Hariśaṅkar Parsāī’s Ham ek umr se vāqif haiṁ: A memoir of the sufferings of an Indian literary satirist

  • Fabio Mangraviti University of Rome ‘La Sapienza'


The present work is an attempt at investigating Ham ek umr se vāqif haiṁ                                         (‘I have known for a lifetime,’ 1989) a memoir by Hariśaṅkar Parsāī (1924-1995), commonly deemed as the most outstanding postcolonial Hindī literary satirist (vyaṅgyakār). The study aims at exploring the narrative strategies as well as the socio-cultural and ideological ends pursued by Parsāī in crafting this work. More precisely, much attention is given to the philosophical views of the writer, who consciously decided to avoid the autobiographical form in his writings. Indeed, he deemed the autobiography (ātmakathā) as a genre devoid of any social commitment. On the contrary, he considered memoirs as texts more suitable for conveying ideas on socio-cultural and political issues. Apart from this, considerable emphasis will be placed on the narratives Parsāī developed in this memoir in order to legitimize the socio-cultural function of the satirists, who are authors somehow marginalized by Hindī literary criticism. In order to focus on this issue, the study will engage with the analysis of Parsāī’s aesthetic relationship with the representatives of Nayī Kahānī, the major Hindī literary movement of the 1950s and 1960s.


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Author Biography

Fabio Mangraviti, University of Rome ‘La Sapienza'

Fabio Mangraviti is a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Italian Institute of Oriental Studies (ISO) of the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza.’ He completed his PhD at the University of Rome ‘La Sapienza’ in 2021 with the dissertation ‘La costruzione dell’immaginario ideologico e politico di Kabir e Tulsidas: il ruolo della critica letteraria e della letteratura hindi dagli anni Cinquanta agli anni Sessanta del XX secolo.’ His research focuses on the ideological and political ‘uses’ of early-modern bhakti poets in contemporary Hindī literature. He is also investigating postcolonial satirical Hindī literature and has recently published his findings in the Cracow Indological Studies (2021).

He can be contacted at fabiomangraviti@yahoo.com