Screenshot 2020-08-01 at 7.45.01 PM
Ahalya

THE SATI SERIES    attempts to steer the popular belief about women in Indian mythology from the leadership perspective, thus challenging the conventional narrative which sets the social expectations from South Asian women. THE SATI SERIES will discover the compassionate but independent voices of    Panch Kanya - disrupting, questioning & reconstructing the transformational  power of these legends. 

Praises :

 

‘Ahalya, Draupadi, Kunti, Tara, Mandodari – each of the Pancha Kanyas is fascinating. Ahalya’s storyhas been told and retold several times, sometimes with varying accounts across texts. What was herrelationship with Gautam and Indra? What was her crime? How was she redeemed? Why is she amongthe Pancha Kanya? There have been modern retellings and interpretations too. Koral Dasgupta’s wonderfulretelling adds to this corpus, with a lyrical and poetic quality. The image that will remain with you is of theMist. That is the reason Ahalya, and this rendition, is so enthralling.’ – Bibek Debroy

 

‘Koral Dasgupta’s evocation of Ahalya, the first of the Panch Kanyas, the five virtuous women from Indianmyth, is an enigmatic tale about purity, chastity, seduction, and redemption, told from the perspectiveof the eternal feminine.’ – Namita Gokhale

 

‘Amazing premise and approach. This is one unique take on an age-old tale. Brilliant and intriguing.’– Anand Neelkantan

 

' "Go, woman, find your world yourself. The joy you seek deserves to be discovered." Armed with this advice, Ahalya sets off on her life's journey. The magical and thought-provoking adventure that follows will intrigue and mesmerize readers.' - Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

 

'Impressed. I literally never imagined the interior world of a character from mythology in this way, let alone contemplating this way of reflecting on the soul, embodiment, desire, and a woman's experience of the Brahma and Indra dominated worlds! Really powerful.' - Prof. Brian A. Hatcher

 

'In this original and spirited interpretation of the tale of Ahalya, Koral Dasgupta gives voice, character, and agency to an enigmatic and fascinating female figure from ancient Hindu lore, while exploring and seeking to resolve the proverbial and vexing tension between asceticism and sensuality.'                                                          - Prof. Philip Lutgendorf

 

'Koral has outdone herself. Lyrical, sharp, wise, playful, questioning.' - Kiran Manral

 

'Engaging and cinematic narrative.' - Srijit Mukherjee

 

'A stream of consciousness; a spiritual telling. It rescued and redeemed the purity ruse. Koral is a visual writer.' - Nabila Jamshed

 

'Dasgupta makes old myths contemporary and relevant with an understated elan and compactness.'

- Sudeep Sen

 

'A stunning read. Fluent and engaging. What a fine writer!'

- Fiona Sampson

 

'Panchakanya and other women, reinterpreted,  is a most pertinent call. Ahalya  is beautifully written and the little details and imagined conversations  bring the character alive. I also enjoyed the  almost surrealistic movement between mythical time and ours. It’s a reminder that we in India live by a philosophy of transitions, in-between-ness.  Ahalya is amongst us.'

- Prof. Malashri Lal

 

 'A stunning piece of literature.' - Dipannita Sharma

 

Media Verdict :

Koral Dasgupta creates true wonder with her new book Ahalya.  The Tempest

Koral has problematised, unabashedly, the issues and social norms related to Sati, womanhood, motherhood, virtue, pleasure, orgasm, purity-pollution, female body and infidelity. Outlook

An ecocritical reading of Ahalya reveals the exploration of an ancient connection with nature that’s sacred, intimate, and as we are in the midst of an environmental emergency, vital to reconcile with today.  FIRSTPOST

...the brilliance of Dasgupta’s retelling is not just within the confines of that transformation itself, but rather, the importance of being seen, validated, and loved as you are. Southern Humanities Review

 

In a most intriguing retelling, Dasgupta’s narrative turns the seduction story on its head, making Ahalya the seducer instead of the seduced. SCROLL

 

Bloggers' Take (selected) :

 

Koral’s sensitive novel is ought to be read by every thinking Indian, affianced, married or separated. It shows, with exceptional fictional skill, the subtle and everyday way in which men and women are bludgeoned to play scripted subordinate roles.

Sahil

Such stories are the need of the hour (and generations to come) which gives a better meaning to the equality amongst gender from the mythological lores which was long suppressed by the rise of Monastic orders and need to be retold or at least reinterpreted for the coming generation to learn lessons from.

Aishwary Mehta

Koral Dasgupta has made us see Ahalya as the symbol of rejuvenation and innocence, as the one who heralds the sanctity of persona, let alone the body with its flesh and bones.

Deepan

The first-person narrative that too from a woman-author served to AHALYA's advantage. Gaurav Sharma Lakhi

Ahalya is entertaining, well-researched, and offers an interesting see-through into the ancient world. Richa Mehndiratta

There’s always another side to a story, and this one’s the side of the Woman, whose voice have never been heard before, whose tale has never been told before. Sayantoni Das

What makes this retelling of an age old tale special is its symbolism and thought-provoking words. In short, the book is mystical and intriguing.

Hibathu Naseer K.

 

Excerpt :

 

"He looked ethereal. His body radiated masculine charm, his muscles shone in splendour, his eyes glowed with celestial desire."  Daily O

 

Talks :

 

An Author's Afternoon with the Prabha Khaitan Foundation

Chandigarh Lit Fest (panel discussion)

Kalinga Lit Fest (panel discussion)

Think India (Facebook Live)

Kalinga Bhava Samvad 

Crossword Bookstores : in conversation with Shri Bibek Debroy (Facebook Live)  

Millennium Mams' (Facebook Live)

The Purity Ruse with Observer Research Foundation (panel discussion)

Bistro Buzz with Sutapa Basu

The Write Circle

Prabha Khaitan Foudation, Raipur

Galp Lok

Mythology, Workplace and Feminism: a Podcast

 

Interviews

 

Indic Academy

The Daily Guardian

E-She

Bookaholicanonymous

Indiablooms

 

Mentions :

 

7 works of fiction by Indian authors releasing in August 2020

List of Top 15 Must Read Indian Mythology Fictional Retellings

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ahalya
has been Nominated for 
Popular Choice 
category
and
longlisted for 
Best Fiction
Category
by TOI's
AutHER awards.