Editor | Indian English Writing
For centuries, the animal kingdom has captured the Indian imagination. And the land of the Panchatantra and the Jataka Tales continues to give rise to literary masterpieces. Some of the greatest stories in modern Indian literature have animals as protagonists.
In Animalia Indica (Pages 304, Price Rs 699), Sumana Roy collects the best fiction written about animals from the past hundred years or so.
Beginning with Premchand’s classic, ‘A Tale of Two Bullocks’, and taking in its sweep some of the greatest pieces of literary fiction to have originated in India including ‘Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’ by Rudyard Kipling, ‘Mahesh’ by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay, ‘The Mark of Vishnu’ by Khushwant Singh, ‘A Horse and Two Goats’ by R. K. Narayan, ‘Poonachi’ by Perumal Murugan, ‘The Crocodile and the Monkey’ by Vikram Seth, ‘The Reflections of a Hen in Her Last Hour’ by Paul Zacharia, ‘The Last Tiger’ by Ruskin Bond and ‘Elephant at Sea’ by Kanishk Tharoor, the stories in Animalia Indica are guaranteed to dazzle the reader.
These stories, centred on animals, and written over the last hundred years or so, are among the greatest feats of creation in the annals of modern Indian literature. Once read, their flaming brilliance will ensure they are never forgotten.
The stories are:
A Tale of Two Bullocks by Premchand
Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling
Mahesh by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay
Jumman by Shripad Narayan Pendse
Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell
The Flood by Thakazhi Sivasankara Pillai
The Mark of Vishnu by Khushwant Singh
Bulbuls by Habib Kamran
A Horse and Two Goats by R. K. Narayan
The Copper-tailed Skink by Manjula Padmanabhan
The Last Tiger by Ruskin Bond
The Owlet Who Craved the Sun by Achyutananda Pati
The Crocodile and the Monkey by Vikram Seth
Labour by R. R. Borade
The Reflections of a Hen in Her Last Hour by Paul Zacharia
The Summer of the Crows by Nilanjana Roy
Poonachi by Perumal Murugan
A Tale of Animals by Moti Lal Kemmu
Elephant at Sea by Kanishk Tharoor
Snake by Sujatha
And Then Laughed the Hyena by Syed Muhammad Ashraf
About the editor
Sumana Roy’s first book, How I Became a Tree, was shortlisted for the Shakti Bhatt First Book Prize, 2017, and the Tata Literature Live! First Book Award, 2017. Her first novel, Missing, was published in 2018. Her latest book is entitled Out of Syllabus: Poems. She lives in Siliguri.