New Indian Foundation ’s focus on post-1947 history to fill literary gap

Tuesday, August 28, 2018
Hindustan Times

There are many histories — subaltern, institutional, to do with movements — that tell the story of a nation, its crests, troughs, flows and stasis. Since 2004, the New Indian Foundation (NIF), a Bangalore-based trust, has been sponsoring quality and original research on different aspects of independent India. The first Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize to be announced in the last week of October, during the Bangalore Literature Festival, is out with its shortlist.

The six books shortlisted for the NIF’s prize this year are Abhinav Chandrachud’s The Republic of Rhetoric: Free Speech and the Constitution of India (Penguin Random House, India); Aanchal Malhotra’s Remnants of a Separation: A History of Partition Through Material Memory (HarperCollins); Anirudh Krishna’s The Broken Ladder: The Paradox and Potential of India’s One Billion (Penguin Random House, India); Sujatha Gidla’s Ants Among Elephants: An Untouchable Family and the Making of Modern India (HarperCollins); Milan Vaishnav’s When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics (Yale University Press); and Francesca R Jensenius’s Social Justice Through Inclusion: The Consequences of Electoral Quotas in India (Oxford University Press, New York).

Open to scholars and writers of all nationalities, the eligible books were picked from those published in 2017. The award carries a cash award of Rs 15 lakh and a citation.

Commenting on the shortlist, the chairman of the jury, Ramachandra Guha, said: “We were very pleased with the range and diversity of the submissions. With memoir, oral history, political theory and public policy all represented on it, the shortlist reflects the Foundation’s ecumenical charter of recognising high-quality non-fiction regardless of genre and ideology.”

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