Into this heaven of freedom

Title Into this heaven of freedom
Swatantra Bhoomi
Author Indira Parthasarathy
Publication Indian Writing
Size 215p
Language ENG ENG
ISBN 9788183684705
Topics Indian fiction--Tamil--Translated into English
Notes Parthasarathy tells the racy story of Mukundan, who comes to Delhi from his native Tamil Nadu in search of a job. He fails to find one, not for lack of qualifications but for lack of an influential supporter in the right places, and soon enough finds such an influential ‘friend’ that he is himself catapulted to political power. The characters bring Indian politics alive in a glaring manner. The ruthlessly ambitious siren Sarla, the kingmaker Mishra, various other politicians seem to be characters from a Hollywood thriller about some fictitious failed state riddled by corruption. And then you realise they are all too real. The translation by Subbulakshmi Janardhanan is good but marred by printing errors — spelling mistakes, repeated words and the like.Today, an interesting amalgam of literary genres such as soliloquy, narrative fiction, newspaper clippings, dialogue and poetry, is gripping in a dreamlike way. Ashokamitran pulls no punches. He names no names, but we recognise the hard face of authority during the National Emergency, the uncaring slackness once it is lifted, the dusty oblivion to which the idols of the freedom struggle have been relegated. His characters are memorable. Ever hopeful, glad of small mercies, they have, in their resigned cheerfulness, an infinite ability to shoulder the weight of injustice that gradually distorts their lives.There is Sundararaman in Madras, who struggles to get his children immunised against polio. There is the freedom fighter in New Delhi, whose poignant soliloquy tells us about his life in a home for ‘heroes’ of the independence movement. There is a disastrous interview of an author by a journalist — hilariously ridiculous, painfully true to life.In saying so little, Ashokamitran says so much. And the whole of it is a tough order for the translator. But, taking a straightforward approach, Shanti Sivaraman handles it without a hiccup. On the whole she succeeds in giving the translation an identity of its own. However, printing errors ruin the reading at times.
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