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, February 25, 2008

Black-eyed Peas over Tortilla Roll

He pours the mixture slowly
Over the smooth sandy belly of a tortilla --
A thick sauce, pungent to the uninitiated.

Black-eyed, or so they seem
From a brief brawl in his food stand pan
Where he calms them down with a spatula.

They eye me from the thick mix,
Upturning semi-pulverized onions caps
And specks of cumin seeds, spicy grains.

They tumble as he pours more,
Watch the tortilla squirm unseen to the eye
From heaped up stove-top heat, real fast.

Black brown light lick each other
To become black brown light over again,
From the touchy fair-weather tortilla roll

To the one-eyed pea-brats to
Golden onion flakes – as the flavor flows, drips off
From my anxious hands. I quickly devour the roll.

Feb. 12, 2007

Banana Fries

Thick-skinned delight.
Long-legged wonder
Hanging in bunches
Like exotic animals
Vacant and vagrant
Welcome to my home
Where a purposeful
Stay will be their fate.
Smooth-limbed fruits
Reeking in my fridge
Waiting to be sliced
As spicy banana fries.
One stains my fingers
Picked with my index
And experienced thumb
Unsoft, firm, not ripe yet
Hence taciturn to my
Battle-perfected knife.
Off goes that one first
Rolling out green orbs
Fat, thin, all in fast strikes
Sticky still, a bit messy
The reluctance drops
As quick as the banana
Pieces fly on the chopping
Board – one, two, three
Abracadabra turns them
Into sizzling golden coins
Once I pop them inside
The hot oil pan of mine
Searing delightfully to see
Bananas die one by one
The sweet smelling death
Absorbs my nostrils;
My serene tongue licks
The flavorsome spice
That will duly shroud
The fries and the chips
In a single prayer –
Feb 20, 2007


He made it for me on one wintry day –
Flavorsome, fragrant and round.
Wiping mild sweat from his forehead
He called out, “It is ready!”

I rushed to discover an orb oozing warm juice
An apple pie – brown and balmy!

His thick oven glove was burnt in the corners
I could see his little finger sticking out
Yet the fresh pie smelt of honey and ginger,
His own secret spices.

The top was brown, as it should be.
The sides were curled and dark … over baked?
Bubbling juices froth like a baby’s mouth.
He watched me in glee.

As we dug into the slices
Fresh bodies of Empire apples lay limp,
Translucent, a little tart and inviting –
Warm to our tongues and mysterious.

He watched me eat and sighed with relief,
I know why, finally he knows how to make a pie!

As the brown slices fast disappeared,
He discarded his torn glove and sipped his tea.
Speaking to me in a conspiratorial tone
He said, “I never put cinnamon in there you see.”

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Godhra Carnage -- Interview with Prof Richard W Lariviere

Interview with Prof Richard W Lariviere, Dean, College of Liberal Arts, University of Texas at Austin -- By Nabina Das, 2002 (Tehelka.com)

Dr Richard W. Lariviere, a scholar of Asian studies and an expert on the information technology industry, is the dean of the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin. Lariviere holds the Ralph B. Thomas Regents Professorship in Asian Studies. He was director of UT Austin's Center for Asian Studies, a program teaching courses in 25 disciplines and fields, from 1986 to 1994.

Lariviere received his PhD from the University of Pennsylvania in Sanskrit in 1978. He reads and speaks several languages and has conducted research in locations all over the world. He is the recipient of several fellowships and grants including a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship and a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies and the Social Science Research Council. He also has been a senior fellow at the American Institute of Indian Studies in India and has been a consultant to many corporations, both in the US and abroad.

In addition to his numerous administrative duties, Lariviere also has written many books, articles and reviews on subjects ranging from law and religion in India to matrimonial remedies for women in classical Hindu law. One of his books, The Naaradasmrti, won an international prize in Italy as the best book on India in 1989, and many of his articles have been translated into Japanese, Chinese, Russian, German and French.

How do you look at the Godhra carnage that set off the spate of communal violence in Ahmedabad in the western state of Gujarat in India? Is it an isolated issue or a predictable culmination of the events, which have been taking place in India over the past couple of months?

The Godhra incident was a despicable act of murder. I don’t think that anyone could have predicted that such this specific act would take place. Still, when political leaders resort to messages of hatred as their mode of communication, it is not completely surprising that such discourse would give rise to violent acts. It has in the past and it will in the future, as long as leaders are willing to exploit hatred for their own ends.

India is a half a century and odd old democracy which is evolving by leaps and bounds. What does this sort of communal frenzy forebode for a young nation as India?

The modern Indian state was born into an atmosphere of violent communalism. The subcontinent has never recovered. The great tragedy that India has had to face since the 1960’s is that the political arena has not attracted more talent than it has. India is a country of great wealth and staggering intellectual resources. The human talent in India is its greatest asset. Yet, when one looks at participants in state and national politics, one seldom finds leadership that is focused on larger issues of Indian social and economic progress. The educated middle class, the movers and shakers of the business world are apparently content to leave the vital business of governing the country to others—even to criminals and proven scoundrels.

Does the Ahmedabad carnage evoke any comparison to your mind of any such incident in recent times, especially in relation to the racial riots to which the USA has been witness to in the last couple of decades?

Every society is cursed with vestiges of human evolution that can best be described as “tribalism.” There is something in humankind that needs to form hierarchies, that needs to “protect” one’s group by distinguishing it from other groups. In modern societies these distinctions may be race, religion, language, or some other culturally determined characteristic. These distinctions can become the source of social upheaval. In the US racism is such a tribal distinction. Racism is like communalism. It can be traced historically, and “explained” as a historical phenomenon. These distinctions based on race, religion, or caste form the basis of social bias and prejudice. They are like a cancer in society. We work hard to eliminate them from our cultures, and from time to time we make progress. We think that the cancer is in remission, or that we actually curing it, but then something terrible like Godhra happens and the old wounds are ripped open. Just as we continually strive to seek new cures for cancer, people of good will in every society continue to look for ways to eliminate the cancer of social prejudice such as racism or communalism.

What differentiates the Gujarat violence from other such incidents around the world? What according to you is its distinctive feature?

If we take the macro view that this is a vestige of tribalism, there is not a great deal that is really distinctive about the Godhra kind of violence. We see it in Indonesia, in Northern Ireland, in the US, in Spain, in Algeria, in Israel, in Bosnia. In India, the scale of the violence and the danger of it spreading over a very large area of north India and over a very large population is, perhaps, unique.

This treatment meted out to Muslims in Gujarat has been compared by experts here to what the Jews were being subjected to by the Nazis during the World War II. Do you think this is a valid analogy?

No, I do not think this is a valid analogy. What happened in Germany and Europe during World War II is one of the best known instances of evil run amuck. The Nazi holocaust has been studied and documented so thoroughly that it has become a metric for the ultimate expression of evil. As such a metric it has come to be used almost casually to describe any instance of evil. Has hatred manifested itself in the form of evil acts in Gujarat? Lamentably, yes. If your question is, do I think India is headed toward a condition similar to that of Nazi Germany? Then I would have to say no. I do not think so. The BJP leadership –Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Advani in particular—have demonstrated that they are responding to the ameliorating forces of the burdens of democratic office.

These men have much to answer for in their behavior ten years ago, in their ignition of the Ayodhya issue, in their demagoguery, in their pandering to the extreme Hindu right. In my view, this will forever be part of their legacies. Still, it is encouraging that their responsibilities to the entire nation have led them to call for calm and reason in the face of VHP intransigence and such criminal provocation as the massacre at Doghra. Perhaps there is hope to found in these brief moments of leadership.

What do you think the impact of the recent carnage has been on the American intelligentsia, academia and the polity? How has civil society in US reacted to this? We in India are already aware of the official position of the US government.

A very minor part of this tragedy is the danger that it has done to the standing of India in the world. Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Jaswant Singh have done a superb job in the international arena. The restraint and strength shown in the Kargil war was impressive to the entire world. It managed to show the difference between a mature democracy like India and a country in chaos and dangerous disarray like Pakistan. Mr. Vajpayee and Mr. Singh managed to keep India on the high road in negotiating the difficult post September 11 traumas that visited the subcontinent. Their mature and reasoned position on matters such as logistical support for the US Afghan campaign, in managing to state ever so tactfully to the US government, “We told you so.” with regard to Pakistan, in refusing to stoop to the level of Pakistan throughout this unpleasantness demonstrated to the world that India is a country of power and sophistication.

Events such as Godhra sully such a glowing image, but they cannot obliterate it. Still, it must be said that events such as godhra massacre and the Babri Masjid destruction have a chilling effect on American investors who might otherwise be willing to do business in India. I personally know of several companies who have resorted to investment in the Philiippines or China rather than India because of perceived instability. I think that these decisions were made in ignorance nevertheless, the money is not coming to India.

How would you define the cause of such violent manifestation by groups claiming adherence to certain religions, ethnic groups, languages etc? Asian societies are today undergoing a lot of rapid changes in its socio-political order. Is this incident a part of this churning? Kindly elaborate a little.

Fat people seldom riot; starving people often do. When there is grotesquely inequitable distribution of resources, as is the case in India, social unrest follows. This is especially true when unscrupulous demagogues exploit these inequities. If one looks at the rhetoric of the past decade, the VHP and the BJP have tried to blame nearly every social ill on the Muslim community. We are told that Muslims have too many children, are ill-educated, are a drain on the economy, received disproportionate support from the government, they even practice inferior hygiene according to this incendiary rhetoric. Surely these 11% of the population of India cannot be responsible for all of the ills besetting India. How will a uniform civil code increase India’s literacy rate? How will purging Muslims from any sector of society lower India’s embarrassing poverty rate? All of us long for simple answers to complex questions. Some of us will settle for simple-minded answers to complex questions. Unfortunately, there is often a demagogue around to fulfill our wishes. This was Mr. Advani’s stock in trade for many years. He then had the hard luck of actually being in the government and having to govern a country that he had stirred into a frenzy on the communal issue. Regrettably, India is not the only country in which one finds this sort of chicanery. In the US, in every national election—to the Presidency or to Congress—when candidates are asked to explain their position on, say, capital gains tax reduction or import tariffs, the answer is “Let me tell you my views on abortion.” This creates a stir, no opinions are changed on abortion, and the candidate has ducked the original issue.

Do you think the flashpoint in Gujarat was a result of the Ram temple movement in Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh spearheaded by Hindu Rightwing group, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP)?

I do not know what could possibly motivate anyone to do what was done in Doghra. We are told that the chanting of slogans gave rise to a verbal conflict that escalated into the massacre. This is no explanation. The perpetrators of this depraved act must be prosecuted. Still, there is an element of karmavipaaka at work here. The BJP has a tinder box on its hands in which large regions of India may burst into flame. It has carefully and deliberately assembled this tinderbox over the past decade. It now must deal with it. There is a price to be paid for cozying up to the VHP and the sangh parivaar. Once the tinderbox is ignited – almost always by such irrational and terrible acts as we have seen at the Babri Masjid or at Doghra--innocent people are caught up in the firestorm.

The US has recently showed eagerness in co-opting with India in its fight against global terrorism. But recently this carnage in India had secretary of state Colin Powell denounce the incidents in Gujarat as ‘Hindu terrorism’. What is your comment on this and how do you think this reflects on the Indian government which seems to have terrorism in its own backyard?

The entire world is watching to see how India will cope with this challenge. I think it is easy for the political leadership and for the people of India to forget that CNN and the BBC make it possible for the entire world to watch—literally—these events unfold. The chilling swarm of fanatics that destroyed the Babri Masjid did their work in front of the whole world. These events are a source of collective shame to Indians of good will in the same way that instances of racism in the US are a source of collective shame to Americans.

On the matter of cross border terrorism: I think the protest of India for the past 25 years have been vindicated. It is now apparent to everyone willing to investigate, that India has endured years of terrorist attacks sponsored by the government of Pakistan. India’s response to this long challenge in Kashmir has imperiled its own democratic image, however. Kashmir is a blot on the record of India as a vital and resilient democracy. Things are marginally better for the moment. One even hopes that there might be hope for establishing the Line of Control as the permanent border, but that is still merely a hope until both Pakistan and India have secure enough governments that they can overcome 50 years of rhetoric on the matter. I don’t see a likelihood of such strong governments in the near future.

What do you think will be the fallout of this Hindu-Muslim violence on America’s policy post-September 11 and the US-led Operation Enduring Freedom?

I think that the current spate of Hindu-Muslim violence will have little effect on US policy. When US interests are at stake, the US government deals with whatever governments will enable the US to fulfill its goals. How else can one explain the continued solicitous ness to Pakistan? It certainly is not because of General Mushariff’s commitment to peace and democracy! The US needs whatever leverage it can effect in Pakistan to control the ISI, to limit the use of Pakistan as an escape route for Afghanistan-based al Qaeda, and to glean what intelligence it can from the cauldron of Pakistani radical elements.

However, it is my fervent hope that the events of the past year will have highlighted the fact that India is by far the more reliable partner in the region. India is in the world’s spotlight at the moment. It has acquitted itself brilliantly on the international stage. Let us hope that the same vision and sophistication which has handled so well the Kargil war, the Afghanistan challenge, and the problems of dealing with Pakistan can also be brought to bear on the domestic problems confronting this great country.

Nabina Das
Journalist/Current Affairs Editor

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Look and learn - John Sutherland

It might be an unfashionable notion, but fiction can teach us things and make us better people, argues John Sutherland Saturday September 2, 2006

The Guardian
Grand claims have been made for the novel - none grander than that of DH Lawrence, for whom it was "the one bright book of life". For some, at the other extreme, the novel has been the one bright book of death. It is plausibly argued, for example, that Graham Young, the UK's most notorious mass poisoner, celebrated in the 1995 film The Young Poisoner's Handbook, was inspired in his use of the "undetectable" poison, thallium, by Agatha Christie's novel The Pale Horse (1961). Timothy McVeigh, perpetrator of the worst civilian atrocity in American history - the bombing of the Murrah Federal building in Oklahoma City - took his inspiration from William L Pierce's The Turner Diaries.
Less homicidal readers than Young and McVeigh have found novels to be useful manuals. In late December 2005 British government documents of 30 years earlier were declassified. Prominent among them were those relating to the case of John Stonehouse, the MP who in 1974 faked his death and embarked on a new life in Australia as "Joseph Markham" with his mistress Sheila Buckley.
Stonehouse had created a new identity for himself from the instructions offered in Frederick Forsyth's 1971 thriller The Day of the Jackal. The now notorious paragraph in the novel beginning "there is nothing easier than getting a false passport" has been drawn on over the decades by IRA cells and whole armies of illegal immigrants, by benefits fraudsters and, most recently, identity thieves. Apparently Forsyth himself has instructed the Home Office on how they might close the "Jackal loophole", but without success. It remains gapingly open.
For the law-abiding, fiction also has its manifold practical uses. In the 19th century, the period of its most rapid hot-house growth, the novel developed, as one of its many parts, into a middle-class manual of conduct. Anthony Trollope, when asked what good his novels did society, liked to reply that they instructed maidens how they should receive their suitors. Jane Austen's novels (like those of her literary descendant, Helen Fielding, of Bridget Jones's Diaries fame) are similarly instructional about the big question in a young woman's life: whom should I marry? A Mr Collins, a Mr Darcy, or no one?
Miss Austen, having accepted her own suitor, decided - after a night's second thoughts - that it would, after all, be no one. One would like to think that chewing the issues over so thoroughly in her novels helped in the decision. Oddly, none of her heroines opts for spinsterhood, and those that are left on the shelf are no advertisement for the single woman past her "bloom". For a woman, said Jacqueline Susann (not one of Jane's more distinguished literary descendants), "forty is Hiroshima". Miss Austen would have agreed, but, on the evidence of Persuasion, would have located the catastrophe at 27.
It is unfashionable to assert it, but the novel does, I believe, still have a socio-educational value. It is not just Miss Manners. Fiction can make us better, or at least, better informed citizens. In a technological age, for example, it is important that the population should know something about the machinery that makes modern life possible and how it works. Science fiction has done as much for the factual scientific education of the average reader as all the educational reforms introduced since CP Snow's 1959 polemic The Two Cultures lamented his fellow Britons' epidemic ignorance of the second law of thermodynamics. The fact, revealed in a survey by the magazine Wired in November 2005, that 40 per cent of Americans believe that aliens are in the habit of routinely visiting our planet and taking away sample earthlings for full body cavity probes, suggests that sf may also have a lot to answer for in dumbing down the citizenry.
Michael Crichton's career is a prime example for those, like myself, who want to believe that sf wises up more than it dumbs down. Crichton's The Andromeda Strain was the first true title in the genre to make it to number one on the New York Times bestseller list, in 1969. The novel's breakthrough is attributable to the fact that its descriptions of space hardware (what computers do, for example) made the concurrent moon landings comprehensible to the American population. Crichton's vastly successful Jurassic Park (1990) later introduced a whole generation, via the beloved dinosaur, to the intricacies of Crick and Watson's Nobel-winning discoveries about DNA and the complexities of chaos theory (something that Steven Spielberg prudently left out of the film version).
How much we can trust fiction, even fiction as laboriously researched as Crichton's, to be our educator, remains a moot question. On the strength of his 2004 bestseller, State of Fear, the novelist was invited to testify in 2005 before a US Senate committee investigating climate change. The book is a techno-thriller based on the premise that the greenhouse gas thesis is a gigantic scam, as fallacious as was eugenics in the early 19th century and alchemy in the 17th. And dangerous. The politicians and oil barons love him.
Crichton is unusual in being a novelist with degrees in medicine from Harvard. Why, then, wouldn't he know more about things scientific than some columnist? The fact is, no one knows the accuracy of what Crichton knows, or thinks he knows. Crichton is as likely to be wrong about climate change as he was about the imminent Japanese takeover of America, as outlined in his "Wake up, America!" novel, Rising Sun. Shortly after its publication, the Tokyo real estate market collapsed and the Japanese economy became a basket case.
Readers can still enjoy State of Fear, whether they go along with Crichton or not. And, whatever else, those who get through the book will probably know more about the issues than they did before and may even be stimulated to find out yet more. This kind of clueing- up ("education" is too grand term) can be found in much fiction read, primarily, for enjoyment or distraction. Arthur Hailey, for example, built a bestselling career on novels that explained to the averagely uninformed citizen how modern travel works (Airport, 1968), how Detroit produces automobiles (Wheels, 1971), how banks make their money and look after ours (The Moneychangers, 1975). Hailey's "researched" fiction, which consistently made the number one spot in the 1960s and 1970s, left its reader more knowledgeable as well as entertained. Trollope would have approved, although the one thing that Hailey's info-fiction does not help with is how maidens should receive their gentleman admirers.
Coming to the present, and plucking a couple of examples from the early 2006 shelves, an excellent analysis of Chernobyl and the dangers of nuclear fuel, is given in Martin Cruz Smith's latest Arkady (Gorky Park) Renko thriller, Wolves Eat Dogs (2004). Against the backdrop of cases such as that of reformed murderer "Tookie" Williams - something that may cost Governor Schwarzenegger dear at the next election - Richard North Patterson's intricate exposition of the California appellate court system as it affects death row inmates makes up the plot of Conviction (2005). Both these are main-course airport novels. But, beneath the thrillerish sugar coating, they are informational. I put them down knowing more than I did before about what is making headlines and, arguably, current history.
Novels can do many things। They can instruct, enlighten, confuse, mislead, soothe, excite, indoctrinate, misinform, educate and waste time। Each novel has its own rewards, or frustrations। And, at their highest pitch of achievement, novels can indeed be the one bright book of life. The trick is finding which, among the millions now accessible, fits that bill. For you, that is. And that, as Virginia Woolf told us, is something no one can tell you. Or, if they do, ignore them.This is an edited extract from How to Read a Novel, published by profile. To order a copy for £9.99 with free Uk p&p call Guardian book service on 0870 836 0875, or go to guardian.co.uk/bookshop

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Caferati Contests Winners--Book Pitch 2008


Aashish Kaul
Title: The Ascension
Genre: Literary Fiction, Mystery, Romance
Blurb: The book is an experiment in the baroque style and seeks to exhaust the very possibilities on which it has been plotted, thereby offering the reader multiple pleasures, including both the romantic and the fantastic.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Tranquebar Press

Suroopa Mukherjee
Title: The Alighting Place of Angels
Genre: History, Literary Fiction, Politics
Blurb: A modern day saga of how nation's are built and what shapes the lives of its people. A tale of love and search for political consciouness in a conflict ridden world.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Random House India

Sumana Roy
Title: In The Dark
Genre: Literary Fiction, Thriller
Blurb: Nine writers, left in a dark guesthouse, find themselves forced to narrate stories about writing to help the “ghost” of a writer find his “murderer”. When the light returns, eight writers are gone. One woman writer finds herself all alone. Where are the other writers? And who’s this ghost?
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Tranquebar Press

aditya kripalani
Title: Back Seat
Genre: Popular Fiction
Blurb: A one month deal in which Nikita (an out of work bar dancer) will be Shashank’s keep (a 22 yr; old boy with too much money for his own good). But she slips into love with his driver Vijay (22 with his own dark past) Will their love survive?
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Undercover Utopia

Title: Eating
Genre: Food, Poetry
Blurb: Poetry, like eating, is an acquired taste. These poems about food - the familiar and the strange - reaches out to where both, words and tastes, live: the tongue.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:

Andaleeb Wajid
Title: Kite Strings
Genre: Literary Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
Blurb: Growing up in a conservative Muslim family, Mehnaz feels the angst of adolescence, teenage and finally adulthood. Dissent within the family, troubled cousins, and a young kite flier on the terrace force her to examine herself and emerge, renewed.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
HarperCollins Publishers India
Penguin India

Nabina Das
Genre: Literary Fiction
Blurb: Violence. Revolutionary passion. Change. FOOTPRINTS IN THE BAJRA is about a young Maoist recruit, Muskaan from Bihar who meets Nora, a student-activist. Muskaan’s transition in belief, aided by Nora, through a series of staggering bloodletting and self-reflection takes her to America, reshaping her radical zeal through her newfound love.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
HarperCollins Publishers India

Sumana Roy
Title: SML
Genre: Erotica, Literary Fiction, Sexuality
Blurb: SML is a collection of stories about clothes. These are stories about Emperor Alexander’s underwear, Delhi’s petticoats, Indira Gandhi’s sari, Laila’s bra, D.H. Lawrence’s wife’s panty, Tendulkar’s blue pyjamas. This is literary erotica, historical fantasy, in the end, only an entertaining story.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Penguin India
Random House India
Tranquebar Press

Diana Romany & Aniket Jaaware
Title: Take Back the Skies
Genre: Sci-Fi & Fantasy
Blurb: The twelve stories in Take Back the Skies are set in an unspecified but far gone future where the world and its people have all become more or less the same. These stories take planets, planetary moons, and make something new—and therefore strange—out of them.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:

Sonya Singh
Title: A Grave With Magical Powers
Genre: Humour, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Travel, Women's Writing
Blurb: The very first account of an Indian woman’s adventures while backpacking through India, this collection of tales and trails is guaranteed to carry away the teenager - as surely as a Grandmama - on a magic carpet journey of experiences and emotions they have as yet only dreamt of.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Random House India

Kavitha Mandana
Title: Cease Fire
Genre: Literary Fiction, Women's Writing
Blurb: Families tentatively stepping out of the cycle of grief; protective networks that move in to a friend’s defence; a woman caught in the crossfire while her children and husband battle it out… These stories attempt to spotlight the drama simmering under the façade of ‘just an ordinary life’.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Osian’s The Literary Agency

Shabnam Nadiya
Title: Blood Lines
Genre: Feminism, Literary Fiction, Sexuality, Translation, Women's Writing
Blurb: Shame, grief, anger, control, vulnerability, resistance – sixteen stories from Bangladesh that connect through the emotions aroused by the ultimate violation: rape. Through distinct voices the authors present simple slice-of-life reality bites as well as near-mythic representations of powerlessness, dysfunctionality, and even empowerment as they deal with the crisis of rape.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:

Aditya Sudarshan
Title: The Honour Killing
Genre: Mystery
Blurb: When a young law clerk accompanies a brilliant criminal judge to a house-warming party in a little Himalayan town, he expects a pleasant get-away from the heat of Delhi’s summer. He finds mob violence, moral outrage, infatuation- and murder.Even the Judge finds it a little hard.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Tranquebar Press

Kavitha Mandana
Title: Inseperable
Genre: Children's Fiction, Feminism
Blurb: In this picture book for 5-8 year olds, nothing turns out as expected. The palace’s famous elephant falls ill before Dasara, leaving everyone worried about his replacement in the annual procession. One young girl has a good idea…but will the maharaja take her advice?
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Zubaan Books

Rachit Kinger
Genre: Popular Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
Blurb: Setup in jungles amidst nature’s weirdest animals, ‘I AM FREIER’ is an allegory about individual freedom in contemporary society in which a happy-go-lucky squirrel travels across the world in search of meaning, freedom, and, ironically, a sane society
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:

Kusum Choppra
Genre: Do It Yourself / How-to, Lifestyle
Blurb: After watching all those loud talking netas gabbing about global warming and doing precious little, do you want to be able to do something about it on your own? Here is how to do it at your own personal level.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:

vandana kumari jena
Title: One Rotten Apple
Genre: Popular Fiction
Blurb: `One Rotten Apple’ a collection of short stories unveils the true face of men behind their masks. A Kosovo hero, a respected bureaucrat, are they for real or do gods have feet of clay? These stories, with a sting in the tail, portray the seamier side of life.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:

Sandhya Krishnan
Title: Mind Game
Genre: Popular Fiction
Blurb: It only took a question to bring it on. Now, there was nothing to stop her. From a million miles away she opened up to him, and he to her. Nothing mattered anymore. Excuses and misgivings. Assumptions and explanations. It had all been over 7 years ago. Yet, this was closure.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:

Soma Sarkar
Title: Off the Mark
Genre: Culture, Literary Fiction
Blurb: Feisty Mrs. DaCuhna, good-for-nothing Mark, garrulous Guru Prasad, mischievous Ivor, saintly Edna and others….Grappling with sorrow, despair, finding love, belonging, even prosperity. All come together in "Off the Mark" to form the fabric of Mettuguda, an Anglo-Indian locality in Secunderabad. Nine racy stories. Realistic and poignant, at times funny.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Random House India

Menaka Raman
Title: III Cross Street
Genre: Literary Fiction
Blurb: Ramamurthy goes to hospital for his prostrate and comes home with a corpse. Kamala sells jilebis that secretly spell out rude words. Thangam worries about the itch between her legs. A collection of stories that shows things are not always as they seem on this middle class street in Madras.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Random House India
Tranquebar Press

Pravin Ramachandran
Title: Maya Anthurjanam
Genre: Literary Fiction
Blurb: A tale with stark simplicity and through the eyes of a child. The outcome is a fascinatingly fresh tale..
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Tranquebar Press

Monideepa Sahu
Title: Rats! a Web of Intrigue
Genre: Children's Fiction
Blurb: Venkat appeared too harried to notice Shyam swinging above his head, or Rishabh digging about. But that didn't dampen Rishabh's spirits. Nothing escaped his alert, beady eyes. The dark teak paneled walls, the dim light bulbs dangling like Shyam from the ceiling, and the door to the world outside.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Zubaan Books

Bijaya Ghosh
Title: Tale Of Two Communities
Genre: Memoir
Blurb: Tale of two communities is a story of civil war; the war of Bangladesh, seen through the eye of an eleven-year-old girl. The liberation war had liberated her from a hard-core shell—the cocoon into which her family had withdrawn, out of the frustration of partition.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Yoda Press

vandana kumari jena
Title: Chimera
Genre: Mystery, Popular Fiction, Thriller, Women's Writing
Blurb: Manasi, the District Collector’s wife seems to be another Miss Marple, when she unearths the mystery surrounding her bungalow. But when the Vice Chancellor of Vishnupur University is murdered, being one of the last persons who saw him alive, she finds herself heading the lists of suspects.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Tranquebar Press

Nandini Patwardhan-Pandya
Title: Indian Roots, American Wings
Genre: Biography, Commentary, Essays, Inspirational, Lifestyle, Literary Non-Fiction, Parenting, Spiritual, Women's Writing
Blurb: This collection charts the evolution of the author as an Indian-American mother of two young adults, from an I.I.T-trained software professional to a proud member of the mommy-track, and from an amorphous seeker to an assertive spiritual progressive. It is a story of migration, but not of loss.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Zubaan Books

Shabnam Nadiya
Title: magic man
Genre: Literary Fiction, Women's Writing
Blurb: magic man is a collection of fifteen stories set in Bangladesh. From a city street to a char-island, from a university campus to the stormful landscape of the imagination - the stories traverse the plains of the delta, moving against and beyond boundaries of geography, class, age and gender.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Penguin India
Random House India

Prashant D. Rajkhowa
Title: Where The Hell Am I?
Genre: Commentary, Culture, Essays, Humour, LadLit, Non-Fiction, Popular Culture
Blurb: Where The Hell Am I? is a humorous take on 19 topics that don’t figure when you’re talking about living in India. It presents theories behind topics like vegetarianism, match fixing, women bosses, music, birds, emigrant Indians, changing surnames and why Kahlua is expensive considering south India is 80% coffee.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Tranquebar Press

Aseem Kaul
Title: Etudes
Genre: Literary Fiction
Blurb: How short can a short story be? Astutely observed, richly imagined and lucidly written, 'Etudes' is a collection of short, sparkling pieces that will surprise and delight you with every turn of the page. This is short fiction as you’ve never known it before!
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Penguin India
Tranquebar Press

Unmana Datta
Title: Soulmates
Genre: Campus, ChickLit, LadLit, Literary Fiction, Popular Fiction, Romance, Women's Writing
Blurb: Naïve small-town girl Garima comes to Delhi for her MBA. She meets Karan, a charismatic but deeply flawed character who draws her into an emotional quagmire she finds difficult to escape. As she grows into a mature woman, she gains the courage to seek her independence and her happiness.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Mills & Boon India

Kalpana R J
Title: Diamonds In My Blood
Genre: Literary Fiction, Popular Fiction, Women's Writing
Blurb: Urmila Singh Rathod is a guardian of secrets. First, her mother's, then her own, and now the secrets of a Queen, her ancestor. The story travels back and forth – present and past, from the warring Mohguls and British to the 21st century; a tale of innocence, valour, tragedy.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Random House India

Genre: Literary Fiction
Blurb: The tide was coming in. Small gusts wind came in with sluggish foam riding the waves. A few naughty gusts tugged at her skirt and swirled it up and around. She was used to it. She was used to it all the time.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Random House India

Dheera Kitchlu
Title: MAYA
Genre: Children's Fiction
Blurb: A witch creates a dream that manifests itself to whimsical, wistful, dyslexic ten year old Maya, who dreams of a horse. The horse appears quite inexplicably, disrupting Maya’s hushed world. Her loving relationship with the horse helps Maya to evolve and claim her place in the world.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Zubaan Books

Anil Purohit
Title: Windows In The Street
Genre: Travel
Blurb: 'Windows In The Street' is about journeys, incidental events, and plain old meandering in back-alleys, looking for the everyday in street corners while stitching together stories, impressions, images and voices of people and places, revealing continuity of everyday life in the ordinariness of footsteps past windows in seemingly nondescript streets.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Yoda Press

jordyn steig
Title: Backside Bollywood
Genre: Alternative History, Anlaysis, Arts, Commentary, Culture, Current Affairs, Economics, Media, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Popular Culture, Research, Travel, Urban Studies
Blurb: Mumbai’s film industry reflects the city’s present transformation and prosperity. Presented through the nitty-gritty of the myriad forces impacting filmmaking, Backside Bollywood offers a simultaneously playful and analytical glimpse at the forces spurring Mumbai forward, revealing the human stories behind the celluloid dreams the city is renowned for.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:

Sumita Thapar
Title: India, My Home
Genre: Culture, Memoir, Non-Fiction, Spiritual, Travel, Women's Writing
Blurb: A 30-something travel junkie thrives roaming Indian cities, exploring mountains and valleys, beaches and brothels. From Kiphire, Nagaland, on the Myanmar border, to Kanyakumari, India’s southernmost tip, to Mumbai, she captures a slice of life among ordinary Indians: monks, drug users, women in sex work, the rest of us.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Random House India

Anitha Murthy
Title: LOVE IN BANGALORE (and others)
Genre: Children's Fiction, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Young Adult Fiction
Blurb: A delightful collection of wildly imaginative short stories that will make you look at the world around you differently. Call them modern fairy tales, or, as one reader commented, Pixar meets Bollywood, this collection promises to enthrall and enchant both old and young alike.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Zubaan Books

Minal Sarosh
Title: A Lizard's Tail
Genre: Poetry
Blurb: 'A Lizard's Tail', which regenertes everytime its 'cut' by the multi-cultural and multi-religious influences - which is 'modern India'. The poet's struggle to find her identity by exploring myraid everyday images, actions and emotions. Its fourth dimension poetry! Surrealism at its best...
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:

Anjali Purohit
Title: The Deconstructed Retro Raagi Cookbook
Genre: Arts, Cookery, Culture, Food, Humour, Lifestyle, Women's Writing
Blurb: A serious attempt at popularizing an indigenous grain through a lighthearted analysis of its culinary possibilities. Less pompously - a die hard raagi fan, philosophy student, artist cum reluctant cook desperately selling the benefits of this much neglected wonder grain by presenting traditional and innovative illustrated raagi recipes.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Yoda Press

Mustansir Dalvi
Title: Iqbal's Shikwa and Jawab-e-Shikwa
Genre: Poetry, Translation
Blurb: Muhammad Iqbal’s most influential poems get a fresh voice in a language both contemporary, and immediate. Muslim angst at their perceived disinheritance by Allah, and possible redemption, so well articulated by the poet of his generation, is brought to the scrutiny of the multicultural millennium in this new reworking.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Tranquebar Press

Title: She’s Jolly Good Fellow
Genre: ChickLit, Women's Writing, Young Adult Fiction
Blurb: When Second Lieutenant Deepa Krishnan, a dynamic lady officer embarks on a career in the Army, she confronts a lurking enemy - the chauvinistic mindset of an all male workforce. Every day is a challenge as she must use her wit and courage to protect her individuality and dignity.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Mills & Boon India

Kalpana R J
Title: Flamenco Nights
Genre: Romance
Blurb: On a holiday, an accident tumbles Jacqueline into the arms of gypsies and their leader, Remo. Seduced by him, they share a night of passion till the real world sets them apart. She finds to her dismay and interest that the gypsy Remo is indeed Remo Romanov, her new boss.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Mills & Boon India

Rushina Munshaw Ghildiyal
Title: My Mumbai Kithen
Genre: Cookery, Culture, Essays, Food
Blurb: ‘My Mumbai Kitchen’, renders a colorful portrait of the food that fuels the food capital of India, Mumbai from the point of view of a home cook. By striking a balance between story telling and cooking the author offer food lovers a glimpse of a facet of Mumbai heretofore unexplored
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Penguin India
Tranquebar Press

Abhinav Maurya
Title: A Cure For The Doctor
Genre: Alternative History, Campus, Career, ChickLit, Culture, Current Affairs, Education, Humanities, Humour, Inspirational, LadLit, Literary Fiction, Politics, Popular Culture, Popular Fiction, Romance, Science
Blurb: Set amidst the turmoil of anti-reservation riots that flare up across the country, 'A Cure For The Doctor' tells the story of four doctors grappling with the thrill of their newfound affections, the burden of their noble profession, and the apathy of an indifferent government.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
HarperCollins Publishers India
Penguin India
Tranquebar Press
Undercover Utopia

prem nath
Title: Crowded Rooms
Genre: Humour, Literary Fiction, Popular Fiction
Blurb: In this freewheeling story collection, [Author Name], an advertising copywriter now coming out of his literary closet takes us into contemporary, well heeled Mumbai as it truly might be. Straddling several genres with ease, he holds up a fictional mirror to the city no one calls home.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Penguin India
Tranquebar Press

Shalini Sekhar
Title: Flash
Genre: Children's Fiction, Young Adult Fiction
Blurb: Kaushik is the only kid in class without a wooden pencil box. When he realizes he must make one himself, Kaushik steps into a new world. The world of wood and saw, of looking and feeling and understanding, and of a clarity and rhythm he has never known.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:

Meena Kandasamy
Title: Black Magic
Genre: Arts, Campus, ChickLit, Culture, Erotica, Humour, Literary Fiction, Popular Fiction, Sexuality, Women's Writing
Blurb: A collection of stories that capture the darker, dangerous side of life in India--teen suicides, adulterous affairs, doomed love, suicide-bombers, shameful obsessions. Stories that are sometimes told with a rare tenderness; sometimes with a scathing sarcasm. Twelve stories where black magic works. Dear reader, step into this spell.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch:
Osian’s The Literary Agency

Pervin Chhapkhanawala
Title: Adventures at Miscellaneous Shelf Four
Genre: Children's Fiction
Blurb: It is a rare instance when a child’s amusement is its source of learning, rarer when the learning is subtle. ‘Adventures at Miscellaneous Shelf Four’ is a book about books. Books that speak, plan, feel, tease and come alive, each with a distinct personality, stumbling upon explorations and escapades.
Publishers/agents interested in the above book pitch: