Illustrated Pursuits: Why we chose to do the book?


Illustrated Pursuits by Ngaire Gardner


Almost two years ago adivaani received the proposal for Illustrated Pursuits: a collection of drawings, published articles and maps by Walter Stanhope Sherwill, who spent a total twenty-seven years in India since he first arrived as a young man in 1834 to work for the British East India Company. He served as an ensign, Assistant Revenue Surveyor, Revenue Surveyor of what was then known as the Bengal Presidency. He held positions of Lieutenant; Captain—a position he held until 1859 when he became Major Sherwill. On his retirement in 1861 he was given the title Honourable Lieutenant Colonel.

When Ngaire Gardner, the author, a retired school teacher who taught History of Art, Classical Studies, Visual Arts, Design and Photography and also great-great-granddaughter of Sherwill contacted us; we knew little of Sherwill except that the iconic drawing of Sidhu Murmu in jail, one of the brothers famous for leading the Santal Rebellion 1855-57, was in all probability drawn by him.

‘Hot Wells and Springs in the bed and on the banks of the Bum Buklesir Nullah – Zillah Beerbhoom’; W. S. Sherwill, 1851; Indian ink on paper; © Dunedin Public Art Gallery; 40.8 x 27 cm.

That image has been in circulation and used by Santals and Adivasis for years now to represent and assert our identity rights and self-determination.

What are the odds that an Adivasi publisher comes in contact with Sherwill’s descendant and has access to more material that serves as the only window to the life and times of our people over a century and half ago. Well, it happened and Illustrated Pursuits came to life.

‘The Great Tree embedded Gun, at Moorshedabad’; W. S. Sherwill, 1850; Indian ink on paper; © Dunedin Public Art Gallery; 41 x 27 cm.

Sherwill’s “Notes Upon a Tour of the Rajmahal Hills” (1851) and “Notes Upon a Tour of the Sikkim Himilayahs” (1852), both published in the Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and included in this book, give us a glimpse of the tribal people and their customs in those regions. Actually, Sherwill’s work does reflect British colonial positions and this book will help us engage with those thought patterns and approaches.

We did not want to pass up the prospect of having this historical material, curated in one place and made available to the descendants of Sidhu and Kanhu Murmu and the others who have been represented in Sherwill’s drawing.

Ngaire Gardner sums up the intention of the book: ‘the consequences of British colonial attitudes to the land, resources and indigenous population of India continue to reverberate today and readers will inevitably bring their own perspectives to Sherwill’s images and words. My aim has been to share the material he has left behind and to allow readers to form their own opinions of his legacy’ .

Ngaire Gardner

Ngaire Gardner

The book, from our imprint ONE of US, is now available for you to read. Go ahead and grab your copy.


Jacinta Kerketta’s first poetry book: Angor


Our authors and readers make adivaani what it is…they are the fuel and passion that keeps our work going.

As proud as we are to announce our first poetry book; the poet and her brilliance far surpass everything we stand for.

Do join us at the launch of Jacinta Kerketta’s first collection of bi-lingual poems in Hindi and English: Angor on Friday, the 20th of May, 2016 in Ranchi, Jharkhand.

Jacinta’s Angor–meaning Ember in the local Adivasi dialect–has been translated into German, Glut (Hindi-German) in collaboration with Draupadi-Verlag and Jacinta and Ruby will embark on a tour to Germany soon after, promoting both books.

We invite you to come over and interact with Jacinta and hear her recite some of her poems.

Venue: Dr. Camil Bulcke Hall,

St. Xavier’s College. Purulia Road

Time: 15:30 hrs.

Hope to see you all there.

Ruby Hembrom at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2016


Join Ruby, adivaani’s Executive Director, at the following sessions:

1. Jaipur BookMark, Thursday, January 21, 2016
Time: 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Session No.: 2 (Main Stage)
Session Name: An Indian Reader
Speakers: Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee, Rita Kothari, Jerry Pinto, Shailesh Bharatwasi and Ruby Hembrom in conversation with Manisha Chaudhry

2. Jaipur Literature Festival, Saturday, January 23, 2016
Time: 3:45 pm to 4:45 pm
Session No.: 98 (Baithak)
Session Name: Adivaani: The Indigenous Literature of India
Speakers: Hari Ram Meena, Ruby Hembrom and Peter Anderson in conversation with Mohini Gupta

3. Jaipur Literature Festival, Saturday, January 23, 2016
Time: 5:15 pm to 6:15 pm
Session No.: 103 (Mughal Tent)
Session Name: A Room of One’s Own
Speakers: Ila Arab Mehta, Anuradha Roy, Ira Pande, Alka Saraogi, Ruby Hembrom in conversation with Anjum Hasan, introduced by Namita Gokhale.

adivaani books at the New Delhi World Book Fair 2016



Where: Sanskriti Book Distributors, Hall No. 6, Stall No. 87, near Gate no. 2, Pragati Maidan.

Venue: Pragati Maidan, Mathura Road, New Delhi, 110002.

Dates: January 9th to January 17th, 2016.

Time: Everyday 11 a.m. to 8 p.m

adivaani’s new imprint One of Us brings out Sylvan Tales: Stories from the Munda country


In the past we’ve received manuscripts and proposals from Non-Adivasi authors, activists, scholars and researchers who wished to publish with us and we turned them down as a policy as we were creating a niche space for ourselves and they’d anyway have better chances to be published by established, mainstream publishers.

Three years on we realized that there were some Non-Adivasi’s who’ve been so closely associated with us and our issues; who’ve build trusting relationships with us that their voices were important to include to create the larger documentation, adivaani database. After much deliberation we decide to start One of Us to include such narratives.

One of Us is a celebration of outsider-insider collaborations, associations and relationships. adivaani wouldn’t be what it is without such collaborations and neither would our Adivasi movements and struggles.

Samar Bosu Mullick’s Sylvan Tales: Stories from the Munda country is the first title under One of Us; traversing through Munda terrain picking up sights, sounds, smells and flavours from it.


Sylvan Book Release

Samar Bosu Mullick (centre) at the official release of Sylvan Tales: Stories from the Munda country in Ranchi on the 24th of October, 2015.

Samar (Sanjay) Bosu Mullick has been engaged in the Adivasi struggle for identity, autonomy and rights to resources since 1968. This collection of 14 stories is embedded on facts that he as an activist encountered during the last 45 years of his being among the characters of the stories.

Do pick up the book and read on to savour the stories.

Adivaani and Tribal Intellectual Collective India’s first book is out!

Earlier this year adivaani and the Tribal Intellectual Collective India’s paths crossed. Conversations turned to collaborations and the plans to co-host their First National Congress, in Shillong in September 2015 were consolidated. Not only that; ideas to produce books together were also explored and formalized. The first product from this association is a series: Tribal and Adivasi Studies: Perspectives from Within.

Adivaani and Tribal Intellectual Collective India is very proud to present its first title of that series: Identities and their struggles in North East (volume 2).

We very fittingly released the book at the First National Congress in Shillong on the 18th September, 2015 at the inaugural session of the two day event.

Here are some snapshots from the book release, the congress and the tribal and adivasi scholars and postgraduate students…

From left to right: Dr. Alex Akhup (Editor of the volume), Prof. Virginius Xaxa (Convener, Tribal Intellectual Collective India), Prof. Bipin Jojo (Member, Editorial Board, Journal of Tribal Intellectual Collective India), John F. Kharshiing (Chairman, Grand Council of Chiefs, Meghalaya), Ruby Hembrom, (Director, adivaani), Prof. Xavier Mao (Department of Philosophy, NEHU, Shillong). Photo by John Minz.

The sales table

Ruby speaking at the Plenary of the Tribal Intellectual Collective India National Congress

The participants…

You can buy the book at our regular venues…