Githa Hariharan has written novels, short fiction and essays over the last three decades. Her highly acclaimed work includes The Thousand Faces of Night which won the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book in 1993, the short story collection The Art of Dying, the novels The Ghosts of Vasu Master, When Dreams Travel, In Times of Siege and Fugitive Histories, and a collection of essays entitled Almost Home: Cities and Other Places. She has also written children’s stories; and edited a collection of translated short fiction, A Southern Harvest, and the essay collection From India to Palestine: Essays in Solidarity.
Hariharan has, over the years, been a cultural commentator through her essays, lectures and activism. In 1995, Hariharan challenged the Hindu Minority and Guardianship Act as discriminatory against women. The case, Githa Hariharan and Another vs. Reserve Bank of India and Another, led to a landmark Supreme Court judgment in 1999 on guardianship.
Essays & Stories
When Bodies Speak
Braiding together an epic story and India’s ongoing suppression of women, Githa Hariharan traces the many ways Draupadi’s story lives on—though the censor may tie her tongue—in both contemporary culture and the actions of women to oppose oppression.
A woman clothed. Then stripped, so she is just a woman’s body; bare skin on which battles are fought for power in all its guises, from honour to state security. What happens when this woman’s body speaks? What is its language? And can such a language live apart from the vocabulary of politics?
Becoming a Woman
Once, in the hottest hour of the day when everyone sensible was indoors, a little girl stole out alone. The sunlight blazed outside the one-room houses stuck together in a row. The treeless courtyard was full of almost-goddesses and almost-demons, waiting to be given their costumes.
The sun shone hard. The girl squinted at the naked sun-bleached bodies of the almost-women.
“All my work looks at power politics in some way or the other.” Githa Hariharan
“These scholarly and committed essays allow us for the first time to consider the issue of Palestine outside the hopeless western frame of mind. The mutual, and at times troubled, relationship between India and Palestine, offer new, and hopeful, insights about the role both countries play in our times.” Ilan Pappe