Shishira Ritu - Winter, Issue No. 113 (Jan-Feb 2024)

Contemporary Gujarati Literature

Rann of Kutch, Gujarat

With a thousand-year history behind it, Gujarati has come a long way since the earliest writings by Jain scholars in the 11th century CE. Spoken by over 62 million people in 2022—the sixth most spoken language in India—Gujarati is the official language of Gujarat, and the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli, and Daman and Diu. Gujaratis have spread widely across the USA, Canada, the UK, Africa and other parts of the world. Curated by Dileep Jhaveri, the feature takes a look at the significant developments in Gujarati literature, both in poetry and fiction. While giving credit to Akho and Premanand of the 17th century for making Gujarati a creative language, Jhaveri recognises the contributions of Gandhiji, K M Munshi, Rajendra Shah, Suresh Joshi and Madhu Rye in converting Gujarati into the vibrant language that it is today. Works of several established poets and fiction writers are presented. 
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“Art challenges the audience to search for incipient, protean and daring aesthetic values. But before that, the artist has to create these values. Like a miner emerging from the deep earth, the artist brings fistfuls of ore into the open. And refining it into a precious metal would be a joint venture of the reader and the poet.” (Dileep Jhaveri in “Poetry in Gujarati - Everlasting Pursuit of the Eternal”)  (FEATURE)


“One may say that many (Gujarati) stories remain incomplete as the full potential of the themes is not explored. Very few stories are written on problems of existence, like floods, and natural or man-made calamities. Writers still tend to draw applause from Dalits, Women and other such marginalized groups. … Rarely do we find humour.” (Kanji Patel in “Gujarati Short Story”)  (FEATURE)


In “Why Didn’t You Come Sooner?” Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi recounts heart-rending tales of children trafficked, abused in child labour and sexually exploited, before being rescued by his Bachpan Bachao Andolan activists. He says these stories will deepen our faith in the triumph of light over darkness and compassion over cruelty. The book is reviewed by GSP Rao. (BOOK REVIEWS)  


In her review of “The Crossings” by Chaitali Sengupta, Aparna Singh writes that these poems map the complex historical, mythical and ideological trajectory of power and powerlessness rooted in colonialism, xenophobia and cross-border politics. (BOOK REVIEWS)


“From the viewpoint of many Dalits, Marxist explanations often tend to downplay the independent nature of the Dalit movement and its distinct political agenda. Marxist scholars underline the importance of class over caste, which can limit their complete comprehension of the Dalit identity.” (Md. Jakir Hossain & Mohsin Hassan Khan in “Poetics of Resistance and Caste Atrocities - A Critical Reading of Meena Kandasamy’s The Gypsy Goddess”)  (LITERARY SECTION)


“The poet, through his translated texts, brings home the fact that the history of writing is the history of trauma. His poems are a clarion call to change the way we look at poetry—not only a tool for delight but a genre of wounded human history that remains our last resort for survival.” (Dibyabibha Roy in “Wounded Memories - A Reading of Angshuman Kar’s Poems”) (LITERARY SECTION)


Subjective or Objective? Sometimes life presents one with a platter of both or rather only one that appears like two. Invisible-Visible by Archana Deka is an insightful tale of a woman’s painful and mundane journey. (FICTION)


Revision by Balu George is a nostalgic or melancholic revisit to yesteryears or a sort of a primer to those in early adulthood about the challenges in life. Interestingly the realities of life are presented with the soft pitter-patter of rain in the background. (FICTION)


Sherin Mary Zacharia’s heartfelt poems document personal struggles, portraying her inner strife with poignant clarity. Her voice emerges as a strong inspiration, especially for the younger generation. (POETRY)


Kumarika Roy’s contemplative verses celebrate life while offering philosophical reflections on our world and its challenges, capturing the essence of survival with unwavering tenacity. (POETRY)


This New Year Issue of Muse India is sponsored by G Shrika Rao, a budding poet.


Past Issues

Issue:112:Conversations – Contemporary Indian Women Poets

Issue:111:Kerala Writing in English

Issue:110:Indian Graphic Novels

Issue:109:Literature of the Northeast

Issue:108:Muse India Haikai Special 2023

Issue:107:Feature: Poetry Fervour

Issue:106:FEATURE: Regional Folktales of India

Issue:105:Relationships Unbound: Works of Jayanta Mahapatra