Three Essays Collective

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Splintered Justice: two reviews

The way the state dealt with two communal massacres and their aftermath in Bihar and Gujarat is a stinging commentary on India’s justice system in an area where it possibly matters the most.
Jayati Ghosh

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The Bhagalpur riots and the Gujarat pogrom had common features which still persist.
AG Noorani

Cover for Publicity FRONT

Probing the unhealed wounds


Splintered Justice: Living the Horror of Mass Communal Violence in Bhagalpur and Gujarat captures the anatomy of a communal riot.

Kuldeep Kumar in The Hindu

[…] Based on interviews with victims and witnesses of Bhagalpur and Gujarat riots, what Warisha Farasat and Prita Jha have written goes to reinforce the terrible realisation that criminal justice system in our country has largely failed, and the bureaucracy and the police have been, to a large extent, politicised and communalised. It is the same heart-rending story of how FIRs were either not registered or, if registered, heavily doctored by the police persons themselves, how investigation was conducted that often led nowhere, how witnesses were intimidated or eliminated and how justice was not only delayed but often denied. The governments of the day watched over these manufactured incidents of mass violence without doing much to control the situation. Post-riot relief was often selectively distributed. The two detailed accounts of the Bhagalpur and Gujarat riots also bring out the oft-ignored reality of gender violence being used as a weapon of communal violence.

As Harsh Mander and Navsharan Singh ask in their introduction, “did the governments in Assam in 1983, Delhi in 1984, Mumbai in 1992-93, and Gujarat in 2002 or Kandhamal in 2008, fail to prevent slaughter and arson because they lacked sufficient powers or legal muscle?” The obvious answer is an emphatic ‘No’.

Warisha Farasat and Prita Jha have made a valuable contribution to the growing literature on communal riots in India through their first-hand interviews with those who bore the brunt of these massacres. Reading through these accounts is an eye-opening experience. It is an experience that shakes the very foundations of one’s belief in human goodness but also makes one better prepared to face the grim reality.

Read the full article here

Three Essays at the New Delhi World Book Fair

New Delhi World Book Fair 2017.
7 January-15 January, Pragati Maidan, New Delhi.

For Three Essays books, do visit the
IPD Alternatives stall at
Hall No. 11 – Stall No. 528Book Fair Publicity


New releases from Three Essays:

1. Indian Society and the Secular: Essays (Romila Thapar)
2. Splintered Justice: Living the Horror of Mass Communal Violence in Bhagalpur and Gujarat (Warisha Farasat & Prita Jha)
3. The Opulence of Existence: Essays on Aesthetics and Politics (Prasanta Chakravarty)

Indian Society and the Secular

Romila Thapar‘s new book of essays, Indian Society and the Secular, arrives at a time when India is facing its greatest challenges since Independence in 1947. With ultra right in power and forces of Hindu nationalism out to revise the very idea of a pluralistic, democratic and secular republic and recast it into a Hindu rashtra. She argues that secularism is not alien to Indian society and its intellectual traditions.



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Reality that stinks

“Dalits and Adivasis in India’s Business Economy: Three Essays and an Atlas” captures the experience of doing business in a caste-conscious social environment

KULDEEP KUMAR writes in The Hindu, 5 March 2016:

The suicide of Dalit researcher Rohith Vemula, termed “institutionalised murder” by many a commentator, has focused the nation’s attention on the status of the Dalits and other disadvantaged sections of our society as we approach the 70th anniversary of the country’s Independence next year.

Despite the “Swachchh Bharat Abhiyan” (“Clean India Campaign”) launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, not much has changed on the ground and there are an estimated 1.3 million manual scavengers in the country. Manual scavenging is a euphemism for removing faeces from dry toilets and open drains by hand and carrying them to the place of disposal. For centuries, this task has been forcibly thrust upon the members of the untouchable communities – a recent report informs us that of the 1.3 million manual scavengers, nearly 90 per cent are women. Thus, besides being an issue of caste-based discrimination, manual scavenging also involves gender-based discrimination.

Despite this shameful reality, it is also a fact that many Dalits like Rohith Vemula have tried to improve their lot by getting education and gainful employment. However, whenever we discuss the condition of the two most disadvantaged communities – Dalits and tribals – we seldom look at their role in the country’s economy in general and corporate world in particular. The same holds true for the other disadvantaged community – that of the Muslims who constitute the largest minority group in the Indian society.

Three Essays Collective, a one-man publishing house started by well-known Hindi poet Asad Zaidi to make a meaningful intervention, has brought out an excellent book titled “Dalits and Adivasis in India’s Business Economy: Three Essays and an Atlas”. It has been written by Barbara Harriss-White, Emeritus Professor of Development Studies at the Oxford University, in collaboration with Elisabetta Basile, Anita Dixit, Pinaki Joddar, Aseem Prakash and Kaushal Vidyarthee.

Ten years ago, Three Essays Collective had also published a pioneering study “Muslims in Indian Economy” written by Omar Khalidi. Reading both these books together, one gets an idea of how dismal the situation really is and, in the absence of corrective measures, how this can lead to fault lines one day erupting with serious consequences for the nation and its polity.

To read rest of the review, please go here

Following DD Kosambi

Ram Ramaswamy

Some years ago, a friend of mine at JNU proudly told me about a book that he had picked up from the library “sale”, a book that had once belonged to D D Kosambi (DDK). Apparently it had not been checked out for years, and was therefore deemed unworthy of staying on in the library, as if finding a place on the library shelf was just some sort of evolutionary game, a survival of the fittest and no more…

The JNU had, at some point in time, acquired Kosambi’s personal collection of books, that was, according to Mr R P Nene (DDK’s friend and assistant, in an interview in June 1985) “sold by his family after his death to the JNU at the cost of Rs. 75,000.” Details of how this happened are not too clear- Kosambi died in 1966, the JNU was founded in 1969, and the initial seed of the JNU library was that of the “prestigious Indian School of International Studies which was later merged with Jawaharlal Nehru University.” Our website goes on to say that the “JNU Library is a depository of all Govt. publications and publications of some important International Organisations like WHO, European Union, United Nations and its allied agencies etc. The Central Library is knowledge hub of Jawaharlal Nehru University, It provides comprehensive access to books, journals, theses and dissertations, reports, surveys covering diverse disciplines.”

The full text is here

DDK pic

“A lingering pain that seeps slowly and eternally through the flooded scars of Kashmir”

Hufaiza Pandit reviews Of Gardens and Graves

To read Of Gardens and of Graves is to witness the coming to life of Yeats’ famous line: “A terrible beauty is born”. It is to be reminded, if ever a reminder was needed, of the lingering pain that seeps slowly and eternally through the flooded scars of Kashmir, the scowl of the last half a century that darkens the fate of every subject, born under the auspices of its melancholic sky. It is hard to classify the book into a genre as it repudiates traditional hierarchies by refusing to be neatly categorized into one – it is simultaneously a memoir, a critical commentary, an anthology, collaboration, and a history all rolled into one, held together by a single source- Kashmir.  An arbitrary classification of the book structure could be that the book comprises of three basic divisions: Essays, translations and photographs. On a reading, though, the narratives under each rubric just blend with each other, without any manifest hierarchy.

To read the full review click here

javed dar 5 aug

Perry Anderson remembers Praful Bidwai

Praful Bidwai
On publication of The Indian Ideology, I was asked by Praful Bidwai if he could interview me about it for Outlook. I was then in France, and our exchange was conducted by email. … [Before this] I had met Praful just once, at a conference in Delhi in 2010, at which I remember him gently reproaching me for being uncritical of India’s intervention in East Bengal in 1971. After the interview, however, he would unfailingly send me his articles on political and social developments in the Subcontinent. From these I formed a great admiration for him as a writer and an activist. To my knowledge, few journalists anywhere in the world possessed the combination of human and intellectual qualities that was his: clarity of expression, independence of mind, balance of judgment, warmth of feeling, in the service of solidarity with the poor and the oppressed, not only in India, but anywhere in the world. He was extraordinarily productive, and completely unsectarian, in both sympathy and outlook. His sudden death in July of this year has deprived India of one of its finest spirits of the contemporary period.

perry anderson(Excerpted from The Indian Ideology. Note to the Second Edition.)
Link to the Outlook interview:…/respect-gandhi-if-you-…/282832

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Recently published


The Lottery of Birth

On Inherited Social Inequalities


The Opulence of Existence

Essays on Aesthetics and Politics


Splintered Justice

Living the Horror of Mass Communal Violence in Bhagalpur and Gujarat


Indian Society and the Secular



Of Gardens and Graves

Essays on Kashmir | Poems in Translation


Adventures Into the Unknown



Outsider in the White House


Science in Saffron

Skeptical Essays on History of Science

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Forthcoming titles

  • Findings Keepings

    Life and Communism and Everything

    By Ralph Russell

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