About the Book:
Set in Aligrah in early 1960s, after the dust of Partition has ostensibly settled, Topi Shukla is an intriguing story of tow friends-one Hindu and the other Muslim.
Through the characters of people like Topi and Iffan, the novel looks at the lives of ordinary people trying to survive in a society that insists on brutal conformity of behavior. It is about individuals whose spirits are paralysed because they cannot conform, and about history's inability to teach mankind any worthwhile lessons.
Language plays an important part in this narrative, operating almost as a character in its own right. Topi, as a Hindi bull in the Urdu china shop, invokes the historical stand-off between the two languages. The novel also explores the culture and psyche of Uttar Pradesh with its very Muslim Aligarh, its very Hindu Benares, and their exotic confluence in Lucknow.
Although it is set in the India of the 1960s, the communal tensions and issues portrayed in novel make it just as relevant to the troubled times we face today. This fascinating novel will be of tremendous interest to the general reader, as well as to students of literature in translation, partition fiction, and social history. The novel's engagement with intertextuality and metafiction will add to its interest for readers keen on literary theory.
About the Author:
Rahi Masoom Raza (1927-92) occupies a special place among post-Independence Hindi novelists. He taught at Aligarh Muslim University before moving to Muslim University before moving to Mumbai as a scriptwriter for Hindi films.
Meenakshi Shivram is a freelance translator and journalist with both the Web and the print media.
Harish Trivedi is Professor of English, University of Delhi. He has published widely in the fields of Translation studies and regional literatures of India.
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