Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Shabari: A Novel

Shabari: A Novel
Vibhavari Shirurkar
Translated into English by Yashodhara Deshpande Maitra
Foreword by Ramdas G. Bhatkal
demy octavo pb 200pp ISBN 978-81-906760-7-6 Rs 325 Published Mar 2011

Shabari, named after the protagonist, is the story of an educated middle-class woman in pre and post-independent India which reveals her life as it transforms through marriage and family. It deals with the tensions inherent in a ‘love- arranged’ marriage, the changing attitudes of the newer materialistic and hypocritical order, the generation gaps and the utter despair and loss at betrayal. Yet, it is never melodramatic or overtly sentimental. Extremely believable, Shabari is a fine balance between the contrasting and complementary minds of the man and the woman. It is interesting how Shabari’s education is constantly used against her. The protagonist is never idealized, she is extremely down-to-earth. This novel operates in the realm of grey, as opposed to strict compartments of black and white.

Malatibai Bedekar, ('Vibhavari Shirurkar') was born Balutai Anant Khare in 1905. She graduated from Karve University at the age of seventeen and went on to do her Ph.D. in Sanskrit. She is a distinguished writer and her main focus is on women's issues and social oppression. Among her books in Marathi are Kalyanche Nishwas (1933), Hindolyavar (1934), translated into English as Her, Story, Our Story and On the Swing (Stree, 2008), Kharemaster (1993) translated by Stree in 1998 and Bali (1950). She died in 2000.
Yashodhara Maitra Deshpande taught natural sciences at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf. She is an experienced translator from Marathi into English. She has worked closely with the Bedekars and has translated several works by these two illustrious writers. She lives in Webster, NY, USA.

Published by: Stree
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