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Hind Swaraj, Gandhi’s seminal text in Gujarati, was written between 13 and 22 November 1909 aboard the Kildonan Castle bound for South Africa. It is a dialogue on modern civilisation, composed at a moment in modern history when the pre-modern in the world beyond Europe could still be touched and spoken of, not as mere memory or longing but as a living form. As a mode of exposition and argument, Hind Swaraj stems from a cognitive universe that abides beyond the ambit of modernity. It is perhaps the only critique of the modern order that seeks an understanding of its salient facts. Its referents are tradition and modernity, the ancient and modern, ethical-moral and instrumental-efficient. Hind Swaraj is a plea for non-violence as a mode of self-affirmation and resistance against oppression and injustice. For anyone engaged with the life and thought of Gandhi and with the question of the meaning of life within the modern order of things, Hind Swaraj remains a critical text.
This critical centenary edition is intended as a renewal of a deeper engagement with the text and the discourse around it. It reinstates the 1910 edition of the English rendering and the original in Gujarati as the first textual referent in conversation with the 1921 edition and the authorised second edition of 1939. It is presented along three axes: margin-notes (alternative readings/translations of the Gujarati original), footnotes (notations for categories-concepts) and Hindi translation (to mute the current placement of English as the exclusive mediation between languages). This is also the first edition of Hind Swaraj in two languages.
Suresh Sharma is a historian and anthropologist. He is Senior Fellow and Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies (CSDS), Delhi. Currently, he is working on a commentary on Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj and a comparative reading of St Augustine’s Confessions and Gandhi’s My Experiments with Truth.
Tridip Suhrud is a political scientist and cultural historian, working on the Gandhian intellectual tradition and the social history of Gujarat of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Currently, he is Professor at the Dhirubhai Ambani Institute of Information and Communication Technology, Gandhinagar, Gujarat. At present, he is working on the English translation of Govardhanram Tripathi’s four-part novel Sarasvatichandra.
There is a rich variety of tales and an amalgamation of many threads of a major stream of South India’s oral tradition in the book Hundred Tamil Folk and Tribal Tales. The tales, crafted together in Sujatha Vijayaraghavan’s lucid English translation, beacon a serious engagement in Indic studies.
Vijayaraghavan’s volume provides an easy access to the cultural registers and linguistic mores of a tribal/folk population at a crucial juncture of colonial modernity.
Furthermore, she translates not merely the tales as she finds them in the Tamil original, naatupura kathai kalanjiyam, but distinguishes and recognises the tribal tale, otherwise unnoticed in the proverbial ocean of Indian folktales. As a distinct and stimulating vein of wisdom and wit in Dravidian lives and popular traditions, the tribal-tale receives the first-ever straight look in the pages.
Sujatha Vijayaraghavan is Professor of English at Pondicherry University, Puducherry. Her teaching and research interests include Indian Writing in English, Postcolonial Studies, Translation Studies and Folklore Studies and Oral Literatures. An avid translator she has translated contemporary Tamil fiction and classical Tamil Poetry.
This hardback omnibus edition collects three of M. T. Vasudevan Nair’s previously published works—Mist and The Soul of Darkness, Kaalam and Kuttiedathi and Other Stories. The volume features an introduction to M. T. Vasudevan Nair’s work by P. P. Raveendran, an eminent academic and a scholar of Malayalam literature.
Mist and The Soul of Darkness are translations of M. T. Vasudevan Nair’s highly-acclaimed novellas, Manhu and Irutinde Atmavu. Set in a hill station, the Mist narrates the story of Vimala, a school teacher who continues to wait for her beloved Sudhir, with whom she once shared a passionate affair filled with promises. The Soul of Darkness, on the other hand speaks of Velayudhan, a young man regarded by his family as ‘not normal’ and is thus treated abominably, tortured and beaten. Though his cousin Ammakutty really cares for him, she is helpless and cannot do much to save him. In both stories, Nair voices through mists of memories and emotions, some lost hopes and evocative experiences. The narratives are deeply touching, dramatic and realistic.
Set against the backdrop of a crumbling matrilineal tarawad system of the Nairs in Kerala with its manifold conflicts and problems, Kaalam is the story of Sethumadhavan Nair who starts out as an ambitious and confident adolescent—but in his journey towards adulthood, where material and social success go hand in hand, he is faced with an overwhelming sense of disillusionment. In its revelations, the story is beautifully adorned with the emotional experiences of the protagonist, which is also reflective of Nair’s own childhood in many ways.
Kuttiedathi and other stories is a collection of the finest stories of M. T. Vasudevan Nair that encompasses the ordinary middle class lives and sufferings of people in northern Kerala. Nair’s engaging style of storytelling is touching throughout. If the lead story Kuttiedathi mixes tragic memory and domestic martyrdom, When the Doors of Heaven Open plays out another life upon which centre a group of lives, all selfish, caring and indifferent by turns. In Insight however, strange and unfathomable bonds of passion emerge as the main theme. These are little tragedies of the soul told with a finesse characteristic of Nair’s profound, yet minimalist sense of expression.
Born in 1933 in the small village of Koodallur, Kerala, Madath Thekkepat Vasudevan Nair is the best known among his generation of storywriters in Malayalam. With a publishing career spanning a little more than fifty years, he is renowned as a chronicler of life in the matriarchal joint family of Kerala, a milieu he describes with intimacy in novels such as Nalukettu (1959) and Kaalam (1969). He won the State and Kendriya Sahitya Akademi awards respectively for these two novels. He is also among Kerala’s most popular script writers and directors of mainstream cinema. He has won four National Awards for his screenplays. The very first film he wrote, produced and directed, Nirmaalyam (The Floral Offering) won the President’s Gold Medal in 1973 and Kadavu (The Ferry) won the Japanese Grand Prix. He was also awarded the Jnanpith in 1996.
Apart from short fiction in which he has excelled, Nair has published novels and novellas, travelogues, literary criticism, books for children and a sizeable number of miscellaneous notes, reviews and memoirs. Nair’s stories have been translated into major languages in India and abroad. He was associated with the editorship of Matrubhumi for well over four decades. The Government of India honoured him with the Padmabhushan in 2005.
Gita Krishnankutty has a doctorate in English from Mysore University. She has a number of translations from Malayalam to English to her credit, including Cast Me Out If You Will, a collection of short stories and memoirs by Lalithambika Anterjanam (Stree, 1998), several short stories by M.T. Vasudevan Nair and his novel, Nalukettu. She is the author of A Life of Healing: a Biography of P. S.Varier. She won the Sahitya Akademi Award for her translation of N. P. Mohammed’s The Eye of God, the Crossword Award for M. Mukundan’s On the Banks of the Mayyazhi and for Anand’s Govardhan’s Travels. She lives in Chennai.
A seasoned and sensitive translator, V. Abdulla (1921—2003) knew M.T. Vasudevan nair since his youth. His earlier work included translations of Malayalam writers like S. K. Pottekat, Vaikom Mohammad Basheer and Malayatoor Ramakrishnan. V Abdulla won the Yatra Award (1995) and the Sevarathna Award (1996) for translation. He retired as Divisional Director of Orient Longman in 1981.
The translations in this volume were completed before his death in 2003. He is survived by his wife, two daughters and a son.