HT Picks: The week’s interesting reads
This week’s book picks includes one on discrimination against Muslim children at elite schools, another on Shivaji, and a novel set in northern Nigeriabooks Updated: Jan 12, 2018 20:47 IST
Nazia Erum runs a fashion start-up, and is the mother of an adorable little girl. But from the day Myra was born, she found herself asking questions she didn’t have answers for.
It began with her daughter’s name – should Nazia choose a traditional Islamic name or a more non-religious sounding one so that her daughter couldn’t be identified as a Muslim? Nazia was not the only modern middle-class Muslim mom asking this question. Soon she discovered that finding the right name for Myra was the least of her worries.
Talking to over a hundred children and their parent across twelve cities, what Nazia uncovers is deeply troubling.
She heard stories of rampant bullying of Muslim children in many of the country’s top schools, of six-year-olds being hit by their classmates because of their faith, of religious segregation in classrooms and of anxious Muslim parents across the country who monitor their children’s dress, speech and actions to protect them.
In Mothering a Muslim, Nazia finally lifts the veil on this taboo subject, one that is spoken of only in whispers. Urgent, gripping and heartbreaking, this is essential reading for every Indian parent.
Young Shivaji reaches Pune, a dying fort city, with his mother Jijabai and lights the first lamp within its ruins. While his father Shahaji Bhosale is away on deputation by the Adil Shah sultantate after having failed in a revolt against it, Shivaji learns how an empire is built from the ground up. Thus begins the life of the Great Maratha.
What awaits Shivaji is nothing short of the vast scroll of history, and it takes him from Surat to Thanjavur and all the way to Aurangzeb’s durbar in Agra. He dreams of freeing his land from the clutches of Mughla rule, and though he suffers many defeats and personal losses along the way, he never gives up his vision of Hindavi Swaraj. Amidst political intrigue and a chain of skirmishes, Shivaji becomes a leader, a warrior and a tactician par excellence, driven by immense pride and love for his motherland.
This is a new English translation of Ranjit Desai’s much-loved Marathi classic Shriman Yogi, and a literary rendition of the life of Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj.
In the sprawling suburbs of Abuja, Binta Zubairu – a devout fifty-five year old widow, grandmother of five – woke up to the smell of cockroaches and knew something inauspicious was about to happen. What she didn’t expect was that twenty-five year old Hassan ‘Reza’, a weed dealer, thug for hire and street gang leader, would scale her fence and land in ‘the puddle that was her heart’.
Binta yearns for intimacy after the sexual repression of her marriage, the pain of losing her first child and the privations of widowhood. Reza seeks to fill the void left by his estranged mother and increasingly distant father. Brought together in the most unusual circumstances, the two embark on a whirlwind secret relationship. But things come to ahead when Binta’s wealthy son confronts Reza, with disastrous consequences.
Abubaker’s powerful debut novel – set in a conservative Muslim community in northern Nigeria, and against a backdrop of political corruption and violence – is a haunting story of love and longing that unfurls gently and memorably, revealing layers of emotion that defy age, class and religion.