Antar-Agni founder, Ujjawal Dubey on five books that inspire him


Antar-Agni’s designer Ujjawal Dubey on 5 books that inspire him

He loves non-fiction that spotlights Indian culture

By ELLE Team  August 5th, 2020

Clothing label Antar-Agni shuns the idea of gendered pieces and weaves gender-fluidity in each piece, often blurring the line between menswear and womenswear. Founder and designer Ujjawal Dubey of Antar-Agni has been helming the label since 2014. Today, Antar-Agni is recognised for its unconventional drapes, relaxed silhouettes and smart cuts. And that’s the beauty of this label which made a debut at Lakme Fashion Week (LFW) in 2014 and also bagged the winning title at ELLE Graduates 2017.

We reached out to Ujjawal Dubey and asked him to jot down five books that have inspired his work and personal life. Swipe through:

Antar-Agni

The Wonder That Was India by AL Basham

This book discusses the history and culture of the Indian subcontinent with a unique angle. It is refreshing to know how our culture has developed over a period of time, its influences on the world, and vice-versa. It's a mix of history and anthropology and was first published in the '50s. Since India has always been an inspiration for our work, the book has been a favourite and many facts have surprised me. It reminds me that there is so much we don't know about our history and culture.

Antar-Agni

Bhagwad Gita

This is a book that I have kept close to me since the last seven years. I learn something new every time I read it. This is what gave me the strength to take the plunge and start my brand six years ago. I don't see the book as a religious piece of work but a guide for life. We have grown up listening to many quotes by the Gita but reading it and finding these fit in our own life and circumstances is enlightening. It is a book I go back to every time I find myself in a difficult position.

Aghora, The left hand of God by Robert Svaboda

A perspective on Tantra and journey to explore the self or living with reality. It is also a great lesson in how one can live with the worldly duties and still work on looking inwards. The book throws light on tantra and pulls it away from the taboos that society has created around it. It's a book filled with miracles and facts that always leaves me in awe of these subtleties of the traditions.

Antar-Agni

A Wild Sheep Chase by Murakami

I don't read a lot of fiction but if there was any fiction that I would love, it will be anything written by Murakami. His surreal narration is what I love about his books. The descriptions and storytelling are in such details, the slowness and intricacies of storytelling is beautiful.

Antar-Agni

Being Indian by Pawan K Verma

This was one of the first books that I read about India. It talks about the country and how it is unique from all angles ─ cultural, economic, and social. The insights are from a very modern perspective. Pawan Verma has written many books and another one of my favourites from him is the translation of the poetry by Gulzar.