Category Archives: Announcements

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Founder of Podcast at MyKitaab

MyKitaab podcast in India features experts in the publishing industry in an effort to helps authors get published. Jaya Jha, founder of and InstaScribe, was featured here. We get to know more about the woman behind the organization. Jaya left Google where she worked for some time with a better idea of what an organization should like. This alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Lucknow is also one of the most viewed contributors in the publishing space on Quora. Jaya talked about her books Moving On, and her collections of poems in Hindi called Kuch Pal and Tumhare Liye as well. She also spoke about her venture Summary Town.

Jaya has mentioned an important tip for writers- they need to work on marketing their brand or creating a platform as early as a year before release of the title, be it fiction or non-fiction.

For more publishing gyaan, listen to the podcast here:

India Public Domain 2015: 13 Indian authors whose works entered public domain in 2015

Cross Posted on InstaScribe Blog

In keeping with our our tradition  (2012,2013, 2014), we have compiled a list of Indian authors whose work has entered public domain at the beginning of this year. The criteria for a particular work to enter public domain this year is for the author to have died in calendar year 1954 and the work to have been published before his death. If the work has been published after the author’s death, it will only come out of copyright after 60 years from date of publication.

We collected the data from various sources including Wikipedia, books on the history of Indian literature (brought out by the Sahitya Academy) and other online sources. While the sources for individual photos and pieces of information have not been attributed, we would like to acknowledge all these sources here. Many of the sources are linked below.

There are bound to be mistakes in this data. So please point out anything you notice. If you know of more Indian authors who died in 1954 and hence have entered public domain this year, do let us know and we will add it to the list with your reference.

Why should you as a writer or someone who loves books care? An author entering public domain means that most of his works are now free to be republished, translated, and converted to different formats and introduced to a new audience in any way you can imagine. It is possible to digitize these works and conserve them forever. So dig into the list and find some gems. And when you find one, let the whole world know.

Cornelia Sorabji(1864-1954)



She was India’s first woman lawyer. Born to a Christian, Parsi family in Nasik in 1866, Cornelia Sorabji had an illustrious career that spanned nearly sixty years. Sorabji’s writing reflects colonial India and her life as a woman and as a lawyer. Her stories like those in Love and Life behind Purdah (1902)  deal with the lives of women in the zenana and draw on the need for engagement and social reform. She was an active advocate of children and women as is evident in her books Sun-Babies: Studies in the child life of India and Between the Twilights : Being studies of India women by one of themselves (1908).

V.V. Srinivasa Aiyangar (b.1871-1954) This doyen of the Madras Bar used his expertise in writing the farcical to create a book called Dramatic Divertissements(2 volumes were published by 1921). This work is a series of playlets that exposes the weaknesses of the urban South Indian middle class: Blessed in a wife, The Point of View, The Surgeon General’s Presumption, Vichu’s Wife.

Lalcand Amard’inomal Jagatiani (1885-1954) At the age of 26, this versatile Sindhi author was the first Hindu to write a biography of Hazrat Muhammad entitled Muhammad Rasul Allah (1911), a work which won critical acclaim. Along with Bherumal Mahrichand and Jethmal Parsrum, he was a formidable doyen of Sindhi literature. He taught for a while at the Sind Madrasatul Islam where he studied Islam. His knowledge had no barriers- he was adept at the Vedas, Upanishad, Islamic philosphy, Theosophical Society literature, the Sindhi Sufi mystic thought (his work Sunharo Sacal published in 1916 deals with the work of Sacal Sharmast, a Sindhi Sufi poet) besides the poetic works of Tagore and the philosophies of Marx and Lenin as well as Gandhian ideals. He wrote sixty books including novels, essays, short stories and plays. His fiction Coth Jo Candu (1909) is well-known.

Kota Venkatachalam (1885-1954): A Telugu scholar, he is most known for his work Brahmanda Srsti Vijnanam(1949), an analysis of the Sanskrit puranas in nationalistic terms.
kota venkatachalam 1


Garuda Sadashiva Rao (1874-1954): He was a popular Kannada playwright.  This actor and supporter of the freedom movement wrote a new chapter in the history of professional theatre in India. He founded Sivasuta Prasadika Nataka Mandali (1907) and Dauatreya Nataka Mandali (1916). Garuda Sadashiva Rao has a famous story associated with him – he wrote a play about Jesus Christ and discussed it with his veteran friends- Karanth and Padukone Ramanand Rao. Although they were unable to stage it initially on religious grounds, it was a Christian scholar from Dharwad called Uttangi Channappa who supported the play, which later on went to become a success. The veteran dramatist also wrote many other plays including Sri Rama Paduka Pattabhisheka (1929) and Yaccama Nayaka (1949).

Rayasam Venkata Sivudu (1874?- 1954?): He was a writer and social reformer. He was most well known for his Telugu short stories titled under Cithrakta manjari.He wrote novels and biographies, and was the editor of Zanana Patrika, a magazine for women.

Lala Dhani Ram Chatrik (1876-1954): Known as the founder of Punjabi poetry.this much revered poet was the first to standardize the typeset for Gurumukhi script. He is famous for the use of traditional Punjabi poetic genre Kissa- famous works include Kaser Kiari(1940) and  Navam Jahan(1945). His work rings of realism and imagery straight out of the Punjabi countryside.



Nalappatu Narayana Menon(1887-1954)- He was a noted Malayalam poet and translator, famous for his  elegy to his wife titled Kunnunirthulli(1924). It was so popular a poem that many fans were disheartened when he did marry a second time fifteen years after the death of his first wife. Nalapat was a formidable writer alongside his companion Vallathol.

His best known work includes Paavangal, a translation of Victor Hugo‘s Les Misérables.It has been said that Mahatma Gandhi advised this stalwart to rewrite Les Miserables as a transliteration, supplanting the characters and the plot in the Kerala milieu.  Yet, it was not to be and Nalapat created a translation that triggered off a social revolution in the the Southern state of Kerala.



Ramanlal Vasantlal Desai (1892-1954): He was a very popular Gujarati writer in the 1930s and his writing primarily dealt with middle class life in Gujarat. He was influenced by Gandhian ideals and communism. His well-known novels are Divyacaksu(1932), Purnima(1932),Bharelo Agni(1935), Gramalakshmi in four volumes( astory of rural resurgence), Apsara(1933-1949)and Gai Kal(1950) ( a part of his autobiographical writing). Desai’s plays such as Samyukta (1915) were successful.

Teja Singh (1894-1954). A major Punjabi prose writer and educator, he introduced the litewrary essay in Punjabi on western models. Navian Socan(1949) and Sabiacar(1952) are his collections of essays. His autobiography Arsi is considered his best work and his Anglo-Punjabi dictionary is still considered useful.



Jibananda Das(1899-1954): Considered to be the most significant poet of the subcontinent after Tagore, Jibananda Das was often called the loneliest poet. He was a recluse and true to his introvert behavior, his poetry resonated with pain, seriousness and an interesting mix of the self-absorption leading to the knowledge of experience. He taught in various colleges in Kolkata. His poetic career began with Jhara Palak (Fallen feathers) in 1928. In his subsequent volumes of poetry, he cast off tradition and delved into complex metaphors and striking language that the more contemporary audience enjoyed.

Besides poetry, Jibananda Das has written essays, short stories and novels as well. Although he initially started his career with descriptions of the rural world, the later part of his short life was spent in analysing depression and loneliness, and the complexities of relationships.


Some of his works include  Dharsar Pandulip(The Faded Manuscript-1936), Mahaprathibi(The Great Earth-1944), Satti Tarar Timir(The darkness of the seven stars-1948), Banalata Sen(1952) and Satti Tarar Timir(1954).

Prabhat Chandra Adhikari (1900-1954) An Assamese poet famous for his collection called Dohavali.

Harinder Singh Rup (1907-1954). A major Punjabi poet, he wrote in neo-classical style.  His Vars or collections were traditional poems imbued with a modern world view. His famed works include Nave Pandh (1945), Dunghe Vahin (1947) Punjab dian varam(1942) and Manukh di var(1952).

Winning Entry from “Draw Them Up” Contest: “I, Me Myself” by Shamila Janakiraman

The phone rings. Mrs. Padma Suresh picks up the cordless receiver and sees the caller ID and takes the call. It is from her daughter Shreya.

Mrs. Padma Suresh (PS): Hello, today my leg pain has returned with a fury. I just finished cooking and not able to stand also. I was better when I walked to the temple today all the way and back.

Shreya (S): Oh oh! Why…

PS: Just spoke to Lakshmi about an Ayurveda doctor. It seems his medicines are very good. Anyway I have started on the medicine given by the ortho specialist. The pain subsides for few minutes only, but. God knows if the doctor is good.

S: Give hot water massage and………

PS: Yeah, I did that yesterday before going to the jewelry shop. You know I gave my ruby necklace for repair. New one, it broke.

S: I didn’t know you bought one.

PS: Oh! Two months back. Oh yes…yesterday I ordered for a ring…4 gms. But while sweeping it hurts….. So after few days I will remove it anyway.

S: I thought you had a maid.

PS: Maids…bah! They take my life out. Give them money and suffer because of them.

S: At least you can rest a while.

PS: Maids are for lazy people. They demand too much. Rs. 400 a month for washing vessels. I could save that amount for few months and buy a jewel instead. Oh! My paining leg. I think I should see a neurologist next.

Did you finish cooking?

S: Yes yes I finished just now. I made……..

PS: What will you make? A sambar and one vegetable. Not like me. I used to make sambar or something gravy, 2 vegetables and rasam every day. We ate very well and I still cook like that. You people are lazy. Eat well so that you will have a worry-free healthy body later.

S: Children are busy with exams.

PS: Let them study, let them study. As for you, don’t waste time doing your office work. Pray every day. Are you reciting the sloka I wrote down for you last month when I came there? Recite that 24 times every day. Only then children will study.

S: They are working hard…..

PS: They may………. but how do you think you people got good marks. I used to recite the same sloka 1000 times a day. Where ever I was, whatever I was doing I went on reciting the sloka. You may have studied hard but it is the sloka which did its magic.

S: How is father?

PS: What for him? He is hale and hearty. It is me who is suffering with leg and knee pain. See my leg is swollen at the ankle. I am not able to go anywhere outside. How I used to walk to temples every day, such long distances. I used to take half an hour last year, now I think I will take even 2 hours for same distance.

S: You should have avoided all that…………..

PS: Hush! If I did not walk, I have to spend on auto rickshaw or bus or spend on petrol for car and driver salary.

S: You could have used transport, your leg would have been okay.

PS: Forget it I will be better soon. I have to become better to attend Savitha’s wedding. I am planning to wear the silk sari I bought last month. My latest. It is a beautiful orange colour sari with dark blue border. You know I bought raw silk cloth for the blouse. Quite expensive but will look beautiful and make the sari more attractive.

S: Oh good!

PS: Should ask the maid next door to do the cleaning for that day. But that woman will ask for 50 rupees. No other go, have to give her and get the work done.

S: Good.

PS: By the way, the priest from Vellore came. I gave him 5000 rupees donation for some puja. God knows how much he will pocket and how much will go for the puja. But I have to give for such donations so that our family health, wealth gets better.

Yesterday night, I dreamt of a cow giving birth to a calf. I think someone in our family will be blessed with a child soon.

S: Oh mother, all our families are full with 2 each. Please shift your dreamworks to some other family please.

PS: You people are always critical of whatever I say. Why did I order that ring yesterday, you know?

I saw the design in my dream and I was praying to Swami Ayyappa. Maybe the lord wants me to come to his temple at Sabarimala. That is my next venture.

S: Mom, first please make your leg alright. Then think about travel. Two days back only, you returned from Tirupati.

PS: Don’t talk in the negative to me. You are all spoil sports. Ok, shall I put the phone down.

S: I have to go to school to pick up…………


S: Oh Man! Same every day. But still have to call, otherwise I will get scolded for that too. (sigh)’s Note: Shamila Janakiraman has published her collection of short stories through The books is available in print and e-book formats at the links below

  1. Print Book – Hues of Emotions
  2. e-book – Hues of Emotions

Also check out “Just Retired” by Amar Agarwala

We have a Winner for “Draw Them Up” Contest

Our apologies for the delay, but we are finally here. The contest this time was judged by founders – Jaya Jha and Abhaya Agarwal.  We’d let them do the talking.

We’d like to clarify at the outset that it was a writing contest. So, the judgement is on the writing and not on the character that has been written about. Every life is unique and hides many interesting stories to be told.  If they didn’t come out in the sketch, the storyteller must bear the blame.

Before announcing the winners, we would like to point out some common issues we saw with the entries. The task was to present a person to the world. The entry was supposed to make us vividly see the person. But many people got caught up in how they felt about the person, or in fewer cases how the person was always so good to them. A character sketch should bring out the character of the person, make him or her live and vivid for us. That you adore a person, or find her kind and caring does not tell us, the reader, anything about that person.

In other cases people went on a praising spree, listing down the achievements of their subject. It was not a competition for finding the best person the world will know. By themselves achievements do not tell us anything. What a character sketch should look at is the person behind those achievements, or failures, or outward fame or smiles. It should bring out the whites, and the blacks and the shades of grey in between.

So while we read about many inspiring lives and feel humbled by them, most of the pieces failed to provide a unique perspective and thus failed to break out of the crowd. So in choosing the winner, a unique perspective emerged as the top criteria.

Now coming to the winning entry.

The entry from Shamila Jankiraman is set up as a phone call from a mother. The constrained setting keeps the narrative tight and the conversation flows naturally. Without needing to be explicitly stated, the bond between the author and the character can be easily felt.

Congratulations Shamila! Prize details will be sent to you by e-mail.

Another entry deserves a special mention. The entry by Amar was one of the few entries where the author maintains the status of an observer without being a part of the proceedings. The character of Bidhan Chandra Deb is painted in darker shades but author still leaves sufficient scope for him to redeem himself.

Both the entries will be posted on this blog shortly.

In a sense, writing a good character sketch presents a dilemma. On one hand, you need to know the person well enough to make the sketch meaningful. On the other hand, the more you know, the harder it is to write as an objective observer. Striking a good balance between the two is what makes for a good and engaging piece.

Till the next writing contest!

Delay in announcing the results of “Draw Them Up” Contest

We apologize for the delay. We will announce the results by the coming week.

Wish you all a Happy Diwali.