By Julius J Lipner
This can be the second one in a trilogy of works through the famed Bengali novelist Bankimcandra Chatterji (1838-1894), and the second one to be translated by way of Julius Lipner. the 1st, Anandamath, or The Sacred Brotherhood was once released by way of OUP in 2005. Bankim Chatterji was once might be the key novelist and highbrow mediating western rules to India within the latter 1/2 the nineteenth century. Debi Chaudhurani is a didactic paintings that champions a selected interpretation of Hindu dharma and wifely tasks reflective of the overdue 19th-century Calcutta context within which it was once written. however the tale can be compelling. Written in a conversational kind, it positive factors awesome plot twists and ideas which are, even this present day, progressive of their bold. such a lot significantly, Bankim makes a lady the embodiment of Lord Krishna's salvific message, as initially enunciated within the Bhagavad Gita. The protagonist, Debi, is a fancy determine who's a rejected spouse, turns into a bandit queen, represents a goddess determine, and symbolizes the land of India. there's a artistic pressure among her power as a pace-setter and her right position, from the viewpoint of the writer, as a family spouse. Bankim additionally makes a speciality of caste and what it potential to be a real Brahmin, who's remodeled by means of the writer right into a guy who executes tasks rather than difficult privileges. in the context of the lessons of the Gita, the writer stocks his imaginative and prescient of social activism to enhance India. Lipner's idiomatic translation is more desirable by means of his specified remark at the unique Bengali textual content and by way of a readable creation that units the unconventional and its principles in context.
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Additional resources for Debi Chaudhurani, or The Wife Who Came Home
Through the deadly poison (hala¯hale) of English education, Bengal’s ancient code of practice (pra¯cı¯n dharma) has been shattered. One’s most revered, worshipful father, whose lotus feet one lacked the courage to touch in the past, has now become “My dear father”! He is no longer the object of devotion (bhakti), only of reproach (anujog). And the Bengali who doesn’t refer to him as “the old man” is now reckoned a virtuous son. Perhaps this society is making progress and not going to ruin, now that the Bengali has learnt to give speeches!
Her fatherin-law is reviled for his sense of Brahmin self-preservation and his bigotry; he is not the sort of Brahmin Bankim favors. Debi, however, is a “self-made” Brahmin in the mode Bankim endorses. At the beginning of the novel she loses caste in her father-in-law’s eyes, but without due cause. She is rejected as an outcaste and lives in a forest. As I have noted in my Introduction to AM(L), “Just as the forest is able to change form itself, so it is the locus of changing identities in others (43).
But Brajesvar wouldn’t listen. Brajesvar’s heart was ﬁlled with Prafulla alone. She would say, “If you don’t love them as you love me, your love for me will remain incomplete. ” But Brajesvar couldn’t understand that. 14) Not only has the new wife overcome the internecine and hierarchical rivalries so often associated with women family-members in the old and new patriarchies, but she also eschews an exclusive love with her (uncomprehending) husband which is hers for the asking, and which was perceived in the period in which Bankim was writing as disruptive of the values of the traditional extended family.