Indian Nationalism

by S Irfan Habib

‘We live in time of hyper-nationalism, amidst the shrieks of cultural homogenisation. The frenzy of self-proclaimed nationalists and mono-culturalists is threatening to tear apart our social fabric. A binary has trapped us- you are a nationalist or an anti-nationalist, depending upon your attitude towards the state and its politics.’ This hyper-nationalism is what prompted the author to compile a collection of essays giving us a history of emergence of the frenzy, its effects and side-effects.... continue reading→

cover: Indian Nationalism

Why Elms Die Young

Terence Blacker

This is a story of why Elms die young. It is sort of a curse, mostly. Elm was the rudest tree in the forest where everyone was very tolerant. The forest is a tolerant, live-and-let-live sort of place, where there is a general sense that trees should not judge one another but concentrate on their own growing. In the midst of tolerant humble trees Elm was the only one with a severe attitude problem. He... continue reading→

This One (or How the Blackthorn Got Its Flowers)

Susan Elderkin

This is a cute story of Blackthorn. When once Blackthorn was young and the gifts were being distributed he got really late to the party. The gates were closed and he couldn’t get anything. He was okay though since all the other trees looks just like him. They all had stumps and branches. On the day that the gifts were handed out they Blackthorn was late. By the time it got there,, the gate was... continue reading→

Why the Ash Has Black Buds

William Fiennes

This beautiful story is about an Ash tree who saw men and women reading and writing beneath its shades. The author begins with: The trees have always had some idea of what happens to them when they die. Yes they do. They have seen their friends and neighbors being chopped down and converted to furniture, handles, wheels and what not. But the most noble of them were those who were converted to books. The trees... continue reading→

Beyond the Fog

Qurratulain Hyder, translated from Urdu by Muhammad Umar Memon

This is a story filled with twists and turns. If it wasn’t a skillfully written short story this might as well have passed as a Bollywood movie script. The story is about Katy or Catherine. She is born to Katto, a sweeper (read: lower caste Hindu), after she had a passions affair with a drummer in the British Army in India. The love they bore for each other was real but the army man did... continue reading→

The Old Mansion

Ikramullah, translated from Urdu by Muhammad Umar Memon

There lived three old men in an old mansion someplace which was affected by refugees inflow. The government started fitting people wherever they found place and these three souls were lucky enough to find each other. Their actual names were long forgotten and now they were only known as Chhota (The youngest), Manjhla (the middle one) and Bara (the oldest). But wishes are like flowers. By the end of the day only the stem remains,... continue reading→

cover: The Old Mansion