1927 | 11,233,916 words
Triveni is a journal dedicated to ancient Indian culture, history, philosophy, art, spirituality, music and all sorts of literature. Triveni was founded at Madras in 1927 and since that time various authors have donated their creativity in the form of articles, covering many aspects of public life....
This is an excellent collection of lectures by the well-known scholar Dr Niharranjan Ray as the Tagore Professor of the Punjab University in 1972. He has inscribed the book to the memory of Ananda K. Coomaraswamy. Further he mentions in the foreword, how he owed his great interest in Indian; art to the inspiration provided by the savant whose memory was celebrated throughout the country in 1977, the year of his birth-centenary. Despite his allegiance to his predecessor, he makes his own thesis where avowedly he differs from Ananda K. Coomaraswamy in a main point of theory. In his own words “The book...draws considerably away from him inasmuch as it pleads fora more humanistic, social and formal (that is aesthetic) approach to the study of Indian art than a purely religious, symbolical and intellectual one which still remains the dominant approach in Indian art studies.”
In ten chapters withtitles bearing significant indication of the contents within, the author has seriatim dealt with the aspects of art such as place of art in life, nature and essence of art, method and meaning, basis of religion and social environment, art and culture, ethnic ground and social character of Indian art.
Though it would be difficult to express any opinion selecting any of the topics dwelt upon, there is a wholesome dissertation upon the relevance of Alankara Sastra’s bearing upon the aesthetical perceptions in every one of our fine arts of poetry, music, dance, sculpture, painting and architecture. The author’s attempt to go deep into the connotations of Silpa as distinct from Lalitakala is certainly edifying. Art experience “Rasa,” fills many pages here and it will be useful to just mention one sentence of his to show how the author dives into subtler motives of art. He says: “At the level the revelation of the creative process by the artist is more significant than the created object.”
The entire book is strewn with such original and stimulating observations which can easily take the serious student of art, and particularly Indian art, to a higher plane of thought and philosophy of thought. Erudition marks page after page of this valuable volume and more than the scope of understanding the wide range of studies needed for approaching Indian art, the personal experience of his in having seen memorable pieces of sculpture, architecture, etc, give his opinions the weight necessary for becoming convincingly his own.
The select bibliography adds much to a book of this kind printed so well. The only want is its lack of illustrations.
New Poetry – An Arts Council Anthology: Edited by Fleur Adcock and Anthony Thwaite. (Hutchinson, 3, Fitzroy Square, London) Distributed by B I. Publications, 359, Dr. D. N. Road, Bombay-23. Price: Rs. 72-90.
An Attitude of Mind: By John Cassidy. (Hutchinson of London) B. I. Publications, 359, Dr. D. N. Road, Bombay-23. Price: Rs. 52-65.
Under the Ice: By Stewart Conn. ( Hutchinson of London) B. I. Publications, 359, Dr. D. N. Road, Bombay-23. Price: Rs. 52-65
Has modern poetry become irremediably dull? Are there no more surprises it can offer?
The post-Eliot practitioners of English verse who have been laughing at the “traditional” poetry that encapsules philosophy, theology and mysticism have begun to pall. The popularity of printing gimmicks is on the wane. These days there seem to be more poets than readers of poetry! How long can we stand the jets of anger and frustration when they aren’t relieved by the magic hue of hope?
No wonder, then, that the newer poets are turning to a more meaningful realm. Spiritual poetry appears as no distant dream any more. We have done with the challenging and breaking up of the worlds. It is now time to envision a purposive and beautiful world where man can rise beyond the merely physical. Eliot gauged the temper of the century and couched his vision in a language that could hold “the greater breath of the new spirit.” He assured us that a spiritual life is no dreams but an actual possibility provided we aspire for the same with a prayerful breath.
“The new years walk, restoring
Through a bright cloud of tears, the years, restoring
With a new verse the ancient rhyme Redeem
The time. Redeem
The unread vision in the higher dream
While jewelled unicorns draw by the gilded hearse.”
The 108 (intentional number?) poets in New Poetry arealmost all of them serious, and are engaged in a search for the meaning of existence. Mercifully they conduct their search through easily assimilable language. Indeed, today’s poet has no use for mystic obscurity. He either has a simple tale to tell – a miscarriage, a crowded natal home, the mason at work or the strangling of Tibet – or a question to ask about the past. Unsurprisingly, traditional imagery reigns still and causes many a beautiful, thought-provoking poem.
At the same time, many of the poets rightly point out that the past ispast. Today the abnormal has become the normal as we can see in the compressed scenarios blazoned in J. C. M. Hepple’s “Letter to an Ex-husband,” Nicky Rice’s “Geriatric Ward” and Joe Sheerin’s “A Cup of Tea.” New Poetry ignores none of the major facets of today’s poetry and besides contains lyrics from some of the more well-known poets like Gawin Ewart, Roy Fuller, Jon Silkin and John Cassidy.
John Cassidy’s An Attitude of Mind further exemplifies the unobscure, serious poetry being written today. The horrifying heartlessness of man exposed in “An Attitude of Mind” and “Tree Lined” explains the nature-lover in Cassidy who comes out in the evocative poems, “Summer”, “Whoopers” and “Chinese Pheasant.” The most interesting poem in the collection is, of course, “Ariadne to Minos.” Adroitly Cassidy relates Minos to any proto-typical tyrant of today (Idi Amin, for example) opposed by his own Ariadnes who welcome foreign liberating forces:
“And I am
Sick and raging within myself–
Knossos, a city, my city,
Spoken of wherever men meet in the world,
Known for this, for the breaking under hooves
Of the luckless, for the strange and urgent
Scent of power tickling the nose like blood-reek.”
The classical tradition lies thicker on Stewart Conn’s consciousness. Under the Ice has plenty of classical allusions with some Scottish legends and European experiences thrown in. But he is basically a wry romantic, willing to float with fancies but afraid to reject reality. The resulting tension is obvious in poems like “Reawakening” and “North Uist.” The tension in thought leads to a tautness in word sculpture and so we have memorable passages here and there.
“In my mind’s
eye, I keep
seeing a stretch
of bare beach;
on it, the wind
howling, a reed that bends–
and will not snap.”
–Dr. PREMA NANDAKUMAR
The Bhaumakaras of Orissa: By Umakantha Subuddhi, Published by Puntipustak, Calcutta. Price: Rs. 80.
In this work, the author describes in detail the history of the Bhaumakaras of Orissa. This work is based on the primary sources, archaeological and literary.
In the introductory chapter, the author traces the history of Orissa from the early times. Starting from the Mauryan dynasty, a resume of the history of Orissa up to 7th century A. D. is given in the introductory chapter. The author discusses in the next two chapters the geneology and chronology of the Bhaumakaras. After examining the views of several scholars, he comes to the conclusion that the Bhaumakara era was started in 736 A. D. with the accession of Kshemankaradeva. The dynasty reigned over Orissa till 950 A. D.
In chapter 5, the political history of the dynasty is traced. Though the foundations of the dynasty were laid by Kshemankaradeva, the real architect of the glory is Sivakaradeva I. He is described as the ‘Ferocious Lion’ and also as Sri Bharasaha or the one who is capable of carrying the weight of Lakshmi. With his territorial conquests, he rose to be the ruler of a kingdom stretching from Tosala in the North to Kongada in the South. Like other royal dynasties, the dynasty faced ups and downs. The author rightly ascribes to Tribhuvana Mahadevi, a rightful place in the hierarchy of kings. The prosperity of the kingdom of this period is indicated by Ibn Khurdadhbih. The fortunes of the family began to decline by the beginning of 10th century. The Somavansis stepped into the shoes of the Bhaumakaras.
In the next chapters, administration, social life and art and architecture of the Bhaumakara period is described. The author points out the area over which they ruled included Tosala but also the modern Midnapore, Mayur Bhanj, Keohjhar, Dhankal and Baud districts. This was divided into units such as Mandalad, Vishayas and Gramas. The administrative system was modeled on that of Gupta administration. The kings were patrons of Buddhism and Hinduism. A number of monasteries and temples were built during this period. By about 8th century Buddhism lost its ground because of its own internal decay. In the later part of the rule, Saivism gained ground and later rulers had the title “Paramamaheswara.” Though Vaishnavism was not popular, the worship of Sakti in different forms was popular.
In the chapter on art and architecture, the author enumerates the Buddhist shrines and Hindu temples of the Bhaumakara period. The Udayagiri, Lalitagiri and Ratnagiri hills in the Cuttack district contain some rich Buddhist relics which can be assignable to the Bhaumakara period. Excavations have revealed a Stupa at Ratnagiri and the discovery of Buddhist images from Udayagiri, Lalitagiri and Ratnagiri clearly indicate that the area was a famous seat of Buddhist establishment in the Bhaumakara period. The author further states that the temples of Vaital, Sissireswara, Markandeyesvara, Jaleswara and Uttareswara at Bhubaneswar were built during this period. Apart from these, there were minor centres of art at Kupari, Solampur, Khadipara, the Brahmani valley and Baud. The author concludes that there was prolific growth of art and architecture under the patronage of Bhaumakara kings.
The concluding portion of the book contains an exhaustive bibliography, a good index and a few photographs of the monuments of this period. To sum up, the author has done justice to the topic and his work is welcome addition to the existing stock of books on Orissa.
–DR. K. SUNDARAM
Fundamentals of Indian Philosophy: By P. Nagaraja Rao, The Indian Book Company, 36 C, Connaught Place, New Delhi-I. Price: Rs. 40.
The author of the work under review is one of those very few gifted writers who can present any philosophic subject objectively in a lucid and unambiguous language and in an epigramatic and crisp style with understanding and authority. This valuable work aimed at presenting the essentials of Indian philosophy is highly useful both to a student of Indian philosophy and an inquiring layman as a good introduction to the study of the subject.
The first part of the work deals not only with the famous six systems but with the philosophy of the Upanishads, Gita and the Vedanta Sutras also. The second part is devoted to the delineation of the fundamentals of heterodox systems and the Indian philosophy in 19th and 20th centuries. The nature of God, soul, world, knowledge, liberation and means for it as propounded by each system is explained. Main contribution of each system is pointed out. Parallels in Western thought are presented. Where necessary critics are answered. Common points in all orthodox systems are given a clear projection.
Some of the observations of the author deserve to be noted here. “The core of Indian philosophy is homo-centricism. It is not merely a view of life but is also a definite way of life”... “The systems hold the view that there is a moral law wrought into the very structure of the universe” … “Karma is not fatalism. It makes for freedom of will.” “Sankara did not deny objectivity, morality or the law-abiding nature of the world experience. He did not treat itas a mere idea or projection.” We rarely come across such books as this one on Indian philosophy.
–K. S. BHAGAVATULA
No other book in the field of spiritual literature has received so much attention from the hands of scholars, savants, earnest seekers and the laymen alike as the Bhagavad Gita. People from all walks of life look to the Gita for solace and comfort and though written centuries ago, the perennial truth enshrined in its verses has made it a book of all times. There is no dearth of commentaries, expositions and exhortations on the Gita, written by various authors of different persuasions from time to time.
Amongst such plethora of writings, the “Essays on the Gita” written by Sri Aurobindo at the beginning of this century has a unique place. First it has been written by one who practised the Yoga as taught in the Gita in this rationalistic age and had the realisation of Vasudeva in him when he was confined in Alipore Jail. Secondly, the exposition is not as per tradition in Sanskrit but in English, the language of mundane business and commerce thus proving that a matter-of-fact language can also be used as a vibrant vehicle of the spirit. Thirdly, as Sri Aurobindo himself explains: “Our object, then, in studying the Gita will not be a scholastic or academical scrutiny of its thought, nor to place its philosophy in the history of metaphysical speculation, nor shall we deal with it in the manner of the analytical dialectician. We approach it for help and light and our aim must be to distinguish its essential and living message, that in it on which humanity has to seize for its perfection and its highest spiritual welfare.”
With a vast sweep of spiritual insight, with his inimitable mastery and command of the language, Sri Aurobindo has set on a wide canvass his essays. His method has been to put forth the central theme of the Gita before the reader and from there unroll the various ideas bound in it. In the development of the essays, he has not gone strictly chapter after chapter of the text, nor has he taken upon himself to give an English rendering of each verse of the Gita line by line. No doubt, verses translated by him and quoted in the essays are considerable. Some verses, he has rendered freely into English, some he has dealt with briefly and of some he has made brief mention.
It is no doubt a fascinating and rewarding exercise to build from the essays on the Gita of the Master, a regular verse by verse translation and commentary on the Gita, scrupulously adhering to the word and sense of the original text. In this formidable task, the editor of the book under review has eminently succeeded. Just as the words of the Gita are no mere words, but full of Mantric power, Sri Aurobindo’s renderings also are veritable vehicles of the highest consciousness and to match them both appropriately in translation, one requires spiritual insight and divine grace. The Editor could accomplish this as a Sadhak at Sri Aurobindo Ashram.
The first and last essays, viz., “Our Demand and Need from the Gita” and “The Message of the Gita” from the essays on the Gita are reproduced here as the first and last chapters of the book and in between the eighteen chapters of the Gita verse by verse are printed in Devanagari script along with English translation and notes, where appropriate, from the essays.
The publication is a boon to all those who want to recite and understand the Gita verse by verse in the light of Sri Aurobindo’s thought and realisation.
Sri Ramanuja’s Philosophy and Religion – A Critical Exposition of Visishtadvaita: By Dr. P. B. Vidyarthi. Published by Prof. M. Rangacharya Memorial Trust, Triplicane, Madras-5. Price: Rs. 40.
This work is a considerably revised and expanded version of four lectures delivered in July 1972 by the author under the auspices of the Memorial Trust bearing the honoured name of Prof. M. Rangacharya. This reviewer had the pleasure of hearing two of the lectures and was greatly profited by them.
This well documented book is divided into eight chapters. The first chapter draws pointed attention to the close relation between philosophy and religion as a characteristic feature of Indian philosophical thinking and to reason being helpful in making faith philosophical and raising it to the level of universal meaning and value and says there is no inherent contradiction between philosophy and religion. The second chapter deals with the nature of religion and affirms that religious knowledge is deeply emotional and practical. The third chapter discusses the ontological structure of Visishtadvaita and the fourth, the idea of God in Visishtadvaita and the concepts and doctrines that are distinctive of the philosophy and religion of Sri Ramanujacharya. The first four chapters concentrate on the problems of the theology of Visishtadvaita mainly from the standpoint of natural theology and asserts that there cannot be any conflict between natural theology and revealed theology. The latter half of the book seeks to support the thesis of the first half on the basis of the interpretation of the texts of the scriptures, the Visishtadvaita idea of God in the Upanishads and the Gita. Chapter eight contrasts these with the status of God in Sankara, Bhaskara and Yadavaprakasa. The author says that “there is no reason for the widespread misconception that the teachings of the Upanishads are radically opposed to those of the Gita and that while the former support Impersonal Absolutism and Pantheism, the latter is indisputably in favour of theism.” Of course, all this is on the basis of the need, the author explains for a fresh look at the scriptures in the light of contemporary philosophical thought instead of being bound by conventional interpretations.
The purpose of the book is to establish that the interests of philosophy and religion cannot be divided or divorced and Sri Ramanuja’s theism is the best systematic and consistent demonstration of the truths of theism.
The Memorial Trust and the author deserve appreciation on the production of a worthy and welcome addition to the literature on the subject.
–T. V. VISWANATHA AIYAR
Modern and Otherwise: By Sisirkumar Ghose. D. K. Publishing House, Anand Nagar, New Delhi-35. Price: Rs. 50. $ 10.
In the book “Modern and Otherwise” Sisirkumrr Ghose draws our attention to the fundamental problems of modern life and extends our vision, as always a master mind does, beyond the contemporary boundaries of nihilistic pessimism. The book is not a mere literary excursion into a world of imaginary beauties or thoughts. It has been written with a profound concern for the fate of man in genera1, and especially for the precarious condition (spiritual or otherwise) of the modern man. The word “modern” has a strange fascination for us. We almost identify it with all kinds of advancement or progress. We have a linear conception of history. We believe that man has so far progressed from barbarism to civilization. But Sisirkumar Ghose gently corrects the modern illusions about modernity.
Sisirkumar Ghose implies by modernity a living continuation of life giving values of tradition. He does believe that neither materialism nor asceticism (taken as exclusive ways of life) can be a key to unlocking the mystery of life. He brings home to the reader the need to assimilate the essence of tradition and re-live it in changed conditions. To become truly modern is to become truly “ancient” in spirit, and to become truly “traditional” is to spiritualise all walks of life.
Sisirkumar’s style is indeed the dream and despair of many Indo-English writers. However, they may be rightly advised to bear in mind that clarity and grace of style are but externalizations of inner clarity and poise of the writer’s mind. Ripeness of vision manifests itself in Sisirkumar Ghose as precision, clarity and effective expression of a refined sensibility.
–Dr. C. N. SASTRI
The Indian short Story in English (A survey): By C. V. Venugopal Prakash Book Depot, Bara Bazar, Bareilly. Price: Rs. 15.
“The Indian short story in English (A survey)” is a valuable contribution to the body of Indo-English criticism on Indian short story in English. To start with, the book itself reads like a short story, the India of 1920 onwards providing the political and social environment for this interesting “story.” It expresses India’s sorrows and joys, its glory and fall, its strength and weakness, its wealth and poverty, its knowledge and ignorance, its growth and limitation through a study of the master minds like Isvaran, Anand, Raja Rao and Narayan.
Racy, lucid and commonplace in expression, apt and telling in idiom, Dr. Venugopal follows no particular, narrow method in his study of the Indo-English short story. His is an objective approach, fettered by no dogma and no theory. His is an analysis based on sense and commonsense. He reports what he sees; he records what he feels. Dr. Gopal hits the nail aright when he emphatically recommends that the Indian short story writer must give up his bias for the social scene and be out to explore the world of human feelings and emotions, ideas and sentiments and that technique is of little value without life’s little tears and titters. Here, it is not wide of the mark to add that it is high time that Indian short storywriter eschewed journalistic glitter and periodical sputter and probed the spiritual to which the Indian genius instinctively responds. The book recommends itself to the Indian short story writers as well as critics because of its immediate relevance to what the Indo-English literary scene is presenting at present–an undue preoccupation with social side of life. If only many more critic, follow in the footsteps of Dr. Venugopal.
–Dr. C. N. SASTRI
Poems of Vinda: Translated by G. V. Karandikar from his original in Marathi. Nirmala Sadanand Publishers, Tardeo, Bombay-34. Price: Rs. 15.
Modern Indian poets represent India–especially the modern India–by their capacity to assimilate and harmonise diverse responses to life. These responses may originate from various social and cultural “vasanaas”, but they manifest themselves in a well-integrated personality of distinctive charm and grace. G. V. Karandikar’s poems (in his own English translation) reveal the poet’s preoccupation with all the moods of the mind and with all the faces of life. Many modern writers of Marxist school attempt to describe and define man and his life in Marxist terms. But it is not difficult to see that no philosophy, political or otherwise, has succeeded in exhausting the infinite possibilities of the ways of life. A most exhaustive system of philosophy like Vedanta also serves only as a launching pad for the seeker to launch himself into an actual experience of the Real. Thepoet (Karandikar) must be congratulated on his success in avoiding affiliations to systems of philosophy or political creeds, though he has little objection to recognising their limited relevance to life in general. Karandikar’s open view of poetry lays emphasis on the integrity of feeling and utterance. As we go through his poetry, we feel that his philosophy of poetry is a natural outcome of his in-born catholicity and sympathy.
Karandikar is admirably unclassifiable. Some poems (for example, Liberation Lost its Meaning, the Riddle, Virgin Vertigo, etc) run like lyrics, whereas other poems puzzle us with the complexity of metaphysical poetry. “Stanya-Sukta” and “Yathartha Sukta” are striking experiments in form and idiom. The poet brings the incantatory quality of Vedic hymns to these poems. “Desperate Verses” are shocking like Blake’s Proverbs of Hell. “Dhondya Nhavi” is a sketch in verse like Sri Sri’s “Batasaari” and “Bhikshuvarsheeyasi.”
Readers can depend upon the veracity of translation as it flows from the pen of the poet himself. Karandikar’s poetry recommends itself to the sensitive reader of poetry by its variety of genuine sensibility and preoccupation.
The Story of Silence: By Subhas C. Saha. Prayer Books, 43/B Nandaram Street, Calcutta-5. Price. Rs. 20.
Mr. Subhas C. Saha is now a poet of established reputation. This fact clearly indicates a growing tendency in modern Indo-Anglian poetry. Obscurity has come to stay as an outstanding feature of poetry. Obscurity can make a poet criticism-proof. Obscurity coming in the guise of intellectual sophistication can defy all explanation and yet can evade criticism.
He can evoke vivid pictures of delicate hues. But his thoughts and feeling are
‘foggy.’ As we finish reading the book what remains on the mind is not even the dew of tender remembrance, but only a vague world of mist. It is quite ununderstandable why poets of fine sensibility fail to make their expression concrete, their thought clear and their emotions more explicit. A critic who has the ground of traditional English literature wonders: are these modern poets really going deeper in any aspect than Shakespeare, Donne, Keats, Francis Thompson and Hopkins? Obscurity can be a teasing part of a poem; but if a poem is totally obsure, where shall we find meaning? “The Story of Silence” leaves some of us in such a doubtful frame of mind.
The Testimony of C. F. Andrews: Introduced by Daniel O’Connor Published by C. L. S., Madras 3. Price: Rs. 13-50.
The selections, collected in this book from the writings of C. F. Andrews, speak of his life and his confession of Christian faith. Religious by nature, he believed in God and immortality which moulded his character and outlook and saw Christ in the oppressed, the lowly and the lost. His sympathy for them moved him to fight in their cause irrespective of geographical barriers.
There was in him no hostility to Indian nationalism and he worked, while the Independence struggle was on, alongside of Gandhiji acknowledged as the alter idem of Christ, apostle and architect of non-violent non-co-operation. A liberal Catholic by birth his confessions of faith were uninhibited by narrowness. While in India he found that Christianity was lived more in that country than in the materialistic West. His criticism of the caste system was unhistorical. Castes were after all occupational divisions and are meant to promote national integrity, though misused. The West, for that matter, has its own religious sects, be they for better or worse. Categorisation of Christianity and Hinduism as developed is invidious. (P. 194)
Religions are indicators of a nation’s intellectual, moral and spiritual development. As Gandhiji propounded (p. 118), all religions are equal and no religion is perfect in the view of Swami Aseshananda (p. 241) and it should only strive to overcome its innate shortcomings and perfect itself. Proselytization on the ground, whether it is by force or rewards, the methodology adopted by Islam and Christianity, is tribal and amoral.
Universal compassion and charity are the two essentials of a religion and its ritualistic and eschatological portions are mere excrescences. The crying need of the day is a theology lived in its fundamentals and religions divorced from love and tolerance in action need no testaments.
–K. S. RAO
Sri Sri Ramakrishnakathamritam: First Part. The Ramakrishna Mission Calcutta Students’ Home, Calcutta. Copies available from Advaita Ashrama, Calcutta-14. Price: Rs. 20.
The talks of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa with his devotees, as recorded by ‘M’ have always been a perennial inspiration and guidance to all earnest seekers of the higher values of life. The fortunate ones who happened to read this remarkable epoch-making book learnt to seek and those who sought got invariably the guidance.
The book came out originally in Bengali under the title Sri Ramakrishnakathamritaand has been subsequently translated intovarious languages. The book under review is a Sanskrit version and covers the events during 1882.
Most of the languages in India derive their structure and content from Sanskrit and throughout the ages Sanskrit has been the vibrant vehicle to convey the loftiest and deepest spiritual thought. It is very appropriate that this great spiritual classic is translated into Sanskrit so that it has a permanent place in the spiritual tradition of the country.
The Sanskrit that is employed is elegant, simple and easy to understand. One finds happily the absence of long unmanageable compounds and abstruse grammatical constructions. There are two preliminary chapters, dealing succinctly with the biographies of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa and of Sri Mahendranath Gupta (‘M’). Then follows the chronicle beginning with the first meeting of ‘M’ with the Paramahamsa and his subsequent meetings. Five more chapters cover the events of the year 1882, in which the Master’s visit to Pandit Iswarchandra Vidyasagar and his conversation with Vijaya Goswami figure prominently.
Photo plates of the Master in Samadhi and of other personalities in the chronicle and a glossary add to the usefulness of the book.
We eagerly look forward to the publication of the subsequent portions of this great spiritual classic.
Sirakadigal(Short Stories): By Neela Padmanabhan (Tamil) Indira Publications, T. C. 36/796, Aryasalai, Trivandrum. Price: Rs: 6-75.
Neela Padmanabhan is one of those intellectuals who can ask a thousand questions fully knowing that answers there can be none. Life is a complex affair and each so-called happening of no importance is yet the cause of a change in one’s attitude to life. Padmanabhan deals with the common man, his mundane problems, feelings and excitements. There really was no need for Padmanabhan to assert in his preface that he has no “iron heart.” Perhaps, what be means is that his is no “heroic stance. However, there is heroism in the manner in which a poor person withstands temptation and a girl forces herself into prostitution. Padmanabhan’s heroes are somewhat pavid, caught as they are in a self-doubt psychosis which makes them unsolvable. His heroines, however, are quite sure of themselves. Padmanabhan handles the Tamil language with sensitivity and the epic simile comparing a river to an ageing courtesan in “Rendered Old” is certainly a triumph for the artist.
–Dr. PREMA NANDAKUMAR
An anthology of literary essays, “Sahitya Vivechana” covers a wide range of topics extending from patriotic poetry in Telugu to the folk songs sung by housewives in Telugu households. The essays are useful to the beginners as the writer choose4s to write on simple subjects in simple style. The essay on the use of dialect in “Malapalli” is helpful to those who endeavour to appreciate the beauty of that Telugu classic completely.