The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, July 27, 2003

Remembering a humanist
Suresh Kohli
N the death of Bhisham Sahni we have lost the one writer who had been, almost effortlessly, carrying forward the Premchand legacy. One last met him about little over a month ago by design shortly after return from a shooting spell in Kashmir. He had looked and sounded visibly healthy. He had appeared his compassionate self on the phone. Death is, in any case, a silent stalker.

Such a long journey
Rumina Sethi

An Illustrated History of Indian Literature in English.
edited by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra. Permanent Black, New Delhi.
Pages 406. Rs 1,495.

NDIAN literature in English is no longer an oxymoron. Works in English have always assumed the status of national literature while the regional languages occupy a less national character. The influence of English continues to be irresistible even though we belong very much to a ‘polyglot’ tradition of bi- or tri-lingualism in a country where the use of English has also never been seen to markedly jeopardise or displace indigenous languages.

A work of courage
Rajdeep Bains

by Uzma Aslam Khan. Penguin, New Delhi.
Pages 448. Rs 395

ILKWORMS produce a thread so fine that a mile of it can be wound around your arm. Yet it is strong enough to bind all the characters together in this delicately woven work. Silk, the omniscient thread that runs through the fabric of Trespassing, is also the main cord that brings together the political and the personal elements in the lives of people intent on keeping just these apart.

Life, love, loss and laughter
Aradhika Sekhon

Dev and Simran
by Eunice de Souza. Penguin Books. Pages 132. Rs 195.

HAT a wonderful read this little book turned out to be! Not very impressive to look at, this innocuous-looking novel covers a whole range of human emotions — humour, friendship and sorrow. It also talks about the problems that the average urbanite deals with in relationships, how they work them out and how they deal with the business of living.

Punjabi literature
The life and times of Afghan Sikhs
Jaspal Singh
ANY novelists in the world have their favourite locales to situate their novels. Thomas Hardy had his native Wessex (South-west England) and Arnold Bennet and Sholokhov had the Potteries (Staffordshire) and the Don region, respectively. In Punjabi, among others, Gurumukh Singh Sehgal has emerged as a significant novelist writing about life in a particular region, the North West Frontier Province (NWFP) of Pakistan, as it existed before partition.


All the elements of love
Priyanka Singh

Olivia and Jai
by Rebecca Ryman. Penguin, New Delhi. Pages 644. Rs 495.

OVERWEENING love, betrayal and hatred form the elements of Olivia and Jai, written under a pseudonym. Set in colonial Calcutta of the pre-independence era, the book is a gripping love saga of Olivia O’Rourke, a spirited in-your- face American, and Jai Raventhorne, half-breed, lowly bastard son of Sir Joshua Templewood, a fact that is concealed till the very end of the book.

Optimistic analysis of Green Revolution
Surinder S. Jodhka
Green Revolutions Reconsidered: the Rural World of Contemporary Punjab
by Himmat Singh. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Pages xii+302. Price 595.

HE agrarian changes and increase in productivity of land experienced in Punjab during 1960s and 1970s was phenomenal. Even though it occupied less than two per cent of the total land area of India, Punjab began to produce enough surplus food grains to solve the problem of food scarcity facing the entire country. Thanks to the success of its agrarian economy, Punjab emerged as the most "progressive" and prosperous state of independent India. Punjab was an example of success worthy of emulation by the entire developing world.

Managing knowledge in IT companies
D.S. Cheema

Leading with knowledge
Edited by Madanmohan Rao. Tata Mc Graw Hill. Pages 588. Price: Not quoted

HE book is about Knowledge Management (KM) practices in global IT companies. It is the first in a series of books called KM travelogues to be edited by a Bangalore based consultant. As the series unfolds it will provide useful insight into KM practices, its tools and traps etc. Though a number of books have been written on KM, none provides first-hand accounts by KM experts.

A rollercoaster ride around the world with John Simpson
Deepika Gurdev

Strange Places, Questionable People
by John Simpson. Pan Macmillan, London. Pages 548. £ 8.

ACH war has its heroes and in the present wired age, these heroes include not just the soldiers on the battlefield but also those who tell the story as it unfolds. The recently concluded US-led ‘shock and awe’ campaign in Iraq saw the emergence of a new breed of news broadcasters. Replacing Peter Arnett, formerly from CNN, were the likes of Nick Robertson.

The scandals of Emergency
Jaswant Singh

Rich Like Us
by Nayantara Sahgal. Harper-Collins, New Delhi.
Pages 301. Rs 295.

HEN this novel, set in the early phase of the Emergency, was first published in 1985, it caused ripples. After an Indian edition in 1999, and a second impression in 2003, it remains as fresh as it was when it was first published.

  • The Healthy Heart Diet Book
    by G. Padma Vijay. Orient Paperbacks, Delhi. Pages 191. Rs 140.