Sunday, September 28, 2003
a tapori retells the Ramayana!
Prince of Ayodhya: Book One of the Ramayana
by Ashok Banker. Orbit. Pages 532. £ 3.75.
blurb describes Ashok Banker’s effort at retelling Valmiki’s Ramayana
as one of "breathtaking imagination and brilliant
storytelling" but forgets to mention that it is also a gravely
fallacious attempt. If going bonkers with a widely read story is
breathtaking imagination then Banker certainly deserves the highest
literary prize for his sheer lunacy.
struggle to be "incaste"
Outcaste: A Memoir
by Narendra Jadhav Penguin Viking.
Pages 263. Rs 395
together a story that spans three generations, with numerous
characters intricately portrayed, then add to it just the right
touch of social issues and you have a powerful combination. Outcaste
is a dramatic piece of writing that forces us to acknowledge the
inhumanity and injustice of a social order that treats humans worse
knows no boundary
Terror Counter-Terror: Women Speak Out
edited by Ammu Joseph and Kalpana Sharma. Kali, New Delhi. Pages
284. Rs 200.
Women and Politics in the Third World, a book reviewed in
these columns some months ago, I wrote that some of the contributors
of the volume argued how feminist organisational structures must
reflect the feminine values of gentleness and care.
sweet and sour
Bombay, meri jaan: Writings on Mumbai
Edited by Jerry Pinto and Naresh Fernandes. Penguin Books. Page 348.
you go through the introduction by Jerry Pinto and Naresh Fernandes
to this anthology on Mumbai, these words arrest you: "Why would
you live in a matchbox, breathe bad air, drink foul water? Because
Bombay is an addiction, it isn't good for you but you need the high
neon and insomnia, concrete and opportunity."
of substance resurrected
by Barbara Taylor Bradford. HarperCollins Publishers. Pages 506. £
Secret reminds me of a nursery rhyme I heard as a child. It went
something like this: There was once a little girl who had a
little curl right down the middle of her forehead. When she was good
she was very, very good, when she was bad she was horrid. The
world of Emma’s Secret is very much like the little
economy, backward society
Punjab Society: Perspective and Challenges
edited by M.S. Gill. Concept Publishing Company, New Delhi. Pages
362. Rs 750.
quantification of development has undergone a perceptional change.
The thrust of quantifying economic development in terms of the gross
domestic product alone is no longer tenable.
dark road from Moscow to Lhasa
Soviet Russia and Tibet: The Debacle of Secret Diplomacy, 1918-1930s
by Alexandre Andreyev. Brill Leiden. Pages XXI + 433. Price not
the long and chequered annals of Tibet, India to the south and China
to the west have played—and indeed continue to play—significant
roles. Expectedly, both have contributed a great deal to the texture
of Tibetan life—the Chinese, more demonstrative, in food and dress
and to a degree in the organisation of government; the Indians,
deeper and more inward-looking, in matters of religion, moral ideas,
One Hand Clapping: a collection of Zen stories
Rupa. Pages 102. Rs 95.
520 AD Bodhidharma, a Buddhist monk from India, introduced China to
Mahayana, which blended with Taoism to transmute dhyana —
the Indian form of meditation — into Cha`n. Subsequently it
travelled to Japan, where it came to be called Zen, the Japanese for
dhyana. Zen has greatly influenced the Far Eastern culture by
orienting its outlook in favour of action rather than theory.
passage to consciousness
from time immemorial, has remained a fragmented society owing to the
caste system. Almost one-fourth of the country’s population
constitutes what B.R. Ambedkar called the "depressed
classes". Though there have been many saints and social
reformers who castigated the caste system in India since medieval
times, there overall impact has been peripheral.