Hi Virtually Readers! It’s a very exciting week, as you may have noticed yesterday ;). Yesterday was not JUST our blogoversary, though, it was Indian Independence Day. To me, this always means dressing up in Indian clothes and eating Indian food and celebrating India. I am aware, however that most of you guys aren’t Indian, so here is a set of lists to tell you some things about my country. (well, you know, one of them)
YA set in India.
There is not a lot of YA set in India, however these are some books that I have read and loved that feature this wonderful country.
–The Wheel of Surya trilogy by Jamila Gavin. I read this a long time ago and it is about Partition—the greatest, and most deadly, human migration in history.
– The Star-Touched Queen. I haven’t been able to read this, though I really want to. It’s based in Indian and Greek mythology.
–A Time to Dance. This is about a girl who lives in Chennai and has to learn how to dance after getting her leg amputated. It’s told in free verse.
–Monsoon Summer. This is about a half Indian girl visiting Pune and finding out about her heritage and who she really wants to be.
Let’s face it, Indian food is one of the best things ever. These are some of my favourite dishes. (I’m vegetarian, and so are all of these foods, but butter chicken is good too. ) However, the list is much much longer than this.
-Rajma. This is beans and tomato and it’s SO delicious.
-Dosa. This is a South Indian dish made from rice flour and served with sauce and potato and it is delectable.
-Pani Puri. These are little fried balls that you fill with salty sour sauce made from tamarind.
-Dahl Makhani. This is creamy lentils that you eat with rice and it’s very tasty.
-Sambar. This is sour south Indian Dahl.
-Soan Papdi. This is a flaky sugary sweet.
Reasons to write about India
There are, as you may have noticed, not very many YA books (at least one published in MDC’s) set in India, though there are some that are set elsewhere and have Indian origin protagonists. India, however, is a fabulous setting for these reasons.
-It’s really diverse. There are hot plains and forests and the Himalayas and deserts and plateaus and basically anything else you want to write about as a setting.
-It’s culturally really diverse. There are tribal people in the North Eastern states, and lots of Muslims and Buddhists and Hindus, and hill people in my area, and lots of other cultural nuances that are really complicated and great to research. There are hundreds of different languages that people speak.
-It has a really rich history. Kings, emperors, wars, backstabbing, rebellion… whatever you want to write about, it’ll turn up a few times in Indian history. (think the Mughals and 1857)
-India has a huge variety of religious and non religious myths. Hello, retellings.
Reasons to read about India
There isn’t much YA set in India, and I really need to actively seek out more of it. However, there are lots of great non-fiction books (like City of Djinns) that you can read about India, and you should probably read what YA is already out there. Also, if you’re willing to expand your horizons, there are great Indian poets and short stories, as well as novels. (This, let it be noted, is coming from an Indian Literature student)
-India has a really interesting history, and there are a great variety of (non-YA) books that talk about it. Like Sea of Poppies by Amitav Ghosh talks about the opium trade during the Raj.
-There are 1billion Indians, which is a lot. If you read about India, you come closer to knowing more about 1/7th of the world’s people.
– India is in the news for a lot of different reasons. Reading novels is way more interesting than reading news articles, and can give you a better understanding of what’s really behind the headlines.
Reasons to come to India
You may have noticed that India is really amazing. This list is going to sound like a repeat of the other ones, but I really want to drill it into your heads.
-I live in India. So does Shar. Not that you’ll see us if you visit probably (but maybe you should contact us if you are?)
-There are lots of other really interesting Indian people that you will meet and be able to talk to.
-There are a lots of amazing historical sites—not just the Taj Mahal—that you can visit.
-India has some really cool wildlife. Rhinos, elephants, tigers, cheetahs, snakes—you name it.
So what are some things that you’ve heard about India? And how do you celebrate your country? Tell me in the comments!