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V.K. Karthika Steps Down As Publisher Of HarperCollins India


One of the best regarded names in Indian publishing, V.K. Karthika, Publisher and Chief Editor of HarperCollins Publishers India (HCI), has resigned from her position after a decade-long stint with the company. Ananth Padmanabhan, CEO of HCI, confirmed the news to The Huffington Post.

Karthika’s decision to move on comes on the heels of other major changes at HCI over the last several months. In August 2015, P.M. Sukumar, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), left the company, making way for Padmanabhan, who, after spending nearly 20 years at Penguin Books India, took over the role in October that year. Read more

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Book Review-A Year of Bliss: Humera Ahmed’s Ode to Himachal


By Amir Ullah Khan

Humera Ahmed is a writer and a poet who recently retired from the top echelons of India’s civil service. She had an illustrious career across various departments and ministries across the country and its capital. One stint in Shimla caught her imagination and she uses her notes to write a lovely book, which is part-travelogue, part-autobiography, part-historical and in parts, a contemporary review of the state of Himachal. She also talks insightfully of how the postal service works and how it has transformed itself during the recent past. Not much has been written about this fascinating part of North India and therefore this book becomes a priceless manuscript documenting one of our most exotic provinces.

The book is titled A Year in Himachal: Memories of an Incredible State, published by Notion press. Humera starts off by telling us of her own trepidation in moving from cosmopolitan Mumbai to a sleepy little hill station. She confesses there was no choice and she had to go, but as the tale unfolds, it becomes clear that it was a decision she cherishes, as it brings her to this awe-inspiring landscape with sublime and splendid mountains. In this wonderfully crafted book, she talks of her one year spent here learning, walking, meeting people and discovering a new life and culture. As if this was not enough, there are a couple of her poems, vividly describing her awestruck gaze on nature’s work in the hills.

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New Release – Amir Khusrau: The Man in Riddles by Ankit Chadha


Ankit Chadha unravels the fascinating life of sufi poet Amir Khusrau through illustrated riddles in his book Amir Khusrau: The Man in Riddles. The book is published by Penguin.

A riddle is a mystery concealed in words, each a clue the reader must unravel. In this book, it is also a piece of verse, part of the puzzle that is the fascinating life of Amir Khusrau.

The book introduces the world of Khusrau’s poetry in a charming way, while piecing together a portrait of the enigmatic poet. You could work through the riddles on your own or even enjoy them in the company of friends. The illustrations are not just visual representations of the verses, but extensions of the narrative, enriching rather than complementing it.


About the Author

Ankit Chadha is a writer and storyteller, who specializes in weaving research-based narratives for performance in the oral art of Urdu storytelling— Dastangoi. His works revolve around Sufi poetry and history education.

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Language endangerment in multilingual Indonesia

Language cannot merely be defined as a tool to convey meaning as part of human communication. Its significance as transferor of general knowledge is proof of its basic role in shaping our minds with regard to how we perceive the world.

It is also no surprise that in this 7-billion populated planet, hundreds of millions of people have confidently identified themselves as bilinguals as a result of globalized language learning. This phenomenon, as we all know, leaves some marks in which certain languages are ranked according to their use by the society in particular settings, for instance, in education, bureaucracy and professional work. Consequently, tendencies to learn only one or two languages that young people believe can give social and economic mobility for their future are increasing, leaving other languages, local languages in particular, marginalized and decayed. Read more

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When it comes to Ismat Chughtai, there’s no way to memorialise the immortal


If the premise of death, and certainly of its politics, is to inaugurate finality, to establish in all essentials the grandiose end of thought, then death has eluded Ismat Chughtai.

For the force of her writing, although decades since have squandered, is still to be located in the interstices of the personal and the political, and in all those realms where the two are inseparable. Of what significance, then, is the performance of remembrance; indeed, how are we to remember Ismat Chughtai? Is there a way to memorialise the immortal?

Born to a “liberal” Muslim family of comfortable affluence, Chughtai was a child of modernity, or to borrow from Minault, a “daughter” of reform.

As a discursive subject of the aforesaid reformation, born out of colonialism and the historical encounter with modernity, she began, in appreciable earnestness, to read its chimera of emancipation. Faced with the prospect of wasting away the promising years of her life in Sambhar, where her father was transferred as a judicial magistrate, young Ismat expressed her desire to study in Aligarh, going as far as to threaten her family with the prospect of running away, or even converting to Christianity. Read more

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Homer of North was just a literary ‘hoax’

The blind 3rd century poet Ossian — dubbed the “Homer of the North” — may have never actually existed as scientists have found that his tales were merely 18th-century copies of Irish folklore, putting an end to the 250-year-old literary controversy. Poems by the Scottish bard Ossain are considered to be some of the most important literary works ever to have emerged from Britain or Ireland, given their influence over the Romantic period in literature and the arts.

Figures from German Johannes Brahms to English poet William Wordsworth reacted enthusiastically. French military leader Napoleon Bonaparte took a copy on his military campaigns and US President Thomas Jefferson believed that Ossian was the greatest poet to have ever existed. Read more

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10 best mythological tales from around the world

Fact is everybody’s truth. Fiction is nobody’s truth. Myth is somebody’s truth. It’s a cultural truth, a religious truth, a nation’s truth, one that binds a community together by giving them a common worldview to function within.

Science can tell you how the world functions, but only myth can tell you why it functions the way it does. The idea of God, for example, is a cultural truth: it is not part of Buddhism, Jainism, or secularism. Likewise, the idea of prophets makes no sense in the Hindu worldview. The idea of hero, villain and victim is a Greek mythic idea, which was imposed by modern storytellers on mythologies around the world, leading to distortion of cultural ideas. Equality is not a rational concept. It is a subjective truth, a belief that comes to us from Abrahamic mythology. Likewise the idea of justice comes from Greek mythology. These two Western ideas are often at loggerheads.

Of course, followers of myth believe their truth is the truth. Outsiders disagree. This is the cause of all tribal, religious, and nation-state wars. Let us explore 10 mythological stories from around the world to appreciate how different people have tried to make sense of the world. Read more

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I’m outraged a media house doesn’t want to review Indian authors: Amrita Talwar

It seemed like a normal “Monday” working day.

I logged in and started trawling through my email. I came across a name marked in bold that I was dying to hear from. The email was from a journalist to whom I had pitched an author profile and I had been following up persistently for an answer. You know how publicists feel when they are desperately trying to pitch an Indian author for an interview and then suddenly a mail pops up on the screen. It’s the equivalent of finding a Rs 1,000 note in your jeans when you are absolutely broke.

I manage publicity for a reputed publishing house in India and my forte is promoting writings by Indian authors – novels, narrative non-fiction, commercial and literary. Finding media space for their work is something that I quite like doing. And I tell people happily and proudly that “shrinking” media space in India is a myth. I gloat to my UK counterparts that India is probably the only country that still has lavish Sunday pages dedicated to books, author interviews and websites that happily carry book-related stories. Read more

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Unearthing: A poem by Mohineet Kaur Boparai

Mohineet Kaur Boparai is a research scholar at the Department of English, Punjabi University, Patiala in India. Her research interests include issues of subalternity and agency. She was nominated for the Pushcart Prize by Lindenwood Review. She has published three books of poetry, Poems That Never Were(2007), Windows to the Ocean(2012) and Lives of My Love (2012). Her poetry has also appeared in several journals and anthologies including the coveted anthology of Indian poetry, The Dance of the Peacock (2013), The Lindenwood Review and Zymbol Magazine. She is teaching English at DAV University, Jalandhar. She is 29 and lives at Moga.

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If I have an idea or if I see an image, hear a sound which triggers something in my imagination, then I have to write it down:Amna K. Boheim


Amna K. Boheim worked in investment banking before turning to writing. She also writes a blog on life’s little idiosyncrasies, the curious and the funny as well as dabbling in a bit of flash fiction and poetry. The Silent Children is her debut novel; it was awarded the Independent Publisher Book Awards 2016 silver medal for best suspense/thriller novel.

Unlike most South Asian writers’ initial works, your debut novel contains no allusions to your Eastern roots. Was that a conscious decision?

My roots are very important to me, but in this instance — my first novel — I just had it in my head to write a mystery set in Vienna, a city which has a repressed air about it and one that lent itself to the story that was evolving in my head. I think there are so many brilliant South Asian authors who have written novels about their culture. Perhaps it’s a confidence issue, but I feel that at the moment (other than one particular story I’m still in two minds about) the ideas I have in my head are nothing original.

Was it daunting to write about a setting of which you presumably do not have intimate knowledge, or was it liberating as you had to go solely by your instincts and research?

I have been lucky enough to visit Vienna many times. For The Silent Children I specifically went there twice to walk around Ober St Veit where Max’s mother’s house is (which is part of Hietzing), as well as walking around the 1st District. Wandering around the city was important for me to get a sense of the streets, the architecture, and the everyday life.

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