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That Thou Art: Tattvamasi

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That Thou Art: Tattvamasi
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Item Code: NAE263
Author: Dhruv Bhatt & Anjani Naravane
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi, Delhi
Edition: 2008
ISBN: 9788126024346
Pages: 240
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5 inch x 5.5 inch
weight of the book: 330 gms
About the Book

Among all the rivers Narmada is the most dear to me. Apart from my imagination I have included what I heard from the parikramawasis the people who circumambulate the river), from the villagers who live or have lived on the banks of Narmada, from the people who live in the temples and ashrams, and also stories that I heard during my travels on the banks of Narmada. The story of Saath Saalis is based on the beliefs of a tribal community called Dogon, from West Africa.

I love this country immensely; love its extremely beautiful nature and also its people. I have not been able to travel and see as much of this country as I wanted to. But even in whatever travels I could undertake, I have learnt different meanings of life from each and every person. I have nor seen other countries. However, I deeply believe that if I had seen them, I would have got the same kind of experience.

Two questions have been puzzling me from my childhood. Why do I feet that those people who have never been to school or never been a teacher are the people who have given the lion’s of creativity to the writings which are considered to be the basic pillars of Indian spiritual knowledge and that it is they who have also given a lion’s share in keeping it alive?

In spite of different languages different customs, different religions and so many other differences, there is something common in the varied population of this country, which is there in every person. ‘What is it? I will find an answer to this somewhere, sometime—perhaps this curiosity of mine was instrumental in my’ writing this book.

I do not want to write anything more about this book, nor do I want to get anything written by anybody else.

A young Indian university student in America is sent to India by his professor to live with the tribals in the forests on the banks of Narmada, and send reports to the professor as a part of a project. The young man has spent most of his growing-up years abroad and is most reluctant to do this work.

But as he settles down, he starts liking the simple, hard-working tribals. Many questions, doubts, arise in his mind, and he realises many things. He starts thinking about the difference between religion, rituals and spirituality. In his quest for knowledge and truth, he meets many interesting people through the young, beautiful, educated Supriya, who runs a Tribal Welfare Centre in the forests.

What happens in the end? Does he go back to his American girlfriend? Or does he stay back? Does he find self-realisation?

About the Author

Dhruv Bhatt wrote his first novel Samudrantike in 1990. It is based on his experience while traveling on foot with a group of young students, teaching them about Nature, Science and also the values and culture of the underprivileged on the Saurashtra coasts. Samudrantike was followed by three more novels—Tattvamasi, Atarapi and Karnalok. Dhruv Bhatt is also a well-known poet in Gujarati and writes lucid, sensitive poems, often mystical in nature.

Anjani Naravane the translator, is a well-known writer in Marathi. Her original works in Marathi include Kuryat Sada Gendhalam (collection of essays), Vadawai (novel), and Ruchipalet (cookery book) among others. She has also translated from English and Gujarati into Marathi and vice versa. She is a recipient of the Ranjit Desai Puraskar and S.V. Modak Award.

Introduction

I have great pleasure and satisfaction in presenting an English translation of Tattvamasi, the Sahitya Akademi Award-winning Gujarati novel by Shri Dhruv Bhatt. I am sure that all those who could not read it in Gujarati will enjoy reading it. It will be definitely appreciated by all those who love India and its great ancient culture.

Shri Dhruv Bhatt has written four novels so far. The themes of each of his novels is very different from the usual novels. In all his novels, there are subtle undercurrents suggesting unexpressed tender feelings between the hero and the heroine, but there are no love-stories as such. And yet, all his novels hold the reader’s interest throughout, with gripping stories which are beautifully worded and thought provoking.

Shri Dhruv Bhatt always emphasises the basic decency and values of life, which are found in Indians all over the country at the grassroot level. He attributes these commendable properties not to any religion, but to the deep-rooted ancient spirituality among the people. He believes that despite differences in religions, sects, sub-sects, economic levels, languages, food habits, mode of dress etc., it is these values which hold the country together and he emphasises the need to maintain them, even as we march towards progress.

Shri Dhruv Bhatt also writes beautiful mystical poetry. He, along with his wife and some like-minded people, is engaged in imparting education with a modern scientific outlook to children in the tribal areas and to children in remote villages.

I have translated his first novel Samudrantike and also Tattvamasi into Marathi. Samudrantike was translated into English by Shri Vinod Meghani. I hope readers like this English translation as much as the earlier ones.

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