Indian literature / translation

BANALATA SEN

Jibanananda Das
Translation and Introduction
Sunandan Roy Chowdhury
Jibanananda Das (1899-1954) is widely accepted as the most important Bengali poet since Rabindranath Tagore. Das lived as a poet and died as a poet — a tragic death hit by a tramcar in south Calcutta. He taught English literature, wrote in Bengali and lived his life in the rural world of eastern Bengal and in the colonial/post-colonial metropolis of Calcutta. Das wrote poetry, novels, short fiction and published only a small part of his harvest. Most of his work has been published posthumously. His dream-poems created a new language for a generation of Bengali dreamers and created a poet´s landscape where civilisation´ss life merged with nature´s, man´ss longing for feminine love merged with the angst of a time ridden by war, violence and political meanings. banalata sen, a landmark in Bengali and Indian literature, was published in 1952, just two years before the poet´s death. The poems touch upon philosophy, politics, nature, universe and love. It scripts a world of the universal mysteries of time, space, stars, skies and oceans, and also a time of quiet beauty in the world of pigeons, owls, vultures, wild ducks — the poet´s playmates in the flight of imagination in his city of time. The poet does not preach ecology but lives it, here is the Bengali intellectual who does not create the impoverished peasantry of clas and dogma, but blows life into the imagery of a lover farmer. Jibanananda´s social views quietly challenge power, his nature questions universalism, his timelessness scripts a new time.

Sunandan Roy Chowdhury is publisher of SAMPARK and translates both into Bengali and from Bengali to English. He writes poetry in Bengali and in English

 

Indian Literature  ⁄  Women´s Writing

BEYOND BANGALORE

Kannada Short Stories by Women Writers
Edited by Kruti R.
In this anthology of short stories by contemporary Kannada women writers, the editor has put together representative voices of last three decades. The authors included here come from variety of communities, from diverse cultural and regional backgrounds and draw on different literary influences in creating their own writing styles. Two of the authors are based outside Karnataka,in the metropolis of Mumbai, several are based in the now very cosmopolitan Bangalore, while others live in small cities and towns through out Karnataka. Some of the authors are academics, while others are professionals and yet others are homemakers. Among these stories there are several that bear the mark of modern style that dominated Kannada writing in the mid 20th century. There are others that are influenced by more recent politically charged literary movements such as the dalit assertion.

Kruti R. is a sociologist by training and she has been active in the worlds of literature, theatre and arts.

 

Indian literature  ⁄  translations  ⁄  women´s writing

BEYOND KERALA

Malayalam Short Stories by Women Writers
Edited by Nirmala Aravind & Prema Jayakumar

The 1930s were a period of turbulence in Kerala´s society. In the inner courtyards and kitchens, there was an awakening among the women of Kerala; the injustice of patriarchy was keenly felt, along with a yearning for education, and a fuller participation in social life. Beginning with pioneering writers, Lalithambika Antharjanam and K. Saraswathy Amma, both of whom were rebels in their own way, the collection showcases writers ranging from the gentle Rajalakshmi to the ironic Chandramukhi. The motif of Manasi´s ‘Snow Bird’ is the morbid angst of a woman who faces solitude in the midst of her family, while Sara Joseph´s ‘Chhaya Padam’ exposes the unpleasant truths behind the fa├žade of a prosperous household, in the words of the much loved matriarch who looks back, not with nostalgia, but revulsion. Gracy´s ‘Parvati Exits’ has a devious, selfcentred beauty for its protagonist. Valsara´s ‘Chamundi Kuzhi’, Geeta Hiranyan´s ‘Asanghanditha’ and Ashita´s ‘Shivena Sahanarthanam’ portray different facets of the challenges confronting women, in very individual styles. The anthology includes young writers, A. S. Priya and K. R. Meera. Priya´s is a voice of fine sensitivity, while Meera is bold and irreverent. Malayalam women writers have a wide and discerning audience within Kerala. It is hoped that effective translations will introduce a pan-Indian readership to these well crafted and thought provoking stories

Prema Jayakumar is a translator and columnist whose work was shortlisted for the Crossword Prize for 2005. Nirmala Aravind is a writer and former editor of ‘Katha’. Both Prema and Nirmala are based in Kochi.