Friday, April 13, 2007

Katha Prize Stories: Volume 4

Seventeen stories from Asomiya, Bangla, English, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Konkani, Malayalam, Marathi, Oriya, Tamil, Telugu and Urdu, that recreate the fascinating fabric that is India, urban and rural. Woven into them is a range of emotions – from the plutonic to the oedipal, the humorous to the poignant, the simple to the intricate.

This collection reiterates that the KPS volumes have indeed become “an anxiously awaited yearly event, watched alike by discerning readers in India and abroad as well as by writers, translators and literary journals.”

India Today

Katha is literally a literary institution. It’s a non-profit making society devoted to “enhancing the pleasures of reading.” Every year it publishes in English a collection of short stories originally written in various Indian languages. This year, women and children come first, stories with adult males as the central characters are in a minority … This collection paints striking portraits of male-female relationships …

Translation is the essence of national integration. The discovery of the wealth of Indian creative writing through translation is an inspiration. Katha is part of this discovery.

– Gillian Wright
The Economic Times
(December 25, 1994)

To capture the vibrancy of one language into another requires monk-like devotion. To prepare and present each year, in time, a collection of short stories written in regional languages, translated into English, must bring the zeal closer to frenzy, but nothing deters the Katha team from keeping up to its standards.

Earlier their goal was to provide good, creative English translations of the regional short stories selected by them. Now, the editor argues, the language should be “not ‘bad,’ yet able to let us be ourselves without having to hide our deepest sentiments and emotions behind the restrained fa├žade of ‘proper’ English.” In other words, a bhasha like any other Indian language, capable describing all Indian experiences …

Of the seventeen stories put forward this year, fifteen have been selected from regional languages, while two – “The Weight” and “Zero Sum Game” – were originally written in English. “Zero Sum Game” by Bibhas Sen is pure, unalloyed fun in lucid English. Deriving his subject from something as unliterary as the GATT treaty, the writer has produced a beautiful piece of humorous literature … The other fifteen stories are social in context …

The stories are all exquisitely written and translated pieces, but the one that stands apart for its skilful portrayal of inner conflicts, nodal swirls, artistic competence and, of course, its almost flawless translation is “The Bed.” It doesn’t merely make you think, it shakes up your entire thinking process so that even much later, the images keep coming back to your mind.
Katha undoubtedly provides some of the best Indian short stories written in 1993.

– Sharad Chandra
The Book Review

Katha Prize Stories Volumes 3 and 4

In these days of slipping and sliding values and short-term methods one can only applaud Katha for choosing to walk the “Euclid’s line” in favour of rigorousness and eclecticism …

Awards are presented to the nominators, the authors of the stories, the translators and the editors of the journals where the stories first appeared. The last named category (instituted since 1993) is unusual and remarkable since it highlights the contribution of fiction editors to encourage excellence in fiction. Comprehensive notes accompany each volume representing one knows not how many hours of labour. This is where the Foundation justifies its claim to being a “research” organisation …

Volumes 3 and 4 … are products of the “amrita-manthans” of 91-92 and 93-94. In the first volume eleven Indian languages are represented. The second contains thirteeen stories, the two new entrants being Konkani and Oriya. Especially heart warming is the surfacing of Konkani creativity, a language of a small coastal region ambivalent about its script not very long ago …

In treating the stories of the volume thematically three concerns emerge. The first brings to the fore the uniqueness of the experience of the people of different regions of India …
The second trend …[appears to be] the creative use of Indian archetypes in the modern context …

The two volumes together affirm that on the showing of three years, ’91 to ’94, Indian fiction is thriving … Volume 4 has improved on the quality of production as well. In this as well as other areas, the series of Katha Prize Stories attains the standard of perfection that Katha Vilasam strives for.

– Kalyani Dutta
The Authors
Bibhas Sen
Gauri Deshpande
Madhurantakam Narendra
Manoj Kumar Goswami
Mithra Venkatraj
Pratibha Ray
Swapnamoy Chakraborti
Bolwar Mahamad-Kunhi
Kanji Patel
N S Madhavan
Prakash Narayan Sant
Surendra Prakash
Thanjai Prakash
Vandana Bist

The Translators
Nivedita Menon
Dhananjay Kapse
Gopa Majumdar
Narendra Nair
C Revathi
Sachidananda Mohanty
H Y Sharada Prasad
Gauri Deshpande
Jayeeta Sharma
C N Ramachandran
Sacheen Pai Raikar
Sarala Jag Mohan
Lakshmi Kannan
Vijaya Ghose

The Nominating Editors & Journals

Hindi: Vijay Mohan Singh (India Today)
Bangla: Sarat Kumar Mukhopadhyay (Aajkaal)
Kannada: Ramachandra Sharma (Prajavani, Udayavani)
Marathi: Ganesh N Devy (Mauj, Saptahik Sakal)
Telugu: Allam Rajaiah (India Today)
Urdu: Anisur Rahman (Zehn-e-Jadeed)
English: Rukmini Bhaya Nair
Tamil: Gnani (Subhamangala)
Assamese: Pankaj Thakur (Journal Emporium)
Malayalam: K Satchidanandan (Kala Kaumudi, India Today)
Gujarati: Shirish Panchal (Gadyaparva)
Konkani: Chandrakant Keni (Chitrangi)
Oriya: Sachidananda Mohanty (Jhankara)

Edited by: Geeta Dharmarajan

Publishers: Katha
Cover Design: Taposhi Ghoshal
Colours: Arvinder Chawla
Logo Design: Crowquill
Category: Katha Prize Stories
Statistics: 5.5" x 8" 272 pages
ISBN 81-85586-20-9 [PB]
Price: Rs 200 [India and the subcontinent only]

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