‘On Being Indian’: Second book under Westland Books new ‘Literary Activism’ imprint out

New Delhi, Aug 14 (PTI) Westland Books new imprint ‘Literary Activism’ on Monday announced the launch of “On Being Indian” by author Amit Chaudhuri, bringing together an essay and memoir that fuses political and literary analysis.

It is the second release from ‘Literary Activism’ after poetry collection “Book of Rahim & Other Poems” by award-winning poet Arvind Krishna Mehrotra.

Originally a talk delivered at Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, in February 2020, and then published as an essay in ‘Social Research Quarterly’ the following year, “On Being Indian” claims to be “many things” — part analysis, part intellectual and cultural history, part literary criticism, and part an impassioned expression of, and meditation on, what it means to ‘be Indian’.

“On one level, it is a record of the various events and utterances that led up to and characterised the protests against the ‘Citizenship Amendment Act’ in India. On another level, it questions, and shows us the limited value of, dichotomies such as the secular and the religious,” said Chaudhuri, who is also the director of the ‘Centre for the Creative and the Critical’ at Ashoka University and general editor of the imprint.

The collaborative imprint, which aims to focus on literature in English and translation from other languages, will bring out at most three books in a year, informed the publishing house.

Chaudhuri’s previous non-fiction works include “Finding the Raga: An Improvisation on Indian Music” (2021), “Calcutta: Two Years in the City” and “Origins of Dislike”.