Becoming Babasaheb: Birth to Mahad (1891-1929), Aakash Singh Rathore

The first of an ambitious two-volume biography, Becoming Babasaheb traces Ambedkar’s life journey, from his birth in 1891 to the transformative Mahad Satyagraha in 1929. It takes a completely fresh look at Ambedkar’s lived experiences and illuminates the man behind the legend. The biography offers an extensive, personality-driven narrative covering Ambedkar’s life, along with salient aspects of his contemporary legacy, unfolding as a tale of remarkable tenacity, which it chronicles in all its rich vitality.

Water In a Broken Pot: A Memoir, Yogesh Maitreya

Yogesh Maitreya is an independent Indian Dalit publisher, writer, and poet. Encompassing experiences of pain, loneliness, depravation, alienation, and the political consciousness of his caste identity, this intimately moving memoir is a story of resilience and raw brutality. Growing up in a working-class family with meagre wages to get by in life, Yogesh writes of his father’s struggle against alcohol and passion for cinema; of intergenerational dreams shattered; working day and night shifts in factories; the struggle of being lost, overlooked and unmentored in India’s schooling, college, and university systems which continue to be casteist, exclusionary, and hostile.

Having hopped from gig to gig to make ends meet, he writes of his eventual discovery of the written word, literature and the Ambedkarite legacy, which helped shape his dreams, identity and the eventual career choice of publishing books.

Rejoice in Adversity, Triumph in War: A Military Memoir, Rajpal Punia

This is a collection of anecdotes of Major General Rajpal Punia who has served nearly 40 years in the Indian army. Punia’s dream of a career in the army began when he was ten years old and donned a Sainik School uniform for the first time. His career has taken him from patrolling the hotly contested Line of Actual Control to United Nations Peacekeeping Missions in warzones across the world. Among his many achievements was the peaceful evacuation of the Dera Sacha Sauda complex at Sirsa, now considered a textbook case for deploying armed forces in disturbed civilian areas. This is a fiery memoir.

ReFocus: The Films of Shyam Benegal, Sneha Kar Chaudhuri and Ramit Samaddar

Shyam Benegal, a trailblazing auteur who successfully redefined the contours of non-commercial Hindi language cinema, is widely perceived as one of the most influential Indian filmmakers. And yet, his voluminous body of work remains relatively under-studied in contemporary film scholarship. To help fill this critical lacuna, ReFocus: The Films of Shyam Benegal undertakes a closer look at Benegal’s films and shows how the auteur, over the course of his forty-year career, used cinema as a potent medium to narrate the story of a nation in continuous transition.

The 13 essays in this volume explore how Benegal’s films articulate his concerns about caste, class, gender, religion, and other allied social, economic, and political problems characterising the Indian subcontinent. They offer nuanced critiques of the way Benegal’s parallel cinema upholds the value of meaningful cinema as a means to create social awareness in the minds of the audience. This collection also includes a full-length interview with Shyam Benegal, which investigates his perspectives on the art of film-making and provides an analysis of his own films.

Lab Hopping: A Journey to Find India’s Women in Science, Nandita Jayaraj and Aashima Dogra

From Bhopal to Bhubaneswar, from Bangalore to Jammu, Aashima Dogra and Nandita Jayaraj engage in thought-provoking conversations with renowned scientists like Gagandeep Kang, Rohini Godbole, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Prajval Shastri, as well as researchers at earlier stages of their scientific careers. These dialogues about the triumphs and challenges faced by women offer fresh perspectives on the gender gap that continues to haunt Indian science today.

Our labs are brimming with inspiring stories of women scientists persisting in science despite facing apathy, stereotypes, and sexism to systemic and organisational challenges. Stories that reveal both a broken system and the attempts by extraordinary women working to fix it. By questioning whether India is doing enough to support its women in science and if western models of science and feminism can truly be applied in India, the authors not only offer a comprehensive examination of the state of women in science but also offer a roadmap for the way forward.

When Ardh Satya Met Himmatwala, Avijit Ghosh

The 1980s. In Hindi cinema, it was the decade of the dark and powerful police drama Ardh Satya. It was the decade of the kitschy excess of the action comedy Himmatwala. It was a decade of opposites.

It was a time when the best of New Wave 2.0 won acclaim and awards across the globe, and B-grade “sex films” drew crowds into rundown small-town theatres; when ridiculous lyrics set to “disco music” created massive chartbusters, and the poetry of Kabir, Tulsidas and Faiz also found space in film songs.

It was a time when Amitabh Bachchan’s injury had all of India praying for a miracle; when Peter Pan Jeetendra was spending more time shooting in Madras than in Bombay; when Rekha still ruled but Sridevi was rising to superstardom; when Naseer, Shabana, Om and Smita were the Fab Four of arthouse cinema; when the flamboyant dancing stars Mithun and Govinda brought a whole new aesthetic to Bollywood; when North and South met and mated like never before.

It was a time of furious change beyond the silver screen, too: video cassettes brought cinema to drawing rooms and bedrooms; television and one-day cricket emerged as fierce competition to films; piracy put movie theatres in crisis; film stars were elected to the Indian Parliament in surprising numbers. This thoroughly researched narrates the fascinating story of perhaps the most eventful, disruptive, and transformative decade of Hindi cinema.