The Real and the Spiritual

Astride the Wheel is an accomplished translation of Yantrarudha, a 1967 Oriya novel by Sahitya Akademi Award winning writer, Chandra Sekhar Rath. Its appearance is yet another example of the ongoing attempt on the part of publishers and translators alike to rescue Indian bhasa literatures from the ghettos of provinciality to which they had hitherto been consigned. Insofar as Oriya is concerned, the attempt has met with only limited success; for the output has been scanty, the quality of translation uneven, and the choice of texts not always happy.

Recording an Era

A Village Divided is a wonderful book, well worth spending money to buy and time to read.Rurially autobiographical, Rahi Masoom s Adha Gaon (1966) is a record of the life d times of his village in UP where Muslims d Hindus lived together in an accord which y has begun to seem mythical. Quite apart from the narrative flow is the change of pace of the book as a lifestyle of centuries revs into the unbelievably fast gears of Partition, communalism, and modern secular India.

Travelling Across Time

Once in a while you come across a book that you need to mull over, savour, read in instalments in order to derive maximum pleasure and benefit, go back and forth over, and let sink into your soul. This is one such book, a born classic. Normally one is told to write reviews of fiction in a tearing hurry, especially of good fiction for only such reviews can ensure the visibility of such books,

Mirroring a Pot-pourri

A surprising find, A Model House is a pot ­pourri, the author’s life and interests held up to a mirror for all to see. Alaknanda moves from being Al in the leafy suburbs of Wiscon­sin, living in a fairy-tale world of NRIs to Nanda at ABCD, a design and architecture school in Gujarat. In her final semester at ABCD, Nanda meets the enigmatic, Rajdoot-riding, beedi smoking, model-maker Raghunath Bhatt, younger brother to the legendary and dead Shivnath Bhatt.

Story of British Rule in Kenya

In 1898, when the sun never set on the British Empire, Kirparam, young and penniless, left his village on the Jhelum to end up, almost accidentally, in Kenya. (Tana is a river in Kenya.) There were thousands of men like him in India in those days, desperate to get away from a land ravaged by British misrule, and ending up as coolies in the colonies, Trinidad, Fiji, Malaya, Mauritius, South Africa, Kenya .

An Alternate Sexuality

The portrayal of same—sex relationships in 20th century Indian literature has been characterized, most frequently, by ambiguity or by an incipient homophobia. Critical responses to Ismat Chugtai’s Lihaaf and Ugra’s collection of short stories Chocolate, in the past, indicate the extent of cultural resis­tance to the acceptance of a reality which was generally relegated to a subterranean level of consciousness or represented as being perverse and unnatural.