Month: September 2013

  • Booklove: The Booker’s New Imperium

    (Published in the Business Standard, September 24, 2013) It was in 1899 that Rudyard Kipling beseeched the US to “take up the White Man’s burden”, in an infamous poem. Kipling was thinking of conquering “new-caught, sullen peoples”, not extending the dominion of the United States across the Man Booker Prize when he suggested that America […]

  • Booklove: The Shadow Lines and Tridib’s Gastric

    (Written on Monday, Sept 16; published in the Business Standard, Sept 2013) The most famous passage in Amitav Ghosh’s The Shadow Lines, 25 years old this year, is the one where the narrator discovers the limitations of borders and boundaries. All it takes to challenge his understanding of nations and frontiers is a pair of […]

  • How can we look away?

    How can we look away?

    My piece in Time magazine on hangings, and the impossibility of closure: People could not look away from her death and her rape, from every last, painful detail; so many Indians mourned bitterly, as though they had lost someone of their own. But if these four men are hanged, when the process of appeals and […]

  • December 2012: Delhi, We Want Justice

    December 2012: Delhi, We Want Justice

    A few posts and articles from my December journal: Notes from Raisina Hill December 18-22, Journal: Some boys climb up the lamp posts, holding up their slogans: Hang Rapists, Stop Violence, Respect Women. They’re received with loud cheers, and then an even bigger cheer goes up when one young woman scales a lamppost. Soon, all […]

  • Booklove: The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri

    Booklove: The Lowland, by Jhumpa Lahiri

    The children of revolution (Published in the Business Standard, September 10, 2013) It took ten days in the Lal Bazaar lock-up to end the life of Charu Mazumdar, back in July 1972. The police who had presided over either the asthma or the gentle inquiries that killed Mazumdar, one of the key thinkers behind West […]

  • Booklove: Seamus Heaney – The Singer’s House

    Booklove: Seamus Heaney – The Singer’s House

    (Published in the Business Standard, September 3, 2013) The day Seamus Heaney died, a small, astonishing thing happened. Poetry, this secret so many of us readers had hugged to ourselves, the stuff we reached for in the dim watches of the night, that took us through “the dark years” as the writer Teju Cole says, […]

  • Booklove: Dear USSR (and other correspondents)

    Booklove: Dear USSR (and other correspondents)

    (Published in the Business Standard, August 27, 2013) The French had their ‘petit blue’, letter-cards for the tubes of the ‘pneumatique’; Russian yamschiks or postmen were issued knives along with their uniforms, to stave off robbers; and despite the demise of the Indian telegram, the survival of the inland letter card is evidence that we […]