Mahatma Gandhi, Two-sided Canvas

Mahatma Gandhi and Prema Kantak: Exploring a Relationship, Exploring History Edited And Translated by Meera Kosambi from Oxford University Press (India).

An important thinker, writer and activist, Prema Kantak's (1906-1985) contribution to the feminist discourse and Gandhian activism in India is largely unknown. Kantak, a onetime resident of Gandhi's ashram, forged a special, lifelong bond with the Mahatma and was hugely influenced by his views and persona.

Bringing together personal correspondence between Gandhi and Kantak as well as original translations of her fiction and nonfiction writings, this book explores a unique Gandhi-Kantak relationship and reflects the complexities of Gandhi's political and social ideas?especially his understanding of the role of women in the nationalist movement. The correspondence, marked by loving devotion on the one hand and encouragement and nurturing on the other, is replete not only with an unusual mix of Kantak's hero-worship and self-doubt alternating with self-assurance but also opens up a new window to a much-deliberated and oft researched topic? 

Gandhi's relationship with his women followers. Translated, edited and with a comprehensive introduction by Meera Kosambi, the book retrieves the life, career and writings of Prema Kantak whose iconic status has thus far been obscured.

Rs. 850, in hardback, 368 pages, ISBN: 9780198082934

The Two-sided Canvas: Perspectives on Ahmed Ali Mehr Afshan Farooqi, also from Oxford University Press (India).

Ahmed Ali (1910-1994), multitalented, bilingual writer, poet, scholar, translator, critic, and anthologist, is one of the stalwarts of South Asian literature. A founder of the All-India Progressive Writers' Association and best-known for the classic portrait of Delhi, Twilight in Delhi (1940), Ali's life and work is informed by a tremendous idealism that inspired a whole generation of writers and intellectuals. As a literary figure, he epitomized a compelling cosmopolitan sensibility and opened up the South Asian literary milieu to the West, easily bridging East-West boundaries through his translations, modernist outlook, and anti-parochial stance.

In The Two-sided Canvas, Mehr Afshan Farooqi introduces us to Ali's bilingual creative genius and brings together a cornucopia of biography, interviews, and critical essays by eminent scholars like Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, Carlo Coppola, Ahmad Hal-Rahim, and Snehal Shingavi among others, which shed fascinating light on Ali's literary oeuvre as well as a critical period of history that saw the demise of British colonial rule in India. With rare archival material, this book will engage students and scholars of English and Urdu literature, comparative literature, cultural studies, as well as anyone interested in Muslim social and cultural history.

Rs. 895, in hardback, 240 pages, ISBN: 9780198077954