Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Katha Prize Stories: Volume 1

KPS 1 highlights the inherent heterogeneity of contemporary India – an India constantly negotiating contradictions and coming together. These fourteen award winning stories both create and break stereotypes. There is no attempt here to yoke together “universal themes” or “basic conflict,” yet brought serendipitously together is a galaxy of master writers who make for powerful and unusual reading.

This volume features fourteen award-winning stories whose common claim is excellence. The languages featured are Asomiya, Bangla, English, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam, Marathi, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu.

Economic Times
(Sunday, August11, 1991)

The world of the storyteller.

Katha is a collection of short stories in English translation from different Indian languages including one written in English. Ten Indian languages are represented, with Punjabi, Oriya and Gujarati being excluded, and there are two stories from Kannada and Malayalam. The stories from the different languages have been selected by Nominating Editors who seem to have chosen the translators as well. The material has been culled from journals in the various languages published over a period of three years 1987-1990. The names of the journals have been listed at the end of the book under the pretentious title “select bibliography”. They are called “Prize Stories” on the basis of the Nominators/Editors own selection …

The translations read well and the depth of understanding and delineation of human character makes one realize how much the educated Indian reader is missing by confining himself to the English language. Some stories are outstanding, like the Urdu “Dream Images” (by Surendera Prakash translated by M Asaduddin). “Room by the Tubewell” (in Bengali by Sarat Kumar, translated by Enakshi Chatterji) has the diverting theme of a pacemaker being stolen from a dead body. The Tamil story “Reflowering” (by Sunder Ramaswami, translated by S Krishnan) has the down to earth relish of Tamil Nadu. These are some of the stories which impressed this reviewer but by and large the stories read well, whether or not they deserved “prizes” … the range of craftsmanship and technique is amazing, ranging as they do from surrealism to stream of consciousness and even a bit of magic realism.

– V Abdulla.
The Economic Times
(Sunday, August 11, 1991)

The conception and execution of the Katha Prize Stories series surely represents a unique and special moment in Indian publishing history … What has emerged out of this conscious and well-planned exercise is a fascinatingly supple range of short fiction which, though it does not claim to be representative, brings an intimate, exciting and live touch to what could otherwise have been a dry, academic exercise.

What strikes one is the gentle manner in which the venture challenges the premises of the mainstream publishing industry which believes only in grabbing, monopolizing and exploiting markets in a manipulative way, without generating processes within it that can be participative and creative. The Katha experiment is certainly an intervention, which contributes towards shifting the focus of publishing concepts from insular paranoia to more collaborative processes that can enter laterally in our value systems. Simultaneously, by the sheer sincerity of its purpose, it highlights the inherent laziness of publishing monopolies who have no need for engaging in any productive homework, who will never take trouble to interact with readers at any level other than that of mere commerce …

This first Katha anthology is only the beginning of several more to follow and is sure to provide fresh impetus to readers for a deeper engagement with the rich plurality of our own regional literatures.

– SM

The Authors

Purna Chandra Tejasvi
Bhupendranarayan Bhattacharyya
Dilip Purushottam Chitre
Ashok Srinivasan
Sarat Kumar Mukhopadhyay
Sara Joseph
Surendra Prakash
Madhurantakam Rajaram
Fakir Muhammed Katpadi
T Padmanabhan
Arun Mhatre
Sundara Ramaswamy

The Translators

K Raghavendra Rao
Ranjita Biswas
Suhas Gole
Enakshi Chatterjee
Ayyappa Paniker
M Asaduddin
R S Sudarshanam
Ruth Vanita
P A Kolharkar
S Krishnan

The Nominating Editors & Journals

Assamese: Indira Goswami (Sutradhar)
Bangla: Enakshi Chatterjee (Jugantor)
English: Vijayalakshmi Quereshi
Hindi: Rajendra Yadav (Hans)
Kannada: Raghavendra Rao (Kathegallu-The Kannada Sahitya Parishad, Sannekatha - Karnataka Sahitya Akademi)
Malayalam: Ayyappa Paniker (Mathrubhoomi Weekly, Kalakaumudi)
Marathi: Vilas Sarang (Gulmohar, Anushthub)
Tamil: S Krishnan (India Today)
Telugu: Vakati Panduranga Rao (Andhra Prabha Illustrated Weekly, Andhra Jyoti Illustrated Weekly)
Urdu: Anisur Rahman (Zehn-e-Jadeed)

Edited by
Rimli Bhattacharya
Geeta Dharmarajan

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Taposhi Ghoshal
Colours: Arvinder Chawla
Logo Design: Crowquill
Category: Katha Prize Stories
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 192 pages
ISBN 81-85586-00-4 [PB]
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

No comments: