Himadri Lahiri reviews Somdatta Mandal’s ‘Kobi’ and ‘Rani’: Memoirs and Correspondences of Nirmalkumari Mahalanobis and Rabindranath Tagore. Click here to read.
Meenakshi Malhotra reviews Turmeric Nation: A Passage Through India’s Tastes, authored by Shylashri Shankar.
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CJ Fentiman’s award winning book, The Cat with Three Passports. Click here to read.
Aruna Chakravarti reviews Golden Bangladesh at 50: Contemporary Stories & Poems edited by Shazia Omar. Click here to read.
Unveiling Afghanistan: In Conversation with Nazes Afroz, former editor of BBC and translator of a book on Afghanistan which reflects on the present day crisis. Click here to read.
The Traveller in Time: An interview with Sybil Pretious who has lived through history in six countries and travelled to forty — she has participated in the first democratic elections in an apartheid-worn South Africa and is from a time when Rhodesia was the name for Zimbabwe. Click here to read.
An excerpt of In a Land Far From Home: A Bengali in Afghanistan by Syed Mujtaba Ali, translated by Nazes Afroz. Click here to read.
An excerpt from ‘Kobi’ and ‘Rani’: Memoirs and Correspondences of Nirmalkumari Mahalanobis and Rabindranath Tagore, translated by Somdatta Mandal, showcasing Tagore’s introduction and letters. Click here to read.
A review by Meenakshi Malhotra of Somnath Mandal’s The Last Days of Rabindranath Tagore in Memoirs, a translation from a conglomeration of writings from all the Maestro’s caregivers. Click hereto read.
A review by Keith Lyons of Jessica Muddit’s Our Home in Myanmar – Four years in Yangon. Click hereto read.
A review by Rakhi Dalal of Maithreyi Karnoor’s Sylvia: Distant Avuncular Ends. Click here to read.
A review by Bhaskar Parichha of Arundhathi Subramaniam’s Women Who Wear Only Themselves. Click here to read.
Beyond The Himalayas by Goutam Ghose, based on a five-part documentary taking us on a journey along the silk route exploring parts of Pakistan and China. Click here to read.
The Third Eye of Governance–Rise of Populism, Decline in Social Research by Dr N Bhaskara Raoreviewed by Bhaskar Parichha. Click here to read.
In conversation with an American poet, Jared Carter, who has received multiple encomiums like the Walt Whitman Award, the Poets’ Prize, a Guggenheim fellowship and much more. He tells us of his life and how he writes a poem. Click here to read.
In conversation with Fakrul Alam, an eminent translator, critic and academic from Bangladesh who has lived through the inception of Bangladesh from East Bengal, translated not just the three greats of Bengal (Tagore, Nazrul, Jibanananda) but also multiple political leaders. Click here to read.
In conversation with Arindam Roy, the Founder and Editor-in-cheif of Different Truths, an online portal for social journalism with forty years of experience in media and major Indian newspapers. Click here to read
A review of Feisal Alkazi‘s memoir, Enter Stage Right: The Alkazi Padamsee Family Memoir by Rakhi Dalal. Click here to read.
Communication scholars and authors, Manisha Pathak-Shelat and Kiran Vinod Bhatia, discuss how to bring up children in these troubled times, based on their book, Raising a Humanist, which has just been released. Click here to read.
Excerpted from A Bengali Lady in England (1885): Annotated Translation with Critical Introduction to Krishnabhabini Das’ Englandey Bangamahila by Nabanita Sengupta. Click here to read.
Candice Louisa Daquin reviews The First Cell and the Human Costs of Pursuing Cancer to the last byAzra Raza. Click here to read.
Excerpted from Raising a Humanist: Conscious Parenting in an Increasingly Fragmented World byManisha Pathak-Shelat and Kiran Vinod Bhatia, the focus is on media and its impact. Click here to read.
Bidyut Chakrabarty’s Socio-political Thought of Rabindranath Tagore, published by Sage India, reviewed by Bhaskar Parichha. Click here to read.
Bhaskar Parichcha reviews Wendy Doniger‘s book Beyond Dharma — Dissent in the Ancient Sciences of Sex and Politics. Click here to read.
Nivedita Sen reviews Upendrakishore Ray Chowdhury‘s The Adventure Of Goopy The Singer And Bagha The Drummer, later made into a movie by the legendary grandson of the author, Satyajit Ray. Click here to read.
A conversation with Devaki Jain, a Padma Bhushan recipient, an author at eighty eight, an economist who found inclusion for women and a strong human who lives her life on her own terms. Click here to read
Sahitya Award winning translator and writer, Dr Aruna Chakravarti reflects on her journey as a writer. Click here to read.
An interview about an eminent screenwriter and author who has had yet another anthology of translated stories, Mistress of Melodies, just been published, Nabendu Ghosh. His daughter, senior journalist Ratnottama Sengupta unfolds stories about her father. Click here to read.
The Brass Notebook: A Memoir is a recently penned autobiography by eminent economist Devaki Jain, written based on a suggestion made by Doris Lessings in 1958, with a forward by Amartya Sen and reviewed by Bhaskar Parichha. Click here to read.
On the first anniversary of a movement that seems to be a reaffirmation of democratic processes in a nation torn with angst, Meenakshi Malhotra reviews Shaheen Bagh and the Idea of India. Click here to read.
Rakhi Dalal reviews Mistress of Melodies by Nabendu Ghosh, translated stories edited by Ratnottama Sengupta, which not only bring to life history as cited in his Bangiya Sahitya Parishad Lifetime Achievement award but also highlights his ‘love for humanity’. Click here to read.
The Birth of The Chronicler of the Hooghly by Shakti Ghosal takes us back to the start of a colonial Durga Puja. Click here to read.
Interviews, October 2020
Reviews, October 2020
Gandhi & Aesthetics : Edited by Tridip Suhrud, the nine essays are a fitting tribute to the inventive beauty of Gandhiji and its wide-ranging applicability in present-day society… says reviewer Bhaskar Parichha. Click here to read.
Nivedita Sen‘s review of Sukumar Ray‘s Habber Jabber Law translated by Arunava Sinha. How non-nonsensical are the nonsense verses of Sukumar Ray and has it been lost in translation? Click here to read.
Interview, September 2020
Book Reviews, September 2020
Meenakshi Malhotra reviews Love is not a word: The Culture and Politics of Desire, essays edited by Debotri Dhar. Click here to read.
Interview, August 2020
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With nuclear war survivor’s daughter, author Kathleen Burkinshaw
Book reviews, July, 2020 edition
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Kathleen Burkinshaw’s The Last Cherry Blossom by Archana Mohan
Avik Chanda’s Dara Shukoh: The Man who would be King reviewed by Dr Meenakshi Malhotra
Dom Moraes’ Never At Home reviewed by Rakhi Dalal
Resonance: English Poetry from Odisha reviewed by Gopal Lahiri
Interviews, July, 2020
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Nidhi Mishra and Archana Mohan from Bookosmia
Binu Mathews, editor of Countercurrents.org
Uma Trilok , Poet & Author of Amrita Imroz, A Love story in conversation with Nalini Priyadarshni
Book reviews, July, 2020 edition
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Bridging Continents: An Anthology of Indo-American Poets, edited by Sharmila Ray and Gopal Lahiri, veteran poets and critics with numerous anthologies to their credit is not a run off the mill anthology. It’s a carefully crafted volume comprising thirteen well-known Indian English Poets along with eleven renowned contemporary American Poets. That’s not all, it comes with a translation of these poems at the end of the book, on the reverse, in Bengali by noted poet Tanmoy Chakraborty. (Click here to read more)
Manab Manik’s My Poetic Offering is clearly an invocation to the Divine. Manik seeks the bosom of the Eternal Lord present in all religions and poetries. In this delightful and unpretentious presentation of sonnet-styled verse, the poet reminds us that divinity is not a fruitless quest. To seek the divine is the heart of poetry itself and the poet in these verses makes it abundantly obvious that he is presented with divinity in his soul. Edgar Allan Poe writes in The Veil of the Soul that the definition of art is “the reproduction of what the Senses perceive in Nature through the veil of the soul”. (Click here to read more)
He talks of love and religion and writes poetry that is often critiqued by some as similar to verses from the past. And his role model is from the Renaissance — Michelangelo. To some, he is a loyal friend in need, a person who whips up essays and articles on demand. He is often published within India, which could well be his second literary home. He is prolific with his writing and publishing. He also does paintings and sings songs with a guitar on you tube. Some might have guessed by now — he is Dustin Pickering. (Click here to read more)
Monalisa Dash Dwibedy’s Pearls of a Strawberry Moon is not an ordinary collection of poems that only records the mundane realities of our times, our successes and failures, or our memories and hopes for the future. The poet meditates on the world around her, grows, and allows her awakened self to introspect objectively. She provides us with a yogic view of the world; not renunciation but an evaluation of the self and makes herself a witness to the demolition of her own ego. (Click here to read more)
Unbecoming – A Memoir of Disobedience by Anuradha Bhagwati is a rare and indefatigable memoir by a former US Marine Captain. She chronicles her journey — from a dutiful daughter of immigrants to a radical activist affecting historic policy reforms. ( Click here to read more>)
He is a maker of dreams for writers – a man who believes in dreams that are woven in words and multimedia across the world. He connects writing with multimedia, not just by writing and YouTube screenings but also by putting upcoming writers on his television show to battle out challenging questions about how literary development affects the world. (Click here to read more)
Slovakian poet, dramatist, prose writer, translator, publicist Pavol Janik is a typical example of this phenomenon, a wonderful voice from the little country Slovakia who seems to find its place beyond its border. His book The Dictionary of Foreign Dreams is a collection of his poems in English translation. This poetry speaks of ordinary and mundane with an extraordinary poetic twist. It has a strong sense of regionalism yet at the same time it appeals to the readers who are not familiar to it. (Click here to read)
Bengal, long considered to be the literary, artistic and social fuel for India’s colonial and post- colonial demeanours, has particularly fascinated cinema’s conscious annals. Satyajit Ray, Aparna Sen, Ritwik Ghatak, Mrinal Sen, Gautam Ghose, Tapan Sinha and their likes all found a level playing field here to sound timely sirens and orchestrate photoplays celebrating its collective regional character, with finesse of the highest caliber. (Click here to read)
Suralakshmi Villa (2020) is a novel based on a short story in a previous collection of short stories by Aruna Chakravarti. In the afterword to the novel, the author explains how the novel came about: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, on whose fiction Chakravarti had done her Ph.D thesis many years ago, commented how the short story had possibilities of being extended into a novel. In doing so, the author’s redoubtable skills have come to the fore yet again. (Click here to read more)
Today to jubilate this great writer on his one hundred and fifty ninth birth anniversary, we have a conversation by two greats of our era. They, like Tagore, are from Bengal — both Sahitya Akademi award winners; Aruna Chakravarti , a writer who has translated his famed Gitabitaan, and she talks about the great poet with Sunil Gangopadhayay (1934-2012), a renowned Bengali author who authored a novel on Tagore in Bengali, Prothom Alo or First Light. Aruna Chakravarti has translated Gangopadhyay’s novel too and she also has her own novel on the Tagore family women, Jorasanko, which has been a best seller in India. (Click here to read more)
Almost even eighty years after his death, Rabindranath Tagore continues to be written about. Any biographical account of Tagore’s life and works — whether it is in Bengali, English or any other language — is attention-grabbing and is received with awe and admiration. Indeed, for the bard whose immortal lines echo even today – Jodi tor daak shune keyo na ashe, tobe aakla cholo re (If no one answers to your call, walk alone) — no number of books is enough to have another look at his great mind, make another study of his brilliance. (Click here to read more)
Covid-19: I don’t know exactly. Some say I was created by Zionists to reduce the world population. There is also an opinion that CIA has launched me to destroy Chinese economy, whereas USA blames that a Chinese lab has fathered me as a biological weapon. Muslims believe that Allah has created me to punish their enemies. Some vegans are of the view that I am an incarnation of God assigned to eradicate omnivores from the Earth. Really, not sure who I am? ( Click here to read)
An abuse victim in the past, Anu Mahadev is a poet based in New Jersey. She is a 2016 MFA graduate of the Drew University’s MFA program in Madison, NJ. With two poetry collections to her credit, Myriad (2013) and Neem Leaves (2015) Anu is a curious reader and lifelong learner. She is passionate and outspoken about issues such as domestic violence, girls’ education and independence, and depression/bipolar disorder. She loves music, languages, animals and long walks. (Click here to read more)
Sita Under the Crescent Moon – A Woman’s Search for Faith in Pakistan is a dazzling account of a tradition purely for the reason that it combines spirituality with travel. The blurb says it all: “In present-day Pakistan, in the far corners of Lyari in Karachi, or Hingol in Balochistan, or Thatta in Sindh, tightly knit groups of women keep alive the folklore, songs, and legends of Sati—their name for Sita in the Ramayana.” (Click here to read more)
In the surging ripples of the meandering river one is most likely to hear the symphony of the universe. Does the river understand the definition of state or country borders? Can any force stop the flow of the river or refuse to accept the waters of the river because it flowed in from the other side of the border? (Click here to read)
The Speaking Stone by Pravat Kumar Padhy is a poetry collection that makes you ponder and reanalyse everything around us including all that we have taken for granted till now – the environment, nature, our planet Earth and most importantly our lives. Spread across forty-two poems, Padhy manages to string together various emotions and brings forth the magic of the enigma called life, beautifully. (Click here to read)
K. Sridhar is a Professor of Theoretical Particle Physics and has published a book Particle Physics of Brane Worlds and Extra Dimensions published by Cambridge University Press. He has an edited volume on Integrated Science Education and more than a hundred research papers in physics. He is also a writer of literary fiction, has published a work of fiction called Twice Written, a critical edition of which has also been published more recently. ( Click here to read)
A few days before this Valentine’s Day, Nalini Priyadarshni urged her friends on Facebook to “consider getting a book of love verses for your sweetheart this Valentine”. The book is Lines Across Oceans: Intercontinental Love Verses which she has co-written with the late poet D. Russel Micnhimer, also a winner of Poet Laureate award in India. To those who love poetry and those who have been in love, Priyadarshni’s mischievous call to action invoked nothing less than a gleeful sentiment of “ooooh… another one” tinged with “oh no – not again!” It is a sentiment that gushes out of a lover/beloved every time a note of pleasure comes close enough to unfold aspects of loving. (Click here to read)
Camus’ La Peste has never been out of print. In the wake of pandemic that now sweeps the entire world, its sale has seen a surge quite unlike at any other time since its publication in 1947. What else can be a greater proof of the relevance of a work that seems to be an ageless parable of human condition. (Click here to read)
One of the passages from a thriller that has been circulating the social media circles during COVID 19 is how the Wuhan virus was evolved in a lab in the United States with a Chinese refugee’s help, one who had defected to US “carrying a diskette record of China’s most important and dangerous biological weapon in a decade.” The book, The Eyes of Darkness by Dean Koontz, is listed as a thriller, mystery, suspense and horror. It has been republished with a few changes in 1996, post-Glasnost and post-Tiananmen incident. (Click here to read more)
What is new and positive is that human beings everywhere are shedding their illusions about the current arrangement of the world. They now clearly see that the gangrenous face of the Western system, of imperialism. COVID-19 is a symbol, not just a disease. After dust settles, after the epidemy is defeated, inhabitants of our Planet will never want to be governed by the European and North American “culture”. (Click here to read more)
The one image that I have always associated with the thought of truck/ goods carrier on Indian roads is a boisterous Punjabi driver driving the truck in abandon while singing this song full throttle. Part of the reason lies in my spending my early childhood years in Punjab and part in being enamoured by the bitter sweet song which is as much about love as it is about lamenting the distance between lovers. (Click here to read)
I’d not read a lot of Dustin Pickering before reading a draft copy of The Forever Abode. Pickering had mentioned this was a collection of poetry about a long-term relationship and thus, I found the idea intriguing. Poetry and love going so well together. (Click here to read)
Silence between the Notes is an anthology of Partition poetry which includes contributions from Urdu, Punjabi, Sindhi, English, Hindi, Bengali and Kashmiri languages. It is a unique collection as this is the first book which is extensive, representative and inclusive of it all. Selected, edited and introduced by Aftab Husain and Sarita Jenamani, this anthology promises to bring forward the voices which had perhaps got lost somewhere in all the noise that followed Partition. (Click here to read more.)