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06 July, 2007

Timeless satire

By Chandrahas Choudhury

image

Title: Selected Stories

By: Parashuram

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Had the satirical Bengali writer Parashuram (1880-1960) been alive today, one can imagine him writing brilliant pieces about the attempt to prove Pratibha Patil worthy of the presidency, on our attitudes to foreigners revealed by matters like the Greg Chappell controversy, or the love of Indian housewives for saas-bahu serials. But as Parashuram cannot come to us, the only other option is for us to go to Parashuram, and this can be done by picking up the wonderful edition of his Selected Stories published last year by Penguin.

The new translations of Parashuram by Sukanta Chaudhuri and Palash Baran Pal cast his witty, wise and digressive stories into fluent, chatty English. Among the seventeen pieces included here two are, in my judgment, amongst the greatest stories in Indian literature. These are “The Scripture Read Backward”, which imagines a world in which Bengal has colonised Britain instead of the other way round, and “On Bhushandi’s Plain”, about an unhappy householder who dies and turns into a ghost, and whose story comes to an end with a spectacular “twofold concurrence of a threefold conjunction” (Parashuram loved complicated plots).

More on Parashuram here.

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Comments

“But as Parashuram cannot come to us”..
.. the option we have is to enjoy India Uncut. (for doesn’t Amit write “brilliant pieces about the attempt to prove Pratibha Patil worthy of the presidency, on our attitudes to foreigners revealed by matters like the Greg Chappell controversy, or the love of Indian housewives for saas-bahu serials” or Indian Idol?

Note to Amit: You need a one-word nom-de-plume.

Parashuram = http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajsekhar_Bose

Note to self: I need to read more Indian classics. Very few are found in translation but there are a few these days and Raveout has provided a couple good links to them!

Posted by Sanjeev on Sat, July 07, 2007 at 1:04:27

Very interesting I recommend it

Posted by All In One on Mon, May 19, 2008 at 11:02:28

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