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
Excluding the people
Cultural practice does not recognise borders. Militarising it reduces it to a dangerous monolith.
The masks came off soon after condoling writer Mahasweta Devi’s death. Unmasked, the right-wing pseudo-nationalists were on the prowl for their daily target. They found it in a play staged in the University of Haryana; the play was based on Mahasweta’s story, “Draupadi”. The attack by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) was to convince us that a story, a story that exposes violence against a woman activist, a story by a writer you have just praised, can turn anti-national.
Nursing god’s countries
In Quebec, the wind sings with a hoarse throat. It’s because it sings the same song all the time that it sounds like a moan. It’s my first winter.
In Munnar, rain sprays the fronds of the coconut trees, making them greener. The rain has settled down to a steady rhythm, the way it does after it has said its piece in one great burst of a downpour. Because the rain is calmer now, I can hear it better. Or I can make better sense of it. I can translate dripping whispers into words that wing from Munnar to Quebec.
“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