Month: September 2009

  • Margaret Atwood on mortification

    From Curious Pursuits: (Atwood’s US publisher arranges for her to get on an American talk show.) It was an afternoon show, which in those days–could it have been the late seventies?–meant variety. It was the sort of show at which they played pop music, and then you were supposed to sashay through a bead curtain, […]

  • The BS Column: A Nobel for Mr Dylan

    (Published in the Business Standard, September 29, 2009. I wrote this yesterday, unfortunately before someone sent me the link to this piece today-but it’s nice to know we had the same idea.)How many roads must a poet walk down before he is awarded a Nobel? The odds on the Swedish Academy announcing in a week’s […]

  • Gluttony: Pandelicious

    (Quickie on Puja pandal eating for the Business Standard; it came out last week, just in time to let the gorging begin.) Despite opinions to the contrary, Durga Puja isn’t an occasion for senseless gorging. The true gourmand’s responsibility is to pack in as much good eating as s/he can in this week—and that’s harder […]

  • The BS Column: Meenakshi Mukherjee: The Death of a Critic

    (This was a week of loss and funerals; and memories. Meenakshi Mukherjee taught me years ago at JNU, and helped me make the key decision to pursue freelance writing instead of a PhD; I think her acute eye saw what a misfit I’d have been in academia. We stayed in touch sporadically over the years, […]

  • Repairing Brindavan: by Ruchir Joshi

    (Reproduced with permission from Tranquebar and Ruchir Joshi, the introduction to Electric Feather: The Tranquebar Anthology of Erotic Stories. Copyright with Ruchir Joshi.) Repairing Brindavan — An Introduction In asking writers to contribute to this book we laid out criteria that were loose to the point of being promiscuous: there was a dearth of good […]

  • Electric Feather: The Tranquebar Book of Erotic Stories

    This one’s personal.Back in the late 1990s, a friend in publishing asked me to scan the manuscript of an anthology of Indian erotica. It was a magnificent anthology, accurate in all respects, containing excerpts from every key ancient and medieval Indian manuscript on the subject–the Koka Shastra, the Ananga Ranga and of course, the Kama […]

  • The BS Column: Should Google own the world’s words?

    (Published in the Business Standard, September 14, 2009. I ducked writing on Google Book Search for as long as I could–it’s a complex issue, and if you’re writing at this word length, you’re not going to do more than reiterate the basic arguments–but finally had to put my two cents in. Oh well.) Who owns […]

  • India: The Rushdie effect–bans, burnings and other acts of censorship since 1988

    (Thought I’d put this together for the record; this is incomplete and lacks several citations, for the Saleem Kidwai case, attacks on art galleries and any other book bans that have escaped my notice. I’d welcome additions and corrections. Thanks.)Sept. 26, 1988: Viking Penguin publishes Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses in London. Oct. 5, 1988: India […]

  • The BS Column: Unban the Satanic Verses

    (Published in the Business Standard, September 7, 2009) In less than a month, my country will observe an unusual, and shameful, anniversary: the 21st year of the ban in India on Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses. In these 21 years, the author has experienced exile, had a fatwa pronounced on him, gone into hiding, had […]

  • Book review: Empire of the Moghul

    (Published in the Business Standard, September 3, 2009) Empire of the Moghul: Raiders from the NorthAlex RutherfordHachette, Rs 495, 434 pages In a classic essay on Babur, Amitav Ghosh wonders: “What made him pen this immense book [the Baburnama] and how on earth did he find the time? Between the moment when he gained his […]