August 18, 2022

KITAAB

Connecting Asian writers with global readers

New Releases – July 2022

21 min read

A comprehensive list of New Releases from Asia – this list includes some soon-to-release and some already released titles.

Lies our Mothers Told Us: : The Indian Woman’s Burden by Nilanjana Bhowmick 

About the Book

Savitribai Phule, Mahasweta Devi, Amrita Pritam, Medha Patkar, Kamla Bhasin, and countless others have, since the nineteenth century, fought for and won equal rights for Indian women in a variety of areas-universal suffrage, inheritance and property rights, equal remuneration, prevention of sexual harassment at the workplace, and others. Pioneering feminists believed that due to these hard-won rights, their daughters and granddaughters would have the opportunity to have rewarding careers, participate in the social and political growth of the country, gain economic independence, and become equal partners in their marriages. On paper, it would appear that the lot of Indian women in the twenty-first century has vastly improved but, in reality, the demands of capitalism and the persistence of patriarchal attitudes have meant that they continue to lead lives that are hard and unequal, especially when compared to their male counterparts.

Indian women are among the most overworked in the world-they spend on average 299 minutes on housework and 134 minutes on caregiving per day, shouldering 82 per cent of domestic duties. They are burdened with work from such a young age that many are forced to drop out of schools, leave the labour force, and give up dreams of financial independence. For those who have the privilege of choosing to have a career, the only way they can make this viable is by doing the ‘double shift’: women are expected to do most of the housework, childcare, and caregiving, whether they have jobs or not.

While these problems apply to all women across the country, those in India’s middle class face an altogether unique challenge because middle-class families have mastered the art of simulating an environment of empowerment in their homes. Lies Our Mothers Told Us: The Indian Woman’s Burden takes a close look at the gender inequality that forms the bedrock of India’s middle class-this forces women try and be ‘superwomen’ while ignoring the deleterious effects on their mental and physical health. Using available data and anecdotal evidence from the real lives of Indian women across the country, journalist Nilanjana Bhowmick asks if, in our patriarchal society, the assertion that ‘women can have it all’ comes at too high a price.

About the Author

Nilanjana Bhowmick has been a journalist for more than twenty-one years and has won three international awards for her reports on gender and development. She began her career as a producer for the BBC Asian Network in Birmingham and The World Today, the flagship current affairs programme of the BBC World Service Radio based in London. She was the correspondent for TIME magazine’s South Asia bureau in New Delhi. She has written for the Washington Post, Al Jazeera, and National Geographic Magazine. Her non-fiction work, poetry, and short stories have appeared in several international anthologies.


Sone Chandi Ke Buth: Writings on Cinema by K.A. Abbas

About the Book

Sone Chandi Ke Buth is a collection of writings on cinema that includes the observations, thoughts and reflections of one of the pioneering film directors and journalists in the country, K.A. Abbas. This book includes incisive profiles of personalities such as Prithviraj Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Dilip Kumar, V. Shantaram and others; film reviews and essays that interrogate the line between art and stardom in the Hindi film industry; and short stories that lift the veneer of Bollywood’s glamorous world.

About the Author/s

Khwaja Ahmed Abbas (1914 –1987) was a filmmaker, novelist, screenwriter, journalist, short story writer and playwright. He wrote more than seventy-four books. As a director and screenwriter, Abbas is considered one of the pioneers of Indian parallel or neo-realistic cinema. He penned a number of neo-realistic films, such as Dharti Ke Lal (which he directed), Naya Sansar, Jagte Raho and Saat Hindustani (which he also directed). As a screenwriter, he is also known for writing Raj Kapoor’s best films, including the Palme d’Or nominated AwaaraShree 420Mera Naam Joker, Bobby and Henna.

Syeda Hameed grew up watching with fascination K.A. Abbas, her chacha, who defied the family and carved his own path. Her love of cinema led her and her husband, also a film buff, to make a film on Abbas in 1971. Her passion for film, art and literature took a back seat when she entered public life. She writes on Islam, Sufism, gender and peace, has written several biographies and translates verse and prose from Urdu to English. She was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India in 2007.

Writer, film journalist and scholar, Sukhpreet Kahlon is a Ph.D candidate in Cinema Studies at the School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University. Her research work examines private film collections and film archives. Her interest in independent cinema led her to become a programmer and curator for film festivals. Her writing concentrates on film history, independent films and Punjabi cinema. She is Trustee, Khwaja Ahmed Abbas Memorial Trust.


Birds of the Snows by Tarannum Riyaz

About the Book

Originally published in Urdu as Barf Aashna Parindey, this sensitively written novel traces the journey of a family in Kashmir and primarily the life of their daughter, Sheba, as she studies and discovers her own path. Sheba wishes to be free, just as the birds that she likes observing, but understands the need to live within social conventions and accept life’s responsibilities.

Exploring women’s freedom, the mother-daughter relationship and social mores, the author skilfully interweaves several poignant narratives. While studying at university, Sheba takes on the compassionate task of looking after her professor, when he is afflicted by a stroke. She engages in this humanitarian role with her college batchmates and continues alone after they move on in pursuit of their professional and personal goals.

This deftly translated novel depicts the changing times in Kashmir, from a rural to a more urban life, the impact of modern thinking, and through its portrayal of female characters explores their compassion and resolve, as well as their search for self-fulfilment.

About the Author

Dr Tarannum Riyaz was a noted Urdu writer, critic, poet and translator. Born and educated in Srinagar, Kashmir, she had Masters’ degrees in Urdu and Education and a doctorate in Education. She was the author of more than 20 books of fiction, criticism and poetry. Her works have been translated into many national and international languages. Her writings are prescribed for research and studies in educational institutions of India. She had also been a visiting lecturer at many prestigious educational and research institutions in India and abroad.

She was a former Senior Fellow with the Ministry of Culture, Government of India and had received many awards for her work, including the SAARC Literature Award (2014), the Jammu and the Kashmir Academy for Art, Culture and Languages for the Best Book Award (2008) and the Delhi Urdu Academy Fiction Award (2006). Dr. Riyaz has also participated in many national and international conferences and seminars.


A Country called Childhood: A Memoir by Deepti Naval

A Country Called Childhood is a beautifully told memoir of growing up in Amritsar in the tumultuous 1950s and 60s by award-winning actress Deepti Naval. In extremely visual and evocative prose, Naval describes an unforgettable childhood filled with love, adventure, mystery, tragedy, and joy. She uncovers, in great detail, life in an unconventional Punjabi family while plunging the reader into the distinctive sights, smells, and sounds of a fast-vanishing India. Starting at the moment of her birth on a rainy night, she tracks her journey to adulthood, a path punctuated by many personal turning points as also momentous events of national importance, such as the Sino-Indian War of 1962 and the Indo-Pak War of 1965.

Moving and illuminating, A Country Called Childhood shows how Naval’s early love affair with cinema and the experiences of her childhood shaped her career as one of the country’s most admired actors.

About the Author

Deepti Naval is an Indian actor, director, writer, painter, and photographer. A multifaceted personality, Deepti has carved a distinct niche for herself in the Indian film industry, winning critical acclaim for her ‘sensitive and close to life’ portrayals that emphasized the changing role of women in India.

Deepti made her debut in the year 1980 with the path-breaking film Ek Baar Phir, and has since appeared in more than ninety films, including Chashme Buddoor, Katha, Saath Saath, Kamla, Ankahi, Main Zinda Hoon, and Mirch Masala. She has received the Best Actor award in several national and international film festivals for her roles in Leela, Firaaq, Memories in March, Listen Amaya, NH10, The Boy with the Topknot, and others. She also won the Best Screenplay award at the New York Indian Film Festival for her directorial film, Do Paise Ki Dhoop, Chaar Aane Ki Baarish, in 2010.

As a writer, she has three books to her credit—her first collection of poems, Lamha Lamha, published in 1981, Black Wind and Other Poems in 2004, and The Mad Tibetan: Stories from Then and Now in 2011. Her poems are reflective, sometimes autobiographical, and ‘constitute a direct and honest female voice’.

A graduate of Hunter College, City University of New York, Deepti acquired her bachelor’s degree in fine arts studying painting as her major subject along with psychology, astronomy, and American theatre. As a painter, her knife work with oil on canvas is distinctly expressionistic.


Muthulakshmi Reddy- : A Trailblazer in Surgery and Women’s Rights (Series: Pioneers of Modern India) by V.R. Devika

About the Book

Muthulakshmi Reddy —A Trailblazer in Surgery and Women’s Rights is the story of a pioneer path-creator for women. She was the first girl student in Maharaja’s School for Boys in Pudukkottai, the first Indian woman surgeon from Madras Medical College, the first Indian member of the Women’s Indian Association, the first woman member of legislature of Madras Presidency, the first woman deputy speaker and the first alderwoman.

About the Author

VR Devika is a well-known storyteller, educationist and Gandhi scholar, with a PhD on MK Gandhi’s communication strategies. She is known as a cultural activist, having been associated with the inception of Chennai’s Dakshinachitra Heritage Museum and Tamil Nadu INTACH. Trained in Bharatanatyam, she lectures on dance and cultural heritage. Winner of several awards, Devika contributes frequently to leading publications in India and abroad. She is the founder trustee of The Aseema Trust linking traditional performing arts and education, to bring Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of non-violence to children.


The Dreams of a Mappila Girl: A Memoir by B. M. Zuhara (Author), Fehmida Zakeer (Translator)

About the Book

As a young Muslim girl growing up in the 1950s in a small South Indian village, B. M. Zuhara had simple dreams—to go to the newly opened ‘talkies’ in town and watch a movie, play with her brothers in the rice fields, learn the ancient martial art of Kalari Payatu with them, stand on the bridge and listen to the songs sung by the farmhands as they worked. But she soon realised that even being the pampered, youngest child of her family would not help her in realising some of her dreams because of her gender. Set at the time when Independent India was embracing its new identity as a free nation, this book provides a wide lens for the reader to view life in a semi-rural Kerala village. Zuhara recounts the social mores of the society she lived in and offers glimpses into the secluded lives of Muslim girls and women who, despite obstacles, made the best of their circumstances and contributed positively to their communities.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

B. M. Zuhara is a Malayalam writer hailing from Thikkodi near Kozhikode. She has written novels and short stories and has been a columnist in regional newspapers. She is the first Muslim woman writer from Kerala. Her new novel titled Pennungal (Women) is forthcoming from Chintha Publications. She won the Kerala Sahitya Akademi Award for her contribution to Malayalam literature in 2008 and has also been a recipient of awards such as Lalithambika Antharjanam Memorial Special Award, Unnimoy Memorial Award and the K. Balakrishanan Smaraka Award.

Her novel Iruttu was translated to Arabic recently as part of the Qatar Ministry Cultural Exchange and was launched at the Doha International Book Fair in January 2020. She has also translated Tayeb Salih’s Wedding of Zein and Naguib Mahfouz’s Palace Walkinto Malayalam. The English translation of her novella Nilavu (moonlight) was published by Oxford University Press in the anthology titled Five Novellas. The same novella was translated into Arabic and published as Zooul Khamar while Mozhi (Talaq), another novel of hers, was translated into Arabic and published by IQRani Publishers, UAE.

ABOUT THE TRANSLATOR

Fehmida Zakeer is a writer hailing from Kerala. Her work has appeared in Indian Quarterly, Rose and Thorn Journal, Out of Print Magazine, Asian Cha, The Bangalore Review, Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, Muse India and elsewhere. Stories written by her have come out in print anthologies such as Pangea: An Anthology of Stories from Around the World (Thames River Press, UK), Ripples: Short Stories by Indian Women Writers (APK Publishers, India), Happy Birthday to Me (Dahlia Publishing, UK) and others. A story of hers placed first in the Himal South-Asian short story competition 2013 and another was chosen by the National Library Board of Singapore for the 2013 edition of their annual READ Singapore anthology.

She was twice on the honourable mentions list of the Binnacle Ultra Short competition (University of Maine at Machias). A story of hers was shortlisted in the DNA-Out of Print short story competition, 2014 and another one was published in the Out of Print magazine issue focusing on Sexual and Gender Violence. An anthology of stories, titled Keeper of Secrets, is forthcoming from Dhauli Books.


Crimson Spring: A Novel by Navtej Sarna

About the Book

On 13 April 1919, about twenty-five thousand unarmed Indians had gathered in Jallianwala Bagh in Amritsar, an open area enclosed by the high walls of flat-roofed houses in a densely populated part of the city. Many of those in the crowd were listening to speakers denouncing the iniquities of the Rowlatt Act, which had recently been imposed on the country by the British, while others, including several children, were simply there to rest, relax, and catch up with friends. A little after five in the evening, a detachment of soldiers, led by Brigadier General R. E. H. Dyer, entered the Bagh. Without warning the crowd to disperse, Dyer ordered his troops to open fire. At least 1,650 rounds were fired. Several hundred died and several hundred more were injured. The massacre was universally condemned by all Indians and even shocked many Britons, who thought it one of the worst outrages in all of British history.

In this masterpiece, Navtej Sarna brings the horror of the atrocity to life by viewing it through the eyes of nine characters—Indians and Britons, ordinary people and powerful officials, the innocent and the guilty, whose lives are changed forever by the events of that fateful day. Set against the epic backdrop of India’s freedom struggle, World War I, and the Ghadar movement, Crimson Spring is not just a powerful, unsettling look at a barbarous act, but also a wider meditation on the costs of colonialism and the sacrifices and heroism of ordinary men and women at a time of great cruelty and injustice. It is a book that will leave no reader unmoved or unchanged.

About the Author

Navtej Sarna was India’s Ambassador to the United States, High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, and Ambassador to Israel. He has also served as Secretary to the Government of India and as the Foreign Office Spokesperson. His earlier diplomatic assignments were in Moscow, Warsaw, Thimphu, Tehran, Geneva, and Washington DC. His literary work includes the novels The Exile and We Weren’t Lovers Like That, the short story collection Winter Evenings, non-fiction works The Book of Nanak, Second Thoughts, and Indians at Herod’s Gate, as well as two translations, Zafarnama and Savage Harvest. He is a prolific columnist and commentator on foreign policy and literary matters, contributing regularly to media platforms in India and abroad.


Women in Science (Boxset) by Pervin Saket

About the Book

This box set, Women in Science, includes the inspiring stories of 4 pioneering women: Commitment with Bibha Chowdhuri (first Indian woman physicist), Courage with Anandibai Joshee (one of the first Indian women to become a doctor), Passion with Aditi Pant (the first Indian woman oceanographer), and Perseverance with Janaki Ammal (the first Indian woman botanist).

The story of these four incredible women is sure to inspire and encourage many young children to pursue their dreams.

Written by award-winning poet, Pervin Saket and illustrated by four talented illustrators, this box set will make an outstanding addition to your child’s library.

The set of four inspiring, easy-to-read and vividly illustrated titles include:

·       Courage With Anandibai Joshee

Discover courage with Anandibai Joshee, one of the first Indian women to become a doctor. She overcame grief, fear, ill-health and societal pressures to become the first woman with a degree in western medicine

·       Commitment With Bibha Chowdhuri

Discover commitment with Bibha Chowdhuri, the first Indian woman physicist who discovered subatomic particles called ‘mesons’. Her discoveries lay the groundwork for the work of Nobel prize winner, C F Powell. 

·       Passion With Aditi Pant

Discover passion with Aditi Pant, the first Indian woman oceanographer who pursued her passion for science and adventure to become the first Indian woman oceanographer. She was one of the two women on the team that helped to build India’s first lab in Antarctica.

·       Perseverance With Janaki Ammal

Discover perseverance with Janaki Ammal, the first Indian woman botanist. Her pioneering work helped to improve native plants and improved farmers’ lives. 

About the Author

Pervin Saket is an award-winning poet who won the Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize 2021, one of India’s leading English language poetry competitions. She is the author of Urmila, the retelling of a mythical tale of love and longing and of the poetry collection, A Tinge of Turmeric. She is the 2021 Fellow for the Vancouver Manuscript Intensive, mentoring young international authors.

Her novel has been adapted for stage performances and dance recitals. Her work has extensively featured in The Indian Quartelry, The Joao-Roque Literary Journal, Paris Lit Up, Singapore Unbound, Usawa Literary Review, Tiferet etc. Pervin is a school textbook editor, poetry editor and co-founder of the Annual Dum Pukht Writers’ Workshop.

About the Illustrators

Boski Jain is a visual designer and illustrator from Bhopal. She did her undergraduate from Symbiosis Institute of Design and completed a masters from the Indian Institute of Bombay in 2016, specialising in communication design. She has illustrated 10 children’s picture books so far. She likes studying and incorporating different styles of Indian folk art in her work using bright colours and patterns.

Sahitya Rani is an illustrator and art director based in Mumbai who has worked on numerous children’s picture books. While illustrating for children has formed a large part of her work, in recent years, she has started expanding to graphic novels for young adults. Through her diverse body of work, she aims to contribute to relevant, representative and inclusive stories across multiple genres, reading levels and formats.

Annada Menon is a published illustrator based in Pune. She is specialised in painting from CKP, College of Fine Arts, Bangalore. She has worked on various editorials, album art and children’s books.


C: A Novel by Anupama Raju

About the Book

C: A Novel tells the story of a nameless wanderer—a writer—as she moves between two cities and across centuries, coming to terms with her myriad emotions and strange experiences. It is also, in a sense, a tale of two cities that are dear to the protagonist for ‘C’ is the name of the dark, sunless city she visits on a writing sabbatical, and also a reference to her bright native city that she has left behind. The story is narrated in two voices: one the protagonist’s and the other that of the city without the sun, where her every waking moment is suffused with memories of a distant lover, and where she meets an ethereal woman from another time.

Written in prose and poetry, Anupama Raju’s remarkable debut novel takes readers on multiple journeys with the protagonist through time and the winding streets of the cities she is in thrall to. And as we journey with her we are given profound and memorable insights into love, pain, loss, regret, history, joy, hope, and possibility.

About the Author

Anupama Raju is a poet, communications professional, literary journalist, and translator. She is the author of Nine and her work has been anthologized and published widely. She collaborated with French photographer Pascal Bernard on two Indo-French poetry and photography projects ‘Surfaces and Depths’ and ‘Une Ville, Un Lieu, Une Personne’. She was Charles Wallace Fellow at the University of Kent, Canterbury, and Writer-in-Residence at Centres Intermondes, La Rochelle, France.


Unbounded: My Experiments with Law, Physics, Policing and Super 30 by Abhayanand

About the Book

What does it take to head the police department in a state with an intriguing political backdrop? How did a policeman move unarmed and fearlessly for 37 long years in the badlands of Bihar? Can a tough taskmaster be a humanist at heart?

This book explores such compelling questions through the eyes of Bihar’s most celebrated police officer, Abhayanand. Entering the world of police with the mindset of a physicist, he became a very unconventional police officer.

This is a tale of how his scientific mind remained ‘unbounded’, egging him to remain innovative in tackling crime. Through real incidents and experiences, the author, in his unique style, narrates how he used law over the muscle power of police in obliterating some of the most heinous crimes in the most unusual ways. He also presents a bird’s-eye view of the criminal justice system and the sociopolitical ambience of our society.

Bihar’s former director general of police (DGP) became a household name for the impact he created, so much so that criminals of all hues—from bahubalis to conmen—dreaded Abhayanand, not for his gun but for his intelligence and his steel grip.

The book also clears the mist surrounding the grand social experiment popularly known as Super 30, which he conceptualized and implemented in order to help underprivileged students make it to the prestigious IITs. Thereafter, he also created an equally successful Rahmani 30, which taught underprivileged Muslim students.

This is the riveting story of a policeman, a physicist, a teacher and a humanist.

About the Author

About the Author

Abhayanand is a 1977 batch Indian Police Service officer of the Bihar cadre. He became the 48th DGP of Bihar, following in the footsteps of his father, who was its 28th DGP. He is known for changing the paradigms of policing through his innovations. He is also a philanthropist who conceptualized Super 30 to mentor poor but talented students for the country’s toughest competitive exams, like the IIT-JEE.

While he continues to pursue his passion for teaching, he, along with his daughter Richa, is focusing on spreading awareness amongst the farmers of Bihar about traditional food, health and nutrition, a concept which he feels is getting eroded rapidly and which may turn out to be the cause of most social aberrations, including violence in society. Since his retirement in 2015, he lives in the lap of nature, in a village on the outskirts of Patna.


Between Heaven and Earth: Writings on the Indian Hills, edited by Ruskin Bond and Bulbul Sharma

About the Book

‘What is it about the hills that draws us to them again and again?’ asks one of the editors of this collection. In these pages, over forty writers—from a daughter of the Tagore family and a British colonial officer in the 19th century, to a young poet and an Adivasi daily-wage worker in the 21st century—show us what the many reasons could be: Green hillsides glowing in the sun; the scent of pine and mist; the wind soughing in the deodars; the song of the whistling thrush; a ritual of worship; a picnic, a party, an illicit affair. They show us, too, the complex histories of hill stations built for the Raj and reshaped in free India; the hardship and squalor behind the beauty; the mixed blessings of progress.

Rich in deep experience and lyrical expression, and containing some stunning images of the hills, Between Heaven and Earth is a glorious collection put together by two of India’s finest writers, both with a lifelong connection with the hills. Among the writers you will read in it—who write on the hills in almost every region of India—are Rumer Godden, Rabindranath and Abanindranath Tagore, Emily Eden, Francis Younghusband, Jim Corbett, Jawaharlal Nehru, Khushwant Singh, Keki Daruwalla, and of course the two editors themselves. Together, they make this a book that you will keep returning to for years to come.

About the Author

Ruskin Bond is one of India’s most beloved writers. He is the author of numerous novellas, short-story collections and non-fiction books, many of them classics and several of them set in the hills of north India. Among his best-known books are The Room on the Roof, Time Stops at Shamli, A Book of Simple Living, Rain in the Mountains and Lone Fox Dancing. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1999 and the Padma Bhushan in 2014. He lives in Landour, Mussoorie.

Bulbul Sharma is an acclaimed painter and writer, author of best-selling books of fiction and non-fiction, including My Sainted Aunts, The Anger of Auber¬gines, Murder in Shimla and Shaya Tales. Bulbul conducts ‘storypainting’ work¬shops for special needs children and is a founder-member of Sannidhi—an NGO that works in village schools. She divides her time between New Delhi, London and Shaya, a village in Himachal Pradesh.


Flaming Forest, Wounded Valley: Stories from Bastar and Kashmir by Freny Manecksha

About the Book

What happened when a siege was laid in Kashmir? Coils of razor wire were unrolled, creating martial units to be manned by security forces, and mobile phones and the internet were cut off. How did communities withstand the months and months of shutdown? What happened when a beautiful and vast meadow where pastoral communities have taken their animals to graze for centuries, was leased out as an artillery firing ground? People lost their limbs, even their lives and watched in horror as a flock of sheep got blown up. Children cowered in classrooms as guns boomed and shells exploded in a firing exercise. How did people reclaim this ground?

How were Adivasis impacted when they were forced to leave the forest and ordered by the Chhattisgarh government to live in makeshift camps by the roadside or else be outlawed? Villages emptied out and there was massive displacement with the Salwa Judum unleashing unimaginable terror and violence on those who resisted. Sarkeguda was one such village but its inhabitants came back later to begin life afresh. How did the villagers react when seventeen of their people were killed one night in a field, under the open skies?

How did they successfully contest the official story of it being a gunfight against Maoists? By spirited protests and confidently affirming their truth in court.

Through stories of resilience, the book celebrates the idea that heroic deeds are performed by ordinary people.

About the Author

Freny Manecksha is an independent journalist from Mumbai who began her journalism career working with the tabloid Blitz. She has also worked with The Times of India, Mid-Day and Indian Express. She left mainstream journalism after some 20-odd years to pursue her areas of interest which include development, gender and human rights. For the past eleven years, she has travelled and written extensively on people’s struggles from Kashmir and Chhattisgarh and has been published in Himal South Asian, TheWire, Raiot and PARI. She is the author of Behold, I Shine Narratives of Kashmir’s Women and Children.


Building a Free India: Defining Speeches of Our Independence Movement that Shaped the Nation, edited by Rakesh Batabyal

About the Book

As the Indian independence movement progressed—from the economic critique of colonial rule by the early nationalists, to the unequivocal demand for Purna Swaraj and the immense moral authority of the Mahatma Gandhiled resistance—the notion of an equal society that ensured dignity to all— irrespective of caste, class, gender or religion—came to occupy a central place in it. By the time the Constituent Assembly met in December 1946, not just civil rights, but the particular rights of women, of minorities, of the Depressed Classes and the Adivasis were being articulated and demanded, not as favours but as a matter of course. As the editor of this volume writes in his brilliant introduction, the effect of the speeches delivered by the leaders of our national movement was to focus ‘political action towards scripting an ennobling nationalism that would give us a just and equal society’.
Building a Free India brings together these landmark speeches delivered over roughly a century by the leading lights of the national movement—from Naoroji, Surendranath Banerjee, Bhikaiji Cama, Lajpat Rai and Tilak, to Gandhi, Nehru, Ambedkar, Bose, Sarojini Naidu and Maulana Azad—as well as a range of lesser-known but equally remarkable figures. This unprecedented collection is not only an invaluable history of our freedom movement but also of the ideas of universal equality, dignity and justice that are—and must always remain—at the root of our democracy.

About the Author

Rakesh Batabyal teaches the history, theory and philosophy of media at the Centre for Media Studies, JNU.A scholar of modern history, his books, Communalism in Bengal (2005), JNU: The Making of a University (2015), and The Modern School (1920–2020) (2020), have provided a framework for the writing of the history of ideology and institutions in modern India. His The Penguin Book of Modern Indian Speeches (2007) is widely accepted as the most important work in the genre. The Inaugural Indian Chair Professor at the School of Information Studies, Tokyo University, Batabyal is presently working on a book on the history of nationalism in India.


If you are interested in reviewing any of these titles, please write to editor@kitaabinternational.com.

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