Only very rarely comes along a book that both delights the senses and stimulates the intellect at the same time. This first and only complete translation of Abol Tabol in more than 100 years manages to do both with consummate ease.
With amazingly rhyme-accurate rendering that reads as if the poems had been penned in the English language to begin with, this translation preserves every single rollicking rhyme and the exact same cadences as in the originals. Each translated poem is one hundred percent line-accurate and evokes immediate nostalgia of the original in both rhyme and rhythm.
Abol Tabol is, in fact, cleverly disguised socio-political satire, written to mock the state of society and administration of early 20th century colonial India. The book provides groundbreaking analysis, linking the poems to specific historical events and uncovering the targeted satire hidden in many of the poems. It answers questions like: Who is Katth Buro? Which scandal in English parliament is the poem Gondho Bichar about? Which Bengal-school painting is mocked in Bhooturey Khela? Which three Indian statesmen were the Ahlaadi in real life?
With a total of more than 250 pages, this is a book in two parts: the first comprises the translated poems and more than 40 illustrations. The second contains investigative analysis and some never-before-published commentary on the symbolism and hidden meanings woven skillfully into the poems. The analysis is beautifully clear, concise and logical, and cites more than 45 separate bibliographical references.
This book turns conventional wisdom about Sukumar Ray's Abol Tabol on its head, and irrevocably changes the understanding of this timeless work forever. A must-read for enthusiasts of humorous nonsense verse, as well as for academicians and students engaged in comparative literature and South Asian literature studies.