April 16, 2021 5:06:32 pm
The English translation of the late Hindi writer Shivani’s memoir “Amader Shantiniketan” will hit the stands in May, Penguin Random House India (PRHI) announced on Friday.
The book, translated by the author’s daughter Ira Pande, will be published under Penguin’s ‘Vintage’ imprint.
Born in Rajkot in 1923, Gaurav Pant ‘Shivani’, rated as one of the foremost Hindi writers of her time, was 12 when she was sent along with her two siblings to Shantiniketan, where she spent nine years. She died in 2003.
Tribute to Shantiniketan, the school established by Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore in 1921, the timeless memoir was written by Shivani nearly 50 years ago from her perspective as a child and young girl studying in the grand institution.
“Amader Shantiniketan’ has always been the favourite of my mother’s works. It captures the innocence and the pristine, pastoral world that Tagore created, and brings alive people in a way that only a child can portray them,” said Pandey, who is also the author of “Diddi: Hamari Maa Shivani”.
“This book was born to be translated into English now, at a time when that Bengal and that life has almost vanished. Today, when I see the legacy of Tagore being fought over, I think this world needs to be remembered, and this school needs to be preserved in our memories,” she added.
Filled with moving tributes that Shivani wrote when some of her beloved contemporaries passed away, it promises to take readers into a “magical space” that remains as inspirational as it was to her when she went there all the way from Uttarakhand’s Kumaon — then in Uttar Pradesh — a lifetime ago.
“Shivani is a masterful storyteller, and in ‘Amader Shantiniketan’, she transports you to the carefree world of the childhood she spent at Shantiniketan. Witty and filled with warmth and laughter, this is a rare, intimate view of life in Tagore’s experimental school, which shaped the most creative minds of the age.
“These are stories that need to be read by adults and children alike,” said Elizabeth Kuruvilla, executive editor, Ebury Publishing and Vintage, PRHI.
Shivani’s other notable works include “Chaudah Phere”, “Krishnakali”, “Lal Haveli” and “Smashan Champa”. She also published travelogues such as “Yatriki”, based on her London travels, and “Chareivati”, based on her travels to Russia.
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