Honor: A Conversation with Thrity Umrigar

Honor is a riveting novel that transports readers to an India rarely seen or discussed – one struggling with sectarian violence, where interfaith marriage between Muslims and Hindus animates the deep religious polarization in the world’s most populous secular democracy. Umrigar brings a fictional story to readers that challenges the notions of tradition, family and challenges assumptions about what it takes to bridge divides.

We Thought Diversity Was Our Strength
Best-selling and award-winning Thrity Umrigar describes her journey to becoming a published author and the spirit of India that she felt as she was coming of age in the 1970s. A time she described where religious diversity was valued as a strength and central to the identity of being Indian. The national identity belonged to all regardless of religion in stark contrast to the rise of ethnoreligious extremism and religious polarization today.

Claiming The Right to Love
Umrigar shares how a series of articles by New York Times writer Ellen Barry detailing the plight of women in rural India inspired her latest novel. She describes the two main characters and the unique dynamics in the relationship that upend expectations and ideas about wisdom and knowledge. The heroine for Umrigar is the one who, against all taboos and odds, claims her right to love.

Hindu-Muslim Marriages and the Memory of Partition
Umrigar discusses why she believes the opposition to interfaith marriage has become the third rail in the political battles unfolding in India today and animates the tensions that trace back to the violence of partition.

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