Of Foundational Texts And Exegesis

A.N.D. Haksar, formidable, versatile and prolific translator of Sanskrit texts, gives us a gentle and very sweet version of Arya Shura’s Jatakamala from the fourth century, overflowing with the Buddhist virtues of generosity and compassion towards all living creatures. The translation is a reprint and we must be grateful to Harper Collins for rescuing it from wherever it had been abandoned.

Thus Spoke Begum Rokeya

Born in 1880 in the Pairaband village of Rangpur—not Rampur as the volume under review states (p. 269)—a district of eastern Bengal, Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain grew up within the confines of a large upper class Muslim family headed by an orthodox father. Rokeya and her sisters were denied, unlike their brothers, formal education, or any education for that matter. Not only that, even the informal speaking and learning of the Bangla language was heavily discouraged; the English language, needless to say, was completely out of their reach.