The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, April 6, 2003

Off the shelf
New material on the Maharaja
V. N. Datta

HE bicentenary celebrations of Maharaja Ranjit Singh’s assumption of power as the sovereign ruler of Punjab have stimulated a spate of historical literature during the past two years, highlighting his achievements and the fall of his kingdom. His self-destructive successors, lacking in vision, were fighting each other, motivated by enormous personal interests at the expense of higher ideals, which are the hallmark of true statesmanship.

Sam Bahadur, the soldier’s soldier
Kuldip Singh Bajwa

Field Marshal Sam Manekshaw: Soldiering with Dignity
by Lt Gen Depinder Singh. Natraj, Dehradun. Pages V+247. Rs 450.

T is very difficult to put down the personality of someone who stands as tall as Field Marshal S.H.F.J. Manekshaw, MC, within the lifeless pages of a book. Fortunately, Lieut-Gen Depinder Singh, PVSM, AVSM, with his easy flowing anecdotal style has made the multifaceted personality of this living legend come alive.


Disclosing 29 secrets of leadership
Peeyush Agnihotri

Get Better or Get Beaten
by Robert Slater. Tata-McGraw Hill. 
Pages 194. Price 195.

O be a leader of men or an organisation requires a few inherent or cultivated skills. Some people persons consistently inspire others to follow while they lead.? Books on leadership serve both, — those who are born leaders and those who want to acquire the qualities of a leader. It helps the former category hone their inborn skill and makes a leader out of ordinary mortals in the latter case. Such reading material is more relevant in today’s world where almost all corporate sector giants are in the vie-for-pie game.


Relationships that reflect the American reality
Santosh K. Bhatia
Edward Albee: Towards a Typology of Relationships
by Rana Nayar. Prestige Books, 2003. Pages 256. Rs 500.

ffering an incisive and insightful analysis of Edward Albee’s plays, Rana Nayar comes close to truth when he says that the book is "not just another addition to the growing corpus of Albee criticism." In the course of a career spanning more than four decades, Albee has written about two dozen plays and earned for himself a comfortable position in the firmament of American drama.

Looking back at the Holocaust with horror
Vikramdeep Johal
by W.G. Sebald. Translated from German by Anthea Bell. Penguin Books. Pages 415. A34.50
A man watches a Nazi film shot in a Jewish ghetto, straining to spot his mother among the fleeting faces. Having last seen her several decades ago, when he was a child, he has only a dim memory of her. When the effort proves futile, he gets a slow-motion copy of the film made, hoping to see things more clearly.

Meet the author
“My book is a quest for the true as opposed to the mythical Tibet”
Humra Quraishi
ATRICK French, a 36-year-old British writer, has been travelling in India and is, at present, in New Delhi for the launch of his latest book Tibet, Tibet (Harper Collins). He is the author of Liberty or Death: India’s Journey to Independence and Division, for which he won the Sunday Times’ Young Writer of the Year Award, and Younghusband: The Last Great Imperial Adventurer, for which he won the Somerset Maugham Award and the Royal Society of Literature Heinemann Prize.

Second attempts tell a dismal tale
Suresh Kohli
ANJU Kapur is receiving considerable flak for her second novel, A Married Woman. Personally, one hadn’t thought much of her first one, Difficult Daughters either. But she is not the only one who hasn’t been able to keep up the promise of first success. Not that she is in any august company. One wonders why the second books of many of those, especially Indian English writers, who seemingly hit the jackpot with the first is a let down, if not a disaster.

Short takes
The softer pains of Partition
Jaswant Singh

The Luminous Circle
by Surinder K. Dutta. Minerva Press, New Delhi. Pages 262. Rs 450.

HE blurb of this work of fiction mentions the woes of the country’s partition. But the first reference to Partition comes somewhere in the middle of the book. Written nearly half a century after the event, it sensibly skips the horrors, which the writers of those days have dealt with adequately.

Urbanisation and its problems
P. K. Vasudeva
Urban Poverty and Urbanization
by Reena Bhasin. Deep and Deep Publications, New Delhi.
Pages 435. Rs 900.

RBANISATION is considered to be the sine qua non of economic development. It has been seen that the pace of urbanisation in developing countries like India has been dramatic. In 1973-74, the urban population was 60 million. It increased to 64.6 million in 1977-78, 70.9m in 1983-84, 75.2m in 1987-88, 76.3m in 1993-94, and in 1999-2000 it had risen to 77.2m. The growth rate of urban population is due to the large-scale shifting of rural population to urban areas.