Sunday, June 15, 2003
The Partitions of Memory: The Afterlife of the Division of India.
Edited by Suvir Kaul. Permanent Black,
New Delhi. Pages 301.
the winning of Independence in 1947 came the devastating experience
of Partition. The many difficulties bound up with the problematic
history and politics of the Hindu and the Muslim communities were
finally ‘resolved’ in the vivisection of Punjab and Bengal,
where the Muslims were in a majority, to fashion West and East
Pakistan (now Bangladesh).
cannot pay you back except in words”
Typed With One Finger: New and Selected Poems:
by Dom Moraes: Yeti Books, Calicut. Pages 211. Rs 250.
lines from the title poem of Dom Moraes' seventh collection, which comes
after Collected Poems 1957-1987 and the almost unheard of sixth
collection In Cinnamon Shade, in a strange way reveal the tone
and temper of his new exposition. He has perfected the art, no doubt, of
carving out words and images, metaphors and similes, the implicit and
the explicit, motifs and expressions—pounding the keyboard of a
portable Hermes typewriter with just one finger—that have now stood
out for over five decades for their distinctive style.
Best Indian Short Stories (Volume II)
edited by Khushwant Singh. HarperCollins, New Delhi.
Pages 272, Rs 295.
SINGH has done it again—given us an eminently readable book, this one
in the role of an editor. As I read each story I did so with a growing
sense of wonder and joy, wonder at the richness that lay between the
covers of this book and joy that I had been provided with the
opportunity to share this.
Devinder Bir Kaur
Raj Kapoor — The Great Showman
by Lata Khubchandani. Rupa, New Delhi. Pages 87, Rs 95.
Madhubala — Masti & Magic
by Alpana Chowdhury. Rupa, New Delhi. Pages 72, Rs 195.
of fascinating stories and facts and written in an easy,
story-telling style, these biographies of Raj Kapoor and Madhubala
make personalities and their times come alive for the reader. Raj
Kapoor, the Indian Showman, was well known even abroad.
Mumbai’s gay underbelly
by R. Raja Rao, Penguin Books, New Delhi. Pages 232, Rs 250.
novels have been written about the 'gay underbelly' of Mumbai and
certainly many magazines are devoting reams to the "gay
issue". However, seldom has one come across an author who deals
with these concerns with such "gay abandon", air of
casualness, dry humour and such ironical irreverence. For R. Raja Rao,
it appears, homosexuality is not an "issue" or a
"concern" but merely a fact of life that he is living through.
Spock to the rescue of anxious parents
Dr Spock’s Baby & Child Care
by Benjamin Spock & Steven J. Parker. Pocket Books, New York. 1999.
7th Edition Fully Revised and Expanded for the New Century. Pages 939.
way one reacts to this book that is widely considered a classic on
childcare, depend entirely on one’s perspective on life. For instance,
while in some cultures, letting a child sleep in the same room as his or
her parents is frowned upon, in other cultures this practice is
considered normal and acceptable. Dr Spock advocates, among a host of
other things, nursing schedules based on a child’s demands as opposed
to a regimen that goes strictly by the clock.
of dealing with global terror
Dealing with Global Terrorism: The Way Forward
by Maj Gen Vinod Saighal, Sterling, New Delhi, 2003. Pages 398
be its other manifestations, global terror after 9/11 has become
synonymous with Islamic jehad. Had the ISI-Al-Qaida network not targeted
the USA and had they decided instead to restrict their activities to
Europe, Russia, the subcontinent or elsewhere, it is likely that they
would have done considerable damage worldwide with the USA remaining a
by lack of choices
Collected stories, Volume I
by Shashi Deshpande Penguin Books, New Delhi. Pages 217, Rs 250.
carry the ideologies of the writer along with them. It is impossible for
a writer to remain unaffected by the politics of life. Although Shashi
Deshpande refuses to be categorised into any of the ‘isms’ of
literary and cultural theories, one cannot overlook the fact that she
"makes gender central to her writings" and "stories in
this collection give a perception on women in their complex and real
stories that link many eras
Jatakamala: Stories from the Buddha’s Previous Births Translated from
by A.N.D. Haksar. HarperCollins, India. Pages 301, Rs 295.
through the stories of Jatakamala in different translations is a
fascinating experience. Not necessarily because they would appear to be
perfect art to a modern reader. Far from it, a modern reader of Gorky,
Chekhov, or Maupassant might have severe reservations about the way
stories are told in the present collection.
on human rights
Journal of the National Human Rights Commission (Vol I)
edited by P.C. Sen, Secretary General, NHRC. Pages 275.
Price not mentioned.
inaugural issue of the annual journal of the National Human Rights
Commission contains writings of eminent persons in the field of human
rights on issues that strain people’s minds today. Justice J.S. Verma,
a former Chief Justice of India and chairperson of the NHRC, in a brief
preface hopes that the journal will promote the cause of human dignity
and will receive the support and cooperation of legal scholars in India