The Battles for Justice: No Country for Women

“The Battles for Justice: No Country for Women” is an illustrated dispatch from India on the women’s struggle for justice from the times of the epic Mahabharata to the rise of a Hindu government and god-men in India. It’s a personal and complicated reaction to the rare conviction of a god-man, who sexually exploited women with impunity for more than fifteen years, and had armed goons, policemen and politicians in his pocket. His conviction resulted in the death of 38 people. In 14 black and white pages, “The Battles for Justice: No Country for Women” illustrates the nation’s complex feelings about what the judgment, and the subsequent unrest and killings, mean for the women’s struggle for justice.

Our Gumroad bundle contains digital edition in three formats: Kindle (mobi), Android & iBooks (epub), and comic book (pdf): http://gumroad.com/battlesforjustice. Also available to purchase at Amazon and Smashwords.

The Story of India’s Partition: 2nd Edition!

Paperback available to order from Amazon POD.

Illustrated by Anju Shah, the newly redesigned and updated edition of “The Story of India’s Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan” is now available on Amazon and Smashwords. You can order the new gorgeous edition as a digital bundle in three formats (epub, mobi & pdf) from Gumroad: https://gumroad.com/l/partition (Recommended!)

Paperback available to order from Amazon POD. (We’re looking for mass-market publishers in India and UK to print and distribute this book so that it becomes more affordable and accessible. If you know someone, hope you’ll pass on the link. Gracias!)

About:

On July 8, 1947, Cyril Radcliffe arrived in India for the first time. He had five weeks and four judges to settle the boundary between the newly independent India and a newborn state of Pakistan. After drawing the “ Radcliffe Line,” the British officer burnt his papers, refused his fee, and left the wounded continent never to set foot on it again. Based on W.H. Auden’s famous poem, “Partition,” this is an illustrated account of the man who oversaw the controversial border settlement which left one million dead and twelve million homeless and permanently displaced.

Why Mithila Review Has Closed Submissions?

Dear reader,

I’m fielding this question a lot these days: When is Mithila Review going to open submissions again? I think there is no way of answering this question without addressing the elephant in the room: Why have we closed submissions?

Two Reasons

1. We’re severely underfunded: http://patreon.com/mithilareview

I can no longer accept work for free without feeling that I’m stealing work and its potential value from our contributors. As an editor and publisher, I know I’m failing to do my job if I can’t pay for the blood, sweat and tears that go into creation of critical and significant works of art, poetry or fiction.

If we meet our Patreon goal, I’ll open submissions soon enough. I want Mithila to be able to acquire and publish the best of speculative fiction and poetry from around the world. If we’re publishing the best work, we need to pay the best rates. If we can’t do that, I don’t think we can attract, nurture or support the best of new and emerging voices in the field.

2. Time is in short supply

Even before we founded Mithila Review in 2015, I’ve had been spending hundreds of hours reading the most diverse SF that I could find online not purely for the sake of pleasure. I’m a young writer, designer, and filmmaker, who grew up in Kathmandu, and lives in New Delhi, with very little exposure to the world of science fiction and fantasy. It took me significant chunks of time, focus and hard work to achieve a few publication credits under my belt, and that meant total concentration. Like my fellow writers, I’ve been doing ten thousand things to be able to find a way to support myself in order to find the time to read and write and film. One of the reasons for doing Mithila Review was to create an opportunity for myself to immerse deeply in the world of science fiction and fantasy. And immerse I did!

After establishing Mithila, I began reading what I would have never read otherwise: the slush pile. It’s not a part of the publishing job that anybody wants—but I’ve been reading and replying to submissions for two years now with occasional help from our coeditors.

So what’s my job like? I select and edit content, design and publish each issue, and it takes hundreds of hours. The running cost of Mithila Review is significant—I don’t know how to compromise on quality of what we publish, and it takes me away from many income-generating opportunities.

When I started Mithila Review, there was no English-language publication devoted to international science fiction and fantasy from around the world in South Asia. Today Mithila Review is the only Asian publication in English devoted to SF/F/H, if my understanding of the market is correct. Mithila Review is probably the first publication based out of India to be funded in part through Patreon. I’m extremely reluctant to consider Mithila Review an Indian or South Asian publication because over 90 percent of our readers, contributors and patrons come from America and Europe. It’s no wonder then that we’ve hardly received any outside support for our endeavors in this region except from a small pool of dedicated readers and writers.

Honestly, I do not think it’s possible for anyone to build a quality publication without significant investment. I have done well thanks to the support of family and our generous contributors, and the magazine now has a small but critical pool of patrons, but that’s not how things used to be for me financially before I got seriously involved with science fiction and fantasy. Financially-speaking, Mithila Review has been a disaster. At a tremendous personal cost, I have been able to build a platform that many people could but didn’t because it didn’t make financial sense to any one of them. Every issue of Mithila Review is available to read online, and any profit-hungry entrepreneur would not see any financial benefit in such an open project.

As you must have known by now, I’ve never been driven by financial interest. As a result, I’ve struggled to figure out ways to combine my burning passion for literature and cinema with the urgent need to make it self-sustainable. Until I can make this happen, please consider supporting this literary endeavor and help keep Mithila Review open and alive with your contribution. Help me bring the best of speculative fiction, poetry and cinema to your world.

As always, I’m counting on your support.

Thank you,
Salik

Support Mithila Review

Patreon: http://patreon.com/mithilareview
Paypal: https://www.paypal.me/mithilareview
Donate: http://mithilareview.com/donate

Connect With Me

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Woohoo! I Just Got My First (Mythical) Royalty Check!

Woohoo! My first royalty payment for a short story was just deposited to my bank account! It’s for the first story I ever sold to a major Indian publisher. You can read about it here at Juggernaut!

I know by the size of the check that not many people have read it. It should bother you if your publisher can’t sell your story, or fails to recover the signing amount because people aren’t interested in paying to read it. I am a bit reluctant to the idea of storytellers and artists relying on corporate houses rather than their work/audience/readership… but what do I know?

This is very encouraging for the writer in me, who is damn too self-critical, lazy and skeptical to write or submit anything to major publishers because he thinks why bother, no one’s going to buy or read it, especially here in India. So many thanks to all of my (anonymous) readers who bought and read it. Sometimes it’s nice to be proved wrong!

Well, see, now I know what royalty slips look like, and it feels great, man. I mean I knew writing stories is a way of creating IP, but I thought royalty payments (in India) were stuff of dreams. Yeah, don’t believe it until you see — or better receive — it!

Thank you Indrapramit Das & Chiki Sarkar at Juggernaut Books for giving me a reason to believe!

Maybe I’ll write another one. Soon. 😇  🙏  

Leading By Example

This morning I’m thinking hard about solving the audience-centered design problem for my personal website, and the best way to present my advertising portfolio which isn’t public yet.

I do not want a static profile. I want a two-way reader-friendly, minimalist platform which enables me to share insightful lessons and stories from my life and work, which could be helpful to many creative professionals around the world. I started my publishing journey way back in 2005, and there’s a goldmine of life + business insights there.

I need to sit down and write that content thinking book which I promised to write based on my Content Manifesto for Startups & Brands (2013), and a content + design / marketing blog for global audiences. Basically, there is a lot to figure out while contemplating and writing about designing business and technology solutions to solve difficult, real world problems, persisting and probable.

Science fiction is one of the immediate, effective and intimate modes of identifying, exploring and coming up with possible solutions for present and future problems. The challenge for world leaders and social entrepreneurs is to apply lessons/insights from orderly fiction in the chaotic world. How do I connect these dots of interests and strengths for business and social impact?

“Think in decades,” a business mentor once told me. My wild and roaring twenties are nearly over. It’s time to lay the ground for 30s to come, and try to lead by example.

Thank you for being with me in this exploration of self and the world! <3

New Book: The Story of India’s Partition

On July 8, 1947, Cyril Radcliffe arrived in India for the first time. He had five weeks and four judges to settle the boundary between the newly independent India and a newborn state of Pakistan. After drawing the “ Radcliffe Line,” the British officer burnt his papers, refused his fee, and left the wounded continent never to set foot on it again. Based on W.H. Auden’s famous poem, “Partition,” this is an illustrated account of the man who oversaw the controversial border settlement which left one million dead and twelve million homeless and permanently displaced.

Available to purchase on Apple iTunes Store & Amazon.com.

Sample Pages:

Back:

Available to purchase on Apple iTunes Store & Amazon.com.

Update: August 19, 2017

Yay! Our debut picture book, “The Story of India’s Partition,” is currently No. 1 New Release in Children’s Biography Comics on Amazon.com right now. Thank you for your love and support!

Un/Cultured: Scenes From A Caveman’s Tale

One day I decided to film one of our guards, Ramesh Ji—the ji here is an honorific—who is from Madhya Pradesh. From outside, the guardroom is a confined place—a voluntary prison. As I stepped inside the room, I expected the monotony of waiting, the slow passing of moments to dull me. But I was wrong. As I listened to the Birha enactment of an oral tale in a dialect of Hindi that was playing on his mobile phone, slowly, the complex and subtle knots of his world revealed themselves to me.

As I breathed and immersed myself in the human dynamics of the oral tale, I realized the world that Ramesh Ji inhabits is an old one, passed down from the times when our ancestors lived in a cave no different than this room, in form of oral tales, oral history, folk songs, in languages that have evolved or disappeared, in a language that is losing its relevance in the global English village.

Now the way I look at Ramesh Ji or his people’s way of storytelling has changed: a man without his people’s stories is poor and deserves pity; the man who knows his people’s origins and history is always rich. I no longer think he lives in a prison—his room is a doorway to a cultured world, just as yours or mine. These stories are our roots, our common heritage on the blue and green dots of a planet. (more…)