Often referred to as India's first modern novelist, Bankimchandra
Chattopadhay fused the formal, Sanskritized Bengali with the colloquial
idioms of the spoken language to write prose narratives that everyone
could read. Having picked up the pen to consciously improve the minds
and morals of his readers, Bankimchandra wrote novels that were at once
instructive and entertaining. His novels fall into three genres:
historical romances, novels of nationalist fervour, and those
reflecting the social conditions in nineteenth-century Bengal.
The first volume of the collector's edition brings together five of
Bankimchandra's best-known works in English translation. Set in the
Bengal of Emperor Jehangir's time, Kapalkundala tells the story of
Nabakumar, a young woman named Napalkundala whom he rescues from a
Tantric intent on human sacrifice, and the beautiful Lutfunnnisa who
has sold her heart on marrying him. In Bishabrikha (The Poison Tree),
set in Bankimchandra's own time, Nagendra is torn between his devoted
wife Suryamukti and the bewitching young widow Kundanandini. Unable to
prioritize either of the women he cares for, Nagendra ends up losing
both. Indira is a lighthearted tale of playful intrigues: Upendra does
not realize that his friend's house, and is given a royal run-around by
Indira and Subhasini, her employer. Krishnakanta's will is a tragedy of
lust, infidelity, greed and death revolving around Govindalal, his wife
Bharamar, the attractive widow Rohini, and a stolen will. Rajani, the
story of a blind girl and two men, Sachindra and Amarnath, is a
psychologically taut tale; it is the first Indian novel where
characters narrate their stories in the first person.
Evoking the Bengal of yore in all its hues, Bankimchandra's novels
explore love and relationships and the manner in which society shapes
them. Translated exclusively for Penguin, these superbly crafted novels
are sure to hold readers in thrall today just as they did over a
About the Author :
Bankimchandra Chattopadhyay was born in Kantalpara, West Bengal, in
1838. In 1858, he became the first Indian to earn a BA degree. He
served in the Indian Civil Service as Deputy Magistrate and Deputy
Collector between 1859 and 1891.
Bankimchandra's first novel Rajmohan's Wife was written in English. His
first Bengali novel Durgeshnandini appeared in 1865. He went on to
write thirteen more novels, of which Kapalkundala, Mrinalini,
Bishabriksha, Krishnakanter, Mrinalini, Bishabriksha, Krishnakanter
Will, Rajani, Rajsingha and Devi Choudharani are the most famous. The
epoch-making Anandamath appeared in 1882; the versr 'Vande Mataram'
from the novel became the anthem of nationalists during the freedom
movement, and is now the National Song of India.
Apart from his novels, Bankimchandra has to his credit a considerable
body of non-fiction. He was the editor of Bangadarshan, perhaps the
most influential literary magazine of its time, which began publication
Bankimchandra died in 1894.
Your email address will not be published *
Send as free online greeting card
Email a Friend