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, April 27, 2009

Day 27: "A Name As A Place Name"

Here was the Day 27 prompt: "For today's prompt, I want you to write a poem of longing. You or someone (or something) else should be pining for someone or something. Maybe a cat is longing to get outside the house. Maybe a teenager is longing to get away from his or her small town. And, of course, there's always the longing poem of love."

Read more at: April PAD Challenge: Day 27

"A Name As A Place Name"

I have heard it’s like heaven on earth not so craven
Despite moth-eaten muslin faces burnt ovens homes
I have heard there they eat curried potatoes, lamb
In yogurt spices cooked by cottage cheese hands
Saffron rice and minced meat balls in tomato sauce
I am told the wazwan is when you cannot say no
Although alcohol’s a no-no, beef perhaps for the raven
I have read their grief, dyed-wool sorrow like vests
Under flowing coarse pherans over chests of veins
In newsprint, sound bytes and stories like faraway
Tales of noisy sips from cups of nun-chai, salted
By fiery tears of Pandits, Buddhists, Persians, Af-
ghans, handsome locals of many ancient fames from
Peaks to forests colored by the kahwah and hard-
Resined pines while I’ve never been there… ever
Never seen Kashmir, only on the dreamy silver screen.

A click and a tick of the patient mouse beside my keyboard
Message sent: 'Rehana, will you write to me from there?'

Image from the Internet: Pupil monks at a Kargil monastery. Rehana Batul, my friend from JNU, hailed from Kargil district. I am yet to hear from her.


Anonymous said...

What should I write as a comment Nabina .. why do you always leave me speechless...???


fleuve-souterrain said...

LOL Tiku!
This friend of mine btw is Addl. Secy now in J&K culture & tourism dept. I am racking all UPSC connections to find her...