Book I: 9788126041381
Book II: 9788126041381
Book I: 9788126041398
Book II: 9788126041398
The Best of Indian Literature, as the title signifies, contains the best of short fiction, poetry, drama and creative prose which were published in Indian Literature during the half-century 1957-2007. As the editors put it, "Although we have tried to keep the best pieces ... published during the half-century, care has been taken to provide representation to literatures from all Indian languages. Well-known and celebrated names may cohabit on these pages with little-known or unknown names, as we have gone by the quality of the work alone." Many a gem of Indian literary imagination finds a place in this book. The creative growth of many doyens of different literatures of our land is mapped in these volumes. All 'periods,' 'phases' and 'movements' in Indian literatures during the past century and the latter half of the 19th century have been represented in this book. It is no exaggeration to call it 'one of its kind.'
Another aspect of this book is that it is a live record of the origins and growth of literary translation of Indian works into English. The period commencing in the early 1980s witnesses a leapfrogging of literary translation into English, and Indian Literature turning into a bimonthly from its half-yearly and quarterly formats, which is reflected in the extra-voluminous Volume Two.
About the Book
Though modernity had dawned in Indian regional literatures in the early decades of the last century, and had, almost simultaneously, taken up the cause of the nationalist movement and themselves developed tremendously in the process, each literature projecting the vision of a free, glorious Indian nation-although in actual fact the country was fragmented into several hundred little kingdoms-most of these regional literatures had not in fact consciously come up on the world scenario. The confidence that Indian literatures were worthy of standing on their own feet along with the world's best was not there even at the conceptual level. We were happy with where we were; Tagore's Nobel Prize had given a fillip to the national pride, and sustained it for nearly half a century; but that had to sadly substitute for any kind of real evaluation and awareness of the worth of one's own literatures.
It was about this time that Indian Literature was conceived and founded, in October 1957, with the express purpose of making the nation aware of the existence of the various rich literatures of the linguistic regions of India. As it sails past its Golden Jubilee Year, the development and growth a number of our regional languages have registered can be measured by the number of excellent translations they have produced in English which helped those literatures, in turn, to be catapulted onto the world stage. Indian Literature can proudly claim the role of the beacon for all such translation activities. Truly, Indian Literature is the journal of Indian Literature in English Translation, the brand new discipline several of our universities have adopted recently, and which is being taken up by many more ..
Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee (b. 1947) is a reputed scholar, critic, cultural administrator and translator. He has taught English Literature at a Gauhati university college and Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University, Kolkata. He has also held important positions including Regional Office at Kolkata and Director, National Book Trust at Delhi. He has also edited Sahitya Akademi's prestigious bi-monthly journal Indian Literature for five years. An accomplished translator from Bengali into English and vice-versa, his English translations of books by major Bengali fiction writers like Mahasweta Devi, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Manik Bandyopadhyay and others have been very well received. A member of the Programme Advisory Committee of the National Translation Mission, Shri Bhattacharjee has been conferred excellence in translation award at the IBBY Congress, London 2012. He has recently co- edited a volume titled Barbed Wire Fence, a compilation of narratives of displacement from the Barak Valley of Assam. Shri Bhattacharjee is currently working as the Director of K.K. Birla Foundation. New Delhi.
A.J. Thomas (b. 1952) is an English post and fiction writer. He translates poetry, fiction, drama and non-fiction prose from Malayalam. He was Assistant Editor of Indian Literature from November 1997, Editor from April 2007 to October 2008, and Guest Editor from May 2011 he is also Senior consultant at IGNOU and is presently teaching English in Benghazi University, Ajdabiya Branch, Libya. Germination (poetry, 1989) Bhaskara Pattelar and Other Stories, (Manas, 1993), Reflections of a Hen in Her Last Hour and Other Stories (Penguin India), both Paul Zacharia's stories in translation, Ujjayini, a verse-novel (Rupa) and This Ancient Lyre, (both ONV Kurup's) a poetry collection he edited (Sahitya Akademi) are some of his noted contributions. He is represented in The Literary Review Indian Poetry (USA-2009) and the HarperCollins Book of English Poetry (2012). He is the recipient of Katha Award, AKMG Prize (which enabled him to tour USA, UK and Europe in 1997) and Vodafone Crossword Award (2007). He is also Senior Fellow, Department of Culture, Govt. of India and Honorary Fellow, Department of Culture, Government of South Korea and was invited as a Guest Speaker in writers' conferences in South Korea, Australia. Thailand and Nepal.
It is with a sense of deep satisfaction and pride that I present Best of Indian Literature before the connoisseurs of literature.
It was Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru who defined the role of English in India as truly linking the expressions and articulations of people in the various regions of the country, weaving an all-India sensibility. This role of English is ironically a colonial legacy, which, like the railway network in our country, has stayed on for good, and has become really Indian over the years. Where Hindi could not reach, English has been presenting a cross-section of Indian literary writings that come alive in our bi-monthly English journal, Indian Literature.
The English language in India has been producing a powerful body of literature for nearly a century now, with the last three decades standing out as the period during which Indian English writing has gone truly international. The role of Indian Literature in fostering English as a creative medium, has to be recognised at this point.
Leafing through all the issues that came out over the fifty years from 1957 to 2007 for the purpose of making selections for the anthology, Best of Indian Literature, the editors would certainly have been amazed at the veritable treasure of literature the magazine has in its archives from almost all great masters from all Indian languages, through significant literary movements, to the works that belong to the contemporary period and to the pulsating present. I can say with absolute certainty that only Sahitya Akademi can maintain such a unique journal.
The first issue of Indian Literature had come out in October 1957. It was then a half-yearly journal. The fifty years from then till 2007-the period taken into account for the selection of material from the archives of Indian literature for the present book-is also the period during which major literary trends swept through our regional literatures. The modernist and the after-modernist 'phases, and the present couple of generations span this period. Thousands of celebrated Indian writers, many of them national literary icons, have been published in this journal. Works from the turn of the century and even before have found their place into these pages through translation into English. They reflect the ebb and flow of nationalist movements, the protracted Freedom Struggle, and after Independence, India gradually emerging as the largest democracy in the world.
I am sure that this two-volume, four-book set will adorn the library of every discerning reader in this country, and would certainly be exhibited and promoted in book-fairs abroad, taking the message of Indian literatures to the different corners of the world.
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