by Faraz Talat
A diabetic microbiologist turns 73 in a world that rejects the elderly, denying them healthcare in accordance with the draconian ‘Second Chance’ laws set in place after the Great Pandemic. When an opportunity arises to challenge this rule, her brother does whatever he must to make sure she lives to see her next birthday.
“A post pandemic story written way before the pandemic. A haunting little book about second chances, last days and human relations that survive the unsurvivable.”
Mohammed Hanif, author of A Case of Exploding Mangoes
“Any culture’s science fiction is its dream of what its future could be. Now we live in a global culture, and Faraz Talat’s Seventy Four shoots right to the heart of all our current fears and hopes. It’s an intense experience, poignant and memorable.”
Kim Stan Robinson, author of Blue Mars
“Scientists become saviors in times of plague, but their attempts to exert control over pathogens and politics go awry in Faraz Talat’s science fiction novella Seventy Four. Razia Ntikoladze, eminent scientist and Pakistani emigree, is locked in a race against a deadly new contagion and her own mortality; before she can save the world, she has to escape the colloquium’s merciless eugenics project. A daringly brilliant literary experiment which pits humanity against its own worst enemy—itself.”
Bina Shah, author of Before She Sleeps
Communist Internationalism in Colonial India
by Ali Raza
In this engaging and innovative history of the communist movement in colonial India, Ali Raza reveals the lives, geographies and anti-colonial struggles of Indian revolutionaries and how they sought to remake the world. Driven by the utopian visions of Communist Internationalism, Indian revolutionaries yearned and struggled for a global upheaval that would overthrow European imperialisms and radically transform India and the world. In an age marked by political upheavals, intellectual ferment, collapsing empires and global conflicts, Indian revolutionaries stood alongside countless others in the colonised world and beyond in their desire to usher in a future liberated from colonialism and capitalism. Drawing from a wealth of archival materials, Raza demonstrates how Communist Internationalism was a crucial project in the struggle for national liberation and inaugurates a new approach to the global history of communism and decolonisation.
“Written with great flair, and refreshingly nonpartisan, Revolutionary Pasts will shift the paradigms of studying the Left in South Asia. Ali Raza embraces and acknowledges the complexity and dissonance he encounters in his archive, unpacking its agendas and offering them up to the reader with astute analysis, restoring race to histories of leftist activism.”
-Kama Maclean – University of New South Wales, Sydney
“Ali Raza captures the utopian imaginaries and the global itineraries that shaped Indian Communism, and brought Marx to the subcontinent in this beautifully written, meticulously researched book. His is a signal contribution to global intellectual history and to studies of Left thought and praxis.”
-Anupama Rao – Columbia University, New York
Publisher: Folio Books
Publishing date: January 22, 2021
Rights: South Asia excluding India
A 21st Century Perspective
by Bilal Zahoor and Raza Rumi
This book brings together the leading contemporary currents of thought from a galaxy of established scholars and intellectuals of Pakistan. It is a monumental contribution to the national debate on a series of crises and lingering issues that need attention of the stakeholders all around.
The book covers three major areas of investigation into public life in the country. One, it delves into the historical, sociological and cultural causes of various political conflicts, ranging from the negative role of the educational curricula for national harmony to cultural violence and persistent militarism to the curse of enforced disappearances. There are highly analytical contributions that define the conflict-resolution nexus. Two, the book is a source of inspiration on the liberal agenda of creating a scientific frame of mind, setting the feminist debate in a global context, challenging the shrinking space for media and focusing on the largely forgotten area of industrial relations. Readers will find ample issue orientation in the analysis and policy orientation in the deliberations. Three, the book enters a domain of hope, planning for a bright future and focusing on some longer-term issues couched in comprehensive new approaches to development, environment, energy, foreign policy and feminism.
The scope of the book is amazingly wide, the analysis is rich with conceptual references and empirical finding, and the scholarly idiom is comprehensible for both the articulate section of the population and the scholarly community.
“Rethinking Pakistan brings together some of the best minds of the country and invites them to reflect upon the most pressing issues that it is facing in all spheres – including politics, external relations, environment, human rights, gender relations, religious fundamentalism, education, freedom of expression … It is a most valuable collection that is highly accessible to everyone.”
– Christophe Jaffrelot, Professor, Sciences Po; Author, The Pakistan Paradox
“This book brings together the leading contemporary currents of thought from a galaxy of established scholars and intellectuals of Pakistan. It is a monumental contribution to the national debate on a series of crises and lingering issues that need attention of the stakeholders all around. The book covers three major areas of investigation into public life of the country. One, it delves into the historical, sociological and cultural causes of various political conflicts, ranging from the negative role of the educational curricula for national harmony to cultural violence and persistent militarism to the curse of enforced disappearances. There are highly analytical contributions that define the conflict-resolution nexus. Two, the book is a source of inspiration on the liberal agenda of creating a scientific frame of mind, setting the feminist debate in a global context, challenging the shrinking space for media and focusing on the largely forgotten area of industrial relations. One finds ample issue-orientation in the analysis and policy-orientation in the deliberations. Three, we enter a domain of hope, planning for a bright future and focusing on some longer-term issues couched in comprehensive new approaches to development, environment, energy, foreign policy and feminism. The scope of the book is amazingly wide, the analysis is rich with conceptual references and empirical findings, and the scholarly idiom is comprehensible for both the articulate section of the population and the scholarly community per se.”
– Mohammad Waseem, Professor, LUMS; Author, Politics and the State in Pakistan
“Each of the essays depicts Pakistan’s current social, political and economic challenges with analysis that makes this publication one of the few credible works on Pakistan available in recent times. The contributors are some of the most respected experts in the field on which they have expounded their thoughts, laying bare the malaise that have stunted social progress, democratic development and economic stability in the country. The essays also show a way forward making this a must-read for all generations of Pakistanis who wish to understand and contribute to the elimination of existing threats to peace, security and respect for human rights.”
– Hina Jilani, Advocate, Supreme Court of Pakistan; Co-founder, Human Rights Commission of Pakistan
“Rethinking Pakistan is a wide-ranging analytical dissection of the Pakistani polity and offers a well-meaning, progressive prescription for present-day Pakistan, stitched together by an eclectic list of experts spanning diverse backgrounds and subjects. From energy self-sufficiency and scientific development to freedom of the press and the essential question of the dominance of the military over civilian affairs, this compendium offers a suitable guide for anyone who seeks to understand the striking mix of contemporary and historic challenges faced by Pakistan in the twenty-first century. A must-read on Pakistan’s contemporary realities and future prospects.”
– Shashi Tharoor, Ex-Foreign Minister, India; Author, An Era of Darkness
“The book sets up an unfamiliar but authentic diagnostic mosaic of Pakistan that the state prefers ignoring. It collects and presents the genius that Pakistan sets aside, stretched out on its ideological bed of repeated blunders. What emerges is an intensely original view from the marginalised intellect the world recognises as Pakistan’s survival kit.”
– Khaled Ahmed, Consulting Editor, Newsweek Pakistan; Author, Pakistan: The State in Crisis
Publisher: Folio Books
Division: Folio Course Books
Publishing date: February 2019
Availability: In Stock
Poetry for a New Generation
Rs. 500 | $ 7.00
This is an unusual book — the focus is not on what Ghalib means but on what Ghalib makes us think of contemporary issues. It puts Ghalib to work and brings Ghalib to life. It is an invitation to think with Ghalib about all the big issues — faith and religion, us and them, the nature of divinity, being and nothingness, the importance of thinking for oneself, what it means to believe, and what it takes to be human. It is a roller-coaster ride with one of the most creative minds of all time.
“To think with Ghalib is to think with a fifteen-hundred-year-old sub-continental tradition of dissent that passes through Lal Ded, Kabir, Nanak and Ravidas before it reaches him. The only reason his name sounds odd in their saintly company is that, outside invisible lovers of poetry, he did not leave behind a panth. One can only be grateful to Altaf and Basole for giving us a book that is almost an act of inspiration: 30 couplets in English, Urdu, Nagari, and a transliteration of the original in Roman. Then comes the prose reflection on the couplet: lucid and explorative, it leaves us surprised at how we could have lost the questioning path that was there for the following. A panth of non-believers and doubters, then, something the sub-continent needs more than ever.”
– Arvind Krishna Mehrotra, poet, translator and literary critic
“Thinking with Ghalib is an invitation to South Asian readers to delve into, engage with, and enjoy the unique imagination of the founder of Urdu poetic discourse, shaping the creative orientations of generations through the printed media and expanding schools. By focusing on couplets, Altaf and Basole ask the reader to join them in a quest to experience tradition and modernity as a continuous public debate through one of the enduring forms of artistic expression in our cultures. A brilliant contribution to understanding the past in the present.”
– Ashraf Ghani, co-author, Afghanistan: A Lexicon
“With unusual clarity and a genuine sense of wonder, Altaf and Basole deliver a careful dialogue in thinking through Ghalib’s euphorically elevating verses as he romps through temple, tower and palace, manipulating complex realities in staggering two-line zingers. A must-read for people of all ages and all nationalities.”
– Azra Raza, co-author, A Tribute to Ghalib: Twenty-One Ghazals Reinterpreted
“Mirza Ghalib’s very survival as an inevitable and constant reference point for great poetry, and oftentimes for life’s travails, is a testimony to both the immediacy of his relevance and his transcendence of time. What makes him the extraordinary poet is his extreme sensitivity to the richness of his cultural heritage as well as its attributes of imprisonment. Ghalib imbibes the richness and yet rebels against it. Questioning from within is the single most striking characteristic of his poetry in tune with questioning that has sustained human civilization’s quintessential spirit through the ages: from Socrates to the Charvakas, from Mansoor al-Hallaj and Kabir to Descartes. This amazing experiment in unearthing the layers of meaning(s) in Ghalib’s couplets from their innermost depths sets a superb example of seeking out the soul of poetry. In any case, dissent resides at the very heart of ghazal, the poetry of love, as its raison d’ȇtre. Anjum Altaf and Amit Basole, both Professors of Economics, engaging in this literary endeavour also questions the neat disciplinary divides that academics are so enamoured of.”
– Harbans Mukhia, former Professor of History, Jawaharlal Nehru University and Trustee, Ghalib Institute, New Delhi
“Here is a unique attempt — often brilliant, wise, provocative and always bravely original — to help young people, especially from South Asia, to discover (or rediscover) the poetry of Ghalib, and in it find both questions and possible pathways to answers to some of the most urgent and perplexing riddles of our times.”
– Harsh Mander, author and Director of Centre for Equity Studies, New Delhi
“This a truly invaluable collection of specific Ghalib couplets, reprinted in the Roman, Arabic and Devnagari scripts and accompanied by an informed interpretation in English by Anjum Altaf and Amit Basole. The two authors succeed in highlighting the timelessness of Ghalib’s work and skilfully place his ideas and the profound questions about our world — and indeed human nature itself — within a modern context. The importance of this book lies in the fact that it is aimed at a young audience in the sub-continent and the diaspora. The discussion on each and every couplet succeeds in simplifying, yet highlighting, the complexities and nuances of Ghalib’s words. In the process, the book draws attention to subtleties of the Urdu language itself — and is likely to encourage young readers to reach out for more … I wish my daughters had had a book like this to introduce them to Ghalib when they were at school!”
– Muneeza Shamsie, writer and critic
“These selections, explanations and reflections will bring Indians and Pakistanis closer to Ghalib’s genius and, inshallah, to one another.”
– Rajmohan Gandhi, historian and author of Punjab: A History from Aurangzeb to Mountbatten
“This remarkable book offers yet another way to enjoy Ghalib, through an in-depth, contextual and nuanced exposition of thirty of his couplets. Two centuries after his time, the great bard comes back to life in the skilled analysis of Altaf and Basole, giving new meaning to the line hui muddat ke Ghalib mar gaya, par yaad aata hai.”
– Raza Mir, author of Ghalib: A Thousand Desires
“This collection of Ghalib’s couplets was thoughtfully designed to be accessible to language learners at all levels. The writing style is light, even as it engages readers in an essential exploration of what Ghalib’s poetry means now. Each interpretation is deeply grounded in an understanding of Ghalib and his intellectual and social milieu, as well as a profound sensitivity to the poetry itself. In addition to a greater understanding of each couplet, readers will acquire the habits that will help them appreciate the world of Urdu poetry on their own. I only wish there had been a resource like this when I was learning Urdu.”
– Roanne L. Kantor, Assistant Professor of English, Stanford University
“Thinking with Ghalib is a welcome addition to the large archive on Ghalib for three reasons: first, because it makes this nineteenth century poet relevant to the twenty-first century readers in South Asia and the world; secondly, because it is a product of the collaboration of two prominent Pakistani and Indian intellectuals at a distressful juncture of our history which is a good omen for peaceful coexistence through shared intellectual and aesthetic continuities; and, thirdly, because it is in three scripts—the Perso-Arabic script of Urdu, the Devanagari script of Hindi and other Indian languages and the Roman script used for English and other Western languages which makes Ghalib available not only to South Asians but a very large part of the world. This book, I hope, will be the pioneer in the fashion for rewriting our classics so that they appeal to the present generation.”
– Tariq Rahman, Dean, School of Education, Beaconhouse National University, Lahore; author of Language and Politics in Pakistan
“As a Ghalib-lover I often read him and apart from the ecstasy I receive from some of his couplets, what strikes me poignantly is his humanism. Like Shakespeare, Ghalib is always in sympathy with human nature in all its shapes and degrees, elevations and depressions. This is the main premise of Thinking with Ghalib, a meticulously researched book by Anjum Altaf and Amit Basole.
“That Ghalib is for all times is an acknowledged fact. Altaf and Basole explain why it is so. More: they explore the layered meanings of Ghalib’s couplets and relate them to the critical political, psychological and economic issues of our times. Students of literature would benefit hugely from this book which ought to be a part of the syllabi of our universities.”
– Zia Mohyeddin, President of NAPA and author of A Carrot is a Carrot, The God of My Idolatry, and Theatrics
Publisher: Folio Books
Release date: July 10, 2021
Availability: In Stock
Meeting the South Asian Parents
Who Raised Me
by Sopan Deb
A bittersweet and humorous memoir of family—of the silence and ignorance that separate us, and the blood and stories that connect us—from an award-winning New York Times writer and comedian.
Approaching his 30th birthday, Sopan Deb had found comfort in his day job as a writer for the New York Times and a practicing comedian. But his stage material highlighting his South Asian culture only served to mask the insecurities borne from his family history. Sure, Deb knew the facts: his parents, both Indian, separately immigrated to North America in the 1960s and 1970s. They were brought together in a volatile and ultimately doomed arranged marriage and raised a family in suburban New Jersey before his father returned to India alone.
But Deb had never learned who his parents were as individuals—their ages, how many siblings they had, what they were like as children, what their favorite movies were. Theirs was an ostensibly nuclear family without any of the familial bonds. Coming of age in a mostly white suburban town, Deb’s alienation led him to seek separation from his family and his culture, longing for the tight-knit home environment of his white friends. His desire wasn’t rooted in racism or oppression; it was born of envy and desire—for white moms who made after-school snacks and asked his friends about the girls they liked and the teachers they didn’t. Deb yearned for the same.
Deb’s experiences as one of the few minorities covering the Trump campaign, and subsequently as a stand up comedian, propelled him on a dramatic journey to India to see his father—the first step in a life altering journey to bridge the emotional distance separating him from those whose DNA he shared. Deb had to learn to connect with this man he recognized yet did not know—and eventually breach the silence separating him from his mother. As it beautifully and poignantly chronicles Deb’s odyssey, Missed Translations raises questions essential to us all: Is it ever too late to pick up the pieces and offer forgiveness? How do we build bridges where there was nothing before—and what happens to us, to our past and our future, if we don’t?
“A delightful memoir of people and place that will draw in Deb’s fans and attract plenty of new ones.”
-Library Journal (starred review)
“I was moved by the ways in which Sopan Deb taps into both the darkness and light that permeate a story about love, family, and understanding. He’s a masterful storyteller, and I’m thankful for his bravery and willingness to share the kind of human story that we too often prefer to keep to ourselves.”
-Kal Penn, comedian and actor
“Both moving and hilarious, Missed Translations is not just about exploring culture, family, and love, but about understanding where one comes from in the deepest possible way. It’s a wonderful journey.”
-Jake Tapper, CNN host and author of The Hellfire Club“
“Sopan Deb hilariously and truthfully lets us in on the ups, downs, lefts, and rights of trying to understand – as a standup comedian and a journalist – the two grown-up strangers who raised him. It’s a crazy story, but you know. Good crazy. Funny crazy. Read-this-book crazy.”
-Pete Holmes, comedian, podcast host, and author of Comedy Sex God
“As a man who has both been a performer and covered performance, Sopan Deb now paints his most important picture yet, the self-portrait.”
-Roy Wood Jr., comedian and correspondent on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah
“A sympathetic portrait of South Asians who are neither crazy and rich nor humorless nerds…Memoirs by children of immigrants often fault clueless parents; this one is refreshing for Deb’s realization that—whatever his elders’ missteps—he needed “to take some responsibility for my part in our family’s disconnect” for things to change.”
“While his topic is serious, Deb’s writing is breezy and witty, and his earnestness will sweep readers up into this charmer of a memoir.”
Publisher: Folio Books
Publishing Date: December 31, 2020