Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nabankur: The Seedling’s Tale

Nabankur: The Seedling’s Tale
Sulekha Sanyal
Translated from the Bengali by Gouranga P. Chattopadhyay
Introduction by Himani Bannerji
demy octavo pb 245pp ISBN 81-85604-30-4 Rs 250 Aug 2001

Translated for the first time from the Bengali, this astonishingly radical novel is about Chhobi, a gutsy, misfit girl from a rural landowning family, who questions injustice, fights to share the privileges offered to her brother and male cousins, and refuses to see her future as just another submissive household drudge. Nabankur means a new seedling, which is personified by Chhobi, who is growing up in the late 1930s and the early 1940s in Bengal where anti-colonial struggles against British rule are in full swing. As her political awakening gains maturity, thoughts of personal freedom fill her heart.

Sulekha Sanyal was born in 1928 in an impoverished family that had once been indigo planters. She became a communist while a student. At thirty-five she died of leukaemia, leaving a number of short stories and novels characterized by their passion and subtlety. Gouranga P. Chattopadhyay retired as Professor of Behavioural Science, Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta. He is a practicing psychologist. Himani Bannerji is at the dept. of history, York University, Toronto.

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