The New India Foundation (NIF) has just announced the shortlist for the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize. The Prize, which considers book-length works of non-fiction about modern and contemporary India, has picked five books from its longlist of 10 this year. The books on the shortlist this year deal with themes as diverse as feminism, data, and Islam in India.
“This year's Shortlist is extraordinary, in terms of the wide range of themes covered, and the diversity of topics and perspectives," said a statement from the jury, chaired by political scientist and author Niraja Gopal Jayal also includes entrepreneur Manish Sabharwal, historian and author Srinath Raghavan, historian and author Nayanjot Lahiri, former diplomat and author Navtej Sarna, and attorney and author Rahul Matthan. "Deeply researched and engagingly written, these books offer keen insights into the making of India today and the transitions it is currently undergoing,” they added.
Incidentally, all of the shortlisted books this year are by, or translated by, women. The complete shortlist is below:
Accidental Feminism: Gender Parity and Selective Mobility Among India’s Professional Elite by Swethaa S. Ballakrishnen (Princeton University Press)
The Chipko Movement: A People’s History by Shekhar Pathak, translated by Manisha Chaudhry (Permanent Black & Ashoka University)
Whole Numbers and Half Truths: What Data Can and Cannot Tell Us About Modern India by Rukmini S. (Context/Westland)
Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India by Suchitra Vijayan (Context/Westland)
Born a Muslim: Some Truths about Islam in India by Ghazala Wahab (Aleph)
The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize was established in 2018. The winning book – to be announced this time on 1 December – is awarded a cash prize of Rs. 15 lakh and a citation. Previous winners of the prize include Milan Vaishnav for When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics (HarperCollins Publishers) in 2018, Ornit Shani for How India Became Democratic (Penguin Random House) in 2019, a joint win for Amit Ahuja and Jairam Ramesh for their books Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties Without Ethnic Movements (Oxford University Press) and A Chequered Brilliance (Penguin Random House) respectively.
The 2021 winner was Dinyar Patel for his biography on Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism (Harvard University Press). Read an interview with Parel here.