AUTHOR: Minal Hajratwala
PUBLISHER: Houghton Mifflin Harcour
DATE: January 1, 2009
PAGES: 352

Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents

by Minal Hajratwala

An inspiring personal saga that explores the collisions of choice and history that led one unforgettable family to become immigrants. In this groundbreaking work, Minal Hajratwala mixes history, memoir, and reportage to explore the questions facing not only her own Indian family but that of every immigrant: Where did we come from? Why did we leave? What did we give up and gain in the process?

Beginning with her great-grandfather Motiram’s original flight from British-occupied India to Fiji, where he rose from tailor to department store mogul, Hajratwala follows her ancestors across the twentieth century to explain how they came to be spread across five continents and nine countries.

As she delves into the relationship between personal choice and the great historical forces—British colonialism, apartheid, Gandhi’s Salt March, and American immigration policy–that helped to shape her family’s experiences, Hajratwala brings to light for the very first time the story of the Indian diaspora.


Won the Lambda Literary Award for Bisexual Nonfiction in 2010.

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