Meera Vs Meera | A translation of Hindi book Pachrang Chola Pahar Sakhi Ri

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Meera Vs Meera

Meera Vs Meera is a translation of Hindi book Pachrang Chola Pahar Sakhi Ri by Prdeep Trikha

Vani Book Company, New Delhi, 2020 

ISBN: 978-89915-90-7

Introduction

Meera Vs Meera is a translation of a well-received book Pachrang Chola Paher Sakhi ri in Hindi published by Vani Prakashan, New Delhi in 2015. For centuries, the masses regarded Meera’s poetry as a medium of expression of their feelings and emotions.

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Meera’s poetry, though interpreted in multiple ways has dwarfed, weakened and gulfed her persona. The religious discourses and narratives festered with her religious aspect, whereas European historians during the colonial period in India focussed on elements of love, romance and mystery in Meera’s life.

 

The Marxist critics and neo-feminist activists highlighted Meera’s narratives related to her courage and self-determination, which she exhibited during her times. In this process the human aspects of Meera were completely side-lined which is far more evident from her poetry. 

Meera is feudal, a rebel, a devotee, a poet and many more. She led human and eventful life. She never felt alienated or free from womanly passions and was creation of  the society she lived in. Meera believed ‘Soney Kaat na lagey’. (Gold never rusts…). In Meera Vs Meera an attempt is to conserve the ‘real self’ of Meera, left over by the multiple interpretations over and through the centuries.The Marxist critics and neo-feminist activists highlighted Meera’s narratives related to her courage and self-determination, which she exhibited during her times. In this process the human aspects of Meera were completely side-lined which is far more evident from her poetry. 

Meera is feudal, a rebel, a devotee, a poet and many more. She led human and eventful life. She never felt alienated or free from womanly passions and was creation of  the society she lived in. Meera believed ‘Soney Kaat na lagey’. (Gold never rusts…). In Meera Vs Meera an attempt is to conserve the ‘real self’ of Meera, left over by the multiple interpretations over and through the centuries.

Opinion

"I find it engaging and refreshing. Deeply researched and strongly independent of various trends of colonially influenced historiography, your book also challenges any simplistic  reading of Meera as a Bhakta poet or as a Romantic poet. Your book comes as a breath of fresh air."- Sitanshu Yashshchandra

"Deeply researched and engagingly told."- Malashri Lal

Reviews
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Meera Vs Meera: Devoted saint-poet or determined queen ? | By Neelima Kanwar

SUMMERHILL-IIAS REVIEW  | Summer, 2021

Reflected in the literatures of the times is the contours of a culture or civilization. Sometimes these literatures acquire the status of truth – when it becomes difficult to challengethe literary representation. Certain figures, in literary works, rooted in stereotypical traditions which have been canonized in a revered image are the most onerous to talk about. In a multi-religious country like ours Meera occupies a space in this definite canonized form. Meera who belongs to all, emerges from Bhakti literature and has long engaged the devotee- readers as well as feminists. In the recent time academics too have started to engage themselves with her persona- a mystic saint (as established), as well as, a human being. This is where one can [lace a well researched book of  Madhav Hada Panchrang Chola Pahar Sakhi Ri .

The scholars of English literature too have not been able to remain away from the lure of Meera. Emerging from the brittle core of Indian culture, reading Meera has fascinated many. In the contemporary scenario of the academic research the translation of Panchrang Chola Pahar Sakhi  Ri  as Meera vs Meera by Prof. Pradeep Trikha has surfaced as a much needed work to be referred to. An engaging trans- creation of the Hindi version, Prof. Trikha’s book has given us deep insights on Meera’s spiritual quest  to merge into Krishna. Meera emerges as a reticent/ resolute woman defying gender discriminating norms with conviction and grit.  The latter, always overshadowed by her canonized image, finds its unfolding here.

 

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Meera Vs Meera: A Critical Gaze at Multiple Images of Meera Bai | By GJV PRSAD

THE BEACON  | AUGUST 8, 2021

Most of us in India have grown up with stories about Meera, with listening to her bhajans. We may have heard the stories from elder members of our family, read books and graphic fiction, watched movies, and listened to MS Subbalakshmi or other famous singers. We may even have read Kiran Nagarkar’s epic novel Cuckold. Meera is an icon, someone to be interpreted and adopted by each generation in its own light. According to Hada, Meera received a new lease of life during the freedom movement and after independence. However, it is the image of the ‘saint-devotee’ bhakti poet that has proved to be all pervasive regardless of the subtle changes in the demands of perception since colonial times.It is this image of Meera that Hada sets out to deconstruct, to give us multiple images, to show us Meera in all her complexity, regardless of true historical sources from her times, endeavoring to read other histories and biographies in terms of their times and ideologies. This is a massive effort to enable us to understand a famous icon of our land, and he sets about it with all humility of a true scholar. One realizes the worth of this effort even though one is reading an English translation by the redoubtable Pradeep Trikha who should be congratulated for carrying out this mission.

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Deconstructing the Dilemma

Reconstructing the Narrative: Meera Vs Meera | By ANAJALI SINGH

National Herald | Jun 01 | 2021

The conventional image of a royal princess, reconstructed by the Western cannon and Indian historians as that of saint-poet Meera Bai, has tended to cast a long shadow over the quintessential Meera. She has been interpreted on either of the two polarities of devoted saint-poet or determined queen. Into this milieu comes the latest deconstruction on her life in the form of the book Meera Vs Meera. Written originally in Hindi by Madhav Hada as Pachrang Chola Pahar Sakhi Ri, it has been translated into English by Pradeep Trikha, whose scholarship lends a deeper interpretation to the original work.

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He deconstructs the myth of Meera, questioning the ideologies of Marxist and Feminist thought that have long sought to compartmentalize her on binaries. Further, the author liberates Meera from the shackles of Western canonization, specifically the convoluted version of her life story in James Todd’s Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan, and takes her above, beyond and over ideologies.This new and refreshing approach to reading the historiography of Meera depicts her life in motion. It is not a simple rendition of the chronology of her life. Instead, her eventful life is seen in the context of the society and times in which she lived.

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Repositioning Meera | By ANUP SINGH BENIWAL

The Book Review | Vol. XIV | May 5, 2021

India is a land of diverse opinions, interpretations and debates. It is a land of pluralistic but protean ethos. Herein history and hagiography, anecdotal and ideological, secular and sacred continuously coalesce and collide to configure and reconfigure its constitutive icons. In the process the icons often lose their existential/embodied moorings. They are rendered into representational sites where diverse voices converge and jostle for space. Meera is one such icon. She has also been subject to continuous evaluations and re-evaluations. Madhav Hada’s Meera Vs Meera, an English translation of his Hindi book Pachrang Chola Pahar Sakhi Ri (Vani Prakashan, Delhi, 2015), is a recent addition to this burgeoning corpus on Meera.

In this book, as is apparent from its title in Hindi original and its English avatar, Hada’s critical focus is on ‘rediscovering’ Meera in her ‘factual integrity’. For this purpose he simultaneously dives into oft-neglected but relevant vernacular history/resources of Rajasthan and Meera’s poetic corpus to contest the conventional, colonial and ideological stereotypes that have led to a profusion of Meera’s around Meera in canonical, folk and popular imagination. Meera Vs Meera is not a simple rendition of the chronology of Meera’s life. Hada posits Meera as a complex but dynamic embodiment of her medieval moment and milieu. 

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Madhav Hada’s Meera Vs. Meera explores the real Meera | By ALKA TYAGI

THE HINDU | APRIL 15, 2021

‘Meera Vs. Meera’ is an English translation of Madhav Hada’s highly acclaimed ‘Pachrang Chola Pahar Sakhi Ri’ done by Prof. Pradeep Trikha. The original book in Hindi that was published five years ago is a profound deliberation on Meera’s life as it has been popularly perceived in the mainstream scholarship that wrapped Meera’s life and works since the sixteenth century itself.Madhav Hada convincingly rectifies the scholarship on Meera’s life in a balanced light. He establishes her as an empowered princess and a poised human being as opposed to merely a saint gone crazy with devotion. Moreover, he states that Meera can neither be seen merely as a rebel in patriarchal system nor a ‘vulnerable and socially ostracized woman.With a keen eye of a mature scholar, Madhav Hada reflects on the entire range of traditional hagiographic material like Priyadas’s  Bhaktirasbodhini or Bhavishyapurana as well as the early European conjectures made on Meera’s life by  Colonel James Tod’s  in his early nineteenth century orientalist work on  Annals and Antiquities of Rajasthan along with the Folk-lore or Kimvadantis about Meera’s mystical character. The latter have gone through numerous additions and subtraction in last five hundred years, yet the research explorations and scholarship has been using them along with accessible historical resources.

 

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Meera vs Meera, in search of the real Meera | By ANANYA BHATTACHARYA

 

With painstaking research and rich detailing, author Madhav Hada delves deep into the Meera that he knows, the Meera that we know, and the Meera that has mostly stayed buried deep in the recesses of history.

 

Who is Meera Bai? For most of us who were introduced to this saint-poet/queen back in Class 6 History, we know Meera Bai as the queen who devoted her entire life to Lord Krishna and sang love paeans to him. For the ones who went beyond that preliminary idea of Meera, this person has more often than not been treated as a mystery. That interpretation served the West well - to look at Meera through an Oriental-exotic lens of intrigue and thereby rob her of her human qualities. But is Meera only that idea? Is there nothing more to her than her poems, and the perception of those poems.

This is where Madhav Hada's Meera vs Meera steps in.

With painstaking research and rich detailing, author Madhav Hada delves deep into the Meera that he knows, the Meera that we know, and the Meera that has mostly stayed buried deep in the recesses of history. Hada clears the cobwebs of history and writes her story — the story of Meera. Meera vs Meera is translated into English by Pradeep Trikha, from Madhav Hada's much-acclaimed Hindi original, Pachrang Chola Pahar Sakhi Ri.

"For centuries," the book goes, "oral narratives keep on rolling like pebbles in a river. Their shapes may change but their nature remains the same. Likewise, Meera's poetry has been passed down and evolved across generations, but it does inherit elements of its original version. Similarly, biographical details obtained from these poems and harjas may not be perfectly reliable but they are not entirely false. By aligning these 'clues' with available historical facts, we can arrive at the truth.

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Briallint, Authentic and Crafty | By AMIT SHANKAR

 

A word of caution: Meera Vs Meera is not meant to be read like a newspaper or a novel. First, it ought to be assimilated, ingested, and then deciphered and discussed. Give it time and it will make you see things from a different perspective.

A translation of ‘Pachrang Chola Pahar Sakhi Ri’; a critically acclaimed book by the renowned academician, Prof Madhav Hada, Meera Vs Meera is one of the most authentic works that elucidates upon the life, time, and influences of Meera.

Successfully translated by Pradeep Trikha, he has managed to capture the essence and soul of the personality, the era, and the society. Mr. Trikha needs to be lauded for his impeccable narration and craft.

Divided into 6 chapters; life, society, religion narrative, canonisation and image construction, this title is a true reflection of the 16th century, a period that has been narrated with heavily tinted glasses.

This title aptly sets the context right when it says, “It can be safely concluded that the overall society during Meera’s time was quite different from that seen through a post-colonial and feminist lens.“

A brilliant title, Meera Vs Meera projects the Bhakti Saint Meera in a new hue, something not known to many. Also, it is a powerful historical and social record setting a new paradigm of discussion around the myths of language, legacy, and culture.

Well researched, brilliantly articulated, Meera vs Meera is a must-read for everyone who wants to get a real picture of Meera and her social life in the 16th century.

Thank you Prof Madhav Hada for making us see Meera as a human, a woman. Vani Book Company, a huge round of applause to you for bringing out such a powerful narration.

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Book Review | By Rashmi Jain  Jodhpur Studies of English | Vol. XXI, 2021

Meera vs Meera is a book of criticism that has been skilfully translated by Pradeep Trikha. The book was initially written by Madhav Hada which was titled Pachrang Chola Pahar Sakhi Ri. The English title is fascinating and apt as it presents the essence of this book. It sheds light on various facets of Meera that have been explored through history, folklore, myths, narratives or comics. The struggles, conflicts, devotion, emotions, courage, self-determination and poetry of Meera that have been derived through various sources have been brilliantly portrayed in this book. Whether Meera was a 'devoted saint-poet' or a 'determined queen' has been competently answered. The writer/translator has tried to glorify the real self of Meera amidst the multiple interpretations available through the centuries, and this is what Meera vs Meera is all about. Pradeep Trikha has said in the translator’s note "the present attempt to translate Pachrang Chola is an attempt to reach out the larger audience and readers of English Language. .......

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CAFE DISSENSUS MAGAZINE I FEB, 2021 | By ATIQA KELSY

 

Meera vs Meera is the first book I picked up in the freezing early weeks of this year to keep myself mentally warm and agile. I walked through the twilight struck alleys of history and explored Meera – the famous bhakti poet, folk saint, feminist poet, and empowered feudal woman. The list of adages attributed to her are endless.

Meera Vs Meera is a delightful translation of a critically acclaimed book Pachrang Chola Pahar Sakhi Ri by Prof. Madhav Hada. The book tries to explore and mirror with greater accuracy while adding a more human side to the myriad images of Meera that exist not only in the public memory of the people of Rajasthan specifically and India at large but also the ones that are reflected in historical accounts, folk narratives and even the popular forms of media.Prof. Pradeep Trikha has taken up the daunting challenge of translating the already well-written and thoroughly researched book into English to enable the kaleidoscopic ensemble of Meera reach the English readership, thus enlarging its purview to almost a global level. As rightly said by the literary and cultural theorist George Steiner, “Without translation, we would be living in provinces bordering on silence.”