Month: January 2013

  • Speaking Volumes: Countries of the Blind

    (Published on Tuesday, 29 January, 2013; over the next few days, censorship was back in the news, with both Viswaroopam and Salman Rushdie at the receiving end of various kinds of bans.) Afghanistan is one of the last bastions of the exotic left to writers. It can be written about from a great and sentimental […]

  • Kolkata: booksbooksbooks

  • Speaking Volumes: Rooms With Views

    (Published in the Business Standard, January 22, 2013) Say the word “feminist” in India, and pick your way carefully between two abysses. One is an old confusion about the meaning of the word, which trips up even the most intelligent. The author, Manu Joseph, for instance, asked me in a public conversation why women would […]

  • Lost and found

    Lost and found

    (Disclaimer: I am not a poet and don’t write poems. This was an accident from 2006; Peter Griffin reminded me yesterday of its existence. It does not scan, and it has ellipses, but it was written when Pete sent several of us James Tate’s Dream On. Keeping it here as a reminder that even bad […]

  • Speaking Volumes: The Istanbul Conundrum

    Speaking Volumes: The Istanbul Conundrum

    (Published in the Business Standard,  January 15, 2013) When Turkey allowed several thousands of books to move off the banned list earlier this week, you might have expected anti-censorship activists to be delighted.   For years, the fact that these books—ranging from The Communist Manifesto to works by Lenin, Nazim Hikmet and the Marquis De […]

  • Speaking Volumes: A woman alone in the forest

    (Published in the Business Standard, 8th January 2013)  In times of trouble, turning to the great epics is always useful: their ancient bloodstained lines are reminders that we do not have a premium on violence, rape and corpses. Over the centuries, the Ramayana and the Mahabharata have become India’s default epics, eclipsing the Rajatarangini, the […]

  • Warning: contains sex, violence and Honey Singh

    (If you’re offended by explicit language and lyrics, please don’t read further. Thanks.) If there’s one principle Honey Singh illustrates, it’s the impossibility of having a nuanced argument on Twitter, or of taking Twitter debates seriously. Yo! Yo! Honey Singh, for the ten people left in India who don’t know the man, is a popular […]