Kota Neelima, a Political Author in India, has been a journalist for 20 years and holds a Master’s Degree in International Relations from the Jawaharlal Nehru University. She is former Political Editor, The Sunday Guardian and writes on politics, democratic reforms and issues concerning rural poor in India. She is Senior Research Fellow, South Asia Studies at The Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC.
Neelima has written three books of fiction based on her exploration of Indian politics, her experience as a journalist as well as a researcher. Each book questions the accepted notions of politics and society and seeks to demarcate desperation of hopelessness and choice. Her first novel ‘Riverstones’ (2007) explores the power play behind policy shortfalls in New Delhi, which have neglected the rural poor and even led to farmer suicides across the nation. Neelima’s second novel ‘Death of a Moneylender’ (2009) reconstructs the reasons for failure of agriculture to alleviate the conditions of farmers. Set in an imaginary village in South-Central India, the book deals with repercussions of crop failure and tyranny of moneylenders. Both books also critique the ethics of journalists and priorities of contemporary mainstream reportage.
Her third novel, ‘Shoes of the Dead’, was published in 2013. It is one of the popular Indian political books in the country. This work focused on dynastic politics and the pressures on young politicians driven by ambition to succeed in Delhi’s power circles. The book tells the story of two young men, one from Delhi and another from a remote village, with two very different destinies, and contrasts the inheritance of power of a political heir with the inheritance of despair of a poor farmer. The book had stayed on the national bestseller charts for 20 weeks. Neelima’s next book, ‘The Honest Season’, is scheduled for publication in January 2016.
Apart from fiction, Neelima has also authored a book on spirituality, ‘Tirupati, a Guide to Life,’ published in 2012. The book draws from the Skanda Mahapurana, an important Indian scripture, to explain the philosophy behind the Tirumala Temple in a modern context. Published by Random House, the book has been translated into several Indian languages.