About the Book:
Splashed with legends, episodes from history, lights on unforgettable characters old and new, this lyrical narrative, takes us on a unique journey through India, offering us a rare glimpse of a resplendent psyche. Here tradition and modernity jostle for space heedless of the passage of time. Cities tracing their genesis to the early twilights of time and myths and legends peeping from several niches of daily life. Yet, the work documents flashes of history and records the changes wrought on the façade of the land.
About the Author:
Manoj Das (b.1934) is one of India's major writers, writing both in his mother tongue Oriya and English. Widely translated into several languages of the-world, he has been the recipient of the Shaitya Akademi Award, the Saraswati Samman and the Padmashree. Presently he teaches at Sri Aurobindo International Center of Education, Pondicherry.
The are many ways to look at India- rather many visions through which to experience the phenomenon that is India. Born and brought up in a village inaccessible even for the bul-look cart, and educated in village schools till his early teens, this author's vision of India has been often, if not always, coloured by his rustic emotions and nostalgia. May he suggest that he be spared of any strutiny with any yardstick of history, for this work is an invitation to share, if you are in a leisurely mood, the author's impressions of places and people, as his mind and imagination recorded them over the years.
Visions could also interspersed with one another while looking at India, as it happens in Mark Twain's summary of the country even though made in the nineties of the 19th Century: "This is indeed India! The land of dreams and romance, of fabulous wealth and fabulous poverty, of splendour and rags, of palaces and hovels, of famine and elephants, the cobra and the jungle, the country of a hundred nations and a hundred tongues, of a thousand religions and two million gods, cradle of the human race, birthplace of human speech, mother of history, grandmother of legend, great-grandmother of Tradition, ... the one land that all men desire to see, having seen once, by even a glimpse, would not give that glimpse for shows of all the rest of the globe combined.'(More Tramps A broad; 1897)
While the first few articles, on the Andaman's are factual, ' dreams and romance' dominate the pieces on Rajasthan and the rest are a fusion of objective experiences and subjective pieces have their Oriya versions, compiled as Antaranga Bharat.
I am thankful to The Statesman in which this was serialized. I was lucky in my readership, for while so many of them queried about the prospect of the series being complied into a volume, there was one who proposed to take up its publication. He was Shri Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee, Director, National Book Trust, India. I am grateful to him and to Binny Kurian who saw the project editorially through, as well as the authorities of the Trust.
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