Indians take their gods and goddesses seriously, holding them extraordinarily close by means of innumerable festivals round the year, and striving to find every possible opportunity to pray to the divine, wish-granting beings in as many ways as humanly possible. As a result, everything from personal problems to social evils becomes a matter of divine intervention. In his 2014 novel Nireeswaran (recently translated from Malayalam into English by Ministhy S), author VJ James has dared to make a case for human intervention by floating the idea of an un-god. The single-word title is the antonym of Eswaran (God).
South Asia is a literary universe unto itself. It is home to hundreds of languages intersecting in multiple ways with history, ritual, and traditions of the classical Sanskrit as well as vernacular orality. In Sensitive Reading: The Pleasures of South Asian Literature in Translation, editors Yigal Bronner and Charles Hallisey put together a set of texts from multiple languages translated by renowned Indologist David Shulman (along with works of music as well as a work of visual art). The chosen texts all to a greater or lesser extent deal with love—declarations of love, desire, longing, love for the divine, and the pain of separation. Their curation brings together the classics from the ancient and medieval periods in Indian history with a smattering of works closer to the present—19th and 20th centuries.