Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Friday, October 22, 2010
My research article "The Economic Aspect in Diasporic Theory and Literature" has been published in the book Diasporic Consciousness: Literatures from the Postcolonial World. Eds. Dr. Smriti Singh and Dr. Achal Sinha, ISBN No.: 9783639302035, Germany: VDM, Verlag Dr. Müller. 2010.The book is available at http://www.gettextbooks.com/
Friday, September 17, 2010
My review of Santiago Roncagliolo's novel Red April has been published in the latest issue of Rupkatha Journal On Interdisciplinary Studies in Humanities - http://rupkatha.com/v2n3.php
Two poems (The Dry Gargoyle and No More) in Ken Again - http://kenagain.freeservers.com/POETRY.HTML#saha
Sunday, August 22, 2010
One day in the rainy month of September (2005), when I was preparing my PhD thesis proposal and had newly acquired my Calcutta University Central Library membership card, I decided to have a look at an actual PhD thesis. I went to the top floor of the Central Library, which then housed the theses collection, and was asked to select the name of a thesis from the catalogue. While browsing through the mammoth index I suddenly came across a familiar name – a name that I distinctly remembered I had heard in the university's staff room as well as seen in the online list of faculty members of the English Department. The name was Sinjini Bandyopadhyay and her thesis was titled "The Novels of Evelyn Waugh: The Art of Paradox". When I got the handsome copy of the thesis in my hands, it was less to get some critical insight into the works of the author of Brideshead Revisited than to have a visual and tactile feel of the hard-bound dissertation itself. That was my first acquaintance with a PhD thesis and the memory of it is still vivid.
Last year (2009) after I finished writing my PhD thesis, I again consulted a few theses from the same repository to garner some technical details. This time I had the online catalogue (http://www.caluniv.ac.in/opac/OPAC3.HTM) to search for the latest theses of the department. I found post-colonial explorations in Sujas Bhattacharya's thesis titled "The Fading of the 'Shadow Lines': Identity and the Fiction of Salman Rushdie, Amitav Ghosh and Bharati Mukherjee". I found feminist concerns in Nayna De's thesis titled "Real and Imagined Women in the Feminist Fiction of Virginia Woolf and Fay Weldon" (the thesis has a number of plates to make it visually rich). One of the latest theses submitted was rather interesting – it was Sanmita Ghosh's thesis titled "Enchanted Spaces: Representations of Female Domains in a Selection of Victorian Fairy Tales by Women Authors". But the one thesis that can vouch for the variety and the range of research work going on in the English Department was Burosib Dasgupta's thesis titled "New Media, New Poetics: The Changing Interface". It argues how the triple pillars of innovation - connectivity, hypertextuality, multimedia – have developed new media and a new society. It raises the question whether the new poetics of globalization, the public sphere and the internet is leading towards new forms of aesthetics.
Now when I am on the verge of appearing for my Viva, I expect my thesis to be added soon to this awe-inspiring storehouse of research work and hence I feel so privileged. Maybe someday some other researcher like me will consult my thesis in turn and feel much the same way as I feel now. I wish that future researcher all the best.
[Researchers can also consult http://indcat.inflibnet.ac.in/indcat/]
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Saturday, June 5, 2010
The paper argues that, though Indian English poetry began in Bengal, it has not been able to find favour with readers and writers from Bengal (in contradistinction to fiction writing in English by Bengalis) because mainly due to an indigenous revival of provincial (the term is used in a non-judgemental sense) theme in the dominant stream of Bengali poetry that flourishes today. Cosmopolitanism is no longer a felt need for this dominant stream and so there is little urge to use English, the symbol and instrument of cosmopolitanism. Of course, the stream of poetry written by the former generation of poets like Jibanananda Das, Buddhadev Bose, Sudhindranath Dutta, Bishnu Dey (interestingly all of them were professors of English) was cosmopolitan in nature. They brought the West to
Wednesday, May 5, 2010
Read my short story "The Blue Sky" in Open Salon.
Poems "The Infant", "The Youth" and "The Aged" published in Kritya: A Journal of Poetry (Volume V Part XI May 2010).
Sunday, April 4, 2010
To Dr. Chinmoy Guha on his Knighthood
It was a day in the early summer of 1991 between the First Gulf War and the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi when I first read that article. Remember it was also the year when there was a massacre in
Almost a decade and a half passed by in the innumerable vagaries of life that smothered all precociousness. But that other man by the name of Chinmoy Guha went on to lecture in the universities of Paris, Oxford, Manchester, Warwick, Lyon, Avignon, and Maison des Sciences de l’ Homme; to translate Moliere, Flaubert, Gide, and Rolland; and write many books including Where the Dreams Cross and The Tower and the Sea. Until suddenly by a quirk of fate, in 2006 at a seminar in
It has been nineteen years now and still that piece of paper has not ceased to delight. And ever so more, whenever I chance to see that man, who wrote that article, I feel simultaneously a teenage awe and a mature affinity. The thick black hair, the wide-rimmed glasses, the bright-eyed glance, the welcoming demeanour, and the baritone voice all seem to invite and yet it is the stature of the man that daunts. So now when he has been conferred the Knighthood of the Palmes Académiques by the French government, he appears like a colossus placed in my vicinity. But for me, and maybe for many like me, he will rather remain a bust of inspiration through his writings. How privileged are those students who get the chance to study under him in
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Read my short story "Who's Where?" in Vol. 3 No. 7 • March, 2010 issue of Word Catalyst Magazine.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
The poem also appears at Anjuman.
Prologue to an International Conference on “Connecting Cultures: Translation and Texts”
The topic of next week’s conference (24th - 26th February, 2010) under the UGC-assisted DRS SAP III Phase II programme of the Department of English, Calcutta University, has urged me to write a prologue to it in anticipation of gleaning a rich crop of knowledge over the three days of the seminar. Additionally, my PhD thesis is on “The Indian Diaspora in Transition” and one aspect of transition is the cultural self-fashioning, which at some level can be interpreted as connecting cultures. Although translation is different from transition, it is the prefix “trans” that has come in vogue as the tool of critical exploration. According to Aihwa Ong, “trans” stands for both moving through spaces or across lines as well as changing the nature of something. In case of translation that “something” is the text and the change is the change in language or in medium (primarily into films) whereby cross-cultural connections are established.
The primary form of literary translation is from one language into another because without it, as the eminent translator Ketaki Kushari Dyson once said in a panel discussion on “Tagore in Translation” (2004-05), “communities do not get to know each other’s literary treasures.” Post translation what is produced is not essentially one text in two languages but rather two texts, albeit related, but having their own separate existence. The translated text should not merely correspond to the original text but should somehow dissolve the original text and attain a direct correspondence with what the original text represents or depicts. The French poet Saint-John Perse once wrote about Rabindranath Tagore’s translation of Gitanjali that it “is the only poetical work worth its name n English for a long time” (Ref. “Tagore and Perse” by Chinmoy Guha in Miscellany supplement of The Statesman, Kolkata, May 12, 1991). Perse, despite knowing that Gitanjali is a translation in English of Bengali original, took it as a poetical work in English. Buddhadeva Bose in his book An Acre of Green Grass acknowledged that “Gitanjali is more than a great work in English; it is the work of a great English poet.” Ketaki Kushari Dyson says that “every language is a way of looking at the world,” so in that perspective translations are the different ways of looking at the same world. But she also adds that “every language has its own culture” and hence while translating from one culture to another one has to “deal with references” and hence “some scholarly apparatus is necessary.” Otherwise pitfalls are there. As Ketaki Kushari Dyson recalls from her childhood how she used to break down the name Rainer Maria Rilke in Bengali as “Rhine nodir maria ril ke” to mean “dedicated to Maria Ril who dwelt on the banks of the Rhine.” Thus she illustrates her magical relationship with language.
According to Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, a translator has to surrender to the text. True. But what if the author is the translator? Like Tagore. Tagore, instead of translating literally the poems of Gitanjali, transforms them. Hence “sravana thala” becomes “golden basket” and not “golden plate” because basket is a better visual image in English (Ref. Bose). “Nilaj nil akas” becomes “ever-wakeful blue sky” and not “immodest blue sky” because the associations of “lajja” cannot be conveyed by any English word (Ref. Bose). “Nibid megh” becomes “a thick veil” and not “spreading heavy clouds” because cloud begets different images in Bengal and England (Ref. Bose). Thus Buddhadeva Bose has written about Gitanjali: “as if the poem never suffered the grill of translation, but came straight from the poet’s heart.” Tagore had once commented that words are the daughters of affluent families; they bring along with them a lot of wealth – “artha” in Bengali means both wealth and meaning (Ref. Jharna Sanyal’s essay “Postscripting Modernity: Reading Tagore’s Punashcha in Context” in the book Tagore and Modernity, Eds. Krishna Sen and Tapati Gupta). Buddhadeva Bose says that minor poems translate well but great poetry is obstinate, maybe because the diction of the latter is rich with associations.
Tagore also translated some of his prose works. In Naukadubi (The Wreck) he appends in-line glosses at some places to convey the Bengali meanings in English. When Ramesh tells Hemnalini, “tell me that you will never distrust me,” Tagore adds, “It was the first time that he had used the “thou” of close intimacy in addressing Hemnalini.” Tagore had to add beside “Kayastha” the words “or writer caste, inferior only to Brahmans in Bengal.” He had to gloss beside “luchi” in brackets “fried cakes.” And when Kamala tells Sailaja about the golden bracelets she had given Umi – “You can have them cut up and made into a necklace for her,” (my italics) it sound rather silly. Bengali has a gamut of untranslatable words like “abhiman,” “biroho,” “kerani,” “dharma” etc. That is why Indira Chowdhury in translating Ashapurna Debi's Pratham Pratisruti (The First Promise) writes: “I have left untranslated all terms that do not have conceptual or material equivalents, relying instead on a glossary.” She adds that she has “chosen Indian English equivalents over British or American colloquialisms… Thus ‘ojha’, commonly translated as ‘witch doctor’ and reminiscent of the colonial vilification of indigenous systems of healing, is translated here as “folk healer.” A pithy comparison with Tagore gets to the point – Tagore uses the word “kedgeree” in his translation of Naukadubi whereas Indira Chowdhury uses the word “khichri” in her translation of Pratham Pratisruti and explains its meaning in the glossary. Perhaps their target readerships were different but therein also lies the cultural context.
Saturday, January 9, 2010
Read my poems "A Bust Called Tagore", "The Statue of a Dancing Damsel" and "Heavily Pockmarked Floor" in Vol. V Part VIII of Kritya: A Journal of Poetry.
Also read my poems "Malaise" and "The Swing" in the January 2010 issue of Pens On Fire.