Categories
Index

Borderless, January 2021

Interviews

A conversation with Devaki Jain, a Padma Bhushan recipient, an author at eighty eight, an economist who found inclusion for women and a strong human who lives her life on her own terms. Click here to read

A conversation with Dr Mossarrap Hossain Khan, the founding editor of Cafe Dissensus. Click here to read.

Stories

The Literary Fictionist

Near the River Chenab and Under The trees

Sunil Sharma in a poignant telling takes us on a journey to the banks of a river where life, love and death sheathed in terrorism cumulate to a peak. Click here to read.

Magic Afloat in the Air

A short story by Gauri Mishra that takes us into the crowded lanes of Paharganj, New Delhi, on an adventure with surprise tilt. Click here to read.

Ghumi Stories: The New Year’s Gift

Nabanita Sengupta explores how rumours can be quietened with an unusual plot. Click here to read

Flash fiction: Déjà vu

Aminath Neena from Maldives explores rebirth despite religious prejudices. Click here to read.

Translations

Tagore Stories in Translation: Bolai: A story about Man and Nature written in Bengali by Rabindranath Tagore in 1928, translated by Chaitali Sengupta. Click here to read.

Flash Fiction: Tears of a Revered Mother A poignant mood driven piece from Balochistan. Written in Balochi by Mereen Nizar, translated by  Ali Jan Maqsood. Click here to read.

A Request To A Son is a Nepali poem by Swapnil Smriti, translated by Pranika Koyu. Click here to read.

Poetry

Click on the names to read the poems

Tom Merrill, Gauri Mishra, Soma Debray, Sanket Mhatre, Aditya Shankar, Michael Burch, Maithreyi Karnoor, Sabreen Ahmed, Ihlwha Choi

Humour: Vatslala Radhakeesoon, Rhys Hughes, Tom Merrill

Musings

Musings of a Copywriter

In Private Lessons, Devraj Singh Kalsi takes us through a hilarious episode of elopement with surprising conclusions. Click here to read.

Hope comes in strange shapes

Keith Lyons from New Zealand looks back at challenges of 2020, and expectation that lessons learned will translate into action in 2021. Click here to read.

In the Winter Sun

Written specially by Nishi Pulugurtha keeping the Indian Republic Day in mind, what can we anticipate for a year with pandemic protocols? Click here to read.

From the Pages of a Soldier’s Diary…

Mike Smith takes you on a journey through the pages of a colonial diary and muses on choices he has made. Click here to read

No Longer Smug in South Australia

Meredith Stephens gives a first person account of how the pandemic free South Australia is faring balancing fears. Click here to read.

Pandemic Tales: The Diary of a Hypochondriac

 Mayuresh V. Belsare takes us on a hilarious journey through his battle with the pandemic with thanks to divine intervention. Click here to read.

Essays

Type, Stereo, Stereotype

Devraj Singh Kalsi gives a unique perspective on the Farmer’s Protests. Click here to read.

The Worshipper of Mother Earth: A Nostalgic journey

Ratnottama Sengupta journeys to show how past and present are interlinked in art and pays tribute to a polyglot, Maniklal Chatterjee. Click here to read.

The Syncretic Lore of Guru Nanak’s Legacy

While skirmishes continue to line the borders of India, Sameer Arshad Khatlani, author of The Other Side of the Divide, explores the deeply embedded syncretic elements in the heritage left behind by the founder of Sikhism. Part of his legacy still lives on in Pakistan. Click here to read.

Neither Tranquil Mandarins, Nor Yellow Devils

While the impasse over the McMahon Line continues and the outgoing POTUS rages over not only the election results but also the Yellow Peril, John Drew gives us an interesting perspective on the perception of both these giants, US & China. Click here to read.

Book Excerpt

The Brass Notebook by Devaki Jain, an autobiography. Click here to read.

Book Reviews

Gone Away by Dom Moraes, reviewed by Bhaskar Parichha. Click here to read.

No Strings Attached: Writings on Odisha by Bhaskar Parichha, reviewed by Bijaya Kumar Mohanty. Click here to read.

Waiting for the Dust to Settle by Veio Pou, a novel dealing with the conflict in Northeastern India, reviewed by Rakhi dalal. Click here to read.

Sara’s Selections

January 2021

A potpourri of hope for the new year by young writers from Bookosmia. Click here to read.

Editorial

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité — Has democracy failed? Click here to read

Categories
Editorial

Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité

“All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.”

— William Shakespeare, As You Like It

The theatrics in the US Capitol at the outset of 2021 might make us think bleakly, but they have exposed the flaws of a system that obviously needs changes. Does this mean democracy has failed? There have always been challenges, sometimes of colonialism, sometimes, of wars. But as long as mankind survives, they will have a voice and the voice will always sound out against injustice.

The uneducated exist in all systems and mob attack is not an unknown phenomenon. Education along with the ability to examine and correct one’s biases could perhaps bridge the gaps. Think of the French Revolution. How many were guillotined? And some among the beheaded were innocent. Yet these killers also were part of a movement that spoke of liberty, equality and fraternity. We grew up believing in these tenets. As such, these are good tenets.

I see the January sixth attack as an attempt to disregard and humiliate an institution. Mankind is resilient enough to withstand such an assault. One has to remember that there are miscreants in every system and society and that is why we have laws. It is time for a number of exits; of the current man in the chair of the POTUS; of COVID-19 via the vaccines or herd immunity, have it your way; of dark clouds that have gathered over positive actions to heal our planet and make it a wonderful home for our species. The darkest hours are said to be before the advent of dawn. Things can only get better with a soupçon of love, kindness and generosity. It is again a time to hope, the theme of Borderless Journal in this edition.

We have hope pronouncedly from our young people’s section hosted by Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan from Bookosmia and also in our poetry. Michael Burch’s poetry resounds with hope. The voices of children from Gaza — pleading with the hope of redemption from the darker events in their lives — much as we are doing in the current crisis, looking for mercy and hope in a pandemic-worn world. We have poetry by Sanket Mhatre on hope.

Vatsala Radhakeesoon has given us a brilliant piece in ‘Queenie the Sloth‘ — check it out. Rhys Hughes has taken on mythology and given it a spin that not just makes us laugh but also think. Aditya Shankar has given us a poignant poem concerning the Human Immortality Project(HIP), a rich man’s dream of being above death, which has been under fire in Yuval Noah Harari’s Homo Deus too. Our poetry section still has a very colourful borderless veneer with poets contributing from multiple countries, including Korea. I love the narratives that Ilhwa Choi weaves into his poetry.

The reason I am pausing on poetry is also to inform readers that we have decided to pull up our socks and be very selective about the poems we publish. Michael Burch is on the panel helping select poetry and he is truly a connoisseur as you can see from the collection in his blog, The Hyper Texts. Though Sunil Sharma has poetry there, we have his stories here. He has given us a wonderful story by the banks of the river Chenab — a story of hope, love and terror. The piece de resistance, I would say, among our stories is one by Tagore — a translation of ‘Bolai’ by Chaitali Sengupta. A story that talks trees and children – a powerful one that moves with its vibrancy, captured very well by the translator.

We have some interesting essays including one by our humourist Devraj Singh Kalsi, in which he explores the ongoing protest of Sikh farmers with humour and another by John Drew on China, the West and Bangladesh. Thanks to Sohana Manzoor for helping us access it. Another one I particularly liked is by Sameer Arshad Khatlani, author of The Other Side of the Divide, on the syncretic lore of India and Pakistan. It is a perfect essay towards the upcoming celebration of the anniversary of the declaration of democracy by India on 26th January 1950 – when it had done away with all individual dynastic regimes. And yet one wonders if that was or is a reality?

Nishi Pulugurtha has given us a musing on how the pandemic affects children and how it might affect this year’s celebrations of the Indian Republic Day. We have an ex-colonial’s son Mike Smith from UK reflecting on the regime prior to the Partition, the rule that tickled the divisive mindset of the Indian subcontinent, through the pages of his father’s diary. This mindset has also been dwelt on by Maithreyi Karnoor in her poetry. And we have our dollop of humour in Musings of the Copywriter with a fun filled narrative of an elopement. We have a whiff of hope from the Southern hemisphere with writings of Keith Lyons from New Zealand and Meredith Stephens from Australia. These also add to the colours of our journal.   

The book excerpt is from Devaki Jain’s autobiography, The Brass Notebook. A powerful book that generates hope and was reviewed last month. This particular bit is about her driving trip with students from different countries – all the way from England to India. We have an invigorating interview with her too this time. The other interview is with Mosarrap Hossain Khan, founder of Café Dissensus, and hopes to enlighten readers more about this well-loved website and also gives a glimpse of the ideology and the man behind it.

Books reviewed include Bhaskar Parichcha’s No Strings Attached by Bijaya Kumar Mohanty, Dom Moraes’s Gone Away by Bhaskar Parichcha and Waiting for the Dust to Settle by Rakhi Dalal. These are a few of the highlights I have mentioned. We have a wide selection of writings. Till now we have managed to showcase writers from twenty-eight countries, and we hope to can continue expanding virtually across more political borders.

The other news I would like to share is our last month’s interview with Aruna Chakravarti other than being republished in Countercurrents.org was translated to Persian by Davood Jalili and published in an Iranian journal called, Arzhang. We are grateful to both Davood Jalili of Arzhang and Binu Mathews of Countercurrents.org for supporting our efforts and finding us wider readership. We are happy that our journal’s content has crossed borders to unite us all together in one world – a world of hope that stretches out its arms towards a future that can only get better!

We wish all our readers and contributors a year filled with hope towards a better future.

Thank you all for accompanying us on our journey.

In hope of a better future,

Mitali Chakravarty

Categories
Editorial

Festive Roundup

Season’s Greetings from Borderless Journal!

Borderless has completed three-quarters of a year or nine months of its virtual existence and bonded us all together in a shared web of ideas — ideas that generate the concept of a world beyond borders. We have all travelled together with words as our tools, gathering thoughts that can create links among all humans despite our perceived differences. During our journey towards the future, we have made alterations or additions where necessary. This month, we have a new addition to our editorial board, Michael R Burch, a poet from USA with 6000 publications under his belt. He brings in new writers and fresh splendour with his own poetry. This time we carry his poems on Gaza — poems of empathy and harmony, one of which has featured in an Amnesty International publication which is used as a resource for training human rights’ activists.

We have plenty of poetry with translations from Armenia, Ukraine and two from Nepal. We also have one of Tagore’s lesser-known essays translated by Chaitali Sengupta. We have interviews with translators too this time: Sahitya Akademi award winning translator of Saratchandra’s Srikanta, Dr Aruna Chakravarti, and senior journalist and writer, Ratnottama Sengupta, who not only translates her father, Nabendu Ghosh, but also compiles anthologies with multiple translators bringing his works to those who cannot read Bengali. We have one of Ghosh’s new collections of short stories, hosting multiple translators, Mistress of Melodies, reviewed by Rakhi Dalal. Bhaskar Parichha has reviewed economist and feminist Devaki Jain’s memoir and Meenakshi Malhotra has done a review of a book on Shaheen Bagh, observing that the spot has become commemorative of democratic values devoid of violence and angst. An interesting concept.

In her essay, Candice Louisa Daquin has commented on how the election results are affecting Americans. On a lighter note, our columnist, Devraj Singh Kalsi, has spoken of the Tump pujas(worship of Trump) that coloured India during the recent US elections. An essay I found immensely relevant by Bhaskar Parichha has been included in our journal, an essay to demystify news media for all of us. The other essay I would like to mention republished from Daily Star, Bangladesh, thanks to their literary page editor, Sohana Manzoor, is on Begum Rokeya, a woman who lived nearly a century ago but thought and wrote of climate and the equality of genders in those days. And she wrote in three languages —English, Bengali and Urdu — impressive! This time we have seven essays.  Do check them out.

Rounding up the year is Anasuya Bhar’s musings. We have the festivals Hannukah and Christmas covered in musings, essay, poetry and a lovely write up by a young girl in Sara’s Selection — a vivacious, happy set of poems, stories and essays, brought to us by Bookosmia — thanks to Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan. Keith Lyons from New Zealand has added to the variety of festivities — Santas in shorts— by telling us how Christmas is celebrated together with summer solstice ‘down under’! More on a lighter tone can be found in verses by Vatsala Radhakeesoon and Rhys Hughes and in an essay that talks of ‘the lost art of doing nothing’. I will leave the book excerpt as a surprise for you to uncover. Let it be said it is a book by a writer whose voice is much respected for its candidness and largeness of vision.

We have a number of stories. Our regular columnist, Sunil Sharma has given a poignant exploration of child labour — one of the most touching stories by him. Sohana Manzoor has given us a flash fiction — three short tales of modern life. This time we also have a Balochi folklore retold by Fazal Baloch — magic and a happily ever after fairy tale scenario — I really liked it.

We have a bumper issue of more than 50 posts this time — unravel them and enjoy during your Christmas holidays. Thank you dear readers for being there to make writing a pleasurable activity for us practitioners.

We wish you all a fantastic festive season full of reading and happy thoughts.

Best wishes from all of us at Borderless Journal.

Mitali Chakravarty

Categories
Editorial

Hope in the Future

This last month has been one full of celebrations. Despite climate change, despite COVID, we as humans have not lost hope. Hope that has been restored and reinforced by not just the festivals we celebrate but by the outcome of the US elections — the return of the climate change friendly faction. With global warming, ice melts and rising ocean levels becoming a reality, we find there is still hope for reversing the trend. Johan Rockstrom, an eminent environmental scientist, based in Stockholm, has said that it is possible to transform the future of humanity in the next decade if we conform to the right policies. Though we are moving away from the “safe tipping points” and towards “destabilising the entire planet”, he stated in a TED talk last month “the next 10 years to 2030 must see the most profound transformation the world has ever known”.  The new President elect, Joe Biden has promised not just to support scientists in their attempt to curb the pandemic but has also promised to be climate friendly. That will hopefully move towards restoring the Earth back to health and we, as a race, can continue to survive in an environmentally friendly culture. At least Rockstrom tweeted to that effect: “With Biden the door to ‘well below 2°C/1.5°C’ remains open. Now we have G3 on Climate: G1=EUs net-zero by 2050; G2=Chinas net-zero latest 2060; G3=US net-zero 2050. The three largest economies go carbon neutral in 30 years. Can be the tipping point!”

Full of hope for a happier future, Borderless Journal brings forth its November issue. We had a theme of festivals, climate change and humour. We have fun poetry by Vatsala Radhakeesoon, Penny Wilkes and Rhys Hughes, who has also given us a poem about climate change as have some others, like Kashiana Singh, John Grey, Anita Nahal, Adrian David and more. In prose, our columnist, Devraj Singh Kalsi, weaves in humour as he writes of his travails with tenants. He understates to create an impact. Travel has been covered in a trip to Trieste by Mike Smith of England in a tongue in cheek fashion. There is a musing on climate and man’s impact on the environment, where interestingly, the writer, D V Raghuvamsi, wonders if COVID 19 is a ‘pre-planned act of nature’ to reaffirm that man is not the most powerful creature on Earth — an unsual thought? What do you think? We have a lovely musing on cats during corona by Nishi Pulugurtha and on festivities by Anasuya Bhar too.

Festivals have been taken up in a big way in Sara’s Selections hosted by Bookosmia, Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan, with pieces on Halloween, Durga Puja (the landmark festival of Bengalis worldwide) and Diwali. Interestingly the theme of Durga as an icon has found its way to our essay section by the founding editor of Different Truths, a senior journalist, Arindam Roy. He has dealt with not only the legends of Durga but cultures that oppose the legend and glorify the villainous demon the goddess destroyed — and all within the geographical boundary of one country!

On the other hand, Dr Meenakshi Malhotra has taken up Kali, who is worshipped by Bengalis for destroying another demon around Diwali. The myths around Diwali keep astounding me with their variety — different celebrations all around the same time of the year — some related to Krishna, some to Rama and a few to Kali, some of it again captured in our young person’s section. Dr Malhotra’s essay mentions Bankim Chandra Chatterjee’s novel Anandamath (1882) as it centred around the concept of Kali. Some critics, she tells us, claimed he had taken a secular and not a religious stance on the raging independence movement. Having read the book many years ago, I still remember it enough to know that this novel does see religion as part of the movement.

The reason I talk of this is because I wondered why some intellectuals persist in being disconnected from reality — religion is a major part of non-intellectual lives in Bankim’s country. This brings me to the next essay by Pratyusha Pramanik on cancel culture and the Indian intelligentsia. She pretty much explores this distancing of intellectuals from reality. A good essay — I would highly recommend it. I wonder was this distancing also the issue that led to the fall of the Democrats in 2016 in USA?

The theme of women has been reinforced in Bhaskar Parichha’s book review of a translation of Bani Basu’s  A Plate of White Marble. He has reflected on the plight of widows and women. This time Dustin Pickering has given us a review on a book by Korean poet, Wansoo Kim — who has earlier contributed poetry to Borderless, poems transcending the line drawn between the two Koreas. Candice Louisa Daquin has reviewed an interesting collection, Lastbench — basically American voices protesting Trump regime. As hope is he will be soon relinquished off his role, this anthology will be of immense historic interest.

Delving into history this time is our book excerpt from The Birth of The Chronicler of the Hooghly by Shakti Ghosal, exploring the evolution of the Bengali festival as we know it, Durga Puja, with the legendary Robert Clive in the eighteenth century. Also brushing into history and mythology, is the multi-layered short story that explores the Ellora caves and the famous Nataraja statue and union with divinity stretching to Manchester United and soccer by Sunil Sharma. He has an interview with us also as the editor of SETU, a journal that bridges across cultures and languages imbibing the best from all.

The other interview is with Aysha Baqir, who other than being a writer, impresses with her stupendous work in Pakistan. From Bangladesh this time, Sohana Manzoor has again raised voices in support of women.

There are a number of stories but our pièce de résistance is the translation of Bengali writer Tarashankar Bandopadhyay’s Daini (witch) by Aruna Chakravarti. Bandopadhyay, a recipient of probably all the major awards possible at a national level, spins out an intense story on witch hunts in early twentieth century Bengal. This narrative has been flavourfully translated and brought to life by Sahitya Akademy winner Chakravarti.

I know I am not able to write about each writer but each piece in this issue is splendid in my opinion. And I would invite readers, who might be more discerning than me, to take the plunge and discover the wonders of our November edition.

Thank you for being there for us dear readers as without you, we have no one to read us.

I wish all of you a fabulous festive season — Diwali, Kali Puja, Thanksgiving et all.

Have a wonderful read.

Sunshine and Happiness,

Mitali Chakravarty

Categories
Index

Borderless October, 2020

Interviews

Teresa Rehman, an award-winning journalist, speaks of her journalistic journey. Click here to read.

Santosh Bakaya, an academic and writer who has written a book on Gandhi in verse, speaks of Gandhi and Gandhian beliefs. Click here to read.

Stories

The Literary Fictionist

Sunil Sharma travels through pages of a classic with ease and aplomb demystifying literary lore to unravel the identity of a man that never was in his story, In Search of Lewis Carroll. Click here to read.

Ghumi Stories: Table Tale

Nabanita Sengupta gives us a glimpse of life in a sleepy little town, long before social-distancing set in. Click here to read

When Bapu met MLK Jr…

Santosh Bakaya takes us on a journey among clouds and chirruping birds. Click here to read.

The God’s Choice Awards 2065

A spoof by Dustin Pickering. What happens when the President of America is woken out of cryogenic slumber in the year 2065? Click here to read.

Taxi Rides

What could a taxi and a fifty year old woman have in common? Click here to find out by reading Avijit Roy‘s story.

The Girl on the Train

A touching flash fiction by Mehak Nain. Click here to read.

A Family Tragedy

A strange telling against the backdrop of 9/11 attack in New York by Nibras Malik. Click here to read this flash fiction.

Mysteries of the Night

A spooky flash fiction by Vandita Dharni… perfect for Halloween nights! Click here to read.

Musings

The Musings of a Copywriter

A Story of Attachments 

Devraj Singh Kalsi in his typical part humorous and poignant style travels down his memory lane. Click here to read

Bapu Walked Here

A thoughtful walk down the memory lane with the shades of Bapu influencing the author, Lina Krishnan. Click here to read.

Travels with Gandhi

Dr. Nishi Pulugurtha meanders through the passages of Aga Khan Palace in Pune, where Gandhi had been imprisoned, and wonders… Click here to read.

Essays

Gandhi — an enduring vision — and those spectacles

 Keith Lyons applauds the Mahatma from New Zealand. Click here to read.

Without Protest : On the meaning of Searching for Truth

Dustin Pickering applies Satyagraha to US protests after reading My Experiments with Truth. Click here to read.

‘If humanity is to progress, Gandhi is inescapable’

Rakhi Dalal says it all through this quotation of Martin Luther King Jr. Click here to read.

Poetry

Click on the names of the poets to read

Dr Piku Chowdhury, Milan Mondal, Navneet K Maun, Dr Laksmisree Banerjee, Soumik De, Wansoo Kim, Shyamolima Saikia, Nabina Das, Ihlwha Choi, Eui Joong Kim, Nirmal Kumar Thapa, Aminath Neena, Ashok Suri, Gopal Lahiri

Vatsala Radhakeesoon

Book Excerpt

Rhys Hughes introduces us to the delights of doodling poetry in his new book with a name that I would not dare to pronounce, Corybantic Fulgours. Click here to see his creations.

Reviews

India Dissents: Edited by Ashok Vajpeyi, reviewed by Debraj Mookerjee who finds, ‘To read India Dissents is in a way therefore an attempt to try and rediscover India’s soul.’ Click here to read.

Gandhi & Aesthetics : Edited by Tridip Suhrud, the nine essays are a fitting tribute to the inventive beauty of Gandhiji and its wide-ranging applicability in present-day society… says reviewer Bhaskar Parichha. Click here to read.

Review of Santosh Bakaya’s Ballad of Bapu by Moinak Dutta. Click here to read.

Nivedita Sen‘s review of Sukumar Ray‘s Habber Jabber Law translated by Arunava Sinha. How non-nonsensical are the nonsense verses of Sukumar Ray and has it been lost in translation? Click here to read.

Translations

Abhagi’s Heaven, a poignant story by Saratchandra Chattopadhyay translated by Sahitya Akademi winner Aruna Chakravarti. Click here to read.

An Eternal Void, a Balochi story by Munir Ahmed Badini translated by Fazal Baloch. Click here to read.

From the conflict ridden state of Kashmir, Rayees Ahmed writes of hope and restoration of peace. He translates his own poem, Ab tak Toofan or The Storm that Rages, from Urdu to English. Click here to read.

An Entreaty written by Hem Bishwakarma, translated from Nepali by the poet himself. Click here to read

Ms Sara’s Selections

Our young people’s section hosted by Bookosmia. Click here to read.

Editorial

The Heart of Non-violence by Mitali Chakravarty. Click here to read

Categories
Index

Borderless, August 2020

Click on the names to read the articles

Special on Hiroshima Nuclear Blast’s 75 th Anniversary

Interview

With nuclear war survivor’s daughter, author Kathleen Burkinshaw

Book Review

Kathleen Burkinshaw’s The Last Cherry Blossom by Archana Mohan

Independence Day Specials 

Story

Tan Kaiyi  

Musings

Aysha Baqir

Nishi Pulugurtha

Poetry

Paresh Tiwari, Dr Lakshmisree Banerjee, Mossarap Khan, Ahmad Rayees, Gopal Lahiri

Humour

Limmericks

Click here to read

Poetry

Vatsala Radhakeesoon, Santosh Bakaya, Palak Tyagi, Rhys Hughes, Aditya Shankar, Sudeshna Mukherjee, Sunil Sharma, Dustin Pickering, Dr Piku Chowdhury, Dr Sutanuka Ghosh Roy, Saranyan BV

Stories

Gita Viswanath

Sudeshna Mukherjee

Sohana Manzoor

Slice of Life/ Musings

Devraj Singh Kalsi

Santosh Bakaya

Sohana Manzoor

More…

Poetry

Navneet K Mann, Gracy Samjetsabam, Dr Ajanta Paul, Goto Emmanuel, Prithvijeet Sinha, Shyamsree Maji, Pervin Saket, Andrée Roby, Anuradha Prasad, Kavita Ezekeil Mendonca, Melissa Chappell

Translation

Three poems translated by RaSh

Excerpt

John Beacham’s poems from his book, On the Pandemic, To the Rising.

Stories

KN Ganguli

Sunil Sharma

Vipin Nair

Jessie Michael

Supriya Rakesh

Book reviews 

Avik Chanda’s Dara Shukoh: The Man who would be King reviewed by Dr Meenakshi Malhotra

Dom Moraes’ Never At Home reviewed by Rakhi Dalal

Resonance: English Poetry from Odisha reviewed by Gopal Lahiri

Essays 

Avik Chanda 

Dustin Pickering

Bhaskar Parichha

Sara’s Selections

August 2020 — Click here to read

Editorial

Changes & Laughter by Mitali Chakravarty

Categories
Editorial

Changes & Laughter

“Come, faeries, take me out of this dull house!

Let me have all the freedom I have lost…”

—William Butler Yeats, The Land of Heart’s Desire, 1894

Words from more than a century old play which could well voice the mood of 2020, the year that will go down in history as of a pandemic that not only connected the world but demanded a change in our way of life, perhaps even suggesting we evolve a new way of living. August is also always a happening month, heralding, at times, demanding changes — of season, of historic events that altered our way of life and thought. We tried to capture a whiff of this spirit in this month’s issue of Borderless Journal along with humour, another mood-changing, fay figment that breathes hope.

We start with the commemoration of an event which lasted a short time but changed the world forever — the seventy fifth anniversary of the Nuclear holocaust that ripped through the twentieth century, on 6th August 1945 at Hiroshima, Japan. It ended the Second World War and a way of life. The impact continues to stagger as we read in the interview with Kathleen Burkinshaw, the author of The Last Cherry Blossom and a survivor’s or hibakusha’s daughter. Archana Mohan reviewed her book for us. The book focuses on the story of Burkinshaw’s mother before and after the bomb blast. When I think of the staggered suffering of the survivors of the holocaust, the subsequent generations and the impact of that bomb on the world, I wonder if the coronal virus will change humanity and our world order in the same way. After all Bill Gates did say that future wars will not be with arms but against biological deviations.

The next and the last nuclear explosion during a war rocked Nagasaki three days later. On that date, 9 th August, two decades down the line, was born a nation that has become the gateway of all Asia to the rest of the world, Singapore. Celebrating Singapore’s 54 th birthday, Kaiyi Tan, a local author of dark fiction, takes us on a scintillating journey in quest of a new world beyond the reaches of a morose pandemic. Singapore, like America, gained its strength from immigrants. We have a thought-provoking piece from Pakistani immigrant author, Aysha Baqir. As she muses over this event , she gives a fleeting wistful glance towards another Independence Day on 14 th August, 1947, that of her home country, Pakistan, which was given a free reign just before India was born on 15 th August with a soulful, famous speech by the first Indian Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru, ‘Tryst with Destiny’ . In that speech, he said: “…A moment comes, which comes but rarely in history, when we step out from the old to new, when an age ends …” Are we at a similar point in history now — one wonders!

To jubilate India’s 74th Independence Day, we have a musing from Nishi Pulugurtha who pensively glances at present day India to pause and ponder over the future of the children growing up in these hard times. We have poetry around this, hovering around themes of war, refugees, partition and life as it is in Kashmir and Kolkata by established writers like Paresh Tiwari, Laksmisree Banerjee, Mosarrap Khan, Gopal Lahiri and youngster Ahmed Rayees.

From history, we move to humour, a much-desired commodity in the current cacophony of darkness. We start with fun poetry by Vatsala Radhakeesoon, Santosh Bakaya, Aditya Shankar, Dustin Pickering, Sunil Sharma and many more; move on to limericks, humorous stories and musings by a number of writers, including surprises from Sohana Manzoor and Devraj Singh Kalsi.

Then we have our usual variety of reviews, poetry and stories. We carry the protest poetry of Melissa Chappell which she wrote after protesting what she felt was flawed and wrong. Hat’s off to her courage — a true protest poet!

On our pages also is Meenakshi Malhotra’s review of a book which had been on the top ten of the best seller lists for ten weeks. Avik Chanda, the author of this historical narrative — Dara Shukoh: The Man who Would be King, was kind enough to do an essay for us rounding up the current outlook for jobs in India. We also had more essays by Dustin Pickering and Bhaskar Parichha.

Bookosmia, Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan have again kindly hosted a lovely young people’s selection for us as usual. For all the contributors I have mentioned, so many remain unnamed in my inadequate listing here. We have a fabulous collection awaiting readers, who are indispensable to our survival.

I would like to offer them a buffet of laughter and tears in Borderless Journal. A mixed oeuvre awaits their palate.

Best wishes,

Mitali Chakravarty,

Borderless Journal

Categories
Editorial

As Time Flies…

Hello World!

And what a lovely and magical life it is despite the COVID 19 — which I am sure we will battle, even if the path seems long. Meanwhile, we remain connected in this virtual world of friendship, harmony and giving!

We completed another month! And what a month it has been — the two greatest bards celebrated their birthdays — Shakespeare and Tagore. We carried an essay on one and a discussion between two greats of modern Indian literature on the other! Other than that, more essays, stories, musings, translations and poetry took our readers globe-trotting. We are doing our best to seamlessly create a world of ideas in which we can drift effortlessly and find a whole new world where we can all meet to have exchanges beyond borders drawn by the exigencies of history, politics, economics, greed and more.

Writers are doing such a wonderful job of connecting us with similar concerns worldwide. Our experiences with COVID 19 and quarantine actually unite us in a large way as humans. One of our story writers has plucked the heart strings of readers across oceans on distant lands and received many encomiums for it. We all seem to be getting more linked by the pandemic caused by the corona virus, giving all of us time to pause and reflect on the commonality of human sufferings, as shown by the narratives from different parts of the world in the journal.

We continue to be fortunate to find many of our pieces a second home in Countercurrents.org. I am also happy to announce we have been listed again as one of the top places for submissions in an Indian site this time.

We have more happening here with all the action from our dynamic editorial board. Dustin Pickering, the editor-in-chief of Harbinger Asylum, on our editorial board, has suggested a promotion for us in his quarterly this July. So, some of our authors will be republished in hard copy from USA in the summer edition of Harbinger Asylum.

We are also starting a young persons’ section from the end of this month. This will be organised by Bookosmia, a children’s publisher. The founder of this popular children’s publishing concern, Nidhi Mishra, also on our editorial board, will be giving us the best from her blog for youngsters and we will exhibit it in our new section called Sara’s Selection.

We want this to be a family friendly journal and to nurture young talents along with established writers. You can check our submissions if you want to publish in the young person’s section, which will cater to aspiring writers under eighteen. We have an email — sara@bookosmia.com – which will take you straight to Bookosmia and the submission of the under-eighteen’s section of both BookOsmia and ours. We will be publishing only a few selected pieces from their blog and others could just be featured in Bookosmia, the blog run by the publisher.

We welcome children from all over the world to write in to Sara. The tie has been announced by Bookosmia in The Hindu, a well-known and established newspaper in India. I am attaching a link to the news below*.

We are overwhelmed with support from all of you and are looking into the periodicity of the Borderless Journal and will be announcing more changes next month on June 14th.

As we move forward in the spirit of Ubuntu or “oneness to humanity”, towards a world filled with love and kindness, where vibrancy and positivity can wash away darkness and hatred, where the freedom of speech does not descend to narrow abuse and anger, marginalisation and boundaries, I welcome you all to write in to me if you feel we need to expand our horizons further.

As I bid you adieu for another month, I hope you will keep reading our journal and writing for us.

Best wishes,

Happiness and Peace,

Mitali Chakravarty, Founding Editor, Borderless Journal.

*Click here to read about Bookosmia and our plans in this report in The Hindu.

Categories
Editorial

Let’s Celebrate in the Spirit of Ubuntu

The date Borderless Journal completes its first month, 14th April, coincides with Poila Baisakh, or the first day of the Bengali new year, the Tamil New year, Sinhalese and Nepali New year, the second day of Songkran, the Thai new year (April 13- 15), the start of Bohag Bihu (an Assamese festival commemorating harvest and the new year, April 14 to 20), the second day of the Indian new year, Baisakhi. Let us celebrate along with the journal’s first month birthday this profusion of festivals, which would have been big with celebration for many but shrinks to online greetings because of the pandemic. Hey, did I use the word ‘shrink’? It actually grows bigger because there are so many more of us celebrating the occasion together in a virtual world.

The good news is though the pandemic continues to infect the globe, some areas look hopeful with the curve flattening. The way this virus has unified mankind is unprecedented. Bill Gates has acknowledged this in an interview with CNBC by just mentioning 7 billion doses of the vaccine… thus gathering all mankind into one-fold, beyond all boundaries. It was wonderful to have a world thought leader reach out to the whole humanity, even if for a moment — the thought of all of us being considered as part of an aggregate made for a feeling of inclusion.

This is the inclusivity that one hopes to highlight in Borderless Journal.

Today, borderlessjournal.com completes a month of its existence in our virtual world connecting all of us beyond all borders. Hopefully, it will be a virtual journal for all seven billion people that populate this wonderful green planet we call the Earth. We have travelled with writers to various parts of the world — many still remain unexplored. When some of the contributors ask me, which country does the journal belong to — I tell them — we are where you are. When astronauts watch the Earth from outer space, what do they see? What do clouds see?

The first month of the journal has been promising with many writers sharing their narratives — poetry, essays, short stories and musings. Readers have come back to us with wonderful feedback. I hope you will keep visiting us. Our editorial board has been active sending writers and their own writing too. They are all fabulous writers much like all of you. The resultant effect is Countercurrents.org has offered content sharing — where we exchange content. A number of our essays and musings have been republished in Countercurrents.org. A couple of articles have been quoted, one was in an Urdu journal with credits acknowledged to Borderless. One of our articles was also republished in another online journal with an acknowledgement to us. We also discovered our name in a Canadian listing (Mississauga Writers’s Group) for submissions — a pleasant surprise. We are crossing borders without a passport!

We have had a good start — perhaps you can call it a beginner’s luck, or will it continue?

That depends on all of you! Because this journal is yours, ours and belongs to everyone. I wish, I dream of 7.8 billion humans living in equity with access to food, potable water, housing, education and internet — reading and contributing to Borderless Journal in the spirit of “oneness to humanity” or ubuntu.

Let’s make it happen!

Mitali Chakravarty

Founding Editor, borderlessjournal.com