For the fifth Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize this year, five books have been shortlisted. The books range from histories of nationalism through local voices, to analysis of an environmental movement, the portrait of a diverse community, and contemporary ideas of feminism and data – all converging towards an optimistic future.
The books shortlisted for this year are Accidental Feminism: Gender Parity and Selective Mobility Among India's Professional Elite by Swethaa S Ballakrishnen, The Chipko Movement: A People's History by Shekhar Pathak translated by Manisha Chaudhry, Whole Numbers and Half Truths: What Data Can and Cannot Tell us About Modern India by Rukmini S, Midnight's Borders: A People's History of Modern India by Suchitra Vijayan, and Born a Muslim: Some Truths about Islam in India by Ghazala Wahab.
The winners will get a cash award of Rs 15 lakhs and a citation.
This year’s jury include political scientist Niraja Gopal Jayal (Chair), entrepreneur Manish Sabharwal, historian Srinath Raghavan, historian Nayanjot Lahiri, former diplomat Navtej Sarna, and attorney Rahul Matthan.
Established in 2018, the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay Book Prize recognises and celebrates outstanding non-fiction writings on modern and contemporary India.
This year, the Jury has selected five powerful books from the ten longlisted titles. Each shortlisted book is representative of the incredible variety and strength of the non-fiction narratives emerging from our multi-layered society. These books are each thoroughly researched and lucidly written, engender conscious conversation, and intricately blend the country’s rich history with compelling contemporary ideas.
According to the Jury, "This year's Shortlist is extraordinary, in terms of the wide range of themes covered, and the diversity of topics and perspectives. Deeply researched and engagingly written, these books offer keen insights into the making of India today and the transitions it is currently undergoing.”
The Kamaladevi Chattopadhayay NIF Book Prize builds on the New India Foundation’s mission of rewarding exceptional scholarship on all aspects of independent India. The prize was named after Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, the great patriot and institution-builder who had contributed significantly to the freedom struggle, the women’s movement, refugee rehabilitation and the renewal of handicrafts.
Previous winners of the prize include Milan Vaishnav for his remarkable book When Crime Pays: Money and Muscle in Indian Politics in 2018 and Ornit Shani for her scholarly work How India Became Democratic in 2019. The 2020 Prize was jointly awarded to Amit Ahuja for his outstanding debut Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties Without Ethnic Movements and Jairam Ramesh for his compelling biography of VK Krishna Menon, A Chequered Brilliance. Dinyar Patel won the 2021 Book Prize for his scholarly biography on Naoroji: Pioneer of Indian Nationalism.