Always Being Born
Diamond In My Palm: A Novel
Sanjay Dharwadker
ISBN: 978-93-82035-30-5

Hardbound PP 516, Rs 795

At a Middle Eastern international airport, a Gandhian scholar from Hyderabad and a mining engineer from Johannesburg meet fortuitouslyin transit, and romance brews. Their love unfolds in musings andenticinghistoric narrations of twelve most celebrated diamonds in the world – the Hope, the Orlov, the Shah, the Regent, the Dresden & the Koh-i-Noor among others – that were once whisked away from India – changed the destinies of emperors & empires– andtodaythe proud possession of nations around the world.
By a strange stroke of destiny, their lives get entangled with the journey of three younger entrepreneurs &fortune-seekers – a wily diamond trader from Lucknow, a vivacious former clerk at Anglo-Dutch – and an ambitious business woman of African political pedigree, once a student in Moscow.
An Indian trader dies in what is claimed to be a carjacking incident.A South African woman apparently jumps to her death from the sixth-floor hotel room. And an eminent Brahmin scholar, ‘a guardian of ancient esoteric secrets’is crushed under the weight of ‘five thousand years of learning’, when a giant, iron-cast bookcase topples on him.
Is this tragic termination of lives mere mischance or premeditated &entwined? Are these fitful crimes of passion, eruptions of violence in the immensely enigmatic& lucrative diamond business, or part of a much moresinister web of desire, deceit, power& retribution in the timelesstrajectory of the world’s most magnificent precious stones?Nonetheless, the plot & the subplotsconverge in a spectacular nail-biting finish.

Crafted over several years, Diamond in My Palm , is as much a literary novel as a tight-knit, fast-paced crime thriller. Its vivid, animated characters inhabit the richly evoked social worlds of global cities, from Johannesburg, Antwerp, New York to Hyderabad, Mumbai & Delhi. Within its fictional framework – the very first time anastoundingtrail of the world’s twelve premier sparkling rocks is fully unravelled –that motivates its protagonists , intensifies its action, triggers the murders and solves the manifold mystery in the climactic finale . An enduring story that transposes mythology into history, and history into fiction, as also how our world transmutes its political shades & hues.
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Analumnus of Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani, Rajasthan, Sanjay Dharwadker has worked for India’s technology missions in the 1990s, a seminal development initiative in safe drinking water in rural India and country-wide immunization operations. Towards the end of the millennium, he moved to specialize in solutions for identity & identification as applied to national populations. It coincided with the 2001 census when India’s population was counted as having crossed a billion. Hereafter, he wrote extensively on the smart cards & biometrics, to discover that these innovations have a special place in India’s socio-economic development. And it helped the government to pledge some of the first electronic identification programs in the public domain, i.e. driving licenses on smart cards, culminating later in the world’s largest modern national identification program – Aadhaar.

During his decade-long stay in Johannesburg, he travelled across the African continent, and continued to write on the role of identification technologies in development. In 2014, he moved to Utrecht in the Netherlands, where he has been working closely with governments and the United Nations on identity law, policy and practices. He is also among the original members ofThe Hague Colloquium on the Future of Legal Identity that last met in 2019 at Jesus College, Cambridge.
Always Being Born

He authored the much-acclaimed book on management, Corporate Humour: Chipping Away the Blues, in 1998, and has already embarked on a second novel, The Philosopher’s Mistress, that maps the journeys of René Descartes.


Given his wanderlust, he travels extensively with his partner, Priscilla Anne, listens to Jazz, and relishes a game of Bridge.

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Spanning continents and centuries, combining history, political intrigue, crime and passion, it is a story of human fascination for timeless diamonds, while the lives around them are rendered transient. Dharwadker writes a fast-paced narrative with verve and wit.

Dilip M. Menon, Mellon Chair in Indian Studies; Director, Centre for Indian Studies in Africa, University of the Witwatersrand

An epic story of diamonds, murder and mystery skilfully woven across two subcontinents, South Africa and India, told with an insider's knowledge of both settings.

Keith Breckenridge, Professor of History, The Wits Institute for Social and Economic Research, University of the Witwatersrand
Diamonds, detectives, romance, and an epic timescale across South Africa and India – a riveting combination written by an author who knows both countries well.

Isabel Hofmeyr, G lobal Distinguished Professor, NYU, Professor of African Literature, University of the Witwatersrand


An excellent novel of intrigue and suspense, crossing continents, eras, and cultures.  Dharwadker has also shown how the fascinating history of identification is woven into the fabric of our lives... A cracking read.

Edward Higgs, Professor Emeritus, Department of History, University of Essex


An international murder mystery rolled in the diamond industry intrigue against the backdrop of sweeping antiquity, dating back to thousands of years in India to the present day South Africa, in a seamless mosaic of graphic accounts! I’m stunned by Dharwadker’s mastery of Indianmythology and European history. A page-turner for sure.

Dr S. P. Kothari, Gordon Y Billard Professor at MIT, Chief Economist of the US Securities and Exchange Commission

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