Nicholas (nwhyte) wrote,
Nicholas
nwhyte

The Home and the World, by Rabindranath Tagore

Second paragraph of third chapter:
একদিন আমার সামনেই আমার মেজো জা হাসতে হাসতে আমার স্বামীকে বললেন, ভাই ঠাকুরপো, তোমাদের এ বাড়িতে এতদিন বরাবর মেয়েরাই কেঁদে এসেছে, এইবার পুরুষদের পালা এল, এখন থেকে আমরাই কাঁদাব। কী বল ভাই ছোটোরানী? রণবেশ তো পরেছ, রণরঙ্গিণী, এবার পুরুষের বুকে কষে হানো শেল। One day my sister-in-law remarked to my husband: “Up to now the women of this house have been kept weeping. Here comes the men’s turn. We must see that they do not miss it,” she continued, turning to me. “I see you are out for the fray, Chota Rani! Hurl your shafts straight at their hearts.”
With my Bengali family connections, I've always been conscious that I ought to get to grips with Tagore, the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (17 years before the first American), and the man who returned his knighthood after the Amritsar Massacre (the first but not the last person to do so). Rightly or wrongly, I felt it might be easier to start with his prose rather than the poetry for which he is better known.

This is a really short, very readable novel, about a love triangle that is also political: Bimala has married Nikhil, a nobleman, but becomes attracted to his friend, the political activist Sandip. There's a bit of Nikhil/Sandip bromance as well. Bimala's feelings for both Nikhil and Sandip are put to the test, in a context of revolutionary violence. The English are mere scenery; it's a novel about Bengal. Very interesting and very digestible. You can get it here.

This was my top unread non-genre book, believe it or not. Next on that list is Sugar and Other Stories, by A.S. Byatt.
Tags: bookblog 2021, nobel laureates, world: bangladesh, world: india
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