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The thin red line: ‘The Unsafe Asylum – Stories of Partition and Madness’ by Anirudh Kala

(From The Hindu. Link to the complete article given below)

I found Anirudh Kala’s profession to be of interest while reading his collection of short stories. Dr. Kala is a psychiatrist of repute who has worked on mental health initiatives between India and Pakistan. As such, he is well-suited to uncover the trauma and psychoses that Partition caused in us as nations and in Punjab as a society.

The unsettling but deeply humane interlinked stories in The Unsafe Asylum are arranged along two major lines: Rulda and Fattu, a Sikh and a Muslim consigned to the asylum during Partition amidst talk of exchange of inmates between the two countries, and the lives of Dr. Prakash Kohli and his family, now settled in Chandigarh, a city with no history. The stories are located almost equally in what is now Pakistan, in India, with some overlap between the countries, and in England.

Who is mad?

The collection opens in June 1947 with the murder of a Muslim psychiatrist in Lahore by a Sikh army officer. The officer, having lost his family to mob violence, had sworn to kill 10 people that night. He kills just one, the doctor. Years later, the son of the psychiatrist, now a psychiatrist himself, visits India ostensibly to watch a cricket match but actually to meet his father’s murderer. There is no rancour but there is acknowledgement, a closure.

Read more at The Hindu link here.

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Waiting for the monkey’s return: Review of Amitabha Bagchi’s ‘Half the Night is Gone’

(From The Hindu. By Shreevatsa Nevatia. Link to the complete review given below)

One would think the Ramcharitmanas is impossible to include in modern literature. Tulsidas’ epic poem drips with a piety and excess that are seemingly hard to make relevant. In Half the Night is Gone, Amitabha Bagchi not just climbs that mountain, he lifts it. Of all the references he makes to that sacred text, there is one that is repeated more often: “Ardh raati gayi kapi nahi aayau/ Ram uthai anuj ur layau” (Past midnight and the monkey has not returned/ Ram lifted his brother’s prone body and held him to his heart). The couplet describes a scene Hinduism has, of course, made iconic over the years.

Lakshman has been fatally wounded in battle. Only a certain magic herb can save him. Hanuman flies to fetch it. He gets confused and brings back the entire mountain. We know Lakshman will be saved, but in the moment when half the night is gone, the prince is something of a Schrodinger’s cat: dead and alive. Like Lakshman, the characters of Half the Night are simultaneously one thing and its opposite: loyal and selfish, banal, yet oddly poetic, brawny and weak, familial, yet very individualistic.

Three generations

The architecture of Bagchi’s novel is intricate. He details the turbulence that besets two families and their three generations.

Lala Motichand is a typical Delhi merchant who does not let patriotism preclude profit. All revenue, he realises, is hard-won in a pre-independent India.

Read more at The Hindu link here


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The truth about literary translations

(From The Hindu)

After the Battle of Marathon in 490 BC, when the king of Persia sent his interpreter with a message to the Greeks asking for earth and water as a sign of their submission, Themistocles had the visitor put to death for presuming to announce the barbarian message in Greek. A thousand years later in 1536, William Tyndale was strangled and burned because his English translation of The Bible displeased Henry VIII. Ten years later, Étienne Dolet, an advocate of the Bible-for-all, was burned at the stake because his French translations carried a few words that were not in the Church-endorsed Latin version.

Compared to these terminal terrors, literary translation today is not difficult at all. Because, really, you can do what you like and more often than not get away with it. It isn’t, for instance, like scientific or technical or medical translations where a mistake might cause serious damage to an experiment or a building or a life.

Linguistic choices

While there is little or no money in literary translation, there could be some glory if you listen to your publisher. The more people there are in the chain of desks leading to the printer, the safer you are because every cliché-slayer will work on your writing before passing you on to the next and the next.

Read more at this link


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India: Submissions invited for The Hindu Prize 2017

Call for entries

Inviting submissions from publishers for The Hindu Prize 2017, instituted to recognise the best in Indian literary fiction in English every year.

How to Enter

Publishers can submit Indian fiction in English published between July 2016 and June 2017.

Only works of literary merit will be considered.

Publishers can send eight (8) of their best titles for the award.

Publishers with more than one imprint can submit eight (8) books from each imprint.

Publishers should send a list of their published titles (fiction) to enable the judges call in for books that have not been entered.

Publishers must send eight (8) copies of each book.
Only hard copies will be accepted.

Electronic copies will not be accepted.

All entries must reach The Hindu on or before May 31, 2017.

All entries must be marked to The Hindu Prize 2017 and sent to Shalini Arun, Associate Editor, The Hindu, Kasturi Buildings, 859-860, Anna Salai, Chennai 600002.

Eligibility Criteria

The author must be an Indian citizen, an NRI holding a valid Indian passport or a domiciled resident of India. It is the publisher’s responsibility to verify this before submitting the book for consideration.

Authors who hold the Overseas Citizen of India card are NOT eligible.

Only original works in English will be eligible.

Works in Indian languages or translations are not eligible.

Entries must be in prose and can be full-length novels or a collection of short stories by a single author.

Self-published or electronically published books will not be accepted.

Children’s fiction or Young Adult fiction will not be eligible.

Books of authors who are on the panel of judges will not be considered.

Books submitted for The Hindu Prize 2016 will not be considered.

Employees of The Hindu and their family are not eligible to participate.

For more details, contact R. Krithika @ 0422-2212572 extn 314/334 or email krithika.r@thehindu.co.in

Source: The Hindu