Girdhar Rathi is an important Hindi critic, editor, translator, poet and litterateur. He has been the editor of the Sahitya Akademi’s journal Samkaleen Bharatiya Sahitya since 1991, which he has edited with zest and flair. Antastha, the book being reviewed, comprises essays and occasional pieces that he wrote variously between 1977 and 2001. Though the pieces written cover a period of over two decades, they do not seem to have lost their contemporary appeal. Antastha is divided into four sections.The book essentially manifests Rathi’s reflections on a variety of issues, including ‘Hindi literature at the threshold of the new century’, ‘The limits of Postmodernism’ as also essays on the nuclear bomb, nationalism, Ritwik Ghatak, the transformation in the present American generation and Sunil Gavaskar. Thus, there is great versatility of ideas in the book. There isn’t any one uniting thread in the different essays, except the title of the book itself, which sums up the entire enterprise of this text rather succinctly well. ‘Antastha’ would be a difficult term to translate but it should approximate to ‘musings’ or ‘ruminations of the spirit’.
March 2004, volume 28, No 3