From the latest review of


[I]n its representations of cross-caste romance, its evocation of rural India from the twenties to the seventies, and its treatment of an important if lesser-known social movement, Shankar’s ambitious novel draws us into a rich and interesting world, and leads us through his characters’ intense emotional journey.” —South Asian Review

I am a scholar-novelist. I write in different genres because the word is supple and powerful, sometimes more powerful than the sword.


Explore to learn about my writings and presentations.


India is over. And Kashmir is just the latest sign of it.


Call me a late born child of 1947, of India’s independence from the British.

When I was a teenager in the 70s in Bombay (as Mumbai was then called), I came dangerously face to face with ethnic intolerance. I am a Tamil from the southern part of India, and Bombay in the west was then gripped by hatred aimed at people like me because of an influx of Tamil migrant labor (sound familiar?).

…. Read More…


The Hindu reviews my most recent novel GHOST IN THE TAMARIND!

 “S. Shankar captures well the rigidity of caste hierarchy in the countryside. . . . [T]his novel of forbidden love is well-crafted. It is also timeless.”


Seminar on Boycotts and Censorship
at American Comparative Literature Association, March 8-9 2019
“Perumal, Murugan, the Censorship of Caste, and Ahimsa”
March 9 2019
Georgetown University, Washington DC


Screen Shot 2017-09-21 at 1.30.37 PM


“Controversial, hauntingly beautiful and gripping, it is a novel one must not hesitate to dive into headfirst.”


“S. Shankar’s Ghost in the Tamarind is an impressive achievement–a conscientiously woven narrative that concurrently takes into account two inviolable principles and attempts to find a balance in between: the truth as well as the invasive and often violent finitude of perspective. If the answers to history’s problems always arrive too late, a phrase I borrow from the novel, how should the history of the present be narrated in the agonizing interregnum between an unbearable present and an inconceivable salvific future? Relying on history not just as back drop but as its very backbone, Shankar’s novel creates a credible world whose realism is critically mimetic of its own conditions of possibility.”

–R. Radhakrishnan, Chancellor’s Professor, University of California at Irvine

NOW AVAILABLE for purchase!!

Shankar Ghost Cover

Ghost in the Tamarind is a novel that must be read not just for its historical sweep but also for the power of storytelling.” (Nalini Iyer in the International Examiner)

“The narrative is rich with memorable characters and moments, along with a beautiful, sensual flow of language.” (Foreword Reviews)

“Subversions, transgressions, and transcending boundaries are at the center of Ghost in the Tamarind, and Ramu, a Brahmin with a revolutionary heart, is a fitting protagonist. One of the novel’s many pleasures is its seamless weaving of historical contexts, all the more impressive for its range, from the nineteenth century to the 1970s.” (Samrat Upadhyay)

“S. Shankar has created an ambitious and moving novel that traverses several crucial eras in India’s history. He has masterfully woven into it the lives of Ramu and Ponni, the heroic yet very human lovers who struggle against the bonds of colonialism as well as the prejudices within their own communities that threaten to destroy them.” (Chitra Divakaruni)

CASTE AND LIFE NARRATIVES, a special issue of the journal Biography, I co-edited with Dr. Charu Gupta of the University of Delhi is now out! Click below to go to the Project Muse site!

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Videos of My Public Lecture and my Interview with Dr. Vida Robertson at the University of Houston (Downtown). From My Visit as 2016 CCRS Scholar-in-Residence.

In Summer 2016, I was invited by H. Nikhila of English and Foreign Languages University in Hyderabad, India, to record an interview on Film, Translation and Myth for the multimedia journal Caesurae. The interview was conducted before a live audience on the campus of the English and Foreign Languages University. Go here for the interview.

The images above and at the bottom of the page relate to my novel GHOST IN THE TAMARIND.



  1. Thanks for a marvelous posting! I quite enjoyed reading it, you’re a great author.
    I will make certain to bookmark your blog and may come back
    in the foreseeable future. I want to encourage
    you continue your great writing, have a nice weekend!


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