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HOW THE HINDUS CONTRIBUTED TO THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE

Unlike the Western calendar, the Nepali New Year (and a host of other New Years all over Asia, from Thailand to Tamil Nadu to Bangladesh) starts on April 14th. Why, you may ask. The reason is astrological. The Sun has completed its path around the twelve signs of the zodiac, and on 14th April enters Aries, the first sign, to start the cycle anew.
Aries is ruled by the ram, an animal characterized by quick movement and big leaps. Gamboling along, the first sign shows the initiative and drive of new beginnings, the energy to start afresh, and the power of regeneration.
Astrology draws mockery from most people. A jyotish, or astrologer of the East, is casually called “bajay,” or grandfather, with a slight element of condescension. Western astrologers are often thought of as weak-minded women with too many scented candles.
Part of jyotish’s shabby reputation comes from this conflation: at some point, Western astrologers and Eastern jyotish became conflated as one and the same tradition, alth…

ECS Magazine Archives

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A few of my articles from ECS Magazine is now up in this link. They including this article.


Reconstructing Heritage


Reconstruction of heritage has risen to the top of priorities in the world of development post- earthquake. Even as the aftershocks continued to hit after the 2015 earthquake, I remember the first and primary concern for most people in Kathmandu was for the Dharahara, the Kathmandu Durbar Square, the historic city of Patan, and other material architectural heritage. People could be united around these monuments and feel their loss in a way they couldn’t for those 400,000 who lost their mud-thatched huts and stone cottages. News about the powerful destruction in other parts of the country trickled in as hearsay, at first: the erasure of Langtang village from the face of the Earth took a while for us to understand. A wonderful, young tourist guide came to visit me a day or so after the big quake in the hospital. He told me how he had been trekking in Langtang when giant bou…

A small little video of me talking about what I liked about the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival

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Check out this short little clip of me at the Ubud Readers and Writers Festival in Indonesia in 2009. 

You can also find that link here on Flickr.

In the Mountains: Book review of "The Himalayan Arc" in the Deccan Herald

In the Mountains
Shyam G Menon, JUN 16 2018, 16:57PM IST UPDATED: JUN 17 2018, 02:02AM IST 

The Himalayan Arc: Journeys East of South-East is an anthology of writings edited by Namita Gokhale. Positioned as a travel book with a difference (that’s what the book’s jacket says), The Himalayan Arc focuses on the stretch of the Himalayas...
Second, there is serious writing from well-known literary figures and articles authored by journalists. My favourites were the chapters from Sujeev Shakya; Amish Raj Mulmi, Thomas Bell, Sushma Joshi, Tsering Tashi, Manoj Joshi, Catherine Anderson, Prajwal Parajuly, Janice Pariat, Indira Goswami, Ma Thida, David Malone and Tulsi Badrinath.
Read more at: https://www.deccanherald.com/sunday-herald/sunday-herald-books/mountains-675235.html



Book review of "The Himalayan Arc" in the Hindusthan Times

The Himalayan Arc takes a long, hard look at the uneasy realities of the region
It’s an enjoyable, enlightening collection of accounts, essays, poems, and photographs that make up the Himalayan experience, but doesn’t shy away from revelations that could make one uneasy.
BOOKSUpdated: May 23, 2018 18:57 Ist

Prannay Pathak Hindustan Times
How do you imagine the Himalayas? We do know that beyond its national limits, the mountain chain extends into as far as Afghanistan in the west, and to the east, extrudes into Nepal, Bhutan, and Myanmar, but how often do we consider the fact’s geopolitical implications? Compiled by acclaimed Indian author, and co-founder of the Jaipur Literary Fest, Namita Gokhale, The Himalayan Arc: Journeys East of South-East is an unlikely book about travel and experience, about communities and their relationship with their land, and the spectral nature of frontiers. The ramparts of India’s political northern fortress, the geographical shield that blocks the harsh Si…

HYPER_REALITY AND NOSTALGIA IN THE HOLY LAND

Here's my paper which I wrote for  a class on travel literature in the 1600s at the Santa Fe campus of the Breadloaf School of English in 2000. Seems like an appropriate time to share this!

HYPER-REALITY AND NOSTALGIA IN THE HOLY LAND
In addition to this act of penitence and grace, the journey to Jerusalem also held deep mystical and legendary meaning for medieval men and women, for the scared city was believed to be the center of the world, the omphalos or navel, the scared hub of the world's orb. At the same time, it was the ideal of the sacred city - for Jerusalem was both the center of Christian history, the stage of Christ's redemptive sacrifice and resurrection, and the end of all history. (From the Introduction, Guide to the Holy Land, Theoderich - Ithica, 1986)

Guide to the Holy Land is a medieval guidebook written by Theoderich, a German monk of the 12th century. It is a text that explores the sacred geography of Jerusalem, and allows us, as contemporary readers, to …

The Himalayan Arc

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Here is an email I got from Amrita Mukerji, Deputy Managing Editor at Harper Collins India, about The Himalayan Arc. The anthology was edited by Namita Gokhale, co-founder of the Jaipur Literary Festival. My essay "The Quake" is also included. I attended the festival in 2010 but I could not go this year.

If you are interested to hold a book reading of this anthology in your city, please let me know and I will inform Amrita!

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Dear contributors,
As mentioned in my earlier mail, the book launch for The Himalayan Arc was held in Jaipur at the Jaipur Literature Festival on 26 January at 1.40 p.m. Many thanks to all those who participated, and we missed those who could not attend. Unfortunately we couldn’t do a Facebook Live because of connectivity issues, but I have attached a few photographs of the event. We hope to hold more such events through the year, and if any of you would like to organize a book reading or event in your city, do let us know and we’ll discuss the way fo…