More in Translation

The Sahitya Akademi 's 2008 translation prizes in Hindi, Kashmiri, Sanskrit, and English went to
  • Mamooli Cheezon Ka Devata, Nilabh's Hindi translation of Arundhati Roy's The God Of Small Things,
  • Hindustani Afsaani, a translation of collection of short stories in various languages , into Kashmiri,
  • Sringarapadyavali, a translation of poetry by Tamil Sangam poets into Sanskrit, and
  • Topi Shulka, a translation of Rahi Masoom Raza's Hindustani novel by the same name, into English.
Rahi Masoom Raza, film-maker, fashion designer, poet, artist, music-lover, revivalist, social-worker... novelist.

"Set in Aligarh in the early 1960s, after the dust of Partition has ostensibly settled, Topi Shukla is an intriguing story of two friends-one Hindu and the other Muslim. Through the characters of people like Topi and Iffan, the novel looks at the lives of ordinary prople trying to survive in a socieyt that insists on a brutal conformity of beahviour. It is about individuals whose spirits are paralysed because they cannot conform, and about history's inability to teach mankind any worthwhile lessons.

Language plays an important part in this narrative, operating almost as a character in its own right. Topi, as a Hindi bull in the Urdu china shop, invokes the historical stand-off between the two languages.

The novel also explores the culture and psyche of Uttar Pradesh withits very Muslim Aligarh, its very Hindu Benares, and their exotic confluence in Lucknow. Although it is set in the India of the 1960s, the communal tensions and issues portrayed in the novel make it just a s relevant to the troubled times we face today. This fascinating novel wil be of tremendous interest to the general reader, as well as to students of literature in translation, partition fiction, and social history. The novel's engagement with intertextuality and metafiction will add to its interest for readers keen on literary theory."

The translation is by Meenakshi Shivram, a freelance translator and journalist with both the Web and the print media, and the foreword is by Harish Trivedi, Professor of English at Delhi University.

In our Indian Literature in Translation section, 145 pages, hardcover, Rs 225. ISBN: 9780195670899

Comments