The Flame of the Forest

The Flame of the Forest

Sudhin N. Ghose







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(Paperback | ISBN 9789386338549 | 280 pages | April 2017)


 ‘[Myna] … moved as though sustained by invisible wings attached to her feet. Her whole frame glowed like an incandescent bronze figure. And I recalled that Myna’s name before she became a kirtani was the Flame-of-the-Forest …’

A young scholar in post-Independence Calcutta finds that his life is in the doldrums. He cannot secure a job despite having completed his education with flying colours. Unwilling to steady his drifting, his lover has abandoned him. And, increasingly put off by the clamour for ‘progress’ among the newly liberated city-folk around him, all of whom are quick to dismiss tradition, he finds himself drawn to Myna, a kirtani who believes she is a handmaiden to Radha, Lord Krishna’s consort.

In his attempts to make a living, he writes frivolous articles for an American magazine and acts as a part-time secretary to his mentor, the Diwan, a political moderate with waning influence. But when Ek Nambur, a demagogue and Diwan’s political rival, puts the latter under house arrest and comes after the young man, he is forced to make a choice. He can stay on to fight a losing battle or take up Myna’s invitation to join her and become a fellow pilgrim.

A sumptuous tapestry of myth, history and legend, The Flame of the Forest is the story of a young adult forced to choose between tradition and modernity, and take up the responsibility of moulding his own life. The concluding novel in Sudhin N. Ghose’s classic quartet, The Flame of the Forest was published in 1955 and is being reissued for the first time in more than half a century.


Click here to read an excerpt from the book.


‘Similar to [Mulk Raj] Anand and to [Raja] Rao’s Kanthapura, Ghose’s novels dramatise the contrasting ethos of the village and the city… In each there is a happy coexistence of disparate realms: the worldly merges with the other-worldly, gods and legends stray into secular territory, and strong friendships are forged between humans and animals.’
An Illustrated History of Indian Literature in English

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About the author

Sudhindra Nath Ghose

Sudhindra Nath Ghose (1899–1965)—best known as Sudhin Ghose—was born in Bardhaman in Bengal. He moved to Europe as a student in the 1920s where he first studied science and art history before completing a doctorate in literature. Though he spent his entire writing career in the West, Sudhin Ghose, like his contemporaries Mulk Raj Anand, […]

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