joshi". Asvameg. Retrieved Aug 17, 2016. 
  5. ^ Dr. Shankar Kumar. "The Novels of Arun Joshi A Critical Study". Atlantic. Retrieved Aug 17, 2016. 
  6. ^ SUDARSHAN, ADITYA. "The strange case of Arun Joshi". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-05-26. 
  7. ^ SUDARSHAN, ADITYA. "The strange case of Arun Joshi". The Hindu. Retrieved 2017-05-26.