Connect with us

Environment

Penguin set to release Namita Gokhale’s ‘The Blind Matriarch’

Published

on

New Delhi, Sep 7: One of Indias most respected and well-known literary figures, Namita Gokhale, has written a family saga that is both contemporary and timeless. Set against the backdrop of the pandemic, it explores the traditional bonds of the Indian joint family in the face of upheaval.

“The Blind Matriarch” has already earned praise from the likes of writer Chigozie Obioma and India’s best-loved poet Gulzar.

The sprawling novel follows the life of the eponymous blind matriarch who lives on the topmost floor of an old house with many stories. Ebbing and flowing like the waves of a pandemic, the novel is a clear-eyed chronicle of the tragedies of India’s encounter with the coronavirus, the cynicism and despair that accompanied it, and the resilience and strength of the human spirit.

The design of this book comes with its own story. Penguin Random House India art director Ahlawat Gunjan read the novel and commissioned a stunning embroidered panel for the cover which interlaces intricately with the many threads of the tale. Gokhale then wove elements of the panel itself into the rich tapestry of the book. The imagery on the cover reflects the narrative of the protagonist, Matangi, worked lovingly upon, even as her eyesight began abandoning her. Most jackets are the beginning of a book’s journey in the reader’s hands, but here it is also the very fabric of the book.

Gokhale says “The Blind Matriarch”, which she began just before the pandemic set in, “followed through on thoughts and themes from many of my previous novels. It is a quiet book, paced in a real-time narrative of lock-down days, which examines the dynamics of the Indian joint family. The central character, the blind matriarch Matangi Ma, has remained in my heart and mind long after I finished the book”.

Manasi Subramaniam, Executive Editor and Head of Literary Rights at Penguin Random House India says: “The Namita Gokhale bookshelf is an unexpected and unpredictable mix. Her range seems almost limitless, right from ‘Paro’ in 1984, a groundbreaking tale of female sexuality, to ‘Jaipur Journals’ in 2020, a charming romp across the greatest literary show on earth. She has done it yet again, with ‘The Blind Matriarch’, and we are especially proud to publish her twentieth book.”

Gokhale is an award-winning writer and festival director. She is the author of eleven works of fiction and has written extensively on myth as well as the Himalayan region. Her acclaimed debut novel, “Paro: Dreams of Passion”, was published in 1984. Her recent novel “Jaipur Journals”, published in January 2020, was set against the backdrop of the vibrant Jaipur Literature Festival. “Betrayed By Hope”, a play on the life of Michael Madhusudan Dutt, was also published in 2020.

A co-founder and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, Gokhale is committed to supporting translations and curating literary dialogues across languages and cultures. She was conferred the Centenary National Award for Literature by the Asam Sahitya Sabha in Guwahati in 2017. She won the Sushila Devi Literature Award for her novel “Things to Leave Behind”, which also received the Best Fiction Jury Award at the Valley of Words Literature Festival 2017, and was on the longlist for the 2018 International Dublin Literary Award.

Continue Reading

Environment

6.1 magnitude quake strikes Japan’s Tokyo, no tsunami warning

Published

on

Tokyo, Oct 8: An earthquake with a magnitude of 6.1 on the Richter Scale on late Thursday struck Japan’s Tokyo region, but no tsunami warning has been issued, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA).

The temblor occurred at around 10.41 p.m. local time, with its epicenter at a latitude of 35.6 degrees north and a longitude of 140.1 degrees east, and at a depth of 80 km.

The quake logged 5 plus in some parts of Tokyo Prefecture and Saitama Prefecture on the Japanese seismic intensity scale which peaks at 7.

According to utility officials, as of around 11.00 p.m. local time, the earthquake had triggered a blackout affecting around 250 households in Tokyo.

Some train services including subways operated by Tokyo Metro Co and shinkansen bullet trains had been suspended following the earthquake, railway companies said.

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told reporters late on Thursday he had ordered officials to help quake victims and prevent further damage.

A task force to assess and monitor the earthquake’s impact has been set up at the prime minister’s office.

According to prefectural government officials, no abnormalities have been detected at Japan Atomic Power Co’s Tokai No 2 nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture near Tokyo.

There were no reports of damage at Narita airport in Chiba, east of Tokyo after the strong quake.

Runways at Tokyo’s Haneda airport were temporarily closed for inspections, but later reopened as no damage was reported.

Continue Reading

Environment

NGT can take suo moto cognisance of environmental issues, rules SC

Published

on

New Delhi, Oct 7: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has power to take suo motu cognisance – on the basis of letters, representations, and media reports — and can initiate proceedings on its own on issues pertaining to the environment.

A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy, and C.T. Ravikumar delivered the judgment on a batch of petitions which raised the issue whether the NGT has suo motu jurisdiction.

Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh had argued that the NGT has been conferred powers to pass orders for the restitution of environment, hence it can exercise suo motu powers. However, a battery of senior advocates opposed his arguments, stating that only constitutional courts can exercise suo motu powers and a statutory tribunal like the NGT has to act within the confines of its parent law.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, held that the NGT does not have the power to take cognisance of a matter on its own. But she also contended that the tribunal’s powers cannot be bound by procedural constraints.

“This is a peculiar tribunal dealing with environmental matters. Often, environment ends up being nobody’s baby,” she said.

The bench had queried her that if the tribunal were to receive an information in connection with environment, will it not be duty bound to initiate process? The ASG responded that once a letter or communication is received by the tribunal, it is within its power to take cognisance of it.

On September 8, the bench had reserved verdict on the issue. Senior advocate Anand Grover, amicus curiae in the case, had opined that the NGT cannot exercise suo motu powers on the basis of letters, representations, or media reports.

Continue Reading

Environment

NGT has powers to take suo moto cognisance on environmental issues: SC

Published

on

New Delhi, Oct 7. The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that the National Green Tribunal (NGT) has power to take suo motu cognisance – on the basis of letters, representations, and media reports — and can initiate proceedings on its own on issues pertaining to the environment.

A bench of Justices A.M. Khanwilkar, Hrishikesh Roy, and C.T. Ravikumar delivered the judgment on a batch of petitions which raised the issue whether the NGT has suo motu jurisdiction.

Senior advocate Sanjay Parikh had argued that the NGT has been conferred powers to pass orders for the restitution of environment, hence it can exercise suo motu powers. However, a battery of senior advocates opposed his arguments, stating that only constitutional courts can exercise suo motu powers and a statutory tribunal like the NGT has to act within the confines of its parent law.

Additional Solicitor General Aishwarya Bhati, representing the Centre, held that the NGT does not have the power to take cognisance of a matter on its own. But she also contended that the tribunal’s powers cannot be bound by procedural constraints.

“This is a peculiar tribunal dealing with environmental matters. Often, environment ends up being nobody’s baby,” she said.

The bench had queried her that if the tribunal were to receive an information in connection with environment, will it not be duty bound to initiate process? The ASG responded that once a letter or communication is received by the tribunal, it is within its power to take cognisance of it.

On September 8, the bench had reserved verdict on the issue. Senior advocate Arvind Grover, amicus curiae in the case, had opined that the NGT cannot exercise suo motu powers on the basis of letters, representations, or media reports.

Continue Reading

Trending