The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, April 27, 2003

A grand narrative of the later Mughals
J. S. Grewal

The Forgotten Mughals:
A History of the Later Emperors of the House of Babur (1707-1857)
by G. S. Cheema. Manohar, New Delhi. Pages 552.

HIS book reads well. It gives a fascinating narrative of events connected with emperors and courtesan-queens, parties and politics at the court, foreign invaders and native rebels, armies and camps, commanders and soldiers, based largely on the classic works of William Irvine, Jadunath Sarkar, and Percial Spear, and the contemporary sources like Ghulam Husain’s Siyar al-Mutakhkhrin.

Chilling account of the killing fields of Cambodia
Himmat Singh Gill

First They Killed My Father
by Loung Ung. Penguin Books. Pages 222. Rs 295.

UBLISHED as part of the Editor’s Choice series — a hand-picked selection by Penguin of the best contemporary books around the world — this autobiography by a Cambodian girl who had to flee Phnom Penh to escape the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge regime in 1975, is undoubtedly one of the most chilling eyewitness accounts that I have read in a long time.

Globalisation, a western imposition?
Parshotam Mehra

Globalisation or Gobble-isation: The Arab Experience
by Ash Narain Roy. Konarak Publishers Pvt Ltd, Delhi. Pages 189. Rs 325.

EW issues over the past decade or two, have generated such animated if heated debates as globalisation with its ardent protagonists and equally staunch antagonists in formidable battle array. Public platforms, the Press, electronic media—you name it—no opportunity has been missed, no holds barred. However, no broad consensus has emerged on the issue and the jury is still out.

What the pencil remembers
Vikramdeep Johal

The Carpenter’s Pencil
by Manuel Rivas. Translated from Galician by Jonathan Dunne. Vintage Books, UK.
Pages 166. A33.95

HEY say the pen is mightier than the sword. What about the pencil? Take a look at the amazing story of this pencil: It survives the Spanish Civil War, outlasts those who have used it, and conjures up the spirit of one of them. On top of that, when a protagonist comes face to face with death, it grows to the length of a spear and scares the life out of her.

Move over Bridget Jones, Nanny is here
Deepika Gurdev

The Nanny Diaries
by Nicola Kraus & Emma Mclaughlin. Penguin Books. Pages 306. $15 (Singapore).

WO children, one a demanding three going on 30, and another an infant constantly hankering for his next feed or a nappy change, innumerable sleepless nights, but that hasn’t stopped me from completing a marathon run with what would under normal circumstances be classified as an ‘unputdownable’ book.

Holding a mirror to a vanished milieu
Bhavana Pankaj

Dancing Round the Maypole: Growing Out of British India
by Rani Sircar. Rupa & Co. Pages 265. Rs 195

IVING away with the little gardener's sickle, flitting after rainbow butterflies, dodging the daisies and picking the pansies, stuffing fireflies into a broken torch trusting it will light up the dark night, tucking away tattered stamps, pieces of ribbons, flowers`85memories, priceless as black diamonds, soft as souffl`E9.

Analysing the evolution of regional navies
Sanjay Chaturvedi

Navies of South Asia
by K. R. Singh. Rupa, Delhi. Pages 459. Rs 500.

EFORE the European projection in the late 15th century, the maritime order in the Indian Ocean region was characterised by the regional self-sufficiency and autonomy. Indian Ocean communities were bonded by large-scale maritime trading systems while outside influences were minimal.


Punjabi literature
A poet of delicate aspects of life
Jaspal Singh
HERE has been an intense debate in the Punjabi world of letters about the nature of poetry, particularly the prosodic problems associated with rhyme, patterns of sounds and beats. Free verse was not accepted by Punjabi poets in the early years of the 20th century despite Prof. Puran Singh’s contribution to this genre. Even in the modern times the most celebrated Punjabi poets like Prof. Mohan Singh, Shiv Kumar Batalvi and Surjit Pattar owe their popularity to lyricism, which their verses exude in abundance.

Kids’ corner
Fun time with devtas & demons!
Prerana Trehan

Tales of Fabled Beasts, Gods and Demons
by Bulbul Sharma. Puffin Books. Pages 112. Rs 199.

OME of your parents might have a bone to pick with me. The new session has barely begun and I am already asking you to take a break and escape into the world of demons and devtas of Indian mythology to which Bulbul Sharma has opened a door for you with Tales of Fabled Beasts, Gods and Demons.

Write view
Karnataka: Where civility is a cultural trait
Randeep Wadehra

People of India: Karnataka (In three parts)
edited by K.S. Singh, B.G. Halbar, S.G. Morab, Suresh Patil and Ramji Gupta. Affiliated
East-West Press, New Delhi. Pages: liii+1612. Price: Rs. 1935/-.

OURTEOUS Kannadiga — that’s the picture one’s mind conjures up when one thinks of the people of Karnataka. The state epitomises a culture where politeness is neither associated with timidity nor treated as an artifice.