The Sickle – Anita Agnihotri


Translated by Arunava Sinha.

‘Anita Agnihotri crafts universal characters that evoke raw emotions…you feel their pain.’ The Hindu

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Anita Agnihotri’s The Sickle is a reminder of the possibilities of fiction. Through the lives of farmers, migrant labourers and activists in Marathwada and western Maharashtra, Agnihotri illuminates a series of intersecting and overlapping crises: female foeticide, sexual assault, the violence of caste, feudal labour relations, farmers’ suicides and climate change in all its manifestations.

From Vaishali, trying to rebuild her life after her husband’s suicide, to Yashwant, a dhaba owner driven to activism by his mother’s murder, Agnihotri’s indictment of Indian society is grounded in individual lives. Formally radical, incendiary and deeply humane, this novel tells the darkest truths about contemporary India.

About the Author

Anita Agnihotri was born in Kolkata and studied economics at the Universities of Calcutta and East Anglia. She joined the Indian Administrative Service in 1980 and retired after three and a half decades as a Secretary to the Government of India. She has published over thirty books, and her literary oeuvre spans poetry, novels, short stories, writing for children and critiques of development. She has won numerous literary awards in Bengal, including the Sarat Puraskar, the Pratibha Basu Sahitya Puraskar and the Bhuban Mohini Dasi Gold Medal from the University of Kolkata. Her collection of stories, Seventeen, translated by Arunava Sinha, won the Economist Crossword Book Award for Indian Language Translation in 2011. Her writing has been translated into several Indian languages and also German and Swedish. Arunava Sinha translates Bengali fiction, poetry and non-fiction into English, and fiction from other languages into Bengali. More than sixty of his translations have been published so far in India, the UK and the USA. He teaches Creative Writing at Ashoka University.


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