The Adivasi Will Not Dance by Hansda Sowvendra ShekharSHORTLISTED FOR THE HINDU PRIZE 2016
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. It establishes Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar as one of our most important contemporary writers.
The Adivasi Will Not Dance (eBook, ePUB)
A voice steeped in the soil of its origin—the land of Santhals—and refreshing in its clear visualisations of his people. In fact, being a collection of short stories, this book feels at first like a Santhali Thali meal, with an array of ten Santhali dishes, each giving off its own aroma, distinct from the rest, strong or mild, sweet or over powering, creating together, a hearty experience. The Sorens overcome the restrictive food habits of a vegetarian city, and even grow to love the place. But soon they are forced to confront the spectres of religious and caste divides, especially in the aftermath of the Godhra killings. And this is where this heartwarming story charmingly displays the indomitable human spirit of ordinary Indians. What is your new book about?
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