Passing Time in Biharipur is such a sincere portrayal of the conditions of a suffering and exploited and yet static and degenerate society-where the problems associated with introducing any radical change are so vividly dealt with-needs to be widely read and commented upon.
Not much happens in Biharipur....
But the little that does is lovingly discussed, embellished upon and spread far and wide by the scandal-starved people of the little town, who throng Bhagirath' s hotel every evening for an endless diet of `peciar tea, blaring off-key Hindi film music, and a blow-by-blow account of the lives, loves, highs and lows of their local celebrities-Naina Mem, the voluptuous, volatile mistress of an Anglo-Indian railway guard; Vinayak, homeopath and trade union leader, whose radical ideas on un touch ability make the other local luminaries squirm; Murari Doctor and Parashuram Vaid, whose respective medical practices are under threat from Vinayak.... Then, one horrifying day, a petty feud escalates into an ugly communal riot that takes lives, devastates property-and destroys forever the tranquil tenor of life in Biharipur.
In this novel there is a narrative of news and events that our press and history miss or ignore. It is a narrative of human suffering and a celebration of human dignity and effort that may lead to peace and liberation.
Pranav Kumar Vandyopadhyaya was born in 1947. He published his first major work, an anthology of poems, Narak Ki Kranti Men Main (In The Mutiny of Hell) in 1965, as a student at the Allahabad University.
He has received several awards, which include: the National Award for an anthology of short stories, Athava (Or) in 1965; the UP Hindi Sansthan Award in 1978 and 1980 for Murdagadi (The Hearse) and ltyadi (And The Others); the National Award for Khabar (The News) in 1979; and the Hindi Academy Award for Meghna in 1990. A doctorate in Economics, Pranav Kumar Vandyopadhyaya is a Reader at the Delhi College of Arts and Commerce, University of Delhi.
Rama Kant Agnihotri (translator) is a Professor of linguistics at the Delhi University. His earlier translations include two volumes of poems, I shall Face You and Naxalbari by Pranav Kumar Vandyopadhyaya. Aditi Mukherjee (translator) is a Professor of Linguistics at Osmania University, Hyderabad.
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