In your own town or village, everyone already knows your caste; there is no escaping it. But how do people know your caste when you go elsewhere, to a place where no one knows you? There they will ask you, “What caste are you?” You cannot avoid this question. And you cannot refuse to answer. By tradition, everyone has the right to know. If you are educated like me, if you don’t seem like a typical untouchable, then you have a choice. You can tell the truth and be ostracized, ridiculed, harassed—even driven to suicide, as happens regularly in universities.
As a musician, Zakir Hussain was considered a child prodigy; today he is considered a genius. Despite the international reputation and huge following that he now has, he wears his fame lightly. He remains a man of tehzeeb and humility.
Friends often ask me how MPs with conflicting ideologies interact with each other when the House is adjourned. It’s simple. We are political rivals; we are not political enemies.
As is true of all literary genres, the success of the novella depends not on the nature of its structure alone, but far more importantly, on the literary dexterity of the person who writes it. When Gulzar embraces the format, the novella has met a truly consummate partner. As proof, one has only to read Two.
Mine started a day in December 2004, when I sat in a Premier Padmini cab, three bulging suitcases tied with a blue rope to its roof. We had left behind a troubled history in the unyielding city that was Delhi, sold off our nine-month-old flat, our second-hand Maruti 800 DX and all the furniture bought…… Continue reading Excerpt: Everyone has a ‘Bombay’ story…
None of the facilities that poetry prepares for lovers is available in Calcutta. Where is the row of flowering trees, where the bower of vines beneath the full moon, where the honey-throated cuckoo’s songs? But still the magic of love is not thwarted in this harsh and arid metropolis devoid of beauty. Hundreds of times…… Continue reading Excerpt: A brand new translation of Tagore’s Noukadubi (The Boat-wreck)
HarperCollins India’s latest anthology of short-fiction, out in November 2017, titled No Presents Please: Mumbai Stories is not about what Mumbai is, but what it enables. Here is a city where two young people decide to elope and then start nursing dreams of different futures, where film posters start talking to each other, where epiphanies…… Continue reading Water: A tender short-story about the day Mumbai went underwater
The Nationalist It will not be an exaggeration to say that multinational conglomerate Larsen & Toubro (L&T) is behind every critical national endeavour – India’s first nuclear submarine; its strategic weapon and missile systems; the space exploration programme; and infrastructure like metro systems and nuclear power plants. And one man has been instrumental in taking…… Continue reading September Preview: Our Top Five Indian Releases
My children have the benefit of what most of my generation (and those before us) didn’t: a parent who talks (endlessly) about sex. But even if you don’t enjoy it nearly as much as I do (the talking … okay, not just the talking), you can still do your damnedest to explain it well. Not…… Continue reading Opinion: How to Talk to Your Children about Sex and Nudity
by SANKARSHAN THAKUR Midway through the campaign for the assembly elections of 2010, I set out on a three-week road journey across Bihar to take notes on why ‘change’ had become its birdsong after its long lay-off from wishing or wanting . . . Nitish [Kumar] was one of those who had egged me on.…… Continue reading ‘Where have I given any hint I will allow the BJP to compromise my secularism?’