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In a time, when India is facing its biggest challenge to, arguably, one of its most important tenets – secularism – everyone’s eyes is on what is the path India will choose to walk on. While in recent years, the spate of images and news clips trickling in of every day of violence on minorities are everywhere, was it always so?
City on Fire by Zeyad Masroor Khan, published by HarperCollins, talks of the experience of being Muslim in today’s India. Mr. Khan’s book is a rare, visceral portrait of how everyday violence and hate becomes a part of our lives and consciousness; a society where name and clothes mark out a person as the ‘other’.
The books is an incisive examination of religion and violence, imagined histories and fractured realities, grief and love in today’s India; as it is a paean to the hope of continued unity, to an idea of India.
Zeyad Masroor Khan
Zeyad Masroor Khan is a journalist, writer and documentary film-maker based in New Delhi. In his decade-long journalistic career, he has worked with national and international media companies like Reuters, Vice, Brut and Deccan Herald. A South Asia Speaks fellow, he primarily writes on politics, marginalized communities, crime and culture. Three of his documentaries have been screened at international film festivals. City on Fire: A Boyhood in Aligarh is his first book.
Aakar Patel is a well-known syndicated columnist who has edited English and Gujarati newspapers. He has written several books of non-fiction which include, Why I Write, A translation of Saadat Hasan Manto’s Urdu non-fiction (Tranquebar, 2014), Our Hindu Rashtra: What It Is. How We Got Here, a study of majoritarianism in India and Pakistan (Westland, 2020), The Price of the Modi Years, a history of India after 2014 (Penguin Random House, 2021) and The Anarchist Cookbook, a guide on why and how to protest (HarperCollins, 2022).
Aakar Patel is Chair of Amnesty International India.
Priya Ramani is a Bangalore-based journalist. She is the co-founder of India Love Project and on the editorial board of news website Article-14. She is a columnist for BQ Prime and The Hindu Sunday magazine.