ANANDA MATH is considered to be a milestone in the history of modern fiction in India. It received such wide acclaim in the late nineteenth century that Bankim Chandra Chatterjee, its author, was referred to as the Walter Scott of India. Translations appeared in Telugu, Kannada, Malayalam, Hindi and Urdu.
The song, 'Vande Mataram', which Bankim Chandra first wrote in this novel, echoed through the freedom movement; during the Non-Co-operation movement the song was heard on the lips of many, while they braved the lathis of the British police force.
Bankim Chandra Chatterjee wrote Kapala Kundala, his second novel, when he was only twenty-eight years old. The name Kapala Kundala has been taken from the Sanskrit Play, Malati-Madhava. In the play, Kapala is the associate of the evil Kapalik, Aghora Ghanta, and she is as heinous as her mentor. But through our heroine was also brought up by an evil kapalik, she is full of human affection and kindness. While presenting this fascinating romance, certain events and characters have been omitted and the story has been modified to make it suitable for children.
The third Chitra Katha in this special issue is Devi Choudhurani. Both Devi Choudhurani and her mentor, Bhavani Pathak, are historical characters who figure in the report of Lieutenant Brennan, quoted by Hunter in his 'Statistical Account of Bengal'. There is no historical explanation of what made Devi turn to dacoity in the first place and later, what made her give it up. However, Bankim Chandra's fertile imagination has provided answers to these puzzling questions in his novel, on which our tale is based.
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