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Mahuldiha Days

Set in the forests of northern Odisha, Mahuldia Days is the moving story of a young civil servant caught between her commitment to the tribal communities she knows are the original inhabitants of the forest, and the monolithic state, oblivious to the diverse realities of life on the ground. The moonlit Brahmani river snakes through the story with a life of its own while the city of the narrator’s childhood returns to her in dreams. Agnihotri creates a poignant, intense narrative layered with an awareness of the pressures of motherhood and personal love.

Praise for Anita Agnihotri:

“Agnihotri draws you in with her well fleshed out characters. Their dreams, idiosyncrasies and disappointments are all too real; as are their failures.”
—Aparna Singh, Women’s Web

“Urgently told and precise in their direction... Each story crackles with intensity and purpose.”
—Mike McClelland, Spectrum Culture

“[Anita Agnihotri] sensitively and beautifully chronicles the plight of a major chunk of the country’s population.”
—Abdullah Khan, The Hindu

Anita Agnihotri works in the Ministry of Social Justice in India. She is a Bengali writer of over twenty-five books, including Seventeen and The Awakening, both also published by Zubaan. Seventeen won the Economist-Crossword Book Award for translation in 2011.

Kalpana Bardhan is a writer and translator based in San Francisco. Continue reading

Forest Interludes: A Collection of Journals & Fiction

"This volume...is unique because it manages to capture the socio-economic reality of the dispossessed masses without sounding didactic or condescending...Agnihotri seems to have done her research and knows what she is talking about...the first person narrative adds an autobiographical element and makes it that much more convincing." -- The Indian Express

Anita Agnihotri is an IAS officer with numerous short stories and two novels to her credit Continue reading

The Awakening

Arjun is not a potter by birth. He is a low caste cobbler but he is determined to succeed in his chosen profession which deals with clay and straw instead of leather. Through Arjun's struggle, the author explores caste and class discrimination that continues to plague society in contemporary India.

The story unfolds against the backdrop of the violence of the Naxal movement of the 1960s and '70s that wiped out an entire generation of Bengal's youth. Anita Agnihotri sensitively handles a difficult subject and interweaves these two struggles: the one of the idol maker and the other of the families of the young Naxalite revolutionaries whom the state destroyed.

"With a poet's sensitivity [Agnihotri]... has an eye and ear for others' conflicts and vulnerabilities, she is a passionate writer given to neither pretension nor partisanship." - Kalpana Bardhan


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A brother and sister visit the unique crater-lake that their dead, estranged mother had written to them about in her letters. A middle-class employee's orderly life turns upside down when his employer holds back his cheque without an explanation. The employees of a forgotten outpost in a sun-baked town threaten mass suicide because they have no hope of survival.

Seventeen is a collection of short stories from among more than 100 of Anita Agnihotri's published short fiction. By turn intense, brittle, angry sad and torn apart in conflict, the stories bring out the different faces of human hardship and explore the India that is still largely unknown. Set in metros and villages, in small-town India and in international suburbia, the stories run the gamut of experiences both everyday and extraordinary. From deeply personal relationships against the backremove of turmoil to intensely social truths told through the unique life of individuals, each of these stories is a picture of human fragility. This is literary craftsmanship at its best. Continue reading

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