Introduction On Racism Epigraphs A History of the Pulps A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z
Glossary and Character Taxonomy Breakdown by Country of Origin Bibliography Table of Contents The Best of the Encyclopedia
Ghanada. Ghanada was created by the Indian author Premendra Mitra and appeared in a number of stories and four short story collections from 1937 to 1990, beginning with “Mosha” (1937).
Ghanada is a Tall Tale Teller. Ghanashyam Das–“Ghanada” to his audience–is a tall, lanky Indian who lives in a mess bari (boarding house) at No. 72 Banamali Naskar Lane, in Kolkata. The other residents of the boarding house are college students, and occasionally Ghanada joins them, eats their food, bums cigarettes from them, and tells them stories of his life. The stories are tall tales and hardly credible, but they are also entertaining, set in exotic locations and filled with interesting detail, and just possibly at least partially true.
Ghanada's age is unclear–when asked he always says, “I was too busy going around the world to keep track”–but (at least according to his stories) he was around during the Sepoy Mutiny. Among Ghanada's exploits are his saving the world from a deadly new species of insect, trading for sandalwood in the New Hebrides, looking for uranium deposits in Angola, being bound by a yeti and dragged over Mount Everest, starting World War Two, visiting the Fourth Dimension, and fighting the Mad Scientist Ludvic on Mars.
* I'm including the Ghanada stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia category because they're a lot of fun to read. Premendra Mitra was a poet, author, film director, and pioneer of Bangla science fiction--in sum, a skilled practitioner of wordcraft. And the Ghanada are among his best stories. Adventurous, wry, imaginative, well-researched, colorful, light-hearted, and notably anti-fascist, the Ghanada stories are perfect pulpy adventures. I suspect that they are less unique among the corpus of Indian fantastika than they seem, and that there are similar characters who have only been published in India and never been translated into English, but the reputation of the Ghanada stories far outshines any of their competitors, and there's probably a good reason for that.
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