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

Leaving India

“incomparable, sprawling, surprising, wise” — Alice Walker

“rich, entertaining, illuminating” — Abraham Verghese

“searingly honest” — Washington Post

“a fascinating history that kept me up late into the night” — Chitra Divakaruni


California Book Award  |  Pen USA award  |  Lambda Literary Award  |  Asian American Writers Workshop award

Leaving India: My Family’s Journey from Five Villages to Five Continents is 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’s sea voyage 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 illuminates the story of the Indian diaspora.

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (North America) and Westland Tranquebar (India).

Read Excerpts | Check out the Buzz | Browse Diaspora Statistics | Watch Video Trailer | See Family Photos | FAQ

Click on a link below to buy the book that reviewers call “inspired” and “unputdownable”

* content missing