When the first three volumes of the Stories about the Partition of India were published close to a quarter century ago, they were widely acknowledged as the most comprehensive collection of texts in English translation from the three countries of the subcontinent. Ever since the anthology has remained an invaluable resource for historical and literary studies trying to understand the politics of religious identities, colonial predatoriness, linguistic chauvinism, or the partitions of large states to resolve ethnic conflicts anywhere. The new edition of the collection enlarges the range of the anthology by adding a fourth volume which includes a large number of stories from Bengali and Sindhi that speak eloquently about the continuing sorrows of separatist and fundamentalist world-views which destroy old neighbourhoods, encourage despair and add to human misery. The additional volume should enable scholars to add fresh insights into the history of the partition as it affected two regions which have yet not become the subject of serious literary and archival research. The anthology is further enriched by including stories by many of the finest writers in Urdu, Punjabi or Hindi which have become available recently in English translations. This volume has also made a special effort to include more stories by major women writers from different languages like Qurratulain Hyder, Khadija Mastur, Popati Hiranandani, Dalip Kaur Tiwana, Nisha Da Cunha, Rajee Seth, Farkhanda Lodhi and Syeda Farida Rahman.
In a review of the first edition of this collection, the New York Times said that Alok Bhalla's anthology had done a 'fine ... job of evoking the terror, the bewilderment and the remorse that still shadow so many lives on the subcontinent.'
Alok Bhalla obtained his Master's from Delhi University and Ph.D from Kent State University, USA. He was a Lady Davis Visiting Professor, Hebrew University, Jerusalem, Fellow at the Rockefeller Centre, Bellagio, Italy and Fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla. Among his various publications are Partition Dialogues: Memories of a Lost Home and The Place of Translation in a Literary Habitat, Life and Times of Saadat Hasan Manto (edited). He is the author of The Cartographers of Hell: Essays on the Gothic Novel and the Social History of England and The Politics of Atrocity and Lust: The Vampire Tale and a Nightmare History of England in the 19th Century. He has translated Dharamvir Bharati's Andha Yug into English verse, as well as Nirmal Verma's Raat Ka Reporter (Dark Dispatches) and Intizar Husain's Chronicle of the Peacocks, Ram Kumar's The Sea and Other Stories and the poems of Udayan Vajpai, Kedarnath Singh, Kunwar Narain, among others.
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