Title: Sanjher Katha Parts I & II [Twilight Tales Parts I & II]
Author: Shibratan Mitra
Publisher: Asutosh Dhar, Asutosh Library, 39/1 & 50/1 College Street, Calcutta
Printer: Printed by Rebati Mohan Das at the Asutosh Press, Dhaka
Date & edition: Part I – 1919, Part II - 1920
Price: Part I - 8 annas, Part II – 1 rupee 2 annas
About the book:
The two volumes of Sanjher Katha are collections of traditional Bengali fairy tales most of which had been gleaned by the author from the regions in and around Birbhum. The anthologies are examples of the contemporary folkloristic zeal to collect, preserve and disseminate indigenous oral literatures. The author, like many of his contemporaries, had been putting the oral tales on paper and in print with a purpose. Their mission was to retrieve those cultural treasures that were getting lost: “In those days, there had always been some aged woman or a genial grandfather who would be a living store-house of such tales. . . . But times and places are changing fast and such storytellers are becoming scarce by the day. Today’s children are deprived of the joy of listening to these tales. Many eminent intellectuals are therefore striving to preserve the oral tales for posterity by transcribing them. . . . this volume has been conceived with similar aspirations.”
The first part contains three and the latter volume publishes four stories from the author’s folkloric archives. The narrations retain much of the regional dialectic overtones and are frequently punctuated with brief rhyming pieces – traits carried over form the traditional oral culture with its strong inclination for colloquial and idiomatic speech patterns and varying intonations through chants, rhymes and songs.
Illustrations: Both the volumes are embellished with full-page gray/sepia/red/cyan tinted illustrations. [Mitra mentions Phani Gupta and Naren Sarkar as illustrators of Sanjher Katha].
Note: In the introduction to a particular edition of Sanjher Katha (referred by Khagendranath Mitra), the author announces his plans to publish two more anthologies – Ushar Katha [Morning Tales] and Nishir Katha [Night-time Tales] – in the future.
Pages: Part I- 75, Part II - 175
Genre: Folk and Fairy Tale.
Source: The National Library, Kolkata
Shelfmark: Part I – 182.Oc.919.52
Part II – 182.Oc.920.105
1. Title Page, Part I
Illustration, ‘Keshabati’, Part II
References consulted for this entry
Mitra, Khagendranath. Shatabdir Shishu-sahitya.