2010

Andha Yug
The Age of Darkness

Series Editor Frank Stewart
Translated by Alok Bhalla

Wild Hearts
Literature, Ecology, and Inclusion

Series Editor Frank Stewart
Guest editor Anjoli Roy

The summer issue features the verse play Andha Yug, written in Hindi by renowned novelist, poet, and playwright Dharamvir Bharati and translated into English by Alok Bhalla. The translation was originally published in hardcover by Oxford University Press, New Delhi, in 2005, and has been difficult to obtain in North America.

One of the most significant dramatic works of post-Independence India, the play takes place on the last day of the Great Mahabharata War. The once-beautiful city of Hastinapur is burning, the battlefield beyond the walls is piled with corpses, and the few survivors huddle together in grief and rage, blaming the destruction on their adversaries, divine capriciousness—anyone or anything except their own moral choices. Andha Yug explores our capacity for moral action, reconciliation, and goodness in times of atrocity and reveals what happens when individuals succumb to the cruelty and cynicism of a blind, dispirited age.

Hindi writer Dharamvir Bharati (1926–1997) was one of India’s best loved and most honored writers of the twentieth century. His novels Gunahon Ka Devata (The God of Sins) and Suraj Ka Satvan Ghoda (The Seventh Horse of the Son) are classics of Hindi literature. A prolific writer of poems, essays, and plays, he was awarded the Maharashtra Gaurav, the Vyas Samman for Literature, and the Padma Shri for Literature and Education, India’s fourth-highest civilian honor.

Alok Bhalla has been Visiting Professor at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi; the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages University, Hyderabad; and Hebrew University, Jerusalem. An eminent scholar and member of the executive council of the Sahitya Akademi (Indian Institute of Advanced Study), he has authored, edited, or translated more than twenty books, including works by prominent Pakistani and Indian authors.

Recently, Bhalla was interviewed by Jay Fidell, of ThinkTech Hawaii, for the series Asia in Review. Bhalla spoke on the topic of understanding politics through literature.

This edition includes color images of folios from the 1598 Mughal manuscript Razmnama (Book of War), a Persian translation of the Mahabharata, one of the two major Sanskrit epics of ancient India. Housed in the Free Library of Philadelphia, the 1598 Razmnama manuscript was commissioned by Emperor Akbar, considered the greatest of the Mughal rulers.

The images in Andha Yug are reprinted by permission of the Free Library and are accompanied by an essay by Yael Rice, a Philadelphia Museum of Art curator.

The winter edition features writing from Japan, China, South Asia, Australia, and North America, including pieces translated especially for MĀNOA.

Among the contributions are fiction by Barry Lopez, Leo Litwak, and Andrew Lam; a performance piece by South Asian playwright Manjula Padmanabhan; journal entries by Donald Richie, the preeminent American expert on Japanese cinema (and longtime expatriate); poetry by Yang Zi, of the PRC, and Arthur Sze, of New Mexico; translations of bhakti poetry by Andrew Schelling; an interview with Aaron Woolfolk, director and writer of The Harimaya Bridge, by Honolulu artist Calvin Collins; and four natural history essays by Robert Bringhurst, Thom van Dooren, Deborah Bird Rose, and Anna Tsing.
An essay about the late avant-garde poet Ryuichi Tamura (1923–1998) written by poet Kazuko Shiraishi—and translated for Wild Hearts by poet Yumiko Tsumura—immerses readers in the life and thought of Tamura. Originally published in a collection called Landscape of Poetry: Portraits of the Poets, Shiraishi’s essay helps us understand the mind and soul of Tamura from the perspective of an equally accomplished fellow writer.

Manjula Padmanabhan’s performance piece, Hidden Fires and Other Monologues, attempts to render the senselessness and absurdity of human violence and destruction, but ends on a hopeful note—an invocation:

In the names of ourselves, in the powers invested in us as citizens of a free nation, I make this invocation. In the names of those who have already died, I make this invocation.…
Let us be done with violence. Let those who have indulged in violence be named and punished. Let those who have died in violence be named and remembered.

Wild Hearts also features Japanese woodblock prints by artists of the Edo period (1615–1865) and Meiji era (1868–1912), courtesy of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The prints depict elaborate tattoos seen on mythical and historical heroes, kabuki theatre actors, samurai, a bandit, and a courtesan and her lover. The works included are by master artists Kitagawa Utamaro, Toyota Hokkei, Tsukioka Yoshitoshi, Utagawa Kunisada, and Utagawa Kuniyoshi. Additional artwork is by Nick Edards, Lip Kee, Minakata Kumagusu, and Jacob Lange.


Photograph of bat with baby by Nick Edards.
A black-and-white version of this appeared
with "Flying Fox: Kin, Keystone, Kontaminant,"
Deborah Bird Rose's essay on bats.

168 pp. summer 2010 (22:1), $20
ISBN 978-0-8248-3517-0

216 pp. winter 2010 (22:2), $20
ISBN 978-0-8248-3558-3