Bimal in Bog is a shrewd, ironic, witty exposé of the hypocrisies of the Indian middle class. "This is Bimal's book. He alone will rule here." And what a tin-pot of a sexpot-despot he is! By dwelling on the apparently ludicrous erotic hang-ups of his protagonist, a young college lecturer named Bimal, Krishna Baldev Vaid succeeds, through spoofing, deliberate goofing, parable, parody, irreverence, irrelevance and an incredible sense of pure fun, in making a serious-cum-hilarious raid on the suppressed and inarticulate areas of smug pseudo-orthodox living. No one is spared : the transcription is done with such deadly use of complex word-play and comic imagination that the novelist seems almost hoist with his own petard. "I'm no mythmonger. A mere moanmaker me!"
A careless or unsuspecting reader may find, however, that the joke-a four-letter word !-is on himself. It may help to notice the cunning irony in the title itself : the original Sanskrit meaning of the name of the hero who is "in bog" is "stainless, spotless, clean, bright, pure (literally and figuratively);" in the Mahabharata it is also the name of a serpent-demon.
Krishna Baldev Vaid was born in 1927 in a small town which is now part of Pakistan. He obtained his M.A. from Punjab University in 1949 and his Ph.D. from Harvard University in 1961. He has had a distinguished career as a teacher in India and U.S.A. He has taught at various universities including Delhi, Punjab, Brandeis, and the State University of New York. Since his retirement from teaching in 1985, he has been devoting his time entirely to writing.
Vaid was studying at Government College, Lahore, when the country was partitioned. During the horror that followed the Partition, Vaid and the members of his family were uprooted from their native soil. Vaid regards that displacement as the most central and traumatic experience of his life. Reverberations of that traumatic experience can be felt throughout his oeuvre consisting of ten novels, eleven collections of short stories, four plays, one book of literary criticism, and several works of translation.
One of the foremost Indian writers writing in Hindi, Vaid is known for his ironic humor, his innovative narrative and dramatic structures, his grasp of the Indian ethos, his refusal to be cowed down by the so called mainstream, and his unique voics as a prose stylist. Notable among his works available in English are Steps in Darkness, The Broken Mirror, Dying Alone, Bimal in Bog, and Technique in the Tales of Henry James. Some of his short stories have been translated into other languages such as Urdu, Bengali, Oriya, Marathi, Panjabi, French, German, Swedish, and Italian.
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