A Window into A Bygone Era
Shubhra Gupta
HINDI SHORT STORIES: EDITOR’S CHOICE by Girdhar Rathi Thornbird/Niyogi Books, New Delhi, 2018, 219 pp., Rs.395
February 2020, volume 44, No 2-3

In this eclectic anthology of stories from the Nayi Kahani or New Stories movement in Hindi literature which started in the late 1950s, acclaimed poet, editor and translator, Girdhar Rathi offers readers the translation of a personally selected array of seventeen short stories by nine writers. The captivating stories in this book were my first contact with short fiction from this time and they have left me longing for more. All the stories included in this anthology were written in the 60s and early 70s and were translated from Hindi to English by Girdhar Rathi in 1975.

In their own distinct styles, the various writers cover the many broad themes typical of the Nayi Kahani like lack of employment opportunities of even educated Indians whether in India or abroad, examination of familial relationships, particularly the complicated bittersweet bond one forms with children and scrutiny of urban society at large through the eyes of ordinary people. Although no unique thread links the stories to one another, there is a certain melancholic mood and a sense of dissociation and loneliness that is common to all the characters and stories of the anthology.

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