Friday, March 25, 2011

What is Neeti Nair reading?

Today's featured contributor at Writers Read: Neeti Nair, author of Changing Homelands: Hindu Politics and the Partition of India.

The entry begins:
Having spent the last week listening to a variety of visitors expound on the matter of religious and ethnic differences, it was a pleasure to end the week with Siddhartha Deb’s The Point of Return. Set in north-east India in the 1970s and 80s, this lyrical novel introduces the reader to the early beginnings of what became a full-blown insurgency with only the tiniest of signs – the unwritten rules governing the use of a cricket pitch, for instance. As the novel proceeds, the full import of hate crimes directed against those deemed to be ‘foreigners’ becomes apparent. Deb’s narrator moves back and forth in time reminding us of the uneasy and often unbidden presence of the past, but by the end of the novel, it is clear there is no going back. Deb pays attention to...[read on]
Among the early praise for Changing Homelands:
“Nair’s powerful book claims that for Punjab’s Hindus there was nothing inevitable about the coming of partition. She offers new and challenging interpretations of major events and personalities, which will transform our understandings of Punjab’s relationship to the Indian nationalist movement. Her discussion of Punjab’s partition and the subsequent memory of partition among Delhi Hindus is a tour de force.”
—David Gilmartin, author of Empire and Islam: Punjab and the Making of Pakistan

“This engagingly written book places Punjabi Hindus at the center of Partition scholarship. Nair’s often devastating examination of the complex considerations and unfathomable burdens that weighed on the minds of millions as they ‘chose’ to migrate reveals fresh thinking about religion and politics in South Asia.”
—Mridu Rai, author of Hindu Rulers, Muslim Subjects: Islam, Rights, and the History of Kashmir
Visit Neeti Nair's faculty webpage, and learn more about Changing Homelands at the Harvard University Press website.

The Page 99 Test: Changing Homelands.

Writers Read: Neeti Nair.

--Marshal Zeringue