Kangal Malshat


Author: Nabarun Bhattacharya img_20161029_215338
Title: কাঙাল মালসাট (The War-Cry of the Beggars)
Publisher: Saptarshi
Year of publication: 2005 (3rd edition)
Place of publication: Serampore
Place of purchase: Chinsurah
Ownership: Gift; borrowed
General comments: Admin found this in a box of books left behind in the Department of English by Aritra Chakraborti, who recently completed his PhD at JU and moved to Hyderabad. Aritra da said that he had got the book as a present from his father, and got it autographed a couple of years later when he bumped into Nabarun da outside the now-closed Worldview bookstore on campus. Having the book on hand, he asked the author for an autograph; Nabarun da asked him why he wanted such a thing. He would go on to run into the author several times, at Jadavpur 8B, and at the Kolkata Book Fair where Nabarun da once asked him to write an article on Bengali pornography for his magazine Bhashabandhan. Aritra da admits that he never did get around to it.
Transcription of inscription:
বুড়োকে জন্মদিনে–

নবারুণ ভট্টাচার্য

[To the old fellow on his birthday–

Good wishes
Nabarun Bhattacharya
Submitted by: Aritra Chakraborti, via Shalmi Barman

Lola Rose


Author: Jacqueline Wilson   img_20160918_142442
Title: Lola Rose
Publisher: Doubleday
Year of publication: 2003
Place of publication: Great Britain
Place of purchase: Book Tuk, Kolkata
Purchase cost: Rupees 60
Ownership: Secondhand
General comments: I bought Lola Rose from a secondhand book store some time in August. I have been reading children’s books as a 20 year old to understand how adults read and receive children’s literature and so far, this personal project has been very interesting. As a part of the same project, I had also read Jacqueline Wilson’s The Illustrated Mum and I have come to greatly appreciate her literary works.
Anyway, so I open this copy of Lola Rose and on the first page it is signed, “Love, Jacqueline Wilson”. So obviously I freaked out and went online to Google her signature. And turns out that the signature on my copy is INDEED authentic and I had thus come to possess a signed copy of her book, albeit unwittingly.
Transcription of inscription:
To fiona

Jacqueline Wilson

Submitted by: Sayari Debnath

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam


There are certain differences between the text of the Rubaiyat quoted here and the quatrain mentioned in contemporary texts.


Author: Omar Khayyam
Title: The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
Publisher: Collins Clear Type Press
Place of publication: Great Britain
Translator: Edward Fitzgerald
Place of purchase: Sunday Market, Ahmedabad
Purchase cost: Rupees 50
Ownership: Secondhand
General comments: Here’s images of a lovely edition of the Rubaiyat I came across at a flea market in Ahmedabad . The date of publishing is unknown, but given by the inscription, it could be anytime around Independence.
The verse  printed below is in Farsi, and was read out to me by the bookseller. 🙂
Transcription, transliteration, and translation of inscription:
[endpaper recto]
B. Salima


“A potter thumping his wet clay, and with its all obliterated tongue it murmured, ‘Gently brother, gently pray.'”

ناکرده گنه در این جهان کیست بگو
آن کس که گنه نکرد چون زیست بگو
من بد کنم و تو بد مکافات دهی
پس فرق میان من و تو چیست بگو

(‘Na kardah gunah dar aen jahan kest bago
An kis keh gunah na karden zest bago
Man bad-kanam o tu bad-makafat dahi
Pes farq meyaan man o tu chest bago’

‘Who is the man who here below has not committed
sin; can you say? Had he not committed it, could he
have lived, can you tell? If, because I do evil, you
punish me for evil, what then is the difference between
you and me, can you say?’
– cited, transcribed, and transliterated by our friend Arshdeep; quatrain 356 of the Rubaiyat, Edward Fitzgerald’s translation)

[endpaper verso]
(‘When you prostrated yourself on the ground, a sound rose from the ground
You have ruined me, your prostration is duplicitous.’
– translated by our friends Tania and Zeinab, transliteration and citation would be appreciated)

[brown tape on binding of title page]
‘Mohammed Salim’ repeated four times – perhaps evidence of another owner of the book.
Submitted by: Niharika Joshi

Billie’s Blues: The True Story of the Immortal Billie Holiday


Author: John Chiltonbook-cover
Billie’s Blues: The True Story of the Immortal Billie Holiday
Publisher: Quartet
Year of publication: 1975
Place of publication: London
Place of purchase: Calcutta
Ownership: Gift
General comments: My dad’s present to my mum on her thirtieth birthday. A wildly generous compliment, even for the line maroing stage.
Transcription of inscription:
I think you’re doing better than her, Vasudha


29 May ’87


Postcard found inside the book.

Submitted by: Maya Palit

The Great Derangement


Author: Amitav Ghosh
Title: The Great Derangement
General comments: Amitav Ghosh inspired me to study social anthropology when I first read In an Antique Land, and has been our favourite author since the three of us read The Hungry Tide. Only fair that we co-own a book written by him now, which sheds light on climate change and what it means in the context of power, politics and poverty.
Transcription of inscription:
for Mrinalini, Sucheta & Reeti.

Amitav Ghosh (signature)
Submitted by: Reeti Roy