Month: August 2010

  • Lunch with the BS: Mahmood Farooqui

    (Published in the Business Standard, August 24, 2010) As the most recent chronicler of the Mutiny of 1857 makes the passage from Jamia Milia University to the Saket Mall, he peers out at the current ghadar on the streets. “This city has never stopped being under construction,” he says, “for centuries.” The tamasha over the […]

  • The BS column: The Day of the Grasshopper

    (Published in the Business Standard, August 24, 2010; revised to include corrections.) As Siddhartha Sarma claimed the first Crossword award for Best Children’s Book in Bombay this week, a bunch of writers at the Jumpstart festival were asking a key question: should adults read books for children? Technically, The Grasshopper’s Run is a children’s book—published […]

  • The BS column: The reading life: Gandhi, Ambedkar, Nehru

    (Published in the Business Standard, August 17, 2010) As another August 15 passes by, here’s a thought: what would our country have been like if the leaders of the freedom movement had not been readers? It’s easier to see them as writers. Mahatma Gandhi’s autobiographies, letters and other work have provided gainful occupation for thousands […]

  • IHT Column: Taking back the streets

    My second column for the International Herald Tribune’s Female Factor series is up. This one’s on women fighting back against street harassment and other kinds of violence against women. “Something familiar emerges in the stories the women share, regardless of their ages or class backgrounds. All have experienced fear on the streets, fear when traveling […]

  • The BS column: Damning the Oriental scene

    “Reading literature and having a damn good time had become quietly but decidedly uncoupled,” writes Lev Grossman in an essay on the rise of the trashy hybrid novel. He could have been writing about India, where the rise of imitation pulp fiction—the Third World version of Eric Segal, not even the Third World version of […]

  • Rants and nymphomaniac kutiyas

    I’m reading university vice-chancellor Vibhuti Narain Rai’s deeply sexist comments on women writers: “There is a race among women writers to demonstrate who is the greatest prostitute”, “feminist discourse has reduced to a grand celebration of infidelity”. (More here: He’s under pressure to resign now, with women writers (including the redoubtable Krishna Sobti) and […]