About FOOTPRINTS IN THE BAJRA (Cedar Books, New Delhi); By Nabina Das

"Fittingly for a poet, Nabina’s novel also has a strong lyrical core. 'Footprints in the Bajra' takes the homely image of the millet field as its central metaphor. ... But the novel is less a thriller about guerrilla action than a subtly colored character study of a fascinating group of individuals who intersect at various points in their lives ..." -- DEBRA CASTILLO, author, editor and distinguished professor (Cornell University, April 17, 2010).

Footprints in the Bajra is a serious book that moves at a smart uncontrived pace. It voices deep concerns about how and why the deprived and the marginalized in certain parts of our country join the Maoist ranks; how they adopt desperate and often terrible measures to wrench justice and to make their voices heard... a confident debut novel, a good read, which will leave you with plenty to mull over. -- PRITI AISOLA, author (See Paris for Me, Penguin-India, 2009) in DANSE MACABRE XXXIV.

In her debut novel, Nabina Das writes about an India where social divides stand taller than multistoried shopping malls. Footprints in the Bajra, inspired by what she saw while touring the interiors of Bihar as part of a travelling theatre group, inquires into why the Maoists have an influence over a large section of Indian society. Das talked to Uttara Choudhury in New York about her book, and its protagonist Muskaan -- DAILY NEWS AND ANALYSIS, Mumbai, March 28, 2010.


"The interspersion of references from both the West and India do not clash. Shakespeare and Lazarus as reference points are brought in with ease, as also Valmiki and Goddess Chhinnamasta, and nothing jars ... The language is poetic and creates visual images of beauty and ugliness side by side." -- ABHA IYENGAR, poet (Yearnings: Serene Woods, 2010) and fiction writer in MUSE INDIA, May-Jun 2010

Shwetank Dubey says Nabina Das ably recreates the milieu of Maoist-infested regions of India -- Nabina Das has chosen the first person account of narrating a story from the main characters of the novel, Nora the sheherwali (urban dweller), Muskaan the rebel, Suryakant Sahay the crafty clandestine planner and Avadhut the frontrunner of all the operations... the book deals with something that no urban resident is bound to know on his own — the life and times of people living in Maoist infested areas and why do they give in to the temptation provided by the Red Brigade. -- PIONEER newspaper, April 25, 2010.
'"If you misrepresent them, they'll abduct and kill you," says Muskaan, our hostess'... goes the first line with which Nabina Das settles everything about her novel -- style, subject and pace... Excellent plotline. Wonderful detail. A beautifully crafted book. -- Karunamay Sinha; THE STATESMAN, Sunday supplement "8th Day", May 16, 2010.

"This is bitter-sweet, if a rather longish tale of a modern-day Maoist revolution and the seeds of destruction and betrayal that lie embedded in it." -- Business World, May 17, 2010

Friday, July 11, 2008

Forthcoming: Urban Indian Women Poets' Anthology to Print my Poem in September

I am very happy to announce that my poem, CITYSCAPES, will be published by Frog Book publishers in September 2008 (hopefully without delays)in an anthology of urban Indian women poets. It's a great feeling to be in the company of names like Meena Alexander, Jane Bhandari, Imtiaz Dharker and Rukmini Bhaya Nair. Hey, Rukmini was my teacher at Jawaharlal Nehru University where I did my Masters in Linguistics. She taught us Morphology! And Kamala Das too?? The legendary Kamala Das?

Here's what guest-editor Meena Kandasamy wrote to me in an e-mail:

I loved your poem Cityscapes and it's been selected for our as yet-untitled anthology.
Could you send me a 100 word bio (ignore this if you have already sent it) and your postal address.
We'll mail you the anthology once its released in September.
Thanks for the submission once again, and the patient wait.
I am terribly sorry for getting back to you so late.
It's just that I was stumped with the submissions.
Do you have any title suggestions for this book?


On her blog site (see link in my bloglist ), she posted the details as follows:
"Sixty and Done

July 11, 2008 by Meena Kandasamy (blog by a 24-year-old Tamil woman obsessed with dr.ambedkar’s dream of caste annihilation)

The final line-up
Usha Akella, Meena Alexander, Anoopa Anand, Jane Bhandari, Rukmini Bhaya Nair, Sujata Bhatt, Sampurna Chatterjee, Rimi Chatterjee, Pervin Chhapkhanawala, Roselyn D’Mello, Mamang Dai, Kamala Das, Nabina Das, Atreyee Day, Eunice De Souza, Mira Desai, Nandini Dhar, Imitiaz Dharker, Tishani Doshi, Reshma Ghosh, Uddipana Goswami, Anjum Hasan, Abha Iyengar, Mamta Kalia, Meena Kandasamy, Lajwanti Khemlani, Preethi Krishnan, Chicu Lokgariwar, Gayatri Majumdar, Sharanya Manivannan, Meena Menon, Monica Mody, Monidipa Mondal, Anita Nair, Sandhya Nambiar, Suniti Namjoshi, Gopika Nath, Marilyn Noronha, Sukrita Paul Kumar, Meher Pestonji, Joan Pinto, Anuradha Pujar, Ratna Rajaiah, Lekshmy Rajeev, Anupama Raju, Mani Rao, Mukta Sambrani, Bina Sarkar Ellias, Priya Sarukkai Chabria, Anindita Sengupta, Shefali Shah Choksi, Yogita Sharma, Menka Shivdasani, Sushmita Srivastava, Arundhati Subramaniam, Pooja Susan Thomas, Sridala Swami, Payal Talreja, Pali Tripathi, Ruth Vanita, Annie Zaidi

I have included the names of the poets from whom I solicited submissions, and the names of the poets who probably decided to give this a try. I think this is just the collection that I have always wanted to read, and that I never imagined I would ever put together. There are a lot of new, new names and I am happy I did that. Someone decided to give me a chance because they liked my way with words and that’s why I am where I am today. So, I haven’t been swung around by established names alone. I loved doing the selections and I love the ones I have handpicked. I did love a few other poets (I mean, their poems), but sometimes the theme didn’t match. And to those who can’t see their names here, I am not sending any rejection mails. If it isn’t here, it isn’t in the book. That’s all. Besides, Sunil Poolani might be using a few great poems that didn’t go into this book for Urban Voice (with the poet’s permission of course). So, it is not a complete rejection, really. Thank you dears for making this so wonderful.

The pre-press will swallow the rest of July and some part of August. The book will be out in early September 2008."

1 comment:

Amarujala said...

Urban poetry? Hmmm, will visit this site again to see what is all that about.