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A River Called Titash (Voices from Asia) Paperback – 10 Sep 1993

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 280 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; First Printing edition (10 Sept. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520080505
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520080508
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 1.9 x 22.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 321,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description

About the Author

Adwaita Mallabarman (1914-1951) was born near the river Titash in the Comilla district of Bengal (now Bangladesh). He was an editor and writer until his death at age 37 from tuberculosis. "Titash Ekti Nadir Naam" (A River Called Titash) was published five years after his death. Kalpana Bardhan is a research associate at the University of California, Berkeley, Center for South Asian Studies. Her translation of Bengali short stories, "Of Women, Outcastes, Peasants, and Rebels," was published in 1990 by California.

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
An immersing simple novel about the complex lives and minds of a society of the unlettered downtrodden. An insider's account of the engaging oral cultures of fishers and peasants living in Bengal a hundred years ago. Life's tragedy suffused with the warmth and glow of humanity. Sensitively translated.
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Format: Paperback
This book offers a magnificent description of river life in rural Bengal. The translator captures the ethos
and the nuances of the original to a great extent. The novel
makes the rural setting of half a century past come alive
with the use of flowing metaphors. A delightful read.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 1.7 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A really rich description and a great translation 12 Oct. 1996
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book offers a magnificent description of river life in rural Bengal. The translator captures the ethos
and the nuances of the original to a great extent. The novel
makes the rural setting of half a century past come alive
with the use of flowing metaphors. A delightful read.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a mix of folk lyricism and ethnography 5 Oct. 1999
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The original in Bengali published nearly 45 years ago in Calcutta , this unique novel, sensitively and beautifully translated here, is a moving combination of folk lyrics and ethnography. Story of a Malo fishing village at the turn of the century captures the music, speech, rituals, and rhythms of a once happily self-sufficient community and culture swept away by natural catastrophe, modernization, and politically engineered ethnic strife. Offers intimate glimpses of the lives and minds of Hindu fishers and Muslim peasants, in small communities coexisting in harmony and mutual empathy until the violent partition of Bengal. Story of a way of life now all but extinct, a life rich in the poetry and music of human relationships amidst the poverty.
2 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars THIS BOOK WAS THE MOST THE MOST BOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRING BOOK 3 May 2001
By beepbopsanddooies - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book and it was the most horrible book eva. Like eva. OMG it was, like, eva, da most boringest book eva. Like eva! Not eva as in ever, but my friend Eva who is like da most boringest book like eva! Like so eva that like you 'd be board like fo eva. Li so don't buy dis buk unless you board like board games. There are much better ways of entertainment like videogames and television. Plop of you kooshie couch and watch the latest pokemon movie!!! Or AUstin Powers!!! Shagadlic!
3 of 9 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring 26 April 2001
By DogstarU2Rox - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
this book is horrible. my teacher makes me read it and analyze it and i'm only 13! actually this book is pretty good, there i go again, contradicting myself contrary to popular belief. lol. ahhh... this book is quite good except for the fact that we have to analyze it and take notecards on a lot of motivations n stuff. but i would never read it in my spare time. i would much rather read about george w. bush and his loony antics. boy are we lucky we have a smart pm here in da UnItEd KiNgDoM which is a wicked country! UNION JACK POWER! go wills, go harry, go keanu, go ian, go christopher, go jamie, go phillip... BRITS AND AUSSIES AND CANADIANS ROCK! notice that none of these people are from the US...
0 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars HORRIBLE 6 Jun. 2001
By Nick Forghall - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
“A River Called Titash”, a novel written by Adwaita Mallabarman and translated by Kalpana Bardhan was first published in 1956. The story takes place in the early 1900’s in Bengal, a part of India which later became the independent country of Bangladesh. Along the banks of the rivers Meghana and Titash, in Northeast Bengal, live the Malo. The Malo are a group of Shudras, the second lowest class in the Indian social structure, and have a subsistence technology of fishing and agriculture. The book does look occasionally at purely agricultural groups and also briefly at priests; however, the Malo are the book’s main focus. Much of the novel is based on Mallabarman’s experiences growing up in this group of people. This is a complicated novel with many hidden plots. The question that we looked at was why the characters in A River Called Titash do what they do. It is very difficult to understand why the characters in the book do what they do. Through analysis, we did discover several of the characters’ main motivations. The Malo live in a very harsh environment and they are motivated to adapt to it in order to survive. They employ a particular subsistence technology that helps them to survive in their environment, but makes it hard to gain food. Because they are threatened by starvation, the Malo are forced to work extremely hard. Their methods of survival also require large numbers of workers, so the Malo are motivated by the need for reproductive success. A second primary factor that motivates people to do what they do is the social structure. The Indian system of social stratification is called the Varna System. It is a very strict hierarchy and people who do not live according to the rules of the social structure are severely punished. People belong to jatis, which are subgroups within classes and are motivated to become respected within their jati. A third important motivation in A River called Titash is family. People are expected to marry and form nuclear families (mother, father, children) because it is the social and religious norm but also because it is difficult to survive when there is not a man, a woman and a child fulfilling their traditional roles in the home. A fourth important motivation in A River Called Titash is social norms. There are many social norms in Indian culture that dictate what people are allowed to do, how people dress, how people work and how people behave towards one and other. Following these norms could bring one respect within a community, while failure to follow these norms could lead to being disowned or being killed. A fifth important factor that motivates the characters in A River Called Titash to do what they do is religion. They have deep religious beliefs that cause them to do things such as make daily offerings and prepare great celebrations. Religion also motivates them to obey many social distinctions and to obey religious rules strictly such as having good karma or forbidding widows to remarry. These are some of the main factors that influence the characters in the novel A River Called Titash. They are motivated to adapt to their very harsh environment in order to get food and survive. Two of the main characters, Kishore and Subal, leave the village they live in to go up North. They are forced to do this without a choice, because they do not have enough fish where they normally live. The only way that the Malo (which Kishore and Subal are members of) get food, is by fishing in rivers. The reason that they run out of fish where they are, is because of the environment. It is a dry season, during the summer, and so there isn’t as much water in the river. The fish are exposed to more air, and so they sufficate. The environment kills malo very often in the society. They must move North to look for more fish in the river. This greatly affects them, because this is where Kishore marries Ananta. Although it is very inefficient and inconvenient, this is what they must do to adapt and survive in their habitat. The reason why this isn’t a very good subsistence technology, is because they are putting their eggs all in one basket. If there is a shortage of fish, then they ... all die. They live in a forest near a river, but far away from many resources. They don’t have any sort of electricity or advanced technology at all. Because of that, the most difficult thing about living in that society is surviving and adapting in the environment without anything to build shelter, get food, etc. Although they may have adapted to the environment, survival is still a constant daily struggle for Shudras. Subal had died, and so his wife was on her own. She had to do all of the work, such as working, fishing, tending to house, sewing, practicing her religion, cooking, etc. One day it talks about how much she has to do in the evening. First she has to take care of a basket of fish that her father brings home. Then she has to cook for her parents, and for herself. After that, she must go to the market, buy rice, come home, and cook some more. This is what every day for her is like. She just was not able to do all of the work. As a result, she could not really get any food, and so she had to be helped by her parents (but they don’t help her that much). Everyone else in the society tries to help her, but she still has to work hard. In this society with this environment especially, each person is constantly working to survive. It is their main concern, and it’s a struggle for the Malo to survive. If anyone doesn’t work hard, then they will not survive.
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