Good Reads…


Dotara, the instrument Bauls play while singing

…I stumbled upon online over the past few days.

Writing Palestine at Words Without Borders, my window to contemporary world literature (‘wish I would visit the site more often). The WWB feature showcases the writings of nine Palestinian writers, reflecting the many hues of the conflict-ridden desertscape. Some great writing, brought to us through sensitive translation. My favourite is The Shoes by Nassar Ibrahim:

Time passes slowly, hot and dusty: Barriers, guns, soldiers, identity card checks, long waits, curses and humiliations. Everything mixes with everything else; the advance and the retreat both have the same measure of suffering. In the back, the barriers and the humiliations; ahead, the same thing. So, forward he went. Isn’t arrival, isn’t the surmounting of suffering, the defiance of being broken down a simple, clear parity? An entire nation finds byroads, steps over logic and reason to maintain for itself the logic which says, Persistence first, or death.

Bhupinder Singh’s most inspired tribute to India’s firebrand socialist poet, Kaifi Azmi. The quality of the post is made better by Bhupinder’s wonderful translation of Kaifi’s poetry. A great read.

To look for Kaifi, is to keep on searching the for new, better, more egalitarian worlds. And heavens that are more just. To remove this search from his poetry would be to take away its soul.


William Dalrymple’s feature article on Bauls or Bengali minstrels. The essay is engagingly heartfelt, yet at the same time marked by a traveller’s objective recounting and a historian’s passion for research. Besides being a treat in itself, the article brought back great reminiscences. The mention of Bhaskar Bhattacharya, a former colleague, and of his association with the Bauls of West Bengal, revived some wonderful memories. My brother happened to be a part of Bhaskar’s team working on a film on the lives of these minstrels, and some of them even came to our house during their Delhi visits. I don’t know how I missed this superb article for so long.

Throughout their 500-year history, the Bauls have refused to conform to the social or religious conventions of conservative and caste-conscious Bengali society…The goal is to discover the “Man of the Heart” – Moner Manush – the ideal that lives within every man…

Happy weekend reading to all. 🙂

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8 thoughts on “Good Reads…

  1. Quite a coincidence, perhaps. I have been listening to Baul songs every morning past few weeks while driving to work and was thinking of writing on them. Thanks for the link too.

  2. Thanks for dropping by, Peggy. As for the tag, I doubt there’s anything interesting about me that readers would like to know. :PYou sure got me thinking, though. I will try to come up with something. Let’s see. :)Glad to share, John.Bhupinder, I think you will enjoy Dalrymple’s article. Who sang the Baul songs you heard? Just curious.

  3. Wow, Bhaswati, all of these look so good. I must rollerblade over to ‘Words Without Borders’ immediately – it used to be a daily read for me but oft late I have been finding it hard to keep up.How are you doing? “Talk” to you soon hopefully.

  4. I haven’t visited Words Without Borders in a while. Thanks for the reminder. It seems I’m not the only that made the switch to Beta, lately. Nice template!

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