Revisiting Abhijnanasakuntalam: Love,Lineage and Language in Kalidasa’s Nataka.
Edited by Saswati Sengupta and Deepika Tandon, Orient Blackswan, New Delhi, 2011, 327 pages.
(Assistant Professor, Department of Ancient Indian History and Culture, Calcutta University)
Perhaps it is not surprising that the idea of ‘Revisiting Abhijñ?ana?akuntalam: Love, Lineage and Language in Kalidasa’s Nataka’ took shape in the undergraduate classrooms of Miranda House College. The Abhijñ?ana?akuntalamof Kalid?sa was incorporated in an optional paper on ‘Classical Literatures’ for English Honours students. Even though the classrooms buzz with inherited preconceptions and the method of instruction is inevitably authoritarian, theyoften have the advantage of offering perspectives, the ability to look at a problem as a whole and to bring totally unexpected analogies to bear upon it. Often it is in a classroom that academic status quo ends. In this case, lively exchanges between the teachers and students spilled out of the classroom and even out of the structure of the text itself, raising fundamental questions about its sources, variants, readings and its role in ‘shaping traditions’.