by Aju Mukhopadhyay

tagoreExpressions of love are different with different objects. With the divine, it is pure; we call it devotion or worship, but with fellow human beings, especially of the opposite sex, we find it tinged with desires of lust and other emotions. Love is the finest, and at the same time, the crudest emotion in the human heart, though it is sometimes possible to find it in animal hearts also. Man’s love with woman is the most common bond, which has created a sea of literature. With all types of love in him, Tagore was not a stranger to this type of love also. Poems of light and shade, love and remorse, joy and pain, are the results of his experiences at different levels. Such love affairs occupied different parts of his long life. Some of them, which we have come to know of, are the bases of our story.

Love Lyrics

Rabindranath Tagore has written innumerable songs of love; love for the divine and humans. He wrote more than 2500 lyrics; perhaps the most among world poets and song composers. All his love was based on the faith that he explained throughout his life and demonstrated. His immortal songs live vibrantly not only in Bengal but in other Indian provinces and sometimes they travel abroad. Rabindra Sangeet is a popular song-word now, which reminds us of beautiful tunes with befitting words that touch the heart and soul of man.

The Chinese version of Rabindranath Tagore’s Stray Birds translated by renowned Chinesewriter Feng Tang was stripped off the shelves today following criticism over its “astrayinterpretations”. The translated line that received most criticism was when “The world puts off its mask ofvastness to its lover” was translated to “The world unzipped his pants in front of his lover”. Another criticized part lies in the word “hospitable” in the line “The great earth makes herselfhospitable with the help of the grass”. Feng translates this using the Chinese word “sao”, which is closer to the English word “flirtatious”. Read More

by Zafar Anjum

Debotri Dhar (on the left) at the launch of her debut novel in New Delhi
Debotri Dhar (on the left) at the launch of her debut novel in New Delhi

Let’s get down to brass tacks. Why do you write?

I write because I have stories to tell. Stories of love, loss and laughter, of travel, mutating histories and multiple geographies, of emotions and impossible choices. And because I’m in love with language, with the way words can hurt and heal…

courtesansTell us about your most recent book or writing project. What were you trying to say or achieve with it?

My novel The Courtesans of Karim Street has recently been released. It’s a story set in India and the United States, and straddles the historical past and contemporary present. I wanted to write about courtesans, situating them in a shifting political, cultural and material landscape. The courtesans tend to be frozen in time and in our cultural imagination; on one level, I was therefore trying to recuperate their voice. At the same time, I also wanted to engage in cross-cultural conversations, and dismantle the hierarchies between the West and the rest through my narrative choices. So rather than a historical romance, I decided to do something more creative, hybrid and contemporary. It’s a fast-paced, entertaining story, with lots of romance and a hint of intrigue. The two key protagonists in the novel are Megan and Naina. Megan Adams is an academic, and some of the university classroom scenes are inspired by my day job as an academic in America. (Writing fiction is the night job, so to speak!) Naina is a music teacher who hails from a family of courtesans. These two women are supported by a rich array of other characters from the past and present. The story, ultimately, is of the future – of hope, friendship, and love.

by Anurag Batra

CoverFall Winter Collections (Niyogi Books, 2015) by Koral Dasgupta has a style about it that is unique. Dasgupta’s entry into fiction writing is as unique and smooth as the poetry of Rabindranath Tagore. The book is simple, yet poetic; and being set in Shantiniketan, it is very Bengali.

The two protagonists, Sanghamitra Banerjee and Aniruddh Jain Solanki are so real that you almost believe that it is a non-fiction story written as fiction. The protagonists being depicted as real and human is a real win for the writer. The reader wants to meet the protagonists, as both seem talented, unique and flawless in their own ways.

The two protagonists are attracted to each other, as both are lonely and seek fulfillment, and that manifests itself as a relationship. Both have been chasing their dreams, yet running from something. Both have gifts that have blossomed, but need appreciation. In some ways, Fall Winter Collections is a commentary on how contemporary society treats individuals and how everyone needs redemption through love.