2020: a remarkable year for Tulika Books (pandemic notwithstanding)!

In 1995, Tulika (meaning a painter’s brush or writer’s quill in Sanskrit) Books published its first book, Essays in Indian History: Towards a Marxist Perception, a collection of seminal essays by the renowned historian Professor Irfan Habib.

Designer Ram Rahman on the Tulika Books logo:

“Tulika is the word for brush or quill. I took the idea of a calligraphy nib and the angular mark it makes with ink. This was stylized in a graphic form and then played on with positive and negative space to create a logo which I hoped would be a statement of a modern vision rooted in a cultural tradition.”

Sudhanva Deshpande recalls those early years:

Over the last 25 years, we have published more than 200 new titles, a majority of which continue to be in circulation through reprints and updated/revised editions, and which maintain high standards of editorial and print production processes that we have set for ourselves.

Shad Naved speaks about his association with Tulika Books:

Besides books in the social sciences and humanities, we have a carefully nurtured list on the visual and performing arts, cinema and cultural studies, art theory and criticism, that has been steadily growing over the years. These are books that are recognized as much for their creative content as their innovative design, having won industry-level awards in these spheres.

In the words of designer Sherna Dastur

“I have always admired and valued books published by Tulika Books, long before I had any association with it. I was thrilled when Indu approached me to design a large format book on the works of Nilima Sheikh. Working with Indu on several books over the last ten years has only deepened this admiration.

Books are usually conceived and developed well before they reach the design stage, which is often seen within the limitations of execution and production. With Tulika and Indu, the process of bookmaking is organic: design is seen as an intrinsic component in the conception of a book, and a space of trust and freedom is created for the designer which is extremely valuable. It allows one to experiment, take risks, develop methods of visual storytelling that complement the content and possibly even change the course of the book. This generosity of spirit makes the collective experience of bookmaking such a pleasure.

While her formidable skills as an editor are well known, Indu’s knowledge and experience of multiple formats, typography, leading, paper, printing and binding make her an equal partner in the design process. She is firmly with you every step of the way, allowing you to experiment and explore all possibilities. And then of course there is her optimism. Large-format books are long-term commitments, and sometimes the labour involved can feel insurmountable and overwhelming. We have spent many exhausting days and nights making tiny last-minute changes to files just before they go to press, but through all this, there’s always laughter and good cheer.

So thank you, Indu, for being supportive and for indulging me all these years, even as we have quibbled over the smallest details that only we seem to notice. And many congratulations to Tulika and to you for these 25 years of making books that count.”


Printed Book of the Year: Project Cinema City
For its design and production values, attention to detail, and for enhancing the book through an impressive choice of medium and packaging, the award for Printed Book of the Year is presented to Tulika Books (New Delhi) for its title “Project Cinema City”.

Printed Book of the Year: Sair-ul-Manazil
Presented to “Sair-ul-Manazil”, published by Tulika Books, for “offering a glimpse into the multicultural roots of the city that is Delhi. An engaging translation, the book, with its maps, sketches and anecdotes is a look-back into the inclusivity of a city through its architectural landmark, coming at a time when the advent of migrants in a megapolis has become a political issue.
Illustrated Book of the Year, Runner-up: Vivan Sundaram: History Project

Illustrated Book of the Year: Vivan Sundaram is not a Photographer: The Photographic Work of Vivan Sundaram
For an excellent addition to books on photography produced from India. The book is a serious dialogue on the art and craft and the boundaries to which it can be stretched. The choice of paper makes it easier to connect with the artwork, the life depicted in the photographs and the dynamics between the photographer, the photograph and the various layers in-between. The text is well edited and the page layout is splendid.

Our printer of many years, Fahim Ikram of Chaman Enterprises, has this to say:

“We have been working with Tulika for over 30 years now. Our association with them goes a long way back, to our early days in printing. Over the course of time we have developed a warm and cordial relationship, in fact Tulika is more like family to us.

Tulika Books has always pushed the envelope in publishing and always managed to give voice to unknowns and forgotten, and bring them to centre stage.

We, at Chaman Enterprises, applaud the vision of Ms. Indu Chandrasekhar. It is due to her perseverance and determination that Tulika is achieving excellence in publishing in the social sciences with an inclination towards the left. She is not only concerned about what should be published but also how it should be printed and its appeal to the readers. Her tenacity and attention to detail is what inspire us as printers to always to do a better job and experiment with new things.”