In the love stories throughout the ages, many people will only bury the past in their hearts, and let the memories go away with time and disappear with life. It is very rare for both parties to record the same love in detail and make it public. Therefore, Romanian-American scholar and famous religious historian Mircea Eliade (1907-1986) and Indian writer Maitreyi Devi (1914-1991) wrote about the same love Eye-catching. As early as the 1930s, when the relationship just ended, Mircea wrote a semi-autobiographical novel “Metrei” in Romanian, which was later renamed “Bengal Night” when it was translated into other European languages (except English) (Bengal Nights). It wasn’t until the 1970s that Maitrey learned of the content of the book from a friend, and in response, wrote the autobiographical novel “It Does Not Die” (It Does Not Die). After the deaths of the two protagonists, the University of Chicago published the two books together in 1994. They used words to record the passionate years of their youth in Bangladesh, telling the same story from their different perspectives, which is intriguing.
For her part, as an Indian woman, a woman in a family full of children and grandchildren, she would not have made public her pre-marriage love without Mircea’s previously published novel bearing her name. The way Maitrey narrates the story is clearly a helpless move to clarify himself. She wants to explain what kind of woman she is in her memories and in the description of her memories, and what that short-term love means compared with her long married life. The whole process of memory is full of reflection and introspection, and at the same time, it shows the unique philosophical background of an Indian writer.
So what exactly did Mircea write that finally moved Metrey to pick up a pen and clarify herself?
Mircea is a Romanian. He was interested in literature, philosophy, and oriental mysticism in middle school. He studied literature and philosophy at the University of Bucharest. He went to India to study in 1928 and studied under the famous Indian philosopher Surendranath Das. Gupta (Surendranath Das Gupta, 1887-1952), also known as Maitrey’s father. Surendranath later invited Mircha to live in his home. In the process of getting along with the mentor’s family, the young man in his twenties had many opportunities to get along with Maitrey, who was fifteen or sixteen years old at the time. The two studied Sanskrit together, Bengali and French from each other, and went out for walks and theaters together. Over time, they developed feelings for each other. When Surendranath knew about this, he immediately issued an order to expel Mircea and ordered him not to contact Maitrei. Mircea left Maitrey and kept her promise to her mentor never to contact Matrei.
This is a fruitless love. It seems that the fire of love that has just been ignited has been extinguished by the rainstorm. The pain of the two can be imagined. Maitrii once tried to resist his father, went on hunger strike, and bribed the family servant to write to Mircea, but Mircea never heard from him. Later, Mircea returned home, and Maitrey married a few years later. The past love has been turned over like the pages of a book. Without Mircea’s novel, this short-lived transnational love would have been dusty and disappeared forever.
In “Bangla Nights”, Mircha described in detail how he was curious about this Indian girl, from being puzzled to probing, and finally embracing passionately. As a Westerner, Mircea is full of strangeness to Maitrey, and at the same time, full of white superiority. Mircha didn’t understand why Surendranath asked him to live at home. His European classmates joked that the Indian must want him to be his son-in-law, and he seemed to believe it, and his feelings towards Maitrey gradually changed. Maitrey was so different from the Western girls he came into contact with. Those girls could often party with boys, drink, dance, and sit on boys’ laps in cars and flaunt in the street. And Maitriyi, like most Indian girls at that time, had little contact with the opposite sex. She once worshiped the tree god, and later she worshiped Tagore, and often chanted philosophical poems full of mystery. It was all so incomprehensible to Mircea. In his writing, Surendranath’s family admired him very much, and Maitrey was also attracted by him, often creating opportunities to be alone with him, and would come to his room alone. He described that Maitrey often came to meet him at night and left before his family woke up. This Indian girl in his pen is sexy, crazy, and doesn’t hide her body desires. At the end of the novel, the Indian girl who fell in love, in order to leave the shackles of the family and find the man she loves, even had a relationship with a low-status peddler in order to be kicked out of the house by her father. But in the end she didn’t succeed either.
When Mircea wrote this story, it was 1933, and the pain caused by love was still clearly visible. Because many characters in the story are real people, the publishing house calls it a semi-autobiographical novel. This novel made Mircea known. At the same time, many people remembered the name of this Indian girl.
Maitrey in India was unaware of such a book. Later, she got married according to her parents’ arrangement and lived a peaceful family life. Until 1953, she had the opportunity to go to Europe with her husband. In Paris and London, Maitrey learned from more than one person that he had written a book with her as the protagonist. By then Mircea was already well-known in academic circles, but she didn’t know what was in the book, and she didn’t ask anyone about it. In 1972, one of Surin Dranath’s students went to Calcutta and met Maitrey. Maitrey plucked up the courage to ask how Mircea described herself in the book, and the man told her that Mircea described their nightly tryst, intimate contact. This enraged Maitrey, who was embarrassed, ashamed and angry.
It was this encounter that made Maitrey decide to describe the past by himself. Sex, for Indian women, is a taboo topic. If you have an intimate physical relationship with someone other than your husband, you will become a morally corrupt woman and may be abandoned by your family. Although Maitrey was already a white-haired old woman in 1972, she cherished her family life very much. In the novel, she described her inner tension after knowing the content of the novel. She was worried that her husband and children would know her past and that they would believe The descriptions in that book, worry about losing them. Although there was no English and other Indian language translations of “Bangladesh Love” at that time, and her family members did not know the story that had happened, she decided to tell the past by herself. In this way, she opened the door of memory.
In response, Maitrey described more fully the background of their acquaintance and the reasons for their breakup, and added what Mircea had not said clearly or misunderstood. In Mircha’s writings, he, a white man, is a hot candidate for son-in-law in the eyes of Indian teachers, but in Maitriyi’s view, his father’s letting Mircha live at home is just a manifestation of hospitality and love. Moreover, not only Mircea, an outsider, lives in the family, but also many relatives and friends. My father often took Maitrey to friends’ gatherings and watched various performances. Later, he arranged for Maitrey to study with Mircea in order to train his daughter to be a woman like Mrs. Naidou, not to find a Westerner for her. husband. During the process of the two studying together, Maitrey did not take the initiative to express his feelings, because this is not allowed in Indian society; it was Mircea who often expressed his affection for Maitrei on many occasions, and constantly confirmed that Matt Rui Yi’s attitude towards him, constantly making intimate behaviors. When the mother learned of the relationship between Mircea and Maitrii from her daughter, she immediately told her father, and the father drove Mircea out of the house after confirming that her daughter and Mircea had not developed to a deep level. The reason why my father did not agree with their union was that he believed that Westerners are not specific in their feelings and their private life is chaotic. Maitrey recorded in detail the ins and outs of the two being forced to separate, regretting and heartbroken that they did not say “I love you” in the end. She wanted to stress that she had never been in Mircea’s room alone at night, let alone had an intimate physical relationship. This is also the prerequisite for her father to expel Mircea immediately. If the two had an intimate relationship, perhaps their father would agree to their marriage. Through these details, Maitrey tells readers intentionally or unintentionally that Mircea’s description of the past has too many fictional elements.
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