Sunday, May 06, 2012

My Review of Anita Agnihotri's Book

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India not shining

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Seventeen, Anita Agnihotri, Translated by Arunava Sinha
Special ArrangementSeventeen, Anita Agnihotri, Translated by Arunava Sinha
Stories that sensitively chronicle the miserable plight of the majority of India's population.
A civil servant by profession, Anita Agnihotri has been involved in various kind of rural  development programmes and has seen the real face of India: the India which is not shining as claimed by the purveyors of mindless consumerism and unbridled free market culture, but is stained with the grime of poverty, the scourge of brutal inequalities, and the acne of underdevelopment. The reflections of this dark underbelly can be seen in many of Anita's stories. She sensitively and beautifully chronicles the plight of a major chunk of the country's population for whom ‘ deprivation' is a part of daily life and two square meals a day is a luxury. The portrayal of the predicament and idiosyncrasies of individual characters has also been done  very subtly and effectively. The use of metaphor, at times, appears to be excessive but can be ignored keeping in mind the fact that it is a translation from the Bangla originals and the ornamental style of writing is acceptable in Indian languages.

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Seventeen opens with a story “The Crater-Lake” where ‘a brother-and-sister visit the unique crater lake that their dead, estranged mother had written to them about in her letters'. At first look, it appears to be an ordinary story but once you get deeper in to it you get the larger picture where you see the sufferings of a woman and a mother. But why she has to suffer? Because she has committed a sin of being a woman in this man's world (Yes, it is still a man's world, isn't it?). The author has repeatedly used the meteor as a metaphor to describe the dilemma and the agony of a wife and a mother and, of course, of a woman, and this has come out quite well.
“The Shadow War” is a tale of the devastation caused by the so-called development where narratives move matter-of-factly. You see here the kind of price individuals and the society as a whole have to pay for the game of crony capitalism. Elsewhere in this book, there is a boy who decides to take care of the girl whom he had defaced years ago by throwing acid. In this story, you can't decide whether the boy is a villain or a hero or a mix of both. In fact, throughout the collection you will find that most characters are difficult to bracket as heroes or villains. In another interesting story, “The Principal”, a middle class employee is not paid salary on the pay day and his life turns topsy-turvy. There are 13 more such stories and each of them has different set of characters and different settings but is equally engaging and insightful.
The translator Arunava Sinha has been doing a great service to the Bangla Literature —and a great favour to the readers who can't read Bangla — by translating many of the great Bangla authors in to English. Like his previous translations, he has succeeded in conveying the nuances of Bangla language and retaining the flavour of the original prose while rendering these stories in English.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Loved this Stephen King's piece of writing!

 Stephan King scolds the supporters of Tea Party and the cherishers  Of Ayn Rand's philosophy(sic) of 'Selfishness' in this wonderfully written piece  made. Thanks King and Thanks The Daily Beast.

""I guess some of this mad right-wing love comes from the idea that in America, anyone can become a Rich Guy if he just works hard and saves his pennies. Mitt Romney has said, in effect, “I’m rich and I don’t apologize for it.” Nobody wants you to, Mitt. What some of us want—those who aren’t blinded by a lot of bullshit persiflage thrown up to mask the idea that rich folks want to keep their damn money—is for you to acknowledge that you couldn’t have made it in America without America. That you were fortunate enough to be born in a country where upward mobility is possible (a subject upon which Barack Obama can speak with the authority of experience), but where the channels making such upward mobility possible are being increasingly clogged. That it’s not fair to ask the middle class to assume a disproportionate amount of the tax burden. Not fair? It’s un-fucking-American is what it is. I don’t want you to apologize for being rich; I want you to acknowledge that in America, we all should have to pay our fair share. That our civics classes never taught us that being American means that—sorry, kiddies—you’re on your own. That those who have received much must be obligated to pay—not to give, not to “cut a check and shut up,” in Governor Christie’s words, but to pay—in the same proportion. That’s called stepping up and not whining about it. That’s called patriotism, a word the Tea Partiers love to throw around as long as it doesn’t cost their beloved rich folks any money.""