I Have Not Seen Mandu


Author: Swadesh Deepak
Translated by Jerry Pinto

9789390477586 | PB | pp. 360 | 2021 | Speaking Tiger

I Have Not Seen Mandu is the memoir of a notable playwright—a fractured, shattering narrative about his descent into madness and brief recovery.

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When Swadesh Deepak—celebrated Hindi playwright and short-story writer—arrives at PGI, Chandigarh, after having tried to set himself on fire, the doctors don’t know if he belongs in the burns unit or in the psychiatric ward. He’s living a ‘curse’. A dangerous seductress—his Mayavini—is taking revenge for his insulting rebuff at her wish to visit with him the famous lovers’ palace in Mandu. She comes to him at night, sometimes with three white leopards, and she leaves the smell of her body in his nostrils. When he tries to kill himself, she tells him he will not die. He is firmly in her clutches, but he will tolerate anything for her, from humiliation at the hands of acquaintances to carnivorous worms under his skin.

This fractured, shattering narrative—among the most unusual books ever published in India—records Deepak’s descent into madness and his brief, uncertain recovery. Shortly after it was published, he left home for a walk one morning and never returned. As the translator, Jerry Pinto, writes in his introduction: ‘[Deepak’s] words carry all the scars of who he was and what his illness had made of him… His voice echoes from the bottom of a well.’

Additional information


Swadesh Deepak
Translator: Jerry Pinto





Year of Publication:



Speaking Tiger





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About the Contributors

Author and playwright Swadesh Deepak was born in Rawalpindi on 6 August 1942, After his MA in English Literature, he taught for a long time at the Gandhi Memorial National College, Ambala Cantonment. Following a period of illness from 1991 to 1997, when he had little contact with anyone other than his family and close friends, he made a momentous return to the world of letters with an autobiographical account of his illness, Maine Mandu Nahin Dekha, and the play Sabse Udaas Kavita. He received the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 2004. He has a total of 15 published books to his name including short-story collections such as Tamasha, Baal Bhagwan and Kisi Ek Pedh Ka Naam Lo and hugely successful plays such as Court Martial and Kaal Kothri.

In 2006 he left home for a walk and never returned. He has been missing ever since.

Jerry Pinto is the author of Murder in Mahim (2017) and Em and the Big Hoom (2012; winner of the Hindu Prize and the Crossword Book Award), and the non-fiction book Helen: The Life and Times of an H-Bomb (2006; winner of the National Award for the Best Book on Cinema). His other books include Asylum and Other Poems, Surviving Women, A Bear for Felicia, Monster Garden, When Crows Are White and, as editor, A Book of Light: When a Loved One Has a Different Mind, Reflected in Water: Writings on Goa, The Greatest Show on Earth: Writings on Bollywood, Bombay, Meri Jaan: Writings on Mumbai (with Naresh Fernandes) and Confronting Love: Poems (with Arundhathi Subramaniam). He has also translated (from Marathi) Daya Pawar’s classic autobiography Baluta and Baburao Bagul’s When I Hid My Caste (Jevha Mee Jaat Chorli Hott), and the memoirs I Want to Destroy Myself (Mala Udbvasta Vhachay) by Malika Amar Shaikh and I, the Salt Doll (Mee Mithaachi Baabuli) by Vandana Mishra.

He also teaches journalism at the Sophia Institute of Social Communications Media in Mumbai and is on the board of directors – of Meljol, which works in the sphere of child rights. In 2016, he was awarded the Windham-Campbell Prize and the Sahitya Akademi Award.


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