The Tribune - Spectrum

Sunday, August 3, 2003

Ahead of her times
A.J. Philip

Pandita Ramabai’s America: Conditions of Life in the United States.
edited by Robert Eric Frykenberg. William B Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, USA. Pages 322. $ 49.

NYBODY who has read Pandita Ramabai Saraswati would be amazed by her scholarship, revolutionary ideas and visionary approach. This nineteenth century iconoclast was a pioneer in many fields and should have ranked among the greatest daughters of this country. But how many have even heard about her? Before I come to that in a moment, an introduction of her would be in order. Come to think of it, she needs an introduction in this country!
Best sellers

Off the Shelf
A guide to contemporary Russia
V. N. Datta
HE collapse of the Soviet Union has been one of the greatest, momentous and significant events of the 20th century. A spate of literature has appeared on the fall of the Soviet system, which had been followed in some of the East European countries. After World War II only two superpowers had emerged, the USA and the Soviet Union. Even when the Soviet Union had gained ascendancy in international politics, some of the perceptive intellectuals like Bertrand Russell foresaw the end of the Soviet system for they found in it the seeds of its own destruction.


Meet the author
“My book has got reviews as favourable as the ones Arundhati got”
HEN a new book is compared to both Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 and Norman Mailer’s Naked and the Dead what more can it ask for? Reviews in the UK and the US have touted it as this summer’s greatest literary sensation. Journalist Aniruddha Bahal’s Bunker 13 — a literary thriller or espionage novel — has won him an audience which till now had been rivetted to his mind-blowing exposes in the highest echelons of power.

Stepping out into the other India
Aruti Nayar

Stepping Out: Life and Sexuality in Rural India
by Mrinal Pande. Penguin Books.
Pages 221. Rs 295.
THE apathy that our healthcare system is plagued by, all visible signs of progress notwithstanding, is brought out in Stepping Out. The well researched and feelingly written book is indeed a telling comment on the priority accorded to women’s health. The Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) in 1992-93 was 424 deaths per 100,000 live births but by 1998-99, it had risen to 540.

Struggles and travails of the pioneers of gender studies
Joti Sekhon

Narratives from the Women’s Studies Family: Recreating Knowledge
edited by Devaki Jain and Pam Rajput. Sage, New Delhi.
Pages 388. Rs 350.

VER the past two decades, studies and reports on a variety of issues relating to women and the women’s movement in India have become increasingly accessible. Little thought, however, has been given to the endeavours of numerous people who have made such studies possible.

Spicing up the mother-daughter relationship
Aditi Garg

One Hundred Shades of White
by Preethi Nair, Harper Collins. Pages 294. Rs 295

HE relationship between mothers and daughters has been written about very often particularly by women writers. Women authors are deeply interested in other women, be it mothers, daughters, grandmothers or friends. Although the stories of women are somewhat similar, what sets a particular novel apart, is the treatment the story receives.

Loss and betrayal from a male perspective
Sagari Chhabra

We Weren’t Lovers Like That
by Navtej Sarna, Penguin India, Pages 224. Rs 250.

AVTEJ Sarna’s debut novel, We Weren’t Lovers Like That, delves into the psyche of a man who has never had the courage of his convictions. Aftab Chandra turns 40 at the turn of the millennium and just then his inner world blows up in his face. His wife Mina leaves him for his close friend Rajiv and takes their only child, Ankur, with her.

For development, keep a local focus
B. S. Thaur

Planning Local Economic Development: Theory and Practice
by Edward J. Blakley and Ted K. Bradshaw. Vistaar, New Delhi.
Pages 398. Rs 360.

NAMOURED by its socialist system, India initially adopted Russia’s model of ‘planning and development’. While Russian ‘planning’ sank with the collapse of the Soviet States in the 1980s, planning in India has not taken roots, which is evident from the fact that most of the approved economic development plans go awry and the non-plan expenditures keep bulging year after year.

Write view
Good ideas marred by a casual approach
Randeep Wadehra

The Romancers
by Rummy Nand Lal. Sapna Sood, Ludhiana. Pages: 208. $4 or `A33.

HE title conjures up the prospect of the 1960s' ‘nouveau romanciers’ fiction, characterised by shifting time sequences, interior monologue, and striking imagery, popularised in France by the likes of Michel Butor. Alas! One is soon disabused of the possibility of any such happy experience.

  • Travels to Highlands of Himachal
    by K.R. Bharti. Indus, New Delhi. Pages 166. Rs 200

  • General Science For Competitive Examinations
    by C.S. Bedi and R.S. Bedi. S. Chand & Co., N. Delhi. Pages: ix+564. Rs 295.