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Hindus and Muslims at peace in Trinidad and Tobago: Strong need to convey Indian diaspora stories to the world, says Author Aliyyah Eniath
New Delhi, September 1, 2016: Debuting with a book that gives voice to the lives of people of Indian origin in Trinidad and Tobago, author Aliyyah Eniath believes there is a strong need to convey the stories of the diaspora to the world.
People in this Caribbean nation- where nearly 40 percent of the 1.3 million population is of Indian origin- “still tightly hold on to a lot of cultural practices. Diwali is a huge festival which is a week-long celebration in Trinidad. There is no difference between Hindus and Muslims back home. Conflicts between India and Pakistan do not affect our lives”, Eniath stated.
“It is very important that we get our stories to the world. We have so many stories to tell. It is important that our voices are heard, that the world should know about us too because India has a huge population and is a significant part of the world population. And it is not all about American writing — it should be about Indian writing too,” Eniath, the author of “The Yard” (Speaking Tigers, Rs 350, pp 272) told IANS in an interview during a visit here.
Although Eniath was born and brought up in Trinidad and Tobago, her roots lie in Uttar Pradesh.
As an author, she believes it is “unfortunate” that publishers in Britain and the US are not too keen on stories about the Indian diaspora. But the Indian publishing industry is doing its bit to fill the gaps. “When I got the offer from the Indian publishing house, I could not refuse as I see India as a big platform for diaspora writers,” added Eniath, who is director of a lifestyle magazine.
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For her, the book and its characters are a medium for telling the world how the diaspora has been living in Trinidad and Tobago.
“My book focuses on the experience of one family living in The Yard where the characters are compelled to live together. Many Indians living in Trinidad share similar experiences as well. I think that it does convey the emotional and family bonds as well as the culture, especially the Muslims, about whom I have written and how they have different views on religion,” Eniath explained.
Talking about taking Indian characters abroad, Eniath said no book had earlier focused on the East Indians. “Authors like Jhumpa Lahiri are writing on the immigrants’ experience, but in Trinidad and Tobago, it is different as we really don’t feel like immigrants since we have been there from the start. So it has always been a British-Indian-African community.
“The writing is a bit different but is sort of trendsetting because I don’t think such a book has been written before with such a strong T&T and Indian connection. So I think it is a bit new as well,” said the author who wanted to become a writer ever since she read “Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens.
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Choosing Indian characters was inevitable as it is “easier to relate to characters based on my experience” she said, adding: “I grew up in the close network of an Indian family in Trinidad and Tobago where everyone was involved in everyone’s life. I wanted to write about the extended Indian family.”
And given her fascination with love stories, it was also inevitable that her debut effort is also a love story.
“I am a huge fan of love stories with happy endings, but like them with some layers to it. Mine is a little different; it is mainly a love story but it is also heart-breaking. I do like very much to write about love hoping that it will connect to readers in a big way and it is also what I love to write about,” said the author. (IANS)
The city of Delhi has seen it all; from sultanate rule, to dynasties, and to colonial rule. From monarchy to democracy, Delhi has gone through its phases. But, in order to know and explore the nuances of Delhi, you must read these beautiful books.
1. City of Djinns: A Year in Delhi by William Dalrymple
This book was written while Dalrymple was still flirting with his love for the Medieval India. The author writes, "Moreover the city- so I soon discovered- possessed a bottomless seam of stories: tales receding far beyond history, deep into the cavernous chambers of myth and legend," and just like this, Dalrymple takes you in a tour to discover Discover Delhi.
2. Delhi by Heart: Impressions of a Pakistani Traveller by Raza Rumi
This book explores how the author explores his identity as a South Asian Muslim and how his city of Lahore is a mirror image of Delhi. Rumi, in this book, tries to co-relate the past with the present by comparing its festivals, streets, and markets.
3. Delirious Delhi: Inside India's Incredible Capital by DavePrager
This book is quite interesting. The story of this book revolves around the lives of Dave and Jenny who have recently moved to Delhi when their firm began to go down. The city of Delhi in this book is shown through their eyes as they try to make their way in the city that holds together a very large population.
4. The Heart has its Reasons by Krishna Sobti, Translated by Reema Anand, Meenakshi Swami
The original title of this book is "Dil - o - Danish". This book tells the reader about the streets of Old Delhi and almost transport the reader back in the past. This book is basically set in the 1920's, and tells the tale of a man's extramarital affair, his children out of wedlock, black magic, and Chandni Chowk's rich culture of sweets and the perils of being a widow. Interestingly, many have compared the author of this book to Jane Austen.
5. Delhi: A Novel by Khushwant Singh
Who would talk about Delhi and not remember Khushwant Singh? This amazing book is just like a narrative of the author's fulfilled love affair with the city and with a eunuch. The narrator in this book is an aging man who is trying to discover the city. This book is truly a masterpiece, where it takes the readers on the history of Delhi glimpsing at what makes the city what it is– simply beautiful.
There are some of the Indian cities which are older than time. Therefore, we must know which cities are they, and what has been their history!
1. Varanasi (1200 BC–)
Varanasi is one of the oldest cities of India, and has been a center of religious and cultural activity since the Bronze Age. In fact, this city might have been in existence from a very long time, since it finds mention in the Rig Veda. It is believed that the city of Varanasi was thriving for more than 1600 years before the fall of the Roman Empire in Europe. This city is one of the holiest places for Hindus and Jains, and even Lord Buddha gave his very first sermon here in 528 BC. In Hinduism, it is believed that dying in Varanasi brings salvation, which is the reason why the city is always brimming with pilgrims.
2. Ujjain (700/600 BC–)
Ujjain was once considered as one of the most prominent cities in the Middle India. In fact, the name of this city is repeatedly mentioned in the literature of that period, i.e. in the works of stalwarts like Kālidāsa. This city has seen the rise and fall of numerous empires, from the Mauryas to the Avantis, Nandas, and even the Guptas. This city, just like Varanasi, is also considered as one of the holiest cities in India, and hosts one of the officially recognized Kumbh melas, the Ujjain Simhastha Kumbh, in which people across the world take place.
3. Madurai (500 BC–)
Madurai been a major center of culture and trade for more than 2500 years. In fact, the name of this city has been mentioned in the writings of the great traveler, Megasthenes, and has been ruled by several empires from the Pandyas and the Cholas to the Karnata, and finally the British. Interestingly, ‘'Koodal,' was one of its ancient name which means 'a congregation of learned men'. There is no doubt that Madurai was an epicenter of scholars and religious teachers in the southern part of India.
4. Thanjavur (300 BC–)
Thanjavur was formerly known as Tanjore. This city is pretty famous for its Tanjore style of painting, which is a traditional style that is characterised by the use of gold foil, religious imagery, and simple compositions. This city is best known for being the home of the Great Living Chola Temples, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Till date, people across the world visit this place in order to experience its rich history and heritage.
By- Digital Hub
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