In Search of the Pitcher of Nectar

Paper Type: | Size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
ISBN-13: 978-93-91125-78-3


In Search of the Pitcher of Nectar—a book about pilgrimage, but is it?

Authored by Kalkut aka Samaresh Bose, this travelogue narrates the author’s experience of visiting the Kumbh-mela, the holy site of the confluence of three rivers, Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati, at Prayag, where pilgrims bathe at a designated time of the year. According to Hindu mythology, the nectar of immortality, amrita, arising out of the churning of oceans by gods and asuras, was spilled from the pot, kumbh, in this location. The seekers believe that bathing in the confluence is a means to atonement or penance for past sins.

The narrator commences on this journey with the desire not to achieve atonement, but to learn about life, about people. He is amazed and inspired by every character he meets, whether it is his fellow passengers on the train, sadhus and devotees like Mahavir and Ramjidasi at the festival, or the family he shares a tent with.

Through the narrator’s eyes, one is also able to discern the double standards of society: masses of people come together on the same journey, but are unable to leave behind their social prejudices, classist behaviour, their weakness for sensual pleasure, their addictions, their personal tragedies and sorrows—all in the hope of God taking their pain away with one dip in the holy waters. 

Samaresh  Bose
Samaresh Bose

Samaresh Bose, regarded undisputedly as one of the greatest Bengali writers of all times, was born in 1924 in Dhaka and spent his adolescent years in Naihati undergoing varied work experiences, ranging from hawking eggs on the streets to acting as a foreman in the Ichhapore ordnance factory. He wrote his first novel at the age of  21 and soon emerged as a major writer on the Bengali literary scene. His stories have been made into award-winning films. He has been a recipient of the Sahitya Akademi Award (1980).

Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee
Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee

Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee taught English Literature at Gauhati University for ten years and Comparative Literature at Jadavpur University for five years. He then joined Sahitya Akademi’s Eastern Regional Office at Kolkata as its Secretary. After putting in a decade there, he shifted to Delhi and worked as the Director of the National Book Trust, India for a five-year tenure. Later, he also worked as the Editor of Sahitya Akademi’s prestigious journal Indian Literature for five years and Director of K. K. Birla Foundation, New Delhi for six years. Currently he functions as the Editorial Director of Niyogi Books. An accomplished translator from Bengali into English and vice versa, his English translations of fictions of Mahasveta Devi, Sunil Gangaopadhyay and Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay have been well received. He has also translated a short story collection of U. R. Anantamurthy and a novel by Viswas Patil into Bengali. Recipient of the best translator’s award from IBBY Congress, Mr Bhattacharjee has also edited a collection of stories of displacement from Assam.