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This project, which began with the desire to render into English a rather long tale by Bimal Kar about five years ago, eventually grew into a considerably more extended compilation of Bengali short stories by 10 of the most well-known practitioners of that art since the heyday of Rabindranath Tagore. The collection is limited in many ways, not the least of which being that no woman writer has been included, and that it contains only a baker's dozen stories (if we count Bonophool's micro-stories collectively as one ) — a number pitifully small considering the vast and prolific field of authors and stories a translator has at his or her disposal.

I have attempted to explain my rationale for my intent and selections in the introductory essay. Since beginning this project, I have sustained a number of personal losses, and what makes the completion of it particularly poignant for me is that the individuals who have left my world were almost unanimously supportive of my feeble efforts at upholding Bengal's contributions to the literary and cultural heritage of the world. My work continues, and my only solace is that I had come to know these kind people with extraordinary wisdom and humility, and that they had extended to me a generosity and affection that exceeded by far my capacity to reciprocate or demonstrate my worthiness. For their support and encouragement, I must sincerely thank my friend and colleague Nikolaos Bourbakis, and another friend and mentor, Arindam Purkayastha — two individuals with unlimited optimism and uncommon goodness of heart. A special note of thanks is also due to a dear friend, Sandeep Mitra, whose enthusiastic and well-reasoned commitment to preserving and enhancing the history and culture of India is only matched by his genuine interest in all aspects of human civilization. Finally, let me close this prologue by expressing the hope that my young son and daughter, growing up in a place separated by continents from the land of their parents' birth, may develop an active interest in the history, aspirations and achievements of India and Bengal, and attempt to bring those far-flung outposts of high civilization closer to the rest of the world — a world increasingly interconnected by commerce and communcation, yet still so far apart, at times, in spirit and goodwill.



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The introduction to this translation is provided with the permission of the translator. Permission documentation is on file.


Rupa Publications

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New Delhi, India