By Amiya Bhushan Majumdar
Rajnagar, a complex historical novel, is set in the former French Colonised Farasdanga area or Chandannagar in the years preceding and following the Sepoy Mutiny, 1857. The novel at its heart is an interwoven set of three different and exquisite love stories. It is a sophisticated account of the subterranean power politics of transition during colonial rule. The novel’s account of the cerebral aspects of that period’s contending cross-currents or religious beliefs is both vivid and perceptive. Majumdar experiments with unique methods of narration, at times juxtaposing the briefest of moments with minutely detailed expositions. It received the Sahitya Akademi Award in 1986 and has been translated into Telugu and English (by Kalpana Bardhan).
About the Author
Amiya Bhushan Majumdar (1918 –2001), known as the ‘Writer’s Writer’, was an Indian novelist, short-story writer, essayist and playwright. ‘The God on Mount Sinai’, a one-act play, serialized in two instalments in the magazine Mandira in 1944 was his first published writing. Promilar Biye, and Nandarani, two short stories published in the Purbasha in 1946 and in Chaturanga in 1947 respectively, immediately caught the attention of a special strata of readers and critics for the very individual prose style. During 1953-54 Garh Shrikhanda (in Purbasha) and Nayantara (in Chaturanga), two major novels started serialization almost simultaneously. In fifty years thereafter, Amiya Bhushan published 27 novels, 115 short stories, about 50 essays and 6 one-act plays. Considered one of the most noteworthy authors of modern Bengali prose, Majumdar’s works received significant critical acclaim and recognition—including the Sahitya Akademi Award for his novel Rajnagar in 1986. Poet Joy Goswami wrote on him, ‘As a (classical) singer moves from note to note, Amiya Bhushan moved from sentence to sentence. It takes time for the reader to overcome the spell it creates and to adjust himself with the movement. It becomes a lesson to new writers’ and ‘Amiya Bhushan was an inventor of new lands and has taught how to appreciate achievements with a highly sophisticated self-restraint.’