No Title
Madhurima Kahali
The Sackclothman by Malayalam by Jayasree Kalathil. Illustrated by Rakhi Peswani Eklavya, 2021, 44 pp., 150.00
November 2021, volume 45, No 11

The Sackclothman has been developed for Different Tales: Stories from Marginal Cultures and Regional Languages, an initiative of the Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies, Hyderabad.
To be honest, I judged this book by its cover–in fact, I was totally intrigued by it. The illustrations by Rakhi Peswani are commendable. The story evokes the familiar imagery from Rabindranath Tagore’s famous story ‘Kabuliwala’. There is a young girl, an ‘outsider’, a social outcast; and the familiar attachment between the two of them. It even has the same gut-wrenching scene of the outsider being taken away from society after establishing a tender bond with the little girl. The big difference between ‘Kabuliwala’ and ‘The Sackclothman’ is that Kabuliwala was narrated from the father’s point of view while the latter is narrated by the girl.

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