Zubaan, Books...

Of Mothers and Others: Stories, essays, poems by Jaishree Misra from Zubaan Books.

This multi-layered and thought-provoking collection offers a new and alternative view to the cosy images of motherhood that we so often assume. Motherhood for the writers in this collection is by no means a simple state but involves searching questions about identity, writing, one's place in society the very nature of the self.

Questions of adoption, childlessness, surrogacy, bereavement and abuse figure alongside poems and stories that explore the tender, the funny, the uplifting aspects of this most vital relationship, between children and their mothers at any age.

In our Literature section, Rs. 495, in paperback, 304 pages, ISBN: 9789381017869

Negotiating Adolescence in Rural Bangladesh: A Journey through School, Love and Marriage by Nicoletta Del Franco from Zubaan Books.

Throughout South Asia, young men and women are pursuing new educational opportunities and getting married at older ages. These changes, Nicoletta del Franco contends, have cleared new paths toward adulthood—ways of passage whose complex implications have not been fully explored. In Negotiating Adolescence in Rural Bangladesh, she fills this gap, documenting the realities of daily existence for young people as they navigate their lives amid the profound socioeconomic tumult of southwestern Bangladesh.

Del Franco focuses on three main areas of these adolescents├ó€™ lives: college and student existence; same-sex and opposite-sex friendships and relationships; and the issues surrounding marriage and the choice of a husband or wife. In the process, she sheds new light on issues that affect adolescents not only in Bangladesh but also across South Asia. One of the first books to address what it means to be young in today├ó€™s Bangladesh, this volume will appeal to students and scholars of Asian studies, gender studies, and sociology.

In our Gender Studies section, Rs. 595, in hardcover, 300 pages, ISBN: 9789381017173

Diverting the Flow: Gender Equity and Water in South Asia by Margreet Zwarteveen, Sara Ahmed And Suman Rimal Gautam from Zubaan Books.

Across the South Asian region, water determines livelihoods and in some cases even survival. However, water also creates exclusions. Access to water, and its social organisation, are intimately tied up with power relations. This book provides an overview of gender, equity and water issues relevant to South Asia. The essays empirically illustrate and theoretically argue how gender intersects with other axes of social difference such as class, caste, ethnicity, age and religion to shape water access, use and management practices.

Divided into six thematic sections, each of which starts with an introduction of relevant concepts, debates and theories, the book looks at laws and rights, policies, technologies and intervention strategies. In all, the book clearly shows how understanding and changing the use, distribution and management of water is conditional upon understanding and accommodating gender relations.

In our Gender Studies section, Rs. 850, in hardcover, 648 pages, ISBN: 9789381017203

The Hussaini Alam House by Huma R. Kidwai from Zubaan Books.

When nine-year-old Ayman arrives in Hyderabad in the early 1950s to come and live at the Hussaini Alam House, she little realizes that the house, and its many inmates, will come to haunt her life and shape her destiny as she grows to become a woman. The house is ruled over by her grandfather, a dignified despot, whom everyone but Ayman, her mother and sister, call Sarkar (master).

Her mother, the eternal rebel, is irreverent, progressive and a communist: a bomb waiting to explode. Ayman herself alternates between being the ugly duckling of the house and its little princess. Huma Kidwai s sensitive and vivid portraits of the characters who teem around the House, offer a window into the customs and mores of a traditional Hyderabadi Muslim family.

Narrated by the 40-year-old Ayman as she recalls the events of her past, The Hussaini Alam House is an elegy to a vanished way of life, a lovesong to the people she has loved and lost, and a psychologically nuanced portrait of the women of the household as they tread a fine line between society s expectations and their own yearning for freedom.

In our Biography section, Rs. 325, in paperback, 224 pages, ISBN: 9789381017098 

The Fabulous Feminist: A Suniti Namjoshi Reader by Suniti Namjoshi from Zubaan Books.

The Fabulous Feminist brings together for the first time in one volume a vast range of renowned feminist thinker Suniti Namjoshi’s writings, starting with her most famous collection, Feminist Fables, and including excerpts from Saint Suniti and the Dragon, Mothers of Maya Dip, From the Bedside Book of Nightmares, and her series of “Aditi” books for children, such as Aditi and the Thames Dragon.

Here readers will find her fables, poetry, prose autobiography, and children’s stories, works that are both playful and deeply serious. In these beautifully composed and entertaining works, she ingeniously reworks fairytales, Greek and Sanskrit mythology, literary monsters such as Grendel’s Mother, and icons such as Saint Sebastian, all stitched together with her vivid imagination and wisdom. Writing with insight and wit about power, about inequality, and about oppression, Namjoshi brilliantly uses language and the literary tradition to expose what she finds absurd and unacceptable in modern life. This provocative and entertaining collection will be welcomed by Namjoshi’s fans and admirers of the feminist intellectual tradition.

Born in Mumbai in 1941, Suniti Namjoshi is an important figure in contemporary Indian literature in English, a writer whose deep engagement with issues of gender, sexual orientation, cultural identity and human rights infuses everything she writes.

In our Fiction section, Rs. 450, in hardcover, 252 pages, ISBN: 9789381017333

A Life Apart: An Autobiography by Prabha Khaitan, translated from Hindi by Ira Pande from Zubaan Books.

One of Hindi s best known writers, Prabha Khaitan spent much of her life as the second woman in a long-term relationship with a married man. Born in a conservative Marwari family, she defied tradition and family expectations, insisting on living life as a single woman, setting up her own business and earning the respect of her peers and colleagues in the corporate world. Despite her yearning to be loved and cherished by the man to whom she gave her life, Prabha Khaitan lived life on her own terms.

With a frankness that is rare in the world of Hindi autobiographical writing by women, Prabha Khaitan here speaks of her feelings, her sense of discomfort and unease at not being the legitimate woman, about what she gained and lost from a relationship that was generally frowned upon by society and how she fought to become her own woman. In doing so, she reflects on marriage, relationships, intimacy and distance, the professional and the personal, and the ways in which women are caught within these often conflicting forces.

In our Biography section, Rs. 395, in paperback, 285 pages, ISBN: 9789381017739

Cartographies of Empowerment: The Mahila Samakhya Story by Vimala Ramachandran And Kameshwari Jandhyala from Zubaan Books.

Mahila Samakhya is as much a story of a government programme for women's education and empowerment, as it is of the celebration of the struggles of poor women for their rights. Spread across eight states and more than 150 districts in India, the programme grew out of a unique partnership between the women's movement and the government.

In this collection of essays, scholars from different parts of the country chart Mahila Samakhya's fascinating journey of setting up poor women's collectives, and women's agency in establishing an equal space and voice in the public domain - a radical departure from the more common approaches of organising women around economic concerns.

The writers explore broad gender issues grounded within the field experience of Mahila Samakhya providing insights into its workings at different levels, its conceptual challenges, strategic choices, the opportunities and pitfalls of partnership with government and, above all, the willingness of poor women to come together voluntarily to address and overcome gender barriers.

In our Women Studies section, Rs. 695, in hardcover, 516 pages, ISBN: 9789381017210

The Blue-necked God by Indira Goswami, Translated by Gayatri Bhattacharya from Zubaan Books.

The Blue-necked God (Nilakantha Braja), published in 1976, is one of Indira Goswamis early novels and the first time that a writer highlighted the exploitation and poverty of widows, dumped in a sacred city to eke out their days in prayer by uncaring, callous families under the guise of religious sanction and tradition.

It was a book that raised many eyebrows when it was first published for this amazing narrative combined fact and fiction, autobiography and reflection in a fascinating mix as she tried to depict the confusion and the mental agony she herself experienced after the death of her husband through her character Saudamini.

The physical, emotional, financial deprivation faced by the young widow has been woven into a perceptive text that drew on the authors own research and experiences as she roamed the streets of Vrindavan and exposed, for the first time, the uglier side of the city and its traditions.

In our Fiction section, Rs. 295, in paperback, 216 pages, ISBN: 9789381017852