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Tales of Darkness and Light: Soso Tham's The Old Days of the Khasis

Tales of Darkness and Light: Soso Tham's The Old Days of the Khasis Soso Tham. Translated and annotated by Janet Hujon
Paperback ISBN: 978-1-78374-468-8 £14.95
Hardback ISBN: 978-1-78374-469-5 £26.95
PDF ISBN: 978-1-78374-470-1 £0.00
epub ISBN: 978-1-78374-471-8 £0.00
mobi ISBN: 978-1-78374-472-5 £0.00
XML ISBN: 978-1-78374-505-0 £0.00

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Read our blog post about the neglect of Soso Tham's work and why it's necessary to (re)discover this vital poet today.

Soso Tham was an Indian poet who worked at a time when English was slowly effacing the nuances of ancient Indian culture. Now, however, in Janet Hujon’s valuable translation, English is the very medium that enables Tham’s poetry to reach a wider audience. Hujon draws on parallels from the Romantic imagination and other sympathetic literary traditions of myth to illuminate and contextualise Tham’s work for an English-speaking audience. This translation will contribute to giving Soso Tham the wider recognition he deserves as a poet, and more generally to introduce Western readers to the rich literary traditions of northeast India.
—Dr Vayu Naidu, SOAS, University of London

Soso Tham (1873–1940), the acknowledged poet laureate of the Khasis of northeastern India, was one of the first writers to give written poetic form to the rich oral tradition of his people.
Poet of landscape, myth and memory, Soso Tham paid rich and poignant tribute to his tribe in his masterpiece The Old Days of the Khasis. Janet Hujon’s vibrant new translation presents the English reader with Tham’s long poem, which keeps a rich cultural tradition of the Khasi people alive through its retelling of old narratives and acts as a cultural signpost for their literary identity.

This book is essential reading for anyone with an interest in Indian literature and culture and in the interplay between oral traditions and written literary forms.

This edition includes:
• English translation
• Critical apparatus
• Embedded audio recordings of the original poem

Tales of Darkness and Light: Soso Tham's The Old Days of the Khasis
Translated, with an Introduction, by Janet Hujon | April 2018
100 | 3 colour illustration | 10 embedded audio tracks | 6.14" x 9.21" (234 x 156 mm)
World Oral Literature Series, vol. 9 | ISSN: 2050-7933 (Print); 2054-362X (Online)
ISBN Paperback: 9781783744688
ISBN Hardback: 9781783744695
ISBN Digital (PDF): 9781783744701
ISBN Digital ebook (epub): 9781783744718
ISBN Digital ebook (mobi): 9781783744725
ISBN Digital (XML): 9781783745050
DOI: 10.11647/OBP.0137
Subject codes: BIC: DS (Literature: history and criticism), DCQ (Poetry anthologies), DCF (Poetry by individual poets); BISAC: LCO004000 (LITERARY COLLECTIONS / Asian / General), LIT022000 (LITERARY CRITICISM / Fairy Tales, Folk Tales, Legends & Mythology), POE009000 (POETRY / Asian / General); OCLC Number: 1096897095.

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Mark Turin

1. Introduction
2. A Short Biographical Note
3. Khasi Folktales About Darkness and Light
4. Ki Symboh Ksiar (Grains of Gold)
5. Ka Persyntiew (The Flower Garden)
6. Pyrthei Mariang (The Natural World)
7. U Lyoh (The Cloud)
8. U Rngiew (The Dark One)
9. U Simpyllieng (The Rainbow)
10. Ka Ďing I Mei (Home)
11. Ka Meirilung (Gentle Motherland)
12. Lum Lamare (Lamare Peak)
13. Ka Aďom Ksiar (Season of Gold)


Janet Hujon
is a Khasi and a writer in English. She was born in Shillong, Meghalaya (India), where she spent her childhood and youth, receiving a Master’s Degree in English Literature from the North Eastern Hill University (Shillong). Janet continued her education in the United Kingdom where she completed an affiliated Tripos in English from the University of Cambridge and a Ph.D. (also in English Literature) from the University of London. Her articles and poems have appeared in the Shillong Times, in the online magazine, Muse India and most recently in Himalaya (The Journal of the Association for Nepal and Himalayan Studies). She also collaborated with the artist Gail de Cordova producing a slim volume, Vessels and Visions, featuring a selection of paintings and poems she wrote in response to de Cordova’s work.