Saraswatichandra, a Gujarati novel by Govardhanram Tripathi, comprising nearly 2000 pages and 4 volumes was published between 1887 and 1901. The work not only manifested the sociological ambience of the latter half of the 19th Century but also traced the maturing process of the author’s idealism that transcended from individual growth to universal emancipation. Its epitome – a Kathaa-saar – by Upendra Pandya was published in 1951 and an abridgement – Brubat Sankshep – was published by the Sahitya Akademi in 1960. The former, translated by Vinod meghani, now published by Sahitya Akademi by the title Saraswatichandra (Abridged), is the first English translation of the author’s work.
Umashankar Joshi writes in the introduction to Brubat Sankshep:
The saga contained a suppressed sob of a heartbreak that frequently made the story seethe, that at times erupted as an agonized scream. For the fourteen long years… the readership accompanied him with baited breath… … Govardhanram had with the help of a stirring story, conquered the mindset of Gujarati society… [The novel] represented the essence of the wholesome elements of the Indian Renaissance.
…Saraswatichandra’s chief sentiment is Pathos. By the sentiment, Govardhanram may be described as a sibling of Bhavabhooti in Indian literature. Conspicuous is the impact of Mahaabhaarat – on the call, constitution and several significant portions and on the details like nomenclature of the characters. Deeply etched is also the influence of Buddhist literature. …A study of Govardhanram’s intuitive inclination explains his partiality for Dante, the renderer of a religious epic among the Western writer.