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The Twice-Born

Nonfiction: Memoir
Unabridged   8.75 hour(s)
Publication date: 03/05/2019

The Twice-Born

Life and Death on the Ganges

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684571987
Digital Download ISBN:9781684571994


In The Twice-Born, Aatish Taseer embarks on a journey of self-discovery in an intoxicating, unsettling personal reckoning with modern India, where ancient customs collide with the contemporary politics of revivalism and revenge.

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Product Description

When Aatish Taseer first came to Benares, the spiritual capital of Hinduism, he was eighteen, the Westernized child of an Indian journalist and a Pakistani politician, raised among the intellectual and cultural elite of New Delhi. Nearly two decades later, Taseer leaves his life in Manhattan to go in search of the Brahmins, wanting to understand his own estrangement from India through their ties to tradition.

Known as the twice-born—first into the flesh, and again when initiated into their vocation—the Brahmins are a caste devoted to sacred learning. But what Taseer finds in Benares, the holy city of death also known as Varanasi, is a window on an India as internally fractured as his own continent-bridging identity. At every turn, the seductive, homogenizing force of modernity collides with the insistent presence of the past. In a globalized world, to be modern is to renounce India—and yet the tide of nationalism is rising, heralded by cries of "Victory to Mother India!" and an outbreak of anti-Muslim violence.

From the narrow streets of the temple town to a Modi rally in Delhi, Taseer struggles to reconcile magic with reason, faith in tradition with hope for the future and the brutalities of the caste system, all the while challenging his own myths about himself, his past, and his countries old and new.


"A gorgeous, sinister portrait of Benares . . . Taseer’s wonderfully atmospheric rendition of landscapes and gnarled social psychologies make for an engrossing dissection of India’s discontents." ―Publishers Weekly

“Superb. Anyone wishing to understand the rise of the right―in India, but also elsewhere―should read this brilliant, disquieting, personal book.” ―Karan Mahajan, author of The Association of Small Bombs

Author Bio

Aatish Taseer is the author of the memoir Stranger to History and the acclaimed novels The Way Things Were, a finalist for the 2016 Jan Michalski Prize; The Temple-Goers, which was short-listed for the Costa First Novel Award; and Noon. He lives in New Delhi and New York.