The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, March 9, 2003

A thorough job on daunting rahitnamas
Surjit Hans
Sikhs of the Khalsa: A History of the Khalsa Rahit
by W.H. McLeod. OUP. Pages 482. Rs 695.

N the study of Sikhism Hew Mcleod has blazed trails that have been worked by other scholars. His 1968 Guru Nanak and Sikh Religion led to two substantial achievements. That much could not be known biographically about Guru Nanak, led J.S. Grewal to approach the subject indirectly. He set out to find how Guru Nanak reacted to society, polity, and religions of his times to produce a classic.

Challenging the paralysing impact of US hegemony
Sumail Singh Sidhu

War Against the Planet: The Fifth Afghan War, Imperialism and Other Assorted Fundamentalisms.
The American Scheme
Both by Vijay Prashad. Leftword, 2002. Pages: viii+110. Rs 75. Three Essays, 2002. Pages: xxii+101. Rs 100, respectively.

HE principal merit of these books is their painstaking contextualisation of some of the dominant politico-strategic manoeuvres of our times. This contextualisation has a further merit — paying attention to detail and weaving a closely knit narrative of contemporary US foreign policy, its origin and structure. Also, why this war mongering has reached such frightening levels at this juncture, is answered by an analysis of the human condition within the US itself.

After dinos, it’s the nanos’ turn to thrill
Prerana Trehan

by Michael Crichton. Harper Collins.
Pages 367. Rs. 195.

HERE are deadlines and then there are deadlines. And while reviewing Michael Crichton’s books, they tend to fall in the latter category. After all, you have to make sure the book review comes out before the movie review does! Already topping the bestsellers charts, it is only a matter of time before Crichton’s latest thriller Prey tops the box office charts in its movie avatar, too.


Tragic tale of the tusker
Rajnish Wattas

Tusker: The Story of the Asian Elephant.
by Vivek Menon. Penguin Enterprise. Pages 258. Rs 395.

NDIAN children are usually fond of elephants. Memories of an elephant ride in a mela or watching an elephant’s antics in a circus, constitute the treasure trove of childhood memories. Above all Ganesha — the lovable elephant-headed God — is a favourite of artists. What a pity this second largest land animal on earth is today a threatened species in its own house of worship!

Love, however unlikely, does find a way
K. Rajbir Deswal
Yadav — A Roadside Love Story
by Jill Lowe. Penguin. Pages 279. Rs 250

HE amorous tale of a 40-plus hard-boiled Haryanvi man and a 50-plus dyed-in-the-wool English woman is a pleasurable, picaresque odyssey showcasing the realities of the cold climes of England and the warmth of the subcontinent.


Caught between tradition and modernity
Manisha Gangahar

Clive Avenue
by T.S. Tirumurti. Penguin Books. Rs 275.
Pages 259.

HE mere practice of renaming cities and streets, "converting British relics into national relics", cannot by itself help us shrug off the imperial legacy. Clive Avene is, in fact, an attempt to emphasise the futility of this exercise especially when the imperial or rather neo-imperial culture has influenced the very lives of indigenous people. The residents of Clive Avenue cannot identify with any other name for their home but the one given by the British.

Literary encyclopaedia for beginners
Jaspal Singh
Narrative Modes in Punjabi Novel
by N.S. Tasneem. Published by Indian Institute of Advance Study, Shimla. Pages 118. Rs 175.

IRANJAN Singh Tasneem has contributed eight novels to Punjabi literature besides a couple of books and a few articles and research papers in English. He has received both the Sahitya Akademi Award and the Shiromani Sahitkar Purskar for his contribution to literature. He has remained a fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla, as well and the present treatise on Narrative Modes in Punjabi Novel is the result of his stint there.

Delicate thoughts from an unstamped mind
Darshan Singh Maini
Two Black Cinders
by Sheila Gujral. Allied Publishers, New Delhi; first published in 1985, enlarged, new edition 2002. Pages 58 (paperback). Rs 100.
by Sheila Gujral. Allied Publishers, New Delhi. Page 56 (illustrated). Price not stated.

HEILA Gujral is by now an established poet with a distinctive oeuvre, form and style. And the signatures, widely recognised, define her sui generis verse. Since I’ve known her as a friend, and exchanged notes with her during a memorable visit to 7 Race Course during her husband I. K. Gujral’s Prime Ministership, I find this assignment pleasurable, but also problematic.

Laws notwithstanding, women still weak
Ashu Pasricha

Gender Related Problems of Women, Women’s Empowerment and Panchayati Raj
by Neena Joseph. Himalaya Publishing House, New Delhi. Pages 218. Rs 450.

VER the past few years, there has been an emerging consensus across political parties and ideological divisions on the necessity of decentralisation for fulfilling democratic aspirations of the Indian people. Despite differences in points of departure underlying this "consensus", it is a good time to go over the debate on decentralisation that preceded this consensus.

Marketing insights for 21st century
D.S. Cheema
Marketing is Business
by Walter E. Vieira. Vision Books. Pages 268. Rs 395.

HE turning of the new millennium is indeed a unique event in human history. It has witnessed exciting new concepts and developments. In India, the changes in our economy, ushered in during the ’90s, have finally unchained it. Marketing in contemporary and future India will have an entirely different meaning, as the success of any nation is becoming more and more dependent on its marketing capabilities.