On the occasion of Bihar Day, HarperCollins India on Tuesday announced the publication of "The Book of Bihari Literature", edited by poet-diplomat Abhay K.
The book will be published in October this year.
Bihar Day (Bihar Diwas) is observed every year on March 22, marking the formation of the state of Bihar. It was on this day when the British carved out the state from Bengal in 1912 and is observed as a public holiday in Bihar.
The Book of Bihari Literature is the first-ever attempt to present a glimpse of the rich world of Bihari literature in English translation from among the many languages spoken in Bihar.
Many of these works have been translated for the first time, making these accessible to the English speaking world.
Bihari literature, spread over two millennia, consists of literary works produced in various languages spoken in Bihar, such as Magahi, Bhojpuri, Maithili, Angika, Bajjika, Hindi, Urdu, Persian, English, and classical languages such as Sanskrit and Pali.
Among the authors who feature in the book are Mutta, Sumangalmata, Kautilya, Vatsyayna, Sarhapa, Vidyapati, Abdul-Qadir Bedil, Dean Mahomed, Mahendar Misir, Bhikhari Thakur, Raghuveer Narayan, Heera Dom, Acharya Shivpujan Sahay, Rambriksh Benipuri, Bedil Azimabadi, Hari Mohan Jha, and Abhay K.
Translators who have contributed to this anthology include Pandita Vairocanaraksita, Mangal Murty, Ram Bhagwan Singh, N.C. Sinha, Nalini Taneja, Dr Syed Sarawar Hussain, Manisha Chaudhry, Dr Rakshanda Jalil, Vidyanand Jha, Huma Mirza, Asif Jalal, Jay Ram Singh, Vivek Perampuria, Chaitali Pandya, Abhay K, Dr Bindu Singh, Gautam Choubey, Medha Singh, Abhay Kumar, Akanksha Garg and Nasim Fekrat.
Speaking on the occasion, the editor of the book, Abhay K said, "The Book of Bihari Literature includes literary works from eleven languages of Bihar spanning over three millennia. It is for the first time that literature from so many languages of Bihar is being made accessible in English translation. I'm delighted to share on Bihar Day that the book is being published by HarperCollins India, known for bringing out quality and memorable books. Editing this book has been a journey back to my roots in Bihar. I've only been able to include a very small fraction of the literary treasures of Bihar in it because of various constraints. I hope to see more translations of Bihari literature published in the coming years."
Prema Govindan, the Senior Commissioning Editor at HarperCollins India, said, "Bihar has a long and chequered past, with an astonishing list of poets, philosophers, thinkers and storytellers cataloguing its ups and downs. We are honoured to publish Abhay K.'s delightful anthology of pieces from Bihari literature. With this book, we hope to introduce our readers to the diversity of thought and brilliance of writing Bihar has offered to us over millennia."
The editor of the book, Abhay K comes from Nalanda, Bihar, and is the author of ten poetry books and editor of six poetry anthologies.
His poems have appeared in over a hundred literary magazines, including Poetry Salzburg Review and Asia Literary Review. His 'Earth Anthem' has been translated into over 150 languages.
Abhay received the SAARC Literary Award 2013 and was invited to record his poems at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC, in 2018.
His translations of Kalidasa's Meghaduta and Ritusamhara from Sanskrit won the KLF Poetry Book of the Year Award 2020-21. (ANI)