The Bells Are Ringing In Haridwar
Shortlisted | Book Awards 2020 | Translated into English, Translations
The Bells Are Ringing In Haridwar ()
M. Mukundan has been called the ‘Writer of Mayyazhi’ and some of his best-known works have as their background, Mayyazhi, that small area in Kerala which is still French at heart. And yet he spent a large part of his life in Delhi and a number of his powerful works are set in that place and speak of its people. Haridwaril Manikal Muzhangunnu came out in 1972 to loud acclaim and louder criticism. It spoke to the alienated youth of the late 1960s and early 1970s; and the criticism was because it seemed to glorify the use of drugs and a way of life that was considered immoral then. With Ramesh and Suja, we travel to ancient Haridwar where the Ganga came to earth, where the marks made by Bhageeratha’s chariot wheels can still be seen and Bhima’s sweat can still be tasted in the water of the pond dug by him. Ramesh finds himself unable to resist the call of the bells of Haridwar.
The other two novellas take us back to Mayyazhi, the small piece of land where time has stood still for decades. Both the stories speak of the man of rectitude face to face with his baser instincts, his natural instincts. Meetheledath Ravunni is led astray by the sight of the girdle that encircles Savitri’s slim waist and descends to an animal-like existence. As for Kunhikrishnan Thampuran, the honeyed skin of the oil-miller’s wife reduces him finally to an innocence that is child-like, unselfconscious.
M. MUKUNDAN is one of the most reputed fiction writers in Kerala today. Author of over forty books comprising novels, collections of short stories, a play and a study of modernity, he made his literary debut in the 1960s publishing stories. His bestselling books include On the Banks of the Mayyazhi, Delhi Gathakal and The Bells are Ringing in Haridwar. Some of his novels are taught in universities in Kerala. He has won many awards and honours including the Sahitya Akademi award; Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, the highest literary award conferred by the Government of Kerala; Chevalier of the Arts and Letters conferred by the Government of France; the First Crossword award for Indian language fiction in English translation. Four of his novels were adapted into feature films, God’s Mischief winning the State award for the best film. He also won the Kerala State award for the best screenplay and Kerala Film Critics’ award for the best feature film story. His novel, Kesavan’s Lamentation, rendered in English by A.J. Thomas, also won the Crossword award. He served as President of the Kerala Sahitya Akademi for three years. His stories and novels have been translated into English and French and published in the USA and France. He lives in Mahe, his hometown in Kerala.