Mahanadi: A Novel about a River (HB)
Author: Anita Agnihotri
Translated by Nivedita Sen
9789389136791 | HB | pp. 490 | 2021 | Niyogi Books
Mahanadi: A Novel about a River by Anita Agnihotri, tells the story of various lives, lived differently, all strung together by the ever-flowing river.
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One of the largest rivers of India, Mahanadi originates from the foothills of the Sihaoa mountain of Chhattisgarh and flows for a thousand kilometres through Chhattisgarh and Odisha, finally immersing in the Bay of Bengal at Jagatsinghpur. But its journey never ends, as it flows daily from the plateau to the forest to the ravine to the plains. It unites with the sea every day. At every new turn, it leaves behind scores of villages, towns and cities. The din and bustle of a mofussil town, the solitary life in a standalone village, people’s struggle for survival, the episodes of their joys and sorrows, the sighs of the displaced people of Sambalpur during the building of the Hirakud dam mixes with the cries of the endangered people on the banks when the river overflows.
In this novel, the tale of the river is entwined with the people through vignettes of their dynamic lives that are infused with myths, legends and archaeological anecdotes. Characters like Malati Gond, Neelkantha, Kuber, Bhanu Shitulia, Parvati and others might never meet each other, but the story of their lives will remain strung together by the common thread of the ever-flowing Mahanadi.
The chronicle of Mahanadi is a journey through travails and misfortunes into life’s joys and mysterious beauty.
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About the Contributors
The authori’s literary oeuvre spans across all genres–poetry, novels, writing for children, and critiques of development; but short story is the genre that stimulates her creative vein the most. Anita’s writing explores the vast and complex Indian reality, many facets of human relations, and brings out the unheard voices of the marginalized and the underprivileged and has been translated into several Indian languages, in English, and also in German and Swedish. She has authored over 30 volumes by now and has received several awards, including the Bangiya Sahitya Parishad felicitation, the Sarat Puraskar, Pratibha Basu Sahitya Puraskar, and the Bhuban Mohini Dasi Gold Medal by the University of Calcutta. She returned the Bangla Academy literary award in protest over the killing of innocent protesters in Nandigram, West Bengal.
The translator teaches English Literature in Hansraj College, University of Delhi. Her research has focused on Bangla children’s literature but she also works on other popular genres, apart from Indian writing in English, post-colonial fiction and translation studies. She has translated Tagore’s Ghare Baire, and stories by Syed Mustafa Siraj, Leela Majumdar and others.
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