The lower depths

Deeper you go in life the murkier it is. The murkiness of miseries has produced a few great personalities in this universe though.

He was born on March 14, 1868. Orphaned at 11, he experienced the deprivations of poverty due to which he could not get admission in any educational institution. At 12, he left his home to survive in more misery. As a run-away teenage, in 1883, he was worked in a biscuit factory, a porter, baker’s boy, fruit-seller, railway employee and a clerk to an advocate (who paid some attention to his studies); and in 1891, he laboured in a salt mill. At 21, his attempt to take own life failed when the bullet chose to miss his heart. Education burst open a squall in his life, he left the job and set about exploring. He wrote his first short story that appeared in print in 1892. He was endowed with an astonishing memory. He used his trials and tribulations as a fodder for his writings.

Soon media was flooded with his pictures and news. He remained the only independent voice of the masses from 1918 to 1921. He had big base of his readers. He became a saint for the Italians. Germans were his ardent devotees. His play The Lower Depths was continuously staged for 500 nights in Berlin. He caught people’s eyes and processions replaced individual enthusiasts where ever he went in Finland and Scandinavia. His reception in America was unparalleled at that time.

Who was this comrade? A scintillating scholar, a thought provoking essayist, a visionary messenger, a reality-seeking dramatist and fiction writer – he was none other than Aleksei Maximovich Peshkov, commonly known as Maxim Gorky, (pseudonym Gorky means ‘bitter’).


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