Taking the support of history or historical personalities does not make literature history. History compiles and catalogues facts in a time bound manner. This has never been the purpose of literature. To compensate for the vacant chambers of history is also not the domain of literature. Literature is not bound by the rigid time of history, it expands historical time; it does not separate one age from the other, it brings together many ages. In this manner the ‘present’ and ‘past’ of history do not remain ‘present’ and ‘past’, they become moments in a absolute time that come together in an integral and undivided manner when seen as a symbol of the course of life. So history in literature does not present itself as true incidents, instead it presents itself as the imagination that brings together these incidents that in turn creates a new and different history. This construction is not history as conventionally understood. Searching for that history you need to go to the right history books and not literature.
Today is Mohan Rakesh‘s 92nd birth anniversary (8 January 1925-3 December 1972).
Translation by me from the preface to Lehron ke Rajhans (Waves of the Royal Swans*).
*Per the preface the royal swans are the protagonists of the story, Nand and Sundari. The waves the circumstances they find themselves in.
Post on the costumes of Ashadh Ka Ek Din here.