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

Thursday, November 6, 2008


I extend my newfound
hand to the clouds
I spread out my hair like the
light of the night
I step on a graveled
path that blooms

I give myself a name
That discounts all we knew so far in the name of peace and war

And the firmament splits

I am a tree, a border, a language

I take sides
I change.
This is called change.


tanuj solanki said...

the light of the night is extraordinary
it just happens to be 'black'

anu said...

>>This is called change.

& it is constant or consistent or your other fav. term -atavistic.

i don't like to comment on poems just read, enjoy and introspect on them.... ah, but i just did... like it!

Rhett said...

Nice poem. Very original. To write in free verse, one needs to have the courage of one's convictions, or so I think, because one doesn't have the 'prop' of rhyme to qualify the poem. It is emotion alone. The last line seems to stand apart and rings also distinctly apart.


fleuve-souterrain said...

you got my favorite line, the light of the night, oh yes! Even I felt very tickled after writing it. Thanks!

I love the fact that you read my poems. osmetimes I am a little ashamed to bare myself like this...!! but you know, it's worth it when you read them!

Kush (Rhett),
missed your presence for some time...
yeah free verse depends only on the power of imagery, emotion and language that is almost like a cautious step on thin ice! I'm happy you enjoyed it.

To all who read it,
I was reflecting on the idea of "border" (interpreted very very broadly, so not just borderlines, maps or divisions...) and this was one poem that happened. More 'border' poems may be seen here later...

fleuve-souterrain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rinkly Rimes said...

Reading your Blog I like the words 'math-handicapped'. That's a good way of putting it. I'm the same.

Too much to lose said...

A synchronized change......appealing to the singular world.....for the better.......

fleuve-souterrain said...

Too much
thanks! come visiting again.

Anonymous said...

:)...I spread out my hair like the
light of the night
loved this one ...
you are an excellent poetess..thanks for sharing ..