deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
[personal profile] deepad
Overdue because my day has been... a roller coaster. And while the good parts were exceedingly good, the tiresome parts were horrid.

And I must sleep, so very briefly -

Publishers of small presses, who write the solicitation letters, and the forewords, and the press releases to get mainstream media to cover the books. And who act as gatekeepers. Or corporations, I tend to find them selfish and evil. As community businesses and non-profits; they are one of the most passionate, tireless advocates of ideology. Both good and bad, but one of the nicest things about being back in India is that the moral side I choose tends to have better covers.

Melawali is Urvashi Butalia, for getting together with Ritu Menon back in 1984 to set up Kali For Women - an Indian feminist press that has so many fantastic and important publications to their name that looking at their catalogue is like getting a capsule of second-wave South Asian feminism.

The two ladies split up a while ago, and went on to launch their own independent imprints. Butalia's is Zubaan. I have to say, this functional breakup and continued productivity makes me happy as a success story in a world where women are so often portrayed as unable to achieve anything due to infighting.

I'm not always in complete agreement with Butalia, especially when she theorises as a historian, but I just give major, major props for the mentoring and championing she does of women's voices.
Some years ago I published a book on Partition (The Other Side of Silence, Penguin India, 1998). At the time, I argued that it was important for us to remember our past, and not to pretend that it did not exist. While I still hold firmly to this belief, I am now concerned with another question: how do we remember our past? Or, how do we talk about a violent past in such a way that we do not further increase and exacerbate the cycle of violence?

To take a more concrete example, if we were to think seriously about attempting to include a more realistic history of Partition in our textbooks, to teach the young about Partition, how could we do it in a way that would remain true to the ‘facts’ – which include some very violent histories – while ensuring that the violence was neither legitimised, sanitized, nor passed on? Another way of putting it would be: how can we write non violent histories of Partition while ensuring that the violence is not glossed over? While I have asked myself these questions for considerable time, I have no easy answers to them.

It's a wonderful thing when publishers cease to be gatekeepers protecting the profits of an obscenely rich conglomerate, and are allowed to be guides to authors finding their way to a public audience.

A few more pieces by Urvashi Butalia
Mona's Story in Granta
It's a Man's War in The Little Magazine

(no subject)

Date: 17/1/12 08:16 pm (UTC)
dancesontrains: (Amisha with blue henna)
From: [personal profile] dancesontrains
Do you have any recs for books about the history of South Asian feminism, or important books from the canon?

(no subject)

Date: 18/1/12 06:29 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] nh4ever
enough of an absence of academia/academic dry thought patterns that i could read it (and enjoy it :)


deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
Deepa D.

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags