Classic Tales

A Winter’s Night and Other Stories is a sleek production of ten stories, supposedly for children. In the ‘Translator’s Note,’ Rakhshanda Jalil makes two irreconcilable remarks. ‘This selection has been made especially for young readers of the age group twelve to fifteen years,’ she says before retracing in the very next sentence ‘… in putting together this collection I did not consciously set out to collect only children’s stories’.

Recording a By-gone Era

Kumar Mukherji died just as this book was published. The enthusiastic reception (Ram Guha in his column in The Hindu called it one of the most significant non-fiction books written in post-independent India) would have pleased him enormously. He was certainly keen to share his vast fund of stories and knowledge with a wider Indian audience. Originally serialized in the Bengali literary magazine Desh, it was published to wide acclaim in 1995 as Kudrat Rangbirangi, by Ananda Publishers and went on to win the prestigious Rabindra Puraskar.

Storyteller with a Difference

Naiyer Masud is a great scholar of Persian and has three collections of short stories to his credit which include Seemiya, Itre Kaafoor and Taa’uus Chaman ki Mayna. A two-time winner of the Katha Award (1993 and 1997) for his stories ‘Ray Khandan ke Asar’ and ‘Sheesha Ghat’ and the winner of the Presidential Certificate of Honour (1997) for his ‘outstanding contribution to Persian’, Masud is not a very prolific writer by his own admission, (he has written only twenty-two short-stories in twenty-five years).

Poetry and History

Kazi Nazrul Islam is a legendary poet in the modern literature of India in the twentieth century. Inspite of the fact that Rabindra Nath Tagore was active and alive, he became the most popular poet of Bengali of his time. Unfortunately, for those who are not able to read him in the original Bengali, his poetry in translation has not so far come through as innovative, intense and powerful as it is in the original.

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Akhtar Husain Raipuri’s memoir The Dust Of The Road offers a varied fare to its readers. The wide range of his experiences and the eventful times through which he lived makes Raipuri’s memoir interesting. A man of sound secular upbringing and Marxist leanings, Raipuri’s account of his travels and travails is in fact a retrospective glance cast over a life lived to its full.