A Tale of Wonder : Kathakautukam

A Tale of Wonder : Kathakautukam

Photo by : Incredible India Info

A Tale of Wonder

A Tale of Wonder : Kathakautukam

 

India Harmony Foundation and Penguin launched a book entitled, A Tale of Wonder: Kathakautukam by Srivara, translated into English by diplomat /scholar and renowned author A.N.D Haksar and published by Penguin on Friday, March 29th, 2019 at Seminar Halls 1, 2, 3, Kamladevi Complex (Above Multipurpose Hall), India International Centre, 40, Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi. The book was released by Chief Guest Shri N N Vohra, former Governor of Jammu & Kashmir.

 

A scintillating example of cross-cultural harmony from medieval Kashmir. A Biblical and Koranic story in medieval Persian reaches Kashmir and is transformed there into a Sanskrit epic poem, with India’s mythic overtones—an attestation to this country’s rich syncretic and multicultural past.

 

In this talethe beautiful princess Zuleikha has nightly visions of Yusuf, a handsome young stranger. Captivated by his beauty, her waking hours are filled with heartaches, much to the anxiety of her near ones. But Zuleikha is resolved to be united with Yusuf. Her dreams also reveal the obstacles to be surmounted. What ensues is a captivating account of longing and love — a parable of the soul’s journey in its search for the divine. Magnificent in its simple elegance, A Tale of Wonder is beautifully translated by A.N.D. Haksar, with an introduction shedding light on the remarkable provenance of this timeless story. Translated from the Sanskrit by A.N.D. Haksar.

 

A biblical story travels across regions and time-ultimately reaching medieval India where it is transformed by Shaivite overtones. The result is an exquisite epic love poem of love which also attests to the rich diversity of India's cultural past. In an unnamed kingdom in the West, the beautiful princess Zuleikha has nightly visions of a handsome, young man. So captivated is she by this beautiful stranger that her waking hours are afflicted with heartache, much to the anxiety of her father. Zuleikha is resolved to be with Yusuf, and it is in her dreams that she learns of the obstacles that separate her from her beloved. What ensues is a captivating tale of longing and love-a parable of the journey of the soul in its search for the divine. Magnificent in its simple elegance, A Tale of Wonder is a timeless story that challenges the insidious notion that India has always been dominated by one faith only and insular to other cultural and religious influences.

Srivara was a significant Sanskrit scholar and poet, who was active in Kashmir in the fifteenth century. His best-known work is the third Rajatarangini, a sequel to the famous history of Kashmir which was commenced with the same name by Kalhana three hundred years earlier and continued by Jonaraja. His present work had, however, become obscure and its manuscript was found there only in the nineteenth century. It is inspired by a celebrated poem in Persian, and in it he has also mentioned his proficiency in that language.

Aditya Narayan Dhairyasheel Haksar is a well-known translator of Sanskrit classics. For many years a career diplomat, he served at the United Nations and as the Indian high commissioner and ambassador in various countries. His translations from the Sanskrit include those of several great works by ancient poets like Bhasa and Kalidasa, Bhartrihari and Dandin, Kshemendra and Kalyana Malla, all published as Penguin Classics. He has also compiled A Treasury of Sanskrit Poetry, which was recently translated into Arabic in the UAE.

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