It Does Not Die

This one was recommended to me by an old flame – recently catching up after a decade, almost, and surprising each other with how we have moved on, moved away, had children and settled into domesticity.

The protagonists are two real life scholars and famous figures in their own spheres. Orientalist Mircea Eliade comes to study with Dr. Narendra Sen, he falls in love with his beautiful daughter and poet, Maitreyi. When the family gets wind of their blossoming feelings for each other, they send him away in short shrift. Mircea pines and leaves for his native Romania, where he writes Bengal Nights, immediately popular and bringing to him wealth and fame. For 40 long years, the erotic fantasy, charged with overtones of racial prejudice and a secure sense of imperialism, it was the only version of their story that was available.

Forty years later, Maitreyi comes across this colonial fantasy of the inscrutable India encountered within the prepubescent female, and sets the record straight with a candid examination of her 16 year old self who was overcome with ardor for the young Eliade. With great moral integrity, she talks of their relationship, which lasted a few months. She is incensed with the libelious use of her name in Mircea’s book, and appeals for truth and honesty, and refutes that their love was culminated. As a grandmother of 54, puts the episode in its perspective.

Ginu Kamanni’s detailed and passionate piece A Terrible Hurt is a must read for a finer appreciation of the characters’ milieu and why Maitreyi Devi’s Na Hanyate transcends the label A Romance. Life carries us on, and away. Curcumstances change, take turns, but relationships hold value. What one is together, lives on, it does not die.

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10 Responses to “It Does Not Die”

  1. I did not understand the last line of your review.

  2. I remember I was here befoe and read some of the other reviews..
    esp. liked An Equal Music.

    I’ve seen the movie Bengal Nights, but never read It will not die.
    You’ve inspired me to get these two (three incl. Bengal Nights) now.

    Thanks for the review!

  3. So glad to see you back and in such fine form too! I will definitely have to treat myself to Bengal Nights…glad to know there is a screen version as well.

    Don’t stay away too long the next time, I miss you!

  4. @Shreya:

    it is no mystery. people who once share a connection over music, art, poetry – over anything – form deep connections. it’s not who you are, but what you both become when you are together that counts more and more. i have come to believe that the hallmark of the best relationships is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. and it is the soul, what you are together, that is the hardest to give up, the hardest to bear when it is lost… but Maitreyi Devi reiterates, like the Bhagvad Gita, Na Hanyate it is not lost, it does not die.

  5. nocturne,
    just wanted to say i loved your explanation to shreya here.. connections of the soul.. across space and time.. pure and precious

  6. and ur writing in the other blog is exquisite. esp liked the poem Home.
    so soothing -the feelings and images ur words bring to mind.

    and Tamally Maak , yes I so enjoyed the version in kaho na kaho.. Amir Jamal’s voice was perect for that song, in fact the whole charm of the song seemed to be contained in that voice. I didnt know about Amr Diab, ofcourse and yes, You Tube does throw up a lot of his stuff.

  7. @mystic rose:
    au contraire, rose lady, i aspire to your page. have you read Lotus Reads? more flower power! thanks for visiting, and thanks for being so kind.

  8. yes, ive read her page a few times but never left a message.

  9. yes, ive read her page a few times but never left a message. did you get my message, i wonder?

  10. @mystic rose: regularly irregular as i am at updating my pages, i do read the comments left here, and i thank you for taking the time to drop me a line.

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