Sibaji Bandyopadhyay, former Professor of Cultural Studies at the Centre for Studies in Social Sciences, Calcutta, and former Professor of Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University won the Sisir Kumar Das Memorial Award for his contribution to Bengali literature in 2010, and the Vidyasagar Memorial Award for his life-time achievement in the sphere of Bengali prose in 2010. His 2013 Bangla book, Gopal Rakhal Dvandasamas has been translated as The Gopal-Rakhal Dialectic: Colonialism and Children's Literature in Bengal by Rani Ray and Nivedita Sen.
Literature for children is a distinctive achievement of the Bengali language. In it, we get numerous illustrations of primers that are meant to initiate reading and writing among children, poems and nursery rhymes, fables and fairytales, prose pieces and stories, plays and novels – all of which are unique in their style and content, exceptional in their taste and flavour. Literature for children has led to the production of innumerable books in Bengal; countless magazines and annual Puja numbers of journals have put together, year after year, stories, poems and plays for children. There is hardly any adult writer of stature who has not contributed to this venture. Even when we assess the nature of ideas and beliefs, Bengali children’s literature does not pall. In fact, it is a contentious site of trends and counter-trends that can be charted within inventive writings for children. Its multifarious potential, already manifest in the colonial era, continues in the decades following India’s independence. The Gopal–Rakhal Dialectic: Colonialism and Children’s Literature in Bengal offers us an evaluation of the strengths and possibilities of this very literature.
The translators have impressive credentials. Rani Ray has taught English at the University of Delhi, University of California at Santa Barbara, and Institute of English Studies at Lodz (Poland). Nivedita Sen teaches English at Hans Raj College, University of Delhi.
From Tulika Books, Delhi. In our Literary Criticism section, in hardcover, xxii + 326 pages, Rs 950. ISBN: 9789382381556