ABOUT SHANTIE

When I _DSC9837 - kopiewas young I used to think books and stories were so special that I could not imagine that people had created that. To me books were a given, just like nature. Gradually it began to dawn, but over the years I only became more impressed by the power of language: the ultimate means to search for truth, beauty, meaning.

Language can make people look differently at the world, but also make voices heard that normally disappear in the tumult of everyday life. This is what I try to accomplish as a writer, columnist and blogger. My columns and opinion pieces about multiculturalism, identity of migrant youth, colonial history, worldcities and their dynamics, gender, the position of women in India and many other topics that touch me, were published in daily newspapers in The Netherlands. My first short story ‘Snow’ appeared in 2010 in a literary magazine called Armada.

I was born in the Netherlands, but my family history goes beyond national borders. A century ago my grandparents came from India to Suriname. My parents migrated to the Netherlands when they were young. This history, which is spread over three continents, has shaped me. I’ve always felt like a cosmopolitan world citizen.

This history is also the greatest inspiration for my first novel Rapture. It is a blend of history, reality, but above all the product of my imagination and I find that very exciting. For me it’s also important to write this book, because I fiercely believe that knowledge about this piece of history is important and relevant and deserves a literary form.

As a result of my written pieces, I am often asked to tell stories or spoken columns on stage or participate in debates.

As a project manager and researcher at the Center of Social Studies at the city of Rotterdam I have written research reports, articles and essays in the field of social affairs, employment, poverty and emancipation of women. I’m also very interested in the dynamics of worldcities and the way policy and programs within these cities can play a part in social policies and even human rights. For a daily newspaper in The Netherlands I wrote a few articles about worldcities and hope te continue this in the future. Sidenote: I’m addicted to the big city life and all it’s different people, the many places to eat, the energy. Can’t wait to be in New York again.

As a project manager I’m also busy setting up a program called RotterdAmbitie for developing and investing in talent and stimulate gender and ethnical diversity in the higher management positions at the city of Rotterdam.

I studied study Public Administration (Policy & Politics – European & Global Governance) at Erasmus University Rotterdam. I combined my studies with dance, especially jazz dance and ballet at the Amsterdam Admirals, but also bollywood and kathak (Indian classical) and performed on stage through the country and abroad. I don’t dance like that anymore, these days I like to sit quietly behind a laptop or book with a bowl of ginger biscuits or bara’s within reach, but I like to combine this with a hint of glamor when possible ;-).

In 2013 I was selected to represent The Netherlands at a Summer School of the United Nations – Alliance of Civilizations in New York.

To my own surprise, during my study I won some talent shows (no juror bribed, as a student I was much too poor) and this way I traveled for the first time to India, the land of my ‘roots’ and from that moment on an object of fascination and a permanent source of inspiration. It’s also the place where I met a famous Surinamese-Dutch writer, his way of observating and seeing the world, triggered me to start writing myself.

 

 

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