If even after 100 years, Maxim Gorky's Mother is just as compelling. The story of our own Annavru can never get boring

Mother by Maxim Gorky, Translated by Niranjana, Navakarnataka Publications, Rs. 100It is 100 years since the first edition of the epic story of the Mother was told to the world by the famous revolutionary Russian novelist Maxim Gorky. Mother has been translated to many languages and to almost all Indian languages since then. This great story of not just the working class but of an egalitarian new world was translated to Kannada by the pioneer of progressive literary movement, Nirajana, back in 1956. Exactly 50 years later, after the first Kannada translation, Navakarnataka publications, has published the third edition. The story of this epic novel of the working class needs no narration, for, it has been a Bible toeveryone with some social awareness.Mother has been inspiring millions all over the world including its Kannada readers. It is because she is not just mother of Pavel Vaslova, a young working class leader condemned to Siberia by the Czarist Russia for openly defying the authority by organising May Day rally in a small town during 1902. But Mother, drawn into the world of struggle purely because of her love towards her son, realises the necessity of the struggle, and slowly becomes the mother of not only all the oppressed of the world but also the brave new egalitarian world.What makes the Mother and its author Maxim Gorky great of all times is not just its pro-worker political position taken by the author, as loud as a factory siren. In fact, Mother is neither the story of street fights nor an account of rebellion that shook the world nine decades ago. John Reeds has successfully and eloquently narrated that part of the story in his monumental works. But Mother tells the story of the metamorphosis of an obedient, timid housewife, and a reticent, inward-looking mother into a socially conscious, brave, combative activist in the process of the struggle. It is not just the story of class struggle, but also the spiritual evolution of the inner world of a mother that expands into universal humanitarianism, even as the wall between her and the world outside collapses in her gradual engagement in the struggle for justice and the truth. Mother, (Mothers perhaps... ) relates herself to this hitherto unknown, but just cause through her own value systems as understood by her in the biblical idioms of justice and truth. Another very important aspect of this novel is the convincing description of the historical phenomenon of how capitalism, in spite of the wealth and prosperity it brings in for the few, is now bereft of its spiritual dimension. It is therefore incapable to lead human kind any further in its historical march from barbarity to a more civilized world, as it originally set out. Navakarnataka publication has really done a commendable job in republishing this novel at a time when the society is in search for a new, humane social order and new cultural, ethical and political impetus to realise the same.SHIVA SUNDARThus spake the legendKannadada Muttina Kathe: RajkumarBy B. Ganapathi, Cinema Sahitya Prakashana, Rs. 150When you say S.P. Mutturaj, the connection is not all that immediate. It takes a minute for one to realise that this is the name of the iconic, Kannada actor, Rajkumar.Ever since "annavru" passed away, there have been any number of books, being written on him. This particular book even saw a second print within two months. B. Ganapathi, a journalist for over two decades, has put together this book as a compilation of all his articles and interviews with the legendary actor for over two decades. However, after reading the 14 chapters of this book, the reader wonders if there was any attempt to edit the book at all. Particularly, when a book is brought out as tribute, there is this danger of sounding repetitive and good editing could have saved the book from such a problem.The chapter on his days in the forest is the longest. In his last interview, a very small one, Dr. Rajkumar speaks of how historical/mythological films were the raw material, "moolavastu" for his development. The chapter "Vritti Badukina 50 Vasanthagalu" is an important chapter. In his characteristic simplicity, he says: "Film industry gave me all the necessities of a good life. What I have given in return is meagre'. There is great emphasis on the right pronunciation in most of his interviews. There is an interesting chapter about his childhood. He steals butter, (once money also!), gets bitten by a dog for a copper coin, drops out from school, and many other interesting anecdotes. . There is also a great deal about Parvathamma, his wife, playing an important role in his life. She takes charge of his career from the film Trimurti onwards. The chapter where he talks about why he became a producer provides insights into the operations of Gandhinagar. The chapter "Raj and Spiritualism" could have definitely been shorter. The book has an entire portion that gets various people to talk about Rajkumar's contribution to Kannada film and Karnataka. Dr. Siddalingaiah rightly opines Rajkumar and the Kannada film industry grew together. He says how he was instrumental in converting some good stories and novels in Kannada into films. One attraction of this book is the compilation of photographs Raj as Narada, the Kumar trio in Bhoodaana, one with his grand daughter Dhriti, in a female costume with Udayashankar and Narasimharaju are some rare ones. There seems to be quite a few mistakes in the book that could have been corrected if care had been taken. For example, the age difference between Rajkumar and Parvathamma (according to the latter) is nine in page 30 and seven in page 37! Rajkumar was never a producer as mentioned in page 168 and it was not Gopalan, but "Nakkeeran" Gopal (page 76 ). Further editions of the book should take care of the mistakes, revisions should take care of the mistakes, chaff and over stylisation. H.S. ManjunathaYou can send books and responses to Friday Review, The Hindu, 19 & 21, Bhagwan Mahaveer Road, Bangalore 560001