Inverse Journal presents an exclusive excerpt from Sandeep Raina’s recently released novel, A Bit of Everything (2020) courtesy of the publisher (Context/Westland). This excerpt is accompanied by an independently curated visual bibliography relevant to the novel and its author.
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“Nothing moved except the mirage”: Analysing Fear and Freedom in Adania Shibli’s Minor Detail — by Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee
Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee presents an academic paper that is also a book review for Palestinian author Adania Shibli’s 2020 novel, “Minor Detail” (New Directions). A finalist for the National Book Award, “Minor Detail” is one of the most relevant works of contemporary Palestinian literature that connects 1949 and the Nakba with present day Palestine—as its protagonist digs into the past to uncover horrific truths. Mukherjee’s response and writing on the novel and its many themes is essential to understanding the greater depth to be found in decades of Israeli occupation over Palestinian land and life. The academic not only includes relevant criticism within this piece but also integrates theoretical formulations and observations by various scholars and thinkers that are pertinent to her own readings, such that through her ‘book-review-as-academic-paper’ one gets access to entire bodies and fields of knowledge, from postcolonial theory to resistance literature. Just as “Minor Detail” tells the story of a people and their larger history by means of a protagonist, Dr. Mukherjee’s paper offers multiple vectors of understanding in order to facilitate incisive critical engagement with this recent work of Palestinian literature.
Dr. Inshah Malik speaks in relative detail about her monograph, “Muslim Women, Agency and Resistance Politics: The Case of Kashmir” (Palgrave Pivot, 2019). The book presents a considerable volume of research and knowledge about the agency of Muslim Kashmiri women and their varied roles in forming and shaping resistance, a subject that has been undermined, if not ignored, in the global arena of academic writing. As such, this seminal text serves to break multiple stereotypes and myths, while uncovering the history of a multifarious resistance by Kashmiri women, whether against state control, patriarchy (both militarized and societal) or political repression. As a visiting professor, Dr. Malik also gave a related lecture on the subject for the South Asia Center at the University of Washington earlier last year. Relevant links included.
Dr. Chaandreyi Mukherjee reviews Zimbabwean writer Tsitsi Dangarembga’s critically acclaimed novel that was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in July 2020. The Mournable Body is the final novel in a trilogy by the novelist, playwright and filmmaker.
With the end of the year here, Majid Maqbool presents a curated list of books read by Kashmir’s writers, poets, academics, journalists, and some of our Kashmiri and international contributors who have supported us from the beginning. Their comments and reflections on their particular selection along with the book covers and relevant links are included (with inputs from Amjad Majid). Each book is hyperlinked back to the original publisher or a relevant resource. As we look towards the future, Inverse Journal ends this year’s tumultuous publishing cycle with this piece published in the last hour of 2020.
Book Review: David Devadas' The Generation of Rage in Kashmir (Oxford University Press, 2018) — by Sohini Chatterjee
Sohini Chatterjee provides a thorough ‘reading as review’ of David Devadas’ recent book “The Generation of Rage in Kashmir” (Oxford University Press, 2018). The many ideas that emanate from Devadas’ work on Kashmir are presented by Chatterjee in an elaborate manner to articulate the redundant question of “why are Kashmiris so angry?”, addressing an unfamiliar yet curious Indian and possibly international readership. However, in doing so, the basic and ritualistic understanding of Kashmiri “rage against the machine” is reduced to a lack of faith in the Indian system, again parting from that “unquestionable” premise that “Kashmir is an integral part of India.” Chatterjee’s review offers an excellent summary and understanding of the text, revealing a greater effort from Devadas in critiquing India’s policies and operations in Kashmir, which according to this review could as well be deemed as malpractice, misgovernance and blunt use of violence as opposed to tactics of crowd management in situations of repeated protest. The questions of islamicization, Islamophobia, political Islam and the seeming allure of Sharia law and a caliphate for common Kashmiris are also explored in the book. War profiteering and benefiting from a “conflict economy” by various figures and parties is also observed in the text. Chatterjee, in familiarizing readers, effectively and cohesively allows us to navigate through the important aspects of Devadas’ writing, while also providing a thorough preview of the many ideas that the author elaborates and that require actual and direct engagement with his text to get to a deeper view of his understanding, analysis, synthesis, commentary and historiographic engagement with the Kashmir of the last decade, starting from the symbolic year of 2007. As a proclaimed insider-outsider, and a translator of the situation in Kashmir to an ambivalent Indian audience, a purposefully apathetic and dormant central government, a willfully oblivious bureaucracy, in this book, Devadas also fulfills a scholarly role to present his differed and nuanced views on Kashmir as an alternative to the in-depth research and academic writing produced by a variety of Kashmir scholars. Chatterjee’s reading as review works effectively to generate greater curiosity in a wide array of readers, so much so that the book can be perceived as essential reading for those who wish to understand the conditions from over the last decade that have led to the unchanging and escalating atmosphere of violence in the Valley, of course from within that unquestionable framework of Kashmir being an integral part of India.
This book is one of a recent series of “Guides for the Perplexed” largely devoted to “Continental” philosophers (but also including guides to Wittgenstein and Quine). It sets itself the task of presenting the interested student with a succinct introduction to Edmund Husserl’s philosophical work in its breadth and richness. Husserl (1859–1938) is a philosopher whose writings are in no little need of clarification to the uninitiated, a fact well known to those familiar with the work of the founder of the phenomenological movement. His influence is so far-reaching that much of the subsequent tradition now usually called Continental philosophy is scarcely intelligible without reference to it. Yet access to his thought is invariably hindered by a complex, dense terminology and a difficult style which is precise and scientific rather than instantly perspicuous (and usually further complicated by translation). The several “introductions” to phenomenology penned by Husserl himself, forever the “beginning philosopher”, present the reader with an ever-finer series of conceptual distinctions and ever deeper layers of analysis of consciousness and its acts – a further source of confusion for the non-expert. This book attempts to alleviate this confusion.