I enjoyed reading Pyre by Perumal Murugan, Gita Press and the Making of Hindu India by Akshaya Mukul and My Father Baliah by YB Satyanarayana.
Pyre by Perumal Murugan left a mark because of the evocative style of writing and the times we live in, with lynchings, love-jihad murders, etc. He tackles the topic in a way you keep thinking about it for weeks after finishing the book.
Gita Press is an amazing chronicle of how Hindutva rose in this country – how propaganda spread and how a publication worked tirelessly to spread the message, without looking for any commercial gains whatsoever. The extracts of Gita Press articles from the past, in the book, were a complete eye-opener for me – in terms of how deeply patriarchy and misogyny are ingrained in the society for years now.
My Father Baliah was something I picked up from a movie – Kabali – after I saw Rajinikanth reading the book in a scene in the movie. It walks through the life of a Dalit man and his family and touches upon their struggles in a casteist society that doesn’t recognize its privilege.
I would say this is the most memorable paragraph/page read this year, from My Father Baliah.
I picked up on a couple of Perumal Murugan’s works in 2017. And of Ambai (CS Lakshmi). Both are Tamil writers whose works have been translated into English (I read the English versions of their books). Knowing Tamil, it was fairly easy for me to back-translate mentally and figure out what the original Tamil prose might have said. In 2018, I hope to pick up some of their Tamil originals and give them a shot!