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5 Books That Will Brighten Up Your Diwali

Diwali is a celebration of lights, homecoming, and the victory of good over evil. This Diwali, come home to stories of hope and triumph of humanity over darkness, fear and hopelessness.
Here are 5 books you should read this Diwali 

Yaarana



Hoshang Merchant in this collection captures the true meaning of yaraana or male friendship and bonding, an often ignored facet of South Asian life and sexuality. The collection features some enigmatic stories like  Ashok Row Kavi’s autobiographical piece on growing up gay in Bombay and Vikram Seth’s brilliantly etched account of a homosexual relationship in The Golden Gate. The book shows how love and companionship can brighten up any dark day.

Kanshiram

Kanshiram: Leader of the Dalits by [Narayan, Badri]
Fetching from various oral and written sources, Badri Narayan shows how Kanshiram mobilized dalits with his homespun idiom, cycle rallies and, uniquely, the use of local folk heroes and myths, rousing their self-respect, and how he struck opportunistic alliances with higher-caste parties to seize power for dalits. Authoritative and insightful, this is a rare portrait of the man who changed the face of dalit society and, indeed, of Indian politics. The book inspires one to fight for their rights, and combat the force of darkness.

Bombay Stories


Bombay Stories is a collection of short stories about actors, prostitutes, intellectuals, conmen and more. Originally written in Urdu by Saadat Hasan Manto, it is set in the 1930s and 1940s, when the author had just arrived in the city. Anyone who is interested in the history and culture of Bombay or is a fan of translated Urdu literature, can enjoy reading this book. It will guide one to seek what is good, and annihilate the evil in this world.

Unheard Voices

In this book, civil servant and social activist Harsh Mander draws on his own and his colleagues’ experiences to explore the lives of twenty people who have survived and coped despite being pushed to the hopeless margins of society. The stories act like beacons of hope that will make Diwali seem a little brighter. The book will enlighten one to seek light in this weary world.

Children, Women, Men


Set in the late 1930s and reflecting the political and social turmoil of the pre-war years, it chronicles the psychological conflict between Srinivasa Aiyar and his nine-year-old son, Balu. The ambitious novel also tells the story of Anandam, a young widow, as she considers remarriage, and Sridaran, who chooses to break off his studies in England in order to join nationalist activities at home. The book in its true essence display how happiness is found in the darkest days.
So, which book are you reading this Diwali?

25 Must Reads On the 70th Anniversary of Partition

India’s freedom from the British rule was stained by the horrors of its partition. The reverberations of the event over the last seventy years have been encapsulated in several books, plays, and other forms of media.
Here is a list of 25 books that capture one of the most defining moment of our history.

Midnight’s Children


Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie is an epic novel that opens up with a child being born at midnight on 15th August 1947, just at a time when India is achieving Independence from centuries of foreign British colonial rule. Highlighting the relation between father and son and a nation yet in its nascent stage, it is an enchanting family adventure with lots of human drama and shocking summoning.

Lifting The Veil


Ismat Chughtai in Lifting the Veil explored female sexuality with unparalleled frankness and examined the political and social mores of her time.

Train to India: Memories of Another Bengal

Train to India
As a young boy, Maloy Krishna Dhar, made the perilous journey to India from the East Pakistan. The partion in Bengal had its share of tragedy, of lives unmade and lost, but it is relatively less chronicled than events in Punjab. Maloy Krishna Dhar’s Train to India is a graphic and moving account of that turbulent and unforgotten era of Bengal History.

The Shadow Lines


As a young boy, Amitav Ghosh’s narrator in The Shadow Lines travels across time through the tales of those around him, traversing the unreliable planes of memory, unmindful of physical, political and chronological borders. Bits and pieces of stories, both half-remembered and imagined, come together in his mind until he arrives at an intricate, interconnected picture of the world where borders and boundaries mean nothing, mere shadow lines that we draw dividing people and nations.

Midnight’s Furies


Nisid Hajari’s Midnight’s Furies: The Deadly Legacy of India’s Partition shows how Partition, which has created such a wide gulf between two countries whose people have so much in common, has given birth to global terrorism and dangerous proliferation.

Sunlight On A Broken ColumnSunlight On A Broken Column

On a backdrop India’s struggle for independence, Laila, an orphaned daughter of a distinguished Muslim family, fights for her own independence from the claustrophobia of a traditional life. With its beautiful evocation of India, its political insight and unsentimental understanding of the human heart, Sunlight on a Broken Column, first published in 1961, is a classic of Muslim life.

Partitions

With India’s partition in 1947 as its reference point, the novel presents a limitless canvas against which the most extraordinary trial in the history of mankind runs its course. Kamleshwar’s Kitne Pakistan dared to ask crucial questions about the making and writing of history.

 Amritsar to Lahore by Stephen Alter

A sensitive and thoughtful look at the lasting effects of Partition on everyday people, Amritsar to Lahore describes a journey across the contested border between India and Pakistan in 1997, the fiftieth anniversary of Partition. Offering both the perspective of hindsight and a troubling vision of the future, Amritsar to Lahore presents a compelling argument against the impenetrability of boundaries and the tragic legacy of lands divided.

The Broken Mirror

The Broken Mirror by Krishna Baldev Vaid tells the story of Beero and his group of friends against a backdrop of partition of India. Beero’s passage through adolescence is told through a series of eccentric characters. When partition becomes a reality, in a time of terror and carnage, the insane turn out be the only ones sane.

Unbordered Memories

If Partition affected the lives of Sindhi Hindus, it also changed things for the Sindhi Muslims. In Unbordered Memories, Sindhis from India and Pakistan make imaginative entries into each other’s worlds. Many stories in this volume testify to the Sindhi Muslims’ empathy for the world inhabited by the Hindus, and the Indian Sindhis’ solidarity with the turbulence experienced by Pakistani Sindhis.

Making Peace With Partition

The Partition of the Indian subcontinent in 1947 left a legacy of hostility and bitterness that has bedevilled relations between India and Pakistan. Reviewing the turbulent history of their past relationship, Radha Kumar analyses the chief obstacles the two countries face in the light of the new opportunities and challenges that the twenty-first century presents.

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Manto’s stories were mostly written against the backdrop of the Partition. Bitter Fruit presents the best collection of Manto’s writings, from his short stories, plays and sketches, to portraits of cinema artists, a few pieces on himself. Bitter Fruit includes stories like A Wet Afternoon, The Return, A Believer s Version, Toba Tek Singh, Colder than Ice and many others.

Kingdom’s End: Selected Storiesmanto.jpg1.jpg

This collection brings together some of Manto’s finest stories, ranging from his chilling recounting of the horrors of Partition to his portrayal of the underworld. Powerful and deeply moving, these stories remain as relevant today as they were first published.

Mottled Dawn

Mottled Dawn by Saadat Hasan Manto is a collection of stories based on the India-Pakistan partition. The stories written around 1947 put forward the most tragic events in the history of the subcontinent.

Manto: Selected StoriesManto

Saadat Hasan Manto’s stories are vivid, dangerous and troubling and they slice into the everyday world to reveal its sombre, dark heart. These stories were written from the mid-1930s on, many under the shadow of Partition. No Indian writer since has quite managed to capture the underbelly of Indian life with as much sympathy and colour.

India Divided

Written by the first President of India, India Divided traces the origins and growth of the Hindu–Muslim conflict, gives the summary of the several schemes for the partition of India which were put forth, and points out the essential ambiguity of the Lahore Resolution. Finally, it concludes that the solution for the Hindu–Muslim issue should be sought in the formation of a secular state, with cultural autonomy for the different groups that make up the nation.

Mr and Mrs Jinnah: The Marriage That Shook IndiaSheela Reddy in Mr and Mrs Jinnah brings forth the marriage that convulsed the Indian society with a sympathetic, discerning eye. A product of intensive and meticulous research in Delhi, Bombay and Karachi, and based on first-person accounts and sources, Reddy sheds light on how the politics of the time affected the marital life of misunderstood Jinnah and wistful Ruttie.

Tamas

A timeless classic about the Partition of India, Tamas is also a chilling reminder of the consequences of religious intolerance and communal prejudice.

Bengal Divided: The Unmaking of a Nation (1905-1971)

In 1905, all of Bengal rose in uproar because the British had partitioned the state. Yet in 1947, the same people insisted on a partition along communal lines. Exploring the roots of alienation of the two communities, Nitish Sengupta peels off the layers of events in this pivotal period in Bengal’s history, casting new light on the roles of figures such as Chittaranjan Das, Subhas Chandra Bose, Nazrul Islam, Fazlul Huq, H.S. Suhrawardy and Shyama Prasad Mukherjee.

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In Mukul Kesavan’s Looking Through Glass, a young photographer on a train to Lucknow suddenly finds himself in the deep end of 1942.  His hindsight tells him that Partition will destroy this world. And in his desperate struggles to avert the inevitable, we discover, often with an almost unbearable poignancy, how the possibilities in India’s past were squandered, some wantonly, others accidentally.

RegretRegret

A collection of two novellas—Regret and Out of Sight, the stories skilfully evoke the long shadow cast by the violence of Partition. While Regret brilliantly recreates a childhood shattered by the Partition of India in 1947, Out of Sight recounts the story of Ismail, who narrowly escaped the carnage of 1947 in his youth. Now, looking back on his life and despairing of the sudden resurgence of sectarian violence in Pakistan.

Memories Of Madness: Stories Of 1947

The tragic legacy of Partition haunts the subcontinent even today. Memories of Madness brings together works by three leading writers who witnessed the insanity of those months—Khushwant Singh, Saadat Hasan Manto, and Bhisham Sahni. As moving as they are disturbing, the stories in this volume are of immense relevance in these times, for they constitute a chilling reminder of the consequences of communal politics.

The Other Side of Silence
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Pieced together from oral narratives and testimonies, in many cases from women, children and dalits— marginal voices never heard before— and supplemented by documents, reports, diaries, memoirs and parliamentary records, this is a moving, personal chronicle of Partition that places people, instead of grand politics, at the centre.

Partition: The Long Shadow

The dark legacies of partition have cast a long shadow on the lives of people of India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. The borders that were drawn in 1947, and redrawn in 1971, divided not only nations and histories but also families and friends. The essays in this volume explore new ground in Partition research, looking into areas such as art, literature, migration, and notions of ‘foreignness’ and ‘belonging’.

Remembering Partition: Limited Edition

The Remembering Partition Box Set is a collection of five iconic books which look at the different faces of partition, from the larger political and historical view to the very personal tales of hatred, grief, courage and friendship.

 
 
On the 70th anniversary of partition, which book are you picking?
 
 
 

Classic Translations and Their Breathtaking Book Covers

The world of literature is full of some enigmatic works that transcend the boundaries of language.
If you are looking to immerse  yourself in some beautifully translated works (with stunning covers), look no further.
Here’s a list of five gorgeous looking classic translations that will leave you enthralled!
Kalidasa’s Classics
Kalidasa, perhaps the most extraordinary of India’s classical poets, composed seven major works: three plays, two epic poems and two lyric poems. Originally written in Sanskrit, the legacy of the writings have passed on to generations through various translated media. Kalidasa’s classics are also filled with lush imagery—from the magnificence of the bountiful earth to the glory of the celestial gods, from the hypnotic lilt of birdsong to the passionate love stories between couples. This vibrant verbal imagery  translates beautifully into the covers of these books. Whether it be the green hue of the glorious forests in Meghdutam or the myriad of colours in the love story between Shakuntala and Dushyanta in Abhijananashakuntalam or the colour blue depicting the travails of Dashratha in Raghuvamsam, the covers of the translations reflect the beauty of his works.
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My Name is Radha by Sadat Hasan Manto
My Name Is Radha is a path-breaking translation of stories that  delve deep into Manto’s creative world. In this singular collection, the focus rests on Manto the writer. The vibrant pink hue of the cover reflects the boldness  of Manto’s writings and the retro-graphic and font on the cover reflect Muhammad Umar Memon’s attempt to keep true to the artfulness in the translation.
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The Broken Mirror, None Other, and Steps in Darkness
Written and translated by the eminent iconoclast Krishna Baldev Vaid, his writings echo an aspect of the turmoil the people and the Indian subcontinent went through during the time of partition. The perpetuating, almost uncontrollable patterns on the covers of these translations perhaps reflect the myriad moods that people suffered through during those times.
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Have you seen a cover of a translation which has left you awestruck? Share with us!
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