Bhaskar Parichha reviews Displacement and Citizenship – Histories and Memories of Exclusion (Tulika Books, 2020) calling it a timely reminder of the price that has been paid not only in India but globally, by the privations caused by the negation of citizenship based on religion, gender, ethnicity/caste and/or race.
Statelessness is a massive problem that affects millions of people worldwide. Those without a nationality often face difficulty participating in society and accessing a full range of privileges, together with education, health care, travel, and employment. Some are even detained because they are outlawed.
According to a 2013 UN global migration statistics, 232 million international migrants – or roughly 3 percent of the world’s population – are living out of the country, worldwide. This makes transnational migration a key feature of globalization and a central issue on the international agenda.
Bhaskar Parichha reviews Musicophilia in Mumbai by Tejaswini Niranjana (Published by Tulika Books , 2020) calling it a fascinating journey across the city.
“The inexpressible depth of music, so easy to understand and yet so inexplicable, is due to the fact that it reproduces all the emotions of our innermost being, but entirely without reality and remote from its pain…Music expresses only the quintessence of life and of its events, never these themselves.”
Who doesn’t comprehend the power of music that moves us and affects our mood? And when it is Hindustani music and the city of Mumbai, things ought to go cerebral. For being a wonderful mix of social science research and creative non-fiction, this is a stupendous book.
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. Read more
It was the rainy season. July, Some Year, Some Place.
Against the serenely cool breeze of the after-rains, Tuli’s little face stood still, warm, a throbbing circle of fire and smoke. She had a little round face, very big eyes, a pug-like nose set right in the centre of her face, and small lips — like one fine petal of a red tulip. Her eyelashes were wet. The before-tears had run their course. She breathed in rapid, short gasps – each lasting less than a second – the gasps, moving somewhere behind the throat and the nose. They came in groups of three and sometimes two. She blinked from time to time, looking out through the window facing which she sat, cross-legged, on the chair that Baaboo, her father, had built for her so that she could see the world outside the window of her room.
A wooden chair with tall legs and a round seating space with a pillow on it. On the lower portion of the chair was a small box-like structure with three steps carved into it. Baaboo had made it for Tuli to be able to climb to and down from the high chair.
The inside of the back-rest of the chair had an engraving that said ‘Baaboo’s Tuli’. Baaboo had engraved it for his little Tuli two years ago; she was six then. She had sat on it many a time. In fact, before she went to bed at night, most nights, Baaboo had read her stories while she would sit on that high chair dangling her legs, leaning a little on her Baaboo with her lips stuck into a small pout. The pout was the measure of Tuli’s concentration. Much before he finished reading her the stories, the dangling of the legs would stop, and the weight of her little body would gather on Baaboo like the many bubbles from the ‘bugbugi’ settling on one. The many flurries of bubble from soapy water blown through the circular ring on streetsides? Tuli called those bugbugi. Like she called her father ‘Baaboo’, not Baba or Papa or Dad or Daddy or Bapi. Read more
Stories of demons, gods and fairy tales with happy, moralistic endings probably formed a memorable part of your childhood. You may remember reading these stories, but do you remember asking why the princesses were always soft-spoken, swooning, fair-skinned women waiting to be rescued?
Gender tends to be a recurring theme in Manjula Padmanabhan’s books. The 63-year-old author wrote “Unprincess” in 2005, a collection of three children’s stories, with the simple motive to write “entertaining and interesting” tales with non-princess characters for heroines.
“I don’t fret about meanings as I write. I know they’re embedded in everything I do,” she told TNM. Manjula highlights what has been problematic with the dominant discourse of children’s literature. Selling unquestioned stereotypes in the guise of moralistic happily ever-afters.
However, like Manjula, there are people who are seeking to create alternative children’s literature which is diverse, inclusive, and sensitive.
Bengaluru-based Maegan Dobson Sippy and Bijal Vachharajani curate books for children and young adults on their Instagram account “BAM! Books”. The initiative is about 10 months old and hopes to be a platform for parents, educators and readers to find the latest books and trends, especially those with South Asian aspirations. Read more