HEMANTA RITU – Pre-winter, Issue No. 100 (Nov-Dec 2021)

Indian Literatures – The Abiding Values

Values are the life breath of any society, providing its sustenance and growth, defining its essential character and lifestyle, and offering an ennobling humanitarian vision of life. Values invariably change with social and technological developments, and those that endure over long periods provide continuity and underpinnings of social norms of a community. Continual review of values and their synthesis with the contemporary dynamics provide a fusion of the traditional with the modern. The feature, put together by GSP Rao, looks at how Indian literatures mirror the constant changes happening in values. Articles are by the erudite Contributing Editors of Muse India and other invited scholars.

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Amidst the overwhelming influence of the West on Indian English Writing, it becomes necessary to consider M K Gandhi's Hind Swaraj (1909) because it questions the very base of Western civilisation, delegitimises the civilizational and reformist agenda of British colonization, putting a question mark over institutions like Parliament, Medical Science, Law and industrialisation which are regarded as the hallmarks of Western civilisation.

Charanjeet Kaur (FEATURE)

Among factors which contribute to the grooming of values, literature stands out tall next only to religion. As song, story, lay, art, and idiom value meld into every walk of our lives. The essence of earlier generations percolates into pithy sayings, riveting narratives, and lively lays, plays and other literary forms prescribing the dos and proscribing the don’ts. (Telugu Literature)

NS Murty (pic) and Atreya Sarma (FEATURE)


The choices made for every epoch and age seem to be sacrosanct and inviolable to that age. In the whirligig of literary taste and sensibility that seems to confront us all the time in our creative life and academic culture, it is hard to determine what is transient and what is of perennial/abiding value. We have often divided such formulations into easy categories like the classics and popular literature/culture.

Sachidananda Mohanty (FEATURE)

Translation is not merely a linguistic exercise; inevitably, it poises on interpretation, with a critical and crucial convergence of text and context. In addition, translations from the Sanskrit have always been entrenched in cultural, political, and religious systems, where eschewing bias is a myth and disregarding ideological issues, an illusion. (Usha Kishore) (LITERARY SECTION

While the similarities between the qualities of Ammu and the Meenachal river are made apparent in The God of Small Things, a balance is ensured by also shedding light on their exploitation by patriarchal systems, which is in line with radical Ecofeminist ideologies. (Ambika Raja) (LITERARY SECTION)

Shashank Chandra’s short story A Car for Mr. Saxena is a wry account of how the pressures of the world can get to a man and the steps one takes to keep abreast with the affairs of the world. (FICTION)

Upasana Saraswati’s short story Mindfulness is a fine example of interior monologue and gives a powerful narration of how one tries to cope with the unending pressures that life throws at us. (FICTION)

Sudeep Sen’s beautiful tribute to Derek Walcott feels like a sea breeze that brings in with it a waft of nostalgia and sounds like a sweet yet a haunting music slowly unfolding the sadness and the loss one feels on losing a loved one. (POETRY)

Dr Shanta Acharya’s poems are philosophical by nature and her way of poignantly describing the ways of the world ties up with the natural world and produces a beautiful amalgamation of the two worlds.  (POETRY)

Read Naqui Ahmad John’s scholarly review of the 672-pagesGolden Anthology of Poetry 2020: A Sufi World Initiative – Poems by 23 Eminent Indian English Poets” – whom the Sufi World honoured for their “pioneering pursuits…towards communal harmony and cosmic humanism.” (BOOK REVIEWS)

Chetan, the reviewer, gives us a tempting peep into – Living Ghosts and Other Uncanny Stories: What Happens When a Spirit Falls in Love with You – a collection of haunted tales from the Northeast India by Chansa Makan.  (BOOK REVIEWS)

The 8 books reviewed in this issue include – 3 poetry collections (one of them translated from Urdu); – 2 women-centric works (one non-fiction, and the other a novel translated from Bengali); – and, a memoir by an American Indophile. (BOOK REVIEWS)


This Special Issue of Muse India is sponsored by GSP Rao, in loving memory of his parents, G N Ramachandra Rau and G N Brahannayaki.

Past Issues

Issue:99:Relations – The Void Within

Issue:98:Shakespeare in Indian Cinema Main Editorial

Issue:97:Indian English Writing – Memory, Ancestry, Legend

Issue:96:Kannada Literature – Experienced through Translation

Issue:95:Culture and Identity production in literary paradigms

Issue:94:Love in the Pandemic

Issue:93:Urdu Ramayan

Issue:92:Tradition and Modernity in Odia Literature