by Bankim Chandra Chattopadhyay, Tr. by Alo Shome
Krishna Charitra is a famous Bengali classic where Bankim Chandra endeavours to discover Sri Krishna, the real person, behind centuries of myths and legends. Written in 1886, this was the first instance where the character of Krishna is studies from a pragmatic and questioning perspective. Like his novel Ananda Math, Krishna Charitra originates from Bankim Chandraís passionate feeling of patriotism. He wanted to uphold Sri Krishna as not just a mythological figure, but an ideal Indian character, whom other Indians could look up to. Sri Aurobindo says, ìBankim Chandra poured over the Bhagavad Gita and the Vedas striving to catch the deeper and sacred sense of those profound writings. To give that to his countrymen was the strenuous aim of Krishna Charitra.
In this translation of Krishna Charitra, several passages of Bankimís academic discussions have been omitted, so as to make it easier for the common reader. Also deleted are the criticisms on the European people that Bankim Chandra includes in his book from time to time. Otherwise, the text strictly follows the structure and the content of the original dissertation.
Born in 1945, Alo Shome graduated from Gauhati University as a merit scholar. Besides her graduation in English Literature, she has a diploma in journalism from The British Institute and a diploma in creating writing from Indira Gandhi National Open University. Her writing have appeared in various magazines, newspapers and websites including Femina, Eveís Weekly, Indian Express, Amrita Bazar Patrika, Maharashtra Herald and Deccan Herald. Her long work on wildlife conservation was serialized in Sanctuary Cub magazine from January 1992 to March 1993. She has also published two volumes of poems and has won an Editorsí Choice Award from The International Library of Poetry.
For the Past five years, Alo is engaged in the study of Indian mythology, especially focusing on the myths and charaters of the Mahabharata. Besides Krishna Charitra, she has translated Bankim Chandraís work on ìVaishnava Symbolismî. Babaji Gaurdasaís Alms Bag and his essay on ìsri Krishna in Literatureî. Currently, she is collecting material for her article ìwas Kunti really the mother of Karna?
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