Ār konakhāne / ‘Somewhere Else’: Utopian Resonances in Lila Majumdar’s Autobiographical Writing





Lila Majumdar, modernity, utopia, gender, reformist, autobiography


Ār konakhāne / ‘Somewhere Else’: Utopian Resonances in Lila Majumdar’s Autobiographical Writing

This article examines the autobiographical writings of Lila Majumdar, 1908–2007, a writer most famous for zany, fantastical, defamiliarizing, speculative fiction for children and young adults. Majumdar was an influential maker of cultural history. While her natal Ray/Raychaudhuri family comprised master entertainers who simultaneously brought reformist, innovative values into the public sphere of the arts, the leading woman writer from this milieu, in her autobiographical and memoir-based volumes Ār konakhāne (‘Somewhere Else’, [1967] 1989), Pākdaṇḍī (‘Winding, Hilly Road’, [1986] 2001), and Kheror khātā (‘Miscellany’ or ‘Scrapbook’, [1982] 2009), imaginatively created utopias. These ‘otherwheres’, to use a word that captures utopian connotations that she creates in her writing, give voice to the marginal and the liminal. We find in her autobiographical writing the dual urge of longing for a utopian elsewhere, and a dissatisfaction with all the places one finds temporary mooring in.

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How to Cite

Bagchi, Barnita. 2018. “Ār konakhāne / ‘Somewhere Else’: Utopian Resonances in Lila Majumdar’s Autobiographical Writing”. Cracow Indological Studies 20 (2):163-78. https://doi.org/10.12797/CIS.20.2018.02.08.