Books on gender parity, the Chipko movement, the Tata group and iconic painter Syed Haider Raza are among 10 works named on the longlist for the 2022 Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize on Thursday.
Books nominated for the fifth edition of the award include Accidental Feminism: Gender Parity and Selective Mobility Among India’s Professional Elite (Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen), The Truths and Lies of Nationalism as Narrated by Charvak (Partha Chatterjee), Syed Haider Raza: The Journey of an Iconic Artist” (Yashodhara Dalmia), “Governance by Stealth: The Ministry of Home Affairs and the Making of the Indian State” (Subrata Mitra) and “The Chipko Movement: A People’s History” (Shekhar Pathak ).
Tata: The Global Corporation That Built Indian Capitalism (Mircea Raianu), Whole Numbers and Half-Truths: What Data Can and Cannot Tell Us About Modern India (Rukmini S), Congress Radio: Usha Mehta and the Underground Radio Station of 1942” (Usha Thakkar), “Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India” (Suchitra Vijayan) and Ghazala Wahab’s “Born a Muslim: Some Truths about Islam in India” complete the list.
This year’s longlist covers a variety of topics that combine keen research with scholarly writing, the New India Foundation said, adding that each offers valuable insight into different aspects of the country’s history.
“The books selected this year range from biography and art history to analyzes of environmental, industrial and governmental changes and represent the way India was shaped in this 75th year of independence. By theorizing the past and present, the long-listed titles offer a new way of interpreting pathways to an ambitious future,” the NIF said in a statement.
The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize, named after one of India’s leading state founders, recognizes the best nonfiction about modern and contemporary India published in the previous calendar year by writers of all nationalities. Launched in 2018, it carries an award of Rs 15 lakh and a mention.
The shortlist will be announced on November 8th and the winner on December 1st.
This year’s jury was chaired by political scientist Niraja Gopal Jayal and also included entrepreneur Manish Sabharwal, historians Srinath Raghavan and Nayanjot Lahiri, former diplomat Navtej Sarna and lawyer Rahul Matthan.
The jury described the longlist as “wonderfully diverse”.
“The many themes of modern Indian history it deals with are of great relevance today: while the histories of nationalism, economics, the environment and state institutions offer a sobering historical look at the present, the more contemporary works on feminism and Data give cause for optimism about the future. Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, these histories reflect the contemporary state of India.”
Previous winners are Milan Vaishnav (2018), Ornit Shani (2019), Amit Ahuja and Jairam Ramesh (2020 together) and Dinyar Patel (2021).