So this is what history looks like, alive and electric, written by a participant while it is unfolding. Mrinal Pande s translation is thrilling... Neel Mukherjee Around the middle of the nineteenth century, when the East India Company had consolidated its hold over the Indian subcontinent, a Chitpavan Brahmin by the name of Vishnu Bhatt Godshe Versaikar decided to cross the Vindhya mountains with his aged uncle to earn some money. What he had not foreseen was how his trip would coincide with the historic Sepoy Mutiny and play havoc with their travel plans. This is a unique first-person, eyewitness account of their picaresque journey, recorded several years after their return home. This is also perhaps the only documentation of a momentous event in the history of India by an impoverished but learned young beggar-priest. In this gripping yet sensitive translation, Mrinal Pande brings to life for today s reader the account of Vishnu Bhatt s adventures, and the fascinating history of its publication.
Mrinal Pande was born in 1946 in Tikamgarh to the well-known Hindi author Shivani and educationist Shukdeo Pant. She has taught at the universities of Allahabad, Delhi and Bhopal, edited the Hindi periodicals Vama and Saptahik Hindustan and worked as editor/ anchor for Star News and Doordarshan. In 2000, she became India s first woman chief editor of a multi-edition Hindi daily, Hindustan. She has also been the secretary general of the Editors Guild of India and was the founder president of the Indian Women s Press Corps. After her retirement in 2009, she was appointed chairperson of India s national broadcaster, Prasar Bharati. Mrinal writes in both Hindi and English. Her work includes fiction, plays and essays on contemporary India and its women. She was awarded the Padmashree in 2006 for her services in the field of journalism. She lives in Delhi with her husband and has two daughters.
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