India Dissents: 3,000 Years of Difference, Doubt and Argument

August 20, 2020

About the Book:

Throughout Indian history, various individuals and groups have questioned, censured and debated authority—be it the state or empire, religious or political traditions, caste hierarchies, patriarchy or even the idea of god. These dissenting voices have persisted despite all attempts made to silence them. They have inspired revolutions and uprisings, helped preserve individual dignity and freedom, and promoted tolerance and a plurality in thought and lifestyle. India Dissents: 3,000 Years of Difference, Doubt and Argument brings together some of these voices that have sustained India as a great and vibrant civilization. Collected in these pages are essays, letters, reports, poems, songs and calls to action—from texts ranging from the Rig Veda to Ambedkar’s Annihilation of Caste; by thinkers as varied as the Buddha, Akka Mahadevi, Lal Ded, Nanak, Ghalib, Tagore, Gandhi, Manto, Jayaprakash Narayan, Namdeo Dhasal, Mahasweta Devi, U.R. Ananthamurthy and Amartya Sen; and from civil rights movements like the Narmada Bachao Andolan, the Dalit Panthers movement, the Pinjra Tod collective and the anti-CAA protests. Their words embody the undying and essential spirit of dissent in one of the world’s oldest and most diverse and dynamic civilizations.

Obsession & Wild Pigeons

December 28, 2018

In the two bold and gripping novellas brought together in this volume, the inimitable Ismat Chughtai writes of subversive women—subversive in unexpected ways—as they experience romantic and sexual desire, defy societal restrictions, struggle, scheme and sometimes court tragedy.

Obsession (Saudai), deals with one of Chughtai’s favourite themes, the ‘master-servant’ romance—in this case, two brothers, sons of a feudal household, in love with the same orphan girl. And Wild Pigeons (Jungli Kabutar)—based on the experiences of a famous Bollywood personality—probes the theme of infidelity, dissecting the emotions not only of the partner who is betrayed but also the one who betrays. In Chandni and Abida, the main protagonists of the novellas, Chughtai gives us two of the strongest women in Indian fiction—clever, self-willed, flawed and, in the end, far braver than the men in their lives.

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