New Kama Sutra book delights UK readers

New Kama Sutra has been hailed as a " playful and wonderfully blunt translation".

Last Updated: Feb 20, 2011, 22:26 PM IST

London: A new translation of the Kama
Sutra and its adaptation to modern lives by Indian scholar A N
D Haksar has been hailed in the British press as a "playful
and wonderfully blunt translation."

Published by Penguin, the book titled `Kama Sutra: The
Art of Pleasure` is presented as a lifestyle guide for the
modern man and woman.

Citing extracts from the book, Sam Jordison wrote in
The Guardian: "For a start it`s a hoot and all the more so
thanks to this new playful and wonderfully blunt translation
by AND Haksar (No lingams or yonis here. This is a man who
calls a cock a cock.) It`s also a fascinating and if this
isn`t too much of a contradiction enlightening book."

Bel Mooney wrote in the Daily Mail: "(There) is much
more to the Kama Sutra than saucy sex, as this handsome,
unillustrated new translation makes clear. The text forms part
of a world view that sees human life as a trinity, summed up
in the words Dharma, Artha and Kama."

Mooney quoted an extract from Haksar`s introduction,
that Kama Sutra "is the art of living - about finding a
partner, maintaining power in marriage, committing adultery,
living as or with a courtesan, using drugs - and also about
positions in sexual intercourse."

Its classical status as the world`s first
comprehensive guide to erotic love comes from its
concentration on "essential, unchangeable human attributes -
lust, love, shyness, rejection, seduction, manipulation, that
are also a part of human sexuality."

Calling Haksar`s version of the Kama Sutra as
"scrupulous and accessible," Boyd Tonkin wrote in The
Independent: "Thanks to the under-the-counter renown of a
famous Victorian translation in 1883 by the leading
Orientalist Sir Richard Burton, most people in the West think
of it as a manual of sex techniques.

Indian experts often dismiss this vulgar notion and
evoke a philosophical account of good behaviour in courtship,
love and marriage.

As we can now discover from a scrupulous and
accessible new version by the eminent Sanskrit scholar AND
Haksar, both are right.

Here sense and spirit, etiquette and foreplay, always
intersect."

Haksar, a leading translator of Sanskrit texts, has
chapter headings such as "Making a Pass", "Why Women Get
Turned Off", "Girls to Avoid", "Is he Worthwhile?", "Getting
rid of him", "Easy Women", "Moves towards sex," and "Some Dos
and Don`ts".

Alexis Kirschbaum, editorial director at Penguin,
said: "This is the most accurate, authentic version to date.

Until now, the Kama Sutra has always been presented as
a scandalous, 1960s hippie-influenced pornographic sex book.

But it was originally written as advice to a courtly
gentleman on how to live a well-rounded life, not just a
passionate life."

She added: "We are therefore stripping away all of
those pornographic interpretations people have put on it and
presenting the book as a modern and savvy guide for how to
live well."

PTI