The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, May 18, 2003

A non-European perspective on the crises of contemporary Islam
M. L. Raina

The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads and Modernity
by Tariq Ali. Rupa. Pages XXXII + 428. Rs 295.

Y a strange happenstance I was reading Tariq Ali’s novel The Book of Saladin in a Boston suburb while Bush, Blair and Rumsfeld were pounding Iraq into pre-history. Ali presents the legendary Kurdish warrior, warts and all, and sets the theme of the present book: two fundamentalisms, call them jehadi and Crusading, ignobly clashing over the cities and sands of one of the greatest civilisations of the world.

A woman’s search for her identity
Aradhika Sekhon

The Book of Esther
by Esther David. Viking Penguin.
Pages 394. Rs 395.

HE Book of Esther is a work of fiction inspired by a real event — the arrival of the author’s ancestors on the Konkan coast — at Alibaugh, where they landed after a shipwreck. The novel deals with the Jewish forefathers of Esther. The family history begins in the 19th century with Bathsheba, the Dandekar daughter-in-law, waiting for her husband, Solomon, who is a soldier. Bathsheba, the gutsy woman that she is, steers the family through difficult times and social ostracism and survives a miscarriage.

A tribute to brave warriors
Vijay Oberoi

Param Vir: Our Heroes in Battle
by Major General Ian Cardozo, AVSM, SM. Roli Books Pvt. Ltd,
New Delhi. Pages 225. Rs 295.

ARAM VIR means "bravest of the brave." This book is a compact and highly readable book written by a person who himself is not a stranger to bravery in battle. The author, Major General Ian Cardozo, a Sena Medal awardee and war-disabled, has covered practically every facet of the highest gallantry award the nation bestows on its bravest sons and daughters, who perform deeds of such courage.

As Kiran sees it
Harbans Singh
As I See...
by Kiran Bedi. Sterling Publishers
Private Limited, New Delhi. Pages 225. Rs 195.

HEN Indian women-in-police made history by coming together for a conference, Suzette Davenport, Chief Superintendent of the British Police, told them that they "were up against an elephant" and that they needed to "eat it." To this Jenny Daisley had added, "Remember to eat it bit by bit."

Of mystery and adventure
Padam Ahlawat

The Rupa Book of True Tales of Mystery and Adventure
edited by Ruskin Bond. Rupa. Pages 236. Rs 295.

ACH one of the stories of mystery and adventure are interesting and superbly told. Ruskin Bond has spent a great amount of time and effort to search out these stories from old railway magazines and private collections. The authors of the stories deserve to have their works collected and edited into one volume. He has made their creations available for the readers.


A personal quest that became the history of a people
K. Rajbir Deswal

Benang: From the Heart
by Kim Scott. Penguin Books. Pages 502. Rs 295.

HE scene is set in Gableup Township on the Western Coast of Australia early in the 20th century. Ernest Solomon Scat migrated to this place and brought with him from his native Scotland the White-skin complex. This complex dominates the rest of his life despite his cohabiting with coloured races of the aborigines.

The reality and future of electoral politics
Ashutosh Kumar

At The Polls: Parliamentary Elections in the Federal Phase
by M P Singh and Rekha Saxena. Orient Longman, New Delhi. Pages 302. Rs 500.

NDIAN democracy seems to have done well if we consider the fact that the number of people who participate in electoral politics is increasing continuously. This strengthening of the democratic process has led to an alteration in the very nature of electoral politics in the country.

Blurring fact-myth boundaries
Nirbhai Singh

Communal Politics: Facts and Myths
by Ram Puniyani. Sage, New Delhi. Pages 309. Rs 295.

HE book revolves around the present political scene in India that mirrors the Hindutva political ideology. It castigates myth-making to demolish the minorities. Being an anti-fundamentalist, the author is critical of the existential political situation of India. He focuses on the irreconcilable ideologies of the Sangh Parivar and the secular forces. He argues that real threat to Indian democracy is from communal politics.

Short Takes
Plainspeaking that amounts to stating the obvious
Jaswant Singh

Discovery of Independent India
by Joginder Singh. Fusion Books, New Delhi. Pages 344. Rs 195.

HEN Jawaharlal Nehru thought of discovering India, he delved into the country’s past and its heritage. He related these to his vision of a new India. He was immensely proud of the country’s legacy and was confident that it would show the way even in the present scientific age. Joginder Singh, on the other hand, sets on a voyage of discovering India as it stands today.

He was “cruel & just, magnanimous & mean”
Manisha Gangahar

Genghis Khan: Ever the greatest emperor in history.
by Capt. Ravi Thapar. Navdeep Publications, New Delhi. Pages 247.

HE book introduces the Mongol emperor Genghis Khan to the readers by comparing him with other great conquerors of the world — Alexander, Caesar, Napoleon and Hitler. "As we flip across pages of recorded history, it is intriguing to find that one country, Mongolia produced for the first and perhaps last time the most outstanding world conqueror, Genghis Khan, who carved out the biggest empire... which was to remain unparalleled in history."

Handling conflict at work
P. K. Vasudeva

Organisational Commitment and Conflict: Studies in Healthy Organisational Processes.
by Omer Bin Sayeed, Sage Publications New Delhi.
Pages 335. Rs 295.

RGANISATIONAL commitment and conflict management strategies have become important for the smooth running of a corporate. The author maintains that the hallmark of a healthy and truly proactive organisation is the level of the employees’ commitment to the organisation and their ability to handle conflict situations.