Author: Vishwas Patil
Translator(s): Keerti Ramachandra
Publisher: Indialog Publications
ISBN/UPC (if available): 8187981695
Working on Mahanayak was a vastly humbling experience. The enormous contribution made by so many nameless, faceless and forgotten thousands for India’s freedom. What stuff were those men and women made of? What was it about Netaji that drew people to his side, forgetting home, family, personal life, all for a greater nobler cause? And what was Netaji’s reward in the end? Inevitably one thinks, one only remembers the winner. No one thinks of the runner-up however well he may have fought. Not only does Patil present the character of Netaji in all its facets, he also shows us the other side of popular leaders whom we have held in high esteem. And leaves us to make our own judgments.
Translating Mahanayak was a challenge on every level-the linguistic, the historical the cultural. Much reading and reference had to be done, which was an education in itself. It had its moments of glorious high, particular emotion came out as sincerely, description appeared as vividly, character evolved as credibly as in the original, and despairing lows when the power of the original stubbornly eluded his grasp.
If the book Mahanayak comes to mean as much to the English reader as it has to the Marathi reader, it is because Mr Vishwas Patil believed fully in what he was writing about. If the readers feel there is something mission or not quite ringing true, he accepts responsibility for the lacunae.
Patil succeeds in his task as the book is a racy affair, highlighting the clash of wills that characterised Bose's life – be it his titanic clashes with Mahatma Gandhi in the Congress or his armed struggle against the allies.
What makes Mahanayak different is that unlike other books on Netaji, Patil has created a character who is human, with failings and strengths, and who still emerges as a renaissance figure.
-The Times of India