A Very, Very Proud Nephew


Amitav Ghosh

If ever I could claim bragging rights about someone, my uncle, Amitav Ghosh, would be that person. In addition to a long line of accolades, recognition and awards, he was recently given the Padma Shree by the Indian government. The French have their Légion d’honneur — we have our Padma Shree. Oh, and he was also awarded the Prix Médicis étranger back in 1990 for The Circle of Reason.

Here’s an excerpt from his bio:

Amitav Ghosh was born in Calcutta in 1956. He grew up in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan), Sri Lanka, Iran and India. After graduating from the University of Delhi, he went to Oxford to study Social Anthropology and received a Master of Philosophy and a Ph. D in 1982. In 1980, he went to Egypt to do field work in the fellaheen village of Lataifa. The work he did there resulted in In an Antique Land. Ghosh has been a journalist and published his first novel, The Circle of Reason in 1986, and his second, The Shadow Lines, in 1988. Since then, he has published IAAL, The Calcutta Chromosome, and The Glass Palace, done fieldwork in Cambodia, lived in Delhi and written for a number of publications.

I majored in Economics and Anthropology in college. Economics — because I thought it would land me a decent job after I graduated; Anthropology — because I was inspired by Amitav’s books and had visions of traveling to exotic locales and taking pictures for National Geographic someday.

Now I don’t have many claims to fame. Which means I am more than happy to ride on the coat-tails of my uncle’s many successes.

My other claims to fame? Leander Paes was a good childhood buddy of mine — everytime I played tennis with him (something I tried not to attempt too often), he managed to break my strings; and my brother, dad and grandfather met Muhammad Ali for tea in Calcutta back in the early 90’s. I was too busy playing tennis to care about actually meeting the “sportsman of the century”. I’m still cursing myself.

Moving on.

If you’re interested in learning more about Amitav (I’d recommend reading The Glass Palace – my favorite), here are a few links to get you started:

5 Responses to “A Very, Very Proud Nephew”

  1. Thank you for the article and the audio file. Actually i have done my Mphil disssertation on ‘The poetics and Politics of Knowledge in Ghosh’s Fiction’ and also continuing my phd work on ghosh from jadavpur university. if you could post other article and interviews it would be helpful for me

  2. Sandip – thanks for visiting. I am sure he will be thrilled that his work is the subject of your MPhil dissertaion! His website tends to have all the latest interviews and articles.


  3. thanks, infact i am persuing my phd work on him. But it is difficult to keep pace with a living writer.whenever i finish woking with his latest work he is out with another. Infact some of my articles on his works have been published in journals and books. I have read his book umpteen times and never get bored with it. Reading his books give me great pleasure

  4. 4 khalid sultan

    Dear Sir,
    I am in need of your help and I am a foreigner and I am doing a research on travel as discovery in selecter fictions of Amitav Ghosh and i found dificulties to find materials in thid field. I need your help.

  1. 1 My June Fave Five « Tea. Uncomplicated

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