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Translator(s)/ Editors(s): Anand
Publisher: Sahitya Akademi
ISBN/UPC (if available): 812601797X
Divya is the story of a young woman's struggle to lead her own life. Her story is told against a background of the conflict for supremacy between Hindu and Buddhist ideologies in India in the 1st century B.C. In that era, after Alexander the Great's invasion of Northern India, there was widespread mingling of Indian and Greek cultures.
Since its publication sixty years ago, Divya has had a chequered history, not dissimilar to the tumultuous story of its eponymous heroine.
Assertions by Divya such as "the mistress of a noble family is not a free woman, she is not independent like a disreputable courtesan" outraged many of Yash pal's contemporaries.
But a core of young critics and scholars of successive generations continued to stand-and even swear-by Divya's yearning for independence when she decides to be a prostitute, so as to be a free woman and have ownership rights over her body.
The importance of the novel and its impact on Hindi literature was widely acknowledged, and forcefully and unequivocally expressed, in the course of the reassessment of the author's work during his centenary celebrations.
Ancient India comes alive in all its glory and vigour in Divya, hailed as one of the great historical novels of Hindi language.
The novel was called, as in the case of the author's later works, "ahead of its time".
It is often prescribed as a text for advanced and postgraduate study of the Hindi literature and language. Divya has been translated into all major languages of India, and into Russian and Czech.
If Premchand towered over all other writers in the Hindi literary world in the first half of the twentieth century.
ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR:
Anand has translation Divya and Jhootha Sach, two of Yashpal's major novels, into English as well as the short stories of Yashpal into English and French. He has also translated Canadian writers Alice Munro, Mordecai Richler and Hugh MacLennan into Hindi. He lives in North America, with one foot in India.
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