About the Book
In this collection of stories, set in the fecund, mineral-rich hinterland and the ever-expanding, squalid towns of Jharkhand, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar breathes life into a set of characters who are as robustly flesh and blood as the soil from which they spring, where they live, and into which they must sometimes bleed.
Troupe-master Mangal Murmu refuses to perform for the President of India and is beaten down; Suren and Gita, a love-blind couple, wait with quiet desperation outside a neonatal ward hoping—for different reasons—that their blue baby will turn pink; Panmuni and Biram Soren move to Vadodara in the autumn of their lives, only to find that they must stop eating meat to be accepted as citizens; Baso-jhi is the life of the village of Sarjomdih but, when people begin to die for no apparent reason, a ghastly accusation from her past comes back to haunt her; and Talamai Kisku of the Santhal Pargana, migrating to West Bengal in search of work, must sleep with a policeman for fifty rupees and two cold bread pakoras.
The Adivasi Will Not Dance is a mature, passionate, intensely political book of stories, made up of the very stuff of life. This volume establishes Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar as one of our most important contemporary writers.
AUTHOR: Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar
Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar is a medical officer with the government of Jharkhand. His stories and articles have been published in Indian Literature, The Statesman, The Asian Age, Good Housekeeping, Northeast Review, The Four Quarters Magazine, Earthen Lamp Journal, Alchemy: The Tranquebar Book of Erotic Stories IIand The Times of India. He has also written a novel, The Mysterious Ailment of Rupi Baskey.
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‘Shekhar is the sort of writer who appears only rarely in the literary establishment. His voice is powerful, political, urgent. Yet, there is no reason to imagine that politics overpowers the plots—his concerns are deeply literary, his style, effortlessly so.’
‘The Adivasi Will Not Dance represents a collection of little histories that are contributing to the character of India as a developing, diverse and evolving nation. The language of this book is truly polyphonous with multiple traditions and varied realities co-existing between English, Santhali, Bengali and Hindi tempos and cadences… Shekhar’s work in this volume is a tribute to lives of struggle and marginalization, carefully avoiding the exotic or self-pitying tone. His craft is suffused by love for his people that reminds readers of Baba Nagarjuna’s poetry—familiar and distant, angry and lyrical.’
‘Shekhar’s writing brings aspects of India that the grand narratives in Indian English writing have often ignored. Through characters that are powerless in so many ways, and by fusing an indigenous realism to the content of his writing, Shekhar has created a fresh and much-needed idiom for the Indian experience.’
‘[A] powerful, provocative short story collection that explores Adivasi identity politics and experience. Brilliant, layered storytelling at its finest.’
‘The range of stories in this book takes readers on well-trod paths in progressive literature, detailing the hardships adivasis face under modernity and capitalism. But it also provides a rare glimpse of middle-class Santhal life, something most readers would not know existed. The characters are varied and refuse stereotype; the writing is a refreshing break from some of the overwrought aesthetics of political writing in India.’
‘Mr Shekhar is one of India’s most promising writers, his stories deft, compassionate and sharp-edged…. His way of seeing is unflinching but not didactic. Mr Shekhar captures an album of people’s lives.’
‘[There’s] no easy way to read this collection… Shekhar’s tone is calm, even low-key, but he shakes us out of our stupor with his political, ear-to-the-ground stories.’
—The Financial Express
‘[Stories] written from the margin, against the grain, and told with great skill and humanity. Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar is a writer to be sought out and discovered.’
—The Indian Express
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The Adivasi Will Not Dance
- Seller: Speaking Tiger Publication
- Product Code: ST001
- Availability: In Stock