By Patrick Olivelle

Early Indian texts, especially those that are part of the vast corpus in Sanskrit, have acquired a sadly paradoxical status in recent years. On the one hand, many serious scholars tend to view them with suspicion, if not contempt.

Reviewed by: Kumkum Roy
By Razak Khan

Minority Pasts investigates local history and politics of Rampur, the last Muslim-ruled Princely State in colonial United Provinces, and studies with remarkable ease and competence aspects of political, economic, socio-cultural and affective history of Rampur and the Rampuris in the South Asian subcontinent across borders in the post-1857 period.

Reviewed by: Meena Bhargava
Text edited and annotated by Jean Deloche. Translated by G.S. Cheema

It is usually overlooked while talking about India of the latter half of the eighteenth century that the Mughal court continued to have some political relevance till at least the turn of the century.

Reviewed by: Amar Farooqui
By Aakar Patel. Illustrations by PenPencilDraw

Divided into seven different sections that are modelled on a cookbook, Patel begins the first section by unpacking the nuts and bolts of the state, highlighting the remnants of the colonial past that continue to haunt the present. A major section of the book is about foregrounding the contradictions entailed in the Constitution and the actual workings in the everyday.

Reviewed by: Aman Nawaz
By Sreenivasan Jain, Mariyam Alavi, Supriya Sharma

The book’s four chapters examine four widely held social media theories in detail. Terms such as ‘Love Jihad’, ‘Population Jihad’, ‘Forced Conversions’ and ‘Muslim Appeasement’ have made their way into our everyday conversations. This book forces us to look closely at these words that have infiltrated our quotidian conversations and pushes us into asking the right questions.

Reviewed by: Shreya K Sugathan
By Chandan Gowda

For the last decade or so, 21st century India has been a confusing place. We are bombarded with triumphant messages of India’s rise as an economic superpower while simultaneously feeling the crunch of rising costs and diminishing earning capacities.

Reviewed by: Joshua Lobo
By Meenakshi Thapan

At first glance, it appears that the Punjab-Emilia Romagna migration corridor is a win-win proposition for the Italian dairy owners in dire need for workers in a rapidly aging population and the relatively low-skilled Punjabi emigrants to meet their economic and aspirational goals since the once-prosperous agricultural sector of Punjab has stagnated.

Reviewed by: Chinmay Tumbe
Edited by K. Satyanarayana and Joel Lee

The anthology Concealing Caste: Passing and Personhood in Dalit Literature with an extensive introduction by K Satyanarayana and Joel Lee is a treasure-trove of Dalit literature.

Reviewed by: (Sr.) Amala Valarmathy A
By James Staples. Series Culture, Place, and Nature edited by K. Sivaramakrishnan

India is the land of paradoxes. As the British economist Joan Robinson famously quipped, ‘Whatever you can rightly say about India, the opposite is also true.’ This statement aptly captures the politics around the cow in India.

Reviewed by: Deepika M
Translated from the original Marathi by Shanta Gokhale and Jerry Pinto

Translated together but individually by Shanta Gokhale and Jerry Pinto, this anthology of translations offers fifty-one of Tukaram’s abhangas with a playful open-endedness, giving its readers the option of seeing two different English versions of the same poem.

Reviewed by: Rohini Mokashi-Punekar
By Ingrid Storholmen. Translated from the Norwegian by Marietta Taralrud Maddrell

In the annals of literature, World War II continues to occupy a place of immense relevance—as one of the bloodiest periods in human history, which resulted in the genocide of millions.

Reviewed by: Roshni Sengupta
By Usha Priyamvada. Translated from the original Hindi by Daisy Rockwell

Originally published as Rukogi Nahi, Radhika?in 1967, Usha Priyamvada’s slim novel is translated by the Booker Award-winning translator

Reviewed by: Nishat Zaidi
By Manoj Rupda. Translated from the original Hindi by Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar

Caught in an unfamiliar area, the elephant is attacked and killed by a pack of wild dogs. As the terror-stricken boy witnesses the silent death and devouring of the giant animal, something inside him also dies.

Reviewed by: Parvin Sultana
Translated from the original Bengali by Tony K. Stewart

The stories of miracle-working Sufi saints (pirs) have circulated in the Bangla-speaking world for most of the past millennium. They are romances filled with wondrous marvels, where tigers talk, rocks float and waters part, and faeries carry a sleeping Sufi holy man into the bedroom of a Hindu princess with whom the god of fate, Bidhata, has ordained his marriage.

Reviewed by: Somdatta Mandal
By Dipti Ranjan Pattanaik. Translated from the original Odia by Himansu S. Mohapatra

A series of standalone stories featuring a precocious young boy from provincial Odisha, Pattanaik’s The Life and Times of Banka Harichandan delicately maps the contours of growing up. The bookis not children’s literature per se.

Reviewed by: Satabhisa Nayak
Edited by Ki. Rajanarayanan. Translated from the original Tamil with commentary by Padma Narayanan

The book opens with the title story ‘Along with the Sun’ by SA Tamilselvan, the sad-yet-sweet story of Mari who dreams of marrying her uncle according to the custom of her caste.

Reviewed by: Malini Seshadri
By Tabish Khair

The genre of crime writing, as readers are well aware, is a diverse one. The very fact of variety of (sub-)genres—in terms of, for instance, contexts, types/categories, sources and modes of investigation—makes crime writing a complex but highly exciting and vibrant literary field.

Reviewed by: Nabanipa Bhattacharjee
Written and Illustrated by Bulbul Sharma First published by Aleph Book Company, 2014

Here is a fascinating book on birds, trees and nature, written and illustrated by Bulbul Sharma, a well-known birdwatcher, illustrator and writer. She divides her book into the magic of four very distinct seasons of Delhi—Winter, Spring, Summer and Monsoon.

Reviewed by: Nita Berry
By Deepankar Khiwani

In the realm of contemporary English poetry, a discernible renaissance is unfolding, evident in the diverse voices and thematic textures woven into the fabric of six noteworthy collections published in 2023. As we traverse these poetic landscapes

Reviewed by: Semeen Ali
By K. Kailasapathy

While most bardic poetry, K Kailasapathy’s preferred adage over court poetry, had its origins in traditions of oral storytelling, the corpus of Tamil Heroic Poetry, most of which is garnered from the extant works of the Sangam Age (the modern-day term for this body of literature)

Reviewed by: Simran Chadha
Conceptualized and curated by Chandana Dutta. Translated from the original Tamil by K Srilata & Shobhana Kumar

I, Salma: Selected Poems jolts the readers into alertness about change and tension. Salma is the pen name of a well-known Tamil writer Rajathi Samsudeen.

Reviewed by: Sutanuka Ghosh Roy
By Narayan Surve. Translated from the original Marathi by Jerry Pinto

Sometimes, we come across a voice that points out the obesity of our market-driven urges. That voice may call out across the street, on a public platform or through a book of poems and shake one out of the complacency of armchair righteousness.

Reviewed by: Sonya J Nair
By Sarbpreet Singh

The Sufi’s Nightingale by Sarbpreet Singh is beyond the mere retelling of the blessed bond between Shah Hussain and Madho Lal. It is a journey into the nooks and nuances of a sublime relationship between the murshid-mureed, as the re-defining of loss, longing and love in 16th century Lahore.

Reviewed by: Disha Pokhriyal
Neera Kashyap

There is an early warning shouted out by Bhaiya: ‘Biji’s in the kitchen!’ While this warning is duly registered by Mama and Papa, Papa’s eyes turning ‘big and round as plates’, it is the protagonist, the granddaughter, who knows just what this means.

By Gayatri

Despite its elementary level, this book satisfies a fundamental need of us emotion-feeling humans—the thirst to comprehend ourselves and our inner experiences. Oh, So Emo!delivers on this need with its engaging narrative and practical tools for emotional awareness.

Reviewed by: Sanaah Mehra