Shishir Ritu – Winter, Issue No. 95 (Jan-Feb 2021)

Culture and Identity production in literary paradigms

In our Literary Section edited by H Kalpana, we briefly take a look at the role of culture and identity production in different paradigms. While Gitanjali Chawlaanalyses construction of dominant discourses in ritual and interrogates the organic nature of little narratives, Sanjna Plawat traces the changes in adaptations of folktales into film versions. Annalakshmi’s reading of Zadie Smith’s On Beauty, focusses on the production of liminal spaces in the globalised context, while Anamika Chakraborty and Subrata Ray use myth to highlight the poetry of Syam Sudhakar.

The feature on “Bhakti Literature in Telugu” has been deferred to Issue 98 (Jul-Aug 2021) owing to unforeseen circumstances.

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Rites of passage are an integral part of every individual’s life as they help negotiate the frequent transitions one goes through both biologically and sociologically. (Gitanjali Chawla - The Mourning Songs of Punjab) (Literary section)

“I am of the opinion that every poet should hammer out his or her own style of writing. I, for one, believe that Free Verse in particular, should incorporate these qualities – brevity (economy of words), intensity of poetic thought, a bit of hiddenness and newness in expression.” So observes Nagaraju Ramaswamy while talking about Classical Telugu Poetry in a conversation with Usha Akella. (Literary Section)

Sridhar Venkatasubramanian’s An Essential Change is a satire on modern society that is an opinionated one and a man’s character is determined based on his social status. The story proceeds to change that perception, leaving the characters in the story with a sense of remorse and a change in the way they divide people based on their economic status. (Fiction)

Dr. Nithya Mariam John’s Appa Wanted is a fresh perspective on how relationships can be viewed through a new set of lens. The traditionally acceptable roles and the way to attain them has been smashed in this story and is turned into a beautiful conversation between two people who are willing to be a part of this set of roles. (Fiction)

Malavika Binny’s poems are powerful expressions that question the stereotypical beliefs around a woman’s body and use those very narratives to subvert the gaze. She speaks plainly, brings up those very examples from history, and questions them. Her poems are rich in history and one need to refer to those examples that she brings up to understand the power dynamics that she attempts to uproot. (Poetry)

Adithya Patil’s poems speak of a loneliness that spills into every room and every moment that he describes. The stanzas turn into witnesses that corroborate the ideas that he fills the space he walks in. His poems turn their attention inwards and ask a reader to visit those dark spaces that we all hold within ourselves. (Poetry)

The Zoo in My Backyard by Usha Rajagopalan, a lake conservationist and award winning writer, is an array of real experiences of a family who constantly live with an assortment of forest animals in their own home instead of in a zoo. It makes an interesting reading and rejuvenates our love for animals and eco-harmony. This is among 12 books of variety reviewed in this issue. (BOOK REVIEWS)

Among the works of fiction reviewed in this issue, stand out RETREAT – a collection of intriguing stories by Ashok Patwari who presents us a collage of settings across the globe with gripping themes. And A Year of Wednesdays – a novel by Sonia Bahl, depicting the interaction of a woman and a man unknown to each other – co-passengers  in a flight – with diametrically opposite worldviews. The other books reviewed in this issue are 2 Poetry, 2 Fiction, and 6 Non-Fiction works. (BOOK REVIEWS)

Attention art lovers! THE GITA: Mewari Miniature Painting (1680-1698) by Allah Baksh is reviewed besides another art book The Afterlife of Silence: Still Lifes of Jogen Chowdhury by Anuradha Ghosh. The other books reviewed in the issue are 2 Poetry, 4 Fiction, and 4 Non-Fiction (including 2 travel memoirs). (BOOK REVIEWS)


This Issue of Muse India is sponsored by Livia Stein.

Past Issues

Issue:94:Love in the Pandemic

Issue:93:Urdu Ramayan

Issue:92:Tradition and Modernity in Odia Literature


Issue:90:Flux and Fusions in English Studies

Issue:89:Children’s Literature

Issue:88:Maithili Literature Tomorrow

Issue:87:Writing on Art