Writers Tabish Khair, Geeta Hariharan at Jamia Millia


New Delhi : The Jamia Millia Islamia centre for learning Friday hosted a conversation on reading and writing between novelists Geeta Hariharan and Tabish Khair who dwelt on the critical and creative processes integral to writers to hone their skills.

Support TwoCircles

Organised by the department of English, the event saw Hariharan, the writer of several novels and short stories, and Khair, whose new book, “The Thing about Thugs”, set in Victorian London was published by HarperCollins-India and released last week, reading out excerpts from their books.

Talking about his book, Khair said: “Re-creating Victorian London was an exercise in creativity and young writers of historical fiction should research their work extensively.”

He said writers have to be creative and critical to enhance their writing skills.

Khair’s book, “The Thing About Thugs”, explores the thuggee cult of India through the tale of Amir Ali, who leaves his village for London with his captain William Meadows. Ali narrates the story of his life – that of a murderous thug. While Meadow tries to probe the strange cult of the Indian thug, a group of Englishmen tries to probe different cultures by examining skulls. The consequences are bizarre.

Khair said he had to read “about the thuggee tradition of pre-Independence India to put his protagonist in context”.

A writer of non-fictions and fictions, Khair’s books include “Filming: A Love Story”, “Muslim Modernities: Essays on Moderation and Mayhem”, “The Glum Peacock” and “The Gothic, Post-colonialism and Otherness: Ghosts from Elsewhere”.

Hariharan, a scholar-in-residence at the Jamia Millia Islamia, has written “The Thousand Faces of Night” that won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize in 1993, “The Ghosts of Vasu Master”, “When Dreams Travel”, “In Times of Siege” and “Fugitive Histories”.

A collection of highly acclaimed short stories, “The Art of Dying” was followed by a book of stories for children, The Winning Team”. Hariharan’s fiction has been translated into several languages.