The present volume calls to mind A Dictionary of Modern Indian History: 1707–1947 by Parshotam Mehra, also published by the Oxford University Press in 1985 (revised edition in 1987), a book that some of us would have profitably consulted as students.
A feature of scholarship on Muslims and Islam in South Asia until recently was that it tended not to explore their connections beyond the subcontinent. The British as historians, though not as rulers, established this tendency.
Cities in Medieval India, a voluminous anthology, is an outcome of academic discussions on the theme of urbanization in premodern India at two separate colloquia held at the Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi between March 2008 and March 2009.
The title of the book immediately raised a question in my mind: how much new information on the maritime trade and ports of Gujarat would be available now, about three decades after the path-breaking work by Das Gupta, Pearson and other historians, and later, by Lakshmi Subramanian? As if in anticipation of this query, Hasmukh Shah…
The editors of Irreverent History begin the preface by stating that ‘the present work celebrates the life and scholarship of Professor Muttayil Govindamenon Sankara Narayanan’. Indeed one of the most celebrated historians of India is offered a bouquet of sixteen essays by scholars, many of them his students.
Inter-Asian connections and linkages have a long and fascinating history, and an equally fascinating historiography. The southeast Asian connections, in particular, have received much attention, having been examined through a variety of prisms, ranging from the ‘Greater India’ idea of the early decades of the 20th century, to Sheldon Pollock’s hypothesis of the ‘Sanskrit cosmopolis’ of the beginning of this century.
George Michell is a Professorial Fellow at the School of Architecture in Melbourne. He has dedicated the major part of his academic career to look at architecture in the medieval Indian context and more specifically at temple architecture.
The essays in this volume try to get behind the apparent continuity of normative discourse on the household in India from the ancient to the early modern. They try to locate moments of disruption, transformation or critique, in texts that are often read as simple reiterations of the Manusmriti through the ages.
People perform various auspicious ceremonies on the occasions of illness, the weddings of sons and daughters, the births of children and the setting out on journeys. On these and similar occasions, people perform many auspicious ceremonies. And on such occasions, the womenfolk in particular perform many and diverse ceremonies which are trivial…
The Mauryan Emperor Ashoka has attracted the attention of scholars and laypersons with access to formal education for nearly two centuries since his ‘rediscovery’ in the 1830s. Nayanjot Lahiri’s work is the latest in a long, rich and diverse series of biographies of the ruler. It is significant as being the first major reassessment of Ashoka by a historian of ancient India…
My first reaction after finishing Manohar Shetty’s Morning Light was the fear of his name being lost like a beautiful tender leaf crushed beneath a pile of dried flowers that blossom only in winters. The second was the sadness of this already happening retrospectively, and the third was of being a responsible reader.
Not quite belonging to the domain of international English poetry, nor integrated with the literary traditions of other Indian languages, Indian poetry in English has often been projected as a homeless genre. The poetry of H.K. Kaul demonstrates, to the contrary, that Indian English poetry possesses the power to express a sense of cultural rootedness in a language that connects it with the rest of the world.
These two sets of lines from two dif-ferent poems of K. Srilata’s Bookmarking the Oasis succinctly depict the vast range of experiences and metaphors she employs in her poetry. The collection offers its readers a spectrum of poetry that speaks of history and memory, politics and subjectivity, natural habitats and urban spaces, and the sensuous and cerebral.
The skilled restorer of porcelain will collect not only the visible chips of a broken pot but also the dust
on the table where it rested,’ is a statement made by sociologist Richard Sennett and serves as the epigraph of the poems in the present volume. It proclaims the microscopic and macroscopic range of Hoskote’s compositions.
Kazim Ali’s poetry allows us more than a glimpse into his rich oeuvre of work resonating with a commitment to creating a language of spiritual and political urgency that walks with soft footsteps. If there was one word to describe Ali’s poetic style and methodology it could well be ‘palimpsestic’. The range of the poems in this collection is wide, poems that are re-imaginings of Quranic and Islamicate myths and figures, translations of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, and prose-like poems mapping cities through an autobiographical lens, but in spite of the diversity of engagement they all work with a sense of an ‘always already’.
A Certain Way is an interesting debut in more ways than one. For Word Masala Foundation and its publishing wing Skylark Publications, this is the first time that they have employed crowd-funding as an innovative method of raising finance to fund a book’s publication. It was clearly a successful venture; the outcome is a well-presented paperback—a first collection of poems by ‘Word Masala New Voice Award Winner’ Mona Dash.
The book with the yellow cover arrived in a thick yellow envelope on a Sat-urday. It was mid-December, and winter in Delhi was late, though the days had started growing shorter. Over the next few days, I carried it around with me, reading it everywhere I could: in the metro, at work, in bed, and in the bathroom.
The moment Arundhathi Subra- maniam’s book came to my hands I was reminded of a song and a story. The song, composed by the eighteenth century Bengali Bhakti (Sakta) saint-poet Ramprasad Sen, is themed around the act of devouring the Goddess Kali (the opening words are: Ebar Kali tomay khabo ….) by Ramprasad, her ardent devotee.
Sridala Swami’s collection Escape Artist is not a sea of several-legged creatures and tangled weeds that confuse an entrant. It has the quiet and spaciousness of an art gallery where each poem focuses on a specific thing, like A sacred text on a grain of rice in her poem ‘Not Loss but Residue’, neatly framed by a larger context, or layers of it. The reader gets time to take in one feeling, one image at a time before they are invited to join the larger connectedness of things.
Always a little sceptical of science fic-tion, I would read time travel as a trip up-down memory lane and two-headed green creatures as projections of our own distrust of our diabolic selves, threatening our own planet with fire-balling shotguns, burning beautiful bridges down to dystopian dust. With the surge of TV series on Netflix speculating the futures, suspecting us to be the strangers our parents warned us about, showing us a world that has estranged us, where aliens are amongst us and technology is second pulse; the eternal rising question what is fact, what is fiction is staring back at us as we come to close another decade.