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‘He looked at me and I saw the tears leaking out of his eyes. His nose was starting to run, as though the tears were trying to find an alternate route. “But I need to tell you, I can’t lie anymore…” his voice was tiny, like a whisper. But a very broken one.’ Scroll carries an excerpt from Paro Anand’s new book The Other: Stories of Difference.

‘I am motivated by the things I see and the people I meet. I am also motivated by untold stories, small beautiful stories that I find all around me in the unlikeliest of places that I wander around in. Conversations motivate my emotions, and I write from that place.’ Author ZP Dala tells Medha Dutta that her writing is motivated by related experiences, where the beauty of words extends into the poetic and lyrical.

In She Goes to War, Rashmi Saksena presents the lives of women who have been crucial operators in insurgencies in Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Chhattisgarh and Kashmir. This excerpt is about the Manipuri faith healer Purnima, who was once a dreaded killer. Click here to read an excerpt from the book.

Reviews

‘From Ayyappan to celibacy, from sambandhams to dargahs, parks and sexology, Infinite Variety; A History of Desire in India by Madhavi Menon looks at them all with an erudition that cuts across categories. The author blends serious scholarship with a deep understanding of popular culture, folk lore, myth, religion and worship, and ‘Indian’ ways of both seeing and unseeing.’ Book review of Infinite Variety: A History of Desire in India by Madhavi Menon.

‘Wendy Doniger’s books over the years have been either vast and encyclopaedic (The Hindus: An Alternative History, 2009, On Hinduism, 2013, and The Ring of Truth, 2017) or minutely detailed (The Woman who Pretended to Be Who She Was, 2004, and Reading the Kamasutra, 2016). They remind us of two things about her remarkable intelligence and her therefore remarkable scholarship. One, that she knows a lot of things about a lot of things and can bring them together in unusual and intriguing ways, and two, that she has the patience and sensitivity to read a text minutely and carefully, opening it up in ways that were hitherto unconsidered. To our great advantage, she manifests both these talents in Beyond Dharma, where she argues (in the main) that Kautilya’s Artha Shastra and Vatsyayana’s Kamasutra both provide contemporaneous challenges to the strictures of an idealised and prescriptive dharma as articulated in the Dharma Shastras.’ Book review of Beyond Dharma: Dissent in the Ancient Indian Sciences of Sex and Politics by Wendy Doniger.

‘A Firefly In The Dark is worth picking up for yourself or a young friend. The characters are real and vivid, and I certainly know a lot more about jinns than I used to, which I’m counting as a definite bonus.’ Book review of A Firefly in the Dark by Shazaf Fatima Haider.

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