A Clutch of Indian Masterpieces: Extraordinary Short Stories from the the 19th Century to the Present4.37 · Rating details · 124 Ratings · 24 Reviews
The stories in this collection will make you see the world differently as the greatest stories always do. The thirty nine short stories in this book will blow you away. Starting with a ghoststory by Rabindranath Tagore, India's most famous writer and ending with a fable by Kanishk Tharoor, a writer who has come of age in the twenty first century, these literary masterpieceThe stories in this collection will make you see the world differently as the greatest stories always do. The thirty nine short stories in this book will blow you away. Starting with a ghoststory by Rabindranath Tagore, India's most famous writer and ending with a fable by Kanishk Tharoor, a writer who has come of age in the twenty first century, these literary masterpieces showcase the extraordinary range and diversity of our story telling tradition. The first recognizably modern Indian short stories were written in Bengal (by Tagore andothers) in the second half of the nineteenth century and writers from other regions werequick to follow suit, often using the form to protest colonial oppression and the various illsafflicting rural and urban India. Over the next century and a half, some of the finest writers the world has seen produced outstanding fiction in every conceivable genre. Many of these stories find a place in this volume, as does work by emerging talent that has never been published in book form before. Here you will find stories of classical realism, ones rootedin folklore and myth, tales of fantasy, humour, horror, crime and romance, stories set invillages, small towns, cities and the moon. They will entertain you and shock you, they will lighten your mood and cast you down, they will move you and they will make you reflect onlife's big and little questions. Most of all, they will make you see the world differently as the greatest stories always do....more
Hardcover, First edition (11 December 2014), 544 pages
Published December 11th 2014 by Aleph Book Company
|Born||May 30, 1931|
Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu
|Died||October 15, 2005(2005-10-15) (aged 74)|
Sundara Ramaswamy (30 May 1931, Thazhuviya Mahadevarkoil, Kanyakumari, Tamil Nadu – 15 October 2005) was an Indian novelist and exponent of Tamil modern literature. Aged 20, Ramaswamy began his literary career, translating Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai's Malayalam novel, Thottiyude Makan into Tamil and writing his first short story, "Muthalum Mudivum", which he published in Pudimaipithan Ninaivu Malar.
Sundara Ramaswamy spent his childhood years in Kottayam, Travancore, where his father worked as a Burma Oil agent. Though Tamil was his native tongue, since he lived in Travancore, he only learned Malayalam in his childhood. His father decided to wind up his business and move to Nagercoil, Kanyakumari in 1939. He continued his schooling there, but was generally considered to be a poor student. Kanyakumari then was still a part of Kerala, and not Tamil Nadu. Hence his education continued in Malayalam.
When he was ten years old, he was attacked by rheumatism, and was sick for the next five or six years. This caused him to be bedridden often, and made him irregular at school. Finally, he discontinued school on the advice of his physician. He first taught himself the Tamil alphabet at the age of 18. Through his mother, he was exposed to the vernacular magazine Manikodi, and famous Tamil writers such as Pudumaipithan, Na. Pitchamurthy, C.S. Chellappa, etc. He was particularly influenced by Pudumaipithan.
Sundara Ramaswamy's first attempt at writing was to publish a commemorative volume for Pudumaipithan in 1951, in which his short story Mudhalum Mudivum was also included. His second attempt was his short story Thanneer in the year 1952. He was deeply affected by his father’s seeming dictatorship (something he later attributed to his own youth and immaturity), as well as his maternal aunt’s poverty-stricken life. In the early 1950s, Ramaswamy was drawn to leftist politics, and supported the United Communist Party ardently. He later referred to it as an emotional decision, and one against the authority of his father. He steeped himself in Marxist literature and discussions with his friends.
His affiliation with the Communist Party did not last long; he left the movement after reading Khruschev’s address to the CPSU’s XXth congress and the suppression of the Hungarian writer’s revolution. Following this, he began to identify himself with the modern movement, and began to contribute poems to a magazine called Ezhuthu. In the late fifties, Sundara Ramaswamy began working on his first novel, Oru Puliyamarathin Kathai (Tamarind History). The novel was published in 1966, and established him in Tamil literary circles.
He began to write literary criticism and articles, all of them addressing various issues in Tamil Nadu. In the late seventies, he wrote another novel J.J:Silakurrippukal (J.J:Some Jottings), which was considered to be a departure from tradition in its criticism, and was published in 1981. This was followed by a book of poetry, Nadunisi Naigal (Midnight Dogs) which was released in 1975. In 1987, he published a second book of poetry, titled Yaaro Oruvanukkaga (For Some Man).
Sundara Ramaswamy wrote his final novel Kuzhanthaigal, Pengal, Angal(Children, Women, Men) in 1995, which is autobiographical and centers on his early life in Kottayam. Many of his characters were based on childhood memories, and he was able to reassess his father in particular. In his own words, "I am glad that I was able to discover his essence, to an extent, through this novel." He received numerous awards, with the Kumaran Asan Prize (1988), the Iyal prize (2001) for lifetime achievement awarded by Toronto University, and the Katha Chaudamani prize (2003) being the most prominent ones.
He died in the United States[where?] from pulmonary fibrosis in 2005, aged 74. He is survived by a son and two daughters.
He was influenced by the works of reformers like Gandhi, E. V. Ramasami Naicker, Sri Aurobindo, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Dr. Ram Manohar Lohia, Dr. J.C. Kumarappa, Jiddu Krishnamurti, and Pudumaipithan, the writer who ushured in modernity into Tamil literature. He met the great literary luminary of Malayalam, M. Govindan, in 1957 and remained his good friend till the end. In 1950s, he met the Communist leader P. Jeevanandham. He was influenced by Marxian philosophy. His relationship with the literary magazine Shanti, edited by T. M. Chidambara Ragunathan, and his joining the editorial-board of Saraswathi were decisive in his growth as a writer.
His talent manifests itself through his novels. Oru Puliamarathin Kathai (The Story of a Tamarind Tree, 1966), his first novel, was well received as a work that proved to be a new experience both in form and content, extending the frontiers of Tamil novel and creating new perspectives. He gave up active writing for nearly six years; and when he began again in 1973, he had gone far beyond executing an interesting and agile narration.
He edited and published a literary magazine called Kalachuvadu and wrote poetry under the penname "Pasuvayya". His novels include Oru Puliya Marathin Kathai (Tamarind History; tr, Blake Wentworth, Penguin 2013), J.J Silakuripukal (J.J: Some Jottings, tr, A.R Venkatachalapathy, Katha, 2004) and Kuzhanthaigal, Pengal, Aangal (Children, Women, Men, tr, Lakshmi Holmstrom, Penguin 2013). Aged 20, Ramaswamy began his literary career, translating Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai's Malayalam novel, Thottiyude Makan into Tamil and writing his first short story, "Muthalum Mudivum", which he published in Pudimaipithan Ninaivu Malar. Oru Puliamarathin Kathai has been translated into English (Tale of a Tamarind Tree, Penguin India, New Delhi), Hindi (Imli Puran, Nilakant Prakashan, New Delhi), Malayalam (Oru Puliyamarathinte Katha, D.C.Books, Kottayam) and into Hebrew language (by Ronit Ricci, Hakibbutz Hameuchaud Publishing House, Tel Aviv).
Sundara Ramaswamy suspended active writing for nearly six years; and when he resumed in 1973, one found a different Ramaswamy whose considerations outgrew those for an interesting and agile narration. True, he still remained a stylist, but his concerns took new directions and his language which ceased to be soothing and amusing acquired a solid texture yet it retained a strong feel for humor, only now more powerful and pointed. It was in this phase that he wrote his stories in the Palanquin Bearers volume, and later an outstanding novel J.J. Silakuripukal (J.J. Some Notes).
In 2013, Penguin India released a new translation of Oru Puliyamarathin Kadai titled Tamarind History. A translation of Kuzhanthaikal, Pengal, Aangal was also released, titled Children, Women, Men.
In 1959, he wrote his first poem, "Un Kai Nagam" under the poetic pseudonym "Pasuvia" and published it in Ezhuthu. Poetry brought him the experience of a dimension beyond the concreteness of words and their meaning. The early poems were rigorous in language and heavy in tone. His poems gradually became more translucent and immediate. All his poems are collected in the volume, Sundara Ramaswamy Kavithaikal.
He has translated from Malayalam into Tamil Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai's Chemmeen and Thottiyude Magan and short stories by Thakazhi, Basheer, Karoor Neelakanta Pillai and M. Govindan.
He has written a criticism book on N.Pichamoorthi's literary works named - Na.Pichamoorthiyin Kalai marabum manitha neyamum reviewing his best and worst. The books analyses his poetry, short stories in depth. Ramasamy also describes how pichamoorthi has contributed immensely to free verse poetry with his simple words & philosophy.He also defines on how pichamoorthi has set the grammar on how free verse poetry should be, which many modern poet does not keep eye on.The book was released in April 1991, by vanathi publication
Awards and Honours
He received the following awards