New Releases from Asia: July 2020


The Four Colors by Ankur


  • Publisher: Hawakal Publishers
  • Year of publication: 2020
  • Pages: 88
  • Price: INR 350 / USD 8.99

Book Blurb

The fifty-odd poems in this collection all reflect the different hues of life as well as different stages of growth of a person. The poems find themselves divided naturally into four sections: Green (birth), Yellow (disillusion), Purple (rebirth), and Red (self-realization). The irrepressible current of life, in its various manifestations, runs through them all.

Author Bio

Ankur is an Indian poet. His poems have appeared in several literary journals earlier: most notable among them are the poems “Lamplighter” in the now-defunct Barnwood Poetry Magazine (which used to be edited by Tom Koontz); “India, the River” in Cha: An Asian Literary Journal and “Oslo, Bangalore” in Voice & Verse Poetry Magazine; and “Looking Out For” in Other Poetry (now on hiatus). He also was a guest poetry editor for Cha’s issues 16 and 35. His short story “Silver Plums” was published in the Mascara Literary Review. There have been many strong influences on his life, including the poetry of R. S. Thomas, Wang Wei, Robert Frost and Walter de la Mare. Ankur is currently based in Norway.

Breathe. Believe. Balance. by Shayamal Vallabhjee

  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Year of Publication: 2020
  • Price: Rs. 280/-

Book Blurb

Breathe Believe Balance is one part memoir and one part guide to self-discovery. It is an intimate account of the lessons Shayamal Vallabhjee learnt while growing up during South Africa’s apartheid era, from living the life of a monk and travelling the globe with professional athletes. He has popularized the concept of ‘Balance’ in India. Using his knowledge and experience from the worlds of science, spirituality, and psychology, in this book, Vallabhjee takes you through this introspective and self-healing journey.

From understanding the importance of self-love to decoding the science of healthy relationships; from learning to be emotionally present in every conversation to engineering your environment for success, Breathe Believe Balance helps you take a deeper look at your life. Offering a scientific analysis of the human psyche and packed with useful questionnaires, this book is your guide to self-transformation and personal mastery.

Author Bio

Shayamal Vallabhjee was born in Durban, South Africa. He is a sports scientist with a master’s in Psychology. He has spent the past two decades working with Olympians, professional sports teams, corporate executives, patients, and children. Having lived as a monk in the Hare Krsna Temple, he now draws on learnings from ancient spiritual practices in combination with evidence-based science to help motivate and inspire people.

Shaheen Bagh and the Idea of India by Seema Mustafa


  • Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books LLP
  • Year of Publishing: 2020
  • Price: Rs. 450/-

Book Blurb

The first comprehensive book on one of the most important civil rights movements in the history of Independent India.

On 15 December 2019, police in riot gear stormed Delhi’s Jamia Millia Islamia University and attacked unarmed students protesting against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which makes religion a factor in the process of granting Indian citizenship. In neighbouring Shaheen Bagh, mothers and other relatives and friends of the students came out into the streets in outrage and anguish. They sat on a main road demanding repeal of the CAA, which, twinned with the National Register of Citizens (NRC), could make Indian Muslims aliens in their own homeland. Within days, similar protests broke out across the country. Free India had never seen anything like it.

Shaheen Bagh and the Idea of India examines how the sit-in by a small group of Muslim women—many of whom had stepped out of their homes alone for the first time—united millions of Indians of different faiths and ideologies in defence of the principles of liberty, equality and secularism enshrined in our Constitution. It also throws up many important questions: Can the Shaheen Bagh protests reverse the damage done to our democracy in recent years? How did the non-violent movement sustain itself despite vilification, threats and persecution by the establishment? Is this movement the beginning of new solidarities in our society? Will it survive the aftermath of the communal violence that devastated northeast Delhi in February 2020, and the witch-hunt that was launched under cover of the Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown?

This necessary collection comprises interviews with some of the brave women at the core of the protests; ground reports and photographs by journalists like Seema Mustafa, Seemi Pasha, Nazes Afroz and Mustafa Quraishi; and essays by thinkers, writers, lawyers and activists, including Nayantara Sahgal, Harsh Mander, Subhashini Ali, Nandita Haksar, Zoya Hasan, Apoorvanand, Enakshi Ganguly, Sharik Laliwala and Nizam Pasha. It is a book that must be read by everyone who cares about India’s democracy and its future.

Author Bio

Seema Mustafa has been a journalist since the age of nineteen. She has worked in or written for a number of major Indian newspapers—including The PatriotThe PioneerThe Indian ExpressThe TelegraphEconomic Times and Asian Age—and travelled across the globe on assignments. She also worked for a couple of years as the National Affairs Editor for the News X television channel. She has covered conflict in Assam, Punjab and Kashmir; communal violence in different states of India; and was the first Indian journalist to cover the first war in Beirut. She is presently the Founder-Editor of The Citizen, an online initiative.

A People’s History of India 31– The National Movement: Part 2: The Struggle for Freedom 1919–1947


  • Published by: Tulika Books
  • Year of Publishing: 2019
  • No. of Pages: 180 pages
  • Price: Rs.350/-


Book Blurb

This volume (People’s History of India, No. 31) takes up the story of the Indian National Movement from 1919, when the first nationalist struggle took place on an all-India scale – the Satyagraha against the Rowlatt Act, engraved in national memory by the slaughter at Jallianwala Bagh. It ends with August 1947, when India finally attained independence. The volume aims to do justice to the various streams by which the National Movement was fed, such as peasant unrest, the rise of the Left, Gandhian social engineering. It also stresses the importance of the ideological factor, seen in the growth of communalism that ultimately led to the Partition of the country along with Independence. Two standard features of the People’s History series are maintained: extracts from contemporary documents, explanatory notes on related themes or controversies, and bibliographical notes, attached to each chapter. 

Author Bio

Irfan Habib is Professor Emeritus of History at the Aligarh Muslim University. He is the author of The Agrarian System of Mughal India, 1556–1707 (1963, revised edition 1999), An Atlas of the Mughal Empire (1982), Essays in Indian History: Towards a Marxist Perception (1995), Medieval India: The Study of a Civilization (2007), Economic History of Medieval India, 1200–1500 (with collaborators, 2011) and Atlas of Ancient Indian History (with Faiz Habib, 2012). He has co-edited The Cambridge Economic History of India, Vol. I, UNESCO’s History of Humanity, Vols. 4 and 5, and UNESCO’s History of Central Asia, Vol. 5. He is the General Editor of the People’s History of India series. He has published two monographs on modern Indian economic history and a study of certain aspects of the National Movement.

The day before today- Lockdown Stories by Gayatri Gill (Illustrated by Niyati Singh)


  • Published by: Speaking Tiger
  • Year of Publishing: 2020
  • Price: Rs. 250/-




Book Blurb

In a land far away, a bat stirs up a cauldron of trouble. In the sanitized new world that emerges, everything has changed. A midnight feast in the kitchen is par for the course when there’s no school tomorrow – or any tomorrow to come. A ‘status update’ on Facebook is your only communication with a sibling in a containment zone. A young girl obsesses about the masked stranger in the aisles of a supermarket, while in a deserted guesthouse, a ghost falls in love with the mother of a newborn. Neighbourhood parties on Zoom become the new normal, as the children of a dystopian world invent strange new games. It is even possible to commit murder and get away with it, if you’re part of the ‘essential services’ brigade.

Part fairy tale, part nightmare, The Day Before Today is a collection of dark, delicious short fiction that will make us rethink the world we took for granted.

About the Author

Gayatri Gill is a producer, scriptwriter, story editor and co-founder
at Swastik Productions, Mumbai, with over fifteen years of writing and production experience across television, digital, animation and documentary formats. The Day Before Today is her debut collection of short fiction. Mother to two children, two dogs and the occasional reptilian visitor, Gayatri enjoys her morning tea brewed with tales of the dark kind.

A Book of Simple Living : Brief Notes from the Hills

  • Publisher: Speaking Tiger Books LLP
  • Year of Publishing: 2015
  • No. of Pages: 160
  • Price: Rs. 399/-


‘A lyrical and spare work—part writer’s workshop, part meditation…Anyone as yet unacquainted with Bond’s enduring grace could well start here.’—    ‘A simple recipe for happiness—Bond’s keen eye for detail is visible throughout…[A] magical book.’—Deccan Herald ‘This is the kind of book where one expects to find a dried flower bookmarking the pages still carrying a trace of fragrance…it is like curling up on a window seat with an old friend—the comfort is almost instant.’—Outlook

‘It’s hard to say what’s more charming, Ruskin Bond’s simple prose or the surroundings he describes…[A Book of Simple Living] is like a bowl of clear soup that you finish in no time, but by the time you are done with it, you feel as if you’ve had a five-course meal.’—The Hindu ‘A real gem—simplicity at its best…The entire book is replete with magnificent life lessons. Above all, what you will cherish most are the images that the author creates in your mind. Vertiginous mountains, verdant valleys, tiny springs, soothing birdsong, whistling woods—Ruskin lets you have the breathtaking Himalayan experience without leaving home.’—Sakal Times

‘In gnomic pieces reminiscent of the short and evocative poems of old Buddhist Chinese poets like Wang Wei, Bond muses about nature, change, the life of the mind and the pleasures of the flesh…This beautifully produced slim volume is perfect for random dippings. Even now, so many people know Bond only as a writer of children’s stories, like the Rusty books. [A Book of] Simple Living makes one realise just how much more there is to him, and how much we will miss him when Rusty does finally run away.’—Outlook Traveller

About the Author

Ruskin Bond was born in Kasauli in 1934. He grew up in Jamnagar, Dehradun and Shimla, worked briefly in Jersey, London and Delhi, and moved to Mussoorie in the early 1960s to write full time. He has lived in Mussoorie ever since, alone at first, and for many years now, with his adopted family.Ruskin Bond has written novels, memoirs, short story collections and books of essays and poetry. His books include the popular classics Room on the Roof (winner of the John Llewellyn Rhys Prize), A Flight of Pigeons, The Blue Umbrella, Time Stops at Shamli, Night Train at Deoli, Our Trees Still Grow in Dehra (winner of the Sahitya Akademi Award) and Rain in the Mountains. He was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014.

Musicophilia in Mumbai: Performing Subjects and the Metropolitan Unconscious


  • Publisher: Tulika Books
  • Year of Publishing: 2020
  • Price: Rs. 695/-

Book Blurb

This book tracks the place of Hindustani or north Indian music in Mumbai in the long twentieth century, as the city moves from being a seat of British colonial government built on the profits of the opium trade to a vibrant post-colonial metropolis. It argues that the love of Hindustani music, which emerged in Mumbai around the mid-nineteenth century, led to the formation of a ‘lingua musica’ that served to connect the diverse inhabitants of the city. Thus, it contributed to new forms of sociality, of being together in public. The city was created by migrants of different kinds who brought to Mumbai their regional histories and cultures of community living. The book argues that the new urban subject is a social subject, embedded in a metropolitan unconscious that creates the conditions for performing modernity. People’s ways of living and experiencing feed into this sedimented repertoire of a collectivized unconscious that is continually transformed by the conditions of present-day life. This coming together of past and present habits produces the musicophilia that marks Mumbai’s social subjects. The book proposes that the musicophilia of Mumbai’s inhabitants gives us new material with which to think through questions of urbanity, subjectivity and culture. Although the study is deeply localized and empirically specific, similar patterns can be traced elsewhere in South Asia. The book suggests that the relationship between cultural practice and the formation of the social subject can speak to many other contexts, especially in the non-west.

Author Bio

Tejaswini Niranjana is currently Professor and Head, Department of Cultural Studies, Lingnan University, Hong Kong, and Visiting Professor with the School of Arts and Sciences, Ahmedabad University, India. She is the author of Siting Translation: History, Post-structuralism and the Colonial Context and Mobilizing India: Women, Music and Migration between India and Trinidad. Among her edited volumes is Genealogies of the Asian Present: Situating Inter-Asia Cultural Studies, with Wang Xiaoming. Her collection of essays in Chinese, Nationalism Refigured, was re-issued in 2019.

Displacement and Citizenship: Histories and Memories of Exclusion

  • Publisher: Tulika Books, New Delhi
  • Year of publication: December 2019
  • Pages: (xxii+314) 336 pages
  • Price: Rs. 900/-

Book Blurb

Displacement and Citizenship: Histories and Memories of Exclusion intends to capture the crises of forced migration, internal displacement due to conflict situations and development-induced migration. The essays in this volume record the experiences of societies in South Asia (India, Bangladesh), Latin America (Peru), Europe (Germany, Austria) and Africa (Reunion Island, Namibia, Rwanda), each of which has histories marked by large-scale displacement caused by colonial policies of land capture, slavery or indentured labour, or partitions and other exclusions in the very birth of the nation-state. The essays are more than mere cautionary tales. They articulate how the denial of ‘belonging’ leaves a mark not only on individuals, but also on the nation that excludes, as well as the implications it has for citizens’ access to rights and solidarity of fellow-citizens.

Author Bio

Vijaya Rao
 is Professor at the Centre for French and Francophone Studies, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 

Shambhavi Prakash is Assistant Professor at the Centre of German Studies, School of Language, Literature and Culture Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

Mallarika Sinha Roy is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Women’s Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. 

Papori Bora is Assistant Professor at the Centre for Women’s Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi.

What’s Wrong with You, Karthik?

  • Publisher: Picador India; Delhi edition
  • Year of publishing: 2020
  • Price: Rs. 485/-

Book Blurb

Twelve-year-old Karthik Subramanian has just been granted admission into St George’s, an elite boys’ school in Bangalore that has supported the academic lives of ‘four state cricketers, one India captain, tens of professors, hundreds of doctors, engineers and scientists, thousands of chartered accountants …’ In this most exalted of institutions, Karthik yearns for recognition as an academic superstar.

Rigorously prepped by his parents and grandfather, dutifully offering his prayers to Lord Ganesha, Karthik steps into this new world. But nothing has prepared him for the challenges that lie in wait and he is left to himself to navigate the cruelties of school life, and the transition into adolescence. The less his family learns about his friends, the better. There are threats all around, even violence.

Brilliant in its observations of a motley cast of characters, and finely calibrated for humour and sadness, What’s Wrong with You, Karthik? is a poignant, exuberant debut from a writer of rare calibre.

About the Author

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is a writer and editor based in Seattle. He has worked at ESPNcricinfo and Wall Street Journal, and contributed to GuardianForbes and WisdenWhat’s Wrong with You, Karthik? is his first book.

New Borns and New Moms: An Urban Indian Mother’s Guide to Life after Childbirth


  • Publisher: Pan Macmillan
  • Year of Publishing: 2020
  • Price: Rs. 359/-

Book Blurb

If you are struggling to cope with the anxieties of being a new mother, this is the book you need! As soon as a baby is born, a woman’s life is engulfed by inevitable chaos. Newborns and New Moms dispels the confusion new mothers in urban India often go through.

Drawing from her own experience as a mother and her years as an accomplished and empathetic family physician, Dr Farah Adam Mukadam offers valuable tips and advice tailored for Indian parents through a book that:

• Prepares a mother for her new life once the baby comes home
• Validates Indian traditions surrounding childcare from a scientific and modern perspective
• Provides insights about what to expect from family members and how to handle complex domestic circumstances after childbirth
• Covers pertinent topics like mastering breastfeeding, accepting your changed body, postpartum mental and sexual well-being and readjusting to work after maternity leave
• Contains useful tips for expecting couples in the age of Covid-19

Packed with wisdom and strengthened by real-life examples, this accessible how-to is the inspiration you need to embrace and enjoy motherhood.

Author Bio

Dr. Farah Adam Mukadam is a family physician from Bengaluru, India. She completed her MBBS from Kasturba Medical College, Manipal and holds a Diploma in Family Medicine. She is a mother of two kids, a six-year-old son and a three-year-old daughter. She is a consulting physician at Narayana Hrudalaya Multispecialty Clinic, Bengaluru and has a special interest in providing breastfeeding and postpartum support to new mothers. She has a YouTube channel called ‘Momstein’ where she often busts myths around contemporary medical aid.

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