Karna’s wife – The Outcaste’s Queen By Kavita Kane

An Overview

Dr. Payal Trivedi

There are events in life we feel we have the RIGHT to change and there are those that make us powerless, Kavita Kane’s novel Karna’s wife – The Outcast’s Queen brings both these facets of life into prominence. As a primary subject matter, the audacity of princess Uruvi to choose Karna, the son of the sutaputra, the charioteer over the royal prince Arjuna as a valiant reformation and comes to the readers as a pleasant surprise. Nonetheless, her powerlessness as a wife to change her husband’s course of improper action is more than evident as Uruvi sees Karna meet the dire consequences of being susceptible to his dutiful adherence towards Duryodhana and his inherent disagreement with the Pandavas.

Despite all her wishful thinking that her husband would come to terms with the truth of being misguided by vengeance towards the Pandavas Uruvi is unable to deviate Karna from the path of his own destruction. This brings us to the acknowledgement of a woman’s opinion being of secondary or negligible importance in a man’s life in spite of it being true. At the same time, Uruvi’s strong denial to be subservient to her man’s choice of being indulgent in his decision of supporting the wrong is a defiance of the conformist notions that subject a woman to blindly consent to her man’s beliefs. When she leaves Karna and opts for a reclusive life away from all the obligations of being a dutiful wife, we see this as the author’s appreciable effort towards dethroning the regular assumptions of modernity towards traditional figures as essentially submissive.

The ending of novel does evoke a sense of resignation towards fate and undoubtedly seems to be a conventional approach towards understanding life. Krishna becomes a clairvoyant messenger in informing Uruvi that she cannot change the predestined fate of her son and cannot escape the massacre of war by just evading the truth of her being a warrior’s wife and her son being the posterity of a royal clan – Angaraj. Nonetheless, this very conventional approach exposes the unspoken or often avoided truth of life as a preordained karmic cycle which is inescapable. While we know for the fact that individual reaps the fruit of one’s own karma, the same fact leads us to acknowledge the fated destiny in case of Karna that brought him to his helpless death end. It is Karna’s own choice that brings his downfall but that same choice was made not out of his own choice to be with the wrong doers. His unfortunate destiny of being Kunti’s illegitimate child was instrumental in shaping up the course of events in his life; an undeniable truth. Kane adopts a more subtle but an effective mode of unravelling the fact of life being a perplexing arena of the constant feud between fate and deeds. This universally pertinent message makes this novel interesting, appealing and even mysteriously absorbing in its own regard.

Bookmark: New Age Theories for Architectural Practice by Prof. Sagar Desai

Architectural Practice

About the Book
This book is based on the practical aspects of Architectural Profession in India, which the students in their final year of Bachelor of Architecture must understand before being exposed to the professional world. This book throws light on various topics in a concise form with simplified understanding. Some of the topics like banking and introduction to financial markets etc. are also included to help the students understand the system of monetary circulation.

The Book has received appreciation from teachers and students alike:
Good to read! Students are finding it engrossing and readable. It highlights important aspects and contemporary developments in the subject. Some readers of the subject have described it as a ready-reckon-er for the students and budding professionals.
Author had made sure that book covers all essential topics. Its a comprehensive compilation of the entire syllabus and very easy to understand. Topics covered are like a to-do list for a young professional:
Chapter 1 Role of an Architect.
Chapter 2 Duties, Powers and Functions of Architects.
Chapter 3 Professional Works & Scale of Charges.
Chapter 4 Valuation & Introduction of banking & Financial Markets.
Chapter 5 Contracts, Tenders & introduction to Easements.
Chapter 6 Opening an Architect`s Office, from Small to Mid-Size.

About the Author
Prof. Sagar Desai is currently working as an Associate Professor, at P P Savani University, Surat. He graduated from SCET (Sarvajanik College of Engineering & Technology), Surat and pursued his Post Graduation from CEPT University, Ahmedabad. He is also an IGBC-AP (Indian Green Building Council-Accredited Professional). With an extensive experience in academia & as a professional he has also contributed at Calcutta Riverside Project. As a researcher his area of interest is smart cities and published many papers on the same. He is actively involved in Institutional Consultancy Projects at various places and also in the board of certain international institutes for research paper reviews. Not only this he has also pursued PG Diploma in Urban Planning and Environmental Development & Sustainability. He is in continues process of knowledge gaining and sharing through workshops and lecture series like GICEA (The Gujarat Institute of Civil Engineers & Architects).

Preface by the Author
It gives me great pleasure to introduce this book for Architecture students studying Professional Practice. Often, I have observed that the professor in the class keeps talking about contracts although he may be explaining it very well but the students does not seem to understand. After thorough introspection I realized that its now time to add few more topics to the entire subject like, to understand contract and its formation better. One needs to understand what a company is? What banking and financial markets are? This is an effort where utmost care is taken to be precise, to the point and include only what an architect is required to understand. The main audiences of this book are students studying Professional Practice in their final year. Many difficult topics are simplified. This is an effort by an architect for the upcoming architects to understand the scenario better.

Mail: [email protected]

Its available on amazon

Aneeta Chitale: Sojourn to Maldives – Book Review / Interview

Book Cover: Sojourn to Maldives

Manohar Khushalani: You are a poetess at heart Aneeta Chitale, and, with an anthology to be released soon, how did you think of writing a novel?

Ans.  I have been penning poems since the age of eleven. I used to write and keep them as treasures! I was a bit shy I think when it came to presenting it. But I had strong streaks of an artist; I was very active in theatre and writing, even during my Pune University days. 

Q2. Can you tell more about your journey as an: “ Appreciated Poet-from India”. You have just received “Gujarat Sahitya Academy Certificate from Government of India Year 2020- and Motivational Strips” the largest Forum for writers all over the world.

Ans. I have been very fortunate to write poems on varied topics, especially on the environment, unprecedented times of the Covid 19 – where life has become a challenge to lead a normal lifestyle. I wrote on a wonderful theme: ‘Striving For Survival’ collection of my poems OPA Forum, out of which three of my poems have featured in OPA International Magazine this year. I am happy to say that my poems were selected from more than 600 + poems from Global Poets-

Most of my poems are on Europe’s most acclaimed ‘atunis.portal’. I am most humbled by The Chief Editor Sir Agron Shele’

My poems ‘ The Three Witches’,’ Gypsy’ and ‘Rhapsody’ made waves. The Best Poets almost 162- contributed to a Quarterly [email protected] E- magazine/Print Year-2020 & For the month –July 2020. And the best part was I have got accolades & given an ‘International Spot Light- from The Government of Seychelles – Island and by World’s Largest Forum Motivational Strips.’ My three poems were widely read: Devi, Grasshopper and Himalayas.

I give my sincere ‘Thanks’ to Ms. Maggie Vijay Kumar & Sir Shiju H. Pallithzeth Founder President of (MS) Motivational Strips.

Recently on 17th August 2020, I received the news that my writings; my novel “Sojourn To Maldives” and poems have been ‘Globally’ appreciated and in India as well overseas. I also write in ‘Bi-Lingual’ journals. Have contributed to few journals especially in Egypt and Greece.

Aneeta Chitale : Author

Q3. You have been associated with the teaching profession for the last twenty years in different countries. How did writing happen to you amid such a demanding lifestyle?

Ans. I have been lucky enough to have travelled to different foreign countries like Sultanate of Oman, UK, and The Republic of Maldives during my long service, in teaching filed. When you are working abroad, you have to work hard and cope up with the international standards, and which is highly qualitative work according to the quality frameworks. I have taught to the ‘Sophomores’ which again is very challenging, but at the same time very eclectic I should say. I was always on new locations and amidst the ‘multi-cultural’ society, which provoked me to write. I had been writing in my diary all along. It was only recently, I could write the full novel. I had to write brick by brick, I must admit.

Q4. Having travelled to various countries across the globe; why did you choose Maldives as the setting of your debut novel, ‘Sojourn to Maldives’?

Ans.  The Republic of Maldives  is an archipelagos, it is formed by a chain of tiny islands; one thousand, one hundred and ninety-nine islands. It’s situated to the south west of India, in the Indian Ocean. It has bioluminous beaches and most exotic water villas, in the whole world. I was mesmerized by the turquoise   green waters and the   serenity, and its unique topography. Some islands are absolutely remote and miniscule and situated in the deep ocean. When I saw all this, I was fascinated and I knew this was the going to haunt me.  Much later, it emerged as a backdrop for my debut novel.  Maldives is famous for adventure- water sports

Q5. How is the story of Aari, and Brad in ‘Sojourn to Maldives’ different from the run of the mill romance?

Ans. The protagonist in the novel, Aari is a strong willed woman of today, who has embarked her professional journey on the islands of Maldives. She is an ‘expatriate’ who   faces many challenges in her personal and professional life. She explores the new found land. She meets Bard Marquez, a Spaniard, who is an ‘International Champion’ a wind surfer, on these exotic islands; quite by chance the romance blossoms.  But the islands of Maldives have a political unrest and fate plays its part. Brad is an adventure freak, an   novum and Aari an aficionado of altruism! The relationship has a roller coaster ride! It is for the readers to find out. I would say.

Q6. What kind of research you had to conduct before writing this book which touches on the “political dimensions” between the two counties- India and The Republic of Maldives?

Ans. I had to do extensive research, as my novel is set in the backdrop of the Indian Ocean. The life on the ocean and especially on the remote island; is in total contrast compared to the urban lifestyle I have lived in India. The ocean routes, the seafarer’s and the boat journeys, was minutely, studied by me. The Muslim culture is the fabric woven in this novel. The social, cultural and religious beliefs and sentiments are much valued, respected and penned by me. The ‘Political Crisis’ is the discerning perspective here and it is a glaring reality, portrayed by me.

Q7. As an Indian author, writing a novel of this magnitude depicting an era of ‘Political Turbulence’ how difficult was it for you to incorporate the real – socio cultural milieu in your novel?

Ans.  This writing is not just a piece of fiction but it has charted the ‘International Boundaries and routes’ inked with skirmish between India and Maldives. Being a neighbor, have its pros and cons.

The turbulent times between the years spanning from 2008 to 2014 is presented on the canvas. The relations between the two countries were totally raptured in this era. The entire plethora of Indian nationals and foreigners   had gone berserk. I had to study it in detail and follow it consistently.

Q8. Your bio describes you as a ‘Solo Traveller’ round the globe. How has this helped you groom as a Poet/author?

  I got my highs and lows both in this journey as a teacher.  But ‘Highs’ has a price tag too! One learns to be more independent minded, be more brave and learn to face challenges with a smile! As an ‘Expatriate Teacher’ you have to walk on the unchartered routes be it on an ocean or a desert. You have to walk that extra-mile.  I had to face many obstacles too and the moment you leave your native country, and after the initial euphoria has died, one is left in a vacuum. That time is most difficult and one has to mature as a person. Being solo – as my son was very young that time. And I had to leave him in India with my parents and my husband. One learns from the book of life! There is no gain without pain.

Q9.  With an anthology to be soon published how did you think of writing a novel?

Ans.  I have been penning poems since the age of eleven. I used to write and keep them as treasures! I was a bit shy I think, when it came to presenting it. But I had strong streaks of an artist; I was very active in theatre and writing, even during my Pune University days.  But this novel is a surprise for me. I had my stories talking to me.  Writing a book is a huge task. I had the passion for writing for sure. Being an artist has always paved my way to success. I have done a small role in a Marathi movie when I was 21 years old.

Q10. You have written a story on ‘India’s Bi-Lateral Relations with Maldives’. Can you shed some light on this international relationship between the two countries?

Ans. Maldives is our neighboring country and has got a great strategic importance in ‘The Indian Ocean’. The recent political crisis had turned the friendly ties, into a feud with this nation.  There was a dark patch that altered the relations between the two neighboring counties for more than a decade. But India has always been very helpful and friendly. The other great powers, like China had a major role to play a gambit. But the bilateral relations were handled very sensitively by the Indian High Commissioner and Ambassador India, His Highness Dnyaneshwar Mulay -To the Republic of Maldives. Indian High Commission did a commendable job then. Indian Defence Services did a brilliant job, with the precision of eagle’s eye.

  One has to read the story, to know about it.

Q11. In this book you have touched on ‘global the water’ crisis?  Do you think this is a burning question even in Maldives?

Ans.  The one thousand and one hundred and ninety one islands of Maldives   have its own fate to face. With the sea levels rising everyday a great climatic shift is going to happen any time in future. The land which is habitable is only 300 kms and the mineral   water is most scare here. One has to depend on the two monsoons- this country gets annually. The rain water is the most treasured resource and some islands are totally isolated and if the water perishes there is no future for these islands. Rain water harvesting is a great practice Water is a Global Crisis. Indeed.

Q12. Which authors have influenced you the most in your journey as a writer?

Ans. I have be most impressed with the writings of Khushwant Singh, Girish Karnad, JK Rowling. Poets like Pablo Naruda , S. Coleridge, Maya Angelou and Rabindranath Tagore.

Margaret Mitchell, William Shakespeare. I have always loved reading Henrik Ibsen’s plays.

Q13. With a large number of paperbacks, as well as ebooks being published, how difficult is it for the emerging authors/ poets to sustain the competition?

Ans. I think writing world has got its highest spurt now and the eBooks and paperbacks are both equally, relevant in todays’ fast paced, high tech world.  It is a healthy world, where one has both the choices available. But it’s always a great pleasure, to hold the fresh mint paperback copy in your hands. New authors have to learn to ride over this wave.

Q14.  In today’s publishing world, a constant debate is going on about ‘Traditional vs Self-Publication’, what is your take on this?

Ans. I am sure the new authors/poets have a great choice to make and enjoy the benefits of Self-Publishing too. One can be happy to self-publish his/ her work, than be frustrated about not being approved by the traditional publishing houses.  Both has it’s plus and minus points, I feel.

Q15.  What is the message you would like to convey to the budding authors/ poets?

Ans.  If you have the skill and desire to write you must write and not be in a dilemma, should I or shouldn’t I write?  You must follow your heart’s passion. Writing should be a long term affair. There is no short cut to success.

Leading scholar of Indian classical dance, architecture, art history, culture Kapila Vatsyayan no more

Kapila Vatsyayan in her younger days.

Dr Kapila Vatsyayan passed away peacefully at her residence (No.85, SFS Flats, Gulmohar Enclave, New Delhi), Wednesday 16th September, 2020 at about 0900 hrs, this morning, . She was a leading scholar of Indian classical dance, art, architecture, and art history. Many people felt she was the most authoritative commentator on these subjects.

She was formerly a member of parliament and also served as Secretary to the Government of India in the Ministry of Education, where she was responsible for the establishment of a large number of national institutions of higher education. She served as the founding director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. She was former President of India International Centre (IIC) and an IIC Life Trustee and the Chairperson of the IIC International Research Division. Bornon 25 December 1928 she was over 91 when she passed away

In 1970, Vatsyayan received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour conferred by the Sangeet Natak Akademi, India’s national academy for music, dance and drama; this was followed by the Lalit Kala Akademi Fellowship, the highest honour in the fine arts conferred by Lalit Kala Akademi, India’s national academy for fine arts in 1995. In 2011, the Government of India bestowed upon her the Padma Vibhushan, India’s second highest civilian honour.

Lamenting her demise, Film actor Sharmila Tagore said “I guess the final curtain comes to us all. I too have had some endearing moments with her.There was so much to learn from her.I admired & was inspired by her. Today where do we see people like her? With her knowledge & drive?Who is there to appreciate her legacy?”

About Charan Das Sidhu and his Plays by Manohar Khushalani

Dr. C. D. Sidhu

Shakespeare’s Daughter & Other Plays

Shakespeare's Daughter & Other Plays
College Will Be Closed Tomorrow

This article was supposed to be a book review, but because one had known the playwright, Dr. Charan Das Sidhu, so intimately, the personal note is unavoidable. My mind races back to 1978 when I started my theatre career with Badal Sircar’s ‘There is No End’ an English rendition of his Bengali play ‘Shesh Nei’ directed by Tejeshwar Singh. Among the elite IIC Theatre Club audience was a stocky, dark, bespectacled professor of English from Hans Raj College, Delhi University, who spoke in what I later came to know as his irreverently rude but affectionate style. I saw this gentleman again in the next play that I acted in; Utpal Dutt’s Chayanat directed by Rati Bartholomew, and also the next and the next. Out of the 47 odd plays that I acted in, he was invariably there in the audience. This is not to suggest that he was a fan of mine or a critic who was following my career vigorously. I saw him invariably in the audience even in the hundreds of plays in which I too was in the audience. Dr. C.D. Sidhu was an avid theatre connoisseur who can take your breath away by the intensity and seriousness with which he follows theatre of all kinds, good bad and ugly. No wonder that when the Sahitya Akademi Award winner set out to write his first play in his mother tongue, Punjabi, it had to have the wisdom of so much theatre distilled into his script.

May 1979 was the first time I saw the play ‘Bhajno’, written, produced and directed by Dr. Sidhu was in ‘theth’ (pure) Punjabi as it is spoken in rural Punjab. It was a refreshing experience. Because it was very different from the urban Punjabi dialect one had heard all the time in Delhi. The spoken dialect was earthy and one became aware for the first time of the great depth in this vivacious language. The same can be said about his other plays such as Baba Bantu. These plays were also staged at a time when Punjabi theatre had got associated with double entendres. By contrast his theatre came like a breath of fresh air. Writers Workshop has come out with an English translation of his collected works under the title ‘Shakespeare’s Daughter & other plays’ and who could be more competent than the English professor to do it himself. In fact he is also a well known expert on GBS and his book The Pattern of Tragicomedy in Bernard Shaw (published by Bahri and Sons) is a study on Shaw’s dramatic work in the light of his theory of drama in general and of tragicomedy in particular. Some of his students, like Vinod Dua, swear by him as an English literature teacher. “He introduced me to Shaw whose ‘outlook to life’ and Dr. Sidhu’s ‘act of life’ have been a great source of inspiration for me.” Vinod also recalls that although Sidhu was a MA PhD from University of Wisconsin, he wasn’t a victim of snobbery. In fact he had no hesitation in even teaching English BA pass course students – something that lesser qualified Professors would consider infra dig. In those early days of theatre funds were not easily available (not that things have changed radically now) Sidhu was known to have produced his plays by withdrawing funds from his provident fund. Sidhu has been awarded both as a playwright and as a Director. Although opinion about him as a director may vary, there are no two opinions about his abilities as a playwright.

While the scope of this review is not to go into each of the plays in great depth but one will dwell briefly on them in general Indumati and Satyadev was the first play that Dr. Sidhu wrote, way back in 1973 but it saw the light of day many years later. It was planned as a sequel to Kalidas’s Shakuntala. On the surface it appears to be about conflict between Aryans and Tribals. It inks some of his early thoughts about nations, war, peace, truth & falsehood. He has used Icons like Rama, Ravana, Krishna, Manu, Chanakya freely to project the viewpoints they represent and some times his own opinions about the way the lead their life. Laxman is the devoted keeper of his brother, Rama, whose wife he worships while neglecting his own Baba Bantu is about a feudal lord Sarban and his terrorizing a bonded labourer, Bantu, who is also an expert on curing people from snake bites. Bantu has been blessed with these powers on the condition that he cannot refuse to cure anybody of snake bites. While the Landlord sexually exploits Bantu’s daughter, Satti, the landlord’s wife does the same to his son, Bihari – using him as a sex object. In a series of twists and turns, Bihari is electrocuted and Sarban snake bitten but Bantu refuses to heal the oppressor and loses his power of healing in the process. The College Will Be Closed Tomorrow is a seething expose of University politics that cuts mercilessly across political as well as hierarchic divide. Built around a sex scandal and a suicide, it spares neither the leftist nor the rightist, neither the teacher nor the student. Each of the scripts is radical and also radically different from each other. Shakespeare’s Daughter is about the personal renaissance of a newly married Kamla who overcomes her timidity and shyness to emerge as a bold and daring writer thanks to a visitation of William Shakespeare in her dream. The girl is beset with typical in-law problems related to Dowry taunts and blames of Infertility but finally dares to leave her husband – her famous last line to her husband, Dwarka, “I may be a sinner. With Shakespeare’s King Henry V I repeat:

But if it be a sin to covet honour
I am the most offending soul alive
I will continue to commit this sin!
I will continue to covet honour!
All my life!

That thought in fact seems to be the basic string in all his plays. The search for dignity truth and honour

Barun Chanda’s Murder in the Monastery: A Mini Review / Raj Ayyar

Barun Chanda’s ‘Murder in the Monastery’: A Mini Review

‘It rained unseasonably in the afternoon–a sudden shower that came without warning. High winds moaned through the glass panes of windows. People ran indoors.
Blue streaks of lightning zigzagged through dark clouds, freezing the raindrops mid-air. Then came the hailstorm.
In no time at all, the courtyard turned snow white.
Gusts of wind made the prayer flags flap loudly in protest.’
–Barun Chanda: Murder in the Monastery.
Unfortunately, the sun comes out a little too soon, just after the Gothic build up!
I have mixed feelings about this murder mystery set in a Tibetan Buddhist monastery high up in Sikkim, with splendid Himalayan views, and a cast of eccentric characters some murderous.
I’d say–one thumb up, and one thumb down for Barun Chanda’s second thriller translated from Bengali to English.
I don’t know why Chanda, a maverick actor (even had a role in Satyajit Ray’s ‘Seemabaddha’), cum executive cum author is considered the daddy of the Bengali adult thriller. Though Satyajit Ray wrote his Feluda mysteries for kids, I suspect more adults than kids read them these days. Ditto for Saradindu Bandyopadhyay’s Byomkesh Bakshi.
The text situates itself initially within the whodunit genre, with detective Avinash Roy and his sidekick Pradyot, surrounded by a host of suspects, many of them European expats of dubious credentials. However, it flip flops over to a Dan Brown style thriller, complete with a missing secret manuscript about Jesus spending time not during the missing years, but after his alleged death, at a Buddhist monastery in Kashmir.
The manuscript zealously guarded in a basement vault by the good Buddhist monks at Chanda’s Dengziang monastery in Sikkim. Yet it vanishes leaving a distraught abbot, tense monks running around, and two murders linked to the missing manuscript.
Chanda, unlike Dan Brown, manages a credible, minimalist diplomatic secularism–though the murderer is s hired goon of some Christian sect or other, Chanda does not point fingers at the Catholic church or Opus Dei, a la Brown in ‘The Da Vinci Code’.
I liked the erotic undercurrents in the novel overall–the steamy one-night stand between Miriam the fair-skinned Coorgi Catholic nun novice and Tenzing, the fully grown adolescent Buddhist monk novice, is deliberately understated and leaves the reader’s pornographic imagination to fill in the details.
However, Chanda is resolutely heterocentric, and his detective marginalizes suggestions of monkish gay sex with a disapproving homophobic sniff, that is implied, not expressed.
Well worth a read at an airport, or on a long airplane ride.
Raj Ayyar

Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism

Book Mark

 Book Review and Book Launch Coverage
Divya Raina

Muhammad Iqbal

A well-attended panel discussion at the India International Centre Annexe held last month (December 23, 2008) more than made up for my disappointment at the sudden cancellation (on Eid) of a public lecture at the same venue in the same month. The occasion was the launch of Professor Javed Majeed’s book,Muhammad Iqbal: Islam, Aesthetics and Postcolonialism, published by Routledge. Professor Majeed was in town for the occasion along with his wife, Swarna Aiyar, who is a historian in her own right. A good omen that Professor Majeed referred to about the book’s launch was that on their trip to Agra the previous day, their guide to the Taj Mahal was, coincidentally, also called Muhammad Iqbal!

Javed Majeed is Professor of Postcolonial Studies at Queen Mary, University of London, and his book is the first in the Routledge series “Pathfinders”. The series editor, Dilip M. Menon, who introduced the author and flagged off the proceedings, explained how the series is planned to reflect India’s intellectual, literary, artistic and cultural traditions. They are aimed at the general reader as well as those who have an academic interest in the subject.

In his brief address and introduction to the book, Professor Majeed quoted historian Romila Thapar’s statement about the “tyranny of labels” and how stereotyping of the kind that exists in today’s context is particularly dangerous and how this study in particular provides a complex and detailed account of Iqbal so that it is no longer possible to appropriate him into any one political agenda.

In fact, the book aims to show how Iqbal combined a variety of positions in his texts, and how the tensions between these positions were kept in play in his poetry. Further, the book attempts to reveal how the style in which Iqbal’s poems imagine an Islamic community, both globally and within South Asia, distinguish the nature of that community. It identifies how Iqbal used and inverted Persian and Urdu aesthetic traditions to imagine a global Muslim community and an Islamicised postcolonial identity. Apparently, it was through complex inversions and appropriations of tradition that Iqbal created what the author calls “harmoniously dissonant verse” in which the relationships between an innovative individual selfhood and a reconstructed Islam were figured.

Apart from the author those who also spoke on the occasion were Professor Alok Rai from the Department of History and Professor Farhat Hasan from the Department of History, both of Delhi University. Shammi Mamik, Publisher, Routledge India, proposed a vote of thanks and with a couple of questions from the audience, the evening came to an end.

Details about the book:

Name of the book : Mohammad Iqbal:Islam, Aesthetics  and Postcolonialism
Name of the author : Javed Majeed
Name of the Publisher: Routledge
Price not known

Available at:
Taylor and Francis Books India Pvt Ltd,
512 Mercantile House,
15 Kasturba Gandhi Marg,
New Delhi: 110 001.

Tel.: (00 91 11)  23706110 (Direct), 23712131
Fax: (00 91 11) 23712132


Book Mark – Saath Chalte Hué • Rowing Together

Meenakshi F Paul  Reviews the Book of Poems which will be read out live by the two poetesses at IIC on April the 28th 

Rowing_Together Front

 Poet to poet translation, infrequent in the past, is gradually increasing as a dynamic collaboration between creative imaginations. Transcreation requires sensitivity, understanding, felicity with words, sensibility and imagination to avoid being wooden and clumsy. Often, writers are averse to their works being translated because the process becomes a mere faithful rendering, rather than catching the essence and flavour of the work.

Therefore, it is a good idea to have poets translate each other’s writings, thus, giving the poems a whole new persona in clothes of different fabrics and hues while preserving the essential grain and spirit of the inspiration. Since 2005, the collaborative “Poet to Poet Translation Project” of Cove Park Resource Centre, British Council Scotland, and Edinburgh:UNESCO City of Literature successfully showcased how mutual transcreations across cultures and languages may be rewarding, both for the poets and for the readers. In India, Sukrita and Savita Singh have brought together Saath Chalte Hué • Rowing Together with reciprocal transcreation of poems into Hindi and English. This commendable creative cooperation between the two poets reveals how creative egos are channelled to a rich partnership; as both claim each other’s poetry for themselves, imbuing them with their own colours through the prisms of their experience and imagination. The title evokes the words of Sri Chinmoy: “O my friend, / Let us claim each other first. / then let us walk together / Towards our destined goals.” This kinship is apparent throughout the ambulations of the poets alongside each other.

The rendering of Saath Chalte Hué into Rowing Together, or vice-versa, is an apt pointer to the travellers who veer away from the everyday and the obvious to burrow deep into the undiscovered, the unexplored. ‘Rowing’ suggests the effort made in concert, the delight of the voyage and the joy of arrival. It also gives weight to the importance of mutual trust and equal energy and commitment in the enterprise.

 The poems are divided thematically into eight sections with poems by Sukrita and Singh in the original juxtaposed with the transcreated versions. The name of the ‘original’ writer is given at the bottom of the page, the translation alongside is by the poet rowing with her. Both blend seamlessly together largely because of the empathy between the poets, which helps them encompass not only the words but also the silences of the poems.

 The first section: Hona • Being has eight poems, five by Sukrita and three by Singh. The poems revolve round the desire to be and the trepidation of the unknown. “Jab Saanp Ashray ke Liye Aaye • When the Snakes Came for Shelter” by Sukrita is a powerful and intense poem, which uses the symbol of the snakes to foreground the struggle for freedom inZimbabwe and the continued peacetime battle against treachery and oppression of women everywhere. The translation into Hindi, for the most part, matches the English and is able to catch the sinister undertone admirably: “Her long dark limbs / Glistened /And entwined in the coiling / snakes/ As darkness slithered / Towards the break of dawn / Haunting Salvador Dali”—“Uske chharharey kaley ang / Chamakte thhé / gunthhe hué kundali marte / saanpon se / Jab pahuncha andhera rengta hua / Bhor ke ujale ki taraf / Salvador Dali ko haunt karta hua”. Singh’s “Prem ke Baare Mein • Of Love” captures the lost promise of Sylvia Plath’s life and the poetry she could have created. The pathos of her death in lonesomeness and despair questions the man-woman relationship and the haloed idea of love.

The second theme: Srijana • Creating has five poems by Singh and four by Sukrita. Singh’s poems explore the agonizing process of writing, of translating the imagined on paper: “For some times now / A poem lay within me / I told her wait as yet […] / Why is life for such as us / so troubled / So difficult” (“Hum Jaison ka Jivan • Life of Such as Us”). In “Gallery Mein • In the Gallery” Sukrita dextrously interplays images of steel, human flesh and trees to underscore the paradoxes of livings just like the tree trunks as pieces of art can be “A withering or a blossoming”.

Section three entitled: Anyata • Othering consists of four poems by Singh and three by Sukrita. Singh uses concrete imagery in “Sara ka Sundar Badan • Sarah’s Beautiful Body”, “Allen ka Dost • Allen’s Friend”, and “Ruth ka Sapna • Ruth’s Dream” to evoke alienation and emptiness. Singh employs the snow motif in many poems to underline the difficult and the sad but, paradoxically, desired experience by the poet. Sukrita’s poems are musings on the life of the elderly in a materialistic and individualistic society (“America mein Budhate Hué • Ageing inAmerica”) and of the homeless but spirited poor in the workers’ world (“Hum Beghar • We the Homeless”) The poems are vignettes of the close ‘other’ within us who we are afraid to encounter. “Sunami ke Snapshots • Tsunami Snapshots” brings out the fundamental unease of the poet with the random draw of hand by natureprovidence. The helplessness of a sensitive mind while grappling with the tsunamic ironies and paradoxes of life is feelingly articulated.

The fourth theme: Nirkhana • Seeing contains four poems each by the two poets. Sukrita delves into the ineffable bond between mothers and daughters. The continuity of ties in womanhood through the generations is represented by the unsevered umbilical cord of the heart. The pain of birthing and separation is placed hopefully and contrapuntally to the joy of oneness: “I am, / I know now, / my mother, / as you / are yours” (“Itihas • History”). Singh’s poems vivify the objectification and suppression of woman as well as her joys and strivings. “Jaise Ek Stree Janati Hai • The Way a Woman Knows” brings out these themes in an interesting metaphor: “Who can get to know the body/ As a woman would / Who can know which boat she can make with it / Which river she can cross.”

Section five: Palna • Nurturing puts together three poems each by Singh and Sukrita. Singh evokes nature imagery in her attempts to “make a nest” of belonging and identification in the face of disjointedness: “Once when I told them my name / I too am a tree I explained / Every tree refused to recognize me”. Sukrita, once again, bridges the past and the present, the self and the other with resonant simplicity. An example of her layered verse is apparent in (“Ant se Prarambh • End from the Beginning”, in which the primordial forest with an unfathomable well is seen “inviting lovers / to come down the spiral steps / carved on his chest, / to reach the womb of time / and touch the / beginnings of history”).

The sixth theme: Chintana • Reflecting has one poem by Singh and four by Sukrita. The mood in this section is contemplative and gentle with nature imagery and the theme of bonding foregrounded once more. In this section, despite the loss there is an undercurrent of hope as is made clear in these words: “A suspended story, a void / That was filled / By you and you, / My children” (“Chetana Pravah • Stream of Consciousness”). The seventh section: Pira • Suffering consists of three poems by Sukrita and two by Singh. The section begins with an extremely penetrating “Akhet • The Hunt” on the Gujarat riots in the larger perspective of the brutal, mindless violence in the cycle of creation and destruction, of karma and retribution. It resurrects the: “Ghosts of unborn children / not resting till / they enter bodies of / their killers and of / those who raped their mothers”. All the poems in this section make for compelling reading in these times of escalating intolerance and schisms in society. The pain and the mourning of women seek sanity in the encompassing reality where Singh laments: “So many wounds on the body / Many more on the mind / Even more on the map of the country” (“Desh ke Manchitra Par • On the Map of the Country”).

 The final section, entitled: Basera • Dwelling, houses three poems by Sukrita and five by Singh. “Bevafa Yaadein • Unloyal Memory” uses crisp imagery of a locked-up house to capture the nebulous eroding of remembrances with every re-memorying. “Jo Narcissus ke Saath Dub Gaya • That which Drowned with Narcissus” is a yearning for beauty that is unalloyed, perfect. “Sach Kahin Chala Gaya • Truth has Wandered Away” is a longing for freedom and truth when “We are left only with lies now / That can take us far / […] Freedom is merely a suspect word / Power is the real issue.”

Saath Chalte Hué • Rowing Together is a navigation of the broad stream and the backwaters in camaraderie and team spirit. The distinct personalities of the poets complement each other even as they bring their own quintessence to the venture. The reader is taken into the boat as a partner who maps the passing landscape and the stopovers as the poets take up the oars. In midstream the currents of what is meant by ‘original’ work, interlanguage exchanges, and translation as creation are met and grappled with. The baggage of the supremacy of one language is tossed overboard for a lighter, smoother sailing. Both the oars, one of Hindi and one of English, are grasped with equal fervour and command. The craft of poetic creation and transcreation is finely balanced in the rhythm of the rowers. Thus, the deep clear waters as well as the tumultuous rapids of ideas, images and words are negotiated in tandem by both the poet-translators with fluid, clean, and assured strokes. There are, naturally, a few instances when a piece appears more forceful and flowing in one language than the other. For instance, in “When the Snakes Came for Shelter” these lines of underlying portent: “She smelt no danger / Nor did they, / there’d be no holding the venom / if they did”) are somewhat watered down in the Hindi rendering. However, such log jams are very small and occasional. They do not take a bit away from the captivating world that the poets take us to sight downstream. Many poems, such as “Hum Beghar • We the Homeless” obscure the barrier of the original with the transcreated. Each version is complete in itself. Both are ‘original’ even as one is a flawless transcreation of the other. In Saath Chalte Hué • Rowing Together the “signposts of having co-travelled” are clear and vivid as the two poet-translators inhabit each other’s imaginative worlds in words and in silences. Medha Singh’s sketches are beautiful icons of the themes and add to the experience of reading the verse. It is hoped that this excellent volume will fuel more such collaborative literary expeditions and discoveries.

Meenakshi F Paul is Associate Professor, HPU Centre for Evening Studies Shimla-171001 (courtesy www.confluence.org.uk)
Saath Chalte Hué • Rowing Together
by Sukrita Paul Kumar and Savita Singh.

New Delhi: Rajkamal, 2008, 179 pp.,
ISBN: 978-81-267-1465-0, Rs 250