Transit Talks is an account of a teacher and a student scrutinising the challenges that face contemporary India. The narrative unfolds through e-mails as they discuss their reflection on books they read and films they watch, and share the emotional upheavals of living through and being social workers in a time that is ripe with birth of newer conflicts and renewal of old ones.
They locate the local and global faces of communalism and fascism watching through the prism of events in Afghanistan, Palestine, Gujarat on 2002, and later, through the more recent events in the popular and electoral politics of India. They find credence from the work of great poets, writers, social thinkers and philosophers like Faiz, Manto, Karl Marx, Amartya Sen, Adorno Althusser, Focault , Barthes and Bauman.
Transit Talks makes for a powerful social commentary on, arguably, the most pressing issue that confronts our country – communalism. It examines from close quarters, communal prejudice escalating into full-blown genocide, It finds connections between neo-liberal globalization and ‘effective-efficient’ authoritarian cravings of the middle classes.
All this, it achieves with a warm, non-fuzzy sensitivity and sense of humour, bringing into focus the dilemmas of everyday life of two people who have chosen to make efforts for social change their life-long , full-time occupation.
About The Author
Manoj Kumar Jha is a teacher at the Department of Social Work, University of Delhi .He has also earlier taught at Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi. He is the author of several books, monographs and articles on communal violence, majority-minority relations, emergency response in human –made and natural disasters, protest movements, and anti-oppressive approach in social work, Transit Talks is his first work of realistic fiction.