As crackling as the mild winter wind sweeping across the country. February heralds changes in weather. This issue does that also. Changes in terms of tone, theme and style to make it a rich oriental tapestry for dear patrons of Setu.
A play-let by NS Murty as a tribute to the Bard that references his plays and flows easily is a delight and bold attempt at contemporary understanding of a playwright the world has come to like and love so much, irrespective of the language, colour or creed. The Border-less Shakespeare continues to fascinate the New Millennials and it shows his grip and power over mind and heart of humanity in the last 400 hundred years. Few writers in any culture can rival that kind of enduring appeal, despite tremendous changes in human condition due to the advances made by science and technology and our very modes of seeing a different, high-tech space around. The world of Shakespeare is different from today but his overarching vision continues to connect with succeeding generations of readers and viewers is real amazing. He is deathless.
A supple and joyous translation of Jaishankar Prasad, a tall summit of the modern Hindi Lit by the famous multilingual British author Usha Kishore is another noteworthy feature. She brings freshness and accessibility through a fine rendering of the nuances of his dense poetry into an international language and multicultural context hungry for more of such dual texts; a difficult task delicately done by Usha who displays her knowledge of Indian heritage and canonical texts via a two-way interaction that serious translation always involves. This trans-creation of epic Prasad into English is a rare service towards the field of translation studies and deserves full praise for its breadth and sweep. It is sublime and reads so well, almost naturally in a language that continues to thrive as a Raj legacy in an independent nation of one billion plus people. The empire is writing back and reclaiming national pride through such well-meaning efforts and transnational literary projects---kind of civilizational dialogue with the inheritors.
We are proud to serve as a Setu to Prasad and his English readers.
Another translation--- of a Telugu short---by the noted poet-academic Chandra Mouli deftly reveals the concerns of regional literature. Telugu and Tamil Sahitya, like the Bhasha Lit--- reflect broadly the realities of an India on march in a more immediate manner. these translations capture two moments of the national imagination---one, in the past; another, present.
The spot light on David Allen reveals a hugely- talented writer and editor whose works continue to amaze his admirers. They give us a glimpse into realities of an advanced country.
Now, about a change: Introducing an occasional column:My World and Words. The inaugural piece is by the senior poet-editor AtreyaSarma. The confessional is a masterly mix of the personal and literary; subjective and objective;official and verbal in the evolution of a creative mind. The trajectory combines historical with cultural and how the dialectics produces remarkable art. Atrerya's sensibilities are on full display here.His debut collection Sunny Rain-n-Snow is already garnering lot of critical acclaim.
Tonal varieties; lightness and density; thematic variations.
Well, February issue has got everything like the month it represents.
Enjoy its variegated beauty and verbal-visual patterns!
- Sunil Sharma
Editor, Setu, English