A biography of V.K. Krishna Menon by Jairam Ramesh, a scholarly study of the Himalayas by Stephen Alter and Katherine Ebans riveting account of the collapse of the Ranbaxy empire are among the dozen books in the longlist of the Rs 15 lakh Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2020 for non-fiction announced here on Wednesday that showcases a compelling view of the multitude of narratives that exist in and about India.
“These excellent books cover a wide array of genres: biographies, investigative reportage, regional histories and environmental studies. They are written by scholars, journalists and activists. It was both exciting and arduous to choose these titles among the over one hundred books submitted for the prize,” the jury, headed by political scientist and author Niraja Gopal Jayal said.
Historian and critically acclaimed author Ramachandra Guha, entrepreneur and author Nandan Nilekani, historian and authors Srinath Raghavan and Nayanjot Lahiri, and Manish Sabharwal, Chairman, Teamlease Services, were the other members of the panel, which will announce the six books on the shortlist on November 16.
The 2020 longlist is:
* Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements by Amit Ahuja (Oxford University Press)
* Wild Himalaya: A Natural History of the Greatest Mountain Range on Earth by Stephen Alter (Aleph)
* The Great Agrarian Conquest: The Colonial Reshaping of a Rural World by Neeladri Bhattacharya (Permanent Black/State University of New York Press)
* Bottle of Lies: Ranbaxy and the Dark Side of Indian Pharma by Katherine Eban (Juggernaut)
* Animal Intimacies: Beastly Love in the Himalayas by Radhika Govindrajan (Penguin Random House)
* Kuknalim, Naga Armed Resistance: Testimonies of Leaders, Pastors, Healers and Soldiers by Nandita Haksar and Sebastian M. Hongray (Speaking Tiger)
* A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of V.K. Krishna Menon by Jairam Ramesh (Penguin Random House)
* The Unquiet River: A Biography of the Brahmaputra by Arupjyoti Saikia (Oxford University Press)
* Savarkar: Echoes from a Forgotten Past, 1883-1924 by Vikram Sampath (Penguin Random House)
* Panjab: Journeys through Fault Lines by Amandeep Sandhu (Westland)
* 2019: How Modi Won India by Rajdeep Sardesai (HarperCollins Publishers)
* Midnight’s Machines: A Political History of Technology in India by Arun Mohan Sukumar (Penguin Random House)
The Kamaladevi NIF Book Prize builds on the New India Foundation’s mission of sponsoring high-quality research and writing on all aspects of Independent India. The prize was named after Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, the great patriot, and institution-builder who had contributed significantly to the freedom struggle, to the women’s movement, to refugee rehabilitation and to the renewal of handicrafts.
Previous winners include Milan Vaishnav for his remarkable debut “When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics” (HarperCollins) in 2018 and Ornit Shani for her scholarly work “How India Became Democratic” (Penguin Random House) in 2019.