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Dhar India Studies Program

Last modified: Tuesday, February 21, 2012

IU Dhar India Studies Program presents author Siddhartha Deb as its annual Tiwari Memorial lecturer

Feb. 21, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Dhar India Studies Program at Indiana University Bloomington on Thursday, Feb. 23, will present Siddhartha Deb, author of the best-selling nonfiction work "The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India," as its 2011-12 Shiva and Ram Avtar Tiwari Memorial lecturer.

Deb Siddhartha

Siddhartha Deb

Print-Quality Photo

Deb will speak at the University Club of the Indiana Memorial Union, 900 E. Seventh St., at 5:30 p.m. The lecture is free and open to the public.

A Publishers Weekly Best Nonfiction title for 2011 and a Globe and Mail 2011 Best Books of the Year title, "The Beautiful and the Damned: A Portrait of the New India" (Viking Penguin, 2011) humanizes the post-globalization experience in India -- its advantages, failures and absurdities.

Deb hails from a remote town in the northeastern hills of India and made his way to the United States via a fellowship at Columbia University. Six years after leaving home, he returned as an undercover reporter for The Guardian, working at a call center in Delhi in 2004. Deb's experience interviewing the call-center staff led him to undertake this book and travel throughout the subcontinent.

The Wall Street Journal said Deb writes with "unfailing clarity" and "the real strength of this book lies in its honest portrayal of India's grittier realities."

Deb also authored "An Outline of the Republic" -- a Daily Telegraph Book of the Year longlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Award and shortlisted for the Crossword Prize (in India) -- and "The Point of Return," a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

His essays, articles, reviews and fiction have appeared in Harpers, The New York Times Book Review, The Nation, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, Observer, The Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, Die Horen, Biblio (India) and other publications. He has been a Radcliffe Institute of Advanced Studies fellow and currently is an associate professor at the New School in New York City.

"Siddhartha Deb is a new and insightful voice in debates about India's place in the contemporary world and writes with a real humanity about the personal triumphs and struggles that mark the ongoing shifts in Indian life," said Michael S. Dodson, director of the Dhar India Studies Program. "He is uncompromising in his writing, and I think that his work represents an important example of moving beyond the cliché in discourse on India into the often untold, and often ambiguous, stories of people engaging with liberal globalization."

Deb also is visiting IU Bloomington as part of the second annual Dhar India Studies Graduate Student Conference on South Asia -- "Manthan: A Churning" -- which will take place at India House, 825 E. Eighth St., all day on Friday, Feb. 24.

More information on the Dhar India Studies Program and a roster of upcoming events can be found at its home page or by calling 812-855-5798.