Hala’s Sattasai – Poems of Life and Love in Ancient India

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Authors: Peter Khoroche & Herman Tieken
Publishers: Motilal Banarasidass Publishers Pvt Ltd, New Delhi
(Pp 212, ISBN 978-81-208-3701-0, Rs 345)

The Sattasai, or the Seven hundred, is an anthology of short poems about love and marriage in the villages of the Indian countryside. The selection is attributed to the Satavahana king Hala, who reigned briefly in the first century AD in what is now the state of Maharashtra. All the poems are couplets and have a variety of rhythm. Each poem describes an emotion or presents a situation.

This is an elegant English translation of these poems, mostly narrated by women, revealing the world of local Indian village life, sometime between the third and fifth centuries. These short poems would be a treat for modern readers as well as they find it contemporary in terms of the emotions as well as provides a window into a world bygone.

– Varsha Verma

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