Thali Katori: An Anthology of Scottish / South Asian Poetry

Edited by Bashabi Fraser and Alan Riach, Edinburgh: Luath Press, 2017.

This anthology, published to celebrate the UK India Year of Culture in what is a close historic association of 70 years, commemorates Scots who went to India and wrote about their encounter with India and South Asians who came her and live and write between their two worlds. This is the first anthology of poetry that brings together the voices of poets from Scotland and India who have explored their roots and routes, the elsewhere and the somewhere, the ‘here’ and ‘there’ in their diverse stories of departures and arrivals.

The Homing Bird

Bashabi Fraser (2017) Indigo Dreams Publishing, Devon

The Homing Bird ‘is a paean to the twin cities of Kolkata and Edinburgh, written with great warmth and charm. There’s a distinctive voice, a pleasing narrative flow, in a sequence of poems both engaged and engaging.’ (Alan Spence)

‘The Homing Bird explores Fraser’s twin identities: India’s tropical abandon and Scotland’s temperate caution… Fraser does not shy away from the harsh history of colonialism and Partition. She moves easily between her two countries, exploring a sense of belonging and bringing us a unique and personal distillation.’ (Christine De Luca).

Read more ...

Confluence of Minds: The Rabindranath Tagore and Patrick Geddes Reader on Education and Environment (2017)

Edited by Bashabi Fraser, Tapati Mukherjee and Amrit Sen (Special Advisor: Neil Fraser),  Visva-Bharati Press, Santinikaten, India; Luath Press, Edinburgh.

This book is a further product of the collaborative project which led to the Scottish orientalism book. It is a collection of some of the most relevant writings on education and the environment by Rabindranath Tagore from India and Patrick Geddes from Scotland, two great minds who knew each other, respected each other and exchanged letters between 1918 and 1930. They were radical thinkers on both education and the environment, a confluence of minds in spite of their different backgrounds, one a poet, the other a scientist and planner.

 

Scottish Orientalism and the Bengal Renaissance: The Continuum of Ideas (2017)

Edited by Bashabi Fraser with Tapati Mukherjee  and Amrit Sen (Special Advisor: Neil Fraser), Visva-Bharati Press, Santinikaten, India; Luath Press, Edinburgh.

This book is the outcome of a collaborative project between the Scottish Centre of Tagore Studies at Edinburgh Napier University and Rabindra Bhavana at Visva-Bharati in the UK and India respectively, co-funded as a UK India Educational Research Initiatives (UKIERI) project. The Bengal Renaissance is a socio-religious reform movement which transformed the literature, culture and education, in Bengal and fostered the sciences from the second half of the 19thcentury and leading up to the beginning of the 20th Century.  Bashabi wrote the Introduction, tracing the story of Scottish Orientalists back to the Scottish Enlightenment of the 18th Century. Chapters in the book then go on to examine Scots in the development of education in Bengal – David Hare, Rev. Alexander Duff, Scottish Church College; Scots close to Rabindranath Tagore, Arthur Geddes and Sir Daniel Hamilton; and Scots close to  the Bengali scientists Prafulla Chandra Ray and Sir Jagadish Chandra Bose.

Letters to My Mother and Other Mothers

Bashabi Fraser (2015), Luath Press, Edinburgh

Bashabi Fraser commemorates her mother and the conversations they would have together. Exploring themes of motherhood, empowerment, love and loss, the acclaimed poet draws on her Indian and British life experience, engaging with hard-hitting current issues such as climate change, war and the prevalence of violence against women worldwide.

This is a collection of 60 poems, with an Introduction about her mother preceding the poems. As she says there ‘I could speak to my mother about everything – social injustice, climate change, women’s rights, music, plays, films, politics, books, my crushes, my friends’ romantic escapades ..’ The poems were mainly written after her mother’s death but continue the conversations she had with her. The sequence to ‘Other Mothers’ flows in the same strain.

In this beautifully candid and moving sequence of poems, Bashabi Fraser talks to her mother across the years and across ‘two cherished countries of Scotland and India’. The poems are shaped by geographies of loss, as a daughter contemplates the distance between Bombay and Marseilles, between Kolkata and Edinburgh, and ultimately between life and death. There is a wonderful conversational ease in the writing, with mother and child sharing their feelings about music, art, love and politics, but the poems are always delicately and lyrically crafted. The book opens into a tribute to the many other mothers who have undergone remarkable journeys. For all the deeply felt loss in these poems, there is joy and gratitude, too, and a heartfelt consolation in the enduring power of words.

Stephen Regan
Professor of Poetry
University if Durham


Bashabi Fraser’s new collection returns to themes of her earlier work, but this time in an elegiac mode. The poet dedicates her new poems to mothers, in all senses of the word—to her own biological mother and to other mothers whose love and whose losses have shaped her life, and to mother tongues and mother countries. As in The Ganga and the Tay, Bashabi Fraser investigates the cultural dialogue entailed in a migrant poetics, returning to scenes from her own childhood and from her mother’s youth. Touchingly recalled are the brutal separations of Partition, the less fraught but still poignant distances between India and Scotland. These poems weave a tender net between past and present, Scotland and South Asia. In intimate detail they mine the elegiac necessities of age and of separation, and yet at the same time they also celebrate the joys of connection.

Mary Ellis Gibson
Professor of English Literature
University of Glasgow

 

Ragas and Reels: Visual and Poetic Stories of Migration and Diaspora

Bashabi Fraser and Hermann Rodrigues (2012), Luath Press, Edinburgh

This book consists of 46 poems by Bashabi Fraser each linked to a photograph by Herman Rodrigues. As Herman says in the Introduction ‘This selection spans a long shared history between Scotland and South Asia – including how Scots brought India back with them. We chose a cross-section of ‘New Scots’ – from town and country, from different professions e.g. medicine, education, business, of different generations – to present a whole social fabric that is both representative and illuminating, illustrating their contribution to Scotland.’ The photographs are beautiful studies of these New Scots in their new land, and the poems tell the story of each photograph in a great variety of poetic forms.

Read more ...

Scots Beneath the Banyan Tree: Stories from Bengal

Bashabi Fraser with Gurupada Chitrakar (2012) Luath Press, Edinburgh

This book is done with an internationally renowned  scroll painter from Bengal, Gurupada Chitrakar, whose scrolls unfold as you open the book. The book  gives a brief history of Patuas by Ruby Pal Chaudhuri and an Introduction by Lord Charles Bruce. The book is about Scots who have more or less been forgotten in Scotland, but have become iconic figures in Bengal.

Read more ...

From the Ganga to the Tay: a poetic conversation between the Ganges and the Tay

Bashabi Fraser (2009),  Luath Press, Edinburgh

This is an epic poem of some 2050 (short) lines which meander through 54 pages illustrated by photographs taken by Kenny Munro and Bashabi Fraser. Kenny Munro has also contributed an Introduction and Bashabi Fraser a Preface and Notes.

The Preface and Introduction outline the links between India and Scotland, both historical and personal, which are woven into the poem’s poetic conversation between the Indian river Ganga (Ganges) and the Scottish river Tay. They also stress the importance of rivers to the culture and history of both countries, exploring the connections and contrasts between Scotland and India. ‘The story of rivers is the story of the growth of civilisation as people settled along flowing water.’

In the art of Bashabi Fraser the cultures of India and Scotland richly blend, and in this magnificent poem the two living traditions speak to each other through the riverine oracles of the Ganges and the Tay.
RICHARD HOLLOWAY

A rich blend of mythic, historical, and geographical storytelling, her poem explores aspects of India and Scotland from a radically unusual perspective, paying tribute to the close links between both post-colonial nations.
MARIO RELICH

Read more ...

Topsy Turvy

Bashabi Fraser (2004) Das Gupta & Co. (P) Ltd, Kolkata

‘Do you know about the wonderful holiday Rini had when Tukai climbed on to her parents’ bed and went to sleep?’ Thus begins the wonderful journey of Rini and her dog Tukai in the Topsy Turvy world where Raja, the Royal Bengal tiger holds sway, where a walking and talking Banyan tree shelters you from the rain, where a River sings a beautiful song, and much, much more…

Tartan and Turban

Bashabi Fraser (2004), Luath Press, Edinburgh

This is a collection of 65 poems, Bashabi’s second collection. She creatively spans the different worlds she inhabits (Scotland and India) celebrating the contrasts of the two countries whilst also finding commonality. Focussing on such themes as displacement, removal, belonging, identity, war, the poetry displays a lot of feeling and colour but is clear and direct.

Read more ...

Just One Diwali Night

Bashabi Fraser (2004) Das Gupta & Co. (P)Ltd, Kolkata

It is a Diwali night, which Rini and the readers will remember for ever after. It all begins when Uncle Bimal takes up the pen that comes with the 'magic' whiteboard and begins drawing the outline of the dog that listened to 'his master's voice'. In due course Rini comes across Woof, the dog from the magic whiteboard, Rocketmen who take her on a ride to the moon, magic Christmas trees, Swapna Kumari, the talking cat and other fantastic creatures ... indeed, a night to remember!

Rainbow Worlds: Poems from Many Cultures

Edited by Bashabi Fraser and Debjani Chatterjee (2003) Hodder Wayland, London

This multicultural anthology focuses on the voices of Asian and Black poets from Britain, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand and the continents of Asia and Africa. There are over a hundred poems by more than 80 poets. Race, culture and identity, family and friends, and nature and the environment are just some of the diverse themes explored by contemporary and traditional poets. This rich collection of poems highlights the similarities, as much as the differences, between peoples. Rainbow World was the runner up for the EMMA award.

Bengal Partition Stories: An Unclosed Chapter

Edited and with an Introduction by Bashabi Fraser (2002, 2008), Anthem Press, London, New York, Delhi

This 622 page book contains 39 published stories about the partition of Bengal, all freshly translated into English, with a 56 page Introduction: ‘The Bengal Partition relived in Literature’, followed by a postcolonial analysis of the stories.

Read more ...

The Tagore-Geddes Correspondence

Edited and compiled by Bashabi Fraser (2002) Geddes-Tagore Correspondence, Edinburgh Review, Edinburgh

(2nd ed) Edited and compiled by Bashabi Fraser (2004) The Tagore-Geddes Correspondence, Visva-Bharati, Kolkata

(3rd ed.) Edited and compiled by Bashabi Fraser (2005) A Meeting of Two Minds: The Geddes Tagore Letters, WordPower Books, Edinburgh

Tagore is India’s national poet, winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1913, and also a novelist, an essayist, and a social reformer, who founded a school and international university in Shantiniketan in Bengal. Patrick Geddes was also a polymath, Scotland’s leading intellectual of his generation, who spent nine years in India (1914-23) as a Professor of Sociology and Civics, and also a town-planner.

Read more ...

Edinburgh: An Intimate City

An illustrated anthology of contemporary poetry about Edinburgh

Edited by Bashabi Fraser and Elaine Grieg (2000) City of Edinburgh Council

This is an anthology of poetry on Edinburgh by contemporary poets. In her Introduction Bashabi refers to the poems on Edinburgh contained in the anthology as ‘captur[ing] its charm, its beauty, its sadness, its people and the richness of life that it offers.’  The unifying thread is that they justify that Edinburgh was, and remains, an intimate city.’ She argues that what makes a city is not its architecture but the life within the city. The book offers a trip through Edinburgh. There are memories of the Festival and of the city’s bars, of the changeable weather, the flowers and the birds. There are 85 poems and a large number of illustrations.

 

Life

Bashabi Fraser (1997) Diehard Poetry, Edinburgh

Indian edition, With Best Wishes from Edinburgh (2001) Writers Workshop, Kolkata

This is Bashabi’s first collection of poems. It contains 59 poems, many about India, the land the poet has left behind, and some about Scotland, where she has come to live.

Edinburgh: an intimate city: An illustrated anthology of contemporary poetry about Edinburgh

Edited by Bashabi Fraser and Elaine Grieg (2000) City of Edinburgh Council

This is an anthology of poetry on Edinburgh by contemporary poets. In her Introduction Bashabi refers to the poems on Edinburgh contained in the anthology as ‘captur[ing] its charm, its beauty, its sadness, its people and the richness of life that it offers.’  The unifying thread is that they justify that Edinburgh was, and remains, an intimate city.’ She argues that what makes a city is not its architecture but the life within the city. The book offers a trip through Edinburgh. There are memories of the Festival and of the city’s bars, of the changeable weather, the flowers and the birds. There are 85 poems and a large number of illustrations

 

Peoples of Edinburgh: Methodology and Evaluation

Edited by Bashabi Fraser, Helen Clark and Joyce Connan (1999) City of Edinburgh Council and Workers Educational Association

This is a reflective account of the entire process of the Peoples of Edinburghexhibition involving the community and schools.