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Who is S. Hareesh?

(From The Hindu. Link to the complete article given below)

As Kerala’s paddy-rich Kuttanad reels under its worst flood in recent times, the region’s most promising storyteller is fighting a deluge of religious hate. Award-winning writer S. Hareesh, whose stories are imbued with an undertone of caste and politics at play in daily life, withdrew his debut novel, Meesha (Moustache), barely into its third instalment in the Mathrubhumi weekly, after some right-wing groups did not take kindly to a “misrepresented” fragment in it. On Wednesday, the novel was published by DC Books, the premier imprint in Malayalam, with 5,000 copies selling out. That did not pass off uneventfully though, as copies were burnt in Thiruvananthapuram. The case has reached the Supreme Court, too; on Thursday, it asked counsel for the petitioner to produce within five days the English translation of the “objectionable” portions.

Why the controversy?

A conversation between two characters on the intent of upper caste women visiting temples in the narrative set in the feudal Kerala of yore was taken out of context and circulated on social media, imputing it to the author. A vilification campaign ensued, as Hindutva organisations and caste groups trained their ire on Mathrubhumi and the writer for “maligning Hindu women and temple priests.” In the face of threats and online abuse, also targeting their parents and young children, Mr. Hareesh and his wife shut down their social media accounts and switched off phones.

Read more at The Hindu link here

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On falling in love with the language I’ve spoken my entire life

(From Lithub. Link to the complete article given below)

The first fiction I ever read in Chinese was a short story by Eileen Chang, titled simply, “Love.” I was in college at the time, and my Chinese language teacher had handed it to out to the class. After I finished reading it, I quietly began to cry.

I can’t tell this story without telling you what the language meant to me then. My parents are Chinese-American immigrants, and the first language I learned was Chinese. I spoke it almost exclusively until the very first day of pre-school, when I learned the sentence, “Can I have some juice?” From then on, I spoke in full English sentences. Chinese became the language I only spoke when compelled—with my family, who always spoke Chinese in the house, or when I was forced to practice it at Chinese school on the weekends. I struggled against it, partly because I didn’t possess the full range of vocabulary through which to express myself, and partly because it was a language in which I couldn’t address my emotions.

My parents did not like emotional conversations. They did not say I love you. On parents’ visiting day at school, other kids’ parents left them notes that said “We’re proud of you!” My note said, “We hope you will continue to improve this year. Please read books other than the series, The Baby-Sitters Club.” The closest they had come to addressing the issue of emotion were the times they asked me, “Why are you crying?” By which they meant, Stop crying. And so I tried never to cry in front of them. I held my tears through dinner. I cried only alone, in my room, or on the phone with friends. It seemed to me that the heart was a dangerous territory for Chinese and so I kept the two apart. It was in English that said I love you to a boy for the first time, English in which I cursed aloud. In books written in English, the intricacies of feeling and mysteries of human existence were explored. It was in the love of this language that, early on, I found the determination to become a writer.

Read more at this Lithub link


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New Release: Six Minutes of Terror – The Untold Story Of The 7/11 Mumbai Train Blasts by Nazia Sayed and Sharmeen Hakim

In October, Penguin India will release ‘Six Minutes of Terror’, a first detailed investigative account of the 7/11 Mumbai train blasts that occurred in 2006. The book which marks ten years of the horrifying incident has been co-authored by journalists – Nazia Sayed and Sharmeen Hakim.

six-minutes-of-terror

The attacks orchestrated by the terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba and Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (the ISI) were aimed to cripple the city by attacking its lifeline—the local train. A series of seven blasts in a span of only six minutes rocked the city at seven railway stations, killing 189 and injuring over 700. ‘Six Minutes of Terror’ gives an account of the events that led to the terrorist attack, it profiles the people involved and how the plot was unearthed by the police.

Presented by leading crime writer Hussain S Zaidi, the book also talks about boggling connection between the three attacks that happened that year – the 2006 Aurangabad Arms Hauls Case May, 7/11 train blast of July and Malegaon Blast case of September.

About the Authors:

Nazia Sayed is a crime reporter for over a decade now, with experience in television and print journalism. Currently working as a special correspondent with Mumbai Mirror, she is easily rated among the top crime journalists in the city.

Sharmeen Hakim is a legal correspondent with Mumbai Mirror, known for her impeccable court reporting and her law background.


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Censored Indian book to be released as e-book

“I will publish The Descent of Air India despite the censorship,” Jitendra Bhargava told Tehelka.  “It will be out next week in an e-book form.”

If you had evidence of all these claims, why did the publisher back out?
The book went through several rounds of editing and fact-checking, but the publisher, Bloomsbury — new to India — decided to settle out of court with the former civil aviation minister. I didn’t mention some cases because I didn’t have papers for them. For example, when Air India gave away its land to GVK Infrastructure. I didn’t have the papers for those. After the book was published, the former civil aviation minister sued the publisher and me. No minister will agree with a book that goes against him because of their need for public posturing. The day before the first day of hearing of the case, the publisher told me that they had settled out of court and presented the court their settlement deed where they agreed to withdraw the book. When the court asked me, I said I wanted to go ahead with the book and I had retained the copyright. Continue reading


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Marilyn Monroe book reveals film star’s DIY and cooking tips

Her platinum hair, perfect pout and hourglass silhouette made her one of the most recognisable but one-dimensional public figures of the 20th century. Now, as they prepare to bring out a collection of Marilyn Monroe’s private writing, publishers hope to reveal the intellectual and emotional depths of the cinematic icon.

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Books of the decade: your best books of 2001

It was the year our era began, with unprecedented abruptness, in obscene rolling news. But, blessedly, literature moves at a much slower pace, and it would be some years before the convulsions of September 2001 began to resound in serious fiction. Saturday, Ian McEwan’s post-9/11 novel, was four years away, and his Booker disappointment this year was for Atonement.

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Pauline Melville’s top 10 revolutionary tales

Eating AirPauline Melville’s first book, Shape-shifter, won the Guardian fiction prize, the Macmillan Silver Pen award and a Commonwealth Writers’ prize. Her first novel was shortlisted for the Orange prize and won a Whitbread prize. She is also an actor – whose work has encompassed roles in Mona Lisa, Utz and Far from the Madding Crowd, as well as appearances in comedies including Blackadder and the Young Ones.

“As a child I wanted to be a trapeze artist. Under the bed I kept a tiny suitcase which contained a red sweater. I was always ready to leave if things didn’t suit me. In books too I was definitely looking for danger and adventure. Without moralising over the rights and wrongs of what, depending on your point of view, is called either terrorism or freedom-fighting, I wanted to write a book that…

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