01 March 2010

Mahasweta Devi’s Knife was first published in 1985 as Chhuri in Anushtup, a Bengali literary magazine. Some 25 years later, this powerful story comes to us still somewhat from across the divide, even after the publication of much of the author’s work in English over the last decade or so. Set in a suburban town bordering Bangladesh, this tale of gang warfare gives us rural West Bengal after the Naxalites have been finished off, where their killers now reign supreme, goondas are called ‘controllers’ and ganglords called Germany hold sway.

Excerpted with permission from Bait: Four Stories, by Mahasweta Devi, part of the series What Was Communism? edited by Tariq Ali. (Seagull Books, April 2010)

Translated from the Bengali by SUMANTA BANERJEE

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    Mahasweta Devi is an eminent social activist and writer.

    Keywords: fiction Mahasweta Devi Naxalism Sumanta Banerjee Anushtup Knife