December 15, 2002
Power, Politics and the People: Studies in British Imperialism
and Indian Nationalism
by Partha Sarathi Gupta. Introduction by Sabyasachi Bhattacharya.
Permanent Black, New Delhi. Pages 528. Rs 775.
THE essays selected in this
volume were all written between 1966 and 1998. They are the research
papers of historian Partha Sarathi Gupta collected for the first
time by Sabyasachi Bhattacharya who introduces the reader very
sensitively to each of these pieces. Thematically organised rather
than by chronology, the papers explore broad areas such as
imperialism, nationalism, labour movement, the Empire and the
systematic Indianisation of the Indian Army and the Raj in general.
historians are navel-gazing, so there is an extraordinary gap
for firangees like myself”
WRITERS down the ages
have held that India is so diverse and complex it eludes
complete comprehension. William Dalrymple is no exception. He
believes that were he to spend the next 40 years in India, he
would still not understand the country. Yet, year after year
this Scotland-born Indophile returns to write about India and
tries to get a fix on it. Out of his highly acclaimed oeuvre
of five books, three deal with India, but it is his latest
fare White Mughals that might be his masterpiece.
view of Hindu-Muslim relations
Asghar Ali Engineer
Communal Rage in Secular India
by Dr Rafiq Zakaria. Popular Prakashan, Mumbai. Pages: 248. Rs 350.
THE Gujarat carnage in
February-April this year has become a milestone in independent India.
Many books dealing with the riots have come in the market. As far as I
know Communal Rage in Secular India is the fifth book in row and
many more will be published. The carnage was so earth shattering that it
will remain the subject of research and writing for quite some time to
Spelling out the dangers of fundamentalism
Himmat Singh Gill
Slouching Towards Ayodhya
by Radhika Desai. Pages 163. Rs 150
Breaking The Spell Of Dharma
by Meera Nanda. Pages 183. Rs 160. Both by Three Essays Press
religiosity become the millstone around India’s neck, and is
there a compelling need to break the "spell of dharma",
are two salient issues that Radhika Desai and Meera Nanda have
raised in their respective books. Three Essays Press, a
comparatively new publishing house, has done well to bring out
these two works of scholarship that touch upon contemporary
concerns affecting India, and a discerning reader is bound to
benefit from the in-depth research that has gone into in these
mutilated” & burnt by war
Letters Against the War
by Tiziano Terzani. India Research Press, New Delhi. Pages 139.
THE book under review is a
collection of letters written by famous war correspondent Tiziano
Terzani. Born in Florence, Italy, in 1938, he worked with the German
magazine Der Spiegel as reporter from Asia for 30 years,
after which he moved to India in 1994 with his writer/wife, Angela
Staude. A keen student of the Asian continent, he has authored
several books based on experience he gained during wartime as well
the loveless lanes of Lahore...
The Scent of Wet Earth in August
by Feryal Ali Gauhar. Penguin. Pages: 281. Rs 250.
THIS is an excellent
book! The setting, the characters, the plot, the pace and the
motives are all superb and totally convincing. The book is set
in Lahore, in an area called Kucha Miran Shah, which had seen
better days. Filled with buildings built centuries ago by
courtiers for courtesans, it is now a place frequented by drug
addicts and derelicts.
D. R. Chaudhry
The Multicultural Path—Issues of Diversity and Discrimination in
by Gurpreet Mahajan. Sage Publications, New Delhi. Pages 240. Rs 280
DIVERSE religious, ethnic and
cultural groups co-exist in society. A cursory glance may convince all
that they exist peacefully. Equality to all is guaranteed in the
Constitution and all kinds of legal safeguards have been taken to ensure
equality. However, there is a hiatus between appearance and reality.
Inequality is embedded into the structure of society and legalistic
response is often not enough to smoothen the structural imbalance that
has come into being over a long period of time.
Laden phenomenon in perspective
Jihad: the Trail of
by Gilles Kepel. I. B. Tauris, London. Page IX + 454. £ 40.
NOT unexpectedly, the
upshot of the 9/11 strikes against the twin towers of the World
Trade Centre in New York and the Pentagon in Washington has been a
spate of books on Islamic fundamentalism. And its most heinous
manifestations, the now nearly-defunct Taliban of the one-eyed
Mullah Mohammad Omar and the yet alive, and kicking, Al-Qaeda
network of the Saudi millionaire, Osama bin Laden.
Life story of
JP — the eternal rebel
Jayaprakash Narayan, the Eternal Rebel
by Varghere K. George; Rupa and Co., New Delhi. Pages 64. Rs 195.
TO the present generation, the
name Jayaprakash Narayan brings the vision of an angry old man who
brought about mass awakening against the tyranny of Indira Gandhi’s
Emergency and put the country back on the democratic path. They remember
JP as the man who gave voice to the people and also gave them hope at a
time when things looked rather bleak. But JP was much more than the man
who caused the downfall of Gandhi.