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Description : Penguin Classics proudly brings you a magnificent selection of some of the most important books which have shaped India's dynamic cultural and literary heritage over time. From ancient treatises to modern novels, from classical drama to medieval memoir, from timeless poetry to iconic short stories, the Penguin Classics boxed set offers a sumptuous feast of literature: 1. Kama Sutra: A Guide to the Art of Pleasure by Vatsyayana (translated by A. N. D. Haksar) Treating pleasure as an art, the Kama Sutra is a handbook covering every aspect of love and relationships. Its seven sections are devoted to everything from social life to detailed instruction on sexual techniques. This beautiful new edition dispels the well-worn image of an erotic Oriental curiosity, highlighting the work's historical importance as a sophisticated guide to living well. Conveying all the original flavour and feel of this elegant, intimate and hugely enjoyable work, this clear, accurate translation is a masterpiece of pithy description and a wry account of human desires and foibles. 2. Abhijnanashakuntalam: The Recognition of Shakuntala by Kalidasa (translated Vinay Dharwadker) Kalidasa’s most famous play refashions an episode from the Mahabharata, magnificently dramatizing the love story of Shakuntala, a girl of semi-divine origin, and Dushyanta, a noble human king. After their brief and passionate but secret union at her father’s forest ashram, Dushyanta must return to his capital. He gives Shakuntala his signet ring, promising to make her his queen when she joins him later. But, placed unawares under a curse, he forgets her—and she loses the ring that would have enabled him to recognize her. Will the lovers be reunited? 3. The Arthashastra by Kautilya (translated by L. N. Rangarajan) Statesmanship and Economics at their best - 'Arthashastra' is one of the oldest books with immense historical significance written by Kautilya or Arya Chanakya as he was popularly known. This book is one of the most effective books ever written on the art of statecraft and the science of everyday living. Originally written in Sanskrit, this is the English translation of the book which highlights the role of Government in the lives of people and the important responsibilities that it should carry. The book also speaks a great deal about economics; hence the name 'Arthashastra' has been used which is the Sanskrit translation of the word 'Economics'. Broader Concepts - This book is basically a collection of 380 shlokas which have been written in prose. It is divided into 15 different sections for the better understanding of the readers. 4. The Kural by Tiruvalluvar (translated by P. S. Sundaram) A celebrated work by the greatest poet of classical Tamil literature Tiruvalluvar probably lived and wrote between the second century BC and the eighth century AD though his dates have not been conclusively established. The work by which he is known, the Kural, comprises 1,330 couplets and is divided into three sections—Virtue, Wealth and Love—and is based on the first three of the four supreme aims prescribed by Hindu tradition: dharma (virtue), artha (wealth), kama (love) and moksha (salvation). 5. I, Lalla: The Poems of Lal Ded (translated by Ranjit Hoskote) The poems of the fourteenth-century Kashmiri mystic Lal Ded, popularly known as Lalla, strike us like brief and blinding bursts of light. Emotionally rich yet philosophically precise, sumptuously enigmatic yet crisply structured, these poems are as sensuously evocative as they are charged with an ecstatic devotion. 6. Babur Nama: Journal of Emperor Babur (translated by A. S. Beveridge; and abridged and edited by Dilip Hiro) The Babur Nama, a journal kept by Zahir Uddin Muhammad Babur (1483–1530), the founder of the Mughal Empire, is the earliest example of autobiographical writing in world literature, and one of the finest. Against the turbulent backdrop of medieval history, it paints a precise and vivid picture of life in Central Asia and Afghanistan—where Babur ruled in Samarkand and Kabul—and in the Indian subcontinent, where his dazzling military career culminated in the founding of a dynasty that lasted three centuries. 7. Home and the World by Rabindranath Tagore (translated by Sreejata Guha) Home and the World (Ghare Baire) is the story of a young liberal-minded zamindar Nikhilesh, his educated and sensitive wife Bimala, and Nikhilesh’s friend Sandip, a charismatic nationalist leader whom Bimala finds herself attracted to. A perceptive exposition of the difficulties surrounding women’s emancipation in pre-modern India, and a telling portrayal of the chasms inherent in the nationalist movement, Home and the World has generated endless debate and discussion. 8. My Name Is Radha: The Essential Manto (translated by Muhammad Umar Memon) A bohemian and an iconoclast, the figure of Saadat Hasan Manto looms large over the literature of the Indian subcontinent. We know of his stories on the horrors of Partition and the struggles of prostitutes. But neither Partition nor prostitution gave birth to the genius of Manto. They only furnished him with an occasion to reveal the truth of the human condition. My Name Is Radha is a path-breaking edition of stories which delves deep into Manto’s creative world and refreshingly brings into focus Manto the writer rather than Manto the commentator. 9. Tamas by Bhisham Sahni (translated by Daisy Rockwell) In a city in undivided Punjab, Nathu, a tanner, is bribed to kill a pig. When the animal's carcass is discovered on the steps of the local mosque the next morning, simmering tensions explode into an orgy of bloodlust. But in the midst of the ensuing carnage, despite the darkness of the times, rare moments of unexpected friendship and love also surface. Exquisitely translated and beautifully brought to life in stunning new covers, these works are a must-have for anyone who wants to savour our glorious literary legacy.
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