Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Mad Hatterr....A Tribute to Mr.G.V Desani

Please refer to this link for an introduction about Mr.G.V.Desani. In fact that is the only comprehensive link that talks about his life.Let me know if you find something better.

First of all his work is very underrated and people who read Salman Rushdie must understand that Mr.Rushdie accepts Mr.Desani's work as a signifcant influence . I have reviewed his first book called ‘All About H. Hatterr’ at Amazon and I cannot emphasize the insight and perspicacity of this man along with its comic value.It takes an erudite man with a lot of experience and adroitness with language to come up with such a literary masterpiece. To say the least it was one of the most intelligent piece of fiction I have ever read. Even T.S. Eliot had a high praise for this gentleman hailing from the sub-continent.T. S. Eliot wrote (1933) that the great philosophers of India "make most of the great European philosophers look like schoolboys"
I mention this because Mr.Desani will make Franz Kafka like a schoolboy.

If you are an Indian who like James Joyce then you are in for a big treat reading this master. You might be wondering if he was so good and such highly acclaimed Indo-Anglian Author how come you never heard of him.Partly the answer could be seen in the words of Amitav Ghosh

"G V Desani essentially silenced himself. After he wrote ‘All About H. Hatterr’ he never wrote again. That was not anybody else’s doing. He had a very popular response. Having said that we haven’t seen the last of G V Desani as yet. His journals are now going to be published and when that happens I think it’s going to be a very important event."

G.V. Desani broke his silence forty years after the appearance of his classic novel, All About H. Hatterr, with this volume of twenty-three stories and one long prose poem, only the second full-length book of his fiction ever to be published titled "Hali and Collected Stories". I havent read this one completely as I presented this one of my best friend's father who is another avid reader.

"Hali" was essentially a prose poem with no comical deftness which was so present in his earlier classic.Its deeply knitted with religion,philosophy,fatalism, destiny and other spritual domains to produce a faboulous tapestry of thoughts.

His titles alone convey his non-linear nature of Indian cultures.Consider the following titles

"Mainly concerning Kama and her Immortal Lord"
"Suta Abandoned,"
"Mephisto's Daughter,"
"The Second Mrs. Was Wed in a Nightmare,"
"Gypsy Jim Brazil to Kumari Kinshino,"
"Country Life, Country Folk, Cobras, Thok,"
"...Since Nation Must Export, Smithers,"
"The Lama Arupa."

Homage to him...RIPGVD
(BTW currently as per the lunar calendar we are following the so called "pitru pakshas" meaning you are supposed to pay tributes and rites to your ancient ancestors..The coming New Moon day called "Mahalaya Amavasya" is supposed to be the end of this fortnight ceremony to our predecessors)


G Shrivastava said...

Hi - we had "All about H.Hatterr" as a part of our Ma-I syllabus for our Indian English Literature paper. This was clubber with A.Sealy's "Trotter Nama" which VERY few of us got around to finishing due to the sheer volume of the book...
AAHH is definitely a mind-blowing work. I didn't know he had published anything else - shall try and pick up his collec of stories!

G Shrivastava said...

Btw it's rather sad that there is hardly any work done on him - I remember having a tough time finding critical material on his work. Just came across this Tribute written by Amitav Ghosh.

patricia said...

i worked extensively on Rushdie's work, and as part of my research on Indian literature, had the chance to stumble on All About H Hatterr: undoubtedly the epic and comic forces of this masterpiece influenced deeply Rushdie's Midnight's Children, and Desani's novel can be regarded as a major landmark in Indian literature.

Paddy said...

[Gee] Of all my bloggie friends you seem to be the only one to have read and relished this.

[Patricia] Could you point me to some of your work.I ask this because I am a great fan of Rushdie myself. I agree that Desani's work is a major milestone if one were to chart the hostory of Indian writing in English.
Thanks for dropping by!