Chhattisgarh is a uniquely Indian experience. Home to the country’s widest waterfalls, caves, lush green forests, ancient monuments, rare wildlife, exquisitely curved temples, Buddhist sites and hill plateaus. Adorned with myriad tribes that add charm to the diversity of the state, the land of Chhattisgarh is famous for preserving tribal culture. Along with culture, Chhattisgarh boasts of its immense contribution to the developmental projects of the country via cement plants, steel plants, and rice mills.
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Explore this vibrant, ecologically diverse, and culturally rich land of Chhattisgarh through these books.
Title: White as Milk and Rice: Stories of India’s isolated tribes
Author: Nidhi Dugar Kundalia
Publisher: Penguin eBury Press
Blurb: The Maria girls from Bastar practise sex as an institution before marriage, but with rules—one may not sleep with a partner more than three times; the Hallaki women from the Konkan coast sing throughout the day—in forests, fields, the market and at protests; the Kanjars have plundered, looted and killed generation after generation, and will show you how to roast a lizard when hungry.
The original inhabitants of India, these Adivasis still live in forests and hills, with religious beliefs, traditions and rituals so far removed from the rest of the country that they represent an anthropological wealth of our heritage.
This book weaves together prose, oral narratives and Adivasi history to tell the stories of six remarkable tribes of India—reckoning with radical changes over the last century—as they were pulled apart and thrown together in ways none of them fathomed.
Price: Rs. 304 || Pages: 256
Title: The Burning Forest: India’s War in Bastar
Author: Nandini Sundar
Publisher: Juggernaut Publication
Blurb: Starting from 2005 when a government-sponsored vigilante movement, Salwa Judum, killed hundreds and drove thousands of villagers into camps, to the present day when it is the most militarized area in the country, the war in Bastar has taken a heavy toll on the people of Bastar, the security forces, the Maoists and human rights activists.
This book chronicles how the armed conflict between the government and the Maoists has devastated the lives of some of India’s poorest, most vulnerable citizens. The fact that Bastar has some of India’s biggest mineral reserves has made the conflict even more intense and also destroyed the ecology and culture of Bastar.
Price: Rs. 499 || Pages: 432
Title: The Hill Korwas of Chhattisgarh
Author: Dr. Irshad Khan
Publisher: K.K. Publications
Blurb: The Hill Korwas of Chhattisgarh: A Study on Health and Nutritional Status is a holistic research work on a particularly vulnerable tribe of Chhattisgarh, found in the northeastern region of the state. This tribe has been notified and declared as one of the Particular Vulnerable Tribal Groups by the Government of India during the Fifth year plan. The entire work is discussed in several chapters dealing with different aspects such as a brief ethnography of the Hill Korwas, socio-economic demographic profile, nutritional assessment, clinical assessment of 0-6 years children, assessment of food habits and dietary intake, assessment of health status and mother and child health status. This book will be useful for Government functionaries, NGOs, Research Scholars, Students of Anthropology, Sociology, Home Science, Tribal Studies and all those who have an interest in the study of health and nutrition.
Price: Rs. 795* || Pages: 398
*Only Kindle edition available as of now
Title: Maoist and Other Armed Forces
Author: Anuradha M. Chenoy, Kamal A. Mitra Chenoy
Publisher: Penguin India
Blurb: This book is a holistic examination of present armed conflicts as well as the past ones in Punjab and Mizoram, illuminating their common roots, as well as the responses of the state and civil society. The authors show how insurgencies are propelled by a complex mix of issues: the denial of justice and rights, identity concerns, and the breakdown of the social and symbolic order, rather than merely poverty and lack of education. Draconian laws like the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act and measures like encounters, crackdowns and Salwa Judum aggravate the sense of collective victimhood and feelings of alienation from the national community.
Bringing together for the first time ever, field data and interviews with insurgents and activists, especially women, civil society and politicians from these diverse areas, this book is a powerful critique of national security approaches to the resolution of armed conflicts.
Price: Rs. 321 || Pages: 328
Title: Charandas Chor and Other Plays
Author: Habib Tanvir
Publisher: Seagull Books
Blurb: A towering figure in twentieth-century theatre in India, Habib Tanvir was an actor, director, and playwright, working in Hindi and Urdu. He founded the Naya Theater in 1959, through which he created remarkable works drawing on the history and traditions of the tribal folk of Chhattisgarh. This book brings together four plays, all translated into English for the first time. Charandas Chor (1975), Tanvir’s most famous work, is the story of a typical folk hero who robs the rich much in the style of Robin Hood and evades the law until he comes up against one wall he cannot scale—his own commitment to the truth.
Enriched by introductory texts and an intensive interview with Tanvir that covers the milestones of his illustrious career, the book will be the perfect introduction to Tanvir’s work for English-language theatre fans and scholars.
Price: Rs. 406 || Pages: 376
Title: Bhulan Kaanda: The Amnesia Tuber
Author: Sanjeev Buxy
Translator: K S Ram, Uma Ram
Publisher: Notion Press
Blurb: There is an accidental killing in a forest-tribal village in Chhattisgarh. The Police Inspector is on his way to investigate. The village-constable, riding on the pillion of the Inspector’s motorbike, suddenly cautions him to avoid a particular spot on the path where grows the Bhulan Kaanda, the tuber whose contact, he claims, induces instant amnesia and makes the victim confused regarding the right path, making him go around and round. The accidental killing throws up an existential conflict between the traditional village system of justice and the formal State court of law. The accused, as also the entire village, find themselves making several rounds to the court in the town to resolve a matter that they had smoothly resolved long back. The amnesia-inducing tuber becomes a metaphor for the institutions of the Government. The story, riveting as it unfolds, dramatizes a subject that has been rarely examined: the post-colonial discord in countries like India between the traditional structures of local governance and the State’s institutions, inherited from alien rulers of the past.
Price: Rs. 180 || Pages: 152
Title: Kosa Katha: imprints from Chattisgarh
Author: Nimisha Jha, Meetu Gupta
Publisher: Penguin Enterprise
Blurb: The book weaves in multifaceted accounts of the various processes and stages of its creation, from cocoon cultivation to silk yarn production. The book also highlights the impact of kosa on the local population and discusses its socio-economic aspects, the way it affects livelihood, the importance of women in the sector and its wider effects on the environment. Emphasis has been placed on best practices in the business and the use of technology, underlining the emergence of mechanized techniques, thus making it a lucrative profession and establishing silk as the real queen of textiles.
The idea behind Kosa Katha is to compile information to address the existing gaps caused by poor documentation, incomplete literature and distorted figures, which have not been able to give a holistic view of this flourishing trade.
Price: Rs. 2015 || Pages: 110
Title: The Death Script: Dreams and Delusions in Naxal Country
Author: Ashutosh Bhardwaj
Publisher: Penguin India
Blurb: From 2011 to 2015, Ashutosh Bhardwaj lived in India’s ‘red corridor’, and made several trips thereafter, reporting on the Maoists, on the state’s atrocities, and on lives caught in the crossfire. In The Death Script, he writes of his time there, of the various men and women he meets from both sides of the conflict, bringing home with astonishing power the human cost of such a battle. Narrated in multiple voices, the book is a creative biography of Dandakaranya that combines the rigour of journalism, the intimacy of a diary, the musings of a travelogue, and the craft of a novel. Through the prism of the Maoist insurgency, Bhardwaj meditates on larger questions of violence and betrayal, sin and redemption, and what it means to live through and write about such experiences— making The Death Script one of the most significant works of non-fiction to be published in recent times.
Price: Rs. 259 || Pages: 280
This list of books is curated by Amritesh Mukherjee for Purple Pencil Project’s Instagram.