Harper's Bazaar India|June - July 2020
A Facebook post criticising the government provokes a cataclysmic turn in the life of a young Muslim girl. Raised in an Indian city-slum, Jivan is determined to rise above her class status—until, based on her post, she’s framed as the perpetrator of a bomb blast on a local train. Will the courts exonerate her or uphold the accusations? In Megha Majumdar’s literary debut A Burning, out this month, the Kolkata-born, New York-based author delves into issues of class, corruption, and communal hysteria in contemporary India.
HARPER’S BAZAAR: The state victimises Jivan, while other characters betray her for their personal aspirations. What is the biggest crime in the novel?
MEGHA MAJUMDAR: I’d love to hear what a reader’s answer would be, but one path of profound injustice for me is in Jivan’s character. Throughout the book, you see how she has to fight to get a water supply, fight to live in her home, and fight to rise to the middle class. She has to make heartbreaking choices about her freedom.
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June - July 2020