Dr Shankar, Rasala’s General Editor, is one of those unassuming geniuses who quietly do some of the best work in their field. Most of us who know him quickly realise just how talented he is as a Sanskritist. Sanskrit poetry is complex, dense, rigidly structured and requires a knowledge of all kinds of topics that would overwhelm even University Challenge champions, but to Dr Shankar it comes as easily and naturally as a mother tongue.
It is then a great happiness that his talent has now been recognised at the national level with the Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman award, announced by the President on Independence Day. Press release here.
Congratulations Dr Shankar, it really couldn’t have been better deserved.
My husband and I recently celebrated our son’s first birthday and, not coincidentally, it’s been over a year since you last heard from us here at Rasāla. Motherhood and laptops don’t get on that well together, although you’ll be pleased to hear that Utpalaksha has already tried his hand at editorial mark-up (or perhaps freehand scribbling would be a better term) on the upcoming Darpa Dalana.
We don’t have a verse of the week for you yet I’m afraid, but we do have some good news for our customers who are based outside India. Rasāla’s The Conquest of Madhurā: Gaṅgādevī’s Madhurā Vijaya is now available on Amazon.com, and, thanks to a new policy, the Amazon version uses the same attractive matt finish that we use for our India-printed books. The Message of The Koel, which is already on Amazon.com, now also has that same matt cover rather than the glossy one we had to use earlier.
You are of course still welcome to order directly through Rasāla – and we prefer it that way because it’s the only way we get to meet, albeit virtually, our readers – but for those who like the one-click ease of Amazon, please go ahead:
The Conquest of Madhurā
The Message of The Koel
(As before, India-based readers can buy our books on Amazon.in as well as Flipkart and other Indian ebookshops.)
Today is Yugādī– the beginning (ādī) of a new age (yuga), although in its more popular spelling the festival has lost the ‘y’ to become the far less pronounciation-friendly, for non-Indians at least, Ugadi. It is at any rate a suitably auspicious day to celebrate the official release of Rasāla’s second book, The Conquest of Madhurā, a rare 14th century Sanskrit poem by – believe it or not, and several scholars didn’t when it was discovered in 1916 – a woman.
Faithful readers of the Rasāla Verse of the Week, as doubtless all of you are, will not need any further introduction to the poem. For more details about the Rasāla edition, click here (and note that if you buy the print book before 1st June 2013, you are entitled to a free copy of the eBook).
We also wanted to let you know that there are several forthcoming titles to look forward to, including:
- a sonorous rendition of two famous hymns – the Śyāmalā Daṇḍaka and the Āryā Śataka – by prize-winning poet Usha Kishore and neurosurgeon-cum-Sanskritist M Sambasivan
- a translation of the viciously funny Darpa Dalana of Kashmir’s 11th century master-satirist, Kṣemendra, by diplomat-turned-translator AND Haksar
- as well as of course the first Rasāla anthology – 108 of Sanskrit’s most beautiful verses on the night and her myriad charms
We will though have to ask you to be patient because Rasala will be taking an extended break while Venetia goes on maternity leave. In the meantime, please do dig into The Conquest of Madhurā (and The Message of The Koel if you haven’t already). Both are available in print and eBook format. And we will endeavour to keep dispatching verses of the week to you all as often as possible – to those who have noticed that the Rasāla Verse of the Week has become slightly erratic recently, sorry – but probably more like once a month than once a week.
Verse of the week will return after New Year but in the meantime we thought you might enjoy this.
We just wanted to let you all know that we are now on Amazon which will make things easier for those of you not in India because you won’t have to wait weeks for a book to arrive, and the postage should be less. Here is our first book on Amazon in America and in the UK, and I think it is also on the European sites too; our other books will follow when published.
The Message of the Koel is also now available on Kobo, one of the most popular eBook reading apps. I was able to test it out on the iPad last week and it works well, although if you have an iPad (or any other Apple product) I’d still recommend iBooks over Kobo because it just works and looks better in iBooks. Just to complicate things, though, you can’t buy our books directly from iBooks due to complex US legal requirements – so you need to buy the eBook from us and then you can very easily load it onto your device.
Thanks and as we are now firmly in the festive season for almost all of our readers we can safely wish you a happy Dasara, Diwali, Eid, Thanksgiving, Christmas and of course New Year.
UPDATE (April 2013) – At the moment only The Message of The Koel is on Kobo as Kobo doesn’t support EPUB 3 and won’t accept our eBooks as a result. According to the Kobo support desk, Kobo has never supported EPUB 3 but accepted our EPUB 3 file of The Message of The Koel because of an error in the system. Nevertheless, this book at least is still available on the Kobo platform. The others we hope will one day join it – when Kobo starts supporting EPUB 3.