The Broken Home – English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s ‘Nastanirh’
By Lopamudra Banerjee
Nashtanirh is a Bengali novella by Rabindranath Tagore set in 19th Century Bengal which was published in 1901. There is a lot of speculation that the story is loosely based upon Tagore’s own relationship with Kadambari Devi, his sister –in-law (brother Jyotirindranath’s wife) who committed suicide four months after Tagore’s wedding to Mrinalini Devi.
It is also the basis for the brilliant film ‘Charulata’ by Satyajit Ray which was released in 1964.
The original version is beautifully written by Gurudev, it is a classic in Bengali literature. So when I discovered that Lopamudra Banerjee is translating this Magnum Opus I was elated beyond words can describe.
The plot is about how the liberal thinking ‘Bhadrolok Bangali’ Bhupati is completely blind to his wife Charu’s loneliness and discontent. He fails to acknowledge her feelings and frustration. So when Amal, his cousin arrives, he incites passionate feelings in Charu, creating turmoil in the web of relationships between the three.
Banerjee explores the emotions tenderly, her language is eloquent, and choice of vocabulary is fitting to the era. With any translation there remains a risk that the translator might not be able to evoke the sentiments which are portrayed in the original, but Banerjee very efficiently has managed to keep the unique soul of Nashtanirh alive in her version of The Broken Home.
When you pick this version of Tagore’s Nashtanirh you will be taken on a journey through a time which is sepia toned. Banerjee’s translation of Gurudev’s masterpiece is something that will keep your thoughts lingering for a long time. Her use of lucid language, her perfect depiction of the characters, the ideal portrayal of the settings makes it an unputdownable read. Since I have read the original version in Bengali, I can say that it is a near perfect homage to the creation of Tagore.
This will be a treasure for a lot of readers who are unable to read Bengali, Banerjee has just brought Tagore closer to such readers. I would love to read further works of translation from this amazing writer.
You can buy the kindle version here: The Broken Home
Facebook Page: The Broken Home
Lopamudra Banerjee’s author page on Facebook: Lopa Banerjee