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, January 15, 2009

Narcissism, Blogging and a (not-fainthearted) Resolution for 09

What have I been writing in this blog mainly? Pretty self-centric stuff, I admit. Then, what's wrong in that? Nothing. But it's true, I also wanted to write more about other issues than my own life and writing, and post more of other's works of which I've done just a little bit. Okay, no handwringing though. 2008 is over and 2009 marches on breathlessly. And I'm not the one to wallow in self-pity or whatever. I am angry about the Mumbai terror attacks, the bomb blasts in my homestate of Assam in northeastern India, and also about the reckless plundering of the Palestinian territory by Israel (the "only democracy in the middle east"? Ha!). I am worried about my parents' failing health, about getting jobs for us whether in the US or in India (need money to eat, right?), about whether Obama as the new US President will become a magic wand at all for the world's agonies, about the environment, hunger and other age-old stuff like the blunders of Capitalism that don't go away unless we work in an organized manner to keep these at bay.

I am also happy. I made new friends who give me courage; around me I have motivated people of all ages who motivate me no end, and the world is still a lovely place with its offer of love (platonic or otherwise!), trust and bonding. On a narcissistic note, I've been published in quite a few North American and Indian journals -- more poetry, a bit of fiction. This gives hope that I can get what I want. So, it might interest my blog readers to recap that:

In 2008 I have read my poetry at CSMA gallery, Ithaca, with former Tompkins County poet laureate Katharyn Machan. Probably I'll read again on January 24. I have been featured on the sites "And So I Sing: Poems and Assorted Flotsam: http://eileenmoeller.blogspot.com/2008/09/my-poem-vertical-footholds.html", "Poets who blog: http://poetswhoblog.blogspot.com/", "Birthdays of Poets: http://birthdaysofpoets.blogspot.com/" http://www.blogger.com/www.sulekha.com, and "Joy's Poetry Blog: http://joyleftowsblog.blogspot.com/" and my credits have appeared on Flor Del Concreto: http://flordelconcreto.blogspot.com/". Search by my name. Ooh, so much for self-love!

I have to thank some special people for all the help and encouragement they have lent me, sometime even without their own knowing: Joy Leftow, DubbleX, Roxanne Hoffman, Bernard Alain, Debra Castillo, Ted Wheeler, Rati Saxena, Eileen Moeller, Abhinav Maurya, John Burroughs, Farahdeen Khan, Roger DuPuis II, Tikuli Dogra, Ritu Lalit, Meena Kandasamy, Tanuj Solanki, Rhett, TMTL, Arvind Joshi, Gulnaz Sheikh, Mukti Lakhi, Aniket Alam, Sunita Bhadauria, Andrew Christ, Katharyn Machan, Anu Pujar, Parsa Venkateshwara Rao Jr, Don Coorough, Sara Marie, Subir Ghosh, Mary Gilliland, Laurie Stone, Sunil Poolani, Priti Aisola, Visi Tilak, Poonam Tanmayo, and of course my family.

Coming back to the world around, my resolution this year is to listen more, understand better and celebrate creativity from all quarters. Also, blog more meaningfully, an old promise. If I've forgotten someone or something, please remind me, please.


Joy Leftow said...

aww thanks so sweet to appreciate others and make mention of all of us.

Abhinav said...

Bravo! Thanks for the mention. Though as you said, I didn't realize. It's a pleasure knowing you and your work. And you better keep your resolutions... ;-)

gulnaz said...

awww you mentioned me too! xoxo!!!

life can be bloody crappy and tough at times...am going through some challenges myself..and i honestly feel like not getting out of bed some days but what hte heck...u just have to push yourself step by step and having positive friends helps...am glad u think of me so. ;)

Rhett said...

Congrats for the latter and hope for the former. Nice knowing you, and yeah, Happy New Yr :)

Phoenixritu said...

Thank you for mentioning me, my dear. BTW this is original - a resolution to "blog more meaningfully". Normally people resolve to lose weight or work out more regularly! But then, you have always been original

Anonymous said...

You touched my heart and I guess our heartstrings got connected .Thanks Nabs for appreciating me .looking forward to many more delightful posts from you.

fleuve-souterrain said...

funny how easy it has been for me to say, hey y'all, been great knowing you. Whereas some of you I met on FB, on this blog, virtually totally and some of course are longtime associations from work and writing interests. But what does it take to feel good, that u get connected? not much, not many words... Joy has been a shining angel, truly. Others are always there when I holler for attention. It's like child psychology. A wink and smile does it all, need no more. Poonam and Gulnaz, relatively new FB friends...but what lovely souls. The names Tikulicious and Phoenixritu told me instantly these folks are rocking cool... TS and Rhett have been so kind to read my rambles... always even when i might have seemed nagging! Some of you have guided me in my poetry writing and getting them published, with lots of patience. I don't have that much, gotta learn. Others, even if I don't mention names, somewhere you have showed me that little world where we can all shake of our blues...

No, I'm not mushy here. Just thinking friends! And yeah, gotta keep those resolutions too. So shout out loud anytime! I be there to listen.

Joy Leftow said...

you've gathered a good group of writers here who are very responsive. Just got friendly with tikulicious and phoenixritu, guess they got interested because of you.
I currently have just finished working on a series of blues poems which I will post soon. I am trying to figure out how to post my performance which I am practicing because in my family I was told I was tone dead and these poems require me to sign a line or two.

Too much to lose said...

A mention is always so inspiring .....Thanks a lot Mam.....

Rhett said...

Thanks for the mention. It is we who are privileged. : )