Tag Archives: Sahitya Akademi

Poetry: Bioscope by G.Akila

Akila

G.Akila juggles the muse, work, home and a nine-year-old daughter. She engages in free verse and the Japanese forms of haiku and haibun written in English language. She has read and conducted workshops in writers’ carnivals organised in Hyderabad and her works have been published in anthologies and several reputed online and print journals. She has presented poetry at various reading events such as the Hyderabad Litfest 2019, Goa Arts and Literature Festival, 2016, TEDx -VNR VJIET College, Hyderabad and the Young Writers Festival 2017 edition of Sahitya Akademi. She is also an active member of the Twin City Poetry Club, Hyderabad. Her poem ‘Stains’ is one of the ten poems shortlisted for the Womeninc Sakhi Award 2018. Currently, she is deciphering contours of a dream in her first manuscript of poetry. Read more

The Mark by Bitan Chakraborty: Where art is woven with the dissolution of the frame separating fiction from reality

Book Review by Amit Shankar Saha

 

The Mark Front Cover

 

Title: The Mark

Author: Bitan Chakraborty (translated from Bengali by Utpal Chakraborty)

Publisher:  Shambhabi The Third Eye Imprint, 2020

Bitan Chakraborty is a writer, translator, editor of the Bengali print journal, Atibhuj, and the founder of Hawakal Publishers. He has authored six collections of prose and poetry. The Mark is Bitan Chakraborty’s second collection of short stories to be translated from Bengali to English. The first translated collection, published in 2016, was called Bougainvillea and Other Stories.

Utpal Chakraborty, a teacher of English literature, a bilingual poet and author has translated the seven stories in The Mark. Even though translation of a work of fiction is not as taxing as the translation of poetry, yet to convey in a language that is not native to the culture depicted in the stories is in itself a daunting challenge. Utpal Chakraborty has  overcome the challenge and given the readers of English fiction a book that can speak for itself.

There is something inherently contradictory in trying to capture the sense of reality through fiction. It is like trying to paint an orange blue. And yet it is the blue colour that will attract the viewer if the painter is able to convince the viewer that it is indeed an orange despite being blue. At some point Bitan Chakraborty does exactly that. As a painter of blue oranges, Chakraborty creates within the framework of literature an illusion of reality which is seamlessly congruent with the reality itself. This dissolution of the frame that divides the fictional and the real is what art is all about.

Interestingly, both the translated volumes of Chakraborty’s short stories have forewords by the noted American poet and editor of the journal Harbinger’s Asylum, Dustin Pickering. The titles of the forewords of the two books are self-explanatory: “The Magic of Magical Realism” and “Stranger than Fiction” respectively. There is little of magical realism in this volume and yet the fiction that Chakraborty creates has a strangeness, for it is only reality that can be stranger than fiction. It is a strangeness akin to the absurdity in the dramas of Samuel Beckett. Read more

Poetry: Parody of a Poem by Rati Agnihotri

Rati pic

Rati Agnihotri is a bilingual English-Hindi writer, poet and television journalist. She did her BA (Hons) in English Literature from Miranda House, University of Delhi, and MA International Journalism from University of Leeds, UK. She runs the poetry group ‘Moonweavers: Chaand ke Julaahe’ in the city along with other fellow poets. Her book of poem, The Sunset Sonata, was published by the Sahitya Akademi. Her English poems have appeared in Indian Literature, South Asian Ensemble, Nether Magazine, Dead Flowers: A Poetry Rag, The Challenge, Muse India, Kritya and others. Her Hindi poems have been published in Pakhee, Retpath, Samvadiya, Yuddhrat Aam Aadmi, Parikatha,among others. She also translates poetry and nonfiction from Hindi to English. Agnihotri’s previous assignments include a fellowship at Radio Deutsche Welle’s south Asian department in Bonn, Germany. She currently works as a correspondent for China’s CNC World TV and based at their office in New Delhi. Read more

Writing Matters: In conversation with Dr Gopi Chand Narang

By Rahman Abbas

K7

‘To write is to fight…’

Dr Gopi Chand Narang (born 11 February 1931) is one of the finest literary critics in the history of modern Urdu criticism. His works deal with the cultural study of classics, stylistics, oriental poetics, post-modernism, structuralism and post-structuralism. He has taught at Delhi University, University of Wisconsin, University of Minnesota, University of Oslo and Jamia Millia Islamia University, and in 2005, the University of Delhi named him Professor Emeritus. He is also Professor Emeritus at the Jamia Millia Islamia. The Aligarh Muslim University, Central University of Hyderabad and the Maulana Azad National Urdu University have conferred D.Litt. Honorus Causa on him. He is the only writer who has been decorated by the President of Pakistan as Sitara-e Imtiyaaz and by the President of India with the Padma Bhushan and Padma Sri. He was vice-chairman of the Delhi Urdu Academy (1996-1999) and the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language-HRD (1998-2004), and Vice-president (1998-2002) and President (2003-2007) of the Sahitya Akademi, National Academy of Letters. His important books includes Urdu Zabaan aur Lisaniyaat (2006), Taraqqi Pasandi, Jadidiat, Maba’d-e-Jadidiat (2004), Urdu Ghazal aur Hindustani Zehn-o-Tehzeeb (2002), Sakhtiyat, Pas-Sakhtiyataur Mashriqui Sheriyat (1993), Adabi Tanqeed Aur Usloobiyat (1989), Amir Khusrow ka Hindavi Kalaam (1987), Saniha-e-Karbala bataur Sheri Isti’ara (1986), Usloobiyat-e-Mir (1985), Hindustani Qisson se Makhooz Urdu Masnaviyan (1961) and others.

His seminal work on Mirza Ghalib – Ghalib: Ma’ni-Afrini, Jadliyaati Waza, Shunyata aur Sheriyaat (Ghalib: Innovative Meaning, Mind, Dialectical Thought & Poetics (2013) has been considered a milestone in understanding Ghalib. Besides the Padma Bhushan (2004) and Padma Shri (1990), Narang has received hundreds of awards across the globe – Bharatiya Jnanpith Moorti Devi Award (2012), Madhya Pradesh Iqbal Samman (2011), the European Urdu Writers’ Society Award (London, 2005), Mazzini Gold Medal (Italy, 2005), Alami Faroghe-e-Urdu Adab Award (Doha, 1998), Sahitya Akademi Award (1995), Amir Khusrow Award (Chicago, 1987), Canadian Academy of Urdu Language and Literature Award (Toronto, 1987), Ghalib Institute Ghalib Award (1985), and the Association of Asian Studies (Mid-Atlantic Region) Award (US, 1982). Besides India and Pakistan, he has made presentations almost all over Europe, USA, Canada as well as Russia, Uzbekistan, China and Japan.

 

 

Rahman Abbas: You are the most discussed literary critic in the world of Urdu literature. How do you assess this unparalleled journey of your life which started from Balochistan when the subcontinent was undivided? Could you also put some light upon your early connections with Urdu?

Gopi Chand Narang:   I am simply a lover of Urdu. I was born in Balochistan. My mother tongue is Saraiki, but my father spoke Baluchi and Pushto. He was a scholar of Persian and Sanskrit as well. I was brought up in a multi-lingual, multi-cultural environ. The common speech of bazaar and school was Hindustani and Urdu. Language is nobody’s monopoly. It belongs to whosoever loves it. The newly independent India gave hope to many young people like me that there would be ample opportunities for fulfilling our ideals and aspirations. The Urdu Department at the Delhi University had come into being at the personal intervention of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru. Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was Minister of Education, also played a role in this. As I later pursued my doctoral degree, I was extremely fortunate to have had guidance and patronage of some of the brightest minds of that time, including Dr. Zakir Husain (who later became President of India), Dr. Tara Chand, Dr. Syed Abid Husain, Prof. Mohd. Mujeeb, Khwaja Ghulamus Syeddain, Dr. Khwaja Ahmad Faruqi, Sajjad Zaheer, Prof. Ale Ahmad Suroor, Syed Ehtisham Husain, Maulana Imtiaz Ali Arshi, Qazi Abdul Wudood, Malik Ram, Masood Hasan Rizvi Adeeb, Najeeb Ashraf Nadvi, and Dr. Syed Mohiuddin Qadri Zore. These people symbolized values of our composite Indian heritage and they were true role models of our highest ideals. When I look back and remember these unique personalities, I cannot but feel very fortunate for having had them as my patrons and role models.

Rahman Abbas: Some years ago, due to your stark criticism of the fake modernism in Urdu, you were personally targeted. It was unfortunate that instead of countering your opinions, your minority identity was targeted. Did that affect you? What was your reaction then and now?

Gopi Chand Narang: It is a sad story. As a young writer you must have witnessed all that happened. As long as Ale Ahmed Suroor, Khalil ur Rahman Azmi, Waheed Akhtar, Sulema Arib, Mahmood Ayaz and some seniors were alive and active, they wanted to develop a dynamic model which was alive to India’s  new social and pluralistic needs. But soon after, when Shams ur Rahman Faruqi and his journal Shab-Khoon took over, a period of misconceived notions and a hidden agenda of sectarian fake modernism set in. This is a period of great turmoil and overlapping. Faruqi with his arrogant self-esteem, one-upmanship and know all bravado started polemics which had more sound than sense. He and his cronies, through over heated debates, set flawed standards for fiction, poetry and ghazal.  This confused and misguided a whole lot of promising young writers. Waris Alvi, Baqar Mehdi and some others resisted but they had no theoretical base. At this stage, avoiding labeling and indulging in the misguiding polemics, I switched from my earlier cultural studies and stylistics base and started writing on Theory (both Western and Oriental) and postmodernism. Across the border, Wazir Agha, Qamar Jameel, Intezar Husain, Jameeluddin Azmi, Zamir Ali Badayuni, Faheem Azmi and many other genuine writers joined hands. We wanted to respond to the new social and epistemological shift absorbing the new light of the times, stressing the freedom of the creative voice of the writer, while constructing a genuine model which should be alive to our own pluralistic cultural, realistic and truly subversive, ingenious and in tune with our practical complex social concerns.

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English kills the creativity of a bhasha-writer, says Sahitya Akademi president

Kannada writer Chandrashekhara Kambara dons many hats. He is a poet, playwright, novelist and critic who has been honoured with the Padmashree, Sahitya Akademi Award, Kabir Samman and the Jnanpith Award. Kambara has been passionate in his advocacy of the regional traditions of art and literature, and of plurality in social structure. Recently elected the president of Sahitya Akademi, when I met him at its regional office in Bengaluru, he firmly defended the Akademi’s autonomy and underlined the necessity of writing in one’s mother tongue.

You are heading this institution at a time when there is a strong feeling among writers and thinkers that freedom of expression is under threat and that the Sahitya Akademi has remained a “passive, powerless body.” How do you view this?

There are many issues involved here, and I shall try to be brief in explaining them. First, the Sahitya Akademi is a non-partisan and non-political institution, and its sole function is to “develop literature and literary culture in all Indian languages and to promote through them plurality and cultural unity of the country.” You cannot expect one institution to do the job of another. Secondly, it is an autonomous and independent body…

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An alternative whose time has come

By Shafey Kidwai

The launch of Gramaalok and Sabuj Sahitya is destined to produce a nuanced narrative of self-exploration which is hardly showcased by the profit and sponsorship conscious organisers of literary festivals.

Does unprecedented galore of literary festivals articulate an intense feeling for cultivating a vibrant reading culture in an era of digital literacy? Can they be reckoned as proxy for universities and other public spaces which not very long ago were used for frank discussions on unsavoury truths? Is the very existence of intellectual conclave being used as a subterfuge by big corporate houses to further their commercial interests in a world fast turning into an ultra-modern global megalopolis? The answer is a definite ‘yes’ and it prompts the parliament of Indian authors “ Sahitya Akademi” to provide an avant-grade congregation. Recently Indian Academy of Letters launched a new literary co-action called Graamalok featuring both authors and readers to thwart the attempts of manipulating literature for making big bugs that has almost become a norm. It is an alternative narrative meant for creating a taste for literature in the remote areas of the country which are conveniently ignored by the organisers. Read more

Source: The Hindu

India: Brahmaputra Literary Festival in Feb

Assam is all set to host the Brahmaputra Literary Festival (BLF) with more than 150 authors from within and outside the country scheduled to participate in the three-day literary extravaganza beginning here from February 28.

”We have aimed to make the festival a landmark event of the country’s literary calendar, which will not only expose people to interact with famed litterateurs but also take literature of the North East to the rest of the country and the world,” National Book Trust (NBT) Director and a Sahitya Akademi winning Assamese author Dr Rita Choudhury, told PTI.

The festival will be inaugurated by Union Human Resources Development Minister Prakash Javedkar.

The festival is being organised jointly by the NBT and Assam government and will host 60 panel discussions, host of book releases, book readings and culture festivals including screenings of films based on books, musical and dance performances. Read more

Source: Business Standard

India: Why a Marathi childhood is incomplete without Madhuri Purandare’s books

By Pooja Pillai

madhuri-purandare

Madhuri Purandare is rarely to be found among children. The writer and illustrator has a “long distance” relationship with her readership. “It’s not as if I maintain this distance deliberately,” says the 64-year-old. And it has not made a difference to her work. Purandare is one of the most successful writers for children in Marathi literature, and has had her works translated into English, Urdu, Kannada, Assamese, Telugu and Hindi. Besides notable works like Babachya Mishya, Radhach Ghar and Chitravachan, the Pune-based writer also conceived and edited Vaachu Anande, an anthology for children that juxtaposes classics of Marathi literature with iconic artwork from across India. For her contributions to children’s literature, she won the Sahitya Akademi’s Bal Sahitya Puraskar in 2014, and more recently, the first Big Little Book Award instituted by Parag, an initiative of the Tata Trusts.

As is evident from her stories, Purandare sees children as they really are: individuals with strong likes and dislikes, who do not like being talked down to and who are not universally adorable. “Her stories have a sense of rhythm and flow. They are very visual as well, making it easy for even struggling readers to comprehend,” says Shubhada Joshi, founder of the Pune-based alternative school Khelghar, which uses Purandare’s books in its reading programmes. Joshi says, “Every story takes you into a child’s world, shows you how she perceives the world. Her writing creates opportunities for children to ask questions and think independently. Her work also gives parents and teachers an insight into a child’s imagination.” Read more

Source: The Indian Express

Journey of a Complete Poet: K Satchidanandan

By Arti Das

poet

Veteran Malayalam poet K Satchidanandan is here at the ongoing Goa Art and Literature Festival (GALF) 2016. In a candid chat with NT BUZZ he speaks about poetry, challenges of translations, socio-political scenario and what it takes to be a complete poet.

Veteran Malayalam poet K Satchidanandan is a pioneer of modern poetry in Malayalam, a bilingual literary critic, playwright, editor, columnist and translator, former editor of Indian Literature journal and the former Secretary of Sahitya Akademi, believes that due to internet and social media there has emerged a new audience for poetry in the country. But, at the same time it has made the world of the poets limited to their comforts of mutual admirations in the virtual world. He says: “Now with internet and especially blogs many poets are getting a platform to publish their work. But, it has made their reach limited. Their work is generally liked and shared by friends and thus there is no meaningful critique of their work, which we were exposed to. This can mislead a poet.” K Satchidanandan is here in Goa for the VII edition of GALF and also to deliver a lecture today at MOG.

Looking at the positives of social media he points out that in Kerala especially among Malayalam poets, they have invented new forms of poetry. Here the poems are presented in a multi-media format with audio-visuals, clipping of a film, painting and even audio recitation of the poetry. All these new formats and democratisation to publish the work is a move to engage the audience and also gives a new lease of life to poetry and also garners a new breed of audience. “It is making popular, accessible and democratic, but may not be raising quality of poetry,” he says. Read more

Source: The Navhind Times

Nation’s diversity is under attack: Writer Nayantara Sahgal at Chandigarh litfest

Borrowing from Nobel prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s notion of the human race, noted writer Nayantara Sahgal said India was home to many cultures, races and lifestyle, hence producing a civilisation from where their writing comes. “It is this diversity that is under attack and not merely a group of writers,” said the irrepressible Sahgal, who returned the Sahitya Akademi award last year.

During a panel discussion on ‘Freedom and The Writer’ on the opening day of the Chandigarh Literature Festival 2016, at the Chandigarh Club, Sahgal, niece of Jawaharlal Nehru, said there was an attempt to make writers a monochrome of sorts.

The panel included novelistbplaywright and film critic Kiran Nagarkar; Mumbai Mirror editor Meenal Baghel and was moderated by Harper Collins chief editor VK Karthika.

Speaking against the mob rule against her clan, she cited an incident where students of Central University of Haryana, Mahendragarh, protested after two professors were reprimanded for staging play ‘Drapaudi’ that focuses on the plight of an Adivasi woman who suffers at the hand of the state and the army.

“This needs to stop happening in the name of ‘nationalism’,” lamented Sahgal, to which Karthika asked where was everyone when painter MF Hussain was forced to go into exile and if the community continued to be as ‘passive’ despite realising the implications. Read more

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