Manjula Narayan

Manula Narayan is National Books Editor at Hindustan Times. She writes on literature and popular culture.

Articles by Manjula Narayan

Manjula Narayan, Editor, Books, picks her favourite reads of 2021

Martyn Rix’s work of great erudition that is also a visual treat takes you into the world of East India Company surgeons, who were enthusiastic botanists, and the Indian artists who painted the plants they collected
Martyn Rix’s book takes the reader into the world of East India Company surgeons and their Indian artists (HT Team)
Martyn Rix’s book takes the reader into the world of East India Company surgeons and their Indian artists (HT Team)
Published on Dec 25, 2021 02:49 AM IST
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Cooking by the numbers: At lunch with Nobel laureate Abhijit Banerjee

Over an exclusive meal prepared by the economist, Manjula Narayan discusses his new cookbook, as well as the Gita, poverty, the roles of food, and his unusually precise systems of measurement.
 (HT Photo: Raj K Raj)
(HT Photo: Raj K Raj)
Updated on Nov 14, 2021 05:35 PM IST
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Independence Day special: Five classics about India to read right now

As India enters its 75th year of Independence, Manjula Narayan puts together a list of works to read for insight and perspective on the making of a nation.
Independence Day special: Five classics about India to read right now
Independence Day special: Five classics about India to read right now
Updated on Aug 13, 2021 06:45 PM IST
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Review: Languages of Truth by Salman Rushdie

From Hans Christian Andersen and Shakespeare to hijras and Hitchens, from Amrita Sher-Gill, Osama Bin Laden, Heraclitus and Pythagoras to political courage, Carrie Fisher and Covid, the author’s new collection of essays shows off the variety of his interests and his formidable intellect
Salman Rushdie (Rachel Eliza Griffiths)
Salman Rushdie (Rachel Eliza Griffiths)
Updated on Jun 12, 2021 05:11 PM IST
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Review: Stories I Must Tell by Kabir Bedi

Thoughtful, brave, full of insights about life, occasionally naïve, and utterly honest, Kabir Bedi’s memoir is unlike anything you would expect from a Bollywood personality. But then Bedi, who has worked in Hollywood and continues to be wildly famous in Italy, has always been different from the other stars of his generation
Kabir Bedi and Parveen Babi at the Imperial fora, Rome in 1976. (Giorgio Ambrosi/Mondadori via Getty Images)
Kabir Bedi and Parveen Babi at the Imperial fora, Rome in 1976. (Giorgio Ambrosi/Mondadori via Getty Images)
Published on May 14, 2021 10:45 PM IST
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How Midnight’s Children shaped Indian writing in English

In Midnight’s Children, Salman Rushdie’s Sinai used language in wonderful and, to the Indian, in familiar ways. At last, the wretched alien language we had struggled with in deference to old Macaulay was finally our own
Novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie, author of Midnight’s Children. (AFP)
Novelist and essayist Salman Rushdie, author of Midnight’s Children. (AFP)
Updated on Apr 14, 2021 07:13 AM IST
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Interview: Bill Gates on his new book, How to Avoid a Climate Disaster

Electricity, transport, food, buildings and manufacturing are the biggest areas of CO2 emissions. All of them will have to be tackled to combat climate change. In a video interview, Bill Gates spoke about the need for innovation, to shift to new ways of doing things, and about his new book that provides a plan to bring emissions down to zero by the year 2050
Bill Gates
Bill Gates
Published on Feb 19, 2021 06:33 PM IST
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India must set example in climate crisis fight: Bill Gates

“When most people think about climate, they think about making electricity and about passenger cars mostly. They aren’t aware that there are many other sources of CO2 emissions. Electricity, transport, food, buildings and manufacturing are the biggest areas of emissions,” Gates said.
Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, attends a conversation at the 2019 New Economy Forum in Beijing, China.(Reuters/ File photo)
Bill Gates, Co-Chair of Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, attends a conversation at the 2019 New Economy Forum in Beijing, China.(Reuters/ File photo)
Updated on Feb 16, 2021 02:42 AM IST
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Essay: The Story of Paatallok and Tarun Tejpal

An examination of why the hit show has not acknowledged its source material
Publicity still for Paatallok.
Publicity still for Paatallok.
Updated on May 21, 2020 11:44 PM IST
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Lockdown Diaries: Wise words in a fraught time by Manjula Narayan

The 29 authors, who contributed to Lockdown Diaries, brought fresh perspectives to a shared experience
A man with provisions handed to him by a GNEM volunteer in Gurgaon.(Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)
A man with provisions handed to him by a GNEM volunteer in Gurgaon.(Parveen Kumar/HT Photo)
Updated on Apr 28, 2020 08:25 AM IST
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Interview: Soha Ali Khan on her new weekly podcast for kids

In an email interview, Soha Ali Khan talks about her new weekly podcast, India’s first celebrity audio book show for kids, which features her reading stories for children by Indian authors
Soha Ali Khan(Courtesy Juggernaut)
Soha Ali Khan(Courtesy Juggernaut)
Updated on Feb 28, 2020 07:51 PM IST
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Review: Low by Jeet Thayil

Grief, guilt, Mumbai, and Donald Trump loom over Jeet Thayil’s new novel
Carrying hell within you: The right panel from The Garden of Earthly Delights by Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516).(Universal Images Group via Getty)
Carrying hell within you: The right panel from The Garden of Earthly Delights by Dutch painter Hieronymus Bosch (c.1450-1516).(Universal Images Group via Getty)
Published on Feb 14, 2020 07:43 PM IST
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Litfesting in the lap of the Himalayas

The IME Nepal Literature Festival, which hosted the $25,000 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature this year, featured interesting sessions that were well attended
Amitabha Bagchi(L) receiving the DSC Prize from Pradeep Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, in the presence of DSC prize founder Surina Narula and Harish Trivedi, jury chair of the prize for 2019.(DSC Prize for South Asian Literature)
Amitabha Bagchi(L) receiving the DSC Prize from Pradeep Gyawali, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nepal, in the presence of DSC prize founder Surina Narula and Harish Trivedi, jury chair of the prize for 2019.(DSC Prize for South Asian Literature)
Updated on Jan 03, 2020 07:58 PM IST
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Interview: Fatima Bhutto on her new book, New Kings of the World

Fatima Bhutto’s new book looks at the global appeal of eastern pop culture. In an email interview she talks about why everyone, from the Germans to the Peruvians, is enamoured by Bollywood, K-pop and Turkish Dizi
Popular even in Peru - Shah Rukh Khan in(DDLJ)
Popular even in Peru - Shah Rukh Khan in(DDLJ)
Updated on Oct 04, 2019 06:54 PM IST
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Magic in the mountains: A look back at the stimulating sessions of the Mountain Echoes Festival 2019

Stimulating sessions and interesting conversations were part of the 10th edition of the Mountain Echoes festival in Thimphu, Bhutan.
Neil MacGregor in conversation with Pramod Kumar KG.(Mountain Echoes)
Neil MacGregor in conversation with Pramod Kumar KG.(Mountain Echoes)
Updated on Sep 14, 2019 01:02 PM IST
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Review: Oh! Those Parsis by Berjis Desai

Berjis Desai’s book that lists the A to Z of the Parsi way of life shows you why the community makes other Indians both glad and mad.
A Parsi couple prays to the guardians of the fire temple at Tardeo in Mumbai on Navroz in 2015.(Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times)
A Parsi couple prays to the guardians of the fire temple at Tardeo in Mumbai on Navroz in 2015.(Kunal Patil/Hindustan Times)
Updated on Sep 07, 2019 12:39 PM IST
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Interview: Subhashini Chandramani on The Garden Art Journal

The Garden Art Journal, which features wonderfully minimalist images that incorporate petals, seeds and leaves, intends to spur creativity in those who maintain journals. Here, Chandramani, @neelavanam on Twitter and Instagram, talks about the journal, about her form of Garden Art, and her own creative process
Subhashini Chandramani(Pictures courtesy the author)
Subhashini Chandramani(Pictures courtesy the author)
Updated on Aug 21, 2019 09:58 PM IST
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Review: Looking for Miss Sargam by Shubha Mudgal

Shubha Mudgal’s short fiction teems with authentic characters and situations peculiar to the world of the Hindustani classical performer
Shubha Mudgal performing in Bhopal on July 18, 2015.(Praveen Bajpai/Hindustan Times)
Shubha Mudgal performing in Bhopal on July 18, 2015.(Praveen Bajpai/Hindustan Times)
Updated on Aug 17, 2019 10:17 AM IST
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Interview: Poomani, author of Heat

Poomani’s Vekkai is one of the great Tamil novels of the 20th century. Heat, the English translation of this extraordinary work has just been released. In a telephonic conversation facilitated by translator N Kalyan Raman, the author spoke about the book and its protagonist, the 15-year-old Chidambaram who murders a landlord to avenge the death of his elder brother
Boys playing in front of a cave near Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu.(Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Boys playing in front of a cave near Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu.(Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
Updated on May 25, 2019 10:11 AM IST
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Review: China at its Limits by Matthias Messmer and Hsin-Mei Chuang

A book that combines history, photography, culture and travel writing, reportage, and political analysis to present a picture of China and the challenges to its rise
Cultural and religious diversity is characteristic of Hong Kong. After praying at the nearby gurdwara, a Sikh man pauses to talk on his mobile phone in front of a Dawoodi Bohra cemetery in the city’s Happy Valley. The first burial here dates back to 1828.(Matthias Messmer)
Cultural and religious diversity is characteristic of Hong Kong. After praying at the nearby gurdwara, a Sikh man pauses to talk on his mobile phone in front of a Dawoodi Bohra cemetery in the city’s Happy Valley. The first burial here dates back to 1828.(Matthias Messmer)
Published on Apr 19, 2019 09:26 PM IST
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Review: The Verdict by Prannoy Roy and Dorab R Sopariwala

Rich in data backed by lucid explanatory text, The Verdict by Prannoy Roy and Dorab R Sopariwala decodes India’s elections and provides some pointers on who could win the Lok Sabha polls in 2019
Not among the missing: Women, who have cast their vote for the state assembly elections, outside the polling station at Raisar village of Jaipur district in Rajasthan, on December 07, 2018.(NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Not among the missing: Women, who have cast their vote for the state assembly elections, outside the polling station at Raisar village of Jaipur district in Rajasthan, on December 07, 2018.(NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Updated on Mar 22, 2019 08:32 PM IST
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JLF2019; At the Mahakumbh of literature

As always, this year’s Jaipur Literature Festival was where Established India came to rub shoulders with Nobel laureates, Pulitzer prize winners and an adoring reading public
The attentive audience at the final debate at JLF 2019 on whether liberalism stifles debate.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
The attentive audience at the final debate at JLF 2019 on whether liberalism stifles debate.(Amal KS/HT PHOTO)
Published on Feb 01, 2019 08:07 PM IST
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Review: Jiya Jale; Gulzar in conversation with Nasreen Munni Kabir

An excellent book that treats the Hindi film song with the seriousness and respect it deserves
Malaika Arora and Shah Rukh Khan in the Chaiyya Chaiyya song from Dil Se(1998).(Alamy Stock Photo)
Malaika Arora and Shah Rukh Khan in the Chaiyya Chaiyya song from Dil Se(1998).(Alamy Stock Photo)
Updated on Dec 15, 2018 10:57 AM IST
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Review: To Die in Benares by K Madavane

A short story collection that contemplates the inevitable with an unwavering gaze
Daily life on the Ganga in Varanasi.(UIG via Getty Images)
Daily life on the Ganga in Varanasi.(UIG via Getty Images)
Updated on Dec 07, 2018 08:51 PM IST
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Review: The Twice-Born; Life and Death on the Ganges by Aatish Taseer

Though Aatish Taseer’s book appears to be about the Brahmins of Benaras, it is actually a look at the continuing aftershocks of colonialism, about India and Bharat, and about the persistence of caste
Contemplating the void: A sanyasi meditates on Vijayanagaram ghat on the Ganga in Varanasi.(Getty Images)
Contemplating the void: A sanyasi meditates on Vijayanagaram ghat on the Ganga in Varanasi.(Getty Images)
Updated on Nov 02, 2018 09:27 PM IST
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Review: The Rabbit & The Squirrel by Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi

A story that examines the nature of love, life, friendship and the quest for happiness in a difficult world
The Squirrel and her parents!(Stina Wirsen)
The Squirrel and her parents!(Stina Wirsen)
Updated on Oct 12, 2018 11:33 PM IST
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Review: India Moving by Chinmay Tumbe

Erudite and thought-provoking, Chinmay Tumbe’s India Moving shows that the ongoing Great Indian Migration Wave is the world’s largest and longest voluntary migration episode in migration history
Old ties; new roots: Supporters of Seewoosagur Ramgolam, the Prime Minister of Mauritius, before he spoke for Mauritian independence during a constitutional conference at Lancaster House, London, on July 19, 1965.(Corbis via Getty Images)
Old ties; new roots: Supporters of Seewoosagur Ramgolam, the Prime Minister of Mauritius, before he spoke for Mauritian independence during a constitutional conference at Lancaster House, London, on July 19, 1965.(Corbis via Getty Images)
Updated on Sep 14, 2018 09:05 PM IST
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Review: The Red Cat and Other Stories by Ritesh Uttamchandani

Shot over the last four years on Ritesh Uttamchandani’s iPhone, this photobook features 98 images that reveal Mumbai’s pounding, generous heart
Swimming pool for horses, Race Course.(Ritesh Uttamchandani)
Swimming pool for horses, Race Course.(Ritesh Uttamchandani)
Updated on Aug 10, 2018 10:52 PM IST
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Review: Points of Entry; Encounters at the Origin-Sites of Pakistan by Nadeem Farooq Paracha

A nuanced collection of essays on the history, culture and politics of Pakista
The Hindu-Muslim Jhuley Lal-Udero Lal shrine in Sindh.(wikipedia)
The Hindu-Muslim Jhuley Lal-Udero Lal shrine in Sindh.(wikipedia)
Updated on Jul 21, 2018 02:05 AM IST
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Review: Points of Entry; Encounters at the Origin-sites of Pakistan by Nadeem Farooq Paracha

A nuanced collection of essays on the history, culture and politics of Pakistan
The Hindu-Muslim Jhuley Lal-Udero Lal shrine in Sindh.(wikipedia)
The Hindu-Muslim Jhuley Lal-Udero Lal shrine in Sindh.(wikipedia)
Updated on Jul 21, 2018 02:04 AM IST
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