The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, November 17, 2002

A crazy quilt of a book about exile
M. L. Raina
The Last Song of Manuel Sendero
by Ariel Dorfman. Translated from Spanish by George R Shivers Penguin Books, New York. Pages 453. $10.95

RIEL Dorfman is not your wacky new- wave magical realist. He does not trespass the boundaries of conventional narrative just to startle or confound. He is neither the usual prancing bull in a staid chinashop of neither traditional fiction, nor a breezy contortionist out to provide thrills for the reader’s jaded palate. In his hands magic realism does not degenerate into an elitist parlour game as it does in, say, Gilbert Sorrentino or, more recently, Rushdie’s Fury.

Underlining the importance of nuclear policy to national security
V. P. Malik

Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security
by Bharat Karnad. Macmillan India Limited, 2002.
Pages 724. Rs 795.

HARAT Karnad’s Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security is about the ‘role that nuclear weapons have played from the very beginning in influencing Indian foreign and military policies, the evolution of Indian strategic thought, the country’s international posture and, especially, its national security outlook in the context of the larger and more diffuse cultural milieu, in which ancient wisdom prescribing the use of weapons of mass destruction coexists with modern concepts of total war’.

Proof of a life lived to the fullest
Shalini Rawat

Shadows of Words: An autobiography
by Amrita Pritam, transcreation of the Hindi original by Jyoti Sabharwal. Macmillan India Limited. Pages 145. Rs 245.

HIS tribute to womanhood by Maya Angelou fits no one more readily than Amrita Pritam, a phenomenon who defies categorisation. The last words of Iris Murdoch, incapacitated by Parkinson's disease, where the patient's mind is a dark abyss, were, "I wrote". Amrita Pritam writes. That is probably all that matters. This yet another autobiography of hers, after Rasidi Ticket was published in the seventies, is proof of a life being lived to the hilt.

Meet the author
“India has much more variety than I have seen anywhere else”
OSWITHA Joshi was born in Hamburg after World War II. Though she spent her formative years in Germany but came to India, about three decades back, when she married Jagdish Joshi who was doing his PhD in Economics at Hamburg University. The couple returned to India and Roswitha took up a job in the German Embassy where she worked for 25 years, but, then decided to quit a full-time job to take to writing, photography and painting. Life Is Peculiar (UBS) is her first book. It was recently launched in New Delhi, and she is already ready with her second book, On The Rocks which centres around relationships.


Laughing at oneself
N. K. Oberoi

Fragile Realm
Hilarious Moments
both by Chetna Vaishnavi, International Research Institute, Delhi. Pages 80. Rs 200 and Pages 87. Rs 275 respectively.

RAGILE Realm is about thorns one is likely to miss while one is infatuated with flowers. It is a bunch of "playlets" if one could call them so. By no stretch of speciousness are these "tragedies," as Chetna Vaishnavi claims. Tragedy is a specific genre and has a structure and a literary form. It is not something amorphous, sad and depressing.

Looking at diverse aspects of microbes in biotechnology
Jagdish Chander
Advances in Microbial Biotechnology (Prof. K. G. Mukerji Festschrift Volume)
by J. P. Tewari, T. N. Lakhanpal, Jagjit Singh, Rajni Gupta & B. P. Chamola. APH Publishing Corporation. Pages 567. Rs. 1500

HE field of biotechnology is now has attained an independent discipline in the biological sciences and has gained immense importance in the recent past. Earlier it has been described as a part of Microbiology dealing with the study of different organisms in various domains of living world but presently it is a full-fledged scientific field. The advanced technology in all biological sciences is based on the modern knowledge of biotechnology.

Short takes
Timeless tales from Assam
Jaswant Singh

Tales of a Grandfather from Assam
(Vol. I to III) by Sahityarathi Lakshminath Bezbaroa, translated from Assamese by Aruna Devi Mukherjea; Rupa and Co, New Delhi; Pages 80, 75 and 79 respectively. Rs 50 each.

HE folk-lore of a country mirrors its cultural and social norms that descend from ancient times and gives a glimpse of the traditional knowledge of its people which has stood the test of time and one that no book contains. Some writers have regarded folk-lore as the floating material from which had emerged the early mythological systems. Some consider it to be the scattered fragments of half-forgotten mythologies.

The Muslim League gamble that paid off

Punjab Divided: Politics of the Muslim League & Partition, 1935-1947
by Amarjit Singh. Kanishka Publisher, New Delhi. Pages 235. Rs 495.

HE prelude to the Partition, the aftermath of which saw the eruption of the worst communal carnage the country ever faced, has been a constant source of interest for historians as well as novelists. Historians study the role of the Muslim League, especially in Punjab politics, as the partition affected this area as no other. Almost a million persons died and 10 million stumbled into this part of the sub-continent, fending for themselves.

Homes away from homelands
Manisha Gangahar

The Making Of Little Punjab In Canada
by Archana B. Verma. Sage Publications, New Delhi.
Pages 254. Rs 495.

UR truest reality is expressed in the way we cross over from one place to another, we are migrants and perhaps hybrids, in but not of any situation in which we find ourselves. This is the deepest continuity of our lives…" In recent times, people are more open to the idea of migration and displacement. This has led to the creation of a community that is in a constant state of mobility and flux. An important section of this community comprises the immigrants from different countries who have left their homes for greener pastures.

Comprehending terrorism today
Jitendra Mohan

Rise of Terrorism and Secessionism in Eurasia edited by V .D. Chopra, Gyan, New Delhi. Pages 340. Rs 660.

HE very image, meaning and form of terrorism have undergone a fundamental shift after September 11, 2001. Many publications have come up in the wake of the "fallout" of a singular tragedy in New York. The reprisal seems incomplete even after a war in Afghanistan and many international moves to analyse, understand, combat and control terrorism.


Climbing on to biodiversity bandwagon
Jayanti Dutta Roy

Biodiversity: Strategies for Conservation
Edited by L.K. Dadhich and A.P. Sharma. APH Publishing Corporation. New Delhi. Pages 356. Rs 700.

HE wide variety of physical features and climatic situations in India has given rise to diverse ecological habitats like forests, grasslands, wetlands as also coastal, marine and desert ecosystems harbouring immense biodiversity. Due to this richness in biological diversity, India figures among the 12 mega-biodiverse countries in the world. Surveys of 65 per cent of the total area of the country by the Botanical and Zoological Surveys of India show that there are over 46,000 plant species and 81,000 animal species. The list is being constantly upgraded.