K.A. Gunasekaran

Leonard Cohen wrote, ‘Children show scars like medals. Lovers use them as secrets to reveal. A scar is what happens when the word is made flesh.’ Gunasekaran’s multiple scars portrayed cleverly in his autobiography are not just proud medals and revealed secrets, they are the history of an individual and a community…

Reviewed by: Meena Kandaswamy
Durgabati Ghose

Travel literature is usually cross-cultural or transnational in its focus. Literary travelogues generally exhibit a coherent narrative or aesthetic beyond the logging of dates and events as found in travel journals or a ship’s log. The systematic study of travel literature emerged as a legitimate field of scholarly inquiry in the mid-1990s…

Reviewed by: Shabina Nishat Omar
G.Kalyana Rao

Protest literature poses a problem because quite often it is more protest and not much literature. When a text succeeds as literature then the protest becomes all the more eloquent. Many protest writers walk into the trap and let protest take wing instead of the imagination. G. Kalyana Rao is quite clear in his intentions.

Reviewed by: Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr
Ira Raja

In the Indian ethos, the old occupy a significant place as objects of reverence and respect and as repositories of acquired wisdom. Indian literature too is replete with characters in this age category, representing the preoccupation of the Indian mind with mortality, and the tussle of tradition and modernity…

Reviewed by: Sharmila Kantha
Manoj Kumar Panda

Manoj Kumar Panda’sThe Bone Garden and Other Stories is an unusual collection. Barring a couple out of a total of thirteen stories, almost all of them delineate human suffering; but each piece has a unique storyline and an unconventional narrative structure.

Reviewed by: Mahasweta Baxipatra
Sunil Gangopadhyay

Not the least remarkable feature of this book is the ‘Translator’s Introduction’ by Rani Ray. Outlining the genesis of Sunil Gangopadhyay’s Aranyer Dinratri, first published in Jalsa, a popular film journal based in Calcutta, Ray locates the novel both in its immediate context within the Bengali literary…

Reviewed by: Mridula Nath Chakraborty
Mridula Garg

The novel Anitya by Mridula Garg is a fascinating story that beautifully weaves the personal and political into one thread. It effectively uses the backdrop of the independence struggle to recount the failings of a nation and also the individuals caught in a web of conflicting ideologies…

Reviewed by: Rekha Sethi
Phanishwar Nath Renu

The time has come, it seems, for India to read what Bharat has written. The spate of translations over the last few years is welcome for two main reasons: one for introducing the real India to the world and two, for raising the level of translations in this country to a degree that now one actually looks forward to reading them…

Reviewed by: Ira Pande
Ammu Joseph

A woman is a thing apart.She is bracketed off, aComma, semicolon, at mostA lower case letter, lostthe literary circus.………… but when she speaksHer poems bite, ferocious. (p. 102)
If you disagree with this view of Rukmini Bhaya Nair, this anthology can perhaps convince you to change your views about women’s …

Reviewed by: Nishat Zaidi
Udaya Narayana Singh

Explaining his location clearly as writer, translator, and linguist, the author Professor U.N. Singh paints a wide canvas on translation as an instrument of language growth. A growth that is essential to make languages ‘modern’, ‘a step which makes a given speech capable of being used in a much larger number of domains and in many manifestations’ (p. 183)…

Reviewed by: N. Kamala
Saratchandra Chattopadhyay

Translating Saratchandra Chattopadhyay is no easy task: his novels are so deeply embedded in the social and cultural atmosphere of his time, and the events and emotions he describes are so inextricably bound up with the energies, ideas and interrogations that shaped contemporary experiences that it…

Reviewed by: Syed Manzoorul Islam
Chitra Deb

A remarkable compendium of fascinat-ing tales, Chitra Deb’s book is an unselfconsciously written account of generations of women in Bengal’s most significant family. The name ‘Tagore’ is synonymous with creativity in art, literature and music, but also stands for bold innovations in social thought…

Reviewed by: Malashri Lal
Rabindranath Tagore

All the three novels that are grouped together in this collection, one of them separated from the others by more than 30 years, explore situations of extra-marital rapport that have the potential to become full-blown affairs. In the earliest of them (Nashtaneer that was later filmed by Satyajit Ray…

Reviewed by: Nivedita Menon
Sipra Bhattacharya

For quite a few decades, the world outside Bengal knew Rabindranath Tagore primarily as a poet since it was mostly his poems that were first translated into other languages. Now Harper Collins seems determined to introduce him primarily as a writer of short fiction. Why else would they be marketing Sipra Bhattacharya’s English…

Reviewed by: Fakrul Alam
Bankim Chandra Chatterji

My only quarrel with Julius J. Lipner relates to the subtitle of this meticulous and valuable study. ‘Study’ may seem a strange word to use for what is primarily the translation of a gripping work of fiction. Lipner’s achievement lies in combining a delighted immersion in the narrative with a concurrent grasp…

Reviewed by: Sukanta Chaudhuri
Sujatha Vijayaraghavan

The tales in this volume have been selected from the seven hundred and eight tales which had been originally collected by the folklorists from all over Tamilnadu including some tribal belts and published in 15 volumes. The translator has added annotations and a general introduction and fifteen sectional prefaces…

Reviewed by: Krishnaswamy Nachimuthu
Amir Ahmad Alawi

Journey to the Holy Land is much more than just a day-to-day account of Hajj that was undertaken in1929. Neither is it merely a historical document, valuable though it would be even if it were to be just that; it brings alive the economics, politics, beliefs and the colonial temper of the times, around and through the journey…

Reviewed by: Sukrita Paul Kumar
Sisir Kar

Sisir Kar’s 1988 monograph British Shashoney Bajeyapto Bangla Boi has long been one of the standard reference works on the history of censorship in colonial Bengal. A work of painstaking scholarship it was brought together a wide range of sources pertaining to almost every aspect of print cen-sorship under the British Raj…

Reviewed by: Abhijit Gupta
Sharankumar Limbale

The lack of sensitive models of inter-societal, inter-cultural and inter-personal exchanges emerges as the root cause of violence, misconstructions and exploitation in Sharankumar Limbale’s landmark Marathi novel, Hindu. The English translation of Hindu by Arun Prabha Mukherjee has opened the apparently transcasteist urban space to an awareness of the core issues haunting dalit politics and aesthetics in India today.

Reviewed by: Rizio Yohanan Raj
M.L. Thangappa

Sangam Poetry has long since fascinated and intrigued readers from different cultures. Fiercely treasured and guarded by Tamil pundits, chauvnistically valorized in Dravidian politics, Sangam corpus lays bare an entire worldview and civilizational ethos in cryptic, lyrical precision, leaving readers of every generation awe-struck and engrossed.

Reviewed by: B. Mangalam
Ramesh Chandra Shah

The verses of Bhartrihari are among the most quoted from secular Sanskrit literature. Their almost timeless topicality and often poignant brilliance won them a repute both widespread and long-standing…

Reviewed by: A.N.D. Haksar
Bibek Debroy

Mahabharata, which literally means ‘the great story of Bharat dynasty’ is part of the Hindu itihas, i.e., ‘that which happened’. It is an extraordinary story of sibling rivalry, diplomatic manoeuvring and shifting of human values culminating in a direct confrontation on the battlefield of Kurukshetra between the five sons of King Pandu (Pandavas) and the hundred sons of King Dhritarashtra (Kauravas)…

Reviewed by: Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee
V.V.B. Rama Rao

An ELT specialist, a translator, and a creative writer, Rama Rao has naturally a lot to say about language use. He has put together sixteen of his articles in this book which is in two parts as the title indicates—one on literary translation and the other on language.

Reviewed by: G.J.V. Prasad