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

Monday, October 13, 2008

Random thoughts... with Hillary out, will Palin iron shirts now?

Random thoughts are good. They don't stay long! On a propitious day such as Columbus Day (that plunderer...) I am thinking hmm, now that Sarah Palin is the Republican mascot, will anyone stand up in her meetings and holler: "Sarah iron my shirt"? How's that going to fare? As it is, some complaining noise was made about how either her opponents are harsh with her 'because she is a woman' (or a pit bull wearing lipstick) trying to compete with men or too soft on her because 'oh poor thing's woman' and should be back to womanly things only.

Somehow, opponents of Hillary have forgotten that there had been folks holding up signs or screaming "Hillary iron my shirt" (http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/01/07/hillary-hecklers-yell-iron-my-shirt-at-new-hampshire-campaign-stop/) at her campaign meetings. Now I'm randomly forced to think, will this happen in India when Mayawati or Sonia Gandhi or Renuka Chowdhury stand up speaking at their meetings. Will a Mulayam, Advani or any other supposed supporter of "male" privilege of being in politics do or say this sort of a thing, ever? NO.

Well, I don't mean to say anti-woman stances are not there among prevailing Indians, but not blatantly at least.

What is it that in a country like India, where gender biases run deep, where patriarchy can assume ugly forms, and where women are seen as means of reproduction, no one dare stoop so low regarding a woman in politics, government and policymaking. No sir, no one will say "Sonia make my rotis", "Maya clean my dishes" or "Renuka wash my undies"...! They might say, let's see, "Mayawati is a megalomaniac", "Sonia is manipulative" or "Renuka is unrealistic" -- things that politicians are supposed to say to each other.

So why, in America the land of freedom and other sundry stuff associated with that, will men stand up saying "Hillary iron my shirt"? Now don't try saying that to Palin, or you'll be branded a misogynist, for sure... Random thoughts.

1 comment:

Mutu said...

Do you think it is anything to do with the worship of goddesses in India? Meaning ordinary women can be treated like crap but women in power are elevated to goddess status and worshipped in that way.

See this:

Leader Deified, offers a glorifying insight into how political propaganda makes use of the Goddess to deify political personalities such as Jayalalitha, Mayawati, Indira Gandhi, etc. Ram Rahman's 1989 photograph of the image of Indira Gandhi enshrined for worship in New Delhi is a case in point. George Francis (Scorp News) portrays Jayalalitha as the Goddess Kali on AIADMK's 25th anniversary - a brilliant documentation of the political ambience of hero-worship in Tamil Nadu. Painted in a vivid blue, she wears a garland of Karunanidhi's heads around her neck and strides over the political rival crushed under her feet. Dilip Banerjee's 1989 colour photograph demonstrates women reaching out to touch the larger-than-life feet of Mayawati on an election hoarding.