Rasāla is a small publisher with a grand aim: to bring to light some of India’s most beautiful forgotten poems through English translations. Indian literature, both ancient and modern, is rich by any standards and improbably vast. Rasāla’s focus is necessarily narrower. We publish poetry composed in Sanskrit, the backbone of almost all Indian languages and much of Indian culture.
Rasāla, pronounced just like masala, means ‘full of rasa’. Rasa is one of those Sanskrit words with a lengthy dictionary entry but in the world of poetry it refers to what a poem makes you feel. Rasāla is one of the many names for the mango tree, the hero of many an Indian poem. The mango tree is so called because it is full of juice or nectar – another meaning of rasa – and thus irresistible to the birds and bees that flock to it in poetry, as in life. Rasāla’s logo is based on the mango symbol which has over many centuries become a well-loved motif of many cultures, India’s included. This pattern is principally known in India as the ambi, and, via a Scottish town, paisley in the West.
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