About the BookWith the publication of her two volumes of Kashmiri verse titled Reshyi Maalyun Meon (1998) and Veth Maa Chhe Shongith (2003), Bimla Raina emerged as a talented poet in Jammu and Kashmir. Her verses are mostly cast into the form of quatrains, which are reminiscent of the vaakh used by the celebrated Kashmiri mystic poet, Lal Ded, over six centuries ago. However, it needs to be pointed out that Bimla Raina communicates her perceptions of the Divine in her own way and idiom. She deserves critical attention as a contemporary Kashmiri poet in view of her originality and novelty.
The book Country of the Soul attempts to capture the essence of Kashmiri poetry in English translations so as to give the readers a feel of the excellence of Bimla Raina’s poetic collections entitled Reshyi Maalyun Meon and Veth Maa Chhe Shongith. It presents translation of a sizeable number of her verses into English. The translations are excellent—at once readable, composed in the free-verse form and largely faithful to the original text. Additionally, the book provides a comprehensive introduction by eminent scholar Prof. A.N. Dhar to the poet in question, which is very useful and informative. It also analyses a fairly good number of the translated verses, which gives illustrative support to his observations. It offers some relevant material that serves as the needed intellectual background to the textual study undertaken. The volume has been planned and brought out with scholarly insight and meticulous care as a composite critical and literary piece.
This book is a delight for those who have interest in Kashmiri verse particularly that of Bimla Raina.About the Author/sA.N. Dhar holds a doctorate in English Literature and a Diploma in English Studies from the Central Institute of English and Foreign Languages, Hyderabad. He is a distinguished scholar of English language and literature and a seasoned teacher, having taught at the University of Kashmir and earlier at the M.A.M. College, Jammu for about three decades. A former Head of the Department of English and Director, ELT Centre, University of Kashmir, Prof. Dhar, on his retirement from service, was awarded a 2-year U.G.C. Emeritus Fellowship in English. Later, he was awarded a Senior Fellowship in Literature by the Department of Culture, Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India for another two years. He has to his credit several books besides many research articles published in prestigious journals in the country.
Prof. Dhar’s areas of interest include 19th century British poetry; mystical and comparative literature; and stylistics and literary translation. In 1984, he was awarded an academic visitorship by the British Council to several British universities. From 1995 to 2008, he remained closely associated with the Bhagavaan Gopinathji Trust, Jammu as the Honorary Editor of the trilingual religio-cultural journal, registered under the title Shuddha Vidya, published biannually by the Trust.