The Janata government that came to power at the end of the Emergency was as splendid in its achievements as it was sordid in its decline. One of the worst consequences of its disarray was the rise in communal tension, and we made it a point to cover the story, wherever it be. The call was from Nikhil Chakravartty. He congratulated us on a report from Jamshedpur in which we had exposed precisely who, among both Hindus and Muslims, had been responsible for the riots. You have also killed the old shibboleths, he added.
Later, in his cluttered, book-heavy apartment where youngsters were always welcome, sometimes for breakfast, sometimes for rum, he told me how his own journalism was shaped by his experience of the Calcutta killings of 1946, the savage riots that made Partition inevitable. I was looking forward, therefore, to reading some of his pieces from that devastating moment of history. But this incisive collection is really about themes across borders.