Pandey Kapil (1930-2017) was a doyen of Bhojpuri literature, best remembered as the long-serving visionary editor of Bhojpuri Sammelan Patrika and the founder of Akhil Bharatiya Bhojouri Sahitya Sammelan (est.1973). To promote young authors, he established his own publication house, Bhojpuri Sansthan (est.1970), which brought out some of the best writings in Bhojpuri. Phoolsunghi is his finest work, and perhaps, of Bhojpuri literature too.
Gautam Choubey (Translator)
Gautam Choubey is an academic, translator and columnist. He teaches at A.R.S.D College (University of Delhi) and writes on Gandhi, popular culture and Indian literature. He has previously translated the writings of Andre Beitelle into Hindi. Presently, he is working on a history of Bhojpuri literature and a monograph tentatively titled 'Using Mahatma.'
'Babu Sahib! You must have heard of a phoolsunghi--the flower-pecker--yes? It can never be held captive in a cage. It sucks nectar from a flower and then flies on to the next.'
When Dhelabai, the most popular tawaif of Muzaffarpur, slights Babu Haliwant Sahay, a powerful zamindar from Chappra, he resolves to build a cage that would trap her forever. Thus, the elusive phoolsunghi is trapped within the four walls of the Red Mansion.
Forgetting the past, Dhelabai begins a new life of luxury, comfort, and respect. One day, she hears the soulful voice of Mahendra Misir and loses her heart to him. Mahendra too, feels for her deeply, but the lovers must bear the brunt of circumstances and their own actions which repeatedly pull them apart.
The first ever translation of a Bhojpuri novel into English, Phoolsunghi transports readers to a forgotten world filled with mujras and mehfils, court cases and counterfeit currency, and the crashing waves of the River Saryu.