Kalki



Generations of Tamils have grown up seeing magazines like Kalki (and Ananda Vikatan) strewn about the house, the weekly or biweekly literary fare of many an urban family... I remember the magazines- without being able to read all but the most elementary cartoons- for the stories that my aunts would read out to me, and for the amazing illustrations by Maniam that accompanied the historical stories that filled the pages, especially of Kalki.
Kalki Krishnamurthy- who founded the magazine- wrote much of his historical fiction starting in the 1940's. The trilogy for which he was so famous were the novels Parthiban Kanavu, Sivakamiyin Sabatham and Ponniyin Selvan, the first of which has appeared in translation from Tulika Books, Chennai as Parthiban's Dream. This translation is by Nirupama Raghavan, a teenager, who is home-schooled, and who has also shortened the book somewhat. The review that appeared in the Hindu a few years ago says " Translating historical fiction is a monumental task. That a teenager should have undertaken the venture — translating a writer who is a giant in the Tamil fiction scene — is a marvel. To give Nirupama her due, the language is lucid and the narrative moves steadily without jerks despite the abridgement. When you've read the original and been fascinated with it there is invariably a big drop in the interest quotient when going through the translation. But in this case, Nirupama has succeeded in sustaining the attention of the reader".

I read of this following a visit to Mamallapuram.
Kalki, born in 1899, was a freedom fighter who used his pen to instill national pride through his writing.... He was a great advocate of the Tamil language and literature, and the novel, which is set in Pallava times, moves in this locale. Seeing the grand vistas against which the stone carvings at Mamallapuram are located, the grandeur comes back to life, even if only as a dream...

Rs 165, 218 pages, ISBN:
81-8146-054-5

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