The Tribune - Spectrum

, September 22, 2002

All that is solid melts into air
Rumina Sethi
Introducing Modernism
by Chris Rodrigues and Chris Garratt. 
Icon Press, Cambridge, UK. Pages 176. £ 9. 99

ODERNISM must be understood as separate from Modernity. It is undoubtedly a modern movement: experimentalism in writing is definitely modern. But so was the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Modernism should be seen as a continuation of these movements as well as a reaction to them.

Meet the author
“A book begins as an excitement in the mind”
AANA HAIDER is the wife of the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India. She is a diplomat spouse who has a distinct identity of her own – that of a sociologist who conducts research on issues pertaining to population, development, environment and gender. She is also a travel writer and focuses on cultural heritage.


Medicine, anything but black and white
Kuljit Bains

by Atul Gawande. Penguin.
Pages XX + 251. Rs 250.
MEDICINE is about life and death; a patient is at once a body and a mind; afflictions are physical and mental; and the doctors, the protagonists of the whole show, can be saviours, next only to God, as well as the Devil, at least for those who have suffered a wrong cut from their knife. All this adds up to just the right setting for a non-fiction thriller based on a real phenomenon that touches our life itself—doctors and the treatment they give us.

Lament for ruination of Kashmir
Priyanka Singh

The Tiger Ladies
by Sudha Koul. Review.
Pages 218. £10.99.

E Kashmiris called ourselves the children of the Rishis, our godlike sages who exemplified the symbiosis of mysticism in Islam and Hinduism. We proudly forged a new philosophy and lived harmoniously in a tranquil valley. Now our pride is lost in the shallowness of battle trenches, houses razed to the ground, refugee camps and the graveyards."

Tuned to the not so obvious
M. L. Raina

Stranger Shores: Literary Essays 1986-1999
by J. M. Coetzee. Viking, New York. Pages viii+295. $24.95

M. Coetzee’s critical method reminds us of the cricketing technique of the legendary Duleepsinghji: he creates his effects by just metaphorically flicking his wrist. As in the novels, he is deliberate in his judgments, likes classical writers and poets and has a style that leaves contemporary professorial prose smelling like over-fermented cheese.

Losing your way in Panayur
Kuldip Dhiman

The Tiger by the River
by Ravi Shankar Etteth. Viking. Pages 299. Rs 395.

WATIRAJA VARMA, the last King of Panayur, a princely state in Kerala, has a promise to keep. A promise that becomes not only a sort of homecoming for him but also a voyage of discovery. Nina, the Queen of this Delhi-based royal, is pregnant and somehow knows that her baby is going to be a son. She has been having ominous dreams in which she sees destruction as predicted by Nostradamus.

Short takes
Simple and gripping tale of Rani Jhansi
Jaswant Singh

Rani Lakshmibai: The Indian Legend
by Shahana Dasgupta. Rupa & Co. Pages 88. Rs 70.

HE story of the Rani of Jhansi, her fight against the British and her heroic death on the battlefield, have made her the subject of songs and ballads which folk artistes of Bundelkhand have been singing at festivals, fairs and weddings. Her picture, riding a horse sword in hand and charging into British soldiers, adorns the walls of houses and temples.

Reducing the sublime to the ordinary
Harbans Singh

Ghalib in Translation
by O. P. Kejariwal.
UBS Publishers’ Distributors Pvt. Ltd.
Page: 200. Rs 375

HERE is little doubt, as the author O. P. Kejariwal says in the introduction to the book, that even after a century and three decades of Ghalib’s death, his poetry not only continues to sparkle in the imagination and common conversation of the Urdu-speaking people but also remains popular at musical soirees across the subcontinent. He remains the subject of academic discussions as well as that of films and television serials.


Interpreter of architectural melodies
Rajnish Wattas

A Moment in Architecture
by Gautam Bhatia. Tulika.
Rs 400. Pages 168.

HE lampooner of Indian architecture turns to limpid introspection. Gautam Bhatia — famous architect-artist-writer — who coined such catchphrases as Punjabi Baroque, Bania Gothic and Chandini Chowk Chippendale, much to the delight of architectural academia and the chatterrati, this time plays a mellowed melody. It’s a symphony of personal, poignant moments of experiencing architecture.

Definitive study of Sino-Indian relations
Parshotam Mehra

Protracted Contest: Sino-Indian Rivalry in the Twentieth Century
by John W Garver. Oxford University Press, New Delhi.
Rs 598. Pages xiv + 447

N the short, if troubled, half century of our Independence, nothing has been more unsettling than the seemingly unending and intractable dispute with our great neighbour, the People’s Republic of China, with its ramifications by no means confined to the unsettled boundary. New Delhi’s relations with Pakistan, Nepal, Burma, Sri Lanka and indeed a host of other countries in South Asia are powerfully influenced by our ties with Beijing; and beyond the region, with the USA and the Western powers in general, and Japan and Russia in particular.