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The Rebirth of a Novel

Feb 2016

The Rebirth of a Novel

The Gujarati novel, Saraswatichandra, has been translated into English by Tridip Suhrud, after almost 128 years. The making of the classic retold to the world wass the primary topic of this session.

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With a charming personality and a gracious smile, Prof. Kavita Panjabi welcomes Tridip Suhrud and Supriya Chaudhuri at the beginning of the discussion. She also releases 4 printed versions of the classic on the stage of Kolkata literary Festival.

Mr. Suhrud starts off by sharing an anecdote on how he had been given the book by his mother in his childhood just to keep him quiet at home, thereby preventing him from disturbing her and the neighborhood. He further discusses how the book presents a perfect idea of a Gujarati couple and how the book is a classic beyond its times.

Supriya Chaudhuri, gives us an insight to the translated version of “SaraswatiChandra” by Tridib Suhrud, and takes us in a tour from beginning till the end of the Novel. She expresses her fascination as to how she found the novel to be way different from what she had imagined it to be. She finds it not a didactic novel at all, much to her surprise. It is a tale of intrigue, romance, adultery and makes one come very close to one’s self.

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Prof. Kavita Panjabi also presented to us a comparison of the author – Govardhan Ram with our Bankimchandra of Bengal, and demonstrated the similarity in their styles, to an extent. which included the genre and most importantly the ideas and ideology.

“The Novel, with a Philosophical touch attempts to look at Mahabharata architecture and the idea of building structures on Mahabharata characters.”, says Tridib Suhrud, the translator of Saraswatichandra and prof. Supriya Chaudhuri adds to this interesting piece of information that the names reveal characters. The novel is capable of creating a deep character which is not only a flat piece of paper.

Lastly, Mr. Suhrud concludes by sharing another very very interesting information, that Mahatma Gandhi was highly influenced by the novel, although he himself never liked it much.

Thus, we can see that novels, mostly the native Indian ones, have avenues which if opened up to a larger mass of readers, through translations, can enrich Indian literature and make it more worthy in the eyes of the world.


This blogpost has been written by Pushpak Sen.


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