Bhisham Sahni (1915-2003) was an iconic writer who transformed the landscape of Hindi literature. His oeuvre encompassed novels, plays, short stories and essays. Tamas, his best known novel, won the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1975 and was subsequently adapted into a National Award-winning film by Govind Nihalani. He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1998, and the Shlaka Award, the Delhi government's highest literary prize, in 1999.
ANNA KHANNA completed her master's from Glasgow University in French and German literature and language with additional subjects in the fine arts. On coming to India, she taught both French and English literature and language at the British School in Delhi, where she became deputy headmistress. She also taught at the American School, Alliance Francaise and at Lucknow University. Her book reviews and articles on design and culture have been published in leading newspapers. Prior to her English translation of the novel Jharokhe (published in Penguin Classics as Boyhood), done in consultation with the author, she had translated and published a number of short stories by Bhisham Sahni.
In a bustling town in Punjab before the Partition, a sickly but restless child longs to play with the neighbourhood youngsters. He is constantly thwarted by his mother's anxious need to coddle him at home. When not being punished for using foul language, he is fighting with his siblings or being teased by the servant. As time passes and his curiosity of the wider world deepens, he discovers that his father is not invincible, that his long-held derision of girls vanishes with the first bloom of sexual longing and that the playground battles of old are no match for life's cruelties.
Boyhood is a haunting portrait of the inescapable agonies and unfathomable desires of childhood by one of Hindi literature's most towering luminaries.
|Bhisham SahniAnna Khanna