On Barnali Saha's translation of Satyajit Ray's story: The Indigo Terror

Your narration of the story Neel Atonko by Satyajit Ray is the perfect translation of the same. Every details and expression had been immaculately included, just as those described in the story.

The story has always touched my inner soul whenever I hear it, and your English translation of the story has certainly mesmerised me.

For your information, despite being a Bengali, I am too weak in the language.

Rishov Ghosh (risha...@gmail...)

Published May 25, 2021

On Sreejata Guha's translation of Narendranath Mitra's story: The Substitute

A wonderful story that is translated beautifully by Sreejata. I wonder while mediocre Indian writers are awarded with international award, such gems of gifted authors like Narendranath Mitra remain unnoticed only because he wrote in his native language. Shame. Only good translators like Sreejata Cann get rid of us this disgrace.

Rajib bhattacharjee (raj75...@gmail...)

Published July 31, 2020

On Shoili Pal's translation of Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay's story: The Giver's Paradise

An easy read with melliflous language and a spontaneous rhythm. Successful translations like these are so important in introducing the non-Bengali reader to the treasures of Bengali literature!

Shukla Sanyal (Sukla...@yahoo...)

Published April 20, 2019

On Ketaki Kushari Dyson's memoir A Scrapbook of Memories and Reflections

Dear Dr Dyson,

I was cheerfully wasting time on the internet, and ran across your charming reminiscences of education in Calcutta; of special interest to me your recollections of Presidency College.

You write:

"The Principal of the College was (I think) a British guy, who also taught us a paper on philology and the history of the English language. We followed a book by Otto Jespersen, which I believe is still lurking somewhere in my house."

The Principal was my grandfather, F.J.C. Friend-Pereira; not in fact British, but a Cambridge educated Anglo-Indian. He died suddenly in 1958 while still Principal, and consequently I never met him. In an odd way I'm following in his footsteps as I'm completing my PhD in English in Australia (which in part explains the wasting of time on the internet). I can't say that philology or the history of the English language are at all my thing, but your recollections are the only references I've ever come across to my grandfather as a teacher and of course so valuable to me.

I find it amusing to see that you were suceeded as editor of the magazine by Gayatri Chakravorty- I guess my grandfather had some hand (however remote!) in her education too.

Best wishes,

James Rogerson (james.roger....)

Published Nov 21 2018

An unparalleled memoir from a master. Such a good read it is!

A few issues back in Parabaas, we read a book review of a memoir of Ranita Gupta ('Gaslight to Neon'), who happened to be Ms Dyson's classmate in Presidency.

Thank you Parabaas.

Dipankar Chowdhury (cdpnk....)

Published July 29 2017

I would like to make a few points about this delightful memoir. First, I am saddened to learn about the author's eye problems. I sincerely hope this will not limit her literary activities. I hope she will quit her struggles with QWERTY types and just hire a transcriber to type her dictations on a tape.

Secondly, her memoirs take me back to my childhood a decade later in the small border town of Purulia in the 50s. Too, like her, being married to a non-Bengali, I felt the need of chronicling my childhood memories for my children and grandchildren. There are many similarities in our memories.

Lastly, I thank the editor of Parabaas for publishing two most delightful and nostalgic memoirs--Dr. Dyson's in English and Sandhya Bhattacharya's 'Deshantorer Katha' in Bengali--about the same time, but in a different place in Bangladesh.

Chhanda Chattopadhya Bewtra (bewt...@crei...)

Published July 11 2017

With awe, reverence and love I am reading Ketaki Kushari Dyson’s memoir. Just wondering if the verse that she has quoted is actually “A clear reference, surely, to Pearl Harbour (December 1941)”? Why would in good old days, in god’s own world without television and internet an unknown, presumably not highly enlightened, Bengali bard would be inspired by a distant thunder, in some unknown ocean that s(he) has possibly never heard of before? Also, why would “The British exclaim, ‘Father, O Father!’”, when Pearl Harbor attack was clearly directed towards the Americans and not to the British? Could this verse be its anonymous composer’s instant reaction to a small bomb that was dropped by the Japanese air force at the Hatibagan market in Kolkata leading to a huge panic and mass exodus at the town, as I heard from my long gone elders?

Would somebody like to throw some more light?

Thank you,

Nirupam Chakraborti (nchak...@gmai...)

Published June 3 2017

Author's response:

You know, I am writing about my personal childhood memories. This is not a researched autobiography. It is a highly personal story. I did not live in Calcutta during the war years. Even if I had been there in short snatches, it is very likely that my parents would have shielded us children from the most gruesome details, as I know they certainly did at the time of the Partition.

Nirupam may be right that there is a reference here to a bomb dropped on Hatibagan, but I wouldn't have had a clue at that age where that was. I am trying to explore the nature of memory itself. What are the crucial details we remember, and what are the details we tend to forget? My interest is psychological rather than historical. I knew that a bomb might be dropped on us from an aeroplane in the sky, so we looked at passing planes with some dread, But Meherpur was clearly not a significant target -- it couldn't be.

As for the British exclaiming ''Baap re baap'' I understand why my memory attributes the exclamation to the British rather than the Americans. It is because at that age I was blissfully unaware of the existence of Americans and the British were the only ''sahibs'' I knew of. The Japanese had dropped a bomb and thereby had scared the only sahibs who mattered in my early years -- the British. Japan's ability to scare the British sahibs was what mattered to us in those years.

My first authentic memory relating to Calcutta is that of my father crying because Mahatma Gandhi had been killed. I had never seen my father crying before. That told me that something very bad had happened.

Published June 3 2017

On Chhanda Chakraborti's essay Buro Angla and Nils: A tale of transmigration of stories

Dear Dr. Chakraborti:

I am absolutely fascinated by your article and the research done to bring out the facts related to these two literary masterpieces. I came to Sweden sixteen years back and since then I have been living here. This was also a big confusion in my mind and I also did realize in the same way as you did that the similarities between 'Buro Angla' and 'Nils Holgerssons underbara resa' are not just accidental. However, the responses you've obtained for your article in ABP clarify a lot of questions and give us a big relief that Abanindranath's 'Buro Angla' is not another example of literary plagiarism.

It is still unclear to me whether A. Tagore did receive the book in Swedish or in French/English translation. I am trying to understand if Abanindranath could read Swedish! May be not. But, I strongly suggest that you write another article in ABP collecting all information regarding the link between the authors of these two great novels. Also, the current publishers should be encouraged to add the preface from the first edition, where due credit was given to the first female literature Nobel laureate Selma Lägerlöf.

Thank you,

Suparna Sanyal (Prof. in Molecular Biology, Uppsala University, Sweden (suparna.s...@icm.u...)

Published June 16 2016

Author's response:

Thank you very much, Prof Sanyal, for your feedback. I completely understand your fascination. Indeed, the story about the story transmigration raises many interesting and intriguing questions that deserve persistent research to dig out the answers from history. I was particularly keen to know more about the link between the two authors. Hope someday the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle will be put together. Regards, Chhanda Chakraborti
Published June 16 2016

On Carolyn Brown's translation of Mohammad Rafiq's poems Maybe a Love Poem, Outcry, and Cry Bangladesh, Cry

I loved the translations by Carolyn Brown and the illustrations by Nilanjana Basu. Is it possible to have the original poems published alongside the translations, or are there difficulties with copyright?

Mozibur Ullah (Ullah...@googlem...)

We are investigating the possibility of publishing the Bangla originals.—Editor.

Published April 13 2016

A beautiful poem by Mohd Rafiq--expertly translated by Carolyn Brown.

A goose-bump raising piece of work!

Gouri Datta (sgnd...@yaho...)

Published Feb 9 2016

Beautiful translation that is so elegantly done: salute, Carolyn Brown!

Nirupam Chakraborti (nchakr...@gmail...)

Published Feb 9 2016

On Anandarup Ray's essay Remembering Lila Ray How a daughter of Texas pioneers found freedom in Santiniketan

I came across this article while researching Santiniketan on the internet. I was delighted to find a reference in it to my father, Roy North, who taught English Literature at Santiniketan from 1953-1955. My father died, aged 72, in 1999 after a long career in publishing. I have shown the article to my mother, Sylvia. As a young woman, she spent two years (1953-54) with my father and me, a small girl, in Santiniketan and remembers Lila well. She has asked me to tell Dr. Ray how much she enjoyed the article and how many memories it has revived.

I am attaching scans of three photos, one of my father on his own, two with students, which I hope may be of interest.

Vivien Cripps (vivcri...@millraceb...)

Published Mar 3 2016

[Thank you Vivien, for your feedback and the photos. We are starting an archive of photographs and other documents related to Tagore, Santiniketan, etc. that may be of general interest. We invite others to consider contributing such materials if possible.—Editor]

লেখাটি খুব উৎসাহ সহকারে পড়লাম। আমার দাদামশাই শ্রী ফনীন্দ্রনাথ ঘোষ অন্নদাশঙ্কর-বাবুর colleague ছিলেন একটা সময়। দাদামশাই তখন সাব-ডেপুটি ম্যাজিস্ট্রেট পদে পূর্ব এবং পশ্চিম বঙ্গের নানা জায়গায় posted ছিলেন। অন্নদাশঙ্কর-বাবু সেরকমই কোনও একটি স্থানে দাদামশায়ের উর্ধস্তন ছিলেন। মার মুখে শুনেছি লীলা রায় দিদিমার কাছে রান্না শিখতে আসতেন। ওঁর নিজস্ব ভঙ্গিতে দিদিমাকে বলতেন “জ্যোতি (দিদিমার নাম ছিল জ্যোতির্ময়ী) থুমি আমাকে রান্নাথা শিখায়ে দাও”। রান্নাঘরে মাটিতে বসে রান্না শিখতেন। মহিয়্সী মহিলা ছিলেন।

Basab Sinha (bsinh....@hpc.....)

Published Feb 25 2016

Sitting in Saudi Arabia I read with great pleasure the article 'Remembering Lila Ray' written by her son. An amazing piece of biographical writing and it bridged a lot of my lack of information on who she was. I have seen her name on the inner cover of many books as translator over decades but never knew she was an american and such a lovely person.

I took some time off today to read many pages of your magazine. My young son Arijit knows about Rabindranath Tagore, but the aquaintance is incomplete. Your magazine does bridge that void to some extent - the rest would be the responsibility of parents.

In a small way I must thank you for editing Parabaas with so much dedication over the years. I do read it when I get the time and the recent short stories have been very entertaining.

Wishing you a prosperous and happy 2016,

Tamojit (jtgho...@rediffma...)

Published Feb 11 2016


It was a very engrossing article. In fact, it was a son's modest offering in memory of a wonderful woman who remains 'Awe'dwitiya--a pioneer in her own way. I had read about her as a child in the children's magazine Anandamela, and had heard about her many times from my mother.

Lila Ray had accomplished so much while taking care of everything and everyone around her. She symbolizes "Dashabhoojaa". There is so much to learn from this amazing lady.

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Nandini Mandal (rinkoo...@gmai...)

Published Feb 9 2016

Growing up in Kolkata I heard about Lila Roy as wife of AnndaShankar Ray and a disciple of Acharya Binoba Bhave. What a fascinating person with such huge contribution in so many directions. A proud tribute of a son to his eminent mother! Kudos!

Rahul Ray (bap...@bu...)

Published Feb 9 2016

On Chhanda Chakraborti's essay Buro Angla and Nils: A tale of transmigration of stories

I chanced upon this article, or was it sent by Nirupam Chakraborti via Parabaas fan club in Facebook? It is a fairly long article, (or should I call it investigative writing?) yet I couldn't stop till the last word! As a boy growing up in Kolkata in the 60's, Aban Thakur, with his Aapan Kotha, Raaj Kahini, and above all Amtoli's Ridoy in Buro Angla were my absolute favorites. Incidentally, just a few days ago I finished writing a short story where the protagonist who grew up in Kolkata and currently settled in the US muses over Ridoy in Buro Angla while watching flocks of migrating geese!

Thank you Dr. Chakraborti for enlightening me about the original source of the story. I was also amused by the switch between Abanindranath and Rabindranath!

Rahul Ray (bap..@bu...)

Published Dec 23, 2015

On Ananya Das's illustrations for various translations

It is about time I send my heartfelt thanks to Ananya Das for the beautiful decorations accompanying all my translations (available, for example, from the right margin of this article.--Editor). They are not only eye catching but also the most appropriate for the mood of the story. In one word, they are truly 'ananya'. Thank you so much.

Chhanda Bewtra (bewtr...@creight...)

Published August 20, 2014

On Sreejata Guha's translation of Narendranath Mitra's story: The Substitute

Thanks very much for this translation of Narendranath Mitra's "Bikalpa" (বিকল্প). It's a great story and the translated version is easy to read and spontaneous.

Supratim Sarkar (supratim10...@gmail...)

Published March 3, 2013

On Anu Kumar's review: Beloved story teller of magic worlds: Three novellas of Lila Majumdar

I felt very happy to find this review of Lila Majumdar's books. I heard of this great writer for children, but not knowing Bengali (I am a native Kannada speaker) I could not access her work. I did read one story of her published by the NBT. It is a good reveiw indeed. Now I will go look for these books.

Thank You.

Anand Patil (aapa...@yahoo...)

Published February 27, 2013

On Oindrila Mukherjee's translation of Warm Rice or Just a Ghost Story, a short story by Sunil Gangopadhyay

An Excellent short story, and well translated. Extremely moving, and very complex. I congratulate the author and the translator. Glad I came across it, and thanks for providing it over the internet. Have bookmarked your page, and shall enjoy the other writings.

I have one request: Will you please let me know the 'time' in which the story is written? Pre-independence? Present era?

Thank You.

Yesudas (babay....@gmai...)

Published November 27, 2012

On Chhanda Bewtra's translation of Imperfect, a short story by Tilottama Majumdar

What a heart warming story. My words fail me... I can't explain my feelings. I can only say that after long, very long... perhaps after reading Obhagir Shorgo by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay in class 8, I have cried again after reading something. I hope that explains it all.

I've read your Salty too... Amazing.

Debalina Haldar (deblina...@gmai...)

Published October 29, 2012

I take the privilege to thank Ms. Chhanda Bewtra for such a beautiful translation. Specially the way the stanzas of Shakti Chattapadhyay and Rabindranath have been translated--amazing!

Kausik Bhaduri (kausikbh...@gma....)

Published August 16, 2012

On Chhanda Bewtra's translation of Salty, a short story by Tilottama Majumdar

There was a Bewtra in Antarctica
Who missed her penguins in America
So she looked for them in Timbuktu
And couldn’t find them in Petra zoo!
We knew her well for the wanderlust
But now I confess if I must
This touching tale of humankind
Is a story hard to find!

Nirupam Chakraborti (nchak...@gma...)

Published July30, 2012

On Sudipto Chatterjee's: In memoriam: Carol Salomon

ক্যারল সলোমন আমার বাংলা শিক্ষয়িত্রী ছিলেন ইউনিভার্সিটি অফ ওয়াশিংটন-এ। আমিও মার্কিনি মেয়ে, বাংলাভাষা ভালোবাসি। ওই ইউনিভার্সিটিতে আমি সাইকোলজি-তে পি,এইচ,ডি করেছিলাম। তাছাড়া, ক্যারলের কাছে বাংলা শিখেছিলাম। সিয়াটল ছাড়ার পরে আমরা খুব ভালো বন্ধু হয়েছিলাম। ওনার মারা যাবার দিনে [ক্যারলের স্বামী] রিচ আমাকে ফোন করেছিলেন। বিশ্বাস করতে কষ্ট হয়েছিল। ক্যারলের ওপরে লেখা শ্রদ্ধা-নিবেদনটি পড়ে ভীষণ ভালো লাগলো।

অশেষ ধন্যবাদ।

ম্যারিয়ান চ্যাটার্জি (

Published March 7, 2012

On Carol Salomon's translation of Lalon's songs

I liked the translations. Is it possible to have both the original poems in Bengali and the English translations side by side?

Mozibur Ullah (ullah.moz@gma...)

We will try to update the pages with the Bengali originals.-- Editor

Published March 7, 2012

On Anu Kumar's review of Saratchandra Chattopadhyay's The Last Question: 'Once when I was a woman!'

Anu Kumar's otherwise excellent review of Saratchandra's "Shes Prashna" (শেষ প্রশ্ন) bypasses his fascination for young widows of Brahmin caste, that colored his attitude to women in general. Kumar also overlooks the great "tusitala's", that is, the "galpadadu's" intellectual background (whatever it is). As I conclude in chapter seven of my forthcoming biography "The Life of Sharatchandra Chattopadhyay: Drifter and Dreamer" (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press/Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group, 2012, page 79), this typical woman- centered novella of Chattopadhyay has a story that is "discordant and full of surprises and the characters custom made to act out their part as assigned by the author....The sad and ironical part of the novel is that even though it was intended to provide some vitality for the intellect ['intellect-er balakarak aharya']...Sharatchandra's 'Final Question' purveys neither a clear query nor a cogent response. It, alas, is une question mal posse--a question badly posed--and poorly answered."

Narasingha P. Sil (sil...@mail.wou......)

Published March 7, 2012

On Srilata Banerjee's interview with Anu Kumar: Lila Majumdar: A Granddaughter Remembers

জানি না, লীলা মজুমদারের পরম ভক্ত বলেই কিনা, শ্রীলতার মুখে তাঁর দিদিভাইয়ের গপ্পো পড়ে চোখে জল এল। দিদিভাইয়ের গুণও শ্রীলতা বেশ পেয়েছেন দেখছি; ওই যে, চট করে কাউকে বন্ধু করে নেওয়া! ছেলেবেলায় 'সন্দেশ'-এর এক অনুষ্ঠানে আমাদের আপনার লীলাদি একবার মাথার চুলে বিলি কেটে আদর করেছিলেন। এই লেখা পড়ে সেই স্পর্শ আবার অনুভব করলাম। সাবাস!

দীপঙ্কর চৌধুরী (cdpn..@red...)

Published November 24, 2011

On Sankha Ghosh's poem Just this one, translated by Bhismadev Chakrabarti

Normally translation of a poem is a difficult affair. But this one is an exception. It is done with an ease. Beautiful.

Kausik Bhaduri (kaska...@rediff....)

Published November 24, 2011

What a great poem, thank you so much.

Tanguene (franciscola...@hotma..)

Published November 4, 2011

Nice translation.

Paulami Sengupta (paulam...@gma..)

Published November 4, 2011

On Sudhindranath Dutta

Please correct the spelling of the essay books - "Kulay O Kalpurush" (কুলায় ও কালপুরুষ). It has propagated to wikipedia also from parabaas. Please update that too.

Kamala P. Das (k.p.d...@iee...)

Thank you for pointing out the typo. It has been corrected in Parabaas. -- Editor.

Published November 24, 2011

On Sumana Das Sur's essay Two Women Writers of the Bengali Diaspora: Ketaki Kushari Dyson and Dilara Hashem

The article does not attempt to highlight the distinguishing earmarks of what has been curiously dubbed fiction of the Bengali diaspora with special reference to the UK and the USA. I'm a struggling Kolkata-based Bengali author myself, both in the financial and literary sense of the phrase, with nearly a dozen unpublished novels and hundreds of short stories gathering dust in my trunk. I am unpublished because no publsher would touch me because no one reads Bengali anymore. But I suppose I can still move to one of the aforementioned countries and re-invent myself as a Bengali diasporic path to literary fame and (perhaps) fortune. All things considered, a halfhearted shoddy job, this article.

Sarbani Majumdar (Sarbanimaj...@rediff...)

Published August 19, 2011

The author's response:

This can hardly be called a “feedback” on my article. Smt. Sarbani Majumdar is simply trashing me as a critic as well as the authors I have written about. She is clearly frustrated in her literary ambitions and is venting her anger on me. It is true that less people are reading serious literature everywhere in the world and are spending more and more time in the cyber-world. But good, bad, and mediocre stuff continues to get published in magazines and books, including in Bengali. Many people are writing and getting published. According to an interview recently granted by the noted scholar Udaya Narayana Singh, Bengali, Hindi, Marathi, Urdu, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Malayalam have the largest markets among the Indian languages. They have more readers, listeners and buyers, and a large print and television media back-up with an equally large music industry. “Indian English” could be added to this list as well.

Sarbani Majumdar has three options in front of her. She can try harder to enter the substantial Bengali print market by catching the attention of Bengali magazines and publishers or by publishing her work herself; she can submit her work to on-line Bengali magazines; she can enter the thriving market of Indian English; she can emigrate and re-invent herself as a diasporic writer in whatever language she chooses. But it helps nobody to be sarcastic about those Bengalis who are doing their best to continue to write in their mother tongues even when they have settled abroad. I think we should be proud of them.

Published August 19, 2011

On Oindrila Mukherjee's translation Warm rice or just a ghost story

I reminisce those days of late 70’s, when Sunil Gangopadhyay's ‘Garam bhaat othoba ekti bhuter golpo’ was released as a Hindi art film. The role of Suren was play-acted by Om Puri, those nerve- shivering catchphrases “ek ek bhut shaw rupayia”! Unfortunately I could never manage to go through the original writing. This time I could, as a maiden reader! Thanks to Parabaas sOmpadOk!

To talk of translation, it is a marvelous piece of work! So lucid is the language, so nice are the selections of words, so vividly preserved the contextual backdrop pictured in the original, of rural Bengal. Literal translation of those occasional slangs, to keep the original flavor of rustic nitty-gritty of rural Bengal, a boldness indeed. It is a commendable work, kudos to the translator.

More to say, the illustrations by Nilanjana Basu, with the use of light and deep black color, are wonderful. I praise the artwork.

Kausik Bhaduri (kaskab...@rediff...)

Published July8, 2011

On Indranil Dasgupta's translation The Trip to Heaven

This story by Sunil Gangopadhyay is awesome. I loved it!

Rupali (rupali.252...@rediff...)

Published July8, 2011

On Sumana Das Sur's Two Women Writers of the Bengali Diaspora: Ketaki Kushari Dyson and Dilara Hashem

[Letter from Ketaki Kushari Dyson]

The discourse on the subject of diasporic writing in Bengali was actually begun by me in the last century, and Sumana Das Sur does in fact acknowledge that fact, citing references. Sumana was inspired by my essays on this subject, my own literary work, and conversations with me to find her new research project. I have just returned from the 31st North American Bengali Conference, which was held at Baltimore, Maryland, over 1/2/3 July, and where I had been invited to talk about the phenomenon of Bengali writing in diaspora and my experiences within it. It will therefore not be inappropriate if I join this discussion at this stage. (more)

Ketaki Kushari Dyson (ketaki.dys...@virgil...)

Published July 8, 2011

I was reading Ranjan Ghose’s letter (see below in this trail—-Editor) and the author’s rebuttal. One simple query came to my mind. Mr. Webster is usually right, and he says di·as·po·ra noun \dī-ˈas-p(ə-)rə, dē-\ means ‘people settled far from their ancestral homelands’. I wonder if the definition applies to first generation immigrants like Dr. Ketaki Kushari Dyson, for whom India is not just her ‘ancestral homeland’, but it was her own homeland for a very considerable period of time, particularly during her most important formative years, which perhaps made all the difference in the world! If that is so, then why should I consider her to be a member of this unique set called Diaspora that she now has to share with, say, Jhumpa Lahiri, for whom India is certainly the ‘ancestral’ homeland?

Many of us have enough, perhaps equal, east-west experience, irrespective of where we choose to live and that really doesn’t qualify us to become the members of Diaspora of any kind. I was wondering if Professor Das Sur’s choice of this word as a descriptor for authors like Dr. Dyson actually does justice to the implicature, or even the literal meaning of the term. Finally, why this statement ‘Some Bengalis use to think that scholarly books cannot be written in their mother tongue!’? Nothing in Ranjan Ghose’s letter that I could fathom, calls for it and till now, there is no real shortage of Bengalis who are very proudly bilingual!

Nirupam Chakraborti (nchakra...@gma...)

Published July1, 2011

Thank you for the most interesting essay. It gave me a new view of the Bengalis living outside Bengal.

As a translator of Tagore (his English poems) I am always curious to learn more about his life. Some years ago I read 'In Your Blossoming Flower-Garden: Rabindranath Tagore and Victoria Ocampo' by Ketaki Kushari Dyson; it is a profound study and a document but for me it was a thriller. So it was fascinating to find out more about 'Rabindranath o Victoria Ocampor Sandhaney'– the novel that Ketaki Kushari Dyson had written at the same time and on the same theme.

There are thought-provoking ideas of Khachig Tölölyan (the theorist of the diaspora studies) in the essay, for instance this: ‘Tölölyan finds a new dimension of modernity among diasporic people. He shows that those who have had to leave their native lands for political, social, or religious reasons are moulded into new shapes by the heat and pressure of their new environments, thereby acquiring a new identity, and the entire modern world is moving precisely towards that kind of identity.’

Dilara Hashem’s characters show, too, that people can do new things in new surroundings, due to their being away from the land of their birth. So why wouldn’t they also write new kinds of books?

Hannele Pohjanmies (h.pohjan...@gma...)

Published June, 2011

A good, well-written essay, and a good introduction to the subject. Ketaki Kushari Dyson is a major Bengali writer who has been writing in both Bengali & English for, well, many, many years, and thus the weird and unseemly qualifier "diaspora" in connection with her considerable literary output of a consistently high quality actually diminishes her. The genre Bengali diasporic writing is problematic. Most writing that falls under this rubric is of a consistently low quality, and conveys the impression that the writer turned to "writing" as a default option. The other writer discussed in the article, Dilara Hashem, I never heard of. On the whole, Bengali diasporic literature is a frivolous subject, not worthy of scholarly treatment in a lengthy essay.

Ranjan Ghose (ranjanm...@rediff...)

Published June, 2011

The author's response:

I am thankful to Mr. Ranjan Ghose that he has read my article and I appreciate his comments. I just humbly want to disagree with his comment, "Bengali diasporic literature is a frivolous subject, not worthy of scholarly treatment in a lengthy essay." In fact I am going to write a whole book on this subject, not only an essay, after completion of my research. It is true that all are not good quality writings, but can we say that all so called 'literary works' which are being published every year in Kolkata are up to the mark! In fact, I have got substantial amount of materials on which I can work. If Mr. Ghose is interested, I can inform him after my book gets published, though it will be written in Bengali. (Some Bengalis use to think that scholarly books cannot be written in their mother tongue! And those which are already written are not worth reading.)

Dilara Hashem is a major writer, originally from Bangladesh. In my opinion she is a very powerful novelist of contemporary Bengali literature. Mr. Ghose hasn't heard of her, fine. Now he has, after reading my article. If he wants, he can collect and read Dilara's books.
Published June, 2011

On Palash Baran Pal's translation The room on the third floor:

As the original Bengali title of this short story was "Tintolar ghor" (তিনতলার ঘর), I reckon the English title "The room on the second floor" would have been more apt.

Dipanjan Datta (dipanjan...@yahoo..)

The translator's response:

Just going by the title, this is an example of how a faithful translation can mean different things to readers in different places. In India and UK one thing and in the USA, another. But the reader should have noted that the first paragraph of the story itself explains "third floor" quite clearly.

Published July1, 2011

On Sankha Ghosh:

The name 'Sankha Ghosh' is very familiar to me right from my boyhood because of my uncle (Jyathamashaya) Late Nirmal Chandra Bardhan, ex-teacher of Pakshi School (now in Bangladesh). My uncle was also his private tutor. I think Shri Sankha ghosh was the dearest student of my uncle. I have heard a lot from him about Shri Ghosh and his legendary father, the ex-head master of the aforesaid school. Shri Sankha Ghosh came to our residence twice in 1992/1993 to meet his respectable teacher and presented a few famous books written by him and his illustrious father. Late Nirmal Ch. Bardhan started writing a memoir on his association with the 'Ghosh' family at Pakshi (an eminent Railway town). But he could not finish it because of his physical infirmity. I am trying to preserve it. Now I wish to send the same to Shri Sankha Ghosh (my idol) as a token of my reverence.

Prithwijit Bardhan (p3bdn..@rediffm... )

Published July1, 2011

On Ashapurna Debi - Biographical sketch:

It is mentioned in the write-up that Ashapurna Debi was awarded the Sahitya Akademi award which is not true. The first Bengali woman writer to get the award was Kamal Das as far as I know. If Ashapurna Debi had indeed got Sahitya Akademi award, would you please inform the year and the book for which it was given?

As a translator of her works into Malayalam, this would help me in updating/rewriting her profile.

K. Radhakrishnan (ayira...@gmai...)

Yes, you are indeed right. We have corrected the mistake. Thank you. — Editor.

Published June, 2011

On Meenakshi Mukherjee:

Meenakshi Mukherjee has taken a serious note of the Indian way of shaping the studies and approach towards English Literature. I also feel the views of Meenakshi should be fathomed further, authentically. I mean her ideas must not be besmeared with unbridled interpretation.

Rajesh Babu (raj28.r...@gma....)

Published June, 2011

On Somdatta Mandal's translation Lalu (2) by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay:

Loved it.Hilarious :) Keep up the nice work.

Sarita (sarita.k...@wipro...)

Published June, 2011

After looking at Sue Darlow's beautiful pictures of Nirad C. Chaudhuri, I started browsing the Parabaas Translations page and found Presenjit Gupta's translation of Joy Goswami's poem: Things recalled at Night.

Reading that brought back to me the lovely evening at Cornell University only a couple of weeks ago where we had Joy Goswami reading some of his poetry. He began with Things Recalled (in the original Bengali) and then there was a reading of this English translation of Gupta's by another person. I had always thought that the best readers of poetry (even their own) were those with strong, persuasive voices. But Goswami defied all that. He has such a gentle voice (and manner) and yet he had us all spellbound. The words wafted out to us and the darkening evening skies only added to the soothing last lines of the poem. Suddenly the funeral pyre did not seem all that terrifying. He also read several other poems but I found this first one that he read the best. I had always thought that only a Richard Burton could do for a perfect poetry recitation, but I've changed my views now.

Thanks for a great translations site. And while I'm at it, may I recommend another wonderful read to the other visitors: A Wife's Letter. This translation [of Tagore's short story] captures the spirit of the original in a way that answers some of the questions raised in the periodic discussions we often have in literary circles of the virtues and vices of the translated poem or story.

Alaka Basu
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
Published September 30, 2003

Just a brief note to say that I enjoyed reading Ketaki Kushari Dyson's article How hard should we try? – Questions of detail in literary translation . Her perceptive, illuminating discussion confirms my long-held conviction that a good translator needs to be equally competent in both languages, and that, in most cases, mere technical competence is not sufficient, indeed a great deal more is needed. In Ketaki K. Dyson's case, one enviable advantage is that she is a poet herself, besides being equally at home in both languages, incredibly well-read, and therefore quite equipped to detect resonances which would be missed by others. I have read her other articles in Parabaas as well.

Amit Raychaudhuri
Alexandria, VA, USA
Published September 30, 2003

aami bengali noy, kintu ektu boozte pari.[I am not a Bengali, but I can understand a little.] I have enjoyed Ashapurna Debi's short story Grieving for Oneself translated by Prasenjit Gupta. In a way, though my mother-tongue is Gujarati, I have read some of her works in the original and had the opportunity to meet her in Delhi when she came there to receive her Gyanpeeth Award. Her style is lucid and simple. Her choice of subject is unparelleled. Though I read it by chance in Parabaas, I shall try to read other stories and articles whenever I can. Anyway, khoob bhalo laglo..

Digambar Swadia
Published September 30, 2003

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