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The Ganga--along with the Nile, the Tigris and Euphrates, the Yangtze and the Danube--is one of the great rivers of our planet. Perceiving the Ganga from three levels--material, spiritual, and divine--this anthology reflects on the dialogue and tension between the modern and the traditional, the historic and the mythical, the epic and the everyday, the factual and the fictitious.
From Robert P. Goldman's translations from the Ramayana, J.A.B. van Buitenen's translations from the Mahabharata, and translations by Shakuntala Varma and A.K. Ramanujan to Jawaharlal Nehru's 'Will and Testament', the classic Padma River Boatman by Manik Bandopadhyaya, and the screenplay of Ram TeriGanga Maili to writings of Raja Rao, Vikram Seth, and Amitav Ghosh--the book brings together various perspectives on the river, demonstrating the wide-ranging views, interests, experiences, practices, and emotions generated from the encounter between people, both individuals and groups, and the Ganga.
Divided into five parts--The Epic and Numinous, Historical Perspectives, Contemporary Travel Writing, Fiction, and Recent Scholarship--the anthology offers an insight into the broader organization, quality, character, and diversity of Indian culture and society.
Assa Doron is Fellow, Anthropology, School of Culture, History, and Language, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
Richard Barz is Senior Lecturer, School of Culture, History, and Language, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Canberra, Australia.
Barbara Nelson is Research Assistant, ANU College of Asia and the Pacific, Canberra, Australia.
Table of Contents
Introduction THE EPIC AND NUMINOUS: The Descent of the Ganga-Robert P. Goldman (tr), from The R?m?ya?a of V?lm?ki J.A.B. van Buitenen (tr), from The Mah?bh?rata Anne Feldhaus, 'The Descent of the Ga?g?' Poems and a Will-Shakuntala Varma, 'Prayer to Mother Goddess' - 1 Shakuntala Varma, 'Prayer to Mother Goddess' - 4 Shakuntala Varma, 'Sohar' - 10 Shakuntala Varma, 'Sohar' - 11 Chandrashekhar Kambar, 'A Pond Named Ganga' Jawaharlal Nehru, 'Will and Testament' HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVES: Jean Baptiste Tavernier, from Travels in India Ahmad Behbahani, from Mir'at ul-Ahwal-i Jahan Numa James B. Fraser, from Account of a Journey to the Sources of the Jumna and Bhagirathi Rivers Honoria Lawrence, 'Letter to a Friend' E.B. Havell, 'On the Ganges' CONTEMPORARY TRAVEL WRITING: Eric Newby, 'The Way to Mirzapur' Raghubir Singh, from The Ganges Vijay Singh, 'Gangotri' Ilija Trojanow, 'The Sage's Wet Hair' Brij V. Lal, 'Sunrise on the Ganga' FICTION: Manik Bandopadhyaya, from Padma River Boatman Raj Kapoor, V.P. Sathe, and Jyoti Swaroop, Screenplay of R?m Ter? Gang? Mail? Raja Rao, from On the Ganga Ghat Adwaita Mallabarman, 'The Rainbow' Vikram Seth, from A Suitable Boy Amitav Ghosh, 'Beginning Again' Shiv Prasad Mishra (Rudra Kashikey), 'The Drowsiness of Chait Dulls the Spirit' RECENT SCHOLARSHIP: Henry T. Bernstein, 'The Bengal Steam Department's Hindus and Muslims' Steven G. Darian, 'The Ganges in Bengal' Diana L. Eck, 'Ga?g?: The Goddess Ganges in Hindu Sacred Geography' Ann Grodzins Gold, 'Why Sink Flowers? Bringing It All Back Home' Kelly D. Alley, 'Separate Domains: Hinduism, Politics, and Environmental Pollution' Richard Barz, 'Gangotri, Gomukh and the Sources of the Ganga' Assa Doron, 'Hello Boat! The River Economy of Banaras'