In their final round of “head-and-tail”—very matter-of-factly—children sing a strange limerick— Shahron mein ik shahar mila Ik shahar mila Kulkutta Kulkutte mein mila aulia Khoob mila albatta
Girdhar Rathi is an important Hindi critic, editor, translator, poet and litterateur. He has been the editor of the Sahitya Akademi’s journal Samkaleen Bharatiya Sahitya since 1991, which he has edited with zest and flair.
Every successive gender-ratio study reveals the depressing fact that the Indian girl child is well on the way to becoming an extinct variant of the species. So it is heartening to hear her voice through this set of tales edited by Monica Das, who in her introduction sets out the chilling figures which form the painful backdrop to these stories:
Mrinal covered five states including West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Rajasthan. And often we feel that we are walking alongside. Her introduction begins thus: “Imagine a spectrum, at one end of which is a mud and straw hut in Rajasthan, where an under-nourished, anaemic nineteen year old mother of three is expecting her fourth child.
These two books, both published by Penguin in 2003 talk of women in India; certainly not all women and everywhere. One can see some commonalities in the two books , but they are also different and they have to be dealt with separately.