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, May 18, 2009

Guntur National Poetry Festival, Quay journal, Liberated Muse Anthology

Poetry Festival, Guntur
Some poetry news. Had submitted two poems for a poetry festival to be held in Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, India. "Finding Foremothers" is one of them. The other was "Europe" but I had to withdraw it realizing there might be a copyright problem. I had submitted EUROPE elsewhere having renamed it "Outsiders". Anyway, since the Guntur folks were kind enough to accommodate my late realization and the subsequent request, I sent off a replacement poem titled "When Langston Hughes Visited My Home".

The festival people actually really deserve my thanks. The festival anthology apparently was already over in the press and they made special arrangements to include the changes. Thanks to Nagasuseela and Gopichand for this gesture.

I am invited to Guntur for the festival where the anthology will be released on July 2. And participating poets are to read their work. But still thinking whether I can make it. I am traveling to Kolkata and Guwahati to see family and then come back to Delhi in mid-June. Thereafter I have some other engagements in Delhi. So, we'll see about Guntur. But indeed what a nice thing to be invited there and if I cannot go, I sure will miss meeting several good poets.

Blogger-poet friend Tikuli Dogra is invited to the festival as her poems have also been accepted for the anthology. Congrats Tiku!

Ruba'i in Quay

Quay journal of poetry and arts published from Texas has been delayed a couple of months. Karen Terry, their poetry editor, wrote saying they are ready to go to press. She sent me the galley proof of my THE FIRST APPLE SINGS A RUBA'I, which I sent off promptly after checking. Hope to see Quay soon.

Liberated Muse anthology

Another delayed project has been the "Free Your Soul" anthology from the Liberated Muse Productions, Washington DC. Three poems of mine -- CHAKRA WALKING; RELEASING RITES BY WATER and AN IMMIGRANT'S TUNE are going to be featured there. Khadijah Ali-Coleman, editor and coordinator of the project announced recently that finally the stage is all set for its release in a program marked my reading and performance of poetry and music by artists.


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