The India-culture boom of post 84 years has almost bypassed vernacular literature, the Spic Macayian increase in the tribe of Hindustani/Carnatic music and dance lovers notwithstanding. All to the credit then of editors Iqbal Narain and Lothar Lutze to take on the compilation of seven papers presented at the VIII European Conference on Modern South Asian Studies (held in Sweden in 1983).
The late Hindi poet Gajanan Madhav Muktibodh was in the habit of asking all creative writers he met, ‘Partner, tumhari politics kya hai?’ (what is your political stand?). Quite a few dilettante writers who considered politics man-made, therefore too earthy and therefore too destructive of dreams and intuition, were taken aback by his blunt query.
Happily all the essays in the volume recognize the fact that man’s political life is more intimately an expression of the general quality of his imaginative life, than we are in the habit of noticing.