HE WHO RIDES A TIGER by Bhabani Bhattacharya


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Music For Mohini (1952) drew an understanding and graphic picture of Eastern ways and this present story, which has its parallel in western charlatans, draws on the spectre of hunger in Bengal in the 1940's for the turning wheel that brought Kalo, a smith, from his low caste to a personage of renown. Widowed and adoring his only daughter, Chandra Lekha, he was jailed for the theft of bananas when he was making his way to Calcutta for work and it was B-10, a fellow prisoner, who told him of the ravages hunger was making and the far-fetched ways security might be attained. Kalo found his daughter in a whorehouse when he was released and after he had seen what B-10 had described; he gambled on the fabrication of a miracle; it paid off and he impersonated a high caste Brahmin. But he could not argue against his essential honesty forever and when a final showdown came -- he killed his tiger and cleansed the temple he had brought into being -- saving himself, Chandra Lakha -- and the respect of B-10. The deviates from a rigid social system, the fight for food, the possibility of fraudulence as a way of life -- this is more intricate than the previous book -- and less innocent, but as explicit in its picture of a foreign land.

Pub Date: Oct. 11th, 1954
Publisher: Crown