Kabir is now widely acclaimed as one of our most eminent poets from any Indian language, but this wasn’t always so. Until about half a century ago, he was regarded in Hindi as perhaps the last of the quartet of the four great bhakti poets and ranked after Tulsi Das, Sur Das and Mira Bai.
A lot is being said about Premchands tradition in Hindi, but only a very few fiction writers have an understanding of what it really means. While someone is burning Premchands books, someone else is holding on to his tail to cross the Vaitarani, the mythical river that divides the earth and the nether regions.
This is a novel by a journalist which is certainly an advantage. The journalist is always present inside the novelist and knows well that his opting for story telling is driven by his urge to catch and tell facts that are beyond the reach of journalism. This understanding gives Davanal a distinct tinge and flavour.
The more we conjectured and enquired the more facts and things deserving mention we gathered. But in regard to them it became more and more difficult to distinguish between truths and falsehood. Were they lies that looked like the truth Or were they truths that resembled lies Or were they both truth and lies Were they unbiased supporters for whom nothing is true Or was nothing a lie to them If not taking sides means indecisiveness, then could we express surprise at the story, Hariya Hercules Bewilderment.
These days I find the prettiest things growing in my garden are weeds. They are the ones I pluck and put in my singlerose vase. They stay fresh for days on end; true (to nature), hardy and beauteous. Shivam, satyam, sundaram: the righteous, the truthful and the beautiful the quintessence of literary aesthetics.
Jaatidansh Ki Kahanian edited by Subhash Chandra Kushwaha is a thoughtprovoking and unique collection of essays and stories in Hindi by dalit writers. What distinguishes this anthology from other anthologies of dalit stories in Hindi such as the one edited by Ramanika Gupta is an entire discursive section dealing theoretically with issues which are also raised through the medium of the stories.
Written in Hindi, and under translation into Urdu, Punjabi, Marathi,Malayalam, English and German, Sheoraj Singh Bechains autobiography, is a paradigmatic lifestory of a member of one of Indias numerous dalit castes. Bechains book is an extended narrative of his struggle against social disabilities imposed on him by birth.