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Hungry Humans

Hungry Humans

Karichan Kunju
,
Sudha G. Tilak
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Ganesan returns, after four decades, to the town of his childhood, filled with memories of love and loneliness, of youthful beauty and the ravages of age and misfortune, of the promise of talent and its slow destruction. Seeking treatment for leprosy, he must also come to terms with his past: his exploitation at the hands of older men, his growing consciousness of desire and his own sexual identity, his steady disavowal of Brahminical morality and his slowly degenerating body. He longs for liberation-sexual, social and spiritual-but finally finds peace only in self-acceptance.

This translation of the groundbreaking Tamil novel Pasitha Manidam, first published in 1978, offers deep insight into the conservative and caste-conscious temple town of Kumbakonam, viewed here with dispassionately cold clarity as a society that utterly fails its own. Sudha G. Tilak deftly builds upon Karichan Kunju’s prose to expose this world, raw, real, without frills or artifice. The themes of masculinity, desire and sexuality, caged within caste and repression, all combine to give readers front-row seats to the many acts we put on for and as a community.

Imprint: India Viking

Published: Apr/2022

ISBN: 9780670095575

Length : 288 Pages

MRP : ₹499.00

Hungry Humans

Karichan Kunju
,
Sudha G. Tilak

Ganesan returns, after four decades, to the town of his childhood, filled with memories of love and loneliness, of youthful beauty and the ravages of age and misfortune, of the promise of talent and its slow destruction. Seeking treatment for leprosy, he must also come to terms with his past: his exploitation at the hands of older men, his growing consciousness of desire and his own sexual identity, his steady disavowal of Brahminical morality and his slowly degenerating body. He longs for liberation-sexual, social and spiritual-but finally finds peace only in self-acceptance.

This translation of the groundbreaking Tamil novel Pasitha Manidam, first published in 1978, offers deep insight into the conservative and caste-conscious temple town of Kumbakonam, viewed here with dispassionately cold clarity as a society that utterly fails its own. Sudha G. Tilak deftly builds upon Karichan Kunju’s prose to expose this world, raw, real, without frills or artifice. The themes of masculinity, desire and sexuality, caged within caste and repression, all combine to give readers front-row seats to the many acts we put on for and as a community.

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Karichan Kunju

R. NARAYANASWAMI (1919-1992) is better known by his pen name Karichan Kunju. He considered himself a protégé of the Tamil writer K. P. Rajagopalan, who wrote under the pseudonym Karichan-Tamil for the bird drongo. To honour his literary mentor, Narayanaswami wrote under the pen name Karichan Kunju, or the drongo's chick.


From eight to fifteen years of age Kunju studied Hindi and the Vedas in Bengaluru. He pursued higher studies in Hindi and Tamil at Rameshwara Vedasthana Patashala in Madurai and then worked as a Tamil teacher in Chennai, Mannargudi and Kumbakonam for a few years.


Kunju has an oeuvre of over hundred short stories. He also released ten short-story volumes, two novellas and dramas each, and essays titled Bharati's Search and Discovery (1982) and Ku Pa Ra (1990). Pasitha Manidam (1978) was his only novel. He translated important works from English, Sanskrit and Hindi into Tamil, besides translating works of Tamil into other languages. He has contributed richly to Tamil literature and culture by exposing the vicious hierarchies of ancient temple towns.


Karichan Kunju was the second son of Ramamrutha Sastri and Janaki Ammal. He is survived by four daughters-Lakshmi Baby, Prabhavati, Vijayal and Santha

Sudha G. Tilak

Sudha G. Tilak has worked as a journalist in India and abroad. She has written non-fiction and has had short stories published in literary magazines. This is her first work of translation.