Over the past couple of years, I’ve been highlighting an interesting, lesser-known woman on this particular day. Why? Mostly for the same reason that we mark this particular day: to celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political achievement of women. The 2017 theme for IWD is #BeBoldForChange. So, this year, I’d like to share the story of Noor Inayat Khan — a bold, badass woman I read about last year. She was also featured on Public Radio International earlier this year as the “Indian spy princess who died fighting the Nazis.” She was a Muslim. A refugee. A princess. A guerrilla fighter, trained in bomb-making, sabotage and secret communications. But above all, she was a war hero. Continue reading International Women’s Day 2017: #BeBoldforChange
When it is all over, her family will come over from India. Parents and two sisters. Fractal images of your lover, they will tell you she had been a troubled child; you are not to feel responsible for what happened. You will not feel sorry for them because you will be too busy feeling sorry for yourself.
Her father will assess you from that distant, universal refuge: a watchful silence. His compact and swarthy frame will be so unlike Kay’s. Continue reading Published: The Symphony of a Future Memory (York Literary Review)
In the end, no matter how or when in life you come to this book, Jane’s ferocious radicalism (she would rather live alone than accept a relationship that compromises her independence) and her firm resolve to be treated as an equal (she does not accept flattery or hypocrisy without scorn) stand the test of time. The themes about class, servitude, religion, independence, beauty standards are as relevant today. We do not read ‘Jane Eyre’ to identify with her difficult and painful life. We do not even read her as a role model because, after a certain point, her religiosity and self-righteousness can begin to grate. But, we cannot help admiring everything she represents about truth and freedom. Continue reading Booknotes: Jane Eyre
I first encountered this book at the British Council Library in Bombay when I was eighteen years old and studying for my A-Levels. A reader had left it on one of the tables as I sat down with my books of Mathematics and Mechanics and I couldn’t resist picking it up. I read it all the way through in a day, not even stopping for lunch. And, when I left that evening, I couldn’t resist checking it out. Continue reading Booknotes: A Room of One’s Own
This is a 2011 anthology of twenty-one literary short stories by “New” British Asian writers, edited by one of the writers, Kavita Bhanot. Mostly, “Asian” here refers to writers of Indian origin. The tagline reads “Fiction from the new generation”. And, for the most part, that is the case. A majority of the writers included here had, at the time of publication, modest publishing successes. … Continue reading Booknotes: Too Asian, Not Asian Enough