Many Splendoured Adventures of Chanda and Lorik
Kishore Singh
THE CHANDAYAN by Translated from the original Hindi by Richard J. Cohen. With Essays by Naman P. Ahuja, Vivek Gupta & Qamar Adamjee The Marg Foundation, 426 cantos, 530 paintings,, 2024, 421 pp., INR 4,500.00
July 2024, volume 48, No 7

Five illustrated manuscripts spread across the globe come together in this pictorial retelling that recounts, as well, the history of the Hindi language.

The book is as jolly a tale as a Shakesperean comedy of errors and just as richly textured as a tragedy that leaves interpretations of love, longing, desire, fidelity, honour and chivalry open for interpretation and discussion long after the story is told and the book dusted, bound and put away. Intended as bardic lore, it is essentially a sweeping fable of love’s labours lost and found, found and lost, rendered dramatically as a tale of intimacy with larger social implications. There are soothsayers, sorcerers, horoscopes and omens for us to contend with, and squabbles among women and battles amidst men that keep its audience constantly on edge. Set in medieval India’s Govar (in modern-day Uttar Pradesh), it questions norms of duty, loyalty, steadfastness, loss and longing. But let us waste no more breath on such matters for it is time the yarn was told so we too might take up cudgels on behalf of its heroes and villains for who is to say that the one is not the other as our narrative unfolds.

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