February 06, 2013

Empathy and justice, liberty and responsibility

Lachhama by Fakir Mohan Senapati
Written in the Rajput heroic legend style, a genre popular in Bengali nationalistic literature of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Lachhama is stylistically different from the social realism of Senapati’s other three novels. The experiment with a more ornate and dramatic form does not detract, however, from Senapati’s passionate engagement with Odia nationalism, the emancipation of women, and the day-to-day concerns of Odia people.  
The overarching theme in Lachhama is Odia nationalism in the backdrop of Senapati’s efforts to preserve Odia against hegemonic attempts to subsume it within the fold of Bengali. Set in the 1740s, it uses the struggle between the Mughals and Marathas for supremacy in Odisha and the hardship this entails for the people to voice this concern. Suffused with Hindu idioms, references, and expressions, the novel may seem to glorify Hinduism, but its underlying message is secular… Then again, in Lachhama Senapati raises a voice, if only obliquely, against child marriage. He uses a stereotypical and idyllic depiction of tribal life to endorse adherence to a minimum age for marriage. Chandan Das’s translation smoothly and skilfully retains the poetry and atypical cadence of the original. He has succeeded in this attempt to take Fakir Mohan Senapati to many more readers.  It is a classic by a doyen of Odia literature and it has never before been translated in English. It has a glowing Introduction by Jayanta Mahapatra. From: Shalini Shekhar 

Falling In Love With The Novel from The Middle Stage by Chandrahas Dec 4, 2012 This essay appeared last week in The Telegraph of London.
Like the European novel, I saw, the Indian novel was really a kind of continent; to read in it without an emphasis on translation was to confine oneself to only one country. Among my discoveries in translation was the Oriya writer Fakir Mohan Senapati’s limber and anarchic Six Acres and a Third, every bit as powerful today as it was when first published in 1902. Other great books of an Indian pantheon might include UR Ananthamurthy’s Samskara and Bharathipura (Kannada), Salma’s The Hour Past Midnight (Tamil), and the Bengali novels of Mahasweta Devi and Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay.
Indeed, the values of the novel – individualism, scepticism, narrative depth, polyphony, empathy, truth-telling – seem to me to be in dialogue with the values of another ambitious project of Indian modernity: democracy. Both these projects invest similar kinds of trust in the individual, and take a similarly complex view of the relationship between liberty and responsibility. Democracy works through ideas and arguments, novels through stories. But the great novels, like democracy, represent a vision of justice.

Rodogune - Auroville Radio Jan 23, 2013 – Rodogune, dramatic romance- one of the five plays written by Sri Aurobindo, directed by Aryamani with huge casting crew. Rodogune short version - YouTube
This play in 5 Acts is located in Syria of the playwright’s imagination. Rodogune, the Parthian Princess captured by Syria and made attendant of queen Cleopatra. Antiochus and Timocles, the sons of Cleopatra by her first husband, have been brought up in Egypt. At the death of Cleopatra’s second husband, they return to Syria. The selfish queen mistakes fulsome flattery for real love and rejects Antiochus. He revolts to claim the throne of Syria; and both Rodogune and Antiochus who are mutually attracted by love, join together in this venture....
Two complete, independent versions of this play exist. Sri Aurobindo wrote the first one in Baroda between 31 January and 14 February 1906, on the eve of his departure from the state to join the national movement. In May 1908 the notebooks containing his fair copy of Rodogune, like the notebook containing The Viziers of Bassora, were seized by the police when Sri Aurobindo was arrested. Fortunately, other notebooks remaining in his possession contained much of the penultimate draft of the 1906 version. Basing himself on these passages, he was able to reconstruct the play in Pondicherry around 1912. This version was published in the Sri Aurobindo Mandir Annual and separately in 1958. It supersedes the Baroda version, which was recovered in 1952. The plot of Rodogune derives ultimately from the history of Cleopatra, Queen of Syria, as recounted by such classical historians as Appian, Justin and Josephus. The immediate source probably was Rodogune (1645), by the French dramatist Pierre Corneille. 

Yasujirō Ozu - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia 12 December 1903 – 12 December 1963) was a Japanese film director and script writer. He began his career during the era of silent films. Ozu made fifty-three films: twenty-six in his first five years as a director, and all but three for the Shochiku studio. His outstanding works include Late Spring (1949), Early Summer (1951), Tokyo Story (1953), and Floating Weeds (1959). He made great use of ellipsis, where many events are not depicted visually, and he also used a style of cinematography in which the camera rarely moves and is usually positioned below the eye level of the actors. He did not conform to most Hollywood conventions, most notably the 180 degree rule. He invented the "tatami shot", in which the camera is placed at a low height, supposedly at the eye level of a person kneeling on a tatami mat. Actually, Ozu's camera is often even lower than that, only one or two feet off the ground.

Jiwan Pani Memorial Festival: to sir, with love Hindustan Times ‎- Wed, 06 Feb 2013
The XIth Jiwan Pani Memorial Festival, that kicks off in the city today, will stage some of the finest Indian classical talent on a single stage over... A bi-annual event, organised by the Centre for Indian Classical Dances, the festival is held in the memory of Mansingh’s guru and mentor. “The idea of the festival is to get all these art forms together. This year the focus is only on dance,” she says.
Spread over two days, the event will feature Kathakali by Kalamandalam Gopi (Kerala), Kathak by Aditi Mangaldas (Lucknow), Pallavi Pramanik and Pallavi Saran Gujral Dwi — Varnaa (Jugalbandi of Odissi and Bharatnatyam) and Vilasini Natyam by Swapana Sundari (Andhra Pradesh).

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