Co nt en ts
03 Fiction 09 Nonfiction 15 Academic 23 Art 33 Poetry 39 Backlist
Unclaimed Terrain Ajay Navaria Translated from Hindi by Laura Brueck In Scream—the lead story in Ajay Navaria’s collection—the unnamed protagonist is told at the very beginning, ‘Crime is very seductive. And revenge a trickster.’ The narrator rejects having his identity constrained by the cruel monikers assigned by the caste Hindus of his village or the supposed refuge of the Christian church. He occupies an ‘unclaimed terrain’, as do many of Navaria’s characters. Journeying from a Dantewada village to the town of Nagpur and from there to Mumbai, the Byronic protagonist is raped, works as a masseur and then as a gigolo even while pursuing his education. The city teaches him the many meanings of labour, and he is freed—if ultimately destroyed—by its infinite possibilities for self-invention. As complex as they are political, Navaria’s characters—ranging from a brahmin servant to a dalit male prostitute—are neither black nor white, neither clearly good nor evil. They inhabit a grey zone; they linger in the transitional passageway between past object and future subject, casteism and democracy. Like James Baldwin was for American fiction, Ajay Navaria is a guerilla in the Indian literary field. Unclaimed Terrain heralds the arrival of a bold new voice in Indian literature.
‘Navaria makes a strong effort to create casteless characters, much like Jeanette Winterson’s genderless protagonist in Written on the Body’ T ehelka
Ajay Navaria has been associated with the premier Hindi literary journal, Hans. He teaches Hindu Ethics at Jamia Millia Islamia University, Delhi. Navaria is the author of two collections of short stories, Patkatha aur anya Kahaniyan (2006) and Yes, Sir (2012), and a novel, Udhar ke Log (2008). Laura Brueck is Assistant Professor of Hindi Literature and South Asian Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder, US. 4
December 2012 ISBN 9788189059521 190 pages Hardback 5 x 7.8” Rs 295 All rights available
A Spoke in the Wheel A novel about the Buddha Amita Kanekar Upali, a monk and an embittered survivor of the war that made Emperor Ashoka overlord of the whole of India, hates the Emperor with all his heart. Yet it is to him that Ashoka, the self-proclaimed Beloved of the Gods, entrusts the task of recording the Buddha’s life and teachings for posterity. For the Emperor is set on a new conquest— that of Dhamma... And so begins a search for the Buddha and a struggle over the past. What really was the Buddha’s message? Ascetic renunciation? Universal salvation? Passive disengagement? Tolerance—even of intolerance? If his message was a critique of violence, how did it come to be championed by the most successfully violent autocrats of ancient India? These are questions that begin to surface among the Buddha’s followers, fearfully and then angrily, to be viciously debated even as Dhamma rises to glorious imperial patronage, a patronage that will sustain it for over a millennium and reach it to half the world’s populace. Set in 256 BCE, almost three hundred years after the death of the Buddha and four since the terrible battle of Kalinga, this is a story about the Buddha and his disciples, among them an ordinary monk, one of the questioners, and an extraordinary king, who seemed to have all the answers. It is also about how the movement called Dhamma was born, how it spread, changed lives and got changed itself. A Spoke in the Wheel is an ambitious and erudite work of historical fiction—intricate in its craftsmanship, vital in its ideas and epic in its sweep. Amita Kanekar lives in Goa where she has been adopted by two cats. She teaches architectural history when not writing. 6
‘Strips away layer by layer [the] fanciful stories surrounding the Buddha and reveals him as an ordinary man who had an extraordinary approach to his problems...’ D H eccan
‘Amita Kanekar’s novel about Emperor Ashoka and the Buddhist monk Upali... successfully captures the stress and strains of monastic life, and brings alive the centuries following the death of the Buddha... An interesting mix of erudition and historical imagination’—Outlook ‘An important contribution to Indian historic fiction’—The Tribune
July 2013 ISBN 9788189059569 All rights available
Father May Be an Elephant and Mother Only a Small Basket, But... Gogu Shyamala Translated from Telugu Gogu Shyamala’s stories dissolve borders as they work their magic on orthodox forms of realism, psychic allegory and political fable. Whether she is describing the setting sun or the way people are gathered at a village council like ‘thickly strewn grain on the threshing floor’, the varied rhythms of a dalit drum or a young woman astride her favorite buffalo, Shyamala walks us through a world that is at once particular and small, and simultaneously universal. Set in the madiga quarter of a Telangana village, the stories spotlight different settings, events and experiences, and offer new propositions on how to see, think and be touched by life in that world. There is a laugh lurking around every other corner as the narrative picks an adroit step past the grandiose authority of earlier versions of such places and their people—romantic, gandhian, administrative—and the idiom in which they spoke. These stories overturn the usual agendas of exit—from the village, from madiga culture, from these little communities—to hold this life up as one of promise for everyone. With her intensely beautiful and sharply political writing, Shyamala makes a clean break with the tales of oppression and misery decreed the true subject of dalit writing.
‘...warm, sensuous images of a world far removed from our garbage-strewn, traffic-choked and neon-lit cities’ O utlook
‘Gogu Shyamala’s luminous, moving and funny prose is almost deceptive in its lightness of touch, and deftness of language’—Tehelka ‘These stories do more than make the margin the centre; they make the margin a place of vivid enchantments, rendered with idiomatic vitality’—Open ‘Shyamala’s greatest achievement is the note of humour and lightness that sounds through this collection’—Wall Street Journal–Mint
Gogu Shyamala is a senior fellow at the Anveshi Research Centre for Women’s Studies, Hyderabad. She has documented and edited dalit women’s writings in Telugu.
2012 ISBN 9788189059514 263 pages Hardback 5 x 7.8” Rs 350 All rights available
The Place Outside Siddalingaiah Translated from Kannada by S.R. Ramakrishna Siddalingaiah, one of the founders of the Dalit Sangharsha Samiti, tracks his journey from a dalit colony on the edges of Magadi town, through the years in dalit student hostels, to a career as a political activist, public intellectual and university professor in the city of Bangalore. We see the child who would rather roam the hills and wade in rivers than attend school; we watch as the teenager develops a passion for study, sits at the feet of mentors, tastes success (and danger) as an orator, devours literature from pavement vendors; we hear the adult’s fiercely rationalist political voice as well as his poetic voice, resonant with the dreams and hauntings of dalit folklore. The Place Outside is a vivid evocation of everyday life and labour, of conviviality and courage, of poverty and loss in the dalit colony. As critic D.R. Nagaraj says in his Afterword, Siddalingaiah offers us a bonsailike compression of life. ‘This is writing that makes rage pleasant. Here, anger becomes sarcasm. Ire is translated into a mischief that grasps the subtleties of life. What might have appeared strange if turned Education World into a grand narrative becomes a story of human activity. Siddalingaiah transforms ‘The book is full of lively anecdotes, wrath into mischief.’ memorable pen sketches and inimitable caricatures. But the personal and the general are so organically bound to each other that the book is as much about Siddalingaiah is a major Kannada poet. Siddalingaiah the individual as it is about He has also written two plays, and a all major social, political and cultural study of folk deities. He has served twice movements of Karnataka in the last four as member of the Karnataka Legislative decades’—The Hindu Council. He is now chairman of the Kannada Development Authority. S.R. Ramakrishna is a journalist, music composer and translator. He lives in December 2012 Bengaluru. ISBN 9788189059552
‘Malgudi Days with a critical difference... Megalahatti is populated by ghosts, deities, strict headmasters and wandering ascetics, set against rivers, hills and forests’
Paperback 5 x 7.8” Rs 295 All rights available 10
Ear to the Ground Writings on Class and Caste K. Balagopal Balagopal’s writings, from the early 1980s till he died in 2009, offer us a rare insight into the making of modern India. Civil rights work provided Balagopal the cause and context to engage with history, the public sphere and political change. He wrote through nearly three tumultuous decades: on encounter deaths; struggles of agricultural labourers; the shifting dynamics of class and caste in the 1980s and thereafter in Andhra Pradesh; the venality and tyranny of the Indian state; on the importance of re-figuring the caste order as one that denied the right of civil existence to vast numbers of its constituents; the centrality one ought to grant patriarchy in considerations of social injustice; and on the destructive logic of development that emerged in the India of the 1990s, dishonouring its citizens’ right to life, liberty and livelihood. This volume comprises essays—largely drawn from the Economic & Political Weekly—that deal with representations and practices of class power as they exist in tandem with state authority and caste identities. Inspired by naxalism in the late 1970s, intellectually indebted to D.D. Kosambi’s writings on Indian history and society, and politically and ethically attentive to the politics of feminist and dalit assertion in the 1990s, Balagopal refused dogma and shrill polemics just as he refused theory that did not heed the mess of history and practice.
A mathematician by training, Kandala Balagopal (1952–2009) was associated with the Andhra Pradesh Civil Liberties Committee for two decades. In 1998, he became one of the founder-members of Human Rights Forum in which he was active till his death.
‘As a human rights worker active since 1981, and slightly older than Balagopal, I remember him as a magical figure. The writings in this volume help interpret the often chaotic developments in Andhra Pradesh, and provide a model tool for understanding other regional realities of India’—Binayak Sen
‘For students and activists of three generations, Balagopal’s voice was an ethical and political compass’ Biblio: A Review of Books ‘Every article shines with the originality of his insight and the fury of his concern’ —Wall Street Journal–Mint
ISBN 9788189059408 488 pages Paperback 6 x 9.25” Rs 550 All rights available
In The Tiger’s Shadow The Autobiography of an Ambedkarite Namdeo Nimgade Born into a family of landless bonded labourers in the dustbowl of Sathgaon in western India, Namdeo Nimgade is 14 when he finally manages to attend his village school where, being an ‘untouchable’, he has to stand on the ‘hot verandah and listen to lessons through a window’. Inspired by Dr B.R. Ambedkar, he steadfastly pursues his education. Graduating from Nagpur, Nimgade goes on to complete his PhD in soil science from the University of Wisconsin in 1962—perhaps the first dalit after Ambedkar to earn a doctorate in an American university. In the 1950s, as an associate at the Indian Agriculture Research Institute in Delhi, Nimgade gets to spend time with Dr Ambedkar. Throughout his life, Nimgade remains singularly committed to the ambedkarite movement. Nimgade narrates incidents in his life with candour and delightful humour— whether recounting his great-grandfather Ganba’s combat with a tiger in a forest, or his ‘forbidden’ love for a non-dalit woman. Moving away from the framework of victimhood narratives, Nimgade’s life is an inspiring story of triumph against odds. ‘Our family name Nimgade probably derives from the neem tree, which is known for its healing properties and health benefits. Many people from our untouchable community bear names referring to trees or plants, such as my brother-in-law, Khobragade—which refers to a coconut. There’s similarly Ambagade, referring to mango, Jamgade to guava and Borkar to berry. Quite likely, these arboreal names derive from the peaceful Buddhist period in Indian history, and are cited as further evidence that many of India’s untouchables were previously Buddhist.’ 12
‘This book must be read not only by all those who want to understand the dalit universe but also by those who enjoy a good Indian book in English’ DNA, M umbai
ISBN 9788189059309 310 pages Paperback 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 350 All rights available
The Persistence of Caste The Khairlanji Murders & India’s Hidden Apartheid Anand Teltumbde While the caste system has been formally abolished under the Indian Constitution, according to official statistics, every eighteen minutes a crime is committed on a dalit. The gouging out of eyes, the hacking off of limbs and being burned alive or stoned to death are routine in the atrocities perpetrated against India’s 170 million dalits. What drives people to commit such inhuman crimes? The Persistence of Caste uses the shocking case of Khairlanji, the brutal murder of four members of a dalit family in 2006, to explode the myth that caste no longer matters. Analysing context and crime, it seeks to locate this event in the political economy of the development process India has followed after Independence. Teltumbde demonstrates how caste has shown amazing resilience—surviving feudalism, capitalist industrialisation and a republican Constitution—to still be alive and well today, despite all denial, under neoliberal globalisation.
‘Anand Teltumbde’s analysis of the public, ritualistic massacre of a dalit family in 21st century India exposes the gangrenous heart of our society’ A R rundahti oy
‘I would hope to see it read by every Indian activist and also foreigners who do not see how odious the caste system is’—Samir Amin ‘Teltumbde bears witness to the degradation of Indian democracy’ —Vijay Prashad, Himal Anand Teltumbde is a civil rights activist. He teaches at the Indian Institute of Management, Kharagpur, and is a columnist with the Economic & Political Weekly.
ISBN 9788189059286 192 pages Paperback 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 200 World English rights: Zed Books; published in Kannada and Telugu All other rights available
Against the Madness of Manu B.R. Ambedkar’s writings on Brahminical Patriarchy Selected and introduced by Sharmila Rege A brahmin ‘mega convention’ in contemporary Pune reasserts faith in endogamy for ‘national interest’, and imposes new codes on brahmin women. A brahmin Congress leader suggests that a dalit chief minister be raped and paid compensation. That the caste system thrives by its control of women and that caste is a product of sustained endogamy was an insight offered by the 25-year-old Ambedkar in 1916, in his paper “Castes in India”. Since then, till the time he piloted the Hindu Code Bill that sought to radicalise women’s rights in the 1950s, Ambedkar deployed a range of arguments to make his case against brahminism and its twin, patriarchy. While Ambedkar’s original insights have been neglected by sociologists, political theorists and even feminists, they have been kept alive, celebrated and memorialised by dalit musical troupes and booklets in Maharashtra. Sharmila Rege, in this compelling selection of Ambedkar’s writings on the theme of brahminical patriarchy, illuminates for us his unprecedented sociological observations. Rege demonstrates how and why Ambedkar laid the base for what was, properly speaking, a feminist take on caste.
Sharmila Rege is a sociologist who heads the Krantijyoti Savitribai Phule Women’s Studies Centre, University of Pune. She is the author of Writing Caste/Writing Gender: Narrating Dalit Women’s Testimonios.
‘A brilliant and timely intervention in feminist scholarship in India, dalit studies, legal sociology, and the sociology ,A of caste’ K V amala isweswaran
Professor of Anthropology, University of Texas, Austin
‘In this volume, Sharmila Rege provides us a theoretically advanced interpretation of Babasaheb’s thinking on the interstices of the caste and feminist questions. Rege’s work assumes significance especially in the context of limited engagement with caste in mainstream feminism’—Gopal Guru, professor, Jawaharlal Nehru University
December 2012 ISBN 9788189059538 290 pages Paperback 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 350 All rights available
A Rogue and Peasant Slave Adivasi Resistance 1800–2000 Shashank Kela Why do adivasi societies defend themselves so desperately against the state? What is it that sparks so much protest and conflict in India’s adivasi regions? These are some of the questions this book seeks to answer. The first part shows how the bhils of western Madhya Pradesh were affected by colonialism, the perceptions and notions that shaped colonial policy, its effects on material life and politics, how bhil groups adapted to these developments—and resisted them. A social history cast as narrative —a narrative of blindness and rancour, resistance and change—it charts the emergence of an unjust and oppressive social order. The second part is a reflection on adivasi politics in the twentieth century. It begins with the (understandably suspicious) adivasi response to nationalism, and goes on to examine India’s development policies and their effect upon adivasi societies. It looks at the emergence of an adivasi middle class and the contradictions of its political role, as well as collective modes of protest and adaptation. A Rogue and Peasant Slave challenges the current academic consensus on the relationship between adivasi societies and the castebased agrarian order, and seeks to place them in the context of a wider agrarian and ecological history. It reveals the intimate connection between the past and the present, and shows how some of India’s most pressing contemporary conflicts can only be understood with reference to a history whose consequences are still working themselves out. Shashank Kela worked as an activist in a trade union of adivasi peasants in western Madhya Pradesh between 1994 and 2004. This is his first book. 18
‘Succeeds in bringing alive, with great sympathy, the histories of those who reject our ways of life’ W S J –M all treet ournal
‘Well argued, cogently written—fills a major lacuna in the existing literature on adivasi pasts and futures in mainland India’ —Mahesh Rangarajan, Director, Nehru Memorial Museum and Library ‘Chronicles the devastating impact of colonialism on adivasi societies in India continuing to the present engagement of the state with the forest communities’ —The Hindu ‘Contributes to the scholarship on tribal societies and adds to the voices speaking out against the neglect and exploitation of adivasi people’—India Today 2012 ISBN 9788189059361 392 pages Hardback 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 595 All rights available
Ambedkar’s World The Making of Babasaheb and the Dalit Movement Eleanor Zelliot This is a re-issue of a classic monograph on the rise of the Mahar movement in western India. While Eleanor Zelliot has published three books and eighty articles on caste, untouchability and the dalit movement, her 1969 PhD thesis has remained unavailable. Ambedkar’s World documents the social and political forces that shaped Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (b. 1891), the greatest leader of dalits in India, and the manner in which Ambedkar shaped the destiny of the dalits of Maharashtra and India. The Mahar army tradition, the cult of Cokhamela, the Mahad satyagraha, temple-entry movements, the various newspapers Ambedkar edited, the Round Table Conferences, the question of conversion, the political parties Ambedkar founded—Zelliot chronicles them all. Using a wide array of primary sources she offers a rich history of one of modern India’s most defining movements. In its scope and depth as a singlecaste history, this work remains as yet unsurpassed.
‘Eleanor Zelliot, the doyenne of historians of untouchability, that senstitive student of contemporary Maharashtra who is widely admired by the scholars and activists... has both captivated and influenced me’ —Ramachandra Guha, historian
‘Eleanor’s historical work on Ambedkar, on the Buddhist conversion of the Dalits... and on the subsequent cultural and literary movements
has changed the paradigm in the study of South Asia’— C , 1999 A itation
Distinguished Contributions to Asian Studies from the Association for Asian Studies
Eleanor Zelliot pioneered the study of the dalit movement in India in the 1960s. She was Laird Bell Professor of History (1969– 1997) at Carleton College, Minnesota. She is the author of From Untouchable to Dalit: Essays on the Ambedkar Movement.
December 2012 ISBN 9788189059545 280 pages Paperback 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 295 All rights available
The Buddha’s Way A Socio-Historical Approach Nalin Swaris In this magisterial study of the social élan of early Buddhism, Nalin Swaris argues that the radical thrust of the Buddha’s teaching is based on his realisation that ‘the individual’ is a fiction of human craving. The Buddha’s decision to found a community of compassion and sharing was the practical expression of his conviction that individualism is the principal obstacle to human happiness. The Buddha’s Way was not discovered and preached in a social vacuum. Orthodox Hinduism classifies its sacred traditions into srutis (sacred truths of the Vedas ‘heard’ by ancient rishis while in a trance) and smritis (codes of conduct). In deliberate counterpoint to the brahman tradition, the majority of the Buddha’s discourses begin with the declaration: Evam me sutam—‘Thus have I heard’. Swaris argues persuasively that Buddha’s teachings are not esoteric, but grounded in everyday life. The Dhamma is not a revealed truth that humans could not have discovered by themselves. It is like a light brought into a darkened room so that people could see what is already there, once the fog of delusion is dispelled. In a style that would appeal to both lay readers and scholars, Swaris shows how the Buddha anticipated Marx, Derrida and Foucault by centuries.
‘This highly original work uses a multidisciplinary
perspective to determine the original message of Shakyamuni Buddha. Critiquing the usual belief that the Buddha’s ideal of human liberation ‘is to be realised in solitude, away from the everyday concerns of ordinary men and women,’
demonstrates that the Buddha’s path to awakening is oriented towards social liberation. Swaris
His main argument offers a different (and persuasive) way of understanding anatta, the doctrine of non-self and non-substantiality. He argues that anatta provides the perspective from which to understand the meaning and significance of all other Buddhist doctrines, especially those relating to the theory and practice of the Buddhist moral life. This is in sharp contrast to the usual interpretations of early Buddhist teachings now current in Born in Colombo, ordained a Catholic academic Buddhology’—David R. Loy, author priest in 1962 in Bangalore, Nalin Swaris completed his PhD on the “Buddha’s of A Buddhist History of the West: Studies in Lack Way” at the State University of Utrecht in 1997 with summa cum laude. Swaris was also a human rights activist and the author 2011 of Buddhism, Human Rights and Social ISBN 9788189059316 Renewal. 388 pages Hardback 6 x 9.25” Rs 590 20
All rights available
Dispersed Radiance Caste, Gender, and Modern Science in India Abha Sur This book is a step towards writing a socially informed history of physics in India in the first half of the twentieth century. Through a series of micro histories of physics, Abha Sur analyses the confluence of caste, nationalism, and gender in modern science in India, and unpacks the colonial context in which science was organised. She examines the constraints of material reality and ideologies on the production of scientific knowledge, and discusses the effect of the personalities of dominant scientists on the institutions and academies they created. The bulk of the book examines the science and scientific practice of India’s two preeminent physicists in the first half of the twentieth century, C.V. Raman and Meghnad Saha. Raman and Saha were—in terms of their social station, political involvement, and cultural upbringing— diametric opposites. Raman came from an educated Tamil brahmin family steeped in classical art forms, and Saha from an uneducated rural family of modest means and underprivileged caste status in eastern Bengal. Sur also reconstructs a collective history of Raman’s women students— Lalitha Chandrasekhar, Sunanda Bai, and Anna Mani—each a scientist who did not get her due. Dispersed Radiance makes an important contribution to the social history of science. It provides a nuanced and critical understanding of the role and location of science in the construction of Indian modernity and in the continuation of social stratification in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Abha Sur teaches in the MIT Program in Women’s & Gender Studies in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
‘Sur has woven a meticulous account of the subaltern history of physics in India during the first half of the 20th century’ S cience
‘This scholarly study of the social and political framework in which some leading scientists worked and interacted in India in the first half of the 20th century brings to the fore facts that outsiders would hardly suspect—a subtle dissertation on caste and gender hegemony in India’—Choice ‘A fascinating account of the play of caste and gender in science and in scientific institutions in India’—The Hindu
2011 ISBN 9788189059323 286 pages Hardback 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 495 All rights available
Finding My Way A Gondwana Journey Venkat Raman Singh Shyam A third-field artist renders his life in art that is as rooted in Gond expression as it is animated by an experience of the contemporary. ‘Although I don’t consider myself famous or important, I think my life story is unusual and I want to tell it in a new way—using both pictures and words. In certain ways this will also be an illustrated story of my community. I will walk you through Gond creation myths; my dreams of riding a winged horse; the first toy-cart my father made for me; my first bicycle ride; stories about my grandfather, Prasadi Lal Uikey, who could stop tigers in their tracks and birds in their flight; my aversion to the straightjacket of school; my life in Delhi as a rickshaw puller, as a cook, as a painter of signs; my latter-day encounters with doors that open automatically and water that flows without our having to touch the tap; and my personal experience of two internationally momentous events: the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, and two years later the many days I spent marooned at the Frankfurt airport owing to volcanic ash.’
Venkat Raman Singh Shyam, nephew of the legengary Jangarh Singh Shyam, is one of the torchbearers of contemporary Gond art. Mentored by Jangarh and the late Jagdish Swaminathan, he has exhibited widely in India, the US and Europe. 24
‘Represents an emergent third field of artistic production in contemporary Indian culture that is neither metropolitan nor rural, neither (post) modernist nor traditional, neither derived from academic training nor inherited without change from tribal custom. Indeed, thirdfield artists draw their energies from the adroit, dynamic management of knotty paradoxes’—Ranjit Hoskote, curator, Indian Pavilion, Venice Biennale 2011, on Venkat Shyam’s fellow-artists from Madhya Pradesh
Nov 2013 ISBN 9788189059576 All rights available
Bonbibi and the Tiger Story: Annu Jalais Art: Baharjaan Chitrakar and Sumon Chitrakar A holy man who pined for human flesh took the form of a tiger and began attacking those who made a living from the forest. In another part of the world, a young girl, Bonbibi, was raised by a deer after her mother abandoned her in the forest. One day, she heard Allah-talla tell her to protect fishers, honey-collectors and woodcutters from the jaws of the man-eating tigerdemon of the ‘land of the eighteen tides’— the Sundarbans. What happens when Bonbibi goes to meet the tiger-demon, Dokkhin Ray? Using stunning organic dyes, Patua artists Baharjaan Chitrakar and Sumon Chitrakar pour life into a popular Bengali folk story. Annu Jalais’ retelling, about how a single woman makes her way in the world, brings to light the intricately linked worlds of humans and animals.
Annu Jalais is an anthropologist and Assistant Professor at National University of Singapore. She is the author of Forest of Tigers, on the Sundarbans. Baharjaan Chitrakar, 66, has taught many young Patuas their art. She was drawn to the story of Bonbibi and drew particularly moving pictures of the legend. Sumon Chitrakar, 22, the husband of Baharjaan’s granddaughter, was fascinated by Bonbibi’s legend calling Muslims and Hindus to be one family. 26
Oct 2013 ISBN 9788189059583 All rights available
Bhimayana Experiences of Untouchability Art: Durgabai Vyam, Subhash Vyam Story: Srividya Natarajan, S. Anand Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar (1891–1956), one of India’s foremost revolutionaries, grew up untouchable. Battling against the odds, he gained multiple doctorates, campaigned against social discrimination and the caste system and went on to draft the Constitution of India. Throughout his life Ambedkar faced routine discrimination: in school at the age of 10; in Baroda after his return from Columbia University; and while travelling in later life. The discrimination experienced by Ambedkar continues to haunt a majority of India’s 170 million dalits as many are still denied water, shelter and the basic dignities of life. In this ground-breaking work, PardhanGond artists Durgabai Vyam and Subhash Vyam interweave historical events with contemporary incidents, infusing fresh energy into the graphic idiom through their magical art.
‘An extraordinary book’—John Berger ‘Beautiful... unforgettable’—Arundhati Roy ‘Distinctive... challenging in all the right ways’—Joe Sacco
‘Highlights one of the biggest denials of human rights still in existence on the planet. Among the Top 5 political comic books’ CNN. com
‘Evocative masterpiece’—The Hindu Durgabai Vyam, who has illustrated a dozen books and won the BolognaRagazzi ‘Ambedkar’s plea for justice can be award in 2008 for The Night Life of Trees, heard again through this compelling says Bhimayana is her most accomplished documentary’—T imes Literary Supplement work yet. Subhash Vyam began as a sculptor before turning to painting. They live in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh. Srividya Hardback ISBN 9788189059354 Rs 995 Natarajan is a dancer and novelist; she Paperback ISBN 9788189059170 Rs 395 lives in London, Canada. S. Anand is the 108 pages 4-colour 8 x 11” publisher of Navayana. Rest of the world English: Tate Publishing, UK French: Editions MeMo; Korean: Darun; Spanish: Sextopiso. Published in Malayalam, Tamil, Hindi, Marathi, Telugu and Kannada 28
Ah¶yo u’ll stay w ith friends.
l wil ere o Wh ? Wh o I g l take wil in? me
t no ¶ h it s. w nd ie fr
An u no f ntouch othe riends able amo claim r cas ng tes. af am I reje riendsh f I emb cted, it ip, and pain arrassin will be ful on b g and oth side s. has
Then make su re you st ay at a good Hindu hotel.
To stay in a Hindu hote l, I’ll have to pr etend to be uppe r caste¶and if I get caught, I’ll get beaten up , maybe killed.
A Gardener in the Wasteland Jotiba Phule’s Fight for Liberty Story: Srividya Natarajan Art: Aparajita Ninan Jotirao Govindrao Phule wrote Slavery (Gulamgiri)—a scathing and witty attack on brahmanism and the slavery of India’s ‘lower’ castes that it engendered. Unlike Indian nationalists, Phule (1827–1890) saw the British as people who could tame the local elite—the brahmans who wielded power simply on the basis of birth. Inspired by Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man and the ideals of Enlightenment philosophers, Phule mounted a critique of the vedas as idle fantasies of the brahman mind. With the objective of liberating the sudras and atisudras, he founded the Satyashodak Samaj (Society of Truthseekers). Phule dedicated Slavery ‘to the good people of the United States as a token of admiration for their sublime, disinterested and self-sacrificing devotion in the cause of Negro Slavery.’ Written in the form of a dialogue between Dhondiba and Jotiba—reminiscent of Buddha’s suttas, of Socrates’ dialogues—Slavery traces the history of brahman domination in India, and examines the motives for and objectives of the cruel and inhuman laws framed by the brahmans. This revolutionary text remains relevant today, and given Phule’s rather graphic imagination lends itself almost naturally to graphic art—the first time a historical work has been interpreted as a graphic book in India. Srividya Natarajan and Aparajita Ninan also weave in the story of Savitribai, Jotiba’s wife and partner in his struggles, who started a school for girls in Pune in 1848, despite social opprobrium. Srividya Natarajan is a dancer and the author of the novel, No Onions Nor Garlic, a comic satire on caste, and Bhimayana. Aparajita Ninan is a graphic designer from Delhi. This is her first book. 30
‘Bracing. This book wakes you up like a punch in the face’—Business Standard ‘Not just a book, but a declaration of war... The Indian comics scene, presently submerged in mythologicals, desperately needs more books like A Gardener in the Wasteland’—Indian Express
‘Reminiscent of Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis. Brings smack into the foreground something unequivocally evil’ H
‘You should get yourself a copy... before some right-wing militant organisation gets its dander up’—Timeout
2011 ISBN 9788189059460 128 pages Paperback 7 x 9.5” Rs 220 Kannada rights sold. All other rights available
A Second Sunrise Poems by Cheran Edited and translated from Tamil by Lakshmi Holmström and Sascha Ebeling The sea swallowed the sun splitting open, spraying crimson blood over the clouds. A Second Sunrise showcases the best poems of Cheran, an accomplished poet of our times. The Sri Lankan civil war looms over much of his work. Poems of the precariousness of love are interwoven with poems of war. The idyllic seascape of 1977 when Waves lap along the shore spreading within me the sea is ruined forever by the experience of war (1981–89). These are followed by poems of exile and the experience of the diaspora (1993–2003). Now there is left only a great land wounded. No bird may fly over it until our return. Finally, 2004 onwards, there are poems that take us to the devastation of May 2009, by when The sea has drained away Tamil has no territory Kinships have no name. With such a wide range, translators Lakshmi Holmström and Sascha Ebeling treat each poem both as fresh in its particularity and as part of the poet’s oeuvre. Their English renditions capture the resonances and rhythms that connect Cheran to a long Tamil poetic tradition that spans over two thousand years. Cheran is a major Tamil poet. Lakshmi Holmström is an award-winning translator of Tamil fiction and poetry. Sascha Ebeling is an assistant professor of Tamil at the University of Chicago. 34
‘The poems are like mini-bombs set to blow a hole through your heart. They bear witness to the tragedy of the Sri Lankan civil war’ T H he
‘Cheran’s poetry... is deeply human, direct and moving without being sentimental; political without being loud. The translators have been able to capture the mood and the tone and help us imagine the idiom of the original’—Indian Express
2012 Hardback ISBN 9788189059491 Rs 295 Paperback ISBN 9788189059507 Rs 195 160 pages 8 x 5.25” All rights available
Ms Militancy Meena Kandasamy Meena Kandasamy’s full-blooded and highly experimental poems challenge the dominant mode in contemporary Indian poetry in English: status-quoist, depoliticised, neatly sterilised. These caustic poems with their black humour, sharp sarcasm, tart repartees, semantic puns and semiotic plays irritate, shock and sting the readers until they are provoked into rethinking the ‘time-honoured’ traditions and entrenched hierarchies at work in contemporary society. The poet stands myths and legends on their head to expose their regressive core. She uses words, images and metaphors as tools of subversion, asserting, in the process, her caste, gender and regional identities while also transcending them through the shared spaces of her socioaesthetic practice. She de-romanticises the world and de-mythifies religious and literary traditions by re-appropriating the hegemonic language in a heretical gesture of Promethean love for the dispossessed. The poet interrogates the tenets of a solipsistic modernism to create a counterpoetic community speech brimming with emancipatory energy.
‘As a woman dalit poet, Meena Kandasamy writes angrily, often eloquently, about the politics of the body and caste in contemporary Indian society’ T H he
‘When she tells the self-proclaimed arbiters of morality and decency and religious practice where to get off in “Should You Take Offence...”, you want to stand up and cheer’—Timeout ‘...a sharp eye for detail, a grasp of worldly insight, and an appetite for phrasal shapeshifting’—Biblio: A Review of Books Meena Kandasamy is a poet and translator who has performed widely in venues across the world. She is currently working on her novel, Gypsy Goddess. She lives in Chennai.
2011 ISBN 9788189059347 64 pages Paperback 6.5 x 8.5” Rs 150 All rights available
Give Us This Day A Feast of Flesh N.D. Rajkumar Poems from Tamil translated by Anushiya Ramaswamy Where the word becomes flesh, where reason is dazzled and magic reigns supreme: in that world delves Rajkumar. Sensuous and ferocious, the poetry of Rajkumar cracks open a world that offers the modern reader stunning glimpses into a magic-drenched, living dalit history. Born into a traditional shaman community in a border town between Kerala and Tamil Nadu, Rajkumar revels in his ability to claim disparate discourses as his poetic subjects. His angry goddesses of unreason and excessive emotion embody unfettered power, independence and freedom— elements excised from the daily life of the dalit. Anushiya Ramaswamy, through her inspired translations, and in an essay that locates Rajkumar’s insurrections in a global literary context, shows how the poet is not writing for inclusion into a centre: he has re-drawn the lines in such a way that the centre itself is meaningless. The centre has the right of it to fear the Other, the Mohini, the darkness, the Isakki, the mother with her breasts full of the poisonous essence, for Biblio: A Review of Books We who cannot experience The Brahmam Link hands and walk ‘As a member of the kaniyar caste among With our Jungle Gods. the dalits in Tamil Nadu, Rajkumar uses the shamanistic, magical and supernatural, with which the kaniyars are associated, to fashion an aesthetic that can seem anarchic and is certainly destabilising in its effects on the reader’—DNA, Mumbai
‘Powerful liminalities, threshold moments of transit and transformation, are at play in the poems of N.D. Rajkumar’
N.D. Rajkumar has published four volumes of poetry in Tamil. He works as a daily wage labourer in the Railway Mail Service in Nagercoil. Anushiya Ramaswamy teaches at the Department of English, Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, US. 36
2011 ISBN 9788189059330 110 pages Paperback 6.5 x 8.5” Rs 180 All rights available
A Current of Blood Namdeo Dhasal Poems selected and translated from Marathi by Dilip Chitre ‘I am a venereal sore in the private part of language.’ That’s Namdeo Dhasal, the maverick Marathi poet who hardly had any formal education. Born in 1949 in a former ‘untouchable’ community in Pur-Kanersar village near Pune in Maharashtra, as a teenage taxi driver he lived among pimps, prostitutes, petty criminals, drug peddlers, gangsters and illicit traders in Bombay/ Mumbai’s sinister and sordid underworld. In 1972, he founded Dalit Panther, the militant organisation modelled on Black Panther. The same year he published Golpitha that belongs to the tradition in modern urban poetry beginning with Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du Mal. Since then, he has published eight collections of poems from which this representative selection is drawn. In 2004, India’s national academy of letters, Sahitya Akademi, honoured Dhasal with the only Lifetime Achievement Award it gave during its golden jubilee celebrations. Dhasal’s long-time friend The Hindu and bilingual poet Dilip Chitre, acclaimed for his translations of the seventeenth ‘This elegant book is a journey through the century Marathi poet-saint Tukaram, considers Namdeo Dhasal to be one of the bowels of those quarters over which we outstanding poets of the twentieth century. have constructed robust mental flyovers’ —The Sunday Times of India
‘This is Mumbai without her makeup, her botox, her power yoga; the Mumbai that seethes, unruly, menacing, yet vitally alive’
‘Chitre succeeds in reproducing the images and metaphors of Dhasal’s work, and his unmistakable, hard-hitting voice’—Outlook ‘Dhasal employs an aesthetic of fracture... towards writing into existence the continuing alienation of dalits seduced Dilip Chitre (1938–2009) was a poet, painter, translator, and filmmaker. He wrote by the shiny assurances of a still-new nation’—Biblio: A Review of Books more than fifteen volumes of poetry in Marathi and ten in English. His film Godam won the Prix Special du Jury in Nantes in 2011 1984. ISBN 9788189059385 120 pages Paperback 6.5 x 8.5” Rs 180 All rights available
Embodying Difference: The Making of Burakumin in Modern Japan Timothy D. Amos ISBN 9788189059293 Hardback 302 pages 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 495 The book attempts to rethink the boundaries of buraku history and the category of the outcaste in Japan. ‘A clear and readable account of the contingencies of buraku identity in Japan.’—Elyssa Faison, Associate Professor of Japanese History, University of Oklahoma (Rights sold to University of Hawi‘i Press)
In Pursuit of Ambedkar: A Memoir Bhagwan Das (with DVD) ISBN 9788189059255 Paperback 86 pages 7 x 7” Rs 175 A meeting with Ambedkar in 1943 defined the trajectory of Das’ life, and inspired him in his single-minded pursuit of Babasaheb’s ideals. This memoir, and the DVD of a documentary feature that accompanies it, offer a dalit perspective on key events and figures of modern Indian history.
Thus Spoke Ambedkar, Vol. 1: A Stake in the Nation Ed. Bhagwan Das ISBN 9788189059262 Hardback 228 pages 7.5 x 7.5” Rs 395 ISBN 9788189059279 Paperback 228 pages 7.5 x 7.5” Rs 295 The twenty speeches (with annotations) showcase the wide range of issues that Dr B.R. Ambedkar had engaged with. They unravel a story otherwise jettisoned by mainstream ‘nationalist’ narratives that valorise a rather Hinduised ‘idea of India’.
The Rupture with Memory: Derrida and the Specters that Haunt Marxism Nissim Mannathukkaren ISBN 9788189059088 Paperback 116 pages 5 x 7.5” Rs 150 The author argues the Marxists need to engage with Derrida to rebuild strategies for mounting a challenge to the evangelical neo-liberal hegemony and to other religious fundamentalisms. ‘A clear-headed study of Jacques Derrida’s venture into Marxist political theory.’—Frontline
The Blindness of Insight: Essays on Caste in Modern India Dilip M. Menon ISBN 9788189059071 189 pages Paperback 5 x 7.5” Rs 200 Exploring the intimate relation between the discourses of caste, secularism and communalism, Dilip Menon argues that communalism in India may well be the return of the repressed histories of caste. ‘An elegantly argued book... It offers a provocative thesis.’—New Indian Express
Waking is Another Dream: Poems on the Genocide in Eelam
Cheran, Jayapalan, Yesurasa, Latha, Ravikumar Ed. Ravikumar Trans. Meena Kandasamy and Ravi Shanker ISBN 9788189059378 Paperback 68 pages 6.5 x 8.5” Rs 180 What is the poetry that can emerge from a ‘wounded landmass’ where ‘no bird is able to fly’, where people ‘ate death’? Five frontline Tamil poets from Eelam lament the loss of their land, their language and thousands of people. ‘Evokes the ravaged world of the Sri Lankan Tamil.’—DNA, Mumbai
Turning the Pot, Tilling the Land: Dignity of Labour in Our Times Text: Kancha Ilaiah Illustrations: Durgabai Vyam ISBN 9788189059095 Paperback 108 pages 9 x 9” Rs 200 This book—with stunning illustrations by Durgabai Vyam—is the first ever attempt to inculcate a sense of dignity of labour among India’s children. ‘It’s a hugely important book. Every Indian child should read it.’—UNICEF India
People Without History: India’s Muslim Ghettos Jeremy Seabrook and Imran Ahmed Siddiqui ISBN 9788189059446 Paperback 272 pages 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 295 (S. Asia only) This book is about life in the inner-city areas of Kolkata’s mainly Muslim settlements. It asks a simple question—how do the vast majority of Muslims, especially the poor, live, work, love and die? ‘Inevitably, stories of neglect, deprivation, disease and addiction unfold.’—The Telegraph
The Myth of the Holy Cow D.N. Jha ISBN 9788189059163 Paperback 208 pages 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 200 (S. Asia only) Historian D.N. Jha argues that the ‘holiness’ of the cow is a myth and its flesh played an important part in the cuisine of ancient India. Includes an essay by B.R. Ambedkar on beef-eating and untouchability. ‘Jha traces the history of the doctrine... covering both the classic texts and cutting-edge scholarship.’—TLS
Religious Rebels in the Punjab: The Ad Dharm Challenge to Caste Mark Juergensmeyer ISBN 9788189059200 Paperback 382 pages 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 400 This pioneering work chronicles the history of the Ad Dharm movement by weaving in the life stories of dalit leaders. ‘Juergensmeyer takes one bold step forward from conventional social history, and he deserves our unqualified praise for that.’ —T.K. Oommen, Contributions to Indian Sociology
Seeking Begumpura: The Social Vision of Anticaste Intellectuals Gail Omvedt ISBN 9788189059453 Paperback 304 pages 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 295 Omvedt emphasises the continued relevance of the vision of the anticaste intellectuals in the era of globalisation. ‘Marks a watershed in the battle to uncover the hearts and minds of the oppressed and powerless—the ‘subalterns’ of the Subcontinent’s history.’—Himal
Lose Your Mother: A Journey Along the Atlantic Slave Route Saidiya Hartman ISBN 9788189059392 Paperback 288 pages 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 350 (S. Asia only) Undertaking a personal journey, the author retraces the history of the Atlantic slave
trade. ‘Hartman’s mix of history and memoir has the feel of a good novel, told with charm and passion, and should reach out to anyone contemplating the meaning of identity, belonging and homeland.’—Publishers Weekly
The Business of Words André Schiffrin ISBN 9788189059477 Paperback 296 pages 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 295 (S. Asia only) A passionate account of the collapsing standards of contemporary publishing, across the world. ‘Schiffrin’s careful tracing of the growth of independent and committed publishing holds many lessons for India.’—Urvashi Butalia, publisher, Zubaan
Un/Common Cultures: Racism and the Rearticulation of Cultural Difference Kamala Visweswaran ISBN 9788189059415 Paperback 354 pages 6 x 9.25” Rs 450 (S. Asia only) This book offers an incising critique of the idea of culture at the heart of anthropology. ‘A major intervention in cultural studies, anthropology, and feminist and South Asian studies.’—R. Radhakrishnan, author of History, the Human, and the World Between
Imagining a Place for Buddhism Anne E. Monius ISBN 9788189059194 Paperback 272 pages 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 350 (S. Asia only) In this pioneering study, focusing on two extant Buddhist Tamil texts, Anne Monius, Professor of South Asian Religions at Harvard Divinity School, sheds light on the role of literature and literary culture in the formation, articulation and evolution of Tamil Buddhist religious identity and community.
Abnormal: Lectures at the Collège de France, 1974–75 Michel Foucault ISBN 9788189059224 Paperback 400 pages 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 490 (S. Asia only) In the lectures comprising Abnormal, Foucault shows how and why defining ‘abnormality’ and ‘normality’ were prerogatives of power in the nineteenth century, shaping the institutions—from the prison system to the family—meant to deal in particular with ‘monstrosity’.
The Future of the Image Jacques Rancière ISBN 9788189059231 Paperback 160 pages 5 x 7.5” Rs 200 (S. Asia only) The author offers a fascinating new concept of the image in contemporary art, showing how art and politics have always been intrinsically intertwined. ‘Rancière’s writings offer one of the few conceptualisations of how we are to continue to resist.’—Slavoj Žižek.
Political Interventions: Social Science and Political Action Pierre Bourdieu ISBN 9788189059248 Paperback 416 pages 6.25 x 9.25” Rs 490 (S. Asia only) For Bourdieu, sociology is ‘a combat sport’. In this comprehensive collection he is at his combative best. ‘France’s leading sociologist, its most influential intellectual—and one of its angriest men.’—London Review of Books 42
The System of Objects Jean Baudrillard ISBN 9788189059125 Paperback 240 pages 5 x 7.5” Rs 225 (S. Asia only) This book offers a cultural critique of the commodity in consumer society, classifying the everyday objects of the ‘new technical order’. He subjects home furnishing and interior design to a celebrated semiological analysis. ‘A sharp-shooting Lone Ranger of the postMarxist left.’—New York Times
First as Tragedy, Then as Farce Slavoj Žižek ISBN 9788189059217 Paperback 156 pages 5 x 7.5” Rs 200 (S. Asia only) In his analysis, Slavoj Žižek frames the moral failures of the modern world in terms of the epoch-making events of the first decade of this century. ‘Žižek leaves no social or cultural phenomenon untheorised, and is master of the counterintuitive observation.’—The New Yorker
The Sublime Object of Ideology Slavoj Žižek ISBN 9788189059132 Paperback 256 pages 5 x 7.5” Rs 280 (S. Asia only) In this provocative book, Slavoj Žižek takes a look at the question of human agency in a postmodern world. His analyses explore the ideological fantasies of wholeness and exclusion that make up human society. ‘Žižek will entertain and offend, but never bore.’— The Stranger
Women, Race and Class Angela Y. Davis ISBN 9788189059422 Paperback 284 pages 5.5 x 8.5” Rs 295 (S. Asia only) This powerful study of the women’s movement in the U.S. from abolitionist days to the present demonstrates how it has always been hampered by the racist and classist biases of its leaders. A classic.
Are prisons obsolete? Angela Y. Davis ISBN 9788189059439 Paperback 128 pages 5 x 7” Rs 150 (S. Asia only) Davis has put the case for the latest abolition movement in American life: the abolition of the prison. ‘Angela Davis swings a wrecking ball into the racist and sexist underpinnings of the American prison system.’—Cynthia McKinney, former Congresswoman, US.
Navayana offers excellent editorial, typesetting, and production services out of India. We have done prepress work and printed editions for Tate Publishing, London; Zed Books, UK; and for the University of Hawai‘i Press, US. Prepress work and production are cheaper in India, but one ought to know how to get quality work done and whom to trust it with. Navayana provides reliable publishing solutions— from editing a manuscript (in English) to shipping finished copies of the book to you. Navayana also offers quality design work by Akila Seshasayee—our covers and book design bear testimony to this. Navayana 155, 2nd Floor, Shahpur Jat New Delhi, India 110049 email@example.com +91-11-26494795 www.navayana.org
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‘Navayana has chosen to embrace literary practices that have been marginalised by mainstream publishing...A young alternative publishing house, Navayana combines its dedication to an Ambedkarite perspective on Indian society with an infectious enthusiasm for contemporary cultural theory’ Biblio: A Review of Books
‘If there’s a contemporary heir to Seagull, it may be Navayana, set up to challenge the invisibility of many kinds of Indian writing, from works by dalit authors to poetry...the catalogue is politically engaged, challenging and often unsettling’ Business Standard