Launch of Sudhir Kakar’s ‘The Devil Take Love’
H.E. Mr François Richier, Ambassador of France to India, had the pleasure of hosting the launch of Dr Sudhir Kakar’s latest book, ‘The Devil Take Love’, published by Penguin Books India. The editor, Ambar Sahil Chatterjee, presented the book and Dr Kakar was in conversation with Prof. Harish Trivedi.
New Delhi, 7 July 2015
The Devil Take Love: Using Bhartrihari Sanskrit poems Śatakatraya, translated by acclaimed poet Kala Krishnan Ramesh, Sudhir Kakar reconstructs the life of the poet, as well as mores and sentiments of his time. He provides us a unique insight into a poet’s mind as also in the soul of ancient India.
“In the most powerful city of the ancient world, the temple for Kama, the god of desire, towers over that of his destroyer Shiva, the lord of time. A cult of pleasure is sweeping through the land. Under the shadow of imminent death, a great poet reflects on the journey of his life, and the ceaseless conflict between morality and desire.
A young man from a provincial town, Jalandhar, arrives in the magnificent city of Ujjayini. His astonishing brilliance as a poet is recognized immediately. The formidable young king of Avanti becomes the poet’s chief patron. This is the story of Bhartrihari, the greatest Sanskrit poet of love.
The poet’s fame grows at fabulous speed; his success is effortless. But the journey of his self is not as smooth: he fluctuates between sexual passion and erotic disenchantment, the appeal of the senses at war with the call of the spirit.
With acute insight and sinuous elegance, The ‘Devil Take Love’ presents in lush detail life in seventh-century cosmopolitan India, while inhabiting the true depths of a poet’s mind and superbly evoking his distinctive voice: precise, sardonic, pensive, impassioned.”
Sudhir Kakar is a distinguished psychoanalyst and writer. His critically acclaimed novels, The Ascetic of Desire, Ecstasy, Mira and the Mahatma and The Crimson Throne, published by Penguin in India, have been translated into several languages around the world. He is the recipient of numerous honours and awards, the most recent being the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany in 2012. In 2005, the French weekly “Le Nouvel Observateur” profiled Sudhir Kakar as one of the twenty-five most important thinkers of the world.
Harish Trivedi is former Professor of English at the University of Delhi, and was Visiting Professor at the universities of Chicago, London and several others in Europe, China and Latin America. He is the author of Colonial Transactions: English Literature and India (Calcutta 1993; Manchester 1995), and has co-edited The Nation across the World: Postcolonial Literary Representations (New Delhi 2007; New York 2008), Literature and Nation: Britain and India 1800-1990 (London 2000), Post-colonial Translation: Theory and Practice (London 1999), and Interrogating Post-colonialism: Theory, Text and Context (Shimla 1996; rpt. 2000, 2006). He has edited with an introduction and notes Hardy’s Tess (Oxford University Press, 1988) and Kipling’s Kim (Penguin Classics 2011). He is currently editing an anthology of Indian Literature from 1500 B.C. to 2000 A.D., and is a coordinator of an international project based in Stockholm for writing a history of world literature. He is the Chairperson of the Indian Association for Commonwealth Literature and Language Studies (since 2005) and Vice-President of the Comparative Literature Association of India (since 2007). He has translated from Hindi into English several works of modern poetry and fiction, as well as a biography: Premchand: His Life and Times (1991) by Amrit Rai. He has published a 40-page ‘Introduction’ to Rabindranath Tagore: Poet and Dramatist by Edward Thompson (rpt. Oxford UP, 1991), an essay on Tagore’s inter/nationalism (1995), and presented papers on Tagore at conferences to mark his 150th birth-centenary (2011) held in New Delhi and in Halle.