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Published in four parts between and ,  It has been described as Sarat Chandra's ' masterpiece '. In a conversation, Sarat Chandra revealed that the book is partly autobiographical, and his own life experiences provided the basis for the experiences of the protagonist Srikanta; however, he added a caveat:.
But they do not follow a common course. Fragments of experience, at different times of my life, have been presented as complete experiences Although not a travelogue, the book is described as involving journeys—both physical and spiritual.
Spanned in four parts, Srikanta was written over a period of more than sixteen years. The first three parts, except the last three chapters of third part, were serialized in a monthly magazine Bharatbarsha , under the title Srikantar Bhraman Kahini lit. The Tale of Srikanta's Wanderings. While the fourth part was serialized in another monthly magazine Bichitra , with a slightly-changed name Srikanta Chaturtha Parba.
The first three parts of the novel were published as a book, with the modified title, in , and respectively. The fourth was published as a book in with the short title Srikanta , and was acclaimed as the great work of Sarat Chandra.
Set in sometime between late 19th-century to early 20th century,  the story occurs in different regions of British India — Bhagalpur , Patna , Rangoon , Sainthia Birbhum and Debanandapur Hooghly. While living in his uncle's house, Srikanta, a boy, one day, meets Indranath, a boy of his age, during a football match and from that time, they become close friends. Srikanta accompanies Indranath in his daring adventures.
Indranath loves and helps with money an outcast woman named Annadadidi, wife of a bohemian snake-charmer. Srikanta also comes to close to Annadadidi. Meanwhile Annadadidi's husbuand dies of snake-bite leaving her alone, one day she disappears from the scene Indranath also goes away one day and is never seen again. In course of time, Srikanta by chance meets a princely friend of his and goes out on a hunting expedition.
There in the prince's tent, he meets Piyari, a nautch dance girl, who is none other than his old and dear schoolmate. Her real name is Rajlakshmi. She has not forgotten her old love which grows more intense while meeting Srikanta. After leaving the hunting party, Srikanta, the vagabond that he is, joins a group of roving mendicants. During the travelling Srikanta falls ill, and with some difficulty he sends news of his illness to Piyari at Patna , who hurriedly comes with her stepson to him and takes him to Patna.
Srikanta spends some days there in the loving care of Piyari, and one day Srikanta takes leave of Piyari and goes to his native village. In the second part, Srikanta's voyage to Rangoon Burma and his stay there have been narrated in details. Srikanta gets acquainted with many strange people on board the ship bound for Rangoon , among whom are Abhaya, a young married woman, and her male companion named Rohini. Abhaya was going to Rangoon to live with her husband, but she is treated very inhumanly by her beastly husband and is refused entry into his house.
Abhaya and Rohini, who love each other, live together like husband and wife. Srikanta returns to his native village, but is taken ill there. Rajalakshmi comes to him and takes charge of his treatment and nursing. Srikanta and Rajalakshmi come to a village in the district of Birbhum. There Rajalakshmi is always busy with her religious practices and discourses.
Srikanta is left alone, the rift between them becomes wider. Srikanta thinks of going to Burma again, but by chance he meets his old friend Gahar in his village. Gahar takes him to a Vaishnava Ashram where he meets Kamallata who becomes very intimate with him. At the end, Kamallata leaves the Ashram bidding goodbye to Srikanta. The principle characters of the novel are: . There is Annada Didi, brought up in a conservative middle-class family, who elopes with a snake charmer.
As a child, Sarat would often visit her with his friend Indranath. Indranath is courageous and daredevil who always inspires Sarat. When Annada's husband died, this woman had sold her earrings to the local grocer with instruction that the money obtained be given to Sarat, and soon after that she had left her village permanently. Another character in the book is Abhaya, who begins a live in relationship with a man in defiance of the existing social norms, after being deserted by her husband.
This character is based on a woman Sarat Chandra had known in Rangoon , who lived in a locality inhabited by mechanics and artisans. Her husband would periodically beat this woman, and yet out of a slavish chastity she would not leave him despite there being a man who loved her and who offered to rescue her from her plight. In the book, Sarat Chandra depicts women demanding rights for themselves in their own voice. The protagonist Srikanta has an argument with Abhaya about the propriety of what Abhaya has done; Srikanta argues from the orthodox and traditional point of view, but all his arguments are intelligently demolished by Abhaya.
Srikanta was translated into English by Sachchidananda Vatsyayan 'Agyeya' in From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Part 1 : Part 2 : Part 3 : Part 4 : Aruna Chakravarti A History of Indian Literature Sahitya Academi. Modern Indian Literature: an Anthology: Fiction.
New Delhi: Sahitya Akademi. Evanston: Northwestern University Press. Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: Sasay to Zorgot. India Today. Retrieved 14 July In George, K. Masterpieces of Indian literature. New Delhi: National Book Trust.
The Hindu. Retrieved 2 November Encyclopaedia of Indian Literature: A-Devo. Agyeya: Kavi Aur Kavya in Hindi. New Delhi: Vani Prakashan. The Golden Book of Saratchandra. Retrieved December 5, Categories : Bengali-language literature Indian Bengali language novels 20th-century Indian novels Bengali-language novels English-language novels. Hidden categories: CS1: long volume value Pages containing links to subscription-only content CS1 Hindi-language sources hi Books with missing cover Articles that link to Wikisource All articles with unsourced statements Articles with unsourced statements from July Namespaces Article Talk.
Bengali Wikisource has original text related to this article: Srikanta.
Saratchandra Chattopadhyay: Literary Giant who is Timeless
Born on September 15, in Devanandapur, a hamlet located in undivided Bengal during the pre-Independence era, Chattopadhyay was among the five children of Motilal Chattopadhyay and Bhubanmohini. There, he attended the Durga Charan Balak Vidyalay. Chattopadhyay began writing at a tender age. His earliest stories, Korel and Kashinath, which he had penned as a teenager, are still widely read.
Srikanta (Part 1)
By Saratchandra Chatterji. Translated by K. Sen and Theodosia Thompson. With an Introduction by E.
Published in four parts between and ,  It has been described as Sarat Chandra's ' masterpiece '. In a conversation, Sarat Chandra revealed that the book is partly autobiographical, and his own life experiences provided the basis for the experiences of the protagonist Srikanta; however, he added a caveat:. But they do not follow a common course. Fragments of experience, at different times of my life, have been presented as complete experiences