Prose behind and
beyond the shadow lines
The Imam and The Indian
by Amitav Ghosh. Ravidayal and Permanent Black, Delhi.
Pages 361. Rs 495.
FOR those who see nothing
authentic in Indian English writings, Amitav Ghosh’s collection of
prose pieces is a striking reminder of modern Indian English writer’s
unflinching activist proclivities. In an earlier prose collection
entitled Countdown, Ghosh had warned us about the possible perils of
nuclear war. Also, it was Ghosh who withdrew his much-acclaimed novel The
Glass Palace from the Commonwealth competition for Best Fiction
because the competition considers novels written in English only.
in the wild
The Rupa Book of Great Animal Stories
edited by Ruskin Bond.
Rupa. Pages 205. Rs 295
LET it be said at the very
outset that this book is of a kind as comes once in a while. The stories
in it, as its very name suggests, pertain to animals but, contrary to
popular notions, are neither moralistic nor merely for children. Far
from that, they are realistic and true accounts written by seasoned
authors, illustrating the bittersweet encounters between men and beasts.
The clear and vivid prose of many of these narratives stands in sharp
contrast to the generally ambiguous and prosaic writings of modern
telling commentary on the spirited Fanie
Fanie de Villiers: Portrait of a Test Bowler
by Trevor Chesterfield. Penguin Books India. Pages 476. Rs 450.
MANY of us remember Fanie de
Villiers as a pleasant looking fast bowler who threatened to pierce
through the defenses of any batsman every time that he rushed up to
bowl. He was athletic, fast and impressive but one whose bowling action
should have raised quite a few knowledgeable eyebrows.
from the Tendulkar of maths
Mathability: Awaken the Math Genius in Your Child
by Shakuntala Devi, Orient Paperbacks. Pages 151. Rs 60
SHAKUNTLA Devi, mathematics
wizard and ‘human calculator’, dons the mantle of a lawyer in this
book and presents a case for not shying away from mathematics. She has a
lot in common with Sachin Tendulkar. When she speaks on mathematics or
when Sachin speaks on cricket, people listen. "Common sense,
confidence, concentration and control" — you'd think Sachin was
giving tips on batting to someone in the nets, but it is Shakuntala Devi
teaching you how to improve your ‘mathability’.
The memoirs of
Hiouen-Thsang in India
by J. Barthelemy Saint-Hilaire. Translated from French by Laura Ensor.
Rupa & Co.
Pages 124. Rs 150.
TO Buddhism goes the credit of
bringing ancient India and China close to each other. Asoka’s
emissaries took Buddhism to China and set the pace for a succession of
pilgrims and scholars who travelled between the two countries using the
overland as well as the sea route. Among the best-known Chinese scholars
who visited India nearly 1,000 years after Asoka were Fa Hein,
Hiouen-Thsang and Yi-Tsing. But the most famous of these Chinese
travellers was Hiouen-Thsang who came in the seventh century.
approach to population problem
We the Billion: A social Psychological Perspective on India’s
by Ragini Sen. Sage Publication, New Delhi. 2003.Pages 323. Rs 480.
EVERY year India adds to its
population the population of countries such as Cameroon (14.7 mn),
Kazakhstan (15.4 mn), Madagascar (15.1mn) and Netherlands (15.8mn).
According to U.N. demographers, by 2016 India will have more people than
Europe and in the next three decades it will overtake China as a most
populous country in the world.
let-down in Ranikhet
A House in Ranikhet
by Keki. N. Daruwalla. Rupa & Co New Delhi. Pages 226. Rs 195.
A collection of 16 short
stories, the book gets its title from one of the stories. That and a
cluster of other stories are based on characters in Ranikhet. Out of all
the stories, this story stands out for its ironic humour. Cynthia Craig
comes to Ranikhet after 50 years to relive her childhood. At the small
hill station she goes to Tripathi, a homoeopath, for her asthma. She
finds the thin, mousy-faced Tripathi sporting a phallic ash mark on his
history of the SBI
B. S. Thaur
The Evolution of the State Bank of India.
Sage Publications. Pages 674. Rs 1,100.
THIS book is the third volume
of history of the State Bank of India. It covers the Imperial Bank era
which lasted from 1921-1955. Two volumes, covering the period form
1876-1920, on Presidency Banks were published in the eighties.
Incidentally, the Imperial Bank era was a crucial phase in Indian