“Call of the Hills”

Author: Dweep Subba / Labels: , , , , , , ,

Book Review...

Call of the Hills…
A Coursebook of Indian Nepali Literature in Translation (Volume I)
ISBN: 81- 86954 -88-0
Binding: Paperback
Price   : 100/-
Printed at: Trade Con, Kolkata
Published by: Centre of Advanced Study in Comparative Literature
   Jadavpur University
Year of Publication: 2012
Subject: (Coursebook) Essays and Literary Fiction.

 “Call of the Hills” is a course book which has been included in the graduation syllabus of Comparative Literature in Jadavpur University, Kolkata. The name of the book “Call of the Hills” is appropriate, for the stories contained in it deeply portrays the stories of the hills, mountains, precipice and the lifestyle of the people. The book has used English as its medium in translating the Nepali Stories into English. Altogether, the volume has a collection of three Essays and nineteen short stories written by seventeen eminent Nepali writers including three stories of Shiva Kumar Rai. The stories have been translated by students and Research scholars of Kalimpong, Darjeeling, Sikkim and Kolkata namely Martha Rai, Bishwa Devi Subba (Sikkim University), Gaurav Tamang, Gyanendra Mani Pradhan and Shradanjali Tamang (Darjeeling), Lee Pandi Fudong (Kalimpong), Sanchari Bhattacharya, Smita Basu, Debapritam Chakraborty, Rianka Roy, Shubojit Banerjee, Anshuman Bhowmick, Malini Bhattacharya, Satish Kumar and Ranjamrittika Bhowmick (Kolkata).The book is edited by Dr. Kavita Lama and Sayatan Dasgupta.

The translated stories are very strong having Universal motifs depicting the worldwide and everyday life of the Nepali speaking people of India with some stories based on the relevant social, political and economic realities. Provinces in India were created in independent India according to a language being spoken but due to the upcoming of various linguistic languages, no region/state speaks one language. For eg – languages that are spoken in Sikkim are Bhutia, Lepcha, Limboo, Gurung, Rai, Newar, Bihari, Bengali and Nepali etc. Likewise, Sayatan Dasgupta in his Introduction has given a wide view of the differences created by languages taking the linguistic cartography of South East Asia in general and the language Nepali in particular. Some of the stories contained in the book are Chaprasi by Achha Rai “Rashik” is a story woven into the social fabric of life in Darjeeling Hills and relate to the social, political and economic realities of the region, Bal Bahadhur Bishta Chettri by Ishwar Ballabh is written in a tongue cheek tone showcasing the oppression faced by a scarecrow, The Diamond Necklace (Hira ko Haar) by Shiva Kumar Rai focuses on human greed and awe for fame, authority and affluence and is also full of shock and laughter, The path a Thought Traverses ( Euta Vichar ko Yatrapath) by Indra Bahadhur Rai is a story written during the decisive period of the theory of “Dimensional Movement”, it is a story describing its theme from the language of painting, music and is presented in obliquities’ and Reality (Yatharta) by Jas Yonzone “Pyasi” focuses on love and social institutions, evoking a weird feeling and camouflaged on a ghost like story only to make the story turn more realistic with the befall of tragedy in the end. This is not the end, there are more stories of Lakhi Devi Sundas, Agam Sigh Giri, Guman Singh Chamling full of myriad thematic and stylistic characteristics and many more in the book and all you need to do is buy it from your nearest bookstores.

For me, The book tends to be important and of huge success in two ways; firstly Nepali literature which has remain untamed has not been exposed to the worldwide readers, this book with the works of seventeen writers holding different taste undoubtedly will bolster the outlook of Nepali Literature and satiate the thirst of the globalized readers’. Dr. Kavita Lama in her Foreward has stated words like “The number of translated works in Indian Nepali literature can simply be counted on one’s fingers”. True to her words, there are only few translated works but with the coming of such initiative and young talents from the hills, it might be the starting of a new era in the field of Translation and in the globalization of Nepali Literature.

Secondly, the book juxtaposes works of many eminent Nepali writers. Also the stories of the volume are being studied for the academic year 2012-13 in the Department of Comparative Literature in Jadavpur University. It is to be noted that students from myriad communities will also be learning and knowing the tradition of the Hills and also to mention the lifestyle of the Hill and Modus Vivendi of the Hill people. To strengthen the identity of the Gorkha speaking Indians through the usage of a pen and a paper is the success of this book.


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