A book on the popular forest conservation campaign Chipko Movement, written by historian-activist Shekhar Pathak, was named the winner of the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2022. Translated from Hindi by Manisha Chaudhry, “The Chipko Movement: A People’s History” was selected from a diverse shortlist of five books covering a wide expanse of modern Indian history and encompassing distinct topics and perspectives.
The winner was selected by a six-member jury panel chaired by political scientist Niraja Gopal Jayal. The other jury members were entrepreneur Manish Sabharwal; historians Srinath Raghavan and Nayanjot Lahiri; former diplomat Navtej Sarna; and attorney Rahul Matthan.
The other shortlisted books were “Accidental Feminism: Gender Parity and Selective Mobility Among India’s Professional Elite” by Swethaa S Ballakrishnen; “Whole Numbers and Half Truths: What Data Can and Cannot Tell Us About Modern India” by Rukmini S; “Midnight’s Borders: A People’s History of Modern India” by Suchitra Vijayan; and “Born a Muslim: Some Truths about Islam in India” by Ghazala Wahab.
About the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize:
- The Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize recognises and celebrates excellence in non-fiction writings on modern or contemporary India by writers from all nationalities. It carries a cash award of Rs 15 lakh, a trophy and a citation.
- Established in 2018, the Kamaladevi NIF Book Prize builds on the New India Foundation’s mission of sponsoring high-quality research and writing on all aspects of Independent India. The Book Prize celebrates high-quality, non-fiction literature by emerging writers from all nationalities, published in the previous calendar year.
- The prize is named after Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay, the institution-builder who had contributed significantly to the freedom struggle, to the women’s movement, to refugee rehabilitation and to the renewal of handicrafts. Previous winners of the prize are Milan Vaishnav (2018), Ornit Shani (2019), Amit Ahuja and Jairam Ramesh (jointly, 2020), and Dinyar Patel (2021).