Nov 29 2023 to Nov 29 2023 6:30 p.m.
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7 4th Main Rd, Stage 2, Domlur 560071
History’s Angel’s by Anjum Hasan
Hailed as “A beautiful novel, timely and elegiac,” its hero Alif Mohammad described as “one of the most important characters in contemporary literature.” Alif is a middle-aged, mild-mannered school teacher who, when not taking his students around to gawp at the relics of Delhi’s past, is immersed in reveries on the country’s long centuries. But the present is pressing down on him – in the form of colleagues suspicious of too much history, landlords keen to police his eating habits, and increasingly unreliable friends, not to speak of the imam at the local mosque whom the God-loving but not necessarily God-fearing Alif is anxious to avoid. History’s Angel is a darkly funny story that explores the wildly conflicting views on the country’s past currently in circulation.
Song of the Golden Sparrow by Nilanjan Choudhury
Guilty of the crime of sleeping on the job, the lowly yaksha Prem Chandra Guha, is banished to India on a punishment posting. During his stay here, he must write a sufficiently riveting history of the land of his exile. Fate brings him to Netarhat, an obscure town near the forests of Chhota Nagpur. It is here that he meets Manhoos, an orphaned urchin who repairs motor vehicles for a living, and his friend Mary, a feisty tribal girl from the nearby Santhal village.
As they plunge from one adventure to another, a series of figures play key roles in their lives: the Naxal leader Charu Majumdar; Satyajit Ray, in his crisp dhoti and lipped accent; the ever-giggling Maharishi Mahesh Yogi; the powerful business magnate, Ameer Premji; and even a mysterious man with a 56-inch chest.
On the broader canvas of India, other events are playing out. Indira Gandhi declares an Emergency; a new party, the Jana Sangh is formed; Siddhartha Shankar Ray cleanses West Bengal of Naxalism and Jyoti Basu brings in thirty years of Communism; somewhere, a dam is built, and hundreds of tribals are rendered homeless, elsewhere, a masjid falls, a deadly virus rises and the ground of India shakes beneath her feet…
Song of the Golden Sparrow is the story of Manhoos and Mary, and mirrored in their tumultuous lives, is the history of free India from 1947 to 2022.
The session will be a discussion between Anjum Hasan and Nilanjan Choudhury moderated by Ramjee Chandran followed by a Q & A.