Motiba's Tattoos: A Granddaughter's Journey into Her Indian Family's Past

Motiba's Tattoos: A Granddaughter's Journey into Her Indian Family's Past

by Mira Kamdar
     
 

When Motiba died a whole world disappeared with her. Motiba - "grandmother" in Gujarati - was marked with mysterious signs from a lost era: geometric tattoos on her face and forearms. What did these symbols mean? When had they been etched? Why?" "Haunted by the riddle of Motiba's tattoos, Mira Kamdar begins a journey down the hazy, twisting corridors of the past.… See more details below

Overview

When Motiba died a whole world disappeared with her. Motiba - "grandmother" in Gujarati - was marked with mysterious signs from a lost era: geometric tattoos on her face and forearms. What did these symbols mean? When had they been etched? Why?" "Haunted by the riddle of Motiba's tattoos, Mira Kamdar begins a journey down the hazy, twisting corridors of the past. The deeper she delves, the more she realizes that her family's story is part of a much larger saga. It is one version of the great story of the twentieth century - the story of leaving home, of severing roots, of losing one's tribe; the story of abandoning a rural life firmly anchored in traditions and rituals for the tantalizing prospects of urban existence in an increasingly global consumer culture." "With details of her relatives' many fascinating lives, Kamdar evokes the moods and atmospheres of lost times and places. She retraces pivotal historical moments - Satyagraha and India's independence movement, World War II, the "brain drain" years of a triumphant American military-industrial complex, the borderless, dot.com world of the Indian diaspora today - but never strays from the intimate experiences of her remarkable family.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
In this story of her grandmother's life, Kamdar (senior fellow, World Policy Inst., New School) brilliantly captures the experiences of the Indian diaspora in the 20th century. Motiba, Kamdar's paternal grandmother, was born in a village in Kathiawar, in western India, in 1908. During the Twenties and Thirties, Motiba's family sought their fortune in Burma. The bombing of Rangoon by the Japanese during World War II and later General Ne Win's nationalist policies forced the family, along with the rest of the Indian community, to flee to India. In the Sixties, Motiba's son emigrated to the United States as a student and eventually married a Danish American. This account of Motiba's odyssey through the 20th century is effectively blended with the wider context of world events, Motiba's Jain religion and culture, Asian Indian immigration to the United States, and the author's own experience of growing up in two cultures. Highly recommended for both public and academic libraries.--Ravi Shenoy, Naperville P.L., IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Booknews
In an extension of her academic work on economic and political transition in India, Kamdar (World Policy Institute, New York U.) traces the Indian diaspora through this fascinating memoir of her tattooed grandmother's world and her own bicultural upbringing in the US West and Bombay. Includes family photos, maps, recipes, a glossary of Gujarati and Hindi terms, and endnotes. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Hema Nair
A saga of migration rootlessness, and uneasy assimilation...Enriched by photos, maps, and recipes, Motiba's Tatoos is a complex mosaic, and Motiba is the star.
Ms. Magazine
Kirkus Reviews
A well researched but stylistically flat family memoir.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781903985427
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
09/21/2002
Pages:
320

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