The year is close to ending, and we feel very happy that, despite everything, we've managed to publish a handful of excellent books. Maybe because our three security officers -- Piku, Soda, Barauni -- and our two interns -- Jerry and Joey -- kept our morale up through these twelve months of death, illness, lockdowns, uncertainties.
We are grateful to S.P. Dangwal, typesetter, Shyama Warner, editor, Sapra Brothers, printer, and to Orient Blackswan Publisher, our exclusive distributors. Also to Hachette India, with whom we collaborate for our Black Kite imprint, and Ashoka University, with whose support we publish the Hedgehog and Fox series of outstanding scholarly titles.
Other news: in addition to the Dharmanand Kosambi Memorial Prize for Ancient India, we have now endowed the S. Gopal Memorial Prize for Modern India, to be awarded to the best history students at Ashoka University.
Wishing you happy holidays and a new year that feels new.
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Indians have been writing prose for 200 years, and yet when we think of literary prose we think of the novel. The “essay” brings only the school essay to mind. Those of us who read and write English in India might find it hard to name an essay even by someone like R.K. Narayan as easily as we would one of his novels, say Swami and Friends or The Guide . Our inability to recall essays is largely due to the strange paradox that while the form itself remains invisible, it is everywhere present. The paradox becomes even more strange when we realise that some of our finest writers of English prose did not write novels at all, they wrote essays. The anthology is an attempt at making what has always been present also permanently visible. Arvind Krishna Mehrotra • A collection of the finest essays written in English by Indians over the past two hundred years. • The Book of Indian Essays is a wide-ranging historical anthology of the Indian essay in English – the f
BUY THE PAPERBACK FROM THE REVIEWS Review in SOCIAL HISTORY, USA by Benjamin Siegel The Great Agrarian Conquest represents a massive intervention into the contemporary historiography of South Asia, elaborating upon some conventional wisdom but upending a great deal more of it. Readers might well place this book in conversation with works like Ranajit Guha ’ s A Rule of Property for Bengal (1963) and Bernard Cohn ’ s Colonialism and Its Forms of Knowledge (1997), to which The Great Agrarian Conquest owes some preliminary inspiration. Yet what Bhattacharya o ﬀ ers is a wholly original account of the transformation to agrarian colonialism . . . Few volumes in South Asian history have been more awaited than this monograph, Neeladri Bhattacharya ’ s fi rst. One of the most celebrated mentors and researchers at New Delhi ’ s Jawaharlal Nehru University, Bhattacharya retired in 2017 after a decades-long career. His formal scholarly output, limited to sev
"While the Covid-19 pandemic was still raging in the autumn of 2020, I found, one evening, placed outside the door of my home in Kolkata, a sealed packet. Apparently, it had been left there sometime during the day. It did not come by post or any of the courier services that usually deliver mail because, if it had, someone would have rung the bell and I was home all day. In fact, the parcel did not bear any seal or inscription except my name and address written in English script in a confident cursive style rarely seen these days. My curiosity was aroused because the package did not look like a piece of junk mail. The thought that it might contain something more sinister did strike my mind – after all, the times were not exactly normal. But something in the look of the packet persuaded me that it should be examined. After dutifully spraying the packet with a disinfectant, I unwrapped it and found, within cardboard covers and neatly tied in red string, what looked like a manuscript