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Defragmenting India

Defragmenting India
Riding a Bullet through the Gathering Storm

First Edition
Critical Acclaim

February 2012 | 251 pages | SAGE India
Defragmenting India is an account of the various fault lines of Indian society quivering in the temblors that the 2002 Hindu–Muslim communal riots of Gujarat sent across the nation. The riots form the dramatic backdrop to the travelogue narrative of a motorbike trip of the author and his friend.

The book maps the urban consciousness of India by juxtaposing lives, issues and situations of educated and the uneducated, craftsman and conservationist, teacher and businessman, daughters and drunks from small towns and non-metro cities of India.

The narrative uses oral history, folklore, local legends, historical events, research papers, imaginative speculations, biographic anecdotes and graphic reportage in an elliptical and poetic narrative to weave a picture of a country in flux.
Intimacies Remapped

The Covered Trucks

Manto Strikes

An Iranian Exile in Sambhalpur

Sense and Sensibility

The Moor in the Idol Junkyard

Destinies, Dynasties, and Upstart Pickpockets

The Soldier who Annexed Three States for Three Daughters

'Our Shiv Sena'

'Dangerous Like My English Teacher'

The Open Circle

Do Children Smell Fear in Sweat?

Cardamom Cloud over Coffee

The Instinct to Upgrade

A Moses on his Harley Davidson

Arabs, Jains, Mammon and Osama

A Drunken RSS Man in Jassema

Invisible Migrations, Furtive Bleedings


An often remarkable, deeply felt travelogue through the fragmenting and defragmenting images and impulses of contemporary India…The highly ambitious book maps the urban consciousness of India by juxtaposing sever aspects of lives thrown into a vortex of situations...The narrative draws heavily on the oral tradition, lot more, and seeks to remain within the ambit of objectivity to the extent possible. It provides a chilling backdrop to the Gujarat riots…The great value of the effort lies in its descriptive panache. It often resorts to poetic and philosophical allusion about a highly divided ethos…Youthful and self-assured prose is cited as one of the major aspects of the work. Indeed, the reader is taken along a virtual ride through the gathering storm which is reality in many parts of the country…The book seeks to cover a rich and varied canvas….an interesting sketch of contemporary India’s breathless ways…The candid shots that have been attempted by Nambiar needs to be read seriously – as seriously as they have been etched by him.

Sahara Time

This book is absorbing.…[The author] looks at riots and aftermath and geography and people from the unusual perch of a motorbike pillion rider.


The Economic Times

Harish Nambiar

Harish Nambiar is a journalist with Reuters in Mumbai. He has been a mainstream English journalist in India since 1990, having begun his career with the Times of India group. He has worked with the Indian Express, the television channel CNBC, and The Telegraph, Kolkata. In the course of his career as a reporter he has covered the 1992–93 communal riots and the serial blasts in Bombay. He has been responsible for several exposés in his stint as an investigative reporter with the Indian Express, specializing in economic offences, including the union housing scam that the Supreme Court of India took up. In between jobs, he has had a... More About Author

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ISBN: 9788132106562