The Garden of Loneliness: A Translation of Jaishankar Prasad's Hindi Poem 'Ansu"

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Item Code: IDI064
Author: Charles S. J. White
Language: Hindi Text with English Translation
Edition: 2006
ISBN: 8120831373
Pages: 151
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 5.6"X 8.6"
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Book Description

As I mention in the first endnote of the Introduction to the following translation I owe special thanks to three scholars who have assisted me in the years that I worked on Ansu. First is Dr. Rajbhadraj who was my Hindi "pandit" for a number of years while I was doing translations of various poets, mainly while I was in New Delhi. He suggested the possibility of doing the present translation although it was somewhat outside one of my interests, which had been to study and translate from the medieval Bhakti Poets writing in Hindi. I worked on the preliminary drafts of the present translation with Dr. Rajbhadraj and am grateful for his professional assistance as well as for introducing me to a very enjoyable subject. Dr. N. Sundaram was professor of Hindi at the Presidency College in Chennai (Madras) and helped me in various ways with the translation I published of the Caurasi Pad of Sri Hit Harivams (Hawaii, 1977). When I began my study of present text I was encouraged by his support and scholarly expertise. He was a close friend in those days and together we also visited interesting religious sites in the (then) Madras area. Dr. Chandra B. Varma of the university of Hyderabad, A. P., is a more recent acquaintance. He took the trouble in the past year to read through the entire text of the introduction and translation of the nearly finished Ansu. His reactions and suggestions for improvement some of which are incorporated into his text were very helpful to me and I thank him for them.

Dr. Shaligram Shukla, Professor of Historical Linguistics at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and Hindi creative writer himself and I appeared on a program together at the University of Maryland some years ago. At that time I read from an earlier version of the Present text, and gave some comments. I am very grateful, indeed, that he agreed to write the foreword to this translation and work his great enthusiasm and love for the poetry of Jayshankar Prasad.

A shorter version of the Introduction to this volume was published in the Journal of Vaishnava Studies,Vol. 13, No. 2, Spring 2005. It was under the title, " Ansu, Modernity, and the 'Pangs of Separation." I am grateful to Senior Editor Steven J. Rosen for publishing the article.

I owe a special acknowledgement to Srimati Savitridevi Dasi who used her skills in reading and typing Devanagari, with proper diacritical marks in transcription to prepare this manuscript for publication. I know that she made time in her busy schedule to do this, and I am very beholden to her for it. I am similarly indebted to Mr. N. P. Jain, Director of Motilal Banarsidass Publisher who has been a very gracioucs person with whom to develop a project for this publication. I should also mention Professors Norman H. Zide, Anoop C. Chandola and Shyam Mahonar Pandey, my first mentors in Hindi at the University of Chicago. They greatly helped me to begin my efforts to learn to translate from the Hindi language.

In the early stages of my study of Prasad and other poets and religious figures I was supported financially in my research in India by The American Institute of Indian Studies. From the beginning of my field experience in India the AIIS was continually supportive in many ways and not only financially. In this regard the now retired Director General of the AIIS, Dr. Pradeep Mehendiratta, is someone to whom I shall always give special thanks.

My sense of gratitude goes also to the culture religions and people of India with whom I have now such a long connection. Particularly, in the experience of translating literature you have an opportunity to make someone else's reality your own. If there are artistic deficiencies, nevertheless, the new literary rality so created substantiates the conviction that the universal world the human expression belongs to us all that journey geographically culturally, and spiritually brings you to a common place which is your home.

From the Jacket

"In the Garden of Loneliness" presents the reader with a translation into English of one of the masterpieces of modern Hindi Literature. This masterpiece is Jayshankar Prasad's ANSU. The imagery throughout this long poem, (190 stanzas) is of a desperate love felt by the poet for a sweetheart who has somehow left him or deserted him. The setting is in a beautiful garden, made desolate by the absence of the beloved. As the introduction indicates, the desperation of separation (viraha) can be mythologized into a universal longing of the soul for God or of the modern person's quest for contact with the Spirit beyond the existential loneliness of the materialism of the contemporary world -view.

Profrssor Charles S.J. White has the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in the history of religions from the university of Chicago. (His Ph.D. dissertation was entitled, "Bhakti as a religious Structure in the Context of medieval Hinduism in the Hindi speaking Area of north India"). He also received the M. A. degree in Creative Writing from the Universidad de las Americas in Mexico City. His publications include translations from Spanish.


Foreword ix
Preface xiii
Background 1
Modern Hindi Literature 3
Ansu As Literature 11
Poetic Method 13
Poetic Meaning 23
Ansu- Text with Translation 31
Glossary 127
Verse- Index 133


Sample Pages

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