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The Oxford India Anthology of Bengali Literature: 1861-1941 and 1941-1991 (Set of Two Volumes)

Item Code: IHJ004
Author: Kalpana Bardhan
Publisher: Oxford University Press, New Delhi
Language: English
Edition: 2010
ISBN: Vol.1 = 9780198064626
Vol.2 = 9780198064619
Pages: 938
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 9.0 Inch X 5.8 Inch
Weight 1.30 kg
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Book Description
From the Jacket

Rabindranath Tagore’s 1913 Nobel Prize in Literature helped renew interest in modern Indian literature and in particular Bengali Literature However by the mid nineteenth century Bengali literature had already come into its own distinguished itself in the genres of poetry short story novel and essays of intellection and reminiscence It grew through diverse and varied channels in the twentieth century a period of social change and upheaval

The Oxford India Anthology of Bengali Literature celebrates the richness and diversity of the literature spread across 130 years The two volume anthology represents around 100 writers and includes nearly 250 selection form poetry, short fiction and non fiction The chronological dividing lone of 1941 between the two volumes represents not just the end of an era with Tagor’s death but the beginning of a new period marked by traumatic changes in both Bengals amply reflected in the literature

Beginning with Michael Madhusudan Datta and the constantly evolving Rabindranath Tagore this volume moves on to other celebrate poets like Sukumar Ray Jibanananda Das Akzi Nazrul Islam, Jasim Uddin, Bishnu Dey, Buddhadeva Bose, Sudhindtanath Datta, and Samar Sen Similarly the short fiction and non fiction sections are characterized by chronological and varied selections many of them translated especially for this volume Extraordinary in literature merit the 100 odd selections stand out as important social documents affording rare glimpses of the age the social ethos and the writer’s perspective

Carefully selected and introduced the chronological listing of works by authors helps readers get a sense of the evolution of various literary genres and sub genres across one and a half centuries of literary creation Placing the writings in their historical context the introduction affords a broad conceptual understanding of the social political and cultural more of the times

One of the most representative collections of Bengali writings to come out in recent times, The Oxford India Anthology of Bengali Literature will appeal to anybody who enjoys good writing as well as students and scholars of comparative literature translation studies and Indian Literature in translation especially Bengali Literature


About the Author

Kalpana Bardhan a Ph D I economics has been involved in translating Bengali literature for the last two decades her era liter background in socio economic studies providing particular sensitivity to aspects of literature as social commentary She has produces six books including three collections of stories tow novels and Tagore song lyrics in translation one of their books received the prestigious Sahitya Akademi Award for best English translation in 1998


Introduction to the First Volume

The Subcontinent’s many living vermicular literatures have thrived and evolved engaging readers in rising million despite mss illiteracy as regional populations grew and education spread They have cross fertilized to an extent through direct translation and re translation of English translation though not to the extent needed In the past country with greater command of the English language native translations into English into the reader have grown in quantity and quality to turn English literatures in the regional bhasas or modern Indian languages helped the regional literature through translations and made them available to readers in English without access to the source languages This in a way helped produce English language writers of the Subcontinent The vernacular literature rich and varied thriving on large regional readership nut lacking in good translation suffered obscurity relative to not only the English reading world but also languages scholars English translations from the vernacular literature have been done in great numbers if no consistently well since Independence mainly for internal use through the officially decided curricula for school and college level English These translations usually have sponsorship funding and eager publishers/ outside of school and college curricula English translation of bhasa literature has depended aside form market and author cooperation on translator’s talent urge and willingness to put a lot of time in low paid mental labor

Coming to Bengali literature the exceptional success in braking our in the worlds was Tagor’s self translated Gitanjali winning the 1913 Nobel having London Macmillan as publisher and being re translated form English into Spanish, Portuguese Chinese, Japanese, Korean and the Subcontinents’ other vernacular The private and public condition that combined to produce this exception were not easily replicable The inter wart generation of Bangla writers trying to come out of Tagor’s shadow produced and sheltered new kinds of writing focused on the stark realties of social crises and inner turmoil’s and consciously worked in a world at once opening up and tearing apart Some of them college teachers of English translated their writings into English this time published inside for internal appreciation and critical review and electively translated European writings into Bengali One of them Buddhadeva Bose started a university department of comparative literature to employ and turn our bilingual writers critics and translators Independence in 1947 coming on the heels of the 1943 famine and subsequent peasant brought with it the devastating partition its killings and uprooting In the 1950s while Hindu refuges speaking different dialects and accent struggled to reroot on the west of the Padma and Muslim Bengali East Pakistan started protesting the imposition of Urdu as national language

Disruptions of life to this extent was bound to change the course of literature make new channels and divergent streams the way Bengal’s rivers do in nature’s turmoil The strums evolved in the next tow decades reflecting yet other related convulsions and crisis and then came the varied influence of globalization The last three decades of the twentieth century saw major spurts in the English translation of Bengali literature old and new multiform multi stream multi perspective The nineteenth century bias against translators with first languages not being the target language grew less and less as understanding of the regional culture of source language was considered at least as important as readability in target language idioms and as the source language translator command of English improved

The postcolonial flood of translation of bhasa texts into English came form a variety of factors including the active support of national literary academies UNESCO series of representative texts and cultural exchange aid in the form of both US and USSR hiring vernacular language writers to co-produce translations A weightier sustained boost came from the proliferation of academic fields like comparative literature translation studies literary criticism study of texts in social context non western language departments in Western universities and English translation of vernacular literature There is also the growing interest of general readers of literature in other social cultures as reflected in vernacular language writings originally meant for regional readers and writers This editor is a special case in the last set Formally trained in socio economic history not in literature but well read in both languages and believing in the embeddedness of a region’s literature in its social history I formally turned into a Bangala to English translator in wanted to offer the less bilingual next generation of Bengalis and the non Bengali readers in English within Indian and outside selections from Bengali literature that I have loved the most learned the most from and truly enjoyed translating


Introduction to the Second Volume

The first volume of this anthology covered 1860s through 1930s a period starting with the so called Bengal renaissance in Literary culture among other things and winding with the nationalist struggle stepping up as world war Ii crept up British India’s eastern flank. The literary and cultural awakening was triggered by the social impact of colonial trade and land policy and the clash between tradition bound social mores and the liberal values of post enlightenment Europe. The process worked through leadership in social and religious reforms and through spread of English education. And the process worked for developing the language and literature in ways ranging form prosodic changes the forging of prose styles for novels stories and essays the use of secular themes and the questioning of entrenched social and religious customs to the introduction of subjectivity the first person singular especially in poetry.

The surge of literary creativity with simultaneous enrichment and simplification of vocabulary and syntax equals joined by rethinking of social values (women’s education, social, equity and rationalism) along with exploring of aesthetics subjective emotion and intellection. These would soon be reinforced by the nationalist spirit variously ranging form concern for self reform and social uplift to armed resistance.

The main achievement of the awakening process was of course in art and literature but or an extent also in the surge were important as readers especially of serialized novels and then increasingly as writers and journal editors.

A serious limitation of the nineteenth century reawakening was that it stayed confined to a small, educated mostly urban elite leaving out Bengal’s Muslim and low caste people in villages. The articles by Sibnanrayan Ray and by Abdul Wadud dwell on this issue.


Contents to the First Volume


Introduction ix
Michael Madhusudan Datta (1824-1873) 3
The Slaying of Meghananda (Excerpts)  
Rabindranath Tagore/Thakur (1961-1941) 17
An Ordinary Person  
Big Sister  
The Mediatrix  
A Stressful Time  
The Old House  
The Apprehension  
The Skeleton  
Palm tree  
Flute music  
Brief Poems  
This Side and That  
Priyambada Devi (1871-1935) 34
from letters to Okatua Kakuzo  
The unsatisfied Longing  
An Enigma  
Dream foundling  
In the Rain  
After the Storm  
The Dream Journey  
A Query  
Sukumar Ray (1887-1923) 38
Odour in the Court  
Baburam the Snakecharmer  
The Old Woodman  
Shadow Play  
Spook Sports  
Jibanananda Das (1899-1954) 43
If I Were  
Windy Night  
A Day Eight Years Ago  
Kazi Nazrul Islam (1899-1976) 49
Song of Destruction: Those Iron Gates of Prison  
In The Restless wheels of Change  
The Ecstasy of Creation  
Ink on my Face Ink on My Hands  
Sudhindranath Datta (1901-1960) 54
A Farewell  
Camel Bird  
The Fool  
The End  
Jasim Uddin (1903-1976) 60
First Love  
Come to the Garden by Night  
Buddhadeva Bose (1908-1974) 62
Love and Life  
This is all  
There isn’t Time  
Rain and Storm  
New Leaves  
Bishnu Dev (1909-1982) 69
Fear No More the Darkness  
Summer in Calcutta  
A Kafi  
Samar Sen (1916-1987) 75
Land of the Mohuas  
The March of Time  
Wherever You Go  
A Girl  
Short Fiction
Bankimchandra Chatterjee (1838-1894) 81
Life Story of Muchiram Gurh  
Rabindranath Tagore/ Thakur (1861-1941) 102
A Single Night  
Sharatkumari Chaudhurani (1861-1920) 107
Loved or Unloved?  
Upendrakishore Rayshudhuri (1863-1915) 112
The Wicked Tiger    
Pramatha Chaudhuri (1868-1948) 115
Tales of Four Friends (excerpts)    
Abanindranath Thakur (1871-1951) 128
Caramel Doll    
Prabhatkumar Mukhopadhay (1873-1932) 151
The Goddess    
Sharatchandra Chatterjee(1876-1939) 162
Parashuram (Rajeshekhar Bose) (1880-1960) 172
On Bhushandi’s Plain    
Jagadish Gupta (1886-1957) 182
At the Day’s End    
Bibhutibhusan Bandyopadhyay (1894-1950) 188
Jyotimoyee Devi (Sen) (1894-1988) 195
Market Values    
Tarashankar Bandyopadhay (1898-1971) 203
The Gypsy Woman    
Jibanananda Das (1899-1954) 213
Together Alone    
Manik Bandyopadhyay (1908-1956) 223
Rashsundari Devi (1809-1899) 239
My Life (excerpts)    
Debendranath Thakur (1817-1905) 251
Autobiography (excerpts)    
Bhudeb Mukhopadhay (1827-1894) 260
Sense of National Identify and Western Influence    
Banakimchnadra Chatterjee (1838-1894) 269
A Bengalee’s Humanity    
The Cat    
Kaliprasanna Sinha (1840-1870) 276
The Observant Owl (excerpts)    
Shubnath Shastri (Sivanath sastri) (1847-1919) 300
A History of the Renaissance in Bengal    
Ramtanu Lahiri a Reformer (excerpts)    
Jagadish Chandra Bose (1858-1937) 307
The Literary in the Scientific    
Rabindranath Tagore/ Thakur (1861-1941) 315
Gora Sense of National Identify (Excerpts)    
From Autobiography Pieces    
Jibansmriti ( Remembering Life)    
Japan-Jatree (traveler to Japan)    
Atmaparichory (About Myself)    
Chelbela (Boyhood Days)    
Gitacharchna (Cultivating Music)    
Narrative in Personal letter    
Letters from Russia    
Crisis in Civilization    
Pramatha chaudhuri (1868-948) 347
The Story of Bengali Literature    
Binodini Dasi (1863-1941) 357
Memoirs of (Actress) Binodini    
My story My Life as an Actress (excerpts)    
Indira Devi Chaudhurani (1873-1960) 373
Rokeya Sakhawat Hossain (1880-1932) 380
The Secluded Ones (excerpts)    
S. Wajed Ali (1890-1951) 385
Jibananada das (1899-1954) 387
On Poetry (excerpts)    
Sudhindranath data (1901-1960) 392
An Introduction to Rabindranath’s Genius    
Copyright Statement 398
Portraits of Authors 405
Contents to the Second Volume


Introduction xiii
Jibanananda Das (1899-1954) 3
On the Sidewalks  
The Cat  
Amiya Chakravarty (1901-1986) 4
The Traveler  
Petition to the Boss  
1604 University Drive  
Sudhindranath Datta (1901-1960) 7
The Vagrant  
Jasim Uddin (1903-1976) 15
The Chariot of Dhamrai  
Premendra Mitra (1904-1988) 16
The Crow Caws  
The Soul of Birds  
Annada Sankar Ray (1904-2002) 18
Ajit Data (1907-1979) 20
The Relative  
The Black Mountain  
Buddhadeva Bose (1908-1974) 21
To My Unwritten Poems  
Sonnet of 3 a.m : 1  
Sonnet of 3 a.m : 2  
Sunday Afternoon  
The Moment of Liberation  
Bishnu Dey (1909-1982) 25
My Dreams too are Endless  
The Alien  
Water My Roots  
Of Tagorean Beauty  
Arun Mitra (1909-2000) 31
These Few Lines  
In the Stones of Calcutta  
The March  
On the Breast of Nature  
Ashokbijoy Raha (1910-1990) 34
The Magic Tree  
Dinesh Das (1913-1987) 34
The Sickle  
Samar Sen (1916-1985) 35
The Storm  
Scorched Earth  
The Tides  
Kamakshiprasad Chattopadhay (1917-1976) 39
The Price  
Subhash Mukhopadhaya (1919-2003) 40
At Every Step  
At Day’s End  
Let me Never See  
Deeper Still  
Arun Kumar Sarkar (1921-1980) 44
The Horse  
Nirendranath Chakrabarti (b.1924) 45
You Fear when you Fear  
It’s So at times  
All kinds of Loving  
Abdul Ghani Hazari (1925-1947) 49
The Heart of the Sahib  
21st February  
Sukanta Bhattacharya (1926-1947) 51
To My Dearest  
Time To Come  
Rajlakshmi Devi (1927-2006) 54
The House  
Lokenath Bhattaharya (1927-2001) 56
Geometry at Twilight  
False or True  
The Absent Hero  
Not Until  
Latifi Hilali (b. 1928) 59
On a Solitary Evening  
Shamsur Rahman (1929-2006) 60
Death Anniversary  
There was a Door Here  
Sarat Kumar Mukhopadhay (b.1931) 63
The Cat under the Stairs  
Sankha Ghosh (b.1932) 65
At the Bend of the Road  
Strom of Desire  
The Sleep  
On that Endless Midnight  
Oarbeats in the Ribs (excerpts )  
Alokernjan Dasgupta (b. 1933) 71
The Meta query  
Beside the Well  
Shakti Chattopadhyay (1934-1995) 73
Walks Behind Yet Stays Remote  
Just Once Try  
I Can Go But Why Should I  
Old Grief and New Grief  
The Darkness of many Centuries  
Benoy Majumar (1934-2006) 76
Times Wins  
Sunil Gangopadhyay (b. 1934) 78
A Case History  
On the Stairs  
Suddenly for Neera  
Tarapada Roy (1936-2007) 82
Head Bent  
That Green Passport  
Utpal Kumar Basu (b. 1936) 84
Puri Series- 4  
Puri Series- 8  
Al Mahmud (b. 1936) 85
In the dark one day  
Simple Accusation  
Vijaya Mukhopadhyay (b. 1937) 88
Ancestor Worship  
The Ferry Ghat  
Nabneeta Dev Sen (b. 1938) 91
Memories of a Floral Clock  
Jungle Story  
Sometimes Love  
So Many Crazy Blue Hills  
Ketaki Kushari Dyson (b. 1940) 93
Adam’s Apple  
Mohammad Rafiq (b.1943) 95
Asad Chowdhury (b. 1943) 99
Joy Goswami (b. 1954) 99
In the Evening Sadness Comes  
An Evening of Rain  
Things Recalled at Night  
Ballad of Last Rites  
Mandakranta Sen (b. 1972) 103
Bengal Seventeenth Century A piece of Family History  
The Believer  
Short Fiction
Parashuram (Rajshekar Bose) (1880-1960) 107
An immortal  
Banaphul (Balaichand Mukhopadhyay) (1899-1979) 114
In the Same Boat  
Premendra Mitra (1904-1988) 117
Prabodh Kumar Sanyal (1905-1983) 125
Satjnath Bhaduri (1906-1965) 132
Patralekha’s Father  
Manik Bandyopadhyay (1908-1956) 141
Haran’s Grandson-in-law  
Ahapurana Devi (1909-1994) 151
Subodh Ghose (1909-1980) 158
Jyotirindra Nandi (1912-1982) 170
Advata Mallabarman (1914-1951) 174
The Boat  
Kamal Kumar Majumdar (1915-1-79) 183
Extinct Rituals  
Narendranath Mitra (1916-1975) 194
Truth and Untruth  
Satyajit Ray (1921-1971) 201
Load Shedding  
Syed Waliullah (1922-1971) 207
Tale of a Tulsi Plant  
Samaresh Basu (1924-1988) 215
Mahasweta Devi (b. 1926) 222
The Divorce  
Syed Mustafa Siraj (b. 1930) 227
Horse of Death  
Sarat Kumar Mukhopadhyay (b.1931) 237
Quick Run  
Hasan Hafizur Rehman (1932-1983) 238
Two More Deaths  
Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay (b. 1935) 244
Look at me  
Syed Shamsul Haq (b. 1935) 252
Secret Life Public Death  
Hasan Azizul Huq (b. 1938) 260
Dibyendu Palit (b. 1939) 267
The National Flag  
Bani Basu (b. 1939) 278
Akhtaruzzaman Ilias (1943-1997) 289
In the Rooftop Room  
Selina Hossain (b. 1947) 295
Mabarun Bhattacharya (b. 1948) 301
The Blind cat  
Abul Bashar (b. 1951) 307
Nasreen Jahan (b. 1964) 312
Non Fiction
Kazi Abdul Wadud (1894-1970) 325
Modern Bengali Literature (excerpts)  
Mussalmanas of Bengal  
Satyendrannath Bose (1894-1974) 332
The Scientist’s Plea  
Dhurjatiprasad Mukerji (1894-1961) 337
Words and Melody  
Nirmal Kumar Bose (1901-1972) 341
The Structure of Hindu Society (excerpts)  
Sudhindranth Datta (1901-1960) 353
Utterance and Realization The Tradition of writing in Bengal  
Syed Muztaba Ali (1904-1974) 361
Chacha’s Story  
Abu Sayeed Ayyub (1906-1982) 369
Ethics and Aesthetics in Literature  
Buddhadeva Bose (1908-1974) 378
The Last Journey  
Samar Sen (1916-1987) 384
A Babau’s Tale (excerpts)  
Sibnarayan Ray (1921-2008) 393
Bengalee Identity Problem inner Conflict and Tragedy  
Ashok Mitra (b. 1928) 398
Flavors of Freedom  
Ashok Rudra (1931-1992)  
Friendship in Rabindranath’s Love Songs 403
Sankh Ghosh (b. 1932) 407
The Poet’s Intention: The Writer the Writing  
The Reader (excerpts)  
Partha Charrerjee (b. 1947) 415
Our Modernity  
Gautam Bhadra (b. 1948) 425
Bengal’s Dervishes in History’s Trap  
Nrisinhaprasad Bhaduri (b. 1950) 440
The Island Born Vyasa  
Manoranjan Byapari (b. early 1950) 455
Dalit Literature In Bangla  
Taslima Nasrin (b. 1962) 458
Selected Columns  
Copyright Statement 461
Portraits of Authors 475

Sample Pages



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