The Rajput hero has always held a special place in India’s cultural landscape. Legend, myth, history and literary imagination combined to present the Rajput as the ultimate embodiment of heroism, honour and chivalry, capable of inspiring the most profound sacrifices among
his dependants and clan.
History is his source, and imagination and language are his tools to infuse characters with vitality. Each of the stories in Abanindranath Tagore’s Rajkahini, dealing with the lives and events of a dynasty of warriors of ancient Mewar of erstwhile Rajputana, is superbly singular.Yet they have a common vein running through them — gripping accounts of Rajput courage and valour.
Abanindranath Tagore’s lyrical style of narration weaving
oral tales and history, has helped characters like
Shiladitya, Goha, Bappaditya, Padmini, Chanda and others
live a life beyond the pages of history books.
Abanindranath Tagore (1871-1951), painter and man of letters, was born in the Tagore family at Jorasanko in Kolkata on 7 August 1871. Nephew of Rabindranath Tagore, his artistic bent took him to painting.
He became principal of the Art College of Kolkata in 1898 and later joined the University of Calcutta as Bageshwari professor in 1921. In 1942 he became the chancellor of Visva-Bharati University.
Abanindranath Tagore’s critiques of the fine arts are well- known for their refined artistic judgement, but it is his contribution to Bengali children’s literature that has immortalised his name. His important writings include Shakuntala (1895), Khirer Putul (The Sweetmeat Doll, 1896), Banglar Vrata (Festivities of Bengal, 1919), Khajanchir Khata 0 Priyadarshika (Ledger-book and the Fair Lady, 1921), Bharat Shilper Sadanga (Six Components of Indian Fine Art, 1947), Alor Phulki (Sparks of Fire, 1947), Kishor Sanchayan (Stories for the Young, 1960), Badshahi Galpa (Stories of Kings, 1976), among others. He died in Kolkata on 5 December 1951.
Monimala Dhar is the Principal of K.L. Bajoria College, Shillong. A ‘compulsive translator’, as she describes herself, she had earlier translated Byomkesh Bakshi and When the Earth was Young. Reincarnation Stories, both by Saradindu Bandopadhyay.
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