This blog used to be views on various things. But in all these years, I find it going a whole new direction.
Something which I have loved all the time. It's BOOKS!! So, presenting a whole new saga, of books and a little about them, whatever I can find, write, visualise and imagine...
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Friday, July 10, 2015
Author Interview : Abhijit Basu, author of ‘Prophets, Poets and Philosopher-Kings' (Part 2)
Read up, more of Abhijit Basu's Interview. In this part, he reveals to us, how he managed to blend Kalidasa's stories and the Western philosophy, and how he thinks his book stands out from the other mythological stories. He goes on to tell us, what he is reading at the moment, Folks...
How are Kalidasa’s stories and the Western philosophy blended into
book aims to present ‘Sketches on India’s Spiritual and Literary Heritage.’ The
first six chapters all relate to either epics or religious and spiritual
literature. The last piece on Kalidasa’s Shakuntala is the sole representative
of the rich classical secular literature that is an integral part of India’s
Apart from its sheer value as a great poetic drama, Abhijnana Shakuntalam is an ideal
subject of critical study for two other reasons.
The first reason is the exceptional genius of Kalidasa, which has transformed a
rather cut-and-dried story from the Mahabharata into a superior and almost
perfect romantic drama, so much so that people now remember Dushyanta,
Shakuntala, Anasuya, Priyamvada et al created by Kalidasa rather than the
sketchy characters of only the first two from Vyasa’s Great Epic.
second reason is the phenomenal popularity in the West of Abhijnana Shakuntalam, translated over two centuries ago by William
Jones and profusely praised by Goethe among others. An
English literary review of the great book from modern perspective therefore
seemed to me a good subject to study and write on.
In today’s world where there is no lack of books on mythology, how
does your book stand out from the rest?
there is renewed interest in mythology now. More and more young authors are
coming out with their adaptations of events and characters from the epics and
number of those are bold modern interpretive re-creation of myths while some
others fall in the genre of fantasy. But by and
large, my approach has been to select characters and episodes which may
arguably be more than myths.
Apart from their intrinsic literary qualities, I look for some
plausible proto-historical and cultural leads in our ancient legends.
After all, legends are the staple of ancient history, as anyone can find from
the works of Herodotus. Even where the old stories are palpably fictional, they
still can throw some light on the thoughts and practices of ancient societies. In short, I try to look at the ancient world through the
magnifying lens of our evolved humanistic understanding.
Abhijit Basu at Author Corner in last year's World Book Fair, Delhi
What book is coming from your desk, next? When do you see that
I am now more than halfway through a manuscript on India’s
civilisational and cultural continuity. Some of its chapters (e.g. on Sanskrit,
on ‘Yayaati’s Children’ and on ‘Indian Concept of Time’) have been uploaded in
the academia.edu web-journal, where they have attracted good readership.
As for its likely date of release, Inshallah,
let me first find the prospective Publisher!
Which books are you currently reading?
from literature research for my current book project, I am now reading a
Pulitzer-winning book on the American Civil War, titled ‘The Killer Angels’ by
Michael Shaara (President Lincoln and the American Civil War being one of my
favourite subjects of study).
reading, Leonard A Gordon’s ‘Brothers against the Raj’, a fine twin-biography
of Subhas Bose and Sarat Bose. Then, to provide a lighter feel of things, I am
rereading ‘Psmith Omnibus’ by PG Wodehouse, whom I admire as a master humorist
and prose stylist.