23 August 2009

Bani Basu

I wish I could read Bani Basu in the original. She is reputedly the first major Bengali Indian literary writer to use the actual language of people, rather than (as happens too often with writers in other languages) an artificial literary register: "One can take Moom (1998) which focuses on a Marwari family settled in Kolkata for generations. The language is Bangla laced with Hindi, the kind many Marwaris in Calcutta use. Such a hybrid language - if used at all in Bangla literature in the past - has only been done for comic effect, and always briefly. Bani Basu dares to write an entire novel in this mixed language quite seriously, without any trace of condescension or mockery." (Meenakshi Mukherjee, "Bani Basu's Novels")

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