ANITA Desai’s latest novel Fire on the Mountain is a distinct let-down. It has many of the qualities that marked her first book, Cry, the Peacock; spareness, toughness and fine descriptive writing. But while Cry, the Peacock came off, Fire on the Mountain does not; perhaps because, trying the same trick once too often, Anita Desai achieves sensationalism instead of shock.
The recent exhibitions in Delhi and Mumbai of the works of painters Amrit and Rabindra, popularly known as the Singh Twins, drew in many accolades especially for ‘taking Indian miniatures to a completely new level’ because of their ‘reflec-tions on contemporary life.
The stories included in this Anthology of Modem Bengali Short Stories, selected and translated by Enakshi Chatterjee, range from ‘The Music Room’ by Tara Shankar Banerjee, published in 1934, to Kabita Sinha’s ‘The Strange Island’ and Baren Gangopadhyay’s ‘The Hand’, both published in 1966.
This is a provocative and refreshing book on the condition of the working class under globalization with special reference to India. If there is one thing that comes to mind after reading this book it is the last few words of the Communist Manifesto: ‘Workers of the world unite, you have nothing to lose but your chains’.
As the world struggles to emerge from the economic crisis, the links between business and government are increa-singly relevant. Political analysts from the United States and Britain to India and China are increasingly focusing on the ways that corporate interests influence, even control, public policy.
We have seen Bengalis assembled on various occasions of danger, distress and sorrow, such as that of the Partition – Mohun Bagan has infused a new life intro the lifeless and cheerless Bengali – By your victory sport has been turned into a unifying force -(Basumati, 5 August 1911)