Ajneya is one of the biggest names in Hindi letters today. His impact, both on Hindi fiction and poetry, has been considerable, and is a part of a growing legend. Even the way Vatsyayan acquired his pen name ‘Ajneya’ (the un-knowable) has a story to it. A freedom fighter, he had to smuggle his early writings out of prison. The only way to publish them was under a pseudonym. Hence the name ‘Ajneya’. His oeuvre today consists of fourteen volumes of verse, four novels and several volumes of short stories and essays.


Indian readers could have been spared the solemn Fore¬word, intended presumably for an audience in Australia, where this English version was first published. It is quite out of tune with the irreverent and incisive style of the novel, its alternating moods of comedy and despair, its bawdiness and violence, its rejec¬tion of all pretension and solemnity.

Other Side of Eden

For Mahashveta Devi, writ¬ing is a mission, a cause and a crusade. This is what we are told about the writer in the blurb of her latest novel to appear in a Hindi transla¬tion. After ‘1084 Ki Maori’, ‘Jangal Ka Davedar’ and ‘Agnigarbh’, Mahashveta Devi has attempted a novel about the Adivasis of Bihar. She has done so with authority, for she has spent years in the forested regions of Bengal and Bihar. She has an insight into geographical and experiential areas that are quite unfamiliar to the common reader.