Kavana Sarma Kaburlu – Sarada Anuvakkulu

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A report on the discussion the Charcha group had on 15-8-2015

The book on Harilal Gandhi published by Emesco (porugu nuMci telugulOki series, 2015) as a two-stage translation of the original biography written by Chandulal Bhagubhai in Gujarathi, translated into English by Suhrid Kashyap and then into Telugu by Chinaveera Bhadrudu, was taken for discussion on August 15th, 2015, by the Charcha group of Bengaluru.

Lives of Gandhi and his family members have influenced and interested many in India and abroad. The book chosen is said to be a biography.

Any writer of history or biography will have a viewpoint that makes the book interesting to read. For such a book, the facts are the constraints. They are not to be distorted. Presenting mere facts makes it a document. Documents are not meant to be literary works. For that reason, a document is uninteresting for a literary reader. A document is valuable to a researcher but not for a general reader. A researcher proposes a model, based on the available data or documents. That makes a research paper interesting to read.

The members of the discussion felt that this particular book is written more in the documentary style. The English and Telugu translations appear to strictly adhere to the Gujatathi original. The way the author collected and presented his facts shows that the document has been prepared to the defence of Mahathma Gandhi, the father of the protagonist of this biography. He does not explain the rationale for many observed facts. So, this book is uninteresting as a literary piece in the category of biographies Furthermore, even if it is meant to be a mere presentation of the facts,it could have been more easily comprehensible if the presentation had been in a chronological order. There are repetitions and back and forth traversals of events, which could have been easily avoided. A family tree, a few photographs, chronological listing of events in Harilal Gandhi’s life would have added immensely to the readability of the book.

A note about the people who participated in the discussion is pertinent here. These individuals are well aware of the importance of data and are familiar with what makes a research paper and how it is different from mere presentation of data. They are also quite familiar with world literature and hence had engaging biographies that they had read in expressing opinions about this book This book does provide useful facts that can be used to make well informed inferences regarding the personalities of both Harilal Gandhi and Mahatma Gandhi.However . a good biography presents facts as they are and yet in an engaging manner !

Written by kavanasarma

August 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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