Book Review Session 2 February 11, 2013

Book Review Session II

Submitted To:
Dr. Rajnandan Patnaik Associate Professor General Management (Strategy) Submitted By: Name: Pankajkumar P. Nikhare Roll No. 2012198 Section: D Subject: Book Review Session 2

Page 1

Book Review Session 2 February 11, 2013 Title: Anitya: Halfway to Nowhere Author: Mridula Garg (Translated from Hindi by Seema Segal) Publisher: Oxford University Press First copyright date: First published in 2010 Type of book: Fiction Price: Rs. 395 (Hardcover) ISBN: 019806526-6 Format of book: Hardcover: Contents: Translators note, Author’s note, Introduction by Sunita Jain and Krishna Dutt Paliwal, ANITYA, Glossary

About the Author Genres: Fiction, Novels, Short Stories, Translator, Drama/Script writing, Journalist, Literary Journalist, Essays Languages: English, Hindi Mridula Garg (b. 1938) is one of the most widely read Hindi writers today. She has published 20 books in Hindi – novels, short story collections, plays and collections of essay – of which she has translated three into English. She took her Masters in Economics in 1960 and taught economics in Delhi University for three years. Born in a liberal intellectual family, she did not suffer the usual deprivation of a girl child-three of the five daughters becoming eminent writers bears ample witness to it. Mridula was not a robust child, which meant missing school, three consecutive years once, not playing games, and not having school friends. The positive aspect was that it pushed her from action to reflection, from where it was a short step to writing. Thanks to her father who believed that anyone on the brink of death should read the masters, instead of textbooks, she read out-of-course classics like Rabindranath Tagore, Jainendra, Henry James etc. Her mother was neither career woman nor a caring householder but an avid reader of literature in three languages, Hindi, English and Urdu. This increased Mridula’s love of reading and made her cherish her mother for being different, which later helped her create non-stereotypical woman characters. When the orthodox Hindi World Series said these characters did not ring true, she ignored them, secure in the knowledge of the nonconformist woman of her family.

Page 2

Book Review Session 2 February 11, 2013 Bibliography In Hindi: Uske Hisse Ki Dhoop (Novel, 1975) , Vanshaj (Novel, 1976) , Chittacobra (Novel, 1979), Anitya (Novel, 1980) , Main Aur Main (Novel, 1984) , Kath Gulab (Novel, 1996) , Kitni Qaiden (Short Stories, 1975) , Tukra-Tukra Aadmi (Short Stories, 1976), Daffodil Jal Rahein Hain (Short Stories, 1978) , Glacier Se (Short Stories, 1980), Urf Sam (Short Stories, 1986), Shahar Ke Naam (Short Stories, 1990), Charchit Kahanaian (Short Stories, 1993), Samagam (Short Stories, 1996), Mere Desh Ki Mitti, Aha (Short Stories, 2001), Sangati-Visangti (in 2 Vol.) (Short Stories, 2004), Joote ka Jodh Gobhi ka Todh (Short Stories, 2006), Ek Aur Ajnabi (Play, 1978) , Jadoo Ka Kaleen (Play, 1993), Teen Qaiden (Plays, 1995), Saam Daam Dand Bhed (Play for children, 2003), Rang-Dhang (Essays, 1995), Chukte Nahin Sawaal (Essays, 1999), Kuchh Atke Kuchh Bhatke (Yatra Samsaran, Essays, 1996), Kar Lenge Sab Hazam (Satirical Essays) In English: The Colour of my Being (Novel, translated from Hindi, Chittacobra, 1999) A Touch of Sun (Novel, translated from Hindi, Uske Hisse Ki Dhoop, 1978) Country of Goodbyes (Novel, translated from Hindi, Kathgulab, 2003) Daffodils of Fire (Short Stories, 1990) Awards: Sahityakar Sanman, by the Hindi Academy, Delhi, (1988) Sahitya Bhushan, by the U.P. Hindi Sansthan (1999) Hellman-Hammet Grant for Courageous Writing by the Human Rights Watch, New York (2001) Honored for lifetime contribution to literature in the Vishwa Hindi Sammelan in Suriname in 2003. Vyas Sanman, for an outstanding work of fiction in Hindi for Kathgulab (2004) Vagdevi Sanman for Kathgulab (2003) Uske Hisse ki Dhoop (novel) and Jadoo Ka Kaleen (Play) awarded by the M.P. Sahitya Parishad in 1975 and 1993 respectively. Other works She has been a columnist, writing on environment, women issues, child servitude and literature. She has been writing a column Kataksh (Satire) in India Today (Hindi) for the last 3 years. She was a research associate at the Centre for South Asian Studies in the University of California at Berkeley, USA in April 1990. She has been invited to speak on Hindi literature and criticism, and discrimination against women, at Universities and conferences in the USA. As a delegate to Interlit-3 (Germany) and to Japan, she has traveled widely and lectured and read from her works there.

Page 3

Book Review Session 2 February 11, 2013 Introduction to ANITYA and its theme: Garg’s novel Anitya is unique in the way it mixes the personal and political environment. The protagonists and political leaders meander in a maze of choices, taking self-destructive paths so that they aspire and struggle for freedom; they end up incarcerated in increasingly narrower spaces. Ironically, each has only himself to blame since he/she was one who made the choices. The reader is drawn into a vortex of political and personal turmoil, where memory and present experience blend to create an enticing past. A past array of protagonists is used to internalize the experiences and analyze the reflection of generation living through the independence movement. As the novel progresses through a web of complex memories, we see the chief protagonist, Avijit, battered and broken by the consequences of his choices. The ever-changing reality brings the inexorability of the past nor reduce the speed at which the present transforms itself. The novel records the pain of ordinary Indians, who failed to keep their tryst with destiny, as they travelled from the crossroads to an unforeseen end. Their high moral standards easily turn to betrayal when self-interest is placed against principles. In contrast to their one-time idealism, they find themselves living in a counterfeit democracy. The thematic content is built upon memories centering round Delhi, Allahabad, and Lucknow in the era of Satyagraha. The Gandhian struggle, the barbarity of British officers, the torture of political prisoners in Andaman jails, the martyrdom of Chandrashekhar Azad, the disappointment of the youth with the Gandhi-Irwin Pact, the hanging of Bhagat Singh, Rajguru, and Sukhdev, the dilemma of Jawaharlal Nehru, the aborted Do-or-Die Movement of 1942, and finally the mass-killing at the time of Partition- the major events of history are all documented here, yet it would be wrong to call Anitya a historical novel. Anitya is a modern epic of the inner journey of individual, a searing narrative of their complex, dramatic, and largely unpredictable personal experiences pulsating with historical-political memories. In the process, a composite picture of the life and time of the era, crucial to the emergence of modern India is formulated as the non-violent and revolutionary forms of the Independence Movement take on a multiplicity of meanings. The chief protagonist Avijit argues in a book he had written in 1942 that British colonialism effectively destroyed the logic the colonizers in war and compromised with injustice, deep-rooted frustration and sense of inferiority became an incurable malaise. Incapable of mature, independent reflection, they gave up their larger humanistic ideals and were content to pursue trivial goals. The perspicacious Anitya, another protagonist says, ‘One day this country will collapse under the weight of its martyrs. A thrashing from the police was enough to put one on the list. Martyrdom should not come so easy!’ An entire generation falling to ignoble depths meant that the next generation had to be lethargic, vancillating, inarculate, and mentally incapacitated. The leader is invited to examine the political predicaments, selfdestructive choices, and missed opportunities of two generations, largely instrumental in making us what us what we are today.

Page 4

Book Review Session 2 February 11, 2013 Why to read this book? Mridula Garg's novel sensitively portrays the predicament of two generations during and immediately after the independence movement. Anitya moves beyond the theme of independence, the trauma of partition, and victimhood. Focusing on everyday personal battles between principles and self-interest, it shows how idealism turns quite easily into betrayal in the face of personal gratification. Anitya is about the pain of ordinary Indians who failed to keep their tryst with destiny as they travelled from the crossroads to an unforeseen end. Using flashbacks, the novel depicts the struggle of its characters as they try to adjust to the counterfeit democracy they find themselves in. The imagined conversations between the two central characters, Avijit and Anitya, reveal how, under the veil of respectable fronts, secrets and emotional failures corrode nearly everything. With personal and political mix, this volume will appeal to students and teachers of Indian writing in translation, translation studies, and comparative literature as well as anybody interested in contemporary Indian literature.

Copyright Oxford is a registered trademark of Oxford University Press in the UK and in certain other countries Published in India by Oxford University Press, New Delhi Oxford University Press 2010 The moral rights of the author have been asserted Database right Oxford University Press (maker) First published 2010 All rights reserved.

Page 5

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful

Master Your Semester with Scribd & The New York Times

Special offer for students: Only $4.99/month.

Master Your Semester with a Special Offer from Scribd & The New York Times

Cancel anytime.