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Chintan Girish Modi
Articles by Chintan Girish Modi

Review: My Family by Mahadevi Varma, translated by Ruth Vanita

Ruth Vanita’s translation from Hindi of Mahadevi Varma’s autobiographical work Mera Parivaar will be loved by those for whom the idea of a chosen family embraces not just humans but birds and animals too

Mahadevi Varma at the Hindi Sammelan on 30 October 1983. (Virendra Prabhakar/HT Photo)
Published on Oct 15, 2021 05:14 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Kalki Subramaniam, author, We Are Not The Others: Reflections of a Transgender Artivist

A transgender ‘artivist’, writer and actor who lives in Pollachi in Tamil Nadu, Kalki Subramaniam is also the founder of Sahodari Foundation, which works for the empowerment of transgender persons in India. Here, she talks about her new book, about the ignorance that trans people encounter, and about collaborating with trans artists from across the world.

Kalki Subramaniam (Courtesy the author)
Published on Oct 01, 2021 06:41 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Jyoti Jafa, author, Meera, Sanga and Mewar

The author reveals that her fascination with Meerabai is connected to their shared bloodline, and her lifelong immersion in Rajput history, traditions and customs.

Author Jyoti Jafa (Illustration: Mohit Suneja)
Updated on Sep 03, 2021 06:34 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Essay: Arriving at the truth about Afghanistan through fiction

While reportage allows you to see disasters as they happen, fiction can reveal the complexity of a situation. Some novels on Afghanistan that help the reader arrive at a deeper understanding of what’s happening there

The Taliban in Afghanistan on 18 August, 2021. (Shutterstock)
Updated on Aug 27, 2021 06:52 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Review: The Longest Kiss; The Life and Times of Devika Rani by Kishwar Desai

Pieced together from sources like romantic missives, film reviews, minutes of board meetings, resignation letters, records of court cases, and interviews with family members and friends of Devika Rani and her husbands Himanshu Rai and Svetoslav Roerich, The Longest Kiss offers a deep dive into Devika Rani’s professional accomplishments and her personal misfortunes

Devika Rani (1908-1994) (Courtesy the publisherr)
Published on Aug 20, 2021 06:22 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Irwin Allan Sealy, Author, Asoca: A Sutra

The author of The Trotter-Nama, The Everest Hotel and The Brainfever Bird is back with a historical novel woven around the life of Mauryan emperor Ashoka, who is best remembered for his change of heart on the battlefield in Kalinga. Confronting the suffering caused by war made him embrace Buddhism and take a vow of ahimsa in the third century BCE

Author Irwin Allan Sealy (Sami Mitra)
Published on Aug 13, 2021 08:38 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Sanjena Sathian, Author, Gold Diggers‘The American Dream is a deeply dangerous idea’

A work of social satire and magical realism, Sanjena Sathian’s Gold Diggers, which draws on her experience of being raised in the US by Indian immigrant parents, is built around ambition, alchemy and the American dream.

Author Sanjena Sathian (Tony Tulathimutte)
Published on Aug 06, 2021 07:54 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Review: Ishtyle: Accenting Gay Indian Nightlife by Kareem Khubchandani

The author, a performance studies scholar, a drag queen, and a transnational desi, documents the pleasures and perils of being ‘out’ at night in Bangalore and Chicago

The Queer Pride Parade in New Delhi on November 27, 2016. “Hijras do drag labour for queer India, dancing publicly at marches and performing item numbers at melas and pageants during pride month, reinterpreting film songs for our entertainment and nostalgia, but never at the club,” writes Kareem Khubchandani. (Virendra Singh Gosain/HT Archive)
Updated on Jun 24, 2021 06:16 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Srini Ramaswamy and Ramkrishna Sinha, co-editors, equALLY: Stories by Friends of the Queer World

It’s Pride Month and Ramaswamy and Sinha speak about why it is important for straight supporters of the LGBTQ+ community to talk about being allies

Marching with friends: A gay pride parade in Mumbai in 2019. (Kunal Patil/HT Archive)
Published on Jun 18, 2021 05:11 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Manan Kapoor, author, A Map of Longings;The Life and Works of Agha Shahid Ali

Manan Kapoor’s work looks at the life of the Kashmiri-American poet who pioneered ghazal writing in English, translated the poetry of Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mahmoud Darwish, and was a prominent voice against injustice and oppression.On the Kashmiri-American poet who was a prominent voice against oppression

Manan Kapoor (Satvika Kundu)
Published on Jun 11, 2021 05:46 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Amitav Ghosh, author, Jungle Nama: A Story of the Sundarban

“Climate change is the greatest crisis that humanity, as a species, has ever faced,” says Amitav Ghosh, who has teamed up with artist Salman Toor to retell the legend of Bon Bibi, Shah Jongoli and Dokkhin Rai in his new book

Author Amitav Ghosh (Samir Jana/HT Archive)
Published on May 28, 2021 08:46 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Review: Mahavir: Conqueror of the Self by Arvind Bhandari

A book that provides insights into the difficult choices Vardhamaan Mahavir had to make as a man, son, husband, father, prince, and as a seeker of liberation from karmic entanglements

Thane’s Jain community celebrates Mahavir Jayanti, the birth anniversary of the 24th Jain Tirthankar Bhagwan Mahavir, in April 2019. (Praful Gangurde/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)
Published on Apr 30, 2021 04:32 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview with Christophe Jaffrelot, co-author, India’s First Dictatorship: The Emergency, 1975-1977

On the political scientist’s new book which tells the story of India’s experience with authoritarian rule under Indira Gandhi

Christophe Jaffrelot (Miriam Perier / Sciences Po)
Published on Apr 16, 2021 10:23 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview with Ranjit Hoskote, author, Hunchprose

Ranjit Hoskote’s new poetry collection, Hunchprose, is strewn with references to literature, ornithology, music, archaeology, cinema and history and engages with contemporary political questions as well as matters of the heart

Ranjit Hoskote (Nancy Adajania)
Published on Apr 10, 2021 06:52 AM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Lubaina Bandukwala, Editor, Thank God It’s Caturday

The curator of the Peek-a-Book storytelling festival for children talks about editing a collection of short stories featuring cats, written by some of India’s best loved authors

Lubaina Bandukwala (Courtesy Westland)
Updated on Mar 25, 2021 04:17 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: ‘Under Imran Khan’s government, corruption has actually increased in Pakistan’ - Moni Mohsin, Author, The Impeccable Integrity of Ruby R

Pakistani writer Moni Mohsin, who is best known for her long-running satirical column The Diary of a Social Butterfly, is out with a new book to regale audiences with her sparkling wit and razor-sharp social commentary. The Impeccable Integrity of Ruby R is set in a world of ruthless ambition, political propaganda, social media intrigue, and fragile relationships. Excerpts from an interview with the novelist, who divides her time between London and Lahore, and longs to visit India.

Author Moni Mohsin (Courtesy Penguin)
Published on Mar 20, 2021 12:40 AM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Ruth Vanita, author, Love’s Rite: Same Sex Marriage in India

Ruth Vanita is an ardent supporter of same-sex marriage in India

Ruth Vanita, author, Love’s Rite: Same Sex Marriage in India. (Courtesy the author)
Published on Mar 12, 2021 05:42 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Essay: The importance of Lawrence Ferlinghetti

The courtroom drama around Lawrence Ferlinghetti’s publication of Alan Ginsberg’s Howl (1956), that focussed on the defence of free expression, provides a case study for contemporary writers, filmmakers, and stand-up comedians in other parts of the world facing censorship

Lawrence Ferlinghetti (1919-2021). (Elsa Dorfman via Wikimedia Commons)
Published on Mar 02, 2021 05:38 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Sharanya Manivannan, author, Mermaids in the Moonlight

The Chennai-based author makes her debut as an illustrator with Mermaids in the Moonlight, a picture book for children drenched in folklore, magic and the history of the civil war in Sri Lanka

Author Sharanya Manivannan (Catriona Mitchell)
Published on Feb 26, 2021 10:30 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Aparna Karthikeyan, author, No Nonsense Nandhini

Aparna Karthikeyan’s new book revolves around a single mother who grows, plucks and sells sampangi flowers for a living in the Sivagangai district of Tamil Nadu. The real-life inspiration behind this work of fiction is Chandra Subramanian, a woman, whom the author has known for six years. In 2017, she wrote an article titled “A thorny life, but Chandra bets on flowers” for PARI. The book is a fictional adaptation of that news report. While it is recommended for ages 10-15, it also appeals to older readers

Aparna Karthikeyan (left) and farmer Chandra Subramanian, whose story has been fictionalised in No Nonsense Nandhini (Courtesy Aparna Karthikeyan)
Updated on Jan 29, 2021 06:24 PM IST
ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Pallavi Raghavan, Author, Animosity at Bay: An Alternative History of the India-Pakistan Relationship

We will have a calmer relationship with our history if we understand that the past cannot be used to justify and perpetuate the grievances of the present

Author Pallavi Raghavan(Courtesy HarperCollins)
Updated on Jan 08, 2021 09:44 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByChintan Girish Modi

Report: Two children’s books from India make it to The White Ravens catalogue

The prestigious catalogue which aims to promote quality in children’s book publishing contains a selection of 200 children’s and young adult books from 56 countries, published in 36 languages

Reading a book; the best escape to magical worlds.(Shutterstock)
Updated on Dec 10, 2020 04:06 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByChintan Girish Modi

“Reaching out for therapy is a sign of strength” - Sonali Gupta, author Anxiety; Overcome It and Live Without Fear

Clinical psychologist Sonali Gupta says her book shows how anxiety plays out from an Indian perspective

Clinical psychologist Sonali Gupta(Courtesy the publisher)
Updated on Nov 27, 2020 09:40 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByChintan Girish Modi

Essay: Queering Karva Chauth

While many feminists view Karva Chauth as a regressive practice rooted in misogyny, a growing number of LGBTQ couples are celebrating the festival

Deepa Mehta’s film Fire (1996), which is loosely based on Ismat Chughtai’s short story Lihaaf (1942), revolves around the bond between Sita and Radha. The sisters-in-law adapt Karva Chauth to their own needs.(Film still from Fire)
Updated on Nov 11, 2020 05:08 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByChintan Girish Modi

Interview: Annie Zaidi, Author, Prelude to a Riot

A timely tale about religious intolerance, political propaganda, and fragile intimacies, Prelude to a Riot is one of the five books shortlisted for the JCB Prize for Literature

Author Annie Zaidi(Harneet Singh)
Updated on Nov 06, 2020 08:22 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByChintan Girish Modi

Review: 10 Indian Champions Who Are Fighting To Save the Planet by Bijal Vachharajani and Radha Rangarajan

A glowing tribute to the work of individual environmentalists and traditional communities that engage in conservation practices

A deadly king cobra rears up and expands its hood as herpetologist Romulus Whitaker gets ready to catch it in the jungles of Kerala in this picture from 2014.(HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 16, 2020 04:50 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByChintan Girish Modi

Review: Bread, Cement, Cactus: A Memoir of Belonging and Dislocation by Annie Zaidi

An examination of the familiarity and estrangement, identity and confusion encapsulated in the idea of home

Cactus and forts in Rajasthan: The cactus features in Annie Zaidi's earliest memories.(Shutterstock)
Updated on Oct 08, 2020 04:00 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByChintan Girish Modi

Review: Outrage; The Rise of Religious Offence in Contemporary South Asia edited by P Rollier, K Froystad, AE Ruud

Without reducing religious offence controversies to battles between tradition and modernity, or between faith and freedom of expression, a new book of essays looks at how struggles for power in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Myanmar are shaped by history

Buddhist monk Wirathu is the leader of a Buddhist extremist movement in Myanmar and was once jailed for anti-Muslim violence.(Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)
Updated on Oct 02, 2020 04:25 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByChintan Girish Modi

Essay: Maan, Firoz and queer love in A Suitable Boy

Though Vikram Seth’s novel and Mira Nair’s series based on it is mainly structured around matchmaking for Lata Mehra, there is a tender love story unfolding in the background between Maan and Firoz, which exists alongside their love for women

Maan (Ishaan Khatter) and Firoz (Shubham Saraf) in the BBC web series, A Suitable Boy.
Updated on Sep 07, 2020 03:49 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByChintan Girish Modi

Essay: Free Speech or Hate Speech? The Curious Case of Bloomsbury India

Indian twitter is witnessing a pitched battle over the fate of the book Delhi Riots 2020 with followers of the Hindu Right accusing Indian Left Liberals of promoting cancel culture

MCD workers clear burnt vehicles at Chand Bagh, in New Delhi on Sunday, March 1, 2020.(Sanchit Khanna/HT PHOTO)
Updated on Aug 24, 2020 03:31 PM IST
Hindustan Times | ByChintan Girish Modi
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