The Flavours of Nationalism
Nandita Haksar, renowned human rights activist and lawyer recounts in this book her culinary journey in search of answers to the fundamental political questions that have arisen during recent controversies over food – what can we eat, who can we eat with, what foods are forbidden or denigrated, and what all this says about our country.
The Flavours of Nationalism is a personal memoir from her childhood during the Nehruvian era to the present. Haksar writes about how food shaped her awareness of politics, patriarchy, nationalism and socialism. She takes us on a thoughtful and often humorous journey through India, from her Kashmiri Pandit family settled in Old Delhi and Lucknow, to human-rights activism on behalf of Nagas in Manipur, from grappling with feminist ideals to considering the impact of a globalised food industry in Goa, where she now lives.
On a wider scale, she explores how our tastes and attitudes to food are shaped by our caste, race, gender and class, exposing the prejudices and bigotry that have fuelled battles around food, while celebrating the diversity of cultures and cuisines in India.