Tales of Darkness and Light: Soso Tham’s The Old Days of the Khasis
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Tales of Darkness and Light: Soso Tham’s The Old Days of the Khasis

By Janet Hujon (translator)
Free
Book Description

Soso Tham was an Indian poet who worked at a time when English was slowly effacing the nuances of ancient Indian culture. Now, however, in Janet Hujon’s valuable translation, English is the very medium that enables Tham’s poetry to reach a wider audience. Hujon draws on parallels from the Romantic imagination and other sympathetic literary traditions of Myth to illuminate and contextualise Tham’s work for an English-speaking audience. This translation will contribute to giving Soso Tham the wider recognition he deserves as a poet, and more generally to introduce Western readers to the rich literary traditions of northeast India.

—Dr Vayu Naidu, SOAS, University of London

Soso Tham (1873–1940), the acknowledged poet laureate of the Khasis of northeastern India, was one of the first writers to give written poetic form to the rich oral tradition of his people.

Poet of landscape, myth and memory, Soso Tham paid rich and poignant tribute to his tribe in his masterpiece The Old Days of the Khasis. Janet Hujon’s vibrant new translation presents the English reader with Tham’s long poem, which keeps a rich cultural tradition of the Khasi people alive through its retelling of old narratives and acts as a cultural signpost for their literary identity.

This book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Indian literature and culture and in the interplay between oral traditions and written literary forms.



This edition includes:

• English translation

• Critical apparatus   

• Embedded audio recordings of the original text

Table of Contents
  • Contents
  • Preface
  • Acknowledgements
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. A Short Biographical Note
  • 3. Khasi Folktales About Darkness and Light
  • 4. Ki Symboh Ksiar–Grains of Gold
  • 5. Ka Persyntiew–The Flower Garden
  • 6. Pyrthei Mariang–The Natural World
  • 7. U Lyoh–The Cloud
  • 8. U Rngiew–The Dark One
  • 9. U Simpyllieng–The Rainbow
  • 10. Ka Ïing I Mei–Home
  • 11. Ka Meirilung–Gentle Motherland
  • 12. Lum Lamare–Lamare Peak
  • 13. Ka Aïom Ksiar–Season of Gold
  • Bibliography
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