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Autobiography: arts & entertainment
Neither the Vedas
Nor the Qur?an
Will teach you this:
Put the bit in its mouth,
The saddle on its back,
Your foot in the stirrup,
And ride your wild runaway mind
All the way to heaven.
?A lovely book of translations of the poetry of Kabir, a truly visionary egalitarian thinker of the fifteenth century whose songs remain alive in the folk tradition of north India. In bringing Kabir to an English-speaking audience, Arvind Krishna Mehrotra has made a major contribution to the global reach of that inspiring vision.? ? Amartya Sen ?Kabir was a poet for whom the sacred was inseparable from the satiric, the erotic, the sardonic, and the absurd, and he comes alive at last in English in Arvind Krishna Mehrotra?s translation that is simultaneously a work of long scholarship and a jazz performance of the Kabir tradition.? ? Eliot Weinberger ?Arvind Krishna Mehrotra's new translation brings the poetry of Kabir to life in English for the first time. Not that others haven't tried: Pound, Robert Bly and, most notably, Rabindranath Tagore in 1915 . . . But it is Mehrotra who has succeeded in capturing the ferocity and improvisational energy of Kabir?s poetry.? ? August Kleinzahler in New York Times
About the Author
Kabir, the North Indian devotional or bhakti poet, was born in Benares (now Varanasi) and lived in the fifteenth century. Next to nothing is known of his life, though many legends surround him. He is said to have been a weaver, and in his resolutely undogmatic and often riddling work he debunks both Hinduism and Islam. The songs of this extraordinary poet, philosopher, and satirist, who believed in a personal god, have been sung and recited by millions throughout North India for half a millennium.
Arvind Krishna Mehrotra is the author of four books of poetry, the editor of The Oxford India Anthology of Twelve Modern Indian Poets and Collected Poems in English by Arun Kolatkar, and the translator of The Absent Traveller: Prakrit Love Poetry. A volume of his essays, Partial Recall: Essays on Literature and Literary History will be published in 2011. He is a professor of English at the University of Allahabad and lives in Allahabad and Dehra Dun