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Translated Treasures for your Bookshelf!

India has twenty-two official languages and many dialects spoken across the country. As we gear up to commemorate International Translation Day on 30 September, we bring a selection of classics translated from Indian languages to English which promise to introduce readers to great writers who would be lost without their translators.

Celebrate the beauty of translation as we open the doors to diverse stories from Marathi, Sanskrit, Assamese, Bengali, and Hindi. While the books represented are a tiny representation of the classic works in these languages, we hope it gives you a flavour of the region and helps you appreciate our diversity.


Shyamchi Aai
Shyamchi Aai || Sane Guruji

Translated from Marathi by Shanta Gokhale

In the words of author Sathya Saran, ‘Shanta Gokhale’s translation carries within it what I believe is the spirit of the original. The prose runs softly like a smooth flowing river that, even as it meanders its way through tricky terrain, manages to avoid any hurdles.’

Narrated over the course of forty-two nights, Shyamchi Aai is a poignant story of Shyam and his Aai—a mother with an unbreakable spirit. This evergreen children’s classic is an account of a life of poverty, hard work, sacrifice and love.


Tales from the Kathasaritsagara
Tales from the Kathasaritsagara || Somadeva

Adapted from Sanskrit by Rohini Chowdhury

Do you know the story of Phalabhuti, who narrowly escaped a grisly fate?

Or of the kind-hearted Jimutavahana, who was willing to give his life to save a snake from death?

Or of young Shringabhuja, who married a rakshasa’s daughter?

These are just some of the many tales that make up Somadeva’s Kathasaritsagara, a classic work of Sanskrit literature that is full of memorable characters. Within the pages of this book, you will encounter demons and demi-gods, faithful guards and foolish villagers, golden swans, magic pots and even automatons made of wood!


Taniya || Arupa Patangia Kalita, Meenaxi Barkotoki

Translated from the Assamese by Meenaxi Barkotoki

From the pen of Sahitya Akademi-winning Arupa Patangia Kalita’s comes her only children’s novel to date — Tainya. A timeless classic in Assam, the book has been masterfully translated in English by veteran Assamese translator Meenaxi Borkotoki. 

Told in a non-linear format, the book traces Taniya’s journey from the foothills of Bhutan to her final resting place. The antics of this Bhutanese cocker spaniel captured in Kalita’s unmatched storytelling style tugs at all the right heart strings making it quite impossible for you not to react as you read long. An endearing story, the novel is a must-read for pet lovers and readers of Indian literature in translation, alike.  


Timeless Tales
Timeless Tales || Vijaydan Detha

Translated from Marwari by Vishes Kothari

Giving a new lease of life to Vijaydan Detha’s ‘Batan ri Phulwari’, Vishes’s is a hand-picked compilation of the much-loved Rajasthani folktales—a fourteen-volume collection written over a span of nearly fifty years.

Retold in Detha’s magical narrative style complete with imagery, this selection offers some of the oldest and most popular fables from the Thar Desert region. Discover tales of handsome rajkanwars, evil witches, exploitative thakars, miserly seths, clever insects, benevolent snakes and more.


Another Dozen Stories
Another Dozen Stories || Satyajit Ray, Majumdar Indrani

Translated from Bengali by Indrani Majumdar

A tribute to Ray’s immaculate literary genius, this collection of short stories brings alive the magical, bizarre, spooky and sometimes astonishing worlds created by Satyajit Ray.

Featuring an extraordinary bunch of characters, the book contains Ray’s original artworks that will leave you and the little ones asking for more!


A Winter's Night
A Winter’s Night || Premchand

Translated from Hindi by Rakshanda Jalil

The ten stories in this book are an ideal introduction to Premchand and his concerns and ideas that remain relevant to this day.

The world in the book is inhabited by people like Halku, forced to spend the bitterly cold winter night in the open, without a blanket; Kaki, the old invalid aunt, ill-treated by her own relatives; and Shankar, reduced to being a bonded labour for the sake of a handful of wheat. Premchand describes their plights with unflinching honesty. Yet all is not hopeless in this world. There is also little Hamid, who buys tongs for his old grandmother rather than toys for himself; Ladli, who saves her share of puris for her blind aunt; and Big Brother, trying in vain to remember the strange names of English kings and queens.


Must-Read Translations from the Heart of India

On this International Translation Day, explore the rich tapestry of Indian literature as we take you on an adventure through these must-read translations that cover the length and breadth of the country.

Immerse yourself in the vivid hues of regional literature as these translated works offer a glimpse into the soul of India, serving as gateway to diverse cultures, unexplored landscapes and untold stories. Together let’s embark on a literary odyssey as we unravel the power of Indian Languages brought to the centre stage in the universal language of English.

The Roof Beneath Their feet
The Roof Beneath Their Feet || Geetanjali Shree, Rahul Soni

In The Roof Beneath their Feet, Chachcho and Lalna use their roofs to build a friendship that transcends time and memory. Suddenly one day, Lalna has to leave, to return only after Chachcho’s passing. Amidst rumors and gossip in the neighborhood, Chachcho’s nephew tries to piece together his memories of the two women, one of whom is his mother. The truth he is searching for could destroy him forever, but to not find out is no longer an option. A story of twists and turns, The Roof Beneath Their Feet, translated from the original Hindi by Rahul Soni, is easily one of the best contemporary novels you have read in a long time.


The Empty Space || Geetanjali Shree, Nivedita Menon

A bomb explodes in a university cafe, claiming the lives of nineteen students. The Empty Space begins with the identification of those nineteen dead. The mother who enters the cafe last to identify the nineteenth body brings home her dead eighteen-year-old son packed in a box, as well as the of the sole survivor e blast, a three-year-old boy who, by a strange quirk of fate, is found lying in a small empty space, alive and breathing.
The Empty Space chronicles the memories of the boy gone, the story of the boy brought home, and the
cataclysmic crossing of life and death.

Black Soil
Black Soil || Ponneelan, Translated by J. Priyadarshini

Kannappan is posted to Perumalpuram as the new schoolteacher. The village lies in the black soil region of Tamil Nadu where the river Tamirabarani flows. He’s an outsider in this village with Veerayyan, a local farmer, as his only guide and friend.
Once settled in his role, Kannappan observes the everyday brutality faced by the farmers at the hands of the sadistic, all-powerful landlord-the Master. Child marriage is common in the village and so is the appalling practice of marrying young lads to older women who then serve as their father-in-law’s consort. Through his gentle yet probing conversations with the villagers, Kannappan tries his best to show the villagers a better way of life. The farmers who had begun protesting the excesses meted out to them by the upper-caste landlord soon find an ally in Kannappan. The schoolteacher’s sympathies for their cause bolster their waning spirits and replenishes their resolve to fight back.
Ponneelan’s first novel is a tour de force. Now translated for the first time, Black Soil lays bare the atrocities faced by the farmers and the human cost of building a better tomorrow.


The Nitopadesha
The Nitopadesha || Nitin Pai


The Nitopadesha is a labyrinth of stories in the style of the Panchatantra and the Jataka tales, this is a book about good citizenship and citizen-craft that will speak to the modern reader. Covering aspects such as what citizenship means, the ethical dilemmas one faces as a citizen and how one can deal with social issues, Nitin Pai’s absorbing translation is an essential read for conscientious citizens of all ages.


Dattapaharam || V.J. James, Translated by Ministhy S.

Dattapaharam is a powerhouse of a novel by the critically acclaimed and bestselling Malayalam author V.J. James. A rumination on solitude, man’s connection with nature and the strings that attach us to this world, this is a surreal novel where the author’s imagination soars like an eagle and words flow like the untouched springs in a rainforest. At times a fable on the modern world, at times a search for identity amid a quest of discovery, and on the whole a moving tale that takes the reader deep into the forests to understand what really makes us human, Dattapaharam is a powerful novel for our anthropocentric age, written by one of the most exciting voices to emerge from the Indian subcontinent.

Fruits of the Barren Tree
Fruits of the Barren Tree || Lekhnath Chhetri, Translated by Anurag Basnet

Darjeeling, late 1980s. The demand for a separate state of Gorkhaland has taken a violent turn. The Green Party is at war with the Red Party-and with the state’s security forces. Murder, loot, terror and arson beset the Himalayan foothills.
Fruits of the Barren Tree is a story of that time, and of Relling, a small village near Darjeeling. In Relling there’s Basnet, the village shaman, and his wife; there’s Jhuppay, their son-incorrigible thief, truant and amateur drunk; and also Nimma, Jhuppay’s great love, whose only desire in life is that he take the path of virtue. There’s Chyaatar too, former army man, now a militia commander in the Green Party, who rules the village with an iron hand. Ever the miscreant, nothing Jhuppay does can win Nimma’s heart. But when the Red Party hires his loudspeaker for a meeting-the first innocent, honest job of his life-it sets Jhuppay, Nimma and Chyaatar on a murderous course that fate itself cannot derail.

My Poems Are Not for your Ad Campaign
My Poems Are Not for your Ad Campaign || Aruni Kashyap, Translated by Anuradha Sarma Pujari

In a recently liberated economy characterized by speed, the commodification of women’s bodies and consumerist culture, Bhashwati is an increasingly disillusioned misfit who has, ironically, just started working in an advertising firm. But her life changes one day when she finds out about the mysterious Mohua Roy, a former copywriter with the company, whose desk Bhashwati now uses. The company employees remain tight-lipped about Mohua, who had left abruptly for reasons unknown. On finding a poem written by Mohua, Bhashwati decides to search for her. This takes Bhashwati to Calcutta’s lanes, where she meets people who sacrificed immensely for the same values that she finds eroded in a developing India. Who is Mohua Roy? Why is there a net of silence around her very existence? Will Bhashwati find Mohua? Will she leave her job, just like Mohua?

Hriday Ek Bigyapan, first published in Assamese in 1997, was an instant bestseller, going into tens of reprints in the next two decades. By taking a close look at the newly globalized India of the 1990s from a feminist lens, it poses questions about modern urban life that few Indian novels have been able to-questions that are still relevant today. Aruni Kashyap’s seamless translation from the Assamese makes this book a must-read.


Oblivion and Other Stories
Oblivion and Other Stories || Gopinath Mohanty

Oblivion and Other Stories is an anthology of twenty short stories by Gopinath Mohanty, the doyen of Oriya (now Odia) literature. The stories, written across a half-century (1935-1988), sample his oeuvre of writings and the variety of his themes-from ‘Dã’ (mid-1930s) to ‘Oblivion’ (1951) to ‘The Upper Crust’ (1967) to ‘Lustre’ (1971) and ‘Festival Day’ (1985).

Originally written in Oriya by the Padma Bhushan awardee, these have now been translated for the first time into English and recreate the social life of mid-twentieth century India.


Tirukkural || Meena Kandasamy, Tiruvalluvar

Written by the poet Thiruvalluvar, the Kamattu-p-pal is the third part of the Tirukkural – one of the most important texts in Tamil literature. The most intimate section of this great work – it is also, historically, the part that has been most heavily censored. Although hundreds of male translations of the text have been published, it has also only ever been translated by a woman once before. Tirukkural is award-winning writer Meena Kandasamy’s luminous translation of the Kamattu-p-pal.


Fear and Other Stories
Fear and Other Stories || Dalpat Chauhan, Hemang Ashwinkumar

Fear and Other Stories is a reminder of the inherent dangers of the Dalit life, a life subjected to unimaginable violence and terror even in its most mundane moments. In this collection of short stories, veteran Gujarati writer Dalpat Chauhan narrates these lived experiences of exasperation and anger with startling vividity. His characters chronicle a deep history of resistance, interrogating historical, mythological and literary legends, foregrounding the perspectives of the disenfranchised.


Subversive Whispers
Subversive Whispers || Devika J., Manasi

Manasi is a stalwart of Malayalam literature. With her unparalleled feminist writing and powerful voice, she has mastered the art of telling radical short stories. Through Subversive Whispers, a collection of some of her best
work, she continues to defy patriarchy, question Brahminical hegemony and push narratives that subtly yet fervently challenge the status quo. The book introduces readers to the irreverent ‘Sheelavathi’, which explores the Madonna-Whore complex in a uniquely local context, ‘Devi Mahathmyam’, which sheds light on the price that women pay for being goddesses in mere name and stories such as ‘Spelling Mistakes’, ‘Square Shapes’ and ‘The Walls’, all of which explore romantic love with a piercing realism.


Susanna's Granthapura
Susanna’s Granthapura || Ajai P. Mangattu, Catherine Thankamma

First published in Malayalam in 2019, Susanna’s Granthapura is Ajai Mangattu’s uniquely crafted novel that celebrates the strong bonds that form between people who share a love of reading and of books.

Burning Roses in My Garden
Burning Roses in My Garden || Taslima Nasrin, Jesse Waters

Have I not, having kept a man for years, learnt that it’s/ like raising a snake?/ So many animals on this earth, why keep a man of all things?’ writes one of the world’s most celebrated writers, Taslima Nasrin, in her first-ever comprehensive collection of poetry translated from the original Bangla into English. The poems get to the heart of being the other in exile, justifying one’s place in a terrifying world. They praise the comfort and critique the cruelty of a loved one. In these are loneliness, sorrow, and at times, exaltation. Relying almost entirely upon the free verse form, these poems carry a diction which is at once both gentle and fierce, revealing the experiences of one woman while defining the existence of so many generations of women throughout time, and around the world.


Naulakhi Kothi
Naulakhi Kothi || Ali Akbar Natiq, Naima Rashid

Ali Akbar Natiq’s epic saga, Naulakhi Kothi, is an insightful portrayal of the zeitgeist of the times. The sweeping narrative begins in the years leading up to Partition and goes on till the eighties.
Translated by Naima Rashid, it is one of the most important novels of the twenty-first century.


A bird on my windowsill
A Bird on My Windowsill || Manav Kaul

Known for writing silences and articulating dreams, in this book Manav sifts through the past, delves into the present and talks about all the creative impulses, writing, directing theatre and acting that have made him who he is. Through his poetry and prose, he creates vignettes of his life, a long-lost love, his interactions with people as he travels, his favourite authors and their writings, almost as if he’s trying to weave a world for the reader as well.
Beautifully symbolic, this book is a rich tapestry of thoughts and feelings, of todays and tomorrows, of being alone and seeking loneliness.


Sakina's Kiss
Sakina’s Kiss || Vivek Shanbhag/translated by Srinath Perur

Exquisitely translated from the Kannada by Srinath Perur, Sakina’s Kiss is a delicate, precise meditation on the persistence of old biases—and a rattled masculinity—in India’s changing social and political landscape. Ingeniously crafted, Vivek Shanbhag interrogates the space between truth and perception in this unforgettable foray into the minefield of family life.


A House of Rain and Snow
A House of Rain and Snow || Srijato (Maharghya Chakraborty tr)

In this entirely strange, magical and leisurely course of life swirling all around Pushkar, there is but one entity with whom he shares all his secrets. A milkwood tree, a chatim is privy to everything in his life. And so time moves on, leading him to eventually confront a truly secret equation of life—the change made possible by the transformative power of love.

A House of Rain and Snow is a testament to an era, a witness to an astounding journey of a young poet.


Triveni || Gulzar; Neha R. Krishna

A form Gulzar began experimenting with in the 1960s, Triveni comes close to several classical Japanese forms of poetry such as the Haiku, Senryu and Tanka. The closest Indian forms to Triveni are the doha and shayari. In this stunning translation by Neha R. Krishna, Triveni have been transcreated as tanka and are ladled with musicality, breaking away from the charm of rhyme and metre. This collection, too, is a confluence or sangam of forms and nothing short of a gift from one of India’s most beloved poets.


Varavara Rao
Varavara Rao || Ed. N. Venugopal and Meena Kandasamy

Varavara Rao: A Life in Poetry is the first-ever collection in English of poems by the Telugu poet, selected and translated from sixteen books that he has published. Having begun to write poetry in his early teens, Varavara Rao, now in his early eighties, continues to be a doyen of Telugu modern poets.


Feeling Kerala
Feeling Kerala || J Devika

Feeling Kerala, a selection of some of the best and sharpest narratives from the region is now translated and curated for English readers to love and cherish.
While staying true to its literary form, these stories provide a tour into the heart and soul of contemporary Kerala and aim at getting past the twentieth-century characterizations of the state, say, as defined by communist egalitarian spirit or matrilineal families. After all, Kerala is unique in more ways than one, thanks to the heightened experience of migration and transnationalism, among other things.


One Among You
One Among You || M.K. Stalin (Translator: A.S. Panneerselvan)

One Among You, a translation of Volume 1 of Stalin’s Tamil autobiography, Ungalil Oruvan, is the story of the first twenty-three years of his life, from 1953 to 1976. These formative years were witness to Stalin’s school and college days, his early involvement with the DMK and his integral role in the party publication, Murasoli. But Stalin’s journey extends beyond politics. He also had a profound connection to the world of theatre and cinema, where his passion for art intersected with his pursuit of social change.


On The Edge
On The Edge || Ruth Vanita

On the Edge is a first-of-its-kind collection of short stories and extracts from novels centred on theme of same-sex desire, translated from the original Hindi. The sixteen beautiful and provocative stories featured here (published between 1927 and 2022) include classic works by Asha Sahay, Premchand, Ugra, Rajkamal Chaudhuri, Geetanjali Shree, Sara Rai and Rajendra Yadav, among others. An important anthology, On the Edge shifts the focus on stories and characters who have, for far too long, remained in the shadows and brings them (and us) into the light.


Simsim || Geet Chaturvedi

Poignantly written by Geet Chaturvedi, a major Hindi writer, and beautifully translated by Anita Gopalan, Simsim is a struggle between memory, imagination, and reality- an exquisitely crafted book that fuses the voices of remarkable yet relatable characters to weave a tale of seeking happiness, fulfilling passion, and reconciling with loss. Simsim is charming, and wonderfully original.


Anthill || Vinoy Thomas

Anthill, a robust translation of the award-winning novel Puttu and with a cast of over 200 characters, tells the story of a people who have tried to shed the shackles of family, religion and other restraining institutions, but eventually also struggle to conform to the needs of a cultured society.
Written with disarming honesty and biting humour, Anthill is ultimately a story that questions the veneer of respectability people try to put up in their lives.


Lata Mangeshkar A Life in Music
Lata Mangeshkar A Life in Music || Yatindra Mishra, translated by Ira Pandey

An ode to the majestic life of the late Lata Mangeshkar, Lata: A Life in Music celebrates art in its totality and tells the life story of India’s most loved vocal artists. The result of Yatindra Mishra’s decade-long dialogue with the great singer, it also explores the lesser-known aspects of the great artist, introducing the readers to Lata Mangeshkar as an intellectual and cultural exponent and providing a rare glimpse into the person behind the revered enigma.

5 out of 6 books from Penguin are in the run for The Booker Prize 2022!

We have just been updated that we have 5 out of 6 books from Penguin have been shortlisted for The Booker Prize 2022! The winner will be announced at the Roundhouse in London on October 17, 2022. Stay tuned! 

The Seven Moons of Maali Almeida by Shehan Karunatilaka

Booker Prize 2022!
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

Colombo, 1990. Maali Almeida, war photographer, gambler and closet gay, has woken up dead in what seems like a celestial visa office. His dismembered body is sinking in the Beira Lake and he has no idea who killed him. At a time when scores are settled by death squads, suicide bombers and hired goons, the list of suspects is depressingly long, as the ghouls and ghosts who cluster around him can attest. But even in the afterlife, time is running out for Maali. He has seven moons to try and contact the man and woman he loves most and lead them to a hidden cache of photos that will rock Sri Lanka. Ten years after his prizewinning novel Chinaman established him as one of Sri Lanka’s foremost authors, Karunatilaka is back with a rip-roaring epic, full of mordant wit and disturbing truths.



Small Things Like These by Claire Keegan

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

It is 1985, in an Irish town. During the weeks leading up to Christmas, Bill Furlong, a coal and timber merchant, faces into his busiest season. As he does the rounds, he feels the past rising up to meet him – and encounters the complicit silences of a people controlled by the Church.

The long-awaited new work from the author of FosterSmall Things Like These is an unforgettable story of hope, quiet heroism and tenderness.




Glory by NoViolet Bulawayo

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

Glory is an energy burst, an exhilarating joyride. It is the story of an uprising, told by a bold, vivid chorus of animal voices that helps us see our human world more clearly. It tells the story of a country seemingly trapped in a cycle as old as time. And yet, as it unveils the myriad tricks required to uphold the illusion of absolute power, it reminds us that the glory of tyranny only lasts as long as its victims are willing to let it. History can be stopped in a moment. With the return of a long-lost daughter, a #freefairncredibleelection, a turning tide — even a single bullet.






Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

Oh William! captures the joy and sorrow of watching children grow up and start families of their own; of discovering family secrets, late in life, that alter everything we think we know about those closest to us; and the way people live and love, against all odds. At the heart of this story is the unforgettable, indomitable voice of Lucy Barton, who once again offers a profound, lasting reflection on the mystery of existence. ‘This is the way of life,’ Lucy says. ‘The many things we do not know until it is too late.’




The Trees by Percival Everett 

Booker Prize 2022 shortlist
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Booker Prize 2022 shortlist

An uncanny literary thriller addressing the painful legacy of lynching in the US, by the author of TelephonePercival Everett’s The Trees is a page-turner that opens with a series of brutal murders in the rural town of Money, Mississippi. The murders present a puzzle, for at each crime scene there is a second dead body: that of a man who resembles Emmett Till. As the bodies pile up, the MBI detectives seek answers from a local root doctor who has been documenting every lynching in the country for years, uncovering a history that refuses to be buried. In this bold, provocative book, Everett takes direct aim at racism and police violence, and does so in a fast-paced style that ensures the reader can’t look away. The Trees is an enormously powerful novel of lasting importance from an author with his finger on America’s pulse.

Must read JCB Prize for Literature Longlist 

The JCB Prize for Literature has just unveiled its 2022 Longlist and we have three books in the run. Shortlist to be announced on 7th October 2022. Stay Tuned! 



Tomb of Sand by Geetanjali Shree, Daisy Rockwell

Tomb of sand JCB Prize for Literature Longlist 
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JCB Prize for Literature Longlist 

In northern India, an eighty-year-old woman slips into a deep depression after the death of her husband, and then resurfaces to gain a new lease on life. Her determination to fly in the face of convention – including striking up a friendship with a transgender person – confuses her bohemian daughter, who is used to thinking of herself as the more ‘modern’ of the two.

To her family’s consternation, Ma insists on travelling to Pakistan, simultaneously confronting the unresolved trauma of her teenage experiences of Partition, and re-evaluating what it means to be a mother, a daughter, a woman, a feminist.

Rather than respond to tragedy with seriousness, Geetanjali Shree’s playful tone and exuberant wordplay results in a book that is engaging, funny, and utterly original, at the same time as being an urgent and timely protest against the destructive impact of borders and boundaries, whether between religions, countries, or genders.




The Odd Book of Baby Names by Anees Salim

The odd book of baby names JCB Prize for Literature Longlist 
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JCB Prize for Literature Longlist 

Can a life be like a jigsaw puzzle, pieces waiting to be conjoined? Like a game of hide-and-seek? Like playing statues? Can memories have colour? Can the sins of the father survive his descendants?
In a family – is it a family if they don’t know it? – that does not rely on the weakness of memory runs a strange register of names. The odd book of baby names has been custom-made on palace stationery for the patriarch, an eccentric king, one of the last kings of India, who dutifully records in it the name of his every offspring. As he bitterly draws his final breaths, eight of his one hundred rumoured children trace the savage lies of their father and reckon with the burdens of their lineage.
Layered with multiple perspectives and cadences, each tale recounted in sharp, tantalizing vignettes, this is a rich tapestry of narratives and a kaleidoscopic journey into the dysfunctional heart of the Indian family. Written with the lightness of comedy and the seriousness of tragedy, the playfulness of an inventive riddle and the intellectual heft of a philosophical undertaking, The Odd Book of Baby Names is Salim’s most ambitious novel yet.


Rohzin by Rahman Abbas

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JCB Prize for Literature Longlist 

Mumbai was almost submerged on the fatal noon of 26 July 2005, when the merciless downpour and cloudburst had spread utter darkness and horror in the heart of the city. River Mithi was inundated, and the sea was furious. At this hour of torturous gloom, Rohzin begins declaring in the first line that it was the last day in the life of two lovers, Asrar and Hina.

The arc of the novel studies various aspects of human emotions, especially love, longing and sexuality as sublime expressions. The emotions are examined, so is love as well as the absence of it, through a gamut of characters and their interrelated lives: Asrar’s relationship with his teacher, Ms Jamila, a prostitute named Shanti and, later, with Hina; Hina’s classmate Vidhi’s relations with her lover and others; Hina’s father Yusuf’s love for Aymal; Vanu’s indulgence in prostitutes.

Rohzin dwells on the plane of an imagination that takes readers on a unique journey across the city of Mumbai, a highly intriguing character in its own right.

6 Quotes You Must Read on Gender and Sexuality

While many use religion to justify why they are being unfair to a person’s gender and sexuality, Devdutt Pattanaik in his books The Pregnant King and Shikhandi And Other Queer Tales They Don’t Tell You shows how mythologies across the world appreciate what we deem as queer.
Here are 6 quotes on what it means to be a man, a woman, or a queer.
What it feels to be a woman
Repercussion of Patriarchy
The meaning of queer in different mythologies
Should the queer hide or be heard like the thunderous clap of the hijra?
The functions of the forms
Traces of feminism in Hindu mythology
Read Devdutt Pattanaik’s The Pregnant King and Shikhandi And Other Queer Tales They Don’t Tell You and make sense of queerness and the diversity in society.

The magic of Rabindranath Tagore explored

7th May commemorates the birth anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore. His eminence as India’s greatest modern poet remains unchallenged to this day. Tagore was a pioneering literary figure, renowned for his ceaseless innovations in poetry, prose, drama, music and painting, which he took up late in life. His works include novels; plays; essays on religious, social and literary topics; some sixty collections of verse; over a hundred short stories; and more than 2500 songs, including the national anthems of India and Bangladesh.

Born in 1861, Rabindranath Tagore was a key figure of the Bengal Renaissance. He started writing at an early age and by the turn of the century had become a household name in Bengal as a poet, a songwriter, a playwright, an essayist, a short story writer and a novelist.

In 1913 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature and his verse collection Gitanjali came to be known internationally. At about the same time he founded Visva-Bharati, a university located in Santiniketan, near Kolkata. Called the ‘Great Sentinel’ of modern India by Mahatma Gandhi, Tagore steered clear of active politics but is famous for returning his knighthood as a gesture of protest against the Jallianwala Bagh massacre in 1919.

Here is a compilation of some of his work, to celebrate the man.


The Magic of Tagore

The Magic of Tagore ||.

A special limited-edition collection of the most beloved works of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore, one of the greatest writers of the Indian subcontinent, featuring two classic novels of profound depth and beauty, and Tagore’s ground-breaking work of poetry. These classic works have been reissued by Penguin Random House India on the occasion of Tagore’s birth month.






Nationalism and Home and the World

Nationalism Home and the World || .

Combining two classic texts by Rabindranath Tagore, this special edition features a new Introduction by eminent scholar Sugata Bose. Nationalism is based on Tagore’s lectures, warning the world of the disasters of narrow sectarianism and xenophobia. Home and the World is a classic novel, exploring the ever-relevant themes of nationalism, violent revolution and women’s emancipation.








Tagore: The World Voyager

Tagore: The World Voyager || Sugata Bose (Translator)

For long considered untranslatable, Tagore’s songs express most profoundly his romantic and religious perceptions. Prof. Bose aims to convey the artistic value of Tagore’s songs beyond the limits of his province. The first part, ‘Oceanic Songs’, introduces the lyrics and tunes of the songs to a foreign audience through a narrative of Tagore’s travels during which he communicated with the wider world. Since Tagore wrote only forty of his nearly 2500 songs on his journeys abroad, the second part presents a selection of ‘songs in five genres’. This book endeavours to reach Tagore’s songs to people beyond the borders of India, transcending the barriers of language on the wings of music.






The Postmaster: Selected Stories

The Postmaster || .

Poet, novelist, painter and musician Rabindranath Tagore created the modern short story in India. Written in the 1890s, during a period of relative isolation, his best stories—included in this selection—recreate vivid images of life and landscapes. They depict the human condition in its many forms: innocence and childhood; love and loss; the city and the village; the natural and the supernatural. Tagore is India’s great Romantic. These stories reflect his profoundly modern, original vision. Translated and introduced by William Radice, this edition includes selected letters, bibliographical notes and a glossary.






Rabindranath Tagore: Selected Poems

Rabindranath Tagore: Selected Poems || .

The poems of Rabindranath Tagore are among the most haunting and tender in Indian and world literature, expressing a profound and passionate human yearning. His ceaselessly inventive works deal with such subjects as the interplay between God and mortals, the eternal and the transient, and the paradox of an endlessly changing universe that is in tune with unchanging harmonies. Poems such as “Earth” and “In the Eyes of a Peacock” present a picture of natural processes unaffected by human concerns, while others, as in “Recovery14,” convey the poet’s bewilderment about his place in the world. And exuberant works such as “New Rain” and “Grandfather’s Holiday” describe Tagore’s sheer joy at the glories of nature or simply in watching a grandchild play.





My Life in My Words

My Life in My Words || Uma Das Gupta (Editor)

A unique autobiography that provides an incomparable insight into the mind of a genius. The Renaissance man of modern India, Rabindranath Tagore put his country on the literary map of the world when he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913. My Life in My Words is, quite literally, Tagore on Tagore. The result is a rare glimpse into the world of Tagore: his family of pioneering entrepreneurs who shaped his worldview; the personal tragedies that influenced some of his most eloquent verse; his ground-breaking work in education and social reform; his constant endeavour to bring about a synthesis of the East and the West and his humanitarian approach to politics; and his rise to the status of an international poet. Meticulously researched and sensitively edited, this unique autobiography provides an incomparable insight into the mind of a genius.




A Grain of Sand: Chokher Bali

A Grain of Sand || .

Chokher Bali is Nobel Prize-winning author Rabindranath Tagore’s classic exposition of an extramarital affair that takes place within the confines of a joint family. A compelling portrayal of the complexity of relationships and of human character, this landmark novel is just as powerful and thought-provoking today as it was a hundred years ago, when it was written.








Gora || .

When Gora had no name, caste, and religion, the circumstances gave him the name – goramohan, caste – Brahmin, and religion – Hindu. While he turned out to be a true advocate of Hinduism, the religion rejected him calling him an outcaste and an untouchable. In this classic masterpiece, Tagore represents the tragedy of Gora in the form of problems faced by all Indian religions.







He: (Shey)

He (Shey) || .

Tagore wrote Shey to satisfy his nine year old granddaughter’s demands for stories. Even as Tagore began to create his fantasy, he planned a story that had no end, and to keep the tales spinning he employed the help of ‘Shey’, a “man constituted entirely of words” and rather talented at concocting tall tales. So we enter the world of Shey’s extraordinary adventures, encountering a bizarre cast of characters, grotesque creatures and caricatures of contemporary figures and events as well as mythological heroes and deities – all brought to life through a sparkling play of words and illustrations in Tagore’s unique style.






Farewell Song

Farewell Song || .

Rabindranath Tagore reinvented the Bengali novel with Farewell Song, blurring the lines between prose and poetry and creating an effervescent blend of romance and satire. Through Amit and Labanya and a brilliantly etched social milieu, the novel addresses contemporary debates about ‘good’ and ‘bad’ writing, the nature of love and conjugality, and the influence of Western culture on Bengali society. Set against the idyllic backdrop of Shillong and the mannered world of elite Calcutta society, this sparkling novel expresses the complex vision and the mastery of style that characterized Tagore’s later works.






Gitanjali || William Radice (Translator)

Gitanjali (Penguin Hardback Classics) is a collection of poems by Rabindranath Tagore. This is the English translation of the original Bengali poems. Gitanjali became immensely popular across the globe and was eventually translated into several languages. The book is known for its unmatched style of presentation, fresh poetic structure and spiritual musings.








Share this with someone who is fond of – or needs an introduction to – Rabindranath Tagore’s work!


Invaluable dissenters in troubled democracies

What is the value of freedom of speech and dissent in a democracy today, and how does it affect the very pillars of this system of governance? These are difficult questions, often leaving us with no answers. T.T. Ram Mohan navigates these tensions in his book:


We don’t like dissenting voices and we don’t like to express dissent. Authority, in particular, doesn’t like to be questioned or challenged. And people don’t like to challenge or question authority because they know there’s a price to be paid for doing so. We are exhorted by wise men and women to ‘stand up for what is right’ and ‘speak truth to fear’. We are careful not to heed these exhortations. Our survival instincts tell us otherwise. It’s far more rewarding to stay quiet, nod assent or, better still, practise unabashed sycophancy.


In recent years, we have heard a great deal in India about intolerance and the supposed muffling of dissent on the part of the present government. Governments everywhere do try to stifle or manage dissent in varying degrees and in different ways. But the situation is not very different in other spheres of life, such as the corporate world, the bureaucracy, non-government organizations or even academia.


This is truly a sad state of affairs. Dissent is invaluable. We need dissent, whether in government or in the other institutions of society, in order to ensure accountability of those in authority. Dissent is also vital for generating ideas and solving problems. It is only through the clash of ideas that the best solutions emerge. Herd mentality or ‘group think’, as it is now called, is the surest recipe for mediocrity and underperformance. Institutions must be designed to protect and foster dissent.


Since dissent is all too rare, it’s worth celebrating dissenters. In this book, I profile seven of them from different walks of life. The personalities I have chosen are not necessarily the most famous or the most effective dissenters. The American linguist and intellectual, Noam Chomsky, would have easily qualified. So would the economist and Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz. But these are celebrities whose ideas are quite well known. I have chosen to write about individuals whose dissenting ideas may not be known to many. Ideally, I would have liked to meet the individuals in person or at least interview them over the Net. Alas, I had no luck, except with Kancha Ilaiah.


I have not attempted to be comprehensive in my treatment of these personalities and, indeed, lay no claim to being familiar with all of their works. They are all so prolific that whole books could be written about them. Rather, I have focused on some of their works or themes just to capture the flavor of their dissent.


In what ways are these dissenters questioning the mainstream view? What challenges have they mounted to the establishment? How have they managed to shape public perceptions on important issues? These are the questions I have attempted to answer. The impact the dissenters in this book have had is quite modest. Roy has been able to influence policy on large dams and the rehabilitation of displaced individuals. Stone has contributed to the anti-war sentiment in the US and to the conspiracy theories about the assassination of President Kennedy. Ilaiah has raised awareness of the inequities in the Hindu order but hasn’t had much luck in stopping the Hindutva juggernaut. U.G. Krishnamurti has got people thinking seriously about spirituality and the pursuit of enlightenment. Varoufakis languishes on the margins of European politics. Irving is a virtual pariah amongst historians and in the mainstream media. Pilger’s journalism thrives mostly on the Net.


The value of these dissenters is to be judged by positing the counterfactual: If it were not for the likes of them, how would the establishment have behaved? These individuals may not have been able to change the dominant narrative. But they have, at times, been able to apply the brakes on it. That is a valuable contribution.


With the possible exception of Irving, the dissenters in this book have been professionally and financially successful. This suggests that despite the hostility of the establishment, there is room in the market economy for dissent of high quality. Indeed, as I note later, it is the celebrity status of these dissenters that acts as a protective charm and keeps them from being trampled on. The moral in today’s world seems to be that if you want to express serious dissent, make sure that you are rich and famous enough to be able to afford it.


Rebels With a Cause does the difficult work of explaining the real value of dissent, and therefore, a democracy. Read it here.

Who is Chatur Chanakya and Why Should Children Meet Him? Radhakrishnan Pillai Answers

Radhakrishnan Pillai now writes for your young ones! Little Chanakya goes to school, standing up to bullies and maneuvering his way through tricky situations we all may have found ourselves in sometimes. But what inspired this journey? Let’s find out!   

From Corporate Chanakya to Chatur Chanakya, what inspired this transition in writing for a different audience?

It was a new dimension for me. Even though the common connect between Corporate Chanakya and Chatur Chanakya is the same – Chanakya, it is very differently presented. Corporate Chanakya was meant as a management book especially for those who are in management and leadership positions. The audience was educated and already decision makers. While Chatur Chanakya was a different aspect. Reaching out to children who are 10 years old. The challenge was to make the profound knowledge of Chanakya from the Arthashastra, to be presented in a simple format.  When the puffin team approached me with this concept to write for kids, it was a challenge. But I got inspired to try a new way of writing. And thanks – the book has really come out well. Much better than what was expected.

Is the character of young Chatur inspired by anyone from your life?

Yes and No. Chatur Chanakya is an imaginary character. Just like Superman, Batman and Chota Bheem. These characters are imaginary but have a message to give to kids. Through Chatur Chanakya we are going to bring out the best of wisdom of Chanakya (who lived nearly 2400 years ago) and his Kautilya’s Arthashastra. He was a leadership guru and a king maker. Chatur Chanakya will teach children how to think and become a leader. The other children in the book are inspired by real children. Arjun is the name of my son, who is the friend of Chatur Chanakya. Lakshmi is inspired by my daughter (her real name is Aanvikshiki). While Datta, Aditya and Milee are their friends. All of them become part of the book.

What is so special about Chatur and why should children befriend him?

Though a comic character. He is very real. Because he is a school going kid like any child of our generation. He has all the challenges that is faced by kids today. Be it bullying in schools, exam fever, being compared to other kids (even parents do that). So any one can associate with Chatur Chanakya. He is cute and nice. But he is also a fiend, philosopher and guide to his other classmates and friends. He is your friendly neighbour and ‘best friend’. He has got a choti on his head and a trick up his sleeve. You will love him. Not only children, but parents, grandparents and even teachers in schools will love Chatur Chanakya. He is what everyone wants in an ideal child – Intelligent and dynamic.

Tell us that one thing in Chatur Chanakya and the Himalayan Problem that one should look out for.

How to think out of the box. Chatur Chanakya faces a huge problem. Himalaya is a class mate of his, who is huge and bullies everyone. While Chatur Chanakya is not physically as strong Himalaya, he uses his intelligence to defeat Himalaya. So through this book we are giving a message to children, teachers and parents that – If you are mentally strong you can defeat any Himalayan (huge) problem.

Revisit school and relive all the memories with your little one in Radhakrishnan Pillai’s Chatur Chanakya and the Himalayan Problem!

When Young Chintamani Woke Up in a Place He Had Only Read About: ‘Lost in Time: Ghatotkacha and the Game of Illusions’ — An Excerpt

Chintamani Dev Gupta is on a trip to a bird camp near Lake Sat Tal! Away from the drudgery of urban life in Gurgaon, Chintamani finds himself near the cool, blue water of the lake and dives in for a swim. But when he emerges out of it, things look different. Where is he?
Find out with Namita Gokhale’s beautiful new novel for your little one, ‘Lost in Time: Ghatotkacha and the Game of Illusions’.
Here’s an excerpt from the book telling you where it all started.
A figure was approaching. He, she, it, was holding a burning branch of wood and breathing deeply. I had slouched down, suddenly tired and drowsy, in a bed of dry leaves. An enormous face came into view a long way above me. I wondered if I was dreaming, but the warmth from the flaming torch seeped into my bones, as did the long, careful breaths of this giant. I sat up bolt upright.
He was sniffing me, and I could smell him too. The tang of leaves and the forest, with a whiff of animal and the scent of human.
‘Who are you?’ he asked in a language I didn’t understand. And yet, strangely enough, I did. Was this telepathy?
‘And who are you?!’ I asked back, the question was put forward in sheer panic mixed with some cunning. I was still trying to take in the awesome size of this Godzilla, and figured my question might help establish a bond with this primeval creature. But then, how would he understand my question, which probably sounded more like a squeal?
‘I am Ghatotkacha,’ he replied. ‘I am the rakshasa Ghatotkacha, born of the lord Bhimasena and the lady Hidimbi. I rule over hill and vale, forest and stream to protect the spirit of the forest and all who live in it.’
I understood this too, through some sort of teleprompter that seemed to have lodged itself somewhere in the left lobe of my brain like a Google Translate implant.
‘I am Chintamani Dev Gupta,’ I replied tentatively. But it wasn’t me speaking at all, perhaps some sort of decoder that seemed to be picking up on signals from my brain. Take control, I told myself, take control, or you will lose this mind game.
‘I am speaking Paisachi, but I am fluent in Prakrit and Sanskrit too,’ the giant replied.
He had huge red eyes that were lit up by the burning torch he held in his hand. But they were kind eyes . . . there was not even a hint of cruelty in them.
‘And don’t worry, I am not trying to take control of your mind!’
Weird, weirder, weirdest. He could actually read my mind! Holy cow! This situation was just impossible. I pinched myself even harder this time, so that I might now wake up from this fast-accelerating nightmare.
It only gets “weird, weirder, weirdest” from here on! You wouldn’t want to miss it! Grab your copy and dive right into the charming world of Ghatotkacha!

Let’s Revisit the Golden Temple with Amma and Her Boys!

Remember when Bhakti Mathur and her boys took you and your little one on an enchanting journey to Amritsar’s Golden Temple? The beautiful architecture of one of the holiest places for Sikhs, the delectable langar served after prayers, a dip in the holy sarovar — Amma and her boys take you through an experience that stays with you forever.
Let’s take you through the Golden Temple once again through the pages of Amma, Take Me to the Golden Temple.
The rich history of the Golden Temple that stands tall for decades

The yummy taste of the karah prasad!

The peace and calm of the glorious inner sanctum

Taking a dip in the holy water facing Harmandir Sahib

The exquisite, golden palanquin carrying the Guru Granth Sahib

The history of the Golden Temple comes alive with the stunning illustrations in Bhakti Mathur’s Amma, Take Me to the Golden Temple.
Now get ready to join Amma and her boys on an exciting trip to the famous Tirupati! Pre-order your copy today!

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