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A Shrine for Sarasamma

A Shrine for Sarasamma
Item Code: NAZ704
Author: K. Shivarama Karanth
Publisher: Manipal Universal Press
Language: English
Edition: 2018
ISBN: 9789382460749
Pages: 128
Other Details: 8.50 X 5.50 inch
weight of the book: 0.16 kg
About the Book
A Shrine for Sarasamma is the English translation of Sarasammana Samadhi written by K Shivarama Karanth in 1937, in his early thirties. It offers one -of the most authentic and searing accounts of Indian womanhood, which consistently, and through the ages, has suffered deep anguish, humiliation and crushing insult from the oppressive patriarchal culture prevalent in all parts of India and among all castes and classes. The novel is a classic in Kannada and the English translation is an attempt to bring to the English reading audience a taste of the regional classic.

About the Author
Kota Shivarama Karanth (1902-1997), one of the greatest writers in Kannada literature, was hailed as the "Rabindranath Tagore of Modern India" by historian and writer Ramachandra Guha. A well-known social activist, Yakshagana artist, film-maker, environmentalist and thinker, Karanth has authored forty-seven novels, thirty-one plays, four short story collections, six books of essays and sketches, thirteen books on art, two volumes of poems and has a number of articles to his name. He has been honored with various awards, including the Jnanpith Award for his book Mookajjrya Kanasugalu in 1978, the Sahitya Akademi Award, the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, the Pampa Award, to name a few. The Government of India also awarded him with India's third-highest civilian award, the Padma Bhushan, in 1968.

In erecting a samadhi for Sarasamma (A Shrine for Sarasamma), I am much afraid. A situation I have pictured here presents an important problem in the life of man. True, the question of conjugal morality has bothered every nation, and in all ages. And therefore, it is a subject that is quite ancient, but the eyes which look at it are colored not only by different nationalities, but by the time to which they belong. If we enquire into the history of our country, many intriguing questions arise. And too often our history and puranas evade and enclose the question via clever anecdotes, and say that this is the result of "a curse or a boon or of a fruit the sagas gave", etc.

By relying on the Mahabharata, we are fabricating a conjugal morality which was non-existent during the days of the Mahabharata. The reason for this is that the societal life of our times is split clean, and we live two kinds of life. Our morality predates the time of Manu himself, and our ideal far exceeds that of Sita herself! And the values with which we assess others are of the time of Yamadharma Raja!

But life is not like that. It is, as in other places and at other times, full of evil; evil there is. There are probably two causes for this. One is understanding what sinfulness is. Fired by an intense ethical imagination, our mind, relying on imagination, calls that sinful which involves the morality of the flesh, and calls it a sin. But by naming it this way, sin has not reduced, and therefore we recall the olden times and long for Ahalya, Draupadi and Sita.

Sarasamma is a star of the olden days of Moodambylu or one similar to that. Our contemporary men "see" her.

Our narrow-mindedness and our half-open eyes do not see the reality of our contemporary life. Or, we see it, but think it is honorable to call it so. And therefore, what consolation is there for us? Treta and Dwapara are dead, and we, therefore, but see the high mountain ... like Rama and Krishna, and the picture of Rama and Krishna are drawn by those who worship them. Therefore, yesteryear's dirt cannot appear in the way dirt of our neighbor appears to us. And thus all curse this Kali Yuga.

Our conjugal morality is under this curse. Unable to see our own life, we Indians set out to educate the world, and see divorces in England and America, and people who marry for the 16th time. But there is a reason for this. The women there have not become corpses. They think - like men, they too have strong spinal columns and therefore, there are divorces. And as long as our girls live like corpses without backbones, our Ideal of devout wifehood lives uninterrupted.

The westerners do not attach much importance to the sins of others or to their sexual indulgence. With us, when four people meet, the talk incessantly is about "her incest" or "his philandering," etc. It is. We do such "good work"! If four decent men or women meet, the food of their talk is either a woman's lascivious looks or her incest. Is this a sign of healthy, adult minds?

Among westerners, people like Havelock Ellis and others have come forward, and they live own their "immoral life" openly. Ellis wants us all to undertake and change this view of morality. But we, whether we go by car or listen to the radio, the moment the issue of either figures, we say, ''Ah, mother Sita, there she is." We have not deeply looked into ourselves.

Has the Indian Medical Council talked about the number of cases of venereal disease? Has it given the numbers? What is its percentage? Do we have people who walk through villages, look at the vices of the orthodox and analyze their inner way of life? What is the percentage of unnatural sexual indulgence in India? If the numbers are collected and added together, India will not attempt to teach others anything. It is enough if it understands itself.

Book's Contents and Sample Pages

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