1st Edition

The Girl Child in the Life, Legend and Literature of Bengal A Selection of Sibaji Banyopadhay’s Writings

Edited By Nivedita Sen Copyright 2025
    144 Pages
    by Routledge India

    Contemporary children’s literature in Bangla celebrates irreverent, defiant and deviant boys whose subversive doings critique the parenting and schooling they go through, while the girl child is neglected and marginalised. The rare fictional girls who show resilience and demand a normal childhood are consciously silenced, or contained and assimilated within unwritten masculinist norms. This book—a compilation of translated works of the author, critic and academic, Sibaji Bandyopadhyay—focuses on gender and childhood in Bengal.

    The book includes a translation of his Bangla Shishusahitye Chhoto Meyera (Little Girls in Bangla Children’s Literature), as well as a translated essay on Thakurmar Jhuli (Grandma’s Sack), a collection of Bangla folk tales and fairy tales from early twentieth-century that underscores the subaltern role of adolescent female characters with hardly any agency or voice in the oral legends and folklore of Bengal. The translation of the piece ‘An Incredible Transition,’ from Bandyopadhyay’s Abar Shishushiksha (On Children’s Education Again) applauds the role of Indian social reformers and British educationists in initiating women’s education in Bengal, while questioning the erasure of protagonists who are girls in the nineteenth-century primers.

    Interrogating gendered constructions in diverse genres of literature while revisiting the subject of female education, this book will be of interest to students of children’s literature, comparative literature, popular literature, gender studies, translation studies, culture studies and South Asian writings.

    Author’s biography. Foreword. Author’s Introduction. Translator’s Note. 1. Thakurmar Jhuli (Grandma’s Sack): A Chronicle of the Past or A Premonition of the Future 2. An Incredible Transition – A Chapter from Abar Shishushiksha (On Children’s Education Again) 3. Bangla Shishusahitye Chhoto Meyera (The Little Girls of Bangla Children’s Literature). Bibliography. Glossary. Index.

    Biography

    Nivedita Sen taught English literature at Hansraj College, University of Delhi. Among her published books are Family, School and Nation: The Child and Literary Constructions in Twentieth Century Bengal (Routledge, 2015) and a translation of Sibaji Bandyopadhyay’s pathbreaking work The Rakhal Gopal Dialectic: Colonialism and Children’s Literature in Bengal (2015). She has translated Bangla fiction from Tagore onward.

    ‘The translation and publication of this volume into English would mark that very necessary step to make this regional culture or vernacular geography a part of the ongoing scholarly debates and discussions in global histories and historiographies of children’s literature and childhood studies in general and in the intersectional domains of gender and childhood in particular.’

     

    ‘Though this book concentrates on children’s literature in Bangla, there are many important concepts and observations which would be relevant for children’s literature in other Indian languages too. This would also be of interest to Women’s Studies Departments.’