Tale of The Syamantak Jewel and Other Stories


Born in 1930, S.C. Narula studied Physics and Astronomy for his graduation at the Government College, Ludhiana, but switched to English Literature for his Masters and got his doctorate from the Delhi University for his study of Christopher Fry. His post-doctoral dissertation on the shorter poems of John Milton won him worldwide academic acclaim. He has traveled extensively and presented papers at national and international seminars; published in scholarly journals, Indian Literature, Indian Journal of English Studies, The Literary Criterion, ARIEL, JSAL…; contributed articles to anthologies; translated Hindi and Punjabi poetry and fiction into English.

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The rudiments of the stories are histories in the sense that, the sage author Vedavyas terms them as itihas and cites them in the course of the narrative of his epic poem, Mahabharata. And the stories have been chosen from the text of the Mahabharata, except the last tale of Bharadwaj that has been taken from Shrimadbhagwatam of Vedavyas, too. Certain situations and certain characters and the prevalent mood of the moment in the epic call up these tales as illustrations, or for their general moral content meant for the listener’s benefit. Their relevance to the situation and character is unimpeachable. Also, confined as they are to the limits of an instance of discourse, the digression does not impair the epic structure or format but adds to richness of texture, its world view. Whereas in their original appearance in the course of narrative these histories are characterized by brevity for the immediacy and intensity of effect, Narula has chosen them for the scope of the drama in the situation and the gradual revelation of and evolution of characters in the perspective of the milieu in which they are placed.


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