Arjun is not a potter by birth. He is a low caste cobbler but he is determined to succeed in his
chosen profession where he fashions exquisite clay idols of gods and goddesses for the many colorful
pujas in Bengal. Through the daily grind that defines Arjun’s struggle to leave behind his past, the
author explores issues of caste and class that continue to plague society in contemporary India.
The story unfolds against the backdrop of the violence of the Naxal movement of the
1960s and ‘70s that wiped out an entire generation of Bengal’s youth. Anita agnihotri sensitively
handles a difficult subject and interweaves these two struggles: the one of the idol maker and the
other of the families of the young Naxalite revolutionaries whom the state has destroyed.
‘With a poet’s sensitivity she stays open to the high-ups and low-downs, has an eye and
ear for other’s conflicts and vulnerabilities; she is a passionate write given to neither pretension nor to
Anita Agnihotri writes in Bengali. A member of the India Administrative Service, she has
written over 25 books: poetry, novels, short stories, critical essays and children’ books. Her works
have been translated into all major Indian languages and into German and Swedish.
Nandini Guha teaches English at the College of Vocational Studies, Delhi. She won the
Katha Award for her translation of Bani Basu’s Khharap Chhele.
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