Intimate Tussles



Just published…

This book, Intimate Tussles, presents in translation a set of Manik Bandyopadhyay’s early stories, written in his twenties and early-thirties. In these, he examines the man-woman relationship, generally in the context of conjugality, mostly within extended families, with his unsentimental, clear-eyed observation of real life around him. The stories relate to various socioeconomic classes in rural, semi-urban, and urban Bengal of the time. Their accounts of intimate tussles focus on the interactive processes of ongoing change in relationships, not on finding a final resolution or conclusion.

Manik Bandyopadhyay, a major post-Rabindranath neo-realist writer of Bengali fiction, was born in 1908 and he died in 1956, after battling health and financial problems. His 28-year career produced thirty-nine novels and seventeen collections of stories. The singularity of his early work, 1930s to mid-1940s, the focus of this collection, lies in his acute insights into the socio-psychology of man-woman relationships in the concrete world at that juncture of Bengal’s history.

Kalpana Bardhan, the translator, was an undergraduate at Presidency College, Kolkata when Manik died. She remembers the stir among the students, his eager readers all, as the funeral procession passed the college he had attended. Subsequently, she earned a Cambridge Ph.D. and worked twenty years as an economist, before putting thirty years in translating selections from Bangla literature. Her published translations include 3 novels (Adwaita Mallabarman’s A River Called Titash; Amiyabhusan Majumdar’s Rajnagar; Anita Agnihotri’s Mahuldiha Days); 3 story collections (Of Women, Outcastes, Peasants, and Rebels; Wives & Others; Forest Interludes); a 2-volume anthology of Bengali Literature; and a book, Of Love, Nature, and Devotion, of her translations of song-lyrics from the three sections of Gitabitan.

Honourable Association