Lakshmi’s Footprints and Paisley Patterns

Perspectives on Scoto-Indian Literary and Cultural Interrelationships 
(London: Routledge, 2024)

A unique collection of essays that comprehensively discusses the nature of interrelationship of India and Scotland spread over the last two centuries. In this stimulating volume, the editors, Professors Fraser and Bandyopadhyay have gathered a fascinating range of studies, focusing on the last two centuries, of aspects of the interrelationship of India and Scotland. In so doing, they and their contributors offer refreshing insights into the relationship of both nations. These insights move substantially beyond straightforward examinations of colonial and post-colonial history and into a variety of fresh areas and angles of study. They open up issues of exchange and interaction, questions of literary, cultural, religious and even economic and legal influences, parallels and reactions. They explore large questions of the assimilation in both directions of cultural production between both nations.

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It’s not unusual to feel that our connection to the world around us has become frayed.

The coronavirus pandemic was likely the most extreme case of that growing disconnect in recent memory. We were severed from each other, often prisoners in our own towns and cities, if not our very homes, and the world receded for each of us. While the world has opened itself up once more and the days of lockdown are receding into memory like a bad dream, hopefully there are some who remember the videos that appeared online of nature ‘reclaiming’ our erstwhile abandoned urban environments – images of sheep and deer roaming empty town high streets across the country while we sheltered ourselves away.

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Patient Dignity

A transnational collection of pandemic poetry and paintings that, among other things, compares India to Scotland. Bashabi was struck by the lines of villagers going home at the start of lockdown which reminded her of the lines of refugees during the Partition period of India's history. We have all experienced a partition this year.

Scotland Street Press, 2021 - 112 pages


Rabindranath Tagore

Polymath Rabindranath Tagore was the first non-European to be awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature, in 1913. But Tagore was much more than a writer. Through his poems, novels, short stories, poetic songs, dance-dramas and paintings, he transformed Bengali literature and Indian art. He was instrumental in bringing Indian culture to the West and vice versa, and strove to create a less divided society through mutual respect and understanding, like his great contemporary and close friend, Mahatma Gandhi.

In this timely reappraisal of Tagore’s life and work, Bashabi Fraser assesses Tagore’s many activities and shows how he embodies the modern consciousness of India. She examines his ties to his upbringing in Bengal, his role in Indian politics and his interests in international relationships, as well as addressing some of the mis-readings of his life and work through a holistic perspective.

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The Ramayana: A Stage Play and A Screen Play

To condense an epic of 24000 verses into a limited sphere without causing any harm to the age old sentiments that is associated with it is not an easy task. However, Professor Emerita Dr. Bashabi Fraser in her book The Ramayana: A Stage Play and A Screen Play has done the above mentioned task commendably. As Professor Deb Narayan Bandyopadhyay states in the Introduction of the book, ‘Fraser has successfully transformed the epical into the dramatic’ (xiv). The cover page designed in the style of Kangra or Nagarkot style of painting gives us a feel of the ancient and medieval times. It transcends our mind to an era and before we start reading our mind is ready to encounter the society in which the epic is set.

Read the full review of the book here.

My Mum's Sari

Follow the wave and listen to Bashabi Fraser’s rhyming poem about her mum’s sari.

Read and listen to the book below via The BBC.

Click on the link for a copy of Bashabi Fraser's poem, My Mum's Sari.

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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.